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 2006 through to the end of November 2007. Reviews that are currently in process I did not include and will be eligible for my 2008 Top Ten list.

2. They had to be products or bicycles that I personally used during this period. Nothing any of the other Twnty 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.

That said, let’s get on with this……

My highly modded XXIX+G

Number Nine : The Raleigh XXIX+G. The Raleigh 29″er line includes the popular XXIX single speed and the geared model, dubbed the XXIX+G. It is a steel hardtail with a Reba front suspension fork. I recieved the XXIX+G late in December of ’06. (I didn’t waste any time modding it either!)

Why it makes the list: The funny thing about this bike is that I really wasn’t enamoured of it at first, but now I really enjoy it. Once I got a fork on it with some longer offset I was much happier with the handling. I would have to say that the most enjoyable thing about the XXIX+G is that it posesses qualities that endear it to me. Steel feel, stiff in the lateral plane, can take a big tire, and begs to be upgraded. It is a reasonably priced bike, has decent stock components, and is pretty versatile.

My Two Cents: Raleigh has a strange geometry that in conjunction with a Reba forks short offset makes for a sluggish handling bike, in my opinion. Swap out to something with a 43-46mm offset and you will transform this bike into a single track star that handles with a stable, nuetral feel. Besides that, you really can’t go wrong here. Upgrades to the bike will only enhance the experience. I grew to like the bike more and more as I personalized it. For the folks that love to tinker with their ride, you can’t do much better than a Raleigh XXIX+G.

Look for Number Eight on the Top Ten Favorite 29″er Products of ’07 tomorrow.