Enduro Compare-O: Mtbr’s Best of Test Award Winners

Find out which bikes took home the hardware from our first-ever Enduro Compare-O.

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Compare-O Award-O: The best enduro bikes from our big shootout

The Mtbr crew hands out the hardware at the Sea Otter Classic to the winners of our Enduro Compare-O earlier this year.

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  • Kitty Bumblenuts says:

    Love that you guys did this – I’d love to see more mountain bike comparo’s in general.

  • Nsnk says:

    What do you define as an Enduro bike . To my mind the only enduro bike in this line up is the specialised . The others are just trail bikes.

  • luisM. says:

    Love all 3 of these niners. Each with its own unique set of strenghts!

  • Andrew says:

    I test rode the enduro 29— it felt like a monster truck that would steamroll anything in its path. Took it down a flight of stairs and felt like I was rolling over a spring mattress. But then I test rode a 27.5 heckler and realized that despite being super capable, the enduro is never going to be the most fun way up or down a hill.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: The Felt Virtue Nine 20 proves you don’t need to spend a mint to have a good time

The well-spec’d Felt Virtue Nine 20 climbs well, looks great and does well on terrain up to about the intermediate level. It also proves you don’t have to spend a mint to have a good time.

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  • Ryan B says:

    “While it’s not likely to win any races…” HA! Let’s not kid ourselves here, fast riders who train hard win races, not $10,000 bikes. On one hand this is a solid review on a website largely dedicated to evaluating products (which I appreciate AND enjoy!). On the other hand I think many readers would see value in more articles on topics like bike tuning/setup/maintenance, handling skills, diet (gasp) and race training/strategy. Just my 2 cents…

  • Liberty555 says:

    Ryan B, I’m with you. Spot on. Love the reviews, love to dream but in reality, tomorrow I’ll be having a laugh and enjoying life on a bike half as much as this one and one fifth the Sworks Enduro….

  • AJ says:

    With an MSRP of $3,799.00 I’d argue this falls into ‘mint’ territory.

  • Drew olmsted says:

    I agree with Ryan b. I’m new to mountain biking and want to do all the work on my bike. Would like to see more repair articles.

  • joey says:

    when I read ‘don’t need to spend a mint’ I was expecting a 380 dollar bike…

    this is ridiculous.

  • matt says:

    If my “midlife crisis” bike, decision arrived at after a lifetime and finally deciding I deserve something nice, is about $2000, then yeah, $3799 is a “mint.”

  • chris says:

    Umm, $3800 hardly qualifies as “for the rider on a budget.” Time for the reviewers to come back down from the $10k+ bike cloud and join the rest of us mere mortals.

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Trek Remedy 9.8

The new 27.5-inch wheel version of Trek’s venerable Remedy 9.8 delivers just the right dose of travel and performance for the XC rider looking to go bigger.

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  • r1Gel says:

    @FrancisCebedo, a well-written review 🙂
    Regarding the sizing/fit, would you say the test bike (a medium) fit OK for your height (5’8″?) with the 70-mm stem?

  • r1Gel says:

    How does the Remedy climb, in or out of the saddle?

  • Peanut says:

    I will add my 2 cents as i have test ridden the 18.5″ and 19.5″ remedy and the 18.5″ slash. For reference i am 5’9″ and 145-150lbs. I come from an xc race background elite open/pro class in the mid atlantic super series. The 18.5″ remedy was too small for me. I felt crowded and too upright like on a town bike. The remedy is, like this article says ” an xc bike dipping its toe in enduro”. The geometry is certainly geared to that imo. Taking this into consideration i tested the 19.5″. I fell in love with the bike. Climbing in and out of the saddle felt xc-bike-ish and of course going down was fun too. The slash, on the other hand, is not the same as the remedy, but with more travel. The front wheel felt, as it should with a slacker HTA, farther out in front…so much so that i would not consider this bike for my riding. I felt it was definitely geared towards 60-70% shuttle, lift served etc type riding and not a bike that wanted to be ridden uphill. Going up the front end was twitchy and didnt like to stay down. Again my .02.

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  • DaveG says:

    Kind of odd to see the Genius and TrailFox as runners up in multiple categories. Their reviews haven’t been that positive elsewhere.

    After riding one, I wouldn’t classify the Bronson as being “rocket out of corners” or “punchy up inclines.” Interesting to see it take the top racer boy spot.

  • Tommy says:

    I would love to see a shootout between the Enduro 26 and a comparable Enduro 29, with both objective observations and some hard data (i.e. times).

  • max says:

    Test the Norco Range Carbon 7.1. (The LE would also be a good test, but the 7.1 has better value).

  • Travis says:

    Would love to see the Kona Process 111, Trek Remedy 29, and Santa Cruz Tallboy LT aluminum all in the test!

  • Ken says:

    Please,I wish they would do bike tests all using the same wheelsets and tires ,just use Enve’s or something nice, this way the focuswill be more on the differences between the bike’s performance regarding different angles and suspension designs.

  • Grant says:

    Test the new Canfield Balance if possible.

  • Joe Millionare says:

    A 29er wins!!!! I can’t begin to explain how funny that is. All the back and forth about wheel size and a 29er takes the top award. Classic.

  • daverb says:

    idk… Overall/Most Versatile sounds very synonymous. And placing top on Overall/Most Versatile would also mean it’s the best bike for Enduro Race (do-all type of bike)

  • Edward Anderson says:

    Would love to see a review on the new trek slash! They are selling hugely I hear. Very interested in this bike and would love to see how It might compare to another all mountain rig!

  • Doctor says:

    I for one can’t figure out how “overall” “versatile” and “enduro” translates to judging a bike.

  • peter says:

    How does the overall “winner” of the comparo, which was also rated the best descender, not win the best racebike category? enduro racing, as i understand it, is for the most part all about descending… not that i have a dog in the fight, i’m just curious about the logic of the ratings.

    thanks.

  • Josh says:

    Kona Process 134 DL please:)!

  • ep says:

    in future comparos in would be more interesting and informative if the bikes had the same groupsets on them. a lot of apples/oranges going on here. maybe you should start by determining the best parts then hang them off the bikes for a straight up shootout. kudos for keeping us entertained though!

  • Patrick says:

    What about the Devinci Troy Carbon?

  • Peter Eibeck says:

    MTBR… look, everyone will have their ‘brand’ that they enjoy. You seriously are wasting the opportunity to provide a valuable service to your readers and your sponsors!!! NOW LISTEN UP!

    Create a table! Have each rider rank each bike for different attributes. Total the ‘score’. Don’t you think it would be interesting to know how close second place really was? Don’t you think it would be useful in which categories a bike excelled or lacked?

    You people have such an amazing opportunity. Please put it to better use.

  • Peter Eibeck says:

    I have a question about the method’s used, since it has never been spelled out. Did every rider ride every bike? Did some bikes have more riders than other bikes?

  • Russ says:

    I’m waiting for the Remedy review….and the final results are already posted! ????

  • FX says:

    Big Bike magazine in France does a much better job of leveling the playing field by using the same kind of tires for each category. A big Maxxis 2.4 for Enduro, a fast Hutchinson for XC…etc.
    Then each bike is review on the same set of data: position on bike, high speed grip, line precision, pedaling output, braking, drops etc… Then each bike has a tally chart with its score for each area being evaluated. Result: You can instantly see which bikes tick all the boxes and get max scores everywhere, and see where bikes have weaknesses.
    That’s how it’s done.
    Unfortunately, they can’t always test the very best models in all brands. So the aluminum Bronson at 2200 euros didn’t cut the mustard next to a carbon Rocky Altitude 770 at 5500 euros.
    In Mtbr’s defense, even the aluminum Spesh Enduro 29 did very well on the test and was “Big Bike Approved”… So the carbon version must be really sweet.

  • baumer says:

    Just curious, why not any KHS bikes? Considering they have several championships and several of the upper ranked riders are on KHS. Where were they in this comparo?

  • Shawn says:

    I concur with FX. What makes a bike a good descender to one person may be different than what makes it a good descender to another, for example. So it would be much better to rate the bikes on things like high/low speed cornering, high speed stability, jumping/in air stability, pedaling/acceleration, etc, etc. The categories of rating are way too vague and appear contradictory as pointed out by Peter. Neither the winner (Bronson) nor runner up (Trailfox) for ‘Best Racer’ even got a single vote for best descender, and Bronson in fact did not get one single vote in ANY of the other categories. This makes absolutely no sense at all.

  • Tom says:

    You really need to include the Subaru WRX and maybe even the new Porsche Macan in the next test to balance the field! 🙂

  • xema molina says:

    tengo una duda imortante. ¿cambia el comportamiento de una bicicleta en función del amortiguador que lleve?.
    Es decir que teniendo un mismo cuadro con los mismos componentes y sólo cambiando el amortiguador, (no solo de modelo, sino también de marca). ¿cambiaría su funcionamiento?

    Gracias si respondeis

  • Kevin Woodward says:

    I think FX has a great point and attempting to add a little scientific methodology to the comparison process would really provide value, not to mention cut back on the “what were they thinking” commentary. It is crazy not to recognize the obvious difference and edge that one bike will have over another based on carbon vs. alum frame, wheelset (Enve or not) and tires, to mention a few. And not to include Tallboy LT in the mix is such a glaring gap (you could get the 5010 and Bronson but not the Tallboy?) that it suggests an effort by the manufacturer to push those designs over others. There’s a reason many Santa Cruz employees ride Tallboys.

  • dcarterdman says:

    I would have liked to see the Santa Cruz Tallboy LT included in the field. Is the Intense Carbine the same as the Tallboy LT since they use the same linkage design?

  • gonsorellie says:

    Where is love for the Yeti? The “gorgeous high-speed weapon” with the downhill “magic carpet ride” did not even get any (honorary) mention in any of the categories you tested! So did Spech supply your “test team” 3 cold kegs of Pliny and Yeti only got you a warm six-pack of Coors Light?

  • ron erez says:

    Yeti Sb95 carbon was forgotten … .. how possible …

  • ron erez says:

    You might not be first to the top on the Yeti SB95C, but you might just be the only one who cleans all the tech sections. And so long as your talents can keep up with the bike’s suspension, you’ll definitely be first to the bottom.” how after this words this bike Yeti SB95
    did not get any mention at any of categories .

  • ron erez says:

    When you test bikes really need to test the frame , since all other parts can be the same.
    That is only way to find which firm or company made the best bike.
    i hope you will do it on your next test.
    Really i believe it all about money ,all about money spend on adverting correct me if i am wrong.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Pivot shoots for Holy Grail status with new Mach 6 Carbon

The versatile Mach 6 shoots for Holy Grail territory with it’s wide-ranging capabilities for a wide range of riders. Does it hit the mark? Read our Bottom Line review and find out.

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  • Acupunk says:

    This bike is on my short list. So how does this bike fit?? These reviews need to have a bit more info regarding size and rider fit. I’m 6’1.5″ and on the border between a large and extra large frame. What were your impressions? Do they run true to size?

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      These frames run very true to size. I’m 5’8″ on a medium with some god room even with a 50 cm stem. So you should be good on a large size.

    • Jon says:

      I have found them to be small to size with very short reach measurement. I am 5’10” and would have to go large. Large reach is same as on my medium bike now. I definitely hop on a large and XL to see for yourself. You could probably run large with longer stem only, which kind of sucks especially on a bike like this.

