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.
Pivot's new Mach 429 Trail was inspired by the capability–and limitations–of the Arizona company's cross country race bike, the Mach 429SL. The 429SL is still very much a race bike, but there's no doubt that it begins to cross the aisle from leg-shavers to seat-droppers. It was this fun factor that the 492 Trail was born from.
Female influences have been a constant throughout Yeti Cycles' heritage–over the years it's sponsored some of the fastest women in the sport, the likes of Juli Furtado, Marla Streb, Tara Llanes, Jill Kintner and Rosara Joseph–but until now it hasn't marketed a bike specifically for that demographic.
The women’s version of the Stumpy sports a carbon frame with alloy rear triangle, a different paint job and saddle, shorter cranks, narrower handlebars and a lighter tuned rear suspension, but the geometry is identical to the 650b men’s bike.
Our testers were hard-pressed to resist the drop-dead looks of Intense's Tracer.
For 2015, Niner introducted a half carbon/half aluminum version of the Rip 9, which means you can get into a carbon Rip 9 beginning at $2,200 for the frame and $3,300 for the “1 Star” model. Here are some impressions on the slightly (and smartly) up-spec'd "2 Star" version of Niner's all-purpose machine.
Specialized has tweaked its popular Rumor women's-specific trail bike to give it a few modern touches like snappier geometry, more travel and 27.5-inch wheels. The changes reflect Specialized's evolving philosophy to offer multiple wheel sizes on its popular mountain bikes, whereas the company was previously firmly planted in the 29er camp.
The cat is out of the bag; here are Specialized's "6Fattie" hardtails.
What's the deal with 27.5+ and 29+? Why is the bike industry suddenly pushing another new wheel size? And, most importantly, is it worth your time and money? Get your answers in this latest video installment of our Blueprint series.