This is a strange type of blog post I am about to write. It seems to be recurring annually, and yet it is the sort of topic that you can't expect to happen annually. I'm talking about the Bike of the Year awards from various publications.
Of course we introduced a new bike this year, so that increases the odds of winning an award. But there are hundreds of brands producing thousands of bikes, so that diminishes the odds.
We also know there are more than a few publications that base their awards on how much brands spend on advertising. So given that we don't advertise AT ALL, that means we're fishing in a smaller pond with just the magazines that have strict separation between editorial and advertising. And there are still these hundreds of other fishing rods (and some huge trawlers) in the same pond.
All of this is to say that we weren't expecting any "congratulations, you've won" emails this year. But then the email came anyway. And then another. And another. And another!
This is the point where I am expected to write that for us, the most important feedback is what our customers think of our bikes. And that is true, but I see the journalists riding our bikes as a sort of customer too. They all love riding just like you and I, and they ride so much that what they write may be ignored only at our peril.
Most of the accolades came for the WI.DE., not surprising since it is new this year. It's satisfying to see that in a year where everybody and their donkey introduced a gravel bike, the WI.DE. made an impact on journalists and editors who may have become quite blasé by the end of the year.
Even more satisfying is that they seem to recognize the main premise of the WI.DE: wider tires widens where you can ride, and with the right geometry you can do this in a way that doesn't reduce the on-road fun you can have with the bike. Here are articles:
1) RoadBikeAction Editor's Choice for Gravel.
2) Design & Innovation Award.
3) off-road.cc voted the Wide the "Benchmark Bike of the Year"
while its sister publication road.cc made it a Frameset of the Year finalist (not bad when a gravel bike becomes a finalist for an ON-road magazine).
4) Bikerumor.com Editor's choice award for Gravel.
5) And that was not all, after a very long-term test by Feed The Habit (a relatively small but really nice website on all things outdoors), they awarded Gear of the Year to the U.P.P.E.R. plus a very nice review
Of course it's nice to get some recognition (who doesn't like that) although right now I would trade all these awards for a production-ready De-fender set. We're close, but not there yet.