Our 12 Most Popular Articles of 2021
As we wrap up another trip around the sun, we’re taking a moment to look back at the 12 articles that garnered the most attention on the site in 2021. Find a roundup of our dozen most popular posts of the year here…
This year at BIKEPACKING.com saw another record number of posts, with our small team working independently and with folks from across the bikepacking community to share around 1,250 original articles, reviews, routes, dispatches, and more. We’re quite proud of that number, as well as the broad range of topics we touched on in 2021, and that total doesn’t even include the essays and stories we published offline in The Bikepacking Journal or the countless events we listed in our bikepacking events calendar. It was a big year for bikepacking, with more people than ever before heading out to try riding and camping, and we’re incredibly grateful to be able to inspire and inform so many people.
As always, we want to thank our readers for all of the comments, clicks, shares, and feedback on all of our posts this year. And we owe a special thanks to our Bikepacking Collective members who make all of our work possible here on the site, on YouTube, and in print. Your support means a lot to us, and this resource wouldn’t exist without you. If you’re a regular reader of this site and you’re not yet a supporting member, please consider joining. Without further ado, here are our 12 most popular posts of the year, based on the total amount of views:
For the third year running, our Gear Indexes were again our most click-inducing posts of the year, taking a handful of top spots. First launched back in 2019, The Gear Index is our series of comprehensive reference and comparison lists for various types of popular bikepacking, cycling, and camping gear. Our growing list of Gear Indexes is always a work in progress, so check back for updates. Even better, please use the comments below to let us know what types of bikes and gear you’d like to see in Gear Indexes in 2022!
The three most popular Gear Indexes of the year:
Flat shoes or SPDs? It’s an age-old debate in the cycling world. In his search for the best flat pedal shoes on the market, Logan tested seven pairs that are relatively accessible and compared them based on comfort, looks, durability, and one of the most important factors, pedal grip. Find the results of his research and his recommendations here.
Undoubtedly one of the most inspiring and enthusiastic bikepackers of all time, we paid tribute to Iohan Gueorguiev, better known as the Bike Wanderer, following his death this August. Our ode to one of the greats included the first episode of Iohan’s extraordinary “See the World” video series from 2014 and a handful of our favorites photos of him taken during his journey down the length of the Americas. Rest in peace, Iohan. See the post here, and look for a heartfelt remembrance of him in the seventh issue of The Bikepacking Journal.
We love scoping out race rigs and nerding out over how folks have set their bikes up for particular events, and it’s clear you do too. Again this year, our “Rigs of” roundups were among the most popular articles on the site. And despite the race calendar not being quite as full as usual due to COVID-19, we were still able to put together a handful of “Rigs of” posts from races around the world.
The three most popular Race Rig roundups of the year:
The Kona Sutra ULTD “UnLimTeD” is a bike that aims to blur boundaries and tackle any terrain. After six months riding singletrack, bikepacking, and gravelling the ULTD all around the southern Appalachians, Logan picked this beast apart and compared it to its older sibling, the venerable Sutra LTD. Find his long-awaited long-term review here.
The Corner Bar from Surly briefly took the bikepacking world by storm when it was released. Conceived to easily convert a mountain bike to drops, this interesting (some might say weird) handlebar functions like a drop bar but works with mountain shifters and brake levers. We had the chance to test one before launch, and folks were very interested to learn about it. Find the full review here.
Andy Cox’s European Divide Trail, which traverses the continent from the shores of the Arctic Ocean in Norway to the wild Atlantic coastline of southwestern Portugal, was the most viewed route of the year. It’s no surprise to see it take the top spot given the ambition behind it and the fact that it traverses nine countries and countless dirt roads, singletrack trails, quiet lanes, and traffic-free byways. Once it’s refined, we’re expecting some variation of it to become a classic bikepacking route. Find the full route guide here.
With a well-rounded build kit, a dynamo hub, and all the mounting points you could ever need, the Decathlon Riverside Touring 920 is purpose-built for the long haul, and its $1,800 price tag made readers around the world extremely curious to know how it held up to real-world testing. We were too, so Miles put one through its paces in British Columbia. Read his review here.
The third and final bike review taking home a spot on our most popular posts of 2021 list is the Canyon Grizl, a drop-bar gravel bike with clearance for 700 x 50mm tires, lots of mounting points, and features that cater to long days in the saddle. We tested out the Grizl CF SL 8 equipped with a set of co-branded Apidura bags. Find our review here.
Over the summer, our friends over at Ride With GPS recently asked us to compile a list of our favorite bikepacking routes. To tackle this tough question, we invited each of our editors to select their top three “must ride” bikepacking routes from around the world. The results might surprise you. See the full list and a map featuring the complete route collection here.
The first installment of our 2021 Bikepacking Awards recognized the products that wowed us the most over the past year. We shared our top picks with 51 awards in 11 categories, including our Top Five Bikes, Best New Components, Best Camping Gear, and more, as well as a list of bikes that are already on our radar for 2022. See the full list of awards here.
Sneaking in at the 12th spot is the Ratio 1×12 Wide Upgrade Kit, which allows you to easily hack an 11-speed SRAM road shifter to work with a 12-speed Eagle MTB derailleur. We installed and tested one with a well-used Rival 1 mechanical shifter and an equally worn Eagle X01 derailleur and cassette. Find details and our review here.
Most Discussed Articles
In addition to the most viewed posts of the year, we did a little digging to figure out which posts had the most comments of the year. Lively discussion is something we value greatly around here, so we’re always happy to see posts that engage readers and get them to share their thoughts and ask questions. Looking at the most popular posts of the year from the perspective of the amount of conversation generated yields slightly different results, with the following 2021 posts (new or refreshed) taking the top five spots:
- Guide to Mullet Drivetrains (330 comments)
- Kona Sutra ULTD Review (162 comments)
- Bikepacking Gear That Lasts (131 comments)
- An Elegy for the Surly ECR (114 comments)
- Essential Layering for Bikepacking (110 comments)
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