This year is brimming with blinged out, high-zoot, lightweight and thoroughly badass mountain bikes. Those adjectives, however, don’t always share real estate in the same sentence with words like “value.” So, what the hell, here’s a list of some bikes that I think present a good value. They aren’t “cheap,” they might not even be “affordable,” but they are all a hell of a lot of bike for the buck.
In its former life, the Intense 951 was playful, lively and nimble, leaving full-on racing duties to the M9. Not anymore. The 951 EVO has been reincarnated into a focused racer-type, drinking protein shakes and sharing gym time with the Athertons. The trouble is, it lost its sense of humor.
Given a carte blanche opportunity to build my one and only, I opted for a bike that was hopefully an evolution of my own riding philosophy. I chose the Ibis Ripley, hoping it would strike a balance between 100-millimeter-travel, XC-oriented bikes and more burly, but less XC-friendly 140-millimeter-plus bikes I had been alternating back and forth between for the past few years.
Why did the 29-inch-wheeled Turner Czar, the company's first foray into carbon, blur the lines between a trail bike and an XC race whip? And why did it make our testers feel like Superman?
The 2014 Bible of Bike Tests is now on newsstands, and it features straightforward reviews of 34 of this year's most promising bikes. We've created videos with highlights from our candid 'roundtable discussions' of each bike, all against a backdrop of shredding footage from our test trails in Sedona, Arizona. Here's the first: On the all-new GT Sensor Carbon Expert, a bike that totally took our testers by surprise. Be sure to watch until the end to find out what this bike's awesomely low bottom bracket meant for one of our testers....
It’s clear that Turner set out to make a 27.5-inch-wheeled bike that was uniquely its own with the new Burner. the high-speed stability and outstanding cornering prowess are standout ride features. Knowing that the bike climbs as well as it descends makes it an ideal candidate for someone looking for a no-nonsense, do-it-all trail bike.
The Furtado stole one editor's heart. It had all the updates from the original Juliana I’d been looking for: a lighter, stiffer carbon-fiber frame, a boost in travel, an upgrade from the single-pivot suspension platform to Santa Cruz’s VPP linkage and 27.5-inch wheels. This is how she built the bike up to be her perfect match.
If you are looking to buy a brand new bike and want to keep on 26-inch wheels then the list of options is very small, and probably getting smaller and smaller by the day. However, the bikes that are still out there are amazing, regardless of anything. Here's our short list of the best of `em.
Smack. Dang… Smack. Damn. Smack. Gawdammit! Smack. F@ck this!!! I threw the 29er to the ground and stalked off into the woods. Godalmighty, I hated these things. Stupid-long rear centers, senile shopping cart handling up front and some kind of evil Gypsy curse against the whole breed of wagon wheelers.
Marin's new Attack Trail XT8 would be a strong bike for someone who rides tight, technical terrain. The new Attack Trail is not as efficient and speedy a pedaler as some of the best all-mountain bikes, but it holds its own on climbs and makes for a competent all rounder.
If there was ever a perfect time to use the Swiss Army-knife metaphor for a bike, it’s with the Scott Genius 720. This 650b-wheeled beast is the quintessential do-it-all trail machine. The heart of this bike is the TwinLoc system, which simultaneously controls both the Fox 34 fork and Genius Nude2 shock.
By the time I got my hands on this test bike I was primed for speed. It didn’t let me down. on the first ride—my mildly technical singletrack commute, filled with abrupt, punchy climbs and sharp descents—the bike felt freakishly fast, its big wheels rolling effortlessly up taxing climbs that often leave me breathless.
Many bikes get tossed into the ‘enduro’ or ‘all-mountain’ category because they sport six inches of travel and yet they don’t possess the slack geometry, stout frame and burly parts to really excel on prolonged technical riding. The Compulsion LT, happily, is one bike that fits the bill. The Compulsion LT is no pretender.
The 790 MSL is rocky mountain’s top-of-the-line model. It bears a complete carbon-fiber frame that Rocky says weighs just 5.1 pounds. That frame sports ISCG tabs, a 142x12 rear axle and tidy, internal cable routing. Envy-inducing components include a SRAM X0 drivetrain, Avid X0 Trail brakes, a RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post and Kashima-coated Fox suspension. There isn’t a weak link in this chain, but at nearly $7,000, there shouldn’t be.
If you’ve been paying attention to all the Interbike/Eurobike/Outerbike posts this season, you’ve probably seen a hell of a lot of bandwidth sacrificed in praise of the Marin Bicycle’s new mountain bikes, which, and I’m going to be blunt here, is a big change.
The pucker Ti is a blast to ride. At less than 23 pounds, the singlespeed rewards out-of-the-saddle efforts with astonishing speed. our bike was equipped with 34x20 gearing, which might be too low for the über-fit, but was perfect wintertime gearing in the mountains.
The EX performs brilliantly on everyday singletrack—the kind of trails you want to ride for hours upon hours. Its handling traits are balanced and nimble, thanks in part to its low bottom bracket and ample standover. The efficient DRCV suspension platform and the 27.5-pound weight make the EX 9.8 feel like a no-holds-barred race whippet while on the pedals.
Chances are, you’re looking at this bike right now and thinking either ‘cool!’ or ‘What the hell?’ A fully rigid, coaster brake-equipped, 32-pound cruiser is a love or hate proposition. In truth, I had no idea which camp I belonged to before I threw a leg over the Klunker, but I was definitely intrigued.