    • John Egbert says:

      I am 6 foot 1 and change and went with large. Definitely not too small, an XL would be too long I think.

  • Josh Johnson says:

    Francis, a 50 cm stem???

  • rob says:

    Curious how it compares the firebird as far as descending ? Sounds like its a beast

    • Joe Millionare says:

      I sold my Firebird to buy a Mach 6. So far there is no loss in DH ability. The DW link and suspension are so dialed, you feel like you have 7 inches of travel. I sure don’t miss the Firebird on the climbs. If the 429 and the Firebird had a love child, it would be the Mach 6.

    • sharon says:

      I have a firebird and demod a mach6. The firebird feels more slack despite also being 66o head angle.

      I think the firebird would be more capable in a bike park, but the mach6 would be able to handle most dh trails out of the park, its geo is also better for extended climbs. The firebird is more plush.

      Since I have the firebird and 5.7 I couldn’t justify the mach6, but if I wanted to replace both bikes, the mach6 would do it.

  • Evan says:

    The cable routing is no big deal. If you just follow the directions, it’s easy to route. This is the one bike that truly lives up to the hype. Unless you want a 9r, this is a must try bike before buying anything else.

  • Lee YM says:

    I’m 5’8″, and went for a small. Medium fits well too, and is a tad more stable.
    You’ll REALLY enjoy this bike! 🙂

  • Jim H says:

    I really want this bike, but am confused about the sizing. The reach at 16.3″ for a large seems small compared to the size recommendation. I’m 5’10” with a 34″ inseam measurement and was thinking large would be best, if not a bit small. (Medium Bronson with 15.9″ reach felt much better with a 90mm stem than 70mm, but I’d rather run 60mm or less). Any insight from the knowledge of the group would be greatly appreciated.

    • mountain biker says:

      I am 5’10.5″ and got the large and like it, you could go either way I personally like the large a little better. I guess it just depends on your frame preference. My dad is the same height and he likes the medium but he’s kind of a weight weenie.

    • Joe Millionare says:

      @Jim
      You would want a medium given your digits. I’m 6-0 and ride a medium with a 50mm stem.

  • Shane AU says:

    Francis, thanks for the great review. Planing a custom build of this bike. I’ve seen your various photos of this bike build and am interested in which wheels your preferred in order of preference and why. Photos I’ve seen include: Mavic Crossmax Enduro, ENVE AM, Bontrager , others?
    Cheers!

  • Oli says:

    There is a word missing from these reviews of the new 27.5″ bikes and that word is “playful”. Is there a bike among these that could be considered playful? I tried the Bronson carbon the other day and while it definitely railed berms and rough ground like nothing else, I kind of missed a certain “pop” when it came to smaller obstacles that I am used to pumping and grabbing some air on.

    • siege says:

      yes there is a bike missing from this review and its the turner burner. I also enjoy alternate lines, pumping and popping of roots and rocks to make fun line changes. I came from a 6inch travel bike and now with the burner find myself able to find even more of those hidden gems in the trail. I also rode the mach 6 before i made my purchase and and found it to be trail soaking and I find the turner burner to be lively and a tad more exciting at speed as it doesn’t deaden the trail but give you more reward for your pump and creativity.

    • John Egbert says:

      My exact thoughts on the Bronson. I have been riding a 29er and wanted a more playful and nimble bike that had about 150 mm travel. One that would handle rowdy descents but would definitely be ridden to the top, and on the trails. I tried the Bronson totally expecting to be blown away, I was pretty sure it was going to be the bike for me going into the demo and was actually left unimpressed. Handled more like a tank, better at plowing the obstacles than playing off them. The front end was surprisingly heavy and it was difficult to pop it up or manual. The Mach 6 on the other hand was everything I wanted. It’s short wheel base and chainstays make it really nimble and easy to throw into corners. The short chainstays also help it with quick acceleration for manuals. At 27 lbs it pops off roots and rocks and gets air with ease. Yet despite its lighter weight for a AM bike it feels stable on technical descents. The DW link also allows it to climb very well, even in descend. I have never felt the need to use climb mode, trail is stiff enough for anything you would ever take a mountain bike on in my opinion.

  • Tad says:

    When I saw the geo on this bike initially, I dismissed it as being inefficient and too much bike. After reading all of these positive reviews though, this bike is on my short list as well. Was somewhat concerned about the slacker seat angle, but I did the math and with a 32″ inseam it is only about 3/4″ different from a 73 degree angle bike. As is mentioned in the review, I can get that much by sliding my seat forward a bit.

  • JD says:

    Considering Yeti SB75 (pending carbon version), 5010c, or Mach 6 carbon for endurance XC races. I like the slacker angles and suspension to give me confidence on the descents but want the best efficient climber of the bunch. Which one would you pick? (I’ve ruled out a 29’r; feels to big and clumsy). Thanks!

  • david says:

    pivots rule the roost! drool worthy with extra powershredding ability!

  • Raym says:

    The bike has minimal tire clearance.

  • Paul says:

    @ Raym Have you even seen a Mach 6 in person? Mine has monster WTB Vigilantes and there is a ton of room. I imagine you are thinking of a different bike. BTW I’m 6′ and ride a Large with a 55mm stem. Fits perfect.

  • pegleg says:

    Interesting that the reviewers gave the Mach 6 high marks for climbing but not the Bronson; other reviews I’ve read said the opposite (Bronson was a better climber/all-arounder than the Mach 6, which was more downhill-oriented but killer at that). I’m hoping that the final awards/conclusions will speak to some of these comparisons and give us an idea of how the bikes compared in various respects side-by-side.

    • sharon says:

      Its like comparing a clydesdale to an Arabian Stallion.

    • Jon says:

      I thoroughly rode both on same trails and find the Bronson to be the better climber and overall better balance in geometry, fit/feel and performance for aggro up/down techy trail riding. The Mach 6 is a great descender for sure and pretty playful for a bigger wheeled bike, but definitely had to work harder to get up the climbs due to much slacker geometry in front and especially back end of bike when ridden with same 150 Float fork on both. I am getting a Bronson for go-to trail bike duties and keeping my aggro AM bike (Rune). If was in the market for AM/Enduro shredder bike, the Mach 6 is top of the list for sure.

  • gg says:

    Nice review, Pretty well spot on Chris knows how to build great bikes. Rode the Mach 5.7 ALU a few years back and just hop on and ride like it was my own in South Mtn AZ. Mine is an 07 Titus ML. Tempting, but riding mine till it breaks can’t justify the upgrade – such a great ride! Not a fan of the overstated graphics on Pivot now. Must be the marketing dept…

  • tyrebyter says:

    The sag specs must be typoed. .8″ would be something like 15%. What is it supposed to be?

  • jpre says:

    “There is a word missing from these reviews of the new 27.5″ bikes and that word is “playful”. Is there a bike among these that could be considered playful?”

    I would have liked to have seen what the testers thought of one of the Kona Process lineup.

  • Spanky says:

    I demo’d one of these and the front end wanders alot during all moderate to steep climbs. Wasn’t fun. Downhill all the reviews hold true. Decided with the sworks enduro 26. Couldn’t! be happier

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 is the king of descent and more

The Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 makes the case for being the best of both worlds—a bike that handles like a 26er and rolls like a 29er. Did they pull it off?

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  • DaveG says:

    “A new lockout feature on the Cane Creek Double Barrel Air CS shock…”

    It’s not a lockout.

  • stuart English says:

    I built one recently and am on my first week or two riding trip of the year. I came to Tuscon to start and after 3 days of riding 5 different trails in the area I csn say it works great in this rocky terrain. There are no huge climbs but many that are rocky and ledgy and I don’t notice any wallowing or squatting as you tackle the climb. On the downhills its just amazing how it stays so composed.

  • mr.habanero says:

    The 29er all other 29ers wish they were.

  • Sean says:

    Is nobody going to comment of the chrome short-shorts, tank top, and helmet?

    • TJ says:

      Sean – I’m pretty sure that is just a standard issue kit that comes with all Specialized 29ers now – this explains a significant portion of the $10K price tag

    • rydeordie says:

      Thats just the ASS bro, hes trying to be more lowkey and left the cape at home.

  • Jw says:

    Props to Specialized for getting the build kit right, but it’s hard to see much useful comparison between a $10K bike and a $5-7K bike. Climbing would be noticeably improved if all the bikes had carbon fiber wheels, and descending would be way better if they all had a RS Pike and Cane Creek DB Air (or similar) shock. This comparison would be more helpful of the build kits had been similar between bikes (and preferably not completely out financial reach for the normal reader). Obviously you run what you get for a test and some manufacturers don’t give the same value for money as others, but at least get the bikes within a couple of thousand dollars of each other so that readers can see real value comparisons.

  • PJMacatac says:

    So it rides like a 26er eh? But as you read the comments, many don’t agree. I took both versions (26er, 29er) of this bike out for a ride, and decided to get the real thing. That’s right, the 26er that the 29er is attempting to behave like. It has more travel, is far more playful and flickable than its wagon-wheeled sibling and…guess what? Everybody is buying into this wheel size BS so they can’t give the 26ers away. So I got a screaming deal on the superior sibling. Take advantage of this situation like I did and get yourself a bargain on one of the best bikes ever built.

    • pb says:

      I just picked up a new 2013 carbon expert enduro 26″ that a shop was almost trying to give away at this point. Never ridden, just been sitting on their floor waiting for someone to look through all the 29er hype and see this beauty. I love this 26″ bike. And now that it seems like a 27.5 enduro is inevitable, I’ll most likely never ride a 29er and I’m sure I won’t miss a thing.

  • Doctor says:

    “turns Braille into a kiddie pump track”! wow! but it raises a question. Why not just go ride a kiddie pump track in the first place?

  • Horse says:

    No mention of the massive problem this bike has with braking and wheel flex?!

    did you ride it down on anything steep?

  • Melissa Thomas says:

    I have the basic comp version $2500 and I lightened it up with some XTR but this bike climbs and descends awesome. It is heavy if you are riding with XC racers but I can clean every thing just as good as I did on my superlight superfly 100 and it floats on the downhill

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Enduro Compare-O Bottom Line: Intense’s Carbine 29 knows how to go big, fast and fun

The confidence-inspiring Intense Carbine 29 likes it meaty, beaty, big and bouncy-check it out right here.

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  • TJ says:

    Since when are 740mm bars narrow? Must have missed that memo.

    • Mtbr says:

      TJ- Bars are getting wider all the time, and though it used to be a DH fanboy fad, those of us riding all-mountain and trail bikes–particularly 29ers–are finding wider bars help with leverage when steering, making the bike slightly easier to press into turns.

  • Scott says:

    All the reasons you listed, are exactly why I built one of these. It climbs better than my previous 4″ 29er, and descends closer to my 6″ El Guapo. The only drawback is that the lower pivot pretty much eliminates the ability to run a 2x chain guide. I’m still not totally in love with 1x drive trains because of the limitations at either end. The bike geometry, weight, stiffness, and surprising maneuverability were the selling points.

  • Ben says:

    Scott, what size did you go with and how tall are you?

  • Sean says:

    It comes from Intense with High Roller II’s, but there is a Schwalbe Nobby Nic on the front in the pictures. Which tire did you prefer, and why the swap?

  • Eric says:

    Do you know what the inseam measurements are on the taller test riders? I’m about 6′, but my inseam is around 35.” I’ve been looking at large frames that run larger. Thankd for the heads up on the sizing!

