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Year in Review

Best of 2020 - Tim's List

Words Tim Coleman
Date Dec 28, 2020
Reading time

Whistler Bike Park

I've been a long standing fan of the Whistler Bike Park (WBP). The summer season got off to a delayed start as the folks running the Bike Park figured out how to open in the safest way as possible. There were a lot of negative comments about Vail and WBP for high prices, reduced operating hours, reduced terrain, and a short season but, given the severity of the global pandemic we're in, the folks running the bike park did an excellent job. I was on site for Opening Day and I disliked the masks as much as the next guy, but if they were needed to keep the lifts turning, I was all for them. I had a ton of fun with buddies on the mountain, and we all concluded the trail conditions this year were all time; the folks maintaining the trails this year should be applauded. The bike park remained busy until the last day, with an energy that was a welcome escape from the negativity of COVID-19.

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I've ridden A-Line a thousand times, and it never gets old.

The Ember Mug

My wife gave me this mug for Christmas 2019 (which feels like a decade ago). I pulled it out of the box with a confused face, "WTF ... why do I need to update the firmware on my new coffee cup?! What a stupid thing? Why would I need a smart mug that connects via Bluetooth to my phone?"

My wife looked concerned at first but the tide turned. This product is brilliant. I like it so much, I severely miss it when I'm away from home. I know, I know, it's ridiculous. No one needs an expensive mug that keeps your coffee at the ideal temperature, but hear me out. I like coffee, and I enjoy a cup or two daily. I tend to drink my coffee slowly, and I'm easily distracted. Which means my coffee gets cold, and I dislike cold coffee. Cold coffee happens a lot when you're easily distracted.

"But you could just use an insulated mug," they say. This is better, way better. With an open mug you get to enjoy the aromas far more and the form of this mug is just so satisfying. Using your phone, you select the temperature you'd like your coffee to be and the mug remembers that setting. When you pour in your hot coffee it lets the coffee cool to your desired temperature, and then magically holds that temperature until the battery runs out (about an hour with my mug). When you're done, give it a rinse, plop it on the charging saucer, and it's ready for the next time. The industrial design is near perfect, I love the way it feels, I love drinking out of it, I love how easy it is to use, and I love that it keeps my delicious coffee at the perfect temperature. I have the 10 oz. version, which is perfect for the size of coffee I make but there is a newer 14 oz. version if you prefer a larger mug. I'm almost embarrassed at how much I like the Ember Mug, but it's truly been one of my favourite products of 2020.

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I have the smaller 10 oz Ember Mug in White.

The Bubble

The 2020 came with many changes. We were all encouraged to shrink our interactions, and spend more time with a few select humans. Through a trying and challenging year, our own regular little bubble was full of constant laughter. There isn't a single photo without someone goofing off over so many wonderful rides this year. The focus of the group was maximizing laughs, and it usually involved bikes. We rode every Thursday, and at least once every weekend all year. I've relished the deeper connections formed with a smaller regular riding posse. So a huge thanks to all the folks that made my 2020 a whole lot better than it should have been. You're an awesome bunch.

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Always gooning around.

Staying Local and Supporting Local

I love traveling just as much as anyone else and many of my "Best of ..." picks from previous years have been from international vacations. I'm a big believer in living life and experiencing as much as possible. I've really missed racing, traveling and events this year. However the pandemic has forced us all to narrow our horizons and rediscover home. Working from home has been excellent, and it's been great to spend more time with my wonderful wife (I hope she says the same). I discovered a delightful little coffee shop / roaster that is walking distance from home with phenomenal coffee, excellent service, and a terrific lunch menu. The Chinese restaurant next door has the most incredible coconut buns. We've been trying to support the local business as much as possible, buying local beer, local wine, ordering take out from our favourite local restaurants etc, and it's all been really good. We've seen and connected with our neighbours more than ever before, which has been great. Instead of an international trip this summer, we did a BC road trip, and that was absolutely amazing. Rather than focusing on what I've been missing out on, I've been focusing on finding gems locally and appreciating just how great home is.

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Deniz Merdano killed it behind the lens this year. This is one of my favourite shots we published in 2020, taken by Deniz a short pedal from his house.

Also...

Best Entertainment - Formula 1 again. What a season!

Best Non-Biking Activity - Track Days! Track days with friends are some of my favourite days of the year. I mentioned this in previous years, but track days remain a highlight. I checked out Area 27 in the B.C. interior for the first time this year, and what an incredible facility that is.

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We have some amazing tracks here in BC. Luckily Area 27 is only a few hours away (with some lovely roads in between).

