Editors Note: Yeah, yeah…..another year end review! Tis the season! So, here are my favorite things that have passed through the Twenty Nine Inches review process during the past year. I want to point out a few parameters that I used for what I chose here.

1. The product had to be in the review process during the time period of December 2009 through to the end of November 2010. Reviews that are currently in process I did not include and will be eligible for my 2011 Top Ten list.

2. They had to be products or bicycles that I personally used during this period. Nothing any of the other Twenty Nine Inches staff reviewed on their own could be considered for my list. This list doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone but me, Guitar Ted.

3. The reviewed products were provided to Twenty Nine Inches at no charge for review. I was not paid or bribed for this review. I will give/gave my honest opinion or thoughts through out.

That said, let’s get on with this

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Number 4: Singular Cycles Gryphon Frame And Fork: Singular Cycles of the U.K. was working on a drop bar specific frame at about the same time as Salsa Cycles was working on the Fargo. Singular didn’t get the Gryphon out until very early in 2010 when Twenty Nine Inches received the frame and fork in February. We built it up and tested it through May, and continued to use the bike as a test mule for tires through the rest of the year.

Why It Made The List: It is no secret that I like drop bars off road and when I got wind of Singular Cycles project dubbed the “Gryphon” I was watching it very closely. It isn’t an adventure bike, per se’, like the Fargo, but it was a quirky British take on a rigid only drop bar 29″er that happened to work out. Quite well, actually.

Gryphon LgeMy Two Cents: Those wacky Brits and their rigid only 29″er designs. Who knew? Well, the Gryphon goes beyond that with a drop bar specific design on top of it all. How on earth could such a fringe bike end up on a Top Ten list? Well, because it handles and rides fantastically well at a bargain price. Even though it really isn’t meant for suspension or flat bars, the Gryphon still rides better than many frames and forks costing twice as much or more. Sam at Singular dimed the geometry of this bike and it flat out smokes on buff single track. It isn’t crazy fast handling, but it is definitely a spirited feeling rig. The frame has a nice, sweet steel compliance and the fork, although being short in length, has a nice smooth ride. Yes- it sports an eccentric bottom bracket, and while not my preferred split shell type, it gave me no reasons to doubt it or hate on it none the less. (Good ol’ Phil Wood unit in there doesn’t hurt things) Yes- it is a drop bar bike, but if you can not stomach that, then there is always Singular’s Swift, which is very similar. Look, I’ll admit to really liking this frame and fork, and in fact, I bought it after the test. But even so, it still is a fine example of “British 29″er Geometry” and a great riding bike for the money. Personally, I wouldn’t hesitate to put it a much higher position on the list, but given that the Gryphon is such an acquired taste, I have placed it at #4 on this years Top Ten List Of 29″er Products for 2010.

Stay Tuned for #3 on the list coming soon……….