  • Alex Bo B'Alex says:

    Don Palermini,
    I thought you were going to feature the x-fusion hilo sls on the carbine 29er? Or is the article exclusively going to talk about just the sls?

  • Dongoose says:

    Alex-
    I like your attention to details! The X-Fusion Hilo SLS is installed on the Carbine 29 currently and I just put some miles on it this evening. For the review above we rode the bike as spec’d by Intense with the RS Reverb. I want to log some serious miles on the SLS before writing about it, because as you likely know, all posts work well for the first few weeks…what makes a good one is how it responds to crummy conditions and how it works (or doesn’t) over time.
    Stay tuned.
    Don

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Fun, techy Soquel Demo Forest a perfect host for our Enduro Compare-O

Though it only measures out to 2,600 acres, the Soquel Demonstration State Forest packs a big mountain biking wallop. We show you around the place, and give you the map for a Compare-O of your own.

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  • al bundy says:

    Do any of these companies Specialized, Santa Cruz, Fox, Giro, Ibis, Bell, Kali Protectives, Ritchey, Easton, Praxis Works and X-Fusion

    donate or support Demo? or do they just leach off the biking community by shredding trails and NEVER giving back?

    • Scott says:

      If you look at the “supporters” link on MBoSC page, you’ll see that most do especially when you keep in mind that Easton, Bell, and Giro are all under the same umbrella of Bell. Not to mention the fact that many of the workers at all of those are active in the community on their own time. Please don’t assume that these companies just leach off the community.

    • Mtbr says:

      Al- All the companies listed have a history of supporting trails with both cash donations and sweat equity on the local trails, and they are in fact a vibrant part of the local bike community.

  • Dangerc says:

    I know at least Ibis helps out around here.

    http://www.ibiscycles.com/info/own_the_flow/

  • gg says:

    Thanks for these maps! This would’ve come in handy when I was pondering the same 2 -for-1 OtterDemo trip a few years back. A+

  • Sangwich says:

    Can’t wait to read the enduro 29er review! Come on with it!

  • Jimmy says:

    Thanks guys, that’s the best map of SDF I’ve found yet.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Cannondale Trigger 29 Carbon 2 has the good kind of split personality

The split personality Cannondale Trigger Carbon 2 has the climbing chops of a short-travel XC racer, but can rip descents like a true trail bike.

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  • Pika Boo says:

    Your review is almost spot on. I’ve had the 2013 Tigger 29er 1 alloy for almost a year now. I absolutely love this bike. It does everything as advertised. Climbs like a monkey being chased by a hot metal rod. Descends like a herd of hungry cruise passengers on a free buffet.

    Can it keep up with light weight XC guys? Almost.. Depends on your fitness
    Can it keep up with DH bikes? Yes… again depends on your fitness and skills

    I must admit that the first time I sat on this bike, it felt huge and gave me the feeling I was on top of it. But once on the trails and cruising at high speed, I felt one with the bike.

    One thing I disagree about the review is the perceived complexity of setting up the suspension. Lefty setup is just like a regular fork. Shocks are just as easy. Cannondale provides a list of recommended air pressure (in both provided manual, downloads, and iOs app) depending on rider’s weight. The listed pressures are almost spot on. As with all types of suspension, they need to be tweaked for rider’s preference.

  • r1Gel says:

    Excellently written review. Great work.

  • Thierry says:

    Great review, nicely written and almost complete. I would have appreciated your feedback about the wheels that I find a little bit heavy for a bike with this price.

    Congrats

  • Bas says:

    Since a few weeks I own this Trigger 29 Carbon 2. What a bike!

    I am used to ride lightweight XC-bikes so changing over to something like this was a big step for me. The Trigger replaced my Specialized S-Works Epic which (I felt so) was too much for XC but too less for the more rough terrain.

    First two weeks of use where I my hometrails and I ended up with a big smile on my face. As mentioned in other comments the bike felt quite big, I asume mainkymbecause of the higer bracket. However, tracks normaly hard to manage became easy, most climbs where also no problem. Very technical climbs became more easy, very steep (and longer) climbs became harder (8,5KG full rigid vs. 13,7KG Trigger).

    Faster technical singletracks are no problem. The few KG’s extra weight are, remarkably, hard to notice. The bike feels very light on the trails!

    Last few days I have been riding in the Austria alps. Did some longer climbs amd multiple long(er) (some very) technical descents. The suspension is still on the recommended settings just to experience what I would (maybe) like to change. I tend to use a slightly softer setting for the 130mm (long) travel and a slightly firmer setup for the 80mm (short) travel.

    Last few days I am using a new and slightly lighter pair of wheels. This based om traditional 32-spoke wheels with wider (25mm) rims instead of the standard Mavic wheels that, I felt so, where not a very good match with the type of bike. The new wheels are stiffer, lighter (?!) and (I think) more reliable. For use in the Alps the wheels are equipped with 2.35″ Hans Dampf tires (feels like you’re riding on rails ;-)). At home I will switch to a little less profiled tire in 2,25″. Think the weight will than be just under 13KG.

    So far there are on there are no other things I would like to change.

    (apologies for my poor grammar)

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Yeti SB95C is a gorgeous high-speed weapon

Captivating looks, big wheels and the simple yet innovative Switch suspension set the Yeti SB95C apart. Take a deep-dive into it’s performance here.

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  • Sean says:

    Can you clarify the issue with the shimano xt brakes? What is it about the bike or the brakes themselves that was an issue? Rotor too small?

    • corey says:

      the pictures show it doesn’t have the ice tech rotors. which is what make shimano brakes run cooler and by extension reliable.

  • Matt B says:

    ‘“I got the Yeti loose in a few high-speed turns, but it pulled through with impressive composure giving me added confidence,” said one rider. “Other bikes with 27.5-inch tires would have been sent skittering off into the weeds.”’
    These Compare-O reviews are so trashy, so over-the-top with marketing speak, that it comes across like an artsy in-joke at the expense of credulous mountain bikers and MTBR users. Don’t think about the wheel sizes themselves, or the Internet bickering over them that has become a meme in its own right. Just re-read that little passage above, and ask yourself WTF this kind of pointless, speculative nonsense is doing in a review written by average-ish amateur reviewers for average-ish mountain bike consumers. This bike will bone your mother but always leaves you the last piece of pie. Earn your turns. Enduro. !!11!

  • Francis says:

    When did 17.5″ chain stays become “long” for a 29er?

  • VII says:

    I’m curious about the chain stays. Here, you write in the negatives: “Longer chainstays not ideal for tight, technical trails.”

    But in the SJ EVO review, you state: “The low BB height and shorter, 17.9-inch chain stays helped the bike track nicely, even through the few tight turns on our test track.”

    My question is, are these discrepancies in your reviewing? Or does the overall geometry of a bike influence the feel and turning ability, regardless of chain stay length?

    • Gregg Kato says:

      Hey VII,

      Chainstay length by itself will only tell you so much. Typically, a longer chainstay would mean less nimble, but more stable at high speed. However, chainstay is just one measurement and overall geometry and suspension design differ a lot between the SB-95 and the Stumpy and these will play a bigger part into how the bike handles overall then just how long the chainstays are.

  • Jason says:

    For those seriously looking at buying this bike, just an FYI: I purchased this exact same build (Large, Race), swapped out the DT Swiss wheels for a set of Mavic Crossmax ST, tubeless, lighter weight saddle, reverb dropper, and xtr pedals. These changes dropped the weight down to 28.4 lbs. Run a 1×11 and you could probably get into the upper 27 lb range. Not bad for 5″ 29er all mountain ripper and you don’t have to go crazy spending $10K on top-end components and carbon wheels. Also, with the exception of the Specialized Enduro 29er, the 17.5″ chainstay length is pretty much right in the ballpark with other tested long-ish travel 29ers. When shopping, I considered 17.5″ fairly short for this type of bike, and a selling point. The bike handles really tight, technical trails like a champ. Do swap out for a longer bar and shorter stem….makes a HUGE difference.

    • grumpy says:

      i built up an alloy front/carbon rear, large. 27lb12oz. spinergy wheels ,9speed, carbon bars, XO gripshift. I am guessing the wheels and components are where the weight lies with their test bike.

  • jamesc says:

    Have a 95c built with xx1, xo trails (a must), 150mm pikes, ks lev, raceface carbon bars on Thompson stem, roval carbon wheels and it is under 28lbs, so god knows what they used to get this 30lbs+. The pike was recomended from a friend at yeti and is perfect, i don’t even have to lock it on 99% of climbs. I also have a carbon camber running xx group and the yeti is almost as close on the ups but so much better on the down, handles all but the most extreme dh tracks amazingly. Camber for race day, yeti for the rest.

    If you only want 1 bike this is definitely worth considering. Mines yellow and gets comments everywhere, rare, beautiful and amazingly capable.

  • AaronH says:

    It is not true that the eccentric rotates counter clockwise during climbing and clockwise during descents. The eccentric basically stays put in one location until you get to the last third of the travel on the rear shock, at which point it rotates counter clockwise. Don’t believe the hype.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Niner’s WFO 9 eats big trail—and convention—for breakfast and still gives you change for lunch

No carbon, no tweener wheels and half the price of some of our test bikes, the WFO 9 might just be the “get real” bike of the test.

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  • DaveG says:

    “If you like to race or ride big and rough—and are willing to trust a 29er for the task—the WFO 9 will reward and delight.”

    If you did none of these things how can you make this statement?

  • Mtbr says:

    Well Dave, while we did not enter a formal race, we DID indeed ride the bike at race pace, in race style on several occasions…and DID ride trails–while not Whistler big–with big drops jumps and rocks. Not really sure what your point is.

  • Haggis says:

    Gotta be impressed with the 2lb/$5k difference to the Bronson C. Despite the wimpy tyres and carbon post; it’s still a full alloy kitted 29er and it’s only 2lb heavier…

  • barcolounger says:

    Thanks for the review, but why no comparison to the Specialized Enduro 29? As far as this whole compare-o series, I think your definition of “compare” is different than mine.

  • DaveG says:

    “Though the WFO 9 appears to deliver on its gravity promises, we frankly didn’t have the terrain—nor the gonads—to give ‘er…”

    Your words, not mine.

    • Mtbr says:

      You left out the critical “to give ‘er Whistler Bike Park-style” which makes all the difference when using that quotation. But point taken Dave–you didn’t like the review. We appreciate your feedback.

  • Peter Eibeck says:

    MTBR – Please due your readers a HUGE service and begin an actual compare as barcolounger says.

    You guys & girls are riding some of the most interesting bikes in the world yet we have zero feedback one to another. You don’t tell us about the rider who’s giving feedback. Are they big, small. Are they XC or downhill. Don’t you think this will have a big impact? If small riders think small bump is poor and heavier riders think it works well… don’t you think this is IMPORTANT?

    You have some crazy number like 100k worth of bikes on review. Please table this out. Give some details about rider type. Do something to give us some relative benchmarks.

  • Peter Eibeck says:

    MTBR – I’d also like to second that DaveG makes a valid point. I understand the spirit of what he is saying to be this… ‘Why is a person who is not the target rider reviewing this bike?’. This bike is a long travel gravity focused machine. The Rip 9 is a bit more all mountain. So why would the review not place this in the hands of someone who is very familiar with this style of riding?

  • RDO Shredder says:

    Climbing performance would have improved dramatically had the bike been equipped with a Fox suspension. RS is the pits and the pike is over rated mumbo jumbo.

