All Mountain Trail Reviews and News


Commencal releases new META all mountain machine


Matte black anodized frame adorned with shiny black artwork; Commencal META is ultimate classy-stealth. Jump on the frame rode by Cécile Ravanel to the final EWS in Italy!

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Marin Wolf Ridge 9 review


The Wolf Ridge is Marin’s answer to the ultra-competitive long travel 29er segment. It also serves as the debut for a remarkable new suspension system.

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  • peper says:

    This bike with REACT suspension needs for reviews. I’ll save judgment for the trail. I like the idea of something outside the box in design as better than another new hub, bar or BB standard. I’m interested to see if this design will transfer well to the short travel platforms and get under 25#. I just don’t enjoy pedaling bikes off-road that are heavier than that.

  • Jeff says:

    I’d be interested in learning more about how efficient the R3ACT-2Play suspension is compared to dw-link or Yeti Switch designs. I haven’t found the other bikes mentioned (Evil Wreckoning, Trek Slash, Intense Carbine, Santa Cruz Hightower LT) to be particularly efficient.

  • Jeff Bodnar says:

    I own a size Large Marin Wolfridge Pro.

    Marin’s website for the Wolfridge lists a 120 mm dropper only for the size small…it lists 150 mm for the other sizes.

    You must have only tested a size small…my KS with offset dropper is 150 mm and can be fully inserted into the seat tube (not sure if it is the same with a medium).

    With my seat all the way down…there is NO tire rubbing the seat when the shock is fully compressed.

    I will be posting pictures to the Marin forum tomorrow…

    Note: originally most long travel 29er’s were not available in size small…I’m surprised they can make a size small.

    I asked the owner of a size medium Wolfridge Pro to check his bike in terms of dropper insertion and tire clearance/rubbing.

    I suspect that your post was supposed to be 120 mm instead of 125 mm to prevent rubbing on the size small.

    I just want to be accurate and fair…I suspect that rubbing problem only occurs on the size small.

    I do not work for Marin bikes…

    Thanks…I really like your reviews…keep them coming.

    I would love a pay option to support mtbr if I could get less ads so the pages display faster.

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Fezzari Cascade Peak 29 Pro first look


Built around their AT529 frame design, 130mm all-mountain bike has adjustable GA-Link geometry to keep a consistent BB height when changing between 27.5+ and 29er set-ups.

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  • RealT says:

    “…35mm stem make the Cascade Peak handle nicely on drops and jumps.” – I bet that’s essential (if mostly to inflate the price).

  • Ray S says:

    Any updates yet? Another review I read said the BB height was WAY lower than advertised.

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Trek Roscoe and X-Caliber hardtails reviewed


Trek’s budget-friendly hardtails have evolved on two distinct paths, an affordable XC steed and a fun trail machine. Born out of the same frame, find out how these two bikes compare.

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  • jc says:

    Some goofy geometry info listed, if indeed they’re the same frame. No way that adding 2cm of travel to the fork will change the seat tube angle by more than 1 full degree – even on the smallest size frame.

  • brian tunney says:

    I’m not a strong enough enthusiast to know a lot about bikes and handling etc…. so I like a bit of the feedback to how the subtle differences can make almost the same bike one format versus the other.

    I’m most impressed with the specs and comments on these as compared to my trail oriented bikepacker or adventure bike, steel, 1×11, Recon, Schwalbe and coming in a shade over 30# at $1199 new, a few months ago.

  • Jon Dahl says:

    I’m thinking about the rear hub “boost” 9*141 ??? Where in the aftermarket can you buy a new rear wheel if it gets broken. Why go back to QR when thru Axel has come to stay…. sad.

  • Bret says:

    Was really tempted by the Roscoe 8…solid build for the price. Ended up stretching the budget a tad more and got Diamondback Release 1…I’m so glad I went full squish.