NSMB Article Comments

I'm growing to really like the growing readership on this website. This year the comments section of many articles has resulted in wonderful, thoughtful discussion. In a world of trolls, sensationalizm, over reaction, and hate, the readers (and commenters) on this website have been the complete opposite. A huge thanks to this community. Please keep the respectful comments and thoughtful discussion going.

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Comments

Bikeryder85
+15 Vincent Edwards goose8 Niels AJ Barlas Carlos Matutes Chad K danimaniac AverageAdventurer Tim Coleman Peter Carson Angu58 Pete Roggeman ManInSteel MuscogeeMasher Timer
Bikeryder85  - Dec. 28, 2020, 2:45 a.m.

Joined the comments this year because of the thoughtful commentary/discussion. 

In a year where we lost such big players in the print world, it has been nice to find that same quality and care here...and that spills into the community/comments. Keep up the good work and this east coast rider will keep coming back!

Reply

deleted_user_8375
+1 Pete Roggeman
[user profile deleted]  - Dec. 28, 2020, 4:53 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

Timmigrant
+1 Pete Roggeman
Tim Coleman  - Dec. 28, 2020, 5:50 p.m.

Thanks for the kind words. I like to think we offer a unique take, and so happy to hear folks are enjoying what we write.

Reply

MuscogeeMasher
0
MuscogeeMasher  - Dec. 29, 2020, 4:31 p.m.

Did the same.  Another easy coast rider who really, really appreciates the different tone of this site.  Thanks for what y'all do.

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deleted_user_8375
0
[user profile deleted]  - Dec. 28, 2020, 8:49 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - Dec. 28, 2020, 5:45 p.m.

They're the Shimano AM45. I actually have a few pairs, and they've been fantastic. They're heavy, but I find them comfy, and they've done many many miles. I keep using them because they've outlasted a number of other shoes. I've since had the AM5 I reviewed, and the ME7. The AM5 still function well, but the outer material is falling apart. I really liked the ME7s, but the soles cracked. I have a newer version of the ME7s to try out this year I hope they last because I really like the fit and feel of them.

Reply

mike-wallace
+3 Deniz Merdano Tim Coleman Pete Roggeman
Mike Wallace  - Dec. 28, 2020, 8:54 a.m.

Nice job Tim.  Really enjoyed reading this one.

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Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - Dec. 28, 2020, 5:45 p.m.

Thanks Mike!

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DaveSmith
+3 Dogl0rd Pete Roggeman Mammal
Dave Smith  - Dec. 28, 2020, 9:47 a.m.

knees

Reply

Timmigrant
+2 Dave Smith Pete Roggeman
Tim Coleman  - Dec. 28, 2020, 5:46 p.m.

... are tighter than Scrooge McDuck's pockets on Christmas!

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cheapondirt
+5 Cr4w AverageAdventurer Deniz Merdano Tim Coleman Pete Roggeman
cheapondirt  - Dec. 28, 2020, 10:13 a.m.

I was lucky to be able to hit Whistler twice on weekdays this summer. It was a unique opportunity to ride with minimal lift lines and great trail conditions. A well deserved mention here!

Like @Bikeryder85, I also signed up here because of the thorough product reviews and great follow up by commenters and authors alike.

In a not completely unrelated question: which brake system would the nsmb community recommend more highly - TRP DH-R Evo, or Hayes Dominion A4?

Reply

danimaniac
+6 AverageAdventurer Andrew Major Deniz Merdano Tim Coleman cheapondirt Pete Roggeman
danimaniac  - Dec. 28, 2020, 11:51 a.m.

New Community reader here. Joined this year because of... Well. Its written down twice above.

About the brakes. Bought the A4 because of the reviews and teardown here and am still after 9 month completely sold on them. Awesome awesome brakes!

But I think the decision would been harder, if the trp had been out. But the lever is the difference for me. A4 lever, not the best to look at, but the best to feel and actuate.

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cheapondirt
0
cheapondirt  - Dec. 28, 2020, 8 p.m.

The A4's color is a bad clash with my bike and that's a bit unfortunate, but I do like that it runs DOT fluid and that light lever feel really appeals to me too. Thanks for your input.

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AverageAdventurer
+1 cheapondirt
AverageAdventurer  - Dec. 28, 2020, 2:48 p.m.

Oh thats a hard one! My mechanic colleague purchased dhr evos and I purchased dominions. We also conveniently ride the same size of same bike. So we're going to hot swap and test them out, with that said im 155 and this guy looks like a marvel superhero. So we task our brakes very differently. Remy Metallier rocks dominions but resembles my frame, Gwin rocks those evos.. We'll see whats better in season but I'd pick trps customer service every time in Canada and that's dealing with someone from the states.

Reply

cheapondirt
+1 Pete Roggeman
cheapondirt  - Dec. 28, 2020, 8:26 p.m.

