The cream rises to the top, right? With that in mind, what pieces of gear have risen to the top this year? We present the handful of items that we still use on a regular basis and whose performance has been above-and-beyond. Here goes… our 2017 Gear of the Year.

BMC Roadmachine 01

BMC Roadmachine 01 eTap Review

The Roadmachine 01 eTap has been my season-long tester — doesn’t get any better than this.

We spent time on a bevy of modern disc endurance road bikes this year. And, while each yielded more comfort and control than the endurance bikes of yesteryear, the BMC Roadmachine 01 stands out as the overall winner for its snappy handling, comfort and light weight.

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Kali Protectives Interceptor Helmet

Kali Interceptor Helmet Review

When purchasing a helmet, protection is tops on the list. Typically, that includes MIPS, but Kali Protectives doesn’t mess around and their LDL inserts have tested as good or better than MIPS in rotational impacts. The result is an all-mountain helmet that looks great, fits like a glove and remains competitively-priced.

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ENVE Compact Road Bars


With a seemingly-simple shape and design, ENVE’s nonchalant Compact Road Bars quietly deliver a comfortable ride and perfect hand positions. The integrated end caps also provide a tidy finish to your bar tape.

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SRAM Red eTap HRD Review

SRAM Red eTap HRD takes eTap to hydraulic discs and the result has been nothing short of magical. The paddle shifting of eTap is the most intuitive and responsive on the market and makes kitting out a bike even simpler without any shift cables or wires.

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Shimano Dura-Ace R9100

Shimano Dura-Ace R9100

As far as mechanical groupsets go, Shimano’s new Dura-Ace R9100 is blazingly-fast and smooth. The levers are the most comfortable Shimano has ever delivered and we were blown away by how responsive the shifting was.

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Reynolds Assault SLG Wheelset

Reynolds Assault Carbon Clincher Review

At 41mm deep, the updated Assault SLG wheels are the perfect all-rounders. We loved how fast they responded and how well they dodged crosswinds. They aren’t the widest, but are tubeless-ready and come in at a competitive price.

More: Reynolds Assault SLG Wheelset Review

Sportful Fiandre NoRain Bib Shorts

Sportful Fiandre NoRain Bib Shorts Review

As the sister brand to Castelli, Sportful has some serious chops — including outfitting several WorldTour teams. The Fiandre collection has a number of great pieces, but the fleece-backed NoRain Bib Shorts have performed beyond expectations with warmth, comfort and versatility for chilly or wet-weather riding on road or dirt.

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POC Resistance PRO XC Kit

POC Resistance Pro XC Shorts - 1

The Resistance is strong with this kit as Eric loved that it wasn’t an XC kit nor an enduro kit, but something of a Goldilocks kit.

More: POC Resistance MTB Kit Review

Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody

Outdoor Research Ascendant Hood Review

It’s light. It’s breathable. And it’s also the coolest new active insulator on the market. Outdoor Research’s new Ascendant Hoody may have finally defined the perfect midlayer.

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Patagonia Bivy Down Jacket

Patagonia Bivy Down Jacket

If you are the type of person who is occasionally wracked by guilt by participating in the cycle of consumerism and materialism that drives our society, I have good news: Patagonia started recycling down and stuffing it into jackets that you can feel good about. The Patagonia Bivy Down Jacket doesn’t just keep you warm –  It keeps you feeling ethically superior.

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Montane Featherlite Down Pull-on

Montane Featherlite Down Pro Pull-On

One of the weirdest pieces of our 2017 test lineup was, well, one of the best pieces. Pull-over puffies with enormous kangaroo pockets don’t come up that often, but there’s no denying the technical chutzpah of the Montane Featherlite Down Pull-On. Plus, it’s all wrapped up in the exceptional Pertex Quantum CS-10 fabric.

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Arc’teryx Konseal Hoody

Arc'teryx Konseal Hoody Review

If you have ever wandered around the mountains wishing that your fleece had an integrated balaclava to obscure your identity from passing hikers, the Konseal hoody from Arc’teryx would really be your best bet. Plus, it fights odor and has a dialed fit for climbing.

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Westcomb Mojave Shorts

Westcomb Mojave Shorts

Ah, the humble hiking short. What can you do to make something as simple and basic as hiking shorts shine? Well, do the typical Westcomb thing – make them in Canada, out of industry-leading fabrics with the sort of design that makes other companies scratch their heads in confused jealousy. That combination led to the remarkable Westcomb Mojave Shorts.

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MSR Trailshot Pocket Water Filter

MSR TrailShot Pocket Water Filter Review

Squishing a stress ball relieves stress but leaves you thirsty. Squishing an MSR Trailshot Water Filter relieves stress AND contributes to proper hydration. Need we say more?

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MSR FreeLight 2 Ultralight Tent

MSR FreeLite 2 Tent

In this review I claimed that there are few brands that I associate more with ‘reliability’ more than MSR. The MSR Freelite 2 tent is a prime example – lightweight, creative and game for years of adventuring. And, just like all the best ultralight tents, it costs a small fortune.

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MSR Mutha Hubba NX 3

MSR Mutha Hubba NX3

Rounding out the MSR hat trick, the Mutha Hubba NX3 is roomy and comfortable enough for three tired backpackers. Of course, MSR doesn’t mess around as this one remains full-featured but won’t weigh you down.

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Black Diamond’s Updated Climbing Ropes

Reviewed: Black Diamond Climbing Ropes

Black Diamond has rolled out some incredible products in the last year, ranging from their new climbing shoes to these ropes. If you are a BD fanboy wanting to round out your kit, or if you simply want a stellar rope to climb rocks with, the new climbing ropes from Black Diamond are as good as just about any out there.

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The North Face Endurus TR Trail Running Shoes

The North Face Endurus TR Review

The North Face has upped their shoe game in recent years with the Endurus TR (and Hike Mid) showing us just what trail comfort feels like. The Endurus TR is well-cushioned and has tackled everything we’ve thrown their way.

More: The North Face Endurus TR Review

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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