Analysis and Test Results
Not all Moab Rides required legs of steel to ascend steep grades photo: Ben Robator Not only is Moab the Crash on new bike started by ronnied82 Last reply 13 hours ago.
Deals of the Week. Prices and availability subject to change. What used mountain bike should i get? Once at the top of the hill, downhill performance is incredibly fun and user-friendly.
While the Spectral is not fun on double black diamond terrain, it is a blast up to that point. That said, it sacrifices much of the fun-loving, zippy, handling of the shorter-travel bikes.
Some of the harder charging options are quite fun in their own way. No, these long-legged 29ers can't match the climbing abilities of some of the short-travel options, but they really shine on rough and steep trails. They are extremely fun in that they are not limited to certain trail types.
You can jump aboard one of these three bikes and ride pretty much any trail. That sounds like fun. Riders who don't typically encounter truly gnarly terrain will have a blast on both mid-travel 29ers.
They climb well enough to be great all-day bikes. On the descent, they can ride pretty close to any trail, they just need to be ridden with some caution and precision on the most difficult trails. The Stumpjumper is a particularly interesting option for newer riders. This bike doesn't require an ultra-skilled rider or mach speeds to be fun. Anyone can hop on this bike and start having fun.
That is a very high compliment in our books. Shredding downhill is undoubtedly the lynchpin of a fun mountain bike experience. While all of the bikes in this review are categorized as trail bikes , some are more fun descenders than others.
The LT stands for long travel as this bike is the beefed up version of the original Hightower. This bike won one of our Quiver Killer awards as it can truly do it all. The LT refrains from going too slack or aggressive with its geometry and is comfortable riding mellow, flowing, terrain. Don't let the conservative geometry fool you, this bike is very supportive on bigger terrain.
While the Ibis Ripmo and Yeti 5. Where the Hightower LT shines on bigger and more demanding lines, the Yeti is excellent on small to mid-size chop.
The Switch Infinity suspension motors over small roots, chattery rock, and braking bumps with stunning composure. The rear end remains calm and in control while it has a muted and quiet sound. Things are a little less comfortable when bombing down bigger rock gardens as it is possible to shake the confidence of this bike. The Ibis Ripmo won the third Quiver Killer award. Yes, that's a lot of award winners, but these bikes are truly all fantastic option.
The Ibis has very aggressive geometry and instills confidence when rolling into some sketchy terrain. A mm fork is paired with a 2.
The Ripmo is great over small bumps, but can't quite match the Yeti SB5. The Ibis also stands up pretty well to bigger hits. That said, it can't quite match the Hightower LT. The Rocky Mountain Altitude is a balanced descender that is confident on a wide range of terrain.
High-speed trials with fewer ultra-steep rock gardens are a blast. This bike can get into trouble on harder black-diamond or double black diamond terrain. The Santa Cruz Hightower is an extremely capable descender amongst mid-travel trail mountain bikes. It places riders in a confident position to work down a steep section of trail and provides excellent stability at speed. The suspension keeps the rear end calm and feels excellent on bigger impacts. Our downhill test track featured a couple relatively harsh G-Outs and drops, the Hightower ate it up.
There is no-question this bike rides more aggressively than mm of travel suggests. Testers are confident taking this bike down the steepest and burliest local trail that often demands an enduro bike. The Santa Cruz Bronson slides nicely into that not-quite-enduro and not-quite-trail category. The Bronson is also a bit harder to rattle on black-diamond terrain. The Commencal Meta TR is a zippy and quick handling performer on the descent.
While this mm bike isn't as comfortable straight lining rock gardens, it still feels pretty aggressive and stable. Commencal built the TR with near enduro geometry on a mid-travel platform. The result is a high level of stability at speed while retaining a nimble feel. The Juliana Joplin is our favorite women's bike for charging downhill.
Despite having a slender mm of travel, this bike is capable on the descent. The wagon wheels motor over most obstacles on easier to moderate trails. Be warned, this is a short-travel bike and it does have its limitations.
While grinding uphill may not be as adrenaline-inducing as charging a descent, it is equally important in a trail mountain bike. Being able to comfortably ascend a long climb is critical in choosing a bike.
It is no surprise the short travel bikes dominate this category. It is worth noting that some of the longer travel options provide exceptional uphill skills especially when you consider how aggressively they attack the descent. The Ibis Ripley is a fantastic option thanks to its tremendous levels of traction. Ascending technical terrain is pleasant and effective with a planted and confident feel. Just get a portion of the monstrous amount of rubber onto a rock and the Ripley crawls right up and over.