  • Topher mc garry says:

    Gotta say, feel the review was pretty weak and lopsided. ” If you can trust a 29er wheel””, Really, I thought we’d moved past this. Way to dawn the black face and perpetuate the myths. Small bump compliance? ” No matter how much sag I dialed in I couldn’t find the “…. So you think only sag is going to “dial in” your ride? Well how about rebound? Roll any bike over a staircase and play around with above, end result? Plush magic carpet goodness. Take to the trail and spend a few more moments dialing in and “Presto” a $10k bike for half! Please take some time to dial in your bikes before putting pen to paper. Pedal bob while climbing? I really can’t figure out this one. For those RIP owners wanting an upgrade Im here to tell you, the WFO out pedals the previous generation RIP. Weight? Less again. Brilliant up and down? Yes, in spades. Giant gap jumps, crazy rock gardens? Check. Flowy buff trails? Check. Rolling to the pub ’cause you can’t belive you are so lucky to live in an age where a bike like this could come with anything but the most revered review? Check, but make sure she gets parked within hands reach, given any crack head will appreciate it more than our “professional testers” will:)

  • CO Rocky ride says:

    RDO shredder has been on FOX to long. I have Pikes on my Enduro 29 and I am happy to say I think that SRAM/RS has finally topped Fox with the Pike. If the WFO rides similar to that of the Enduro, I’m sure it will be Niner’s top seller. Think of Monster truck ability with climbing of a trailbike.

  • freddy hernandez says:

    Hello, I know this is an older article, but if someone knows the size of the frame in the pictures it would be very helpful to me.

    Thanks

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Santa Cruz’s über Bronson a beautiful, agile killer

It’s beautiful. It’s expensive. It wins races and slays mountains.

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  • Joe Millionare says:

    It would be nice to read a review that didn’t use the term “with ease.” The (insert bike here) climbs with ease. The (insert fork here) soaks up bumps with ease. Anyone heard of a thesaurus?

    That said, it was a good review of a good bike. It was a little on the fan boy side, but the bike probably warrants the attention. It’s be interesting to see what they say about the Mach 6 which is arguably the most talked about bike of the year.

    • TJ says:

      They should be able to fix this with ease

    • Mtbr says:

      Joe – Thanks for the feedback. We used the word “ease” once in this story–to describe wheel acceleration. Frankly describing things accurately without being redundant is difficult within a single story and nearly impossible across 44–which is how many we’re doing in this feature. That said we will ask our editors to be as precise as possible in future articles in regards to performance characteristics.

  • johny says:

    So I have been reading all these reviews and I am left wondering where is the compare part? How do these bikes compare to eachother in terms of performance and spec? Which one is the best climber, descender….? So far all the reviews are beginning to sound the same.

  • Paul says:

    @ johny the actual comparison part is coming later after this phase is over. I agree it’s been draaaawn out a bit too long. In a couple weeks you’ll be able to compare them with ease.

  • Chader says:

    There will be a final award section once all the other reviews are completed. See the “The Golden Pliny’s – Enduro Compare-O Award Winners” link preview in the index at the top right.

  • Pegleg says:

    “When pressed to choose between the Bronson and its shorter-travel brethren, the 5010—which is touted more as the “all day adventure bike”—most of our riders see no point in going shorter given a weight difference of just over a pound when you consider the greater capability the Bronson provides.”

    But what about the loss of climbing ability? The 5010 review lauded it for its climbing prowess, wheres this review is kind of “meh” on the Bronson’s climbing. I’m getting the sense that the review team is biased towards downhill performance, and will always choose the burlier downhill performer over the bike that’s a better climber. Here in the CO front range, we spend most of our time climbing to get to the fun downhill (e.g. a 3 hour ride is usually 2 hours of climbing and 1 hour of downhill), so it seems to me like climbing performance really ought to carry more weight.

    • Mtbr says:

      Pegleg – You make some valid points. There is definitely a bias towards descending as we look at the bikes through the lens of enduro racing first and then for other things. Regional differences will dictate preferences, and the 5010 did indeed climb better than the Bronson–if I has to put a number on it 3-5-percent better. Maybe. Interestingly, our Colorado-based test rider was much more enthused by the 5010 than he was the Bronson.

      • Pegleg says:

        Thanks for the reply. That makes sense; I wasn’t really thinking of these as being through an enduro-specific lens (I know, it’s in the name of the series – I was just thinking of it more as a category of bike than a type of riding). In the end, I’ll just have to ride both (plus the Tallboy LTC) and figure out what’s right for me. Great series, appreciate all the info.

      • Bazou says:

        Hi Mtbr! Did you mean 3 to 5 percent better or 35 percent better?

        Can’t wait to read you’re compare-o between the 5010 and the Bronson…

  • Mike says:

    Please stop with the quotes! Especially since we don’t know who you are quoting. You might as well take all the comments and weave it into the review without the quotes, so it flows better.

    Also, almost every review on this website uses the word “prowess” to describe the bikes climbing ability. Use a thesaurus like another commenter has mentioned!

    • Mtbr says:

      Mike- Sorry you don’t like our format, but the backstory is that we wanted our editors to convey the predominant sentiment of the test rider feedback, and use direct quotes to both support and offer alternate POVs on a bike’s performance. We could have attributed the quotes to the specific test rider, but felt that would be even more distracting as even if named, you have no idea who they are. We appreciate your POV, however, and will take your feedback into account when we do future tests.

  • Russ says:

    It adds no value to the comparison by saying “XX1 is great” or “Enve wheels are great” or “the build is too expensive” or the totally worthless “tire X is grippy or sucks”. All of those are items that can be configured on any frame. So the real value of the comparison would be to have the bikes have similar builds (understanding that more travel may mean different required components) and then compare performance related to the bikes geometry, proprietary suspension design etc.

  • Mtbr says:

    Russ – Thanks for your note. We had much debate over how to test the bikes and even contemplated a ‘stock spec’ we’d swap from bike to bike. But aside from it being physically impractical, the truth is most people still buy complete bikes as spec’d by the manufacturers–so that’s how we tested them. As practicably as possible, we tried to filter out the easy swaps–tires, saddles and the like, but some of the parts become integral to the way we experience bikes on the trail, and there’s no way not to factor them.

  • Andrea says:

    First of all sorry for my bad English, I’m Italian! I Think is not fair making reviews or bikes comparisons with very expensive components like Carbon Enve Wheels that only 5% of us ,If not less, at the moment can afford. A carbon wheel set can change the climbing performance of a bike from good to great I think. It’s not fair to compare a bike with carbon wheels with others with aluminum rims, it’s a key component that can change the judgement and the climbing ability of a bike. I ’m sure they will be the future for top level bikes but for the time being they are too expensive.
    Anyway I’m a MTBR fun from a long time and I’m waiting for a reliable and sincere comparison of all bikes at the end of test. As others have mentioned aslo for me climbing is a key point in a bike, enduro bikes are at the end do it all bikes so they must be good in both worlds, up and down, I don’t think all the readers here are enduro reacers! All the best!

  • enduro119 says:

    Hey Thanks again bicycle manufacturers, for making yet again another overpriced five hundred percent marked up carbon frame BICYCLE! Anyone could walk into a Honda or Yamaha dealership drop 8500 and walked away with a motorized bicycle… come on these prices are getting ridiculous An absolutely unacceptable…Are We trying to kill our sport?

    • Mtbr says:

      Enduro-
      High prices would only “kill the sport” as you put it, if there were no viable lower cost options available–which there are plenty of. We will be testing the $3400 version of this bike–the Bronson Aluminum–in the coming weeks and seeing how it nets out against this version. And that motorcycle comparison is a tired one. Yes, we know there are MX bikes that cost less than this, but how often do you get to ride it? If it’s everyday, then absolutely it’s more valuable–TO YOU. To me a bike brings adds more value to life than a car or motorcycle…and just about anything other than family and friends, so the value is what you make of it and what it means to you.

  • Ray says:

    It’s very easy to sit back and read a review and pick holes in it. I’d like to see everybody who has complained about the writing style and the use of “certain” words in this review compile a review as well written as this that keeps the reader engaged from start to finish.

    Santa Cruz makes a great product, and this is a phenomenal bike.
    Great review MTBR.

  • Jon says:

    FWIW, I rode a Bronson Alu and 5010 Alu with same R build kit back to back over course of 5 hours on mixed techy climb/descent terrain. I found the Bronson to ultimately perform and climb better to me under these conditions due to much better balance (front to back) than that of 5010 to my surprise. For some reason, I never felt in optimal position to steeply climb or descend on the 5010, whereas the Bronson felt equally good to me in both directions. Both frames were same size, same length stem, tires, Fox suspension with similar sag. Bronson just had 150 travel front to back versus 130 on the 5010. I am still perplexed that the Bronson was the better climber for me, but think that added travel allows for a better tune of the shock, cause it felt livlier and more compliant to me, whereas the 5010 kind of felt dead in the back end to me and too steep/thin up front (fork). My take between the two bikes with exact same build ridden on same trails back to back.

  • Sun says:

    I am really enjoying the reviews. I was only 5 months in to the sport when I bought my Bronson w/ the same equipment as the one tested. But I feel like I made a wise purchase for my local conditions even if it is a bit overkill for my skill level.
    I ride MX and I’m not sure that an MX bike is really more complicated than a top of the line MTB. Look how all the MX rear suspensions are basically identical, yet every MTB has it’s version of a virtual pivot and many other variables to account for. Either way, riding my MTB is so much easier than getting out on my MX bike that it’s worth every penny.
    Would this be the appropriate place to ask what I should be running the sag at front and rear on the Bronson? MX bikes all have a set same number for the sag but bikes don’t appear to be the same. I’ve asked a lot of people and I’ve gotten a wide variety of answers leaving me pretty confused.
    Is this bike specific info or just a general number related to preferences or maybe riding conditions?
    Thanks

    • Ray says:

      Hey Sun,

      Sag for the shock can be set initially according to the guidelines that Santa Cruz offer on their website. http://www.santacruzbicycles.com/en/us/bronson-carbon if you scroll down to the section where shock setup is and set it according to your weight. Depending on what fork you have on your bike you can get a recommended sag setting from there too. After that, you can mess around with sag settings yourself to find what suits your riding style and where you are most comfortable. Hope that helps, suspension setup is something that all depends on your riding style.

      Ray

  • mike says:

    where is the $3400 alloy frame review??

  • jim says:

    I test roded both the bronson and the 5010. I ended up with a 5010 with the more beefy bronson talus fork. I also went to the XL instead of the large. For me this ended any climbing struggles. Decreasing the angle with the reduced fork length and extending the front end with the larger bike created a climbing experience that is nothing short of amazing. The more stretched out front end put the downhill speed that the brolo produces under even more control. No one has mentioned the low bottom of this bike. It makes for fantastic control when pushing the rubber to the turn. However, it does necessitate attention what your peddles and/or front cog may come in contact with.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: GT Sensor Carbon Expert’s stellar suspension performance underwhelmed by parts spec

GT’s new AOS suspension design delivers high-level performance. But can it mask sub-parts spec.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Orbea Rallon’s brings punk rock attitude to the enduro party

Orbea’s 160mm-travel Rallon throws down some serious Euro-trash punk rock on our Enduro Compare-O.

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  • tyrebyter says:

    Are those the same formula brakes you guys trashed in the GT Sensor review? Why such different impressions.

