This year has seen some of the coolest bikes, the most gorgeous kit and some of the most incredible victories in women's mountain biking there has ever been.
As we come to the end of another year, it's always good to reflect back and consider how far this sport has developed. With a roller-coasting ride, and unstoppable momentum, the future is seriously bright for female shredders around the globe.
At TWC, we're fortunate enough to get our muddy hands on various bits and bobs for rigorous testing - and by testing, we mean ride the heck out of it. I've rounded up my favourite 10 MTB pieces from 2016. Everything from bikes and kit that I've enjoyed testing, think are great ideas or just love because they are seriously cool.
Last month I flew out to Arizona to test ride the new trail bikes from Liv. The Liv Pique is their new progressive cross-country stallion, and the Liv Hail is their badass enduro beauty.
I was blown away from the outset. Liv have totally designed this bike from a blank piece of paper, taking into consideration everything a female would want, and need from their all-mountain weapon.
My first impressions of the Liv Hail are of awe and excitement. I'm really looking forward to having some more test time with the Hail in the new year. You can read the full article here.
Fox Women's Demo Kit
One of the most popular and sought after kits of 2016 has to be the Demo kit from Fox. Available in bright girly pink and wild lime green, the trails were ablaze over the summer with this tough-wearing kit.
One of the reasons I love this kit so much is the cut and construction of the outfit. It's baggy, but flattering... It's hard-wearing, but soft to the skin. Fox have achieved a lovely balance of everything that's needed for a hard day of shredding trails. See the full range from Fox Head here.
Giro's Turquoise Accessories
Given that mountain bikers (and most cyclists in general) are quite particular about their colour coordination, I was stoked to see Giro's turquoise accessory bundle arrive at my front door.
These items quickly became my go-to favourites for mountain biking because each piece is comfortable to ride it. The Jacket flat shoes are more like causal trainers, comfortable and protective. The Montara helmet provides ample coverage and great ventilation, and the gloves are lightweight and breathable for an all day session. See the full MTB range from Giro here.
MilKit Tubeless Tyre Kit
Until more recently, I've never been much of a tinkerer or fan of getting down and dirty with the mechanical side of riding. Admittedly, this was mostly because I was too afraid of doing something that would ultimately result in a trip to my local bike shop, and forking out £50 to fix my cowboy DIY.
So when MilKit sent me this compact convenient kit for going tubeless, I was apprehensive.
However, the easy step-by-step instructions, and the well kitted out bundle made the whole operation a success. What's more is that is was both mess and faff free - hurray! More information on MilKit here.
Juliana Bicycles are considered the epitome of women's mountain biking. They produce a limited luxury run of bikes to have you conquering those mountains effortlessly.
Earlier in the year I had some fun with the Juliana Joplin, a 29er with a big heart and an even bigger hunger for fun. It was love at first pedal with this ride. Comfortable, nimble and a whole load of fun on the trails.
The big 29" wheels sailed over obstacles and provided enough traction to really push down through the more hairy features. The ultraviolet fully carbon frame is lightweight and strong, and the high-end components harmonise to enable a fun and thrilling ride. Check out the Juliana fleet here.
Gore's Power Trail Lady WINDSTOPPER Hoody
This hoody continues to be one of my favourites, both on and off the bike. It's really very awesome.
Everything from the loose and tapered fit, to the high-quality fabric and feel, this hoody is great for wind protection and shower resistance. With an attractive camo design on the outside, the feminine features subtly show through on the stitching and liner with a complementing baby pink sheen.
The hood has a handy magnet to keep it fastened down when not in use, but when you need it, it's large enough to cover both you and the helmet.
Exposure Maxx-D MK8 and Joystick MK10 Front Lights
Night riding is a whole load of fun, but only when you have suitable lights for it.
I've been very impressed with Exposure's MTB front lights, and they've seen me through many twilight rides. They're reliable, bright and they are easy to use as everything you need comes with the kit. A mains and USB charger allow quick and easy power-up, and the brackets and mounts can be equipped in minutes. See their full range of cycle lights here.
ASSOS T.rallyShorts_s7 Lady bibshorts
Mountain bikers never want to admit they like a bit of Lycra under their kit. It violates the friendly feud between roadies and mounties. However, ASSOS has done things a little different...
This year, Swiss cycling brand, ASSOS released their MTB bib-shorts. I wasn't sure about these at first, but they really grew on me, and now hang proudly in my cycling closet ready for the next adventure.
They aren't like most Lycra bib-shorts which are shiny, suffocating and act as snag magnets. These bib-shorts feel slightly thicker, less revealing and offer superb abrasion resistance. The laser cut straps and magnetic clasp are comfortable on the shoulders and easy to use as well. Available to purchase here.
SealSkinz Summer range
SealSkinz are famed for their incredible waterproof socks, and protective outdoor wear.
This year saw the launch of their summer socks and gloves with new colour ways, but the same waterproof protection. I welcomed the new addition of the silicone cuff around the sock. This significantly helped reduced water from rolling down your leg and into the sock, as well as give the sock a little extra grip. More information here.
Pink Giro Disco Shoes (a.k.a Women's VR90)
So I haven't yet had a chance to review these, but they are on the top of my list for 2017.
Like a moth to the flame, I'm drawn in by their shiny pink iridescent sheen and all I want to do is encase my pedalling feet with their brilliance. This slim shoe profile shoe has a fully lace-up fastening system, with a vibram sole and additional heel/toe protection for the foot. See them here for more information.
With such a wide and brilliant variety of bikes and kit for women's mountain biking, I'm super excited to see what's coming for 2017. Although if some of the rumours are true, it's going to be bigger and better than ever for women's MTB.