  • Gordon says:

    I’m somewhere between XC and novice trail. I like long days out in the British country side but also like to dick around on the trails. Does the Rosco also work well on the road as well as the trail? I like the idea of having the dropper post and bigger tyres but suspect this combine with the 1×11 would make it really difficult on a long day out. What are you thoughts?

    • John Mac says:

      Gordon, I’ve got the Roscoe 9 (which is available in the UK) as my do-it-all bike. It handles roads fine albeit not at the pace that a 2-by bike could due to gearing, but where it shines is on climbs with some proper granny gears that help your legs keep churning. The plus size tyres (2.8″ rather than 3.0″ mentioned in the article) also eliminate any concerns over drain grid gaps (the enemy of skinnier hybrid/roadie tyres) and roll over most things with ease. Speaking of roll over, given the plus size tyres, some will say that they roll like 29ers rather than 27.5, but all I can say is that I have not had one single bad ride or found fault with the bike at all so far.

  • Izzy M says:

    The Trek website lists the X-Caliber’s BB as being lower than the Roscoe’s. So the statement about trail hardtails being lower than their XC counterparts isn’t correct in this case.

  • Izzy M says:

    Just found this on the Q&A portion of the X-Caliber on the Trek website:

    Can you swap wheels between 29 and 27.5 plus like on the roscoe models? What is the maximum tire witdh.
    Verified Reply – Luke @ Trek
    No, this is not recommended. The tires will not fit in the frames that already use 27.5″ tires. The 29er X-caliber has less fork travel than the Roscoe which will make the bottom bracket height too low for ideal riding performance if the X-caliber were to use 27.5+ wheels. 2.4″ tires are the maximum recommended tire width for both the 27.5 and 29er X-caliber bikes.

    So apparently, the X-Caliber and Roscoe frames are not the same frame.

    • tom says:

      yes you can swap wheel sizes the boost 141 is the same as 148 but with quick release
      trek has wheel sets ready to go

  • Ricardo Torrado. says:

    Me hice a la roscoe 8, y es destacada su respuesta en caminos difíciles y descensos pedregosos. La supensión es poderosa y la transmisión suave y fiable. La estética es impresionante, generando comentarios de los compañeros de ruta. El precio es mucho menor al de la competencia, y destaca en componentes frente a esta.

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Diamondback Release Carbon 5C review


This fun, efficient, and highly capable 27.5 trail bike delivers going up and down and can be had at a very competitive price.

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  • jared S says:

    29er is great, as long as they make it plus compatible. 29 plus, 27plus, whatever, just make it so that it can handle up to 3.0 tires! Please. The suspension travel also needs to stay the same. 150mm up front ! and 130-140mm in the rear.

  • onesojourner says:

    I can attest to the ease of putting these bikes together. It took me 30 minutes and the includes setting sag.

    The bottle cage is also my biggest gripe. IS anyone aware of any other way to attach a bottle to this bike? I think the frame could handle a short bottle in the frame with some sort of strap on bottle cage.

    • Jason VH says:

      Bottle cage is also a deal breaker for me as well. I am scratching my head on this one, even a small bottle like the YT would be better than nothing.

      It’s too bad, I really like what they have going with this bike, I’d totally consider it otherwise.

  • eastcoastpally says:

    “Not as stable at speed as 29er trail bike”-Seems odd to list this as a minus…it’s a review not a wheel size debate.

  • Jeremy Moen says:

    If a person wanted this platform with 29″ wheels, just get the catch 2 (a 27.5+ bike), stroke the fork up to 150mm like many of us do (about $30 in parts) to slacken the head angle, add a set of 29″ wheels and there you go. Some guys have tried it and went back to 27.5+ due to traction / comfort, so to me the Catch is the sweet spot if you want the taller tires for rollover. DB even includes the valves and all to go tubeless for no cost other than sealant, and you can mix some yourself easy enough for cheap. That saves some substantial weight on the 27.5+ platform.