  • Paul says:

    In the “bad” list you forgot to mention it’s $7000… for an aluminum framed bike! That’s a tough pill to swallow.

    • Brian Q says:

      This is one of the few times I think you can safely say: Someone has to pay for the extensive R&D.

      Plus it comes in 4 levels if your are more budget minded, and don’t mind riding Fox and XT.

  • r1Gel says:

    Have to agree with Daniel’s FB comment. This bike’s performance boils down to its fork and shock. Take those away and what do you have left? It’d be interesting to know how the Fox-equipped Rallons perform.

  • hellbelly says:

    I demoed this bike today and was completely blown away. It laid to waste every bike I have demoed over the last six months. It smokes down hill and technical rides like nothing else while still being able to claw up climbs. I am now seriously considering purchasing this frame. Regarding Daniel’s comment above, I thought the suspension felt great, but I don’t think that was all that was happening. The Rallon has a unique geometry (long top tube, short chainstays, steep seat angle, slack head angle and really low bb height) that is just that notch above than other similar bikes. Plus, I like the feel of the DB Air even better (weight diff of 4.5 ounces…BFD), which is what I will run on it paired with a Pike SA 160.

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Enduro Compare-O: The Mtbr test crew picks their favorite Dream Bike Spec components

Our test crew picks their ultimate, no-holds-barred component mix from the Enduro Compare-O in our Dream Spec feature.

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  • scott says:

    Flats or clipless???

  • Seric says:

    Anyone of you tested the Syntace W35 wheels? Should be on your list, as I think they would beat any of the non-carbon wheels you mentioned. For bling, Enve is the thing, but for best performance on alu wheels, Syntace is one of or if not the best.

    • Mtbr says:

      Scott, our riders were about 80% clipless and 10% flats. Seric, we’ve not ridden the W35’s as they weren’t OEM spec on any of our bikes. If we do a wheel shootout, we’ll try to include them. We’re currently looking for objective ways to test wheels–weight and width are easy…real stiffness vs. the perception of it–is not. We need to drop some real science on that part.

      • Moshe says:

        How about trying them with the same tires bikes and air pressures and seeing how they hold up to the ride.
        For example 4 bikes, 4 tires:
        SC Bronson, Trek Remedy, Intense Carbine, and one other.
        Maxxis High Roller II, Continental MountainKing, Bontrager X4, and one other.
        Try it!!

    • Andy B. says:

      I looked closely at the Syntace wheels recently but when comparing the weight and price the American classic Wide Lightning wheels won me over

  • Motivated says:

    I’m surprised none of the bikes came with an X-Fusion fork. Especially the Riley, since I believe Lopes raced with one.

    • Mtbr says:

      Lopes’ suspension sponsorship is separate from his bike sponsor, so that’s explainable. To our knowledge X-Fusion has a spec on a few OEM bikes at relatively low price points. That said, they make some killer forks and shocks worthy of further consideration on bikes of any price, but they’re primarily aftermarket at this point.

  • Dave says:

    I have a Mach6 xt/xtr build with a 160mm Pike. Pretty close to my dream bike! I opted for Nox carbon wheels with CKing hubs (1K less than Enve). If you’re thinking carbon I would checkout this bike/fork/wheel combo!!!

  • Mike says:

    one question – are there any enduro worthy trails in the bay area? there are some nice bikes & components featured but seems overkill imo

    • Mtbr says:

      Enduro race venues feature a pretty broad spectrum of gnar and we tested these bikes on the same trails used for the Santa Cruz Super Enduro…which we would call medium-intensity.

  • Mr. P says:

    You forgot the #1 component that most riders seem to favor;

    Stoked to be on a bike and rocking the trail.

    P

  • me says:

    Hmmmm if you look at this article it’s giving us a clear heads up on the overall winner. Which bike comes with the majority of all these components standard? Plus they even mentioned it as their top frame. Santa Cruz Bronson wins…

    Ok MTBR stop making us wait, post the rest of the articles and agree with me.

  • MotoLoco says:

    I did two dream builds. Trying components from smaller companies. Santa Cruz Solo C XL 5,5 pounds. Chris King InSet pewter. Magura TS8R 120 with eLect 3 pounds eleven ounces with axle, star nut, and t25 tool. Race Face Next SL, 484 grams with 36t ring is impressive. MRP carbon AMG for 32-36t very light frame protection. Magura MT6 brakes with MT8 levers, front brake w/o rotor weighs 175 grams with pads. Custom wheels using a robust build featuring carbon rims 30mm wide at 375 grams. Spokes are Sapim strong with polyax brass nipples laced to DT swiss 240 hubs, front being the OS with 20mm capability. Stiff. 815 grams front, 865 rear. Schwalbe Nobby Nic front, Rocket Ron rear tubeless, and they seat with a floor pump. Shimano XT GS-s rear derailleur, XTR cassette 11-36, XTR chain sil tec 981. Race Face Next SL green carbon bar, with Loaded precision green pistol grips. Thomson seatpost, and binder topped with Selle Italia Flite Kit Carbonio green saddle. Pedals are either Loaded Precision AMx Signature with green alloy traction pins or Look s-trak. The Pivot Mach 6 I’m building has yet to be finalized but front suspension is the Formula 35, and the brakes are Formula T1 with shimano rt-99 freeza rotors.

  • MTBP says:

    GOOD thing for online retailers, otherwise, hardly anyone could afford any of these nice products. MSRP is DEAD!!!!!!!!!

    Also, the X01 cassette shifts better that the XX1.

  • Matt says:

    Did you guys not have any Hope brakes? That’s the only thing I would change.

    • EAS says:

      I have the hope Tech 3 E4. They are pretty good, great modulation like all the reviews say. They don’t have overwhelming instant power, but you can still lock both wheels up if you want to. The levers are comfortable and easily adjusted. Compared to some other brakes I’ve ridden they remain fairly consistent from the top of the run to the bottom with a minimal change in power when they get hot.

  • Moshe says:

    XO 2×10,
    XTR Trail Brakes,
    Bontrager Rhythm Pro Wheels,
    Bontrager Rhythm Stem and Handlebar,
    TALAS 34 150 CTD
    Float X CTD DRCV
    Reverb Stealth,
    Bontrager XR4 Tires,
    ODI Locking Grips,
    On a Trek custom Remedy 27.5 Frame

  • dude says:

    SC Bronosn C
    XTR drive, shifters and brakes
    Enve wheels, bars and stem
    RS Pike fork
    HighRoller 2’s
    RS Reverb post
    RaceFace Atlas pedals
    Specialized Henge Expert saddle
    Specialized Grappler grips

  • C54N4 says:

    Corsair Marque
    E13 drive
    Saint shifters and avid brakes
    Dt swiss wheels
    Renthal bars and stem
    Bos Deville fork
    Bos vip’r shock
    RS Reverb post
    Straitline amp pedals

  • Paul says:

    @Mike are you new to the area? Ever ride in Pacifica? It’s not hard to find trails that push the limits of these bikes in the Bay. There are lesser known DH worthy trails all around and these bikes make those trails much easier to access. A modern 5-6″ travel bike is perfect for most of the steep and tech stuff in SC too.

  • Alex Bo B'Alex says:

    Mtbing is a sell out

  • TheChez says:

    XT 2×10 converted with a narrow wide and clutch derailleur.
    XTR brakes(trail or non those things stop!)
    Wide rimmed wheels like Syntace 35
    KS Lev
    King headset
    50mm stem
    750mm bars(Havens are nice or new Thomson)
    Charge saddle
    Time pedals
    ODI Vans grips
    Pike fork
    Monarch Plus shock(highly underrated shock)
    Trail King tires front and back

  • MBR says:

    Re: Dream Bars “If your bars aren’t at least 750mm wide, you’re doing something wrong.” Oops. Guess I’m doing it all wrong. My carbon bars are just 720 mm wide, weigh 40g less and cost half…

  • Chris says:

    I concur with the syntace wheels.
    They would probably rule here as well as their stem, the megaforce is lighter and prettier (subjective) than the Easton.
    Other than that I agree with a lot of the choices.
    Maybe the x-fusion vengeance should at least be mentioned.

  • Derek Chavez says:

    Obviously some of you haven’t ridden SRAM 1×11. It is incredible. Just built up an Anthem 27.5 aluminum. Sweeeet race bike! Didn’t like the fox ctd the frame came with so I installed a rock shox monarch rl. It has a real lockout. XX1, xx fork, Stan’s crest wheels. Not my dream ride but close. Needed an extra 4k to spend on carbon for that ( carbon wheels for sure), but a light weight very sweet ride.

  • chris aka Mr Ski says:

    I am seeing more and more Dream bikes around. Wow. Built my dream bike last year. Turner Burner, Fox 34 Fork, Fox Kash CTD shock, XX1 165 mm crank arms and 28 teeth up front, Shimano XTR Race Brakes 160 rotors F&R, LEV post, Chromag saddle, Cane Creek 110 Headset, Chromag HI FI stem, Raceface 6c bars, ODI grips, Could not see the sense in carbon wheels as the weight was the same as my Stans ArchEX 650B, laced to Hope hubs, high roller on the front and Hans Damph rear, and XTR trail pedals. Gets me around Whistler. 63 and tax

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Scott Genius 710 offers many options to suit many riders

The Scott Genius 710 is an excellent climber and is a bike that you could use for racing Enduro or even XC Endurance races.

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  • DaveG says:

    “Part of the reason we say TwinLoc is critical is because the suspension (especially the rear) can be quite finicky to setup. Small adjustments make big differences, and all of our test riders preferred running the rear shock with more sag than normal to soak up bigger hits. The downside was less-than-ideal climbing efficiency, which we compensated for with frequent use of TwinLoc. Just like dropper posts, the easier it is to access, the more you will use it…the more you use it, the more you appreciate it.”

    Sounds more like a lipstick on a pig than a useful feature.

  • LJ says:

    Had a chance to ride this bike. It looks awesome and climbs really well, but the rear shock did not perform well when it gets rough and there is a lot going on with all the adjustments and controls.

  • John Smith says:

    Of course the problem is that your spend-thrift competitor in the race crowd is going to buy the Specialized S-Works Epic World Cup and at less than 21 lbs, that’s a full 6 and 1/2 pounds less weight, they are going to blow your damn doors off- rip your helmet off your head- strip your jersey off- while passing you.

    • slo_rider says:

      that’s a useless apples to oranges comparison, since the $10.5 K USD epic wc is optimized for XC/24-hr endurance events, not super-D or enduro races.

      this ain’t the XC compare-o reviewing 20lb XC race whips, and if you were forced to race that spec epic wc in any technical enduro series at the same race pace as others riding the 27-30+ lb bikes in this comparison, you’d be lucky to survive the season without breaking your bike or your body.

  • Austin Walsh says:

    This bike design rules, along with bikes from Liteville and Rocky Mountain that keep a straight open seat tube for all options in fully lowering a standard seatpost or using the longest length adjusting seat posts. By stretching back the lower portion of the seat tube to the BB, it doesn’t need to put a bend in the seat tube.

    The Scott Genius 710 is the design that most MTB bikes will have in the near future.

  • Vanguard. says:

    I own this bike and it rocks. However, I’d not give it the oh-so-trendy Enduro tag. Its geometry and suspension design makes it an ideal all mountain / trailbike. Compared t the Specialized Enduro, its suspension is less plush, and its head angle is less slack, but it climbs a lot better (A LOT).