I'm also 155lbs, so I don't think I need the thicker rotors and general burliness of the TRPs, but those less tangible things like customer service do matter.

I work with my hands and it's funny how a couple hours of chicken-dragging the brakes brings more soreness than a full day of hammering stone. That's why I want powerful DH brakes even though I ride uphill as much as down.

I'm really interested to hear your take after riding both, if I don't pull the trigger before then!

Reply

AverageAdventurer
+1 cheapondirt
AverageAdventurer  - Dec. 30, 2020, 7:51 p.m.

Hey so mounting up the a4's today.. absolutely order their proprietary adapters! Shimano adapters don't work, sram and a few washers don't work, magura doesn't work, NSB works with a few washers.. most adapters hit the caliper. The angle on the nsb is all wrong and the rotor actually grinds on the caliper. 

Save yourself the headache. Secondly, make sure you're fully internally routed bike can accommodate the thicker hose! Also your fork cable guide will just suck a little to put on. Also their bleed kit comes totally disassembled and require pressing on all the hoses and olives. They are quite the hot topic around the shop as far as how they feel the action is insane and the bite point is crazy. 

I feel as though these brakes will perform great on trail but the lack of support and the overall amount of self service may not be for everyone. If you can identify what parts goes where without instruction and are confident in setup they'll be great.

We are talking over half a grand in brakes for those of us that don't write reviews. 

The lever feel is excellent but the headache makes it a hard upsell over some RSC's. Every shop has a bleed kit for sram, I had to build a bear my own hayes kit. 

I know I sound biased but I'm giving them a fair shake and I spent my own money not exactly upgrading to try them. Rides to come...

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cheapondirt
0
cheapondirt  - Dec. 30, 2020, 10:07 p.m.

This is good to know! Who wants to spend that much and then find out you still need to buy the adapters and bleed kit? And potentially wait another couple days for them to arrive. Codes are kind of appealing in that regard.

Reply

AverageAdventurer
+1 cheapondirt
AverageAdventurer  - Dec. 31, 2020, 5:16 p.m.

Alright so I gotta say, after a full bleed and bedding them in these brakes are ludicrous. It will take a legitimate readjustment period. Coming off rsc's and ridden saints these are a whole other class. 

There have been quite a few skeptics at the shop, myself included but actually riding them is eye opening. For the evos if the lack of contact point adjustment or not being able to get a replacement rotor at a destination shop it may be hayes despite the support.

It may come down to weight of rider, those 2.3mm are gonna manage the heat of my captain America looking colleague. Who cooks 200mm sram rotors; he will appreciate that 220 2.3 front. Those of us that more closely resemble E.T. may appreciate the lighter lever feel and not miss that extra mass in the rotor. 

Itll be a while till we get them on trail but this is what we've got so far.

cheapondirt
0
cheapondirt  - Dec. 31, 2020, 6:33 p.m.

@AverageAdventurer That good huh? I'm currently on 2011-era Code R's so my mind is ready to be blown.

cheapondirt
0
cheapondirt  - Jan. 3, 2021, 5:55 p.m.

I took another look at my budget and decided to make the best of what I have before investing that half a grand or more. I ordered new rotors, Trickstuff pads, and a kit to replace my one messed up reach adjuster. With a fresh bleed and an intentional bedding process, I expect to have very functional brakes for a third the price of anything interesting.

All that to say while I'm still interested in the results of your comparison, I don't have a purchase hanging on it anymore.

Reply

Timmigrant
+1 cheapondirt
Tim Coleman  - Dec. 28, 2020, 5:49 p.m.

Thanks for the kind words, we sincerely appreciate it!

As for the brakes. I don't have any experience with either. So I can't comment.

Reply

denomerdano
+2 Tim Coleman Pete Roggeman
Deniz Merdano  - Dec. 28, 2020, 2:58 p.m.

Thank you Tim. All warm and fuzzy and stuff..

Reply

Timmigrant
+1 Deniz Merdano
Tim Coleman  - Dec. 28, 2020, 5:49 p.m.

Thank you! So many great images this year.

Reply

LoamtoHome
+3 Pete Roggeman Deniz Merdano Tim Coleman
Jerry Willows  - Dec. 28, 2020, 8:39 p.m.

Great list Tim!

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Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - Dec. 29, 2020, 11:56 a.m.

Thanks Jerry!

Reply

D_C_
+3 Pete Roggeman Deniz Merdano Tim Coleman
DMVancouver  - Dec. 28, 2020, 8:58 p.m.

That coffee mug looks sick!

Reply

Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - Dec. 29, 2020, 11:56 a.m.

It's so awesome!

Reply

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