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Santa Cruz Aluminum Nomad Review


Always dreamed of owning a Nomad but couldn’t afford the price of admission? Santa Cruz recently dropped an alloy version and complete builds start at just $3,600. Here’s how it stacks up against its carbon counterpart.

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  • loll says:

    For the aluminum model, it should be available in raw aluminum color. Reference what Intense Tracer aluminum did. This is the easiest way to fix the aethestic problem on the aluminum model and make it appealing look wise compared to the carbon model.

  • Dickachu says:

    Does it come with made in china sticker?

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Pivot Mach 6 Carbon and Aluminum released


With its new, slacker, 65.75 degree head angle, steep 74 degree seat angle, and Pivot’s long travel, downhill-influenced linkage, the 155mm travel Mach 6 Carbon is specifically designed for enduro racers.

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Marin Hawk Hill review


While we all enjoy reading about the latest carbon fiber super bikes, the truth is most of us can’t afford to drop five grand on a new rig. The Hawk Hill is a $1500 trail bike that delivers serious performance.

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  • yakkoTDI says:

    One of the regular riders in my group has last year’s version of this bike. For the money it is an awesome bike especially if you are new to trail riding.

  • MBR says:

    How much did the bike weigh?
    What size frame tested by what size rider(s)?

  • john says:

    I bought the 2018 version of this bike. I made 2 upgrades. I put on a dropper seatpost, which made this bike even more fun on the trails. I also took off the fork and put on a Fox 32 140mm travel fork with the Fit 4 damper. The increased travel didn’t change the geometry too much. the head tube angle slackened a degree and it raised the bottom bracket. Descents are sure more fun now with the extra travel fork though! I think adding a Fox Fit 4 damper fork really made this bike come alive!

    • mike says:

      I am looking at this bike and what is the difference between King Hill and King Hill 2? I can get the Hawk HIll 2 for 1600. and Hawk Hill for $1225. Is it worth upgrading to the 2?

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Vittoria 2018 tires sneak peek


Vittoria continues to invest in the their mountain bike offerings. Here’s some highlights from the growing brand.

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  • jc says:

    What’s the weights of these fancy treads? Thinking Martello front / Morsa rear might be pretty darn great. Better than my HRII front / Rekon+ rear combo though?

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Ghost Kato FS 5 review


This playful 130mm travel 27.5 trail bike is one heck of a deal, but it’s also held back some by odd component spec choices and some dated geometry.

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  • Midgemagnet says:

    Hey, stop trying to kill off the front dérailleur! Some of us want closer gear ratios and don’t have issues operating two shifters. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find decent 2X bikes these days thanks to 1X mania, and though 1X certainly has its place it’s not a universal solution.

    Looking at the Ghost website it seems that this bike is marketed as an entry level full squish for beginners, which might explain the steeper head angle and longer stem. They list the bar width as 760 mm with a 15 mm rise, but no spec for stem length, so there could be differences in the mtbr review bike spec and what’s available in the shops.

    Tyres, bars, seat and pedals are all very much a personal choice, so whatever a new bike comes equipped with here is going to be wrong for a lot of riders. Still, I quite agree that there’s no excuse for a QR rear axle and lack of dropper post. At least the latter can be upgraded easily, but a QR-to-10 mm thru-axle upgrade could be trickier, even assuming the hub allows it.

  • gg says:

    Interestingly all 7 of the REI reviews rate this bike 5 Stars.
    Clearly an MTB for these consumer happy campers.
    For under $2K a steal.
    The biggest short fall is the red cable housing. Yuck !

  • alkd says:

    I almost burst out laughing when I read this:
    “Tires are one of the cheapest ways to improve overall handling. Replacing these mini [2.25] tires with 2.3 rubber made a world of difference.”

    You do realize that you’re talking about 0.05″ of tire width? IE, less than 1/16 of an inch, or 1.25 mm. There are plenty of 2.25″ tires that measure larger than plenty of 2.3″ tires. Such a blanket statement comes across as dumb.

