The Best Value Bikes of 2016

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.

All bikes

Cannondale Scalpel | 2015 Bible of Bike Tests


The Scalpel is a steep, fast and sharp-handling race machine. With more riders opting for bikes in the mid-travel range, though, the market for XC bikes is becoming increasingly competitive. Is the Scalpel ready for the competition?

Pivot Mach 6 Carbon | 2015 Bible of Bike Tests


Pivot's Mach 6 falls squarely in the busting-at-the-seams all-mountain segment, sporting a head angle of 66.5˚ and 160 millimeters of travel. The Arizona brand worked with suspension-whisperer Dave Weagle to create a bike that we found to be fond of high-speed descents but also quite efficient on climbs. But of course, these days there are lots of bikes that match that description. Check out the video to see if Pivot's Mach 6 stands out amongst the crowd.

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt | 2015 Bible of Bike Tests Roundtable Reels


Rocky Mountain's Thunderbolt proved itself as one of the most capable trail bikes in this year's Bible of Bike. A couple of our testers even pegged it as the most fun of all 36 bikes. Check out the Roundtable Reel review video to see why.

Salsa Spearfish | 2015 Bible of Bike Tests Roundtable Reels


Salsa's Spearfish proved one of the most maneuverable XC bikes in this year’s garage, which stood in contrast to the traditionally stable, long-wheelbased trekking machines we usually see from Salsa. But even more surprising was that this bike, which we found so fun and capable, had just 80 millimeters of rear travel.

Trek Lush Carbon | 2015 Bible of Bike Tests Roundtable Reels


Some "women’s specific" models are actually just their male counterpart disguised in different paint and slightly different parts. Trek’s Lush earns our praise for its completely unique women’s-specific geometry. The move from 29-inch hoops down to 27.5 complements women’s geometry on paper, but how did the category-straddling Lush perform on trail?

Preview: Trek Slash 8 27.5


Trek's Remedy might be better known, but the Slash is the real bruiser in Trek's all-mountain/enduro line up. The Slash 8 27.5 might just be the best buy in the 2015 Slash family.

Evil’s The Following | 2015 Bible of Bike Tests Roundtable Reels


Out of 36 incredible bikes, half of our test crew picked Evil’s The Following as their favorite. Two others mentioned it as a close second, and the only guy who didn’t say anything about the bike when asked about his favorite didn’t even ride the thing. There’s no way to truly understand how remarkable The Following is without riding one yourself, something we definitely recommend doing.

Yeti SB6C | 2015 Bible of Bike Tests Roundtable Reels


Light, confident and capable–Yeti's new 'super bike' is a better climber and descender than its predecessor, and, quite frankly, much of the competition.

The 2015 Bible of Bike Tests is here


The world's foremost mountain-bike gear guide—Bike magazine's 2015 Bible of Bike Tests—hits newsstands today, providing you with the definitive overview of the most important new bikes and gear for 2015.

Preview: Kona Process 153


We’ve tested Kona's short-travel 29er Process 111 and their mid-travel Process 134 already. How does the all-mountain Kona Process 153 compare? Here are some first impressions of the 2015 model.

Review: Specialized Andorra Short


The ‘Big S’ is one of the industry’s most polarizing companies, but love Specialized or hate ‘em, it’s tough to argue against the product. Nearly everything that the Morgan Hill marketing machine rolls out is top-notch.

Bike Test: Ibis Tranny 29


Words by Nicole Formosa $5965 | IBISCYCLES.COM The Ibis Tranny 29, as its name suggests, is much more than meets the eye. What the bike appears to be at first glance is actually covering up something far more complex and versatile. And with this use of the word ‘Tranny,’ that’s a good thing. Our test

Bike Launch: 2015 Santa Cruz V10 Carbon (contains Ratboy footage)


The new V10 is here, and it's dripping with carbon 650b goodness. Instead of adapting the existing design to fit bigger wheels, Santa Cruz took their time and gave the V10 a full makeover.

Bike Test: Transition Transam 29 1


THE TRANSAM HAS BEEN A MAINSTAY OF TRANSITION’S LINE- for some time, and while this hardtail has worn various wheel sizes over the years–it’s currently available in both 27.5- and 29-inch versions–one thing has held constant. The TransAm is a versatile rig that’s equally at home on both buff and burly singletrack.

Bike Test: Breadwinner Bad Otis


After an hour of soul-crushing fireroad climbing, I wound up on trails I’d never ridden. Normally I’m conservative when alone on unknown terrain, but as soon as I felt the Bad Otis snap out of the first catch-berm I couldn’t help myself. My hollers echoed through the forest as I pushed my own limits trying to find those of the bike.

Tested: Giant Trance Advanced SX–the Dream Build


The best bikes and components of 2014? Each of Bike's editors gave their spin on the "dream build". Here's Vernon Felton's choice: a hopped-up version of Giant's Trance Advanced SX. Here's the review.

Bike Test: Spot Brand Cream


The Cream isn’t for the masses: It’s a three-year product of passion made with little regard for cost. Each tube was selected, shaped and tapered to provide the desired ride feel, vertical compliance and lateral stiffness.

First Ride: Ibis Mojo HD3


The new Ibis Mojo HD3 represents a ground-up redesign of Ibis' famed all-mountain bike. We've been lucky enough to ride the thing. Here's the story.

Bike Test: Specialized S-Works Enduro 650B


TYPICALLY, BIKE BRANDS GET EXCITED TO SHOW US THEIR latest and greatest bikes, but Specialized seemed more stoked to show us its new Henge seat at this year’s product launch in Hood River, Oregon, than the new Enduro 650b–a bike so sick that it is impossible to not to get jazzed about it.

Palmer’s Picks: Reynolds Blacklabel 27.5 AM Wheels


Did you know that World Cup downhill racers tune their wheel stiffness by adjusting spoke tension to suit certain courses? Optimizing wheel stiffness can improve traction, control and comfort. Reynolds has done an excellent job at this with the Blacklabel wheels. For me, they strike a great balance between providing stable, yet supple ride–something I appreciated after experiencing how harsh some of the other carbon wheels on the market can be.

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