    From 2013 to 2014, Scott has dropped the 34 Talas for a 32 Float, reducing the weight at the cost of a less firm fork. So putting the Genius 710 in an Enduro test might be a bit misleading. If you’re into enduro racing, this bike is probably not what you are looking for (Scott has the Genius LT series, though, if you are looking for more travel).

    But if you are looking for an all mountain bike that climbs even better than it descends, you find a great companion that will not let you down on any terrain. To me, it’s really a one-quiver bike.

    NB: I cannot really understand the complaints about the suspension remote, when a remote-controlled adjustable seat post is considered standard. I love changing the suspension setting on the fly, at speeds and on trails I won’t risk taking a hand off the handlebar. Is one additional lever really too much to handle?

  • eboysen says:

    This Scott 710 Genius is an awesome bike! It is a great climber and awesome on technical descends. The 27.5 wheel size really is a great all around size for rocky technical trails, handles much better than the 29er. Yes the 29er is fast on single track trails but the versatility of the 27.5 wheel is great. I feel Scott hit a home run with this 710 Genius and truly excited about riding more trails in Southern Cal.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Highly versatile Ibis Ripley eschews convention to splendid results

The Ibis Ripley has the get-up-and-go of a long-travel cross-country bike, the playfulness of a small-wheeled trail tamer, and even the cajones to tackle some light-duty enduro racing.

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  • Ian says:

    Every test of this bike is in light XC build. Can someone build it with AM wheels : flows ex or wtb i25 s on Chris kings and 34 fork at 140 or pike and really take it through paces on some rocks. Love the bike and hear it can handle the burly parts but have not seen it. Also hear that 2.3 tires rub seat tube in the back. Tell me it is not so and I can use my beloved HR2 2.35

    • DP says:

      No you can’t…. Because Chris King at least to the best of my knowlege still won’t accommodate xx1 which is absolutely what this bike wants. Furthermore the beefed up light bicycle carbon rims are another must have. I have ridden 120 and 140 forks. I went 140 I had the fox and switched to the pike which is light years better and couples better with the 120mm rear because the fox mid stroke support is garbage. With the 140 front this is a bike I would take anywhere that I would pedal up. I never ride my hardtail and am selling my bigger hit bike.

  • Andy B. says:

    Hey Ian, these guys tried the 34 but I don’t think it was a Talas judging by their complaint of balance being thrown iff though it’s not clear.

    http://www.bikeradar.com/us/mtb/gallery/article/ibis-ripley-29-review-38062/1/

  • phil kaznowski says:

    I just built this bike with a 140 Fox Float, the bike felt rock solid and perfect for rough all mountain terrain (Lakes Basin).

  • Motivated says:

    What’s the real max rider height for the XL – when I was considering this bike the ETT was a very short 625mm, but indicated fit up to 6’6″ rider – does not jive. I never test ride one.

  • manchvegas says:

    2.35 HRs wont fit. I run mine with 2.4 xkings an it doesnt rub. I also tun mine with 140mm 34 fork and have raced some gnarly enduro. Itll do the job pretty well. I want a little more travel for northeast enduro.. but the bike will handle just about anything you throw at it.

  • Benja says:

    It’s funny how Ibis bikes kind of stump a lot of the market. Ibis is not a marketing-centric company. They make great bikes that they would love to ride. Sure sometimes they respond to the demands of the market, but their bikes don’t fall into the nice marketing categories that the bigger brands prop up to move units. Anyway, the Ripley is a good example of that. Is it an XC bike? Sure. Enduro? Sure. The HDR is somewhat similar; it doesn’t fall into neatly defined categories. But all their bikes reward the rider in spades. And yes, the Ripley deserves a 34 or Pike.

  • bigfoot jr says:

    “Effective last January, all Ripley frames are now shipped with a beefier lower eccentric core and new titanium bolt, which besides addressing the over-tightening issue, increases lateral stiffness by 10 percent claims Ibis. These updated parts can be retrofitted on older Ripley frames, and are available on the Ibis website for $35.”

    Wow….They spent 5 years designing this bike?!?!!

  • Jimbo says:

    I have the Ripley built with a 140mm Talas and Sram XX1. The bike can handle anything you throw at it. Super efficient climber and is bomber on rocky, technical DH’s. I would recommend carbon wheels to reduce flex in hard, fast corners. My previous bike was a Nomad. Didn’t think it was possible to have a better bike. The Ripley is better. This bike could win Downieville.

  • Alan says:

    I also own an Ibis Ripley and couldn’t be happier. My build is with the Pike Solo 140, Enve AM rims (Butcher 2.3’s F/GC 2.3’s rears), XX1, and have both a Pushed CTD and X-Fusion Microlite (Still haven’t picked a favorite). This bike is capable of anything I’m willing and able to throw at it. Bottom line… I purchases this bike believing it would be the best all around bike for my style of riding. Ibis has delivered!

    I’ve also been impressed with both Ibis’s customer service and product. Great job Ibis.

  • r1Gel says:

    How is the test bike’s build different from the standard XT build? Why is it $70 less?

    • r1Gel says:

      Correction — just realized the test bike has an X01 build. Still, there’s a $400+ discrepancy between the quoted price and what’s in the Ibis website.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Rocky Mountain Altitude brings full-tilt, all-mountain attitude

If we gave out a Chuck Norris award the 2014 Rocky Mountain Altitude MSL 770 Rally Edition would win by a tractor pull.

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  • Roger says:

    30lbs is light for an all-mountain rig…I guess you XC guys are still adjusting.

  • Benja says:

    It’s 2014, I’d say 30lbs no longer counts as “light” for All-Mtn. You can build a Bronson or an HDR at 26lbs. Full DH rigs are hitting mid-upper 30s.

    • Krash says:

      The Altitude can be built to 26lbs too. The Rally editions are the heaviest of the build options. The Altitude 799 comes out of the box a tad over 26.

  • roger says:

    Yeah, it’s 2014 alright…Enve wheels, xx1cassette, and carbon cranks will get any of these carbon bikes on 26lbs range. No one drops 10K on a mt.bike these days unless they are rich, middle aged men, 30lbs overweight who just started mt.biking.

  • enduropierogi says:

    I hope you guys have a Trek Slash somewhere, this Compare-O won’t be complete without it….

  • Benja says:

    Roger, hate to break it to you, but where I’ve been living and riding for the last 25 years (Bay Area and Portland OR) there are a crap ton of folks who spend $6-10k on bikes regularly, and trust me, they are not overweight or have just started riding (riding since ’86 here). Rich, sure some, middle aged, definitely. Doesn’t mean they can’t smoke riders half their age!

    And you don’t need Enve wheels or full XX1 to build an HDR or Bronson at around 26lbs. But it’s not worth arguing, these are bikes and these are First World Problems. The Rally edition stuff from RM just doesn’t feel like it has a point IMO, but I’m sure Rocky’s Marketing Dept knows better!

  • Gunnar says:

    I have the exact same model as tested, and was a bit surprised by the amount of sag used on the testbike. After breaking in the shock i ended up with 20% sag. With that i use all the travel even in the most progressive geo setting. That is also real close to the recommended setting from Fox. Any comments from the testers on that?
    Regarding the weight: the wheelset is real sturdy but crazy heavy and some of the other components are a bit overkill as well. I would have no problem running this bike on a dh track. Will try it with light wheels though, which will be interesting.

    • Dongoose says:

      Gunnar-

      We didn’t get any rides on the Rocky before the test and the bike was brand new from stock, so its likely our shock wasn’t broken in…in fact it did seem to get better the more we rode the bike.

      Curious to hear how you deal with the rebound setting on the shock. We took to carrying a small screwdriver to adjust it.

      We think you could easily drop a few pounds without any durability loss–wheels and tires being the most obvious…crankset too…if you went with an RF Next Sl with direct mount you could cut its weight in half.

      Don

  • Skyno says:

    I was able to test ride this bike and it absolutely shreds – just eats up the terrain – I liked it so much that I am building one up right now. I ran the sag at about 30% with the Float X & that was pretty close to perfect – hucked it as hard as I could & bottoming out was a rare event. Rally edition has an alloy rear triangle and a few components that aren’t particularly light; the full carbon model has a frame weight just over 5 lbs. (about 1 lb. lighter than HDR & 1/4 lb lighter than Bronson).

    • Rene says:

      Do you know what the rally ed. frame weight is?

      • Skyno says:

        I couldn’t find a definitive source on this, but since I am building up one of these, I did bit of research and estimated from measurements I found that the 770 frame was about 250g heavier than the 790 with a comparable shock, but keep in mind that the Rally edition comes with the upgraded Float X, which I believe is about 150 grams heavier than the standard Float, but well worth it for the performance – so you are probably looking at just under 6 pounds

  • Gunnar says:

    Don – Thanks for feedback! Both shock and fork have improved after breaking in and are now real good, a huge improvement over the fox products of the last couple of years.
    I use a small allen key for adjusting the rebound, it works but is still a hassle.
    Already dropped close to a pound by going tubeless and getting better tires on, switching to a SixC bar (same dimensions though) and removing the lower chainguide. The tire-change got rid of all of the vagueness in the corners, it now rails!
    With a rear hub change, lighter spokes and a lighter cassette i think the bike will be spot-on.

    Benja – for riding conditions where i live RM have pretty much nailed it with the Rally edition. They have done most of the changes that riders end up doing anyway. Also for european style racing it is nicely set up. So for some markets and customer groups, this is real good!

  • Jordan R. says:

    Rad review! I’ve been riding this exact bike for the last month or so and I’d have to agree that it’s one of the most fun descenders I’ve ever ridden. So far my only gripe is using a dental pick to adjust my rebound. The flow rims are rather heavy, but I am also riding this as my only bike, so it’ll end up on a chairlift soon enough. I’ve been running the shock at a touch under 30% sag and I definitely use all of the travel, but bottom outs never seem harsh. As far as the climbing I only feel the need to take it out of descend mode for smooth climbs and out of the saddle efforts. On anything technical I like the added traction from leaving the shock wide open.

    The first thing I did when I took it out of the box, however, was take the fork and shock apart to make sure I had proper oil levels. It’s something I do with any new suspension product.

  • Ryan says:

    I have been riding the piss out of this bike since aug. It is awesome. The conti tires started falling apart within the first month. (The stock ones do not have the black chili rubber)
    The 1X10 toughned me up on the climbs. When it gets steep switch it to climb mode and tell your friends you’ll meet them at the top. When they catch up and you can breath again tell them you’ll see them at the bottom because this bike hauls ass. Just be careful of the tight trees, the bars are wide.
    My plan was to buy it in aug and sell it in June. But it’s going to be very hard to replace this bike with something better.
    It is straight out of the box worth it. $5600 for everything you get is awesome.
    I have never been a Rocky fan but my mind has been changed.

  • scott says:

    I’m pretty certain you could build this same bike for around $5,000-but with a carbon handlebar, better tires and xt brakes.

    My 29er Banshee Prime XL weighs in at 32.8 lbs with Flow EX rims, Adent 2.35 tires, SRAM carbon cranks, 1×10 (42t oneup) and I only paid around $4500 for everything on it. . .

  • scott says:

    Oh and for climbing ability-do you think it has a lot to do with going with a single chainring? Older bikes were designed with the pivot placed above the smallest chainring to reduce bob- now that the middle ring is the only one left you are now climbing with the chain well above the pivot. . .