  • Saris Mercanti says:

    @ALKD You’re right, a lot of brands don’t measure their tires accurately. In fact, when I took calipers to the stock tires on this bike, the measured 2.1″ at the widest point! Yikes.

    @GG If you’re only looking at the XT drivetrain and Fox suspension, this is a killer deal. Unfortunately, the rest of the package feels dated. To a novice rider buying their first bike, those issues wouldn’t be obvious. Take any rider with experience on modern platforms and you’ll hear a different story.

  • alkd says:

    @ Saris – If you had mentioned going from a lower volume tire to a higher volume tire, it would have made perfect sense / I wouldn’t have batted an eye at the comment.

  • kai says:

    I just picked up a 2017 FS3 from REI for under $1,200 OTD. I ride this all over the SF Bay Area–mostly Skeggs–ya.., at age 64 I’m not shredding the trails like a 20-something and I don’t ride the North Shore steep chutes or get big air, but I haven’t noticed any rear end flex, given the blend of XT & Deore components—they work very well together and will be upgraded when the time comes. I changed the handle bar to an Answer Pro Taper because I like the bend, the stock 80mm stem fits & the cockpit ergonomics fit my 5-8 height just fine. I did upgrade to a 203mm rotor up front which helps immensely. This is an underrated & very capable trail bike. It gets me where I want to go in style, speed, comfort, and reliability. I also ride a Fuse Fatty 6–that thing is a beast and you can haul ass on that thing and I also have a carbon OnOne456 27.5 hardtail– a little hard on my 64 year old knees, but hey…don’t knock until you’ve tried one….

  • kai says:

    the more I think about it–this may be the ultimate bike for us old guys–which the MTB industry is ignoring–it’s easy to ride and easy to go fast on, I find it quite plush for us older slower 70% type riders–so many bikes require that you ride hard & push them to their limits to get maximum performance–with my glory days behind me–I have nothing to prove–just get off the couch–go cruise & have fun–isn’t that why we all got into mountain biking in the first place? It may not have the slack head angle or some geometry that your looking for, so if it doesn’t fit your needs–go elsewhere–it’s real simple. I like this bike, I’m proud to have it in my stable. It works for me and that’s all that freakin’ matters. Hope to see you on the trails. I would like to hear about other tires that you may have tried & the maximum width you have found that works.

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DT Swiss Interbike 2017


With three main MTB wheel families (XC, all-mountain, enduro) and multiple price points within each family, DT Swiss has all your riding bases covered.

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  • Larsv says:

    The guy looks a bit confused.. So many names/numbers and wheelsets!

    I wonder why DT still uses the 1200/1501/1700 numbers. Wouldn’t it just be easier to ditch those numers and rename them to their classic hubs number? 180/240/350. They would save money on decall plastic too. 🙂

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Pivot Cycles Interbike 2017


Straight from Interbike in Las Vegas, here’s Pivot front man and lead designer Chris Cocalis running through the company’s hottest bikes, starting with a very special 10-year Anniversary Edition Mach 5.5.

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  • Scotch Hennesy says:

    I’ve been riding and racing mountain bikes non-stop since 1990. The years of turning pedals in the hills have put me on top of the very first Manitou fork, ATAC stems, Anza bar ends, Cannondale HeadShocks, Triple rings down to single rings..etc. Of all my bikes throughout these ever changing years, my Pivot Trail 429 is by far my fave. I sold my Cannondale Scalpel team model in order to buy this amazing ride. I gained some weight for sure; but inherited a work of art that is so much fun to climb and descend on. I’m a loyal Pivot guy for many years to come.

  • Marty Arnwine says:

    I may have to sell a kidney for it, but damn that 10 year anniversary 5.5 is a sweet ride!

