Read Vernon’s final take on Kona’s all-mountain slayer.
Specialized's Camber is like the aggressive rider’s cross-country bike... or maybe it’s the cross-country rider’s trail bike. I still can’t say which, but I can say this: it hauls ass up climbs and hangs better on descents than it has a right to, given how little squish it’s packing.
In a stable full of huge, temperamental stallions, this bike is like the little surefooted pony that could. Built not specifically for women but for smaller riders in general, it’s got plenty of features to tempt those of us with a little less heft. What it lacks is a stripper name or related sacrifices to quality, durability or capability.
This redesigned Rift Zone with 110 millimeters of travel out back and 120 up front joins the growing number of bikes with mismatched travel. Most bikes like this grey the lines between the trail and all-mountain categories, but instead this bipartisan bike crosses the aisle between cross-country and trail.
First, know this: The three bikes released today from Santa Cruz are nothing like the trail and all-mountain bikes the brand has become synonymous with in the last three years. There is no rear suspension on any of them, and no suspension at all on one. Instead, Santa Cruz has gone back to the drawing board on two models that will already be familiar to followers of the brand: the Highball and the Stigmata.
After a five-year absence, Specialized brought back the cross-country Era for 2015, redesigned with 29-inch wheels, women’s-specific geometry, top-shelf components and an all-carbon frame.
You might have noticed that we’ve already reviewed this bike. What gives? Well, you know that one guy who whips everyone’s asses on the climbs and the descents, bunny hops over a picnic table on the way home and then drinks everyone under the table that night? The carbon Remedy 29 is that guy.
“A bike for Bo and Luke Duke, maybe even Chuck Norris,” commented one tester. That seems about right. Bo and Luke can drive the wheels off a car, and the Phantom, like the General Lee, really shines with someone who can ride the wheels off it.
RDO, in Niner nomenclature, is short for ‘Race Day Optimized.’ In the case of our test Jet 9, this is embodied in a carbon-fiber frame using Niner’s patented CVA suspension to squeeze 100 millimeters of travel out of a Fox Float CTD shock.
The Norco Sight Carbon Forma was the most polarizing bike in the women’s test, eliciting a different opinion from each rider. But one assessment was consistent–when pointed downhill, this bike rules.
We tested both the 29-inch Enduro and the new 650b version. The latter piqued our testers’ interest, given how perfectly the smaller wheel size fits with the Enduro’s best-of-both-worlds mantra.
It’s not every day that our test crew rides a bike that sparks an impassioned debate over the vagaries of punk rock in an increasingly corporate world. But that’s exactly what happened after we took the 5010 Carbon S on some hot laps around our drop-filled test loop.
YETI ASR C | $5800 | YETICYCLES.COM It’s not every day you hop aboard a ‘cross-country’ bike and find yourself intentionally seeking out the chunkiest lines you can find. But during my time on the Yeti ASR C, that’s all I could think about. While the mostly buff singletrack of Central Oregon’s Dutchman Flat trail […]