With 140 millimeters of travel at both ends, the Offering is much more a trail bike than an enduro sled. It's energetic, has more of an appetite for munching trail chatter, ripping corners and popping lips than the steepest and deepest lines.
More stable than the Offering or Ripmo, more precise than the SB150. For many testers, the La Sal Peak was a happy medium with progressive geometry and superlative suspension performance.
The Process 153 29's reactive, mind reading and intuitive handling created an instinctual and instantaneous feel during any line-choice moment. While some testers pointed to more evolved and sophisticated suspension designs found on a few other bikes, all agreed that the centered stance and unflappable countenance of the 153 far outweighed any fathomable nitpick.
Not quite as stable at warp speeds as the Yeti SB 150 or the Fezzari La Peak, but its pinpoint predictability stands out way more. The Ripmo's spot-on geometry and superb suspension allows the rider great control while descending at any speed, and traction is aplenty.
Yeti took risks while designing the SB150 so that you can take risks while riding it. The big carbon beauty boasts a beyond-slack head angle, sprawling wheelbase and roomy reach. It all amounts to a bike that's got your back when riding high-consequence terrain at race-level speeds.
The Troy's geometry and suspension is conservative but not pedestrian, and its stiff chassis means that it prefers to run, not walk. Aggressive riders who want a resolute frame rather than a forgiving one will love the Devinci's feel.
The Fugitive LT's aluminum frame delivered a surprisingly stiff and unflappable ride quality, while the unique suspension design offered sophisticated control for both small bump compliance and big hit support.
The Enduro features slightly more conservative geometry than the current leading edge of slacked-out head angles, but that does not in any way hinder this bike's ability to plummet downhill with the best of them. Excellent balance and responsive steering are bolstered with ample and well-controlled suspension travel.
Wide, with an emphasis on wide, open terrain is what the Foxy 29 likes, arcing spaciously unrestricted broad turns. Anything tighter than huge and it's a handful, even for people that like handfuls.
The SB 130 is long and wants to be ridden hard. It hits way above its rear wheel travel number, but needs to be piloted aggressively.
Balanced geometry and 29-inch wheels lend stability to an otherwise nimble and playful package. Giant's Maestro suspension and DVO suspension work together to create a hall of mirrors effect, making 115 millimeters of travel feel like it is more than that. It corners and jumps with impeccable manners, and can keep up with longer travel bikes right up until the obstacles get big and grim.
When it comes to the world of short-travel bikes, the aggressive geometry and spec of the SB100 means you'd be hard pressed to find a better descending bike in this category. While it felt a little overwhelmed on long chattery downhills, we also had to remember that we weren't testing a 130mm travel bike, because it sure as hell felt like one most of the time.
Though we never forgot that the Fourstroke 01 is a race bike, it is as capable as a race bike can be. Its stiffness kept it from feeling too vague and its relative stiffness kept it from being too twitchy. Some meatier tires would help, though.
You're best off riding in a fairly static way, taking the trail as it comes and letting the bike's predictable stability roll through the rough spots. Riders with steep backyards should avoid the Habit because of how its rear suspension extends under braking.
The Orion linkage had a way of floating over terrain better than nearly any bike with its numbers, and far better than any 27.5-inch bike with its numbers. But the geometry is on the conservative side, meaning this bike is about precision lines. Those who want a bruiser should at least size up.
This bike lives to descend, and comes into its own the more you push it. With consistent tracking, composure in the air, and a dangerously forgiving suspension platform, the Bronson/Roubion is equally happy in the bike park and the backcountry. We served up the spiciest trials we could find in Southwest Utah, and it didn't even break a sweat.
The 27.5 Stumpy's 2.6-inch tires, lightly progressive suspension tuning and reasonable reach make for an excitable, invigorating ride encouraging of fun while waltzing down the trail. Until the trail gets mean. Then the bigger-than-trail bike's in over its head, but it's a blast all the way there.
Trek refrained from making the updated Remedy overly long and slack, allowing it to remain nimble and playful. With 150 millimeters of rear travel and 160 up front, the Remedy has plenty of suspension to eat up the chunder, but it likes to have fun doing so.
Possessing a surefootedness and sense of composure that longer travel bikes with bigger wheels could envy, gravity is the GT's thing. Plush suspension and enviable chassis rigidity make for a bike that can be thrown down the steepest lines with a confidence that borders on recklessness.
The balanced suspension combined with the Fox 34 up front resulted in a bike that could absorb chunky terrain at speed while providing the precise handling that lets you dig a little deeper into the corners and slowly pick your way through rock gardens.
Although the Thunderbolt's somewhat-conservative wheelbase can result in some twitchiness at high speeds, it also makes for a bike that's poppy, playful and easy to maneuver around tight turns and switchbacks.
With its minimal unsprung weight and chunky sprung weight, the Pinion gearbox-equipped Taniwha Trail was the ground-huggiest 140-millimeter 27.5-inch bike we've tested. And in contrast with the longer-travel Taniwha, this model wasn't a marshmallow when we tried to put input in it, though some of us wanted a longer-travel fork.
The Maestro suspension platform erases chatter, lofts easily over natural features, and gives every trail the sort of flow you dream about. While the Intrigue lacks that super-stiff smashyness you find on some trail bikes, it makes up for it with highly tuneable suspension and seemingly unshakeable poise.