Exclusive: Bike’s Best of 2013–The Stories

By Vernon Felton

We published more than a thousand stories this past year. Here are just a few of the stories that we were particularly fond of:

The Angels’ Share
We went all out on this one, with the crew from Union Production Co. creating a multi-media whirl of video, feature writing and photography dedicated to this mountain biking journey through Scotland. CHECK IT OUT

World-First Expedition Captured in Bike's First-Ever Web Mag
Bike editor, Brice Minnigh, traveled with Matt Hunter, Dan Milner and the crew from Anthill Films on this arduous journey through Afghanistan's remote Wakhan Corridor. We created this massive flip book chronicling the adventure. CHECK IT OUT

The Escape
Winter in the Pacific Northwest is a brutal thing for riders—a season of rain, snow, more rain and a lot of boredom interspersed with some chafing of tender parts. Plenty of folks just hang up their bike for the winter. Not Seb Kemp. Kemp and friends hit the road for a mountain biking tour of southern British Columbia—weeks of pedaling the road, punctuated by daily doses of dirt. The Escape was a brilliant reminder that the only real limits on your riding are the ones you impose on yourself. CHECK IT OUT

Against all Odds, "Road Bike Party 2" is Released
2013 was also marred by its own share of tragedies—including an accident that left world-renowned trials rider, Martyn Ashton, paralyzed. Ashton had just started work on a new video, “Road Bike Party 2,” which looked as if it would never be finished. Danny MacAskill and Chris Akrigg, in a tremendous show of support, stepped up to help Martyn finish the film. It's a truly inspiring story about brothers in arms and courage. Kudos to Ashton, MacAskill and Akrigg. CHECK IT OUT

One man. One fat bike. One mission to shame each and every other bike at Sea Otter.

One man. One fat bike. One mission to shame each and every other bike at Sea Otter.

Quiver-killer fat bike shames all comers at Sea Otter
A man rolled into Sea Otter on a fat bike promising to lay the pimp hand down on every racer in every race. Some stories must be told…. CHECK IT OUT

Specialized Enduro 29 Unveiled—-We Race it at Finale
Specialized did something no one even thought was possible…or maybe, to be more precise, something no one thought was even a good idea: adding 29er wheels to a six-inch travel bruiser. Stranger yet, the crazy Frankenbike worked. Bike tester, Kris Keefer, raced the Enduro 29er at the final round of the Super Enduro series in Finale Ligure, Italy. We launched the story on the day the new bike debuted and paired it with our own Blueprint video profiling the development of the Enduro 29er. CHECK IT OUT

Six Years in the Making—The Ibis Ripley
Has there ever been a bike that has taken so long to go from brilliant idea to touch-it-feel-it reality? It's a fair question, because Ibis spent six years working on their Ripley 29er. Just to recap here: George Bush Jr. was still in office when these guys started work on the bike that would eventually become the Ripley. Justin Bieber was practically a fetus at the time. In other words, six years is a hell of a long time to spend designing and fine-tuning a bike. We went down to Santa Cruz and got the exclusive on the Ripley. CHECK IT OUT

Giant Goes Big with 650B
Giant got bold this year when they announced that they announced that they would distribute (globally) no fewer than 28 different models shod with 27.5 wheels in 2014—that includes hardtails, Anthem cross-country, full-suspension bikes and several very capable Trance trail/enduro models. Only two models (the Reign X and Glory) would sport 26-inch wheels and in the long-term Giant saw themselves wedded to 650b. Few companies have made such a sweeping change so quickly. Here's the report from their 2014 launch in Deer Valley. CHECK IT OUT

Specialized’s 2014 Trail Bikes
Gear editor, Ryan Palmer, got first tracks on Specialized’s latest trail bikes and came away both impressed and, frankly, surprised by some of the bikes he threw a leg over. Here’s why… CHECK IT OUT

26 Ain't Dead
If you are looking to buy a brand new bike and want to keep on 26-inch wheels then the list of options is very small, and probably getting smaller and smaller by the day. However, the bikes that remain are amazing. Here's our short list of the best of `em. CHECK IT OUT

SRAM XX1 Long-Term Test
After nearly a year on the trails with the SRAM XX1 drivetrain, we give a thorough appraisal of its long-term performance. CHECK IT OUT

In Praise of Klunking
Riding hardtails seemed like going to church and feeling good about having kneeled in a pew for an hour. My first good full suspension bike, by contrast, felt like having sex. I soon stopped riding hardtails altogether…but Klunking has me reconsidering my past. A short ode to occasionally giving the finger to technology. CHECK IT OUT

Dicking About
How can you become a better rider? Squats? Cross-Fit? Road riding? Intervals? Nah. Try dicking about on your bike. A lot. Seriously. Here’s why not getting too serious about improving is often the best way to actually improve as a rider. CHECK IT OUT