2011 was very interesting. Although the year saw some sexy new releases, breakthroughs and, on the other hand, great consistency from certain brands, there weren’t too many surprises. And we feel that’s reflected in our list of top performers for this year. We asked a crowd of discerning and critical cyclists around the world what made them tick in 2011. Here goes:
1. The Launch.
What first looked like the year of MASH Bolt, took a fast turn. We at Bikeminimalism feel that what Pedal Consumption and Leader did together, had a greater impact on the way we rolled in 2011. More so than Cinelli and Andrew Low put together.
Whilst the MASH crew came up with consistent fun, and rolled out a multi-disciplinary talent show along with some top-notch products, Portland’s own Mr. Thames proved his ultimate coolness. Bm thinks the Leader-Pedal Consumption collab brought an instant credibility upgrade to the Leader brand. Simultaneously the beautifully designed Kagero became a clear winner, surfacing amidst the abundance of frame manufacturers that jumped onto the Lo-Pro style aluminium street track bike bandwagon left, right and center in 2011. And what a beautiful frame they have produced!
2. Brand Consistence.
Whilst Chrome upheld their position as the messenger bag of choice, Mission Workshop’s backpacks remained the unrivalled alternative amongst the ever more popular backpack market. The Bikeminimalism towers feel that their mission (sic) was one that spoke most intimately to the urban rider:
“The Mission is where we design, develop, and work in San Francisco. Our workshop was created out of the need for gear that out-performs, while maintaining a clean aesthetic appropriate for cycling, travel, and the daily routine. Pulling from years of experience, Mission Workshop creates bags that can handle a lifetime of abuse and apparel that can withstand the worst weather.”
True every word. We think it takes some confidence to give a lifetime warranty to products that stand such abuse from this crowd. With all due respect to Chrome, but on the backpack tip we think Mission Workshop is up there on its own.
3. The Classic.
Rapha creates the finest cycling clothing and accessories in the world. Designed without compromise for the most discerning rider, Rapha products blend style with optimum performance. A passion for road racing means Rapha is more than just a product company. It is an online emporium of performance roadwear, accessories, publications and events, all celebrating the glory and suffering of road riding.
This remained ever so true in 2011, and we think Rapha has successfully widened its fanbase to a wide spectrum of urban cyclists. In fact, they are currently one of the only cycling-only clothing manufacturers whose designs don’t make the wearer look like a lost in the 80’s lycra-clad prick from outer space. We are all in love with Outlier and Swrve, but Rapha just simply deserves this.
4. The Blog.
Crisp, cool, very stylish, calm and collected and extremely well designed — and for some reason very European, Pedal Consumption delivers, delivers and delivers, day in, day out. When choosing the winner, we looked for attitude, relevance, personality and a dry sense of humour. For this reason clear runners-up were Tracko and the quintesse
ntially British The Foot Down. But since we didn’t permit ourselves to vote for ourselves, our unanimous voice goes to Pedal Consumption. Thank you Patrick for making our cycling lives a tad more interesting.
5. The Posse.
“TRAFIK is a group of creatives who love biking the streets of L.A. and the world. Armed with a camera, an internet connection, and an extra tube or two, together are bringing the fixed-gear movement to a worldwide audience. Cycling is a way of life and our goal is not only to show how vibrant the bike community is in L.A., but how the fixed-gear movement is shaping culture around the globe. From Japan to Australia, Europe to South Africa, urban fixed-gear cycling has become a symbol of a new generation that isn’t afraid to bomb hills, split lanes, and defy norms.”
There’s no doubt about this one: TRAFIK’s To Live and Ride in L.A. is the number one major breakthrough into the mainstream from the humble community of law-abiding cyclists. Their fun, unpretentious and humorous film portrays the fixed gear scene to the general public so powerfully and explicitly, that we can’t find the words to describe our astonishment. And the payback is already there: upon release the feature was the most downloaded flick on iTunes. Now available in 16 countries worldwide, the success story is bound to continue. Congratulations guys!
6. The Entrepreneur.
Hailing from funky Helsinki is KRNKY, the producer of minimalistic and high quality cycling caps, straps for locks, keys and mobile devices as well as utility and belt bags to fullfill urban cyclists’ needs. The Pedal Straps have rapidly gained huge popularity among fixed gear freestyle riders, polo players and urban commuters. And that’s no wonder. Being sweatshop-free, KNKY products are fully handmade, one by one, with commitment, passion and devotion to fixed gear community worldwide.
Besides, the proprietor of this tiny company has almost single-handedly built an active and vibrant fixed gear scene to the Finnish capital and on the side, runs one of the most rocking fixed gear web communities in the world — the infamously naughty yksivaihde.net. Respect is due, brothers and sisters!
Pay the winners support by visiting their sites and purchasing shitloads of their products. And tell them Bikeminimalism sent you. Remember to ride more in 2012. Big up, peace and out.