  • Sterling Mudge says:

    How about switching out the front chain ring for a smaller one? I know I can’t pedal a 34 where I live since we climb so much. Anybody know the smallest chainring you can run on the Turbine?

  • Ruben Blanco says:

    How much does this bike from 2014 cost, more or less??

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Fezzari’s roll-your-own Timp Peak packs value, performance

The Fezzari Timp Peak delivers value in and performance in spades with this 150mm travel bike sporting a 1×11 drivetrain and carbon wheelset.

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  • bryan says:

    Crazy that we call a $6400 bike a “great value” bike lol. (and I’m not arguing it isn’t).

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      >>Crazy that we call a $6400 bike a “great value” bike lol. (and I’m not arguing it isn’t).

      Succinctly put. 🙂

  • Peter Eibeck says:

    Guys, I check your site every day to see these reviews. However, with each review, I’m becoming less interested. Here’s why. I want to see HOW THE BIKE RIDES! This review is pretty useless.

    Please, consider maybe a 5 or 10 star system. Rate things like small bump, big drop, stiffness, climbing, descending, cornering, nimble-ness, etc. Without some common ground, much of this is less interesting.

    If you really want to provide a HUGE service to your readers, consider making a master table. List the categories, travel front, rear, price, frame makeup, wheel makeup, and then add the ‘score’ below. At a glance, your readers can look and see what they gain and what they give up for each model. If a person loves up and down, you need one that is competent in both.

    What do you think?

  • VII says:

    Something more comparative would be nice, as Peter E said. You’ve got all these riders and bikes in one spot, why not give a lap time average on these bikes? Which is fastest up or down? You call this a Compare-O, but it’s far more serial reviews than comparing the bikes.

  • Francis Cebedo says:

    >>Please, consider maybe a 5 or 10 star system. Rate things like small bump, big drop, stiffness, climbing, descending, cornering, nimble-ness, etc. Without some common ground, much of this is less interesting.

    Point taken. What we’ll have in a couple of weeks is awards in about 5 categories. Best climbing bike, Best descending, Versatile, etc. Winners and runners up.

  • bigfoot jr says:

    No details of the pivot hardware,bearings or links on this basically unknown brand? We all know that the quality of these items can make or break any FS frame.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Sublime Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29 makes a case for substance over buzz

If you’re a fan of big wheeled bikes, the Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29 is a sure fire hit. And if you’re skeptical of wagon wheels, this bike just might change your mind.

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  • Tad says:

    You described the 17.9 inch chain stays as “shorter”. They would have been shorter 4 or 5 years ago, however now it is definitely on the long side. Having a hard time manualing up and over logs? Look no further than those long chain stays. The Ripley, Enduro 29er, and the BMC that you tested all have much shorter chain stays. Be willing to bet that the Stumpy will get the short Enduro stays for 2015.

  • gg says:

    Arrghh. Can’t stand the external cable mess at the BB. Surely Spec and fix that with internal routes? And it just looks like crap. C’mon!

  • Loll says:

    Your tester said climbing was the same with climb trail or wide open mode. Obviously they are not hammering and standing. I own the non evo version and one ride up Kennedy or Mission Peak will prove your test wrong

    • slo_rider says:

      i agree w/ above: there’s plenty of commentary on mtbr’s forums about spec’s FSR rear suspension having less anti-squat compared to other designs like VPP, DW-link, and Maestro. pros are more active suspension (and less pedal kick-back) when climbing, cons are more pedal-bob. seems like it’s the kind of rear end that favors smooth pedaling while grinding in the saddle, as opposed to mashing while standing.

    • Shaun says:

      I have to agree with Loll! I have a 2013 model and putting it in trail or open mode when climbing is like riding a pogo stick.

  • Mike says:

    Sounds a lot like my Pivot Mach 429 that I just picked up for a third of the price.

  • VII says:

    Got one of these after riding a VPP2 (Blur LTC) for years. After everything I’ve been reading over the years on forums, I was expecting a decrease in pedaling efficiency, but it actually pedals very well. It’s plusher on the descent than my Blur, more active when pedaling in the rough, and there isn’t a noticeable loss of efficiency climbing. Maybe a factor is rider weight? (I’m a light rider.)

  • Bob Stimson says:

    Next time you do a review, how about picking a component/wheel set that most people can afford. How about all XT, $3000 bikes, instead of this $10k titanium/magnesium setups that are in the realm very few…

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Born on the ‘shore’ Norco Range 7.1 packs proven DH chops in AM package

The burly Norco Range Alloy 7.1 can handle the steepest and gnarliest of trails all while offering one of the best values on the market today.

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  • Roger says:

    32lbs well duh, it’s not a carbon bike! It’s single pivot…the shock that does all the work! Does it have enve wheels? Makes all the difference!

  • Roger says:

    This compare-o is ridiculous! It’s apple and oranges! We know carbon and aluminum bikes are too different rides, also carbon and aluminum wheels! Also factor in rider fitness! Let’s see some pro credentials!

  • Shawn says:

    Roger,it’s not a single pivot bike. Norco licences Specialized’s four bar Horst link suspension design.

  • Ian says:

    Some carbon and alu bikes are very close. Pivot 5.7 is within half a pound and rides great in alu. Well build alu wheels will be as good as carbon and less,prone to fail on hard rock hits. Most of us are still on alu frames with alu wheels.. So it is very relevant NorCal sight in alu got a lot of praise so I have hopes for this one too

  • David says:

    How have you selected the bikes that are under test?
    I see a number of boutique brands, niner, yeti, ibis etc, but a brand like Transition have a couple of bikes both 29 & 26 that fit this category yet are nowhere to be seen.
    Their Bandit29 is an awesome ride and the Covert to more agressive again.
    Any thoughts?

  • Chez says:

    I agree mostly with this review. It is a portly bike(I have last year’s Range 2) but can be lightened up very easily with the money you save. It climbs EXCEEDINGLY well for how heavy it is. I switched mine up to a narrow wide front and it has been great. It’s like having a mini DH bike that can climb. Bike design has come a long way in just a few short years. Now to get some lighter wheels.

  • Doctor says:

    I like how all the pics are of someone on a 6″ bike on a trail that’s smooth as a baby’s butt.

    Also agree with others, this review is pretty useless with the disparity of build kits. Why ding a low-cost bike for lacking a dropper post or being heavy? Is there some other equally cheap bike doing a better job?

    Also: there’s basically no actual “compare” in this compare-o.

  • Zrider says:

    I have this bike and it is pretty amazing. It is not a light bike, but I am running DH tires on Raceface wheels and swapped out a lot of the shimano stuff for X9. I am also running 203F/180R disks so wieght wasn’t my concern. It comes in at 33 lb and rides great and climbs better then my 2011 Spec Stumpy FSR. The Fox fork is really a POS. They did improve, but FOX is still riding on there name and not quality. I would buy this bike again and truly use the bike to the limit (I also have a DH and DJ bike, I ride hard and this is my XC/all mountain bike). The paint and finish do not get enough credit, because the orange pearl paint looks amazing.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Love it or hate it, electronic suspension cometh and Lapierre strikes first with bold, new Spicy 527

Just like their countrymen Daft Punk, French bike-maker Lapierre brings a unique brand of electronica to the US.

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  • Andry says:

    Thanks for the review. Beautiful bike indeed.
    The BB height seems too low at 12.25in. Can you confirm it?

  • Tad says:

    Do you not like the Fox 34 compared to say a Pike or is the Fox 34 just not a good match for the rear suspension on the Spicy?

  • GN says:

    Any company that doesn’t send its $8-$10k bike to be reviewed gets dinged for weight, yet I haven’t seen to many sub $5k 150mm bikes under 30lbs. Aluminum Bronson’s, SB66’s, etc with “low end” builds are all coming in around 30lbs and 80% of the weight difference is in the components, not the frames.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: The Ibis Mojo HDR 27.5 is a razor-sharp performer

Ibis’ HDR is a wonderful chameleon that does its thing with 26- or 27.5-inch wheels. See if that’s a good thing or a compromise in our Bottom Line review.

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  • DaveG says:

    These Compare-o “reviews” are a garbled mess of thoughts that are difficult to draw any clear conclusion from.

    • RenoCarolina says:

      What’s garbled? Specifically? It is a lot of information to put together and the project is coming together piece by piece. Just seems awfully early in the process (3rd review?) to label the reviews a “mess” without giving the benefit of a specific criticism. As a “saver” looking to make the right purchase later this summer I am loving this.

  • AD says:

    I have one with XX1, Reverb Dropper, XT Brakes and the rest Ritchey and it comes in at just a tick over 26lbs. It SHREDS!

  • fabriciofracchia@gmail.com says:

    No bike pics in the main review?

  • Woodwhistler says:

    I personally find this (compare-o) is a nice project. Really gives a wide perspective to the mtb market. This review was much better than the Trance review, or at least I think so. I hope you continue with the “Who is it made for”-section in further reviews. Keep up the good work!

  • Benja says:

    I’m enjoying these reviews. I’m not completely into the whole “first look” THEN the review, but overall it’s a good look into a wide cross section of bikes. As an HD and now HDR 650b rider, I thought this was an accurate portrayal of the bike. If you’re a skilled rider, this bike rewards in spades. It’s a weapon. As for the plushness, I’ve found it to be good out of the box, but great with tuning (PUSH in my case) and I definitely recommend bumping the Float 140 to 150. My HDR with XX1/XTR and LB carbon wheels is under 26lbs by a hair I think. Depends on the pedals and tires that day. I never ride with a waterbottle, so that “showstopper” comment made me laugh. It’s got a spot for a cage, but it’s down there a bit. Anyway, it’s an amazing bike, but mos def not one for a novice (are any of these?!)

  • isaidso says:

    So you saddled the HDR with heavy flexy wheels, and a heavy old school dual chainring XT group and complain that–surprise–the bike is heavy and noisy. Next you’ll test a XX1 bronson with Carbon Enves and gush about how quiet and light the bike is.
    If you guys wanted to make this a meaningful comparo, you should have equipped the bikes equally–or at least all with the same X01 style group and similar wheels (all carbon or none).
    At the very least, you should list the frame weight fro each bike, since that is far more meaningful than the as built weight.

    • Matt B says:

      Reviewers and review sites review the bikes the bike companies want reviewed. Whew! It is not rigorous/scientific, and the saving grace is that it is obviously not. It would be worse for everyone if a shootout of this sort were portrayed as fair, while not really meeting that standard. And no shootout is going to meet that standard–it would be fantastically expensive, and no one involved (bike companies, reviewers with industry hook-ups) has any incentive to try to do anything else but what you see here or in other cycling media. So accept that for all it’s flaws it still provides some good info, and is not full of misleading info.

      • Mike says:

        I disagree with the statement that all reviews simply take the bikes as they come from the manufacturers. I can think of two sites off the top of my head — Pinkbike and Blister — that regularly swap cockpits, wheels, other components on the bikes they test.

        On another note, I can’t believe the whole bottle-cage deal in this review. It’s the “enduro comparo”…who is racing an enduro event with one water bottle? Makes no sense

  • Benja says:

    Gotta agree with isaidso there. The mix of parts from bike to bike is all over the place. A little bit of standardization (wheels maybe?) would have helped. I will say that the stock Ibis wheels, while not terrible, are not going to win awards anywhere.

