Here we are, at the end of another whirlwind year. The bike market has been tough, and we’ve been slogging it out with all the other internet retailers in the 2023 discount wars (hopefully you snagged some killer deals!).
Through all this, I managed to publish just over 200 stories on our Mag! I decided to look back at our Mag stats for the year to see what stories resonated with our audience. Here are the top 10 most popular stories of 2023.
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1. Tour de France Explained: How You Win & How It Really Works
This is no surprise to me. The Tour de France got some extra attention this year thanks to the release of Netflix’s Tour de France: Unchained docuseries. To try and help out new viewers, our graphic designer whipped up a nifty infographic (I’ve learned that people LOVE infographics) covering the basics of the event.
The bulk of the post dives into the multiple ways riders can “win” the world’s biggest bike race. The Tour de France can be confusing for newbies, so hopefully this post made it easier to follow.
2. The 10 Best Endurance Road Bikes for Comfort and Speed
When you write over 200 posts in a year, you tend to forget about some of the things you’ve written. I literally don’t remember writing this post... But here it is, the second most-read post of the year.
I guess people are really interested in endurance bikes, which seems to contradict a conclusion I made in our best-selling bikes post (see #10 below) about endurance bikes falling out of fashion. Who should I believe, the readers or the buyers?
3. Should You Size Your Mountain Bike Frame Up or Down?
I was twisting my brain into knots trying to decide whether I should buy a medium or a large mountain bike frame. So I did what only a crazed bike nerd would do and bought both. I thought I’d prefer the large frame because I had bought into the idea that longer bikes are better for gnarly trails. However, after some testing, I was surprised to discover that I actually preferred the shorter medium frame.
The experience helped me crystalize some thoughts on how to choose a bike if you’re between frame sizes or comparing reach numbers. I'm probably sticking to mediums in the future.
4. What's the Best Bike Fit Calculator?
My wife and I both got selected for Unbound Gravel this year, so we treated ourselves to some fancy Retul bike fits. After I got my new fit report, one of my friends asked how much better a “pro” fit was than a free online fit calculator. I decided to find out.
I took my professionally tailored fit measurements and compared them to the results I got through some of the most popular online fitting tools. Most of the numbers seemed way off, but one fit calculator came out the clear winner.
5. SRAM GX vs. X0 vs. XX Transmission: Features & Real-World Weights
SRAM’s latest T-Type Transmissions were probably the most-anticipated product release of the year. They were also among our top-selling products of 2023. After the initial X0 and XX Transmission release, SRAM released a more affordable GX transmission.
Since we have all three groupsets in the TPC warehouse, I decided to bust out the scale and compare all the individual components side-by-side. I haven’t bought a Transmission for myself yet, but putting together this post helped me decide to go for the X0 version when the time comes.
6. The Stage-Winning Bikes from the 2023 Tour de France
Photo: ASO/Pauline Ballet
I was already waking up early to watch every stage of this year’s Tour, and I had spent endless hours stalking the Instagram accounts of all the riders and teams to see what gear they were running, so why not make a daily post after every stage about the winner?
This was one of my favorite projects of the year, and as a stat’s geek, I loved tallying up which frames, drivetrains, wheels, and tires were succeeding at the biggest bike race of the year. Who do you think came out on top?
7. How To Catch a Counterfeit Cervelo RCA
I went into the TPC warehouse to film a super-rare Cervelo RCA, but as it went through our inspection process, our mechanics immediately noticed some irregularities that indicated this bike wasn’t what it claimed to be.
After a brief investigation, it became clear that this bike was a counterfeit. We’d been had! This was pretty annoying for me and our accountants, but documenting it made for some good entertainment.
8. From the Vault: The Life & Times of John Tomac's Yeti C-26
Zapata Espinoza, the former editor of Mountain Bike Action Magazine, wrote this nostalgic piece for us about one the most iconic mountain bikes ever — John Tomac’s Yeti C-26 — which had been hidden in his garage for the last 30 years.
Zap decided to display his bike in TPC’s Vintage Bike Museum, but before he did, he brought it out to John Tomac’s ranch and reminisced about the golden age of American mountain biking. Find out why Johnny T might be the greatest of all time, and why the C-26 is one of the most valuable bikes in our museum. We made an awesome short documentary for this post too!
9. Things Don't Always Go Your Way: My 2023 Unbound Gravel Recap
Unbound Gravel 200 is the biggest gravel race in the world, and after a good showing last year, I was aiming for a better finish this year. Unbound can be merciless though, and about 20 miles in, my bike exploded, ending my race prematurely.
I documented the whole sorry sh*tshow and wrote about my conflicted feelings after flushing months of training and thousands of dollars down the toilet. Will I go back for vengeance next year? I don’t know yet, but readers sure love hearing about my failures!
10. The Best-Selling Bikes of 2023
This is super impressive because I only posted this a week ago, and it’s already in the top ten. Funny story, I originally posted it with a crappy pie chart that looked like it was drawn by my toddler in MS Paint. However, when the post started getting traction, my boss frantically messaged me saying we needed something less embarrassing, so I allowed our graphic designer to redo it.
The post breaks down key stats from our 2023 bike sales, which I guess bike geeks like knowing about. It also allowed me to draw some conclusions about what’s hot and what’s not in the bike industry.