MTBBritain Home
   Route Guides    Top Tips    Links    Letters     Editor's Page    
   Steep Photos     Features     What's New?    Reviews     Recommended Stuff  Forum
The MTB Britain Best Component Awards Print This
These are the best components we've ridden with in over ten years of mountain biking. I know there are other great components out there. Some of you will have different priorities set by your budget and/or style of riding. This may lead you to disagree with our choices, to you I say 'tough'. Drop me a line and have your say by all means though. For those without opinions cast in titanium, all of this kit is well worth the cash and will reward your purchase with top performance and value. We've been riding in the worst conditions the UK has to throw at you, from deep snow to deep water, in acres of truly foul and sticky mud. The choices here reflect this experience.

The prices are the lowest we could find on the web and in the magazines at time of writing (August 2000)
The five star awards go to the best of the best.

The WTB Momentum Headset. If you buy any other you'll kick yourself.

Component Notes
Headset WTB Momentum

This is the worlds best headset because it's the only one at this price that can be re-greased from a gun without disassembly. The gun should cost around 15 e.g. Dualco. In itself the gun is a much cleaner and simpler way of dispensing grease and a worthwhile addition to your tool box. The lower race is the one that usually dies on a headset. Water and grit can get in here after a few wet rides and the fate of the headset is sealed. A few pumps of grease pushes crud out and can keep this headset going almost indefinitely

Approx 29.99

Handlebar Easton Monkeylite

The de-facto standard these days since the demise of the Answer Hyperlite. We all have them and they are worth the money. You don't have to buy the top of the range carbon bar as the EA70 is extremely good.


Easton Monkey EA70 Approx 45.00

Bottom Bracket Shimano XT ES70/1 Bottom Bracket - Octalink

Sealed bottom brackets are a major blessing. they do wear out and can't be serviced, but they last a long time and are cheap enough to chuck out when the time comes. Recommended unless you love maintenance to pieces. 

Approx 29.99

Chainset Shimano LX or Deore Holowtech

All the features of our favorite LX chainset, only lighter and stiffer. If you're on a budget consider the non-Holowtech LX, it's a bargain. At these prices it's hardly worth changing rings, just buy a new chainset! (replacing your chain before it's too worn will considerably extend the life of your chainset rings and rear cogs)

Approx 49.99

Pedals Crank Brothers Egg Beater 

For the serious all-weather riders amongst us there's really only one pedal to consider. All the others will lock you in or out (or both!) at some point. Downsides of the Egg Beaters are the shorter life of their brass cleats. 

Approx  49.99

Buy From Cycle Surgery

Saddle WTB SST K Titanium  

A great saddle for longer rides, also has the drop nose which allows seated steep climbing (although this can be a bit uncomfortable!) A good weight and an amazingly low price at the moment. If you need a more padded saddle we recommend the Titec Berzerker.

Approx 29.99

Seat post Thomson Setback or Race Face XY

I have the Thomson Setback. In the Race Face range get the XY post (the one with lay back) unless you have a very short upper body.

XY Approx 69.99

Thomson Setback Approx 67.00

Stem Kore Lite 3

When choosing a stem the most important thing is the length and rise. Take care not to choose a short upright stem as well as a riser bar, or your climbing will suffer.

Approx 17.99

Grips ODI Lock On

Grips WTB or Profile dual density

If you can afford them, and you really should, the Lock-On grips from ODI are the very best there is. Getting other grips to stay put long term in our British weather is a real challenge. We like the narrow Ruffians best but they are NOT the hardest wearing.

Approx 16 with locking collars, 11 for replacements thereafter.

Dual density grips stick better on your bars and give unparalleled grip. Stick them on with hair spray or if you suffer slippage, some spray paint or car touch up paint. If you use a lot of these latter two, the grips may need to be cut off when you replace them.

Approx 3.99

Rear Mech Shimano XT or LX

What can I say about these superb components? You can use the new 9 speed capable versions with an 8 speed block. It's the shifter that makes the difference.

XT Approx 33.99

LX Approx 24.99

Front Mech Shimano XT/LX

The key thing with these is to order the correct type and size. If you're unsure it's probably better to get a shop to do it for you.

XT Approx 19.99

LX Approx 14.99

Brakes Hope M4 or Hope Mini or XTR V Brakes

The XTR are better than the new XT as they squeal less. Up front this may well depend on the brake boss spacing of your fork. If you have a wider spacing as is the case with many of the newer forks, the XT should be OK.

XTR Approx 37.99

Hubs Shimano LX or XT

Not much difference between these in practice. The XT's are lighter. Both need re-greasing manually every few months especially in winter. Check the drive side of the rear hub first.
Spokes DT Swiss double butted, brass nipples and Velox rim tape

Double butted spokes are stronger than plain gauge. The double butted part refers to a progressive thinning of the spoke shaft along it's middle section. Alloy nipples seize over time and will not then allow further re-truing of the wheel.
Inner tubes Specialized

Light and high quality.
Tyres Specialized Enduro Pro

These are aggressive tyres and will hum on the road. Kevlar tyres are worth the extra money. If you shop around you can find an aggressive tread Kevlar tyre (2.0 or 2.125) for as little as most wire beaded ones.

Approx 19.99

Rims Mavic XC717 Disc

Mavic make the best rims by far. Just don't buy any one else's, and say we told you so. They stand up to the rocky abuse I like to deal out better than any we've tried.

Typical build XT Hub X717 Approx 102 + P&P

Typical build LX Hub X717 Approx 82 + P&P

Chain Sachs/SRAM PC69 9-spd chain

We like the Sachs chains best as you can use the special gold links to replace those you bend. It's also much quicker on the trail than the Shimano black pin.

Approx 21.99

Gear Cables Any  Just clean and lube the non-coated ones regularly. Best brake cables are hydraulic.
Brake levers Shimano XT

Shimano have longer adjusters than most, a big plus with V brakes as they pull more cable and the blocks wear quickly, meaning more frequent adjustment. Or for the rich it's the Hope Minis or M4's.

XT Approx 34.99

Shifters Shimano XT or LX

Have you noticed we like Shimano? Years of trying other mediocre kit always leads back to the big S. Mix and match to get the best value, see above for what's worth the extra cash.

XT Approx 39.99 (8 speed)

XT Approx 49.99 (9 speed)

   Route Guides    Top Tips    Links    Letters     Editor's Page    
   Steep Photos     Features     What's New?    Reviews     Recommended Stuff  Forum