Live wires that contain the chaos.

EVIL OFFERING

The D.E.L.T.A. linkage system used on all Evils already makes the company's bikes climb with astonishing efficiency and traction, but the Offering's steeper seat angle makes it perhaps the best uphill bike Evil has made.

FEZZARI LA SAL PEAK

The La Sal Peak's 78-degree seat-tube angle had some of our testers wondering if Fezzari has found the limit of steepness. The bike puts you in a very upright, very comfortable seated climbing position, from which you can reach either of your two water bottle cages. Once hydrated, you'll find ample support for out-of-the-saddle efforts, and pillowy traction on rough pitches.

KONA PROCESS 153 29

The 76-degree seat tube angle really helps here. The Process 153 29 CR/DL isn't paltry—it's significant, but it climbs in a manner indifferent to suspension wallow and while its sturdy nature is irrefutable, ascending isn't perceived as an insufferable life sentence.

IBIS RIPMO

Light on its feet, efficient, lightning-fast—there's no climbing cliché that can't be used with the Ripmo. Put simply: It's one of the best climbers of the test, regardless of travel or wheel size.

YETI SB150

A steep seat-tube angle and Yeti's remarkably effective Switch Infinity system combine to make the SB150 shockingly efficient under pedaling forces. Just be ready to adjust your timing and expectations to suit the bike's length and slackness.

DEVINCI TROY 29

It didn't leave us gobsmacked like the Ripmo, or even the Offering, and its seattube could be steeper, but the Troy is still a sensible, neutral climber. You can sit or stand, and it'll behave nicely. Plus, the Split Pivot's sensitivity means traction will not be an issue.

KNOLLY FUGITIVE LT

Despite its almost 3-pound weight disadvantage compared to similarly priced steeds, the Fugitive LT boasted unexpected climbing chops during testing. Riders came back from loops complimenting the Knolly for being predictable and easy to ride.

SPECIALIZED ENDURO 29

The suspension is admirably neutral while remaining active during seated climbing, and standing induced bob can be canceled with a flip of the compression damping lever when stomping the Enduro uphill. However, competence shouldn't be confused with excellence – this is still a big bike with tons of travel. Don't expect to steal too many KOMs from the XC crowd.

MONDRAKER FOXY CARBON 29

The Foxy is efficient: crisp pedaling without any hint of a chain-tension induced on/off feel. Unfortunately, it comes at the cost of traction due to its sprawling wheelbase, centralized placement and less supple suspension feel but for those looking for a 120-millimeter pedal feel in a 150/160 chassis, look no further.

Tenacious 29ers born to roam.

YETI SB 130

There's almost no other non-XC bike that can match the SB 130's eagerness to climb. It's lightweight, accelerates like it has a motor, and floats cleanly through technical climbs.

GIANT TRANCE 29

Make no mistake, the Trance Advanced 0 gets after it. Taut suspension displays excellent neutrality when hammering uphill, remaining compliant enough to maintain traction but otherwise turning energy straight into forward momentum. Slip some light tires on, and go rip some legs off.

YETI BETI SB100

With the SB100, Yeti married their Switch Infinity suspension to a stiff carbon frame and a steep 74-degree seat tube angle to create a bike that doesn't just climb uphill, but attacks ascents like it should come stock with a cape and an oxygen mask.  

BMC FOURSTROKE 01

Despite all its focus on rugged terrain, climbing that rugged terrain is relatively harsh on the Fourstroke 01. Its travel is progressive enough that the tire wasn't tracking our shelfy grunts. Smoother and sprint-worthy bits, on the other hand, were quick and rewarding.

CANNONDALE HABIT

This new Cannondale will get you to the top of climbs very efficiently. Seated pedaling performance is near the top of its class, surpassed only by the Yeti- and Dave Weagle-designed platforms. Its seat tube angle is steep enough because the Habit doesn't sag deep into its travel, and its overall geometry and suspension makes it an adept technical ascender.

Wild stallions that can’t be broken.

ESKER ELKAT

The Elkat floated up rough climbs perfectly. Only the most perfectly made DW-link bikes could match it. It's definitely not the best at sprinting or mashing, but it's tractible, comfortable and efficient. The ultra-short chainstays and respectable seat angle don't hurt either.

SANTA CRUZ/JULIANA BRONSON/RUBION

Some testers felt climbing efficiency has declined with this iteration of the Bronson, while others felt that it was still satisfactory for a bike of its travel and weight. The slackened head tube certainly prefers to be slammed downhill more than it likes to pick through tricky climbs, but quick power to the pedals will be rewarded with a nimble response.

SPECIALIZED STUMPJUMPER

FSR is tried, FSR is true, FSR is proven. But it's not exciting for climbing, it's predictable. The Stumpy 27.5 climbs as a full suspension mountain bike should and does so well, but it doesn't reset any mind-bending expectations.

TREK REMEDY

Thanks to the Trek's proprietary shock technology, the Remedy climbs very well. Its smaller wheels got hung up in technical bits more than larger ones, but those 2.6-inch tires provide traction in spades.

GT FORCE CARBON

With the right amount of sag (around 25 percent), and a little compression platform, the Force muscles up the climbs with competence, if not alacrity. However, the field is stacked these days in this category, and there are other bikes with this travel and geometry that scoot uphill without needing any bandaids to help their cause.

Short-travel shredders that won’t leave you shelled.

JULIANA FURTADO

When you see a bike with 130 millimeters of travel and a fairly slack geometry, you expect it to be a decent enough climber to make the downhills worth it. The Furtado broke the mold here with its ubiquitous climbing ability which routinely saw testers flying over rocky-strewn ascents that required redos on other bikes.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN THUNDERBOLT

Predictable for a short-travel 27.5-inch bike—efficient without much mid-travel stroke to cause wallowing. The Thunderbolt's smaller wheels didn't stunt its climbing performance on a ledgy, technical course that seemed far better suited to 29ers.

ZERODE TANIWHA TRAIL

Cadence is key here. Pushing a tough gear will lead to some noticeable, even audible drag in the Pinion gearbox. Spin to win. Otherwise, the geo is comfy and climb-friendly, albeit a bit cramped in the cockpit, so size up to rise up.

LIV INTRIGUE

The Intrigue was originally slated for the cross country course, but testers quickly realized it had more gravity-oriented ambitions. That's not to say that it's a bad climber. Big tire clearance and forgiving geometry gave it great traction on ledgy step-ups, and it seemed to hang easily with other trail bikes on long grinds.