Bikemagic Reader Awards 2007

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Bikemagic has always been as much (if not more) about our members telling each other what’s top and what’s tat than about us telling you. With that in mind, we decided that it was high time to give you the chance to give some recognition to the very toppermost things in the world of mountain biking. So a drum roll please, for the very first (we might go so far as to say “inaugural” Bikemagic Reader Awards!

Here’s how it’s going to work. We’ve come up with a load of categories that can be loosely grouped into Bikes, Gear, People and Places. Awards will be, um, awarded at the end of the summer, decided by you, our members – in about a month’s time we’ll post up the shortlists for each category and open the voting. And where are these shortlists going to come from? Also from you, our dazzlingly intelligent, irresistibly witty and almost dangerously attractive readers, of course.

So the first job is to compile the shortlists, and we’re going to do that through the ever-popular medium of the Bikemagic forum. Just read through the categories, marshal your thoughts and then post your suggestions on the forum. You don’t have to limit yourself to one suggestion per category and you can change your mind later on, if you like. With any luck some sort of consensus will emerge…

There’s a lot to get through, so let’s crack on with the Bike categories. You’ve got a week to get your suggestions in, after which we’ll be posting up the Gear categories for discussion.

Best entry-level bike

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There’s plenty of room for discussion about what constitutes an entry-level bike, but for the sake of argument we’re going to say that £400 is the top whack. There are plenty of great bikes around for that kind of money, but which give the most punch for the pound?

Best hardtail

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No price ranges for this one, and “best” is pretty subjective too. We’re not worried about that, though – feel free to nominate a bike because it’s great value, because it’s innovative, just because it looks fantastic or even (crazily) because it’s a superb ride. The only requirement for this category is that it mustn’t have any rear suspension. Not even a little bit.

Best short-travel FS

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If it’s got a little bit of travel, it belongs here. And how much is a little bit? Such is the march of technology that anything up to 100mm (4in) seems to count as “little” these days. It doesn’t have to be that much, of course – you could nominate one of those soft-tail contraptions if you like.

Best mid-travel FS

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The more than 100mm but less than 150mm arena is where a lot of the action in mountain biking is at the moment. This is the slot where manufacturers can offer bikes with enough travel to take the hits but low enough weight to ride all day and not have to avoid hills. The bikes in here are, it could be argued, the spiritual successors of the “one mountain bike for everything” that we used to have before all these subspecies evolved…

Best long-travel FS

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150mm (6in) and up is the travel we’re looking at here, so this category is going to encompass big-hitting freeriders as well as the new generation of lightweight, long-travel trail/all-mountain bikes. Pick your way through the genre minefield and share your thoughts.

Dream bike of the year

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The money-no-object category. It could be a hardtail or any sort of full suspension bike. It could even be rigid, if you have those sorts of dreams. All that matters is that it’s a bike that marketeers would describe as “aspirational” – that is, you really, really want one but actually having one looks about as likely as suddenly developing the power of invisibility…

Plenty of food for thought there. Chew it over, allow it to digest and then post the results on the forum…

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