The DW-Link suspension is calm and remains fairly active. Climbing positioning is upright with riders being positioned directly on top of the bottom bracket. While this bike doesn't offer the most outright pedaling efficiency, it is a clear favorite on technical terrain. The Santa Cruz Tallboy is an extremely effective climber. Riders are placed in a comfortable and upright position right on top of the cranks.
Seated climbing efficiency is impressive and standing climbing loads are calm with a very minimal amount of pedal bob. There is no need to use the climb switch on this mm bike.
It rides fairly high in its travel to help keep your pedals from smashing rocks or obstacles. While there is no doubt the Tallboy descends like a slightly bigger bike, uphill abilities are exactly what you expect from a short-travel 29er.
Uphill handling is easy and despite the relative heft of our pound aluminum test bike, this rig felt especially light-footed. This short-travel trail mountain bike leans towards the cross country side of the spectrum. Sitting and spinning uphill is calm and relaxing. Riders sit directly over the crankset allowing for maximum power transfer. The Switch Infinity suspension platform is calm with almost no pedal bob whether standing or seated. Every pedal stroke is productive and is effectively transmitted to the wheels.
The Specialized Camber is an excellent climber, with its cross-country oriented geometry really paying dividends. These steep angles make for responsive handling and the shorter wheelbase allows it to navigate uphill switchbacks with ease.
The front wheel stays planted and doesn't want to wander. Our test bike featured a 2x10 drivetrain and provided a super-light granny gear. Like the Yeti SB4.
The Juliana Joplin is a women's trail mountain bike with a comfortable climbing motion. Modern trail bike geometry creates a balanced and efficient uphill position.
Sharp handling makes navigating uphill switchbacks or technical sections of trail reasonably easy. The Specialized Fuse While the pure efficiency isn't outstanding for a hardtail, traction really sets it apart. The huge contact patch of the 3-inch tires hooks up well over a wide range of soil types.
These bicycles are comfortable climbing feet and also spending a day in the bike park. You can't go wrong with any of these three bikes, but they do all have inherent strengths and weaknesses.
The Ripmo offers a tremendously calm climbing experience. Despite the aggressive geometry that screams enduro , this bike works uphill very well. Downhill performance is balanced, the slack geometry and burly components instill confidence while the sporty rear end is surprisingly peppy for a big bike.
This bike is best for a rider who wants an aggressive front end while still retaining a very, very sporty feel. This bike has steeper geometry than both the Ibis Rimpo and the Yeti 5. Climbing is efficient thanks to high levels of anti-squat. On the descent, this bicycle sacrifices small bump compliance for big-hit stability. Small chatter can be a bit jarring, but bigger lines are handled with tremendous composure. This bike is best for a rider who wants enduro capabilities and a trail bike feel.
The suspension moves more under climbing loads. While this might sound inefficient, it offers fantastic traction on technical climbs. On the descent, this bike is tremendous over small bumps and chatter. The rear end of the Yeti remains very calm and quiet even as you are going 35mph over rocks and roots.
Bigger hits are a bit less pleasant. This bike is best for riders who frequent technical trails and value small bump performance. Mountain bikes are expensive toys. They require a fair bit of maintenance to keep them running in top shape. It is best to refer to component product manuals for service schedules. That said, you should expect to service your bike regularly.
There is no doubt that a full suspension trail mountain bike possesses performance advantages in every ride category. It is often smooth and flowing, but may also feature technical rocky sections, go over tree roots, and include berms, banked turns, switch-backs, hills, drops , jumps, and so forth.
Singletrack which descends significantly, and in the most downward direction, is said to be following the fall line. Many mountain bike riders prefer singletrack over other types of trails, as singletrack is usually designed specifically for the sport, and therefore can have elements which highlight features of the sport whereas other trail types will usually be more straight, and not exhibit as many hills and other special features.
Doubletrack or double track contrasts with singletrack in that it has two paths, which are approximately parallel. Jeep trails and fire roads are examples of a doubletrack trail. There are often volunteers, both organized and informal, that maintain and create singletrack in many places. Organized volunteers coordinate with park districts or land owners to modify the natural woods or terrain to accommodate singletrack bikers.
Some paths are created from scratch, while others are modified hiking paths. In one report, the USDA highlights several potential problems when it comes to trail building: In one example, Singletrack Advocates STA is a nonprofit organization that strives to build and maintain singletrack around Anchorage.