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Whyte Bikes Interbike 2017


The Whyte Enduro team will have a secret weapon in 2018 – the S-150 Works is their “out of the box” race bike for all-round events. Find out about that bike and much more.

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Trailcraft Cycles Big Mesa 26+ launched


Trailcraft has unveiled its new Big Mesa 26+ for riders in XS and small sizes wanting true “plus” size tire capability, but in a complete bike package which fits riders from 4’10” to 5’6″.

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Five bikes we’d rather own (and cost less) than an iPhone X


The new iPhone retails for a thousand dollars or more. Turns out, you can get a whole lot of bike for that kind of money. Here’s our five favorites.

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Pivot celebrates 10 with anniversary edition Mach 5.5


To celebrate turning ten, Pivot has released a head turning limited edition version of the Mach 5.5.

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Evil Following gets updated ‘More Better’er’ geo


The Following is one our favorite short travel 29er. For 2018, it’s received a number of updates to make it “more better’er,” including plus compatibility.

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Rocky Mountain Instinct, Instinct BC, and Pipeline revised


Rocky Mountain’s new Instinct serves as the platform for three different bikes. Which version is up your alley?

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2018 Transition Bikes line-up unveiled


For model year 2018, the Patrol, Scout, and Smuggler get major geometry tweaks, and welcome a new bike to the stable, the Sentinel 29er with 160mm front and 140mm rear travel.

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Hope HB160 prototype bike comes to market


Hope’s radical new all-mountain bike doesn’t adhere to any industry standards. Click through to find out what makes it so special (and what it will cost).

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  • bigcol says:

    I like that they are going with what they feel is optimal in the name of real potential performance gains. Other companies like specialized, cannondale, trek….. have gone their own way and provided us with good innovations, but mostly they’ve just provided compatibility headaches and no long term support. By now, I think we know what works as far as axle standards are concerned. Lots of sizes can work just as well as others. We just need the industry to pick front, rear, BB and stick with it. The fact we still have so many bb and axle standards in 2017 is a joke. The bike industry is a joke. While I’m sure this bike rides like a dream, noway would I buy it considering the poor future support/value this will have in as little as 2 years.

  • Rob Wannabee says:

    Beautiful bike. Brayton rails the trail on it. I’m confident they made decisions based on functionality, not marketing potential. Some of it does seem a bit of a group wank for the engineers however imho. Given bike prices, 10k isn’t unheard of, but being in the US myself – what happens when one of those incredibly proprietary parts goes south? I worked in a Cannondale shop for a while and our biggest headaches were always those things. As far as industry standard setting technology? I’ll predict no-way on the hub, possible on the BB, and probably on the radial brake mount. There ya go: $.02

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Art’s Cyclery Bike Check: Mark’s Yeti SB5


With a recent history of owning long travel bikes and spending weekends ripping the local moto track, Mark was ready for something different.

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Heller Barghest plus bike review


Heller Bikes is aiming to offer a good value bike with a full carbon frame, 1×11 drivetrain, 130mm of rear travel, plus tires, and a dropper post. But how does it ride?

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Guerrilla Gravity The Smash 29er launched


Combination of Guerrilla Gravity-style geometry and approach to suspension design creates 29er trail bike that is ready for smashing rocks and going fast — up and down.

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Orbea Occam TR and AM updated


Whether you prefer little wheels and more travel or big wheels with less, Orbea’s new Occam is sure to please.

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Canyon Spectral CF 9.0 EX bike review


If you want a fast, fun, and reasonably affordable 27.5 trail bike, and are willing to pick your lines versus smashing them, the Canyon Spectral CF 9.0 EX is a great choice.

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  • Bob says:

    Nice review! Sounds like a great east coast bike where agility is more critical than the attributes afforded by the “long/low/slack” straight-line trend. Also good to see the mountain bike press come around on the plus size tire sizes. Initially treated as a venereal disease, writers and editors are discovering what a lot of riders have known for some time. Welcome to the party.

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