Yesterday we looked at numbers 15 through 8 of our most read blog posts. Today, the real chart toppers, starting with...
#7 Rim reviews: HED Belgium+ from June 2017. Lots of hits in June, and this is also one of the photos that we use the most, as Jeff G will tell you. I can remember the first set of Belgium+ rims I built with. We'd been big fans of HED C2 (aka "regular Belgium") rims for a while, and that first set was like "whoa, they're not kidding around with these!" So well made. And also so w-i-d-e. Now they don't seem so wide, but they're still all around our top choice for alloy rims. There is no better built alloy rim anywhere.
#6 Rim reviews: FSW3/Kinlin XR31T, also from June 2017. See what I mean about review posts? You all eat them up. We've used the FSW moniker a few times, and it's always meant good things, and there's a funny story behind the name that I'll tell in another post. This post gets shared around everywhere. The rims are good, with some evident limitations, but from the business standpoint they're tough. We've always joked that Kinlin should name their models "our new proprietary alloy rim" because that's what about a dozen companies using them called them. Unless you buy them in vast "white label" quantities, you can't get pricing that allows you to make an economically feasible product with them. If our product range was a lot more limited, we could try, but you all seem to love variety. We do, too.
#5 Wider is better, until it isn't from January 2018. Like many good topics, this one came out of frustration - someone on a forum somewhere was so happy to hear that we were doing carbon again, and he (I presume) hoped that we'd do really really wide rims. Swimming against the "more is better" tide once again. I'm happy to see this post get good viewership, because bluntly I think it's an excellent post and representative of the best of our consultative function. As with a lot of other posts on this list, it gets linked in a ton of email responses. Having this body of work to refer to in the "what should I get" process really helps. I know sometimes people don't want to read through all this stuff, but it's our job to split the hairs and, you know, careful what you wish for.
#4 Spoke nipples - alloy versus brass from January 2018. These are all clustered - June 2017 and January 2018 seem to have been particularly fertile times. Plus, again with a "versus" post - this is far from the last on this list. Another exemplar of November's stunning graphic design capacities, and a post that gets around to the forums and linked in about 20% of our sales correspondence. Maybe some day we will remake all of these posts as videos and give GCN a little competition?
#3 Thru axles vs quick release from July 2015. It's always nice to be able to use a pic of one of Mark's bikes. The final four of this tourney are really set out from the rest - whenever I look at site traffic, someone is looking at one of them. Time will probably move this down the last - thru axles, and specifically 12mm front and 12x142 rear, have become established as the best kind of standards: ones that enjoy nearly universal use through their own merits. When we spec'd the Timoneria frame, we were tortured over what bottom bracket style to use. We knew press fits had issues but a lot of people had cranks that only fit PF bottom brackets, and there was almost a spell around them that we didn't think we had the juice to break. Spec'ing 12mm thru axles on any sort of road/gravel bike these days has got to be something that designers and product managers just take for granted, and that is to everyone's benefit.
#2 Disc brakes - center lock versus 6 bolt from August 2017. For this one, we actually did do the video! And it gets a lot of views, though nothing like GCN's views I'm sure. The funny thing about this video, and every other video we've done, is that I get a topic in mind and set up the camera and go. I know nothing of scripting or lighting or any kind of film making principles at all. I just roll them cold. Anyway, this is another one where the market seems to be moving in a direction (center lock) and even though once installed you never notice the difference, well, center lock is winning the heck out of this one.
#1 How to inflate tubeless tires from May 2018. Every time I see this post (which is all the time) I'm struck by how long it took us to do it. We've had detailed, totally in the weeds tubeless content for 6 or 7 years, but we only got to step 1 in 2018? Weird. Anyway, as with a comforting number of these posts, there's nothing in this one that hasn't aged well. Some, perhaps many, of them will require some updating over time, but the basics stand up really well. Plus, any time you get to use the unicorn duct tape, that's a huge win.
When we started a million years ago, we immediately identified that we could cut a trail for ourselves with blogging. I don't know that we considered we'd still be doing it now, or that we'd have anything left to say! But things move on and change and people are so interested in how bikes work and how the bike industry works and all of these pockets of interest that it seems we're no closer to running out than we were so long ago. And now we know more and we're better at our jobs, so it should be that the value increases (though you'll have to be the judges of that).
We have some new topic requests that have come in over the last couple of days so we'll have some fun banging those out and maybe in a couple of years this list will look totally different.
You'll notice if you go back and look at these that there are some Easter eggs hidden in them.