We test bike gear year-round at Outside, from our desert test trip in January and endurance races like the Arizona Trail Race, Breck Epic, and Triple Bypass, to daily road and trail rides here in Santa Fe (including snow biking just this week). In the process, we beat the bejeezus out of lots of gear, and while much of it these days is very good, there are often a handful of items that we come back to again and again. With our 2013 test trip to Tucson coming up next week, we decided this was the perfect moment to highlight the top pieces of bike gear that impressed us most in 2012.
01. CRANK BROTHERS KRONOLOG
This dropper post impressed us more than any other piece of gear this year. Crank Brothers replaced the hydraulic internals of the uneven Joplin with an all-mechanical design that has stood up to nine months of hard wear. We prefer the Kronolog’s infinite height adjustment to other brands' two- or three- stage configurations, as well as the simplicity of the air spring for slowing or speeding the post’s return rate. This is not only a huge improvement from Crank Brothers’ original design, but it’s darn near our favorite dropper on the market, and we recommend it on any bike except for your lightest weight racer.