  • Jon says:

    Hardly a glowing review. I’m really surprised.
    I’m biased – I love my 26/160 HDR – but I think it’s one incredible bike.
    It goes up amazing (the review definitely highlighted that) and I think comes down just as well. In that regard I don’t think it got its fair shake in this review. The reviewers almost make it seem harsh riding, which the HDR (at least the 160mm version) is anything but.

  • Ian says:

    Love Ibis as a 26″ bike but for 27 application it does not have enough travel or rear tire clearance. In this category I do not want to be limited to 2.2 tires and be concerned about a 5′ drop bottoming 130 rear. Pivot M 6 all the way

  • Lucas says:

    Part of the suspension problem is the stock Fox shock. This bike shines with a reservoir shock ie RS Monarch plus, Fox Float X., CCDBA. My 150mm travel XL 650b Mojo HD weighs 28.2lbs with a double crank, clutch derailleur, KS lev post. Runs quiet, gobbles descents.

  • Jon says:

    One other quibble with this review: Stan\s Flows are described as flexy?

  • SC says:

    I’m able to reach the bottle on my HD, while I ride. Crazy I know!

    Funny how the bottle cage seemed to be the biggest issue on THIS bike, but not too much of a mention about it on the Bronson, the Orbea, etc…

    But if that is really all that’s a problem, that’s not a bad thing really. It’s a very capable bike with a Float X. It’s even more incredible with sticky 26″ tires in 650b mode, but people don’t need to know that;-)

  • Black Comp says:

    No bottle cage is a deal breaker!!!!

    Notice that the MOJO neither has a vaseline distributor.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Ultimate one bike quiver? The $10k Santa Cruz 5010 Carbon might be it

You won’t win the Enduro World Series on this bike, but you could ride it just about anywhere in the world.

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  • roger says:

    A bike not named Enduro to go with my enduro fork, enduro wheels, enduro tires, enduro cranks, enduro seatpost, enduro saddle, enduro handlebars, enduro helmet, enduro hydration pack, enduro shoes, enduro gloves, and enduro gogles…I can finally Enduro!

  • roger says:

    Carbon wheels makes all the difference! Test the lower end model of this bike where most racer’s budget and reality.

    • Bikethrasher says:

      I rode the cheapest version of the 5010 in Fruita and smoked the time I set a week earlier on a $10,000 dollar Ibis Mojo HDR with Enve Wheels and XX1 by over 3 minutes on my 22 mile test loop. This bike Rips regardless of the parts. The suspension isn’t perfect, but No suspension is. I also wish the top tube on the LG was 24.5 inches. But aside from that it’s the best Trail bike I’ve ever ridden.

      • Joe Millionare says:

        Three minutes faster on a 22 mile loop? Big deal. That’s like one less pee break.

        • Bikethrasher says:

          I didn’t take any breaks. I do the same loop and go flat out. 3 minutes is a Huge difference. I posted 2 Top 10s and 12 PRs on the 5010. I’ve ridden over 25 demo bikes on this loop and I’m faster on the 5010 than any other.
          The Ibis SLR can’t compete with this bike. The 5.7 even with more travel isn’t as plush. Both are really good bikes but they are lacking.

      • DevinsDad says:

        I can see beating your HDR time. I had an HD 160 with 26″ wheels. Incredilbe bike but not for 22 mile xc rips. I built a Ripley with everything on it (enve, xx1, etc) and it is so fast it’s crazy. I’d like to hear if you road a Ripley on your loop. At 6’3″ tall, I don’t notice any gyroscopic issues wit the wagon wheels, especially enve’s so I am sold on the 29er wheels in this travel range.

        • Bikethrasher says:

          The biggest challenge with bikes these days is that for the most part they are all Really damned good. The hard part is finding the one that works best for you and the terrain you ride.
          I expected the HDR with its 130mm of travel. To have the snap and climbing Prowes of the SLR. I also expected, with it’s extremely stiff frame and 66.5 degree head angle with a Pike on the front to just Destroy the descents. Unfortunately the other three bikes I was riding at the time. My Trusty TRc an Ibis SLR and an Enduro 9. Left me under underwhelmed with the HDR.
          The Ripley looks really good it’s been getting great reviews. So I defiantly want to ride it. Who knows maybe it could be the bike that changes my view of 9ers.

  • tim says:

    Not that I don’t love reading about 10k bikes like this one, but I would much rather read about price points around $ 3,500. This is a better price point for what I think wold be at least a small majority of your readership. Additionally, I would have liked to see a Turner bike included in this shoot out.

  • mr.habanero says:

    Not all carbon wheels break the bank. You can get the utmost rad carbon wheels from LB!

  • David says:

    Test the Ventana Zeus please!

  • Ian says:

    One can look at this bike the other way. It tries to be everything but masters little. This trail category was well covered by the old time favorites 26″ bikes. I’m not sure if you stack this bike against Pivot 5.7 carbon or ibis slr – that it will win. Racer crowd will want 29s and enduro guys are looking at more stout 27 inches like mach6 or NorCo range.. What’s the market for it?

    • Codypup says:

      I think the market is people who like nice mountain bikes, which is a lot bigger market than the people who actually race enduros and who actually ride terrain that would justify the Bronson or something like that. The 5010 with a 140-150 Pike or Fox 34 is probably more than enough for any enduro held in North America.

  • Brooks says:

    For 10K I’ll buy two bikes and renovate my garage to fit them in.

  • Alex Bo B'Alex says:

    I agree with Tim. There needs to be a Turner Flux, burner, or even a czar.

  • Tad says:

    How well is the VPP sorted? Is it a little soft in the mid stroke (that’s what she said). I don’t have much time on VPP, but heard that criticism a lot in the past.

  • Padrote says:

    Propers for the BDP reference

  • guitarjohn21 says:

    10K Weight weenie trail bike?
    I guess they know their market. 125mm wouldn’t cut it even on my local trail rides, though. Why not a 150mm talas? The 2014 fox is super plush compared to earlier models, can be lowered to 120mm, and weighs the same.

  • Bob Stimson says:

    I’ll just stick with my TRC…

  • johnny D says:

    I have a 5010 I built for half that money-xt, mavic crossroc, and x fusion 34 up front. Im coming off a pivot mach 5 and turners before that. This bike kills them all for my type of riding. (xc,trail,all mountain) Faaast, with very light inputs required and a smooth “finger tippy” feel to it. Great technical descender Doesnt have the snap of dw but sits high in its travel on the climbs.Very very good. I love it and would take it anywhere.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: The BMC TrailFox TF01 XX-1 Trailcrew is a go-to enduro race bike

Swiss precision is in full effect on the BMC TrailFox TF01 XX1 Trailcrew, a thoroughbred high performer with a price tag to match.

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  • DaveG says:

    You guys clearly need to ride more long travel 29ers.

  • Michel says:

    The geo of this bike is a little different compared to some other 29/150mm bikes. The headtube is very short. (4.5cm shorter than my stumpjumper 29 evo) Can you tell me something about the feel of the geo? Doesnt this low stack make it feel like your weight is too much to the front?

  • Roger says:

    I’m 4feet tall and you want me to ride what now? People pushing bigger wheels, but want a geometry like a 26 also want the bike to act like a 26. Hey an idea, buy a 26 haha

  • Roger says:

    28 tooth front ring!! You better be able to climb the Himalayas with that damn thing! I don’t get the 11-42x w/ 28t front ring? You can’t generate enough DH speed with it! You might as well stick with a 2×10 setup! and you ride what? Enduro Racers have at least 34T up front, man up!

  • EverythingMotorcycles says:

    All the haters should start their own website. Thank you for the review. Some of you have no clue as to the difficulties that are associated with running mtbr, getting/gaining manufacturers support to test ride etc etc. I’m sure constructive criticism is helpful, but some of you people are absurd in your comments, again, mtbr, thank you! (Trust me, most the happy readers simply don’t reply).

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Enduro Compare-O 2014 Reviews and News


Compare-O Award-O: The best enduro bikes from our big shootout


The Mtbr crew hands out the hardware at the Sea Otter Classic to the winners of our Enduro Compare-O earlier this year.

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  • Kitty Bumblenuts says:

    Love that you guys did this – I’d love to see more mountain bike comparo’s in general.

  • Nsnk says:

    What do you define as an Enduro bike . To my mind the only enduro bike in this line up is the specialised . The others are just trail bikes.

  • luisM. says:

    Love all 3 of these niners. Each with its own unique set of strenghts!

  • Andrew says:

    I test rode the enduro 29— it felt like a monster truck that would steamroll anything in its path. Took it down a flight of stairs and felt like I was rolling over a spring mattress. But then I test rode a 27.5 heckler and realized that despite being super capable, the enduro is never going to be the most fun way up or down a hill.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: The Felt Virtue Nine 20 proves you don’t need to spend a mint to have a good time


The well-spec’d Felt Virtue Nine 20 climbs well, looks great and does well on terrain up to about the intermediate level. It also proves you don’t have to spend a mint to have a good time.

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  • Ryan B says:

    “While it’s not likely to win any races…” HA! Let’s not kid ourselves here, fast riders who train hard win races, not $10,000 bikes. On one hand this is a solid review on a website largely dedicated to evaluating products (which I appreciate AND enjoy!). On the other hand I think many readers would see value in more articles on topics like bike tuning/setup/maintenance, handling skills, diet (gasp) and race training/strategy. Just my 2 cents…

  • Liberty555 says:

    Ryan B, I’m with you. Spot on. Love the reviews, love to dream but in reality, tomorrow I’ll be having a laugh and enjoying life on a bike half as much as this one and one fifth the Sworks Enduro….

  • AJ says:

    With an MSRP of $3,799.00 I’d argue this falls into ‘mint’ territory.

  • Drew olmsted says:

    I agree with Ryan b. I’m new to mountain biking and want to do all the work on my bike. Would like to see more repair articles.

  • joey says:

    when I read ‘don’t need to spend a mint’ I was expecting a 380 dollar bike…

    this is ridiculous.

  • matt says:

    If my “midlife crisis” bike, decision arrived at after a lifetime and finally deciding I deserve something nice, is about $2000, then yeah, $3799 is a “mint.”

  • chris says:

    Umm, $3800 hardly qualifies as “for the rider on a budget.” Time for the reviewers to come back down from the $10k+ bike cloud and join the rest of us mere mortals.

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Trek Remedy 9.8


The new 27.5-inch wheel version of Trek’s venerable Remedy 9.8 delivers just the right dose of travel and performance for the XC rider looking to go bigger.

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  • r1Gel says:

    @FrancisCebedo, a well-written review 🙂
    Regarding the sizing/fit, would you say the test bike (a medium) fit OK for your height (5’8″?) with the 70-mm stem?

  • r1Gel says:

    How does the Remedy climb, in or out of the saddle?

  • Peanut says:

    I will add my 2 cents as i have test ridden the 18.5″ and 19.5″ remedy and the 18.5″ slash. For reference i am 5’9″ and 145-150lbs. I come from an xc race background elite open/pro class in the mid atlantic super series. The 18.5″ remedy was too small for me. I felt crowded and too upright like on a town bike. The remedy is, like this article says ” an xc bike dipping its toe in enduro”. The geometry is certainly geared to that imo. Taking this into consideration i tested the 19.5″. I fell in love with the bike. Climbing in and out of the saddle felt xc-bike-ish and of course going down was fun too. The slash, on the other hand, is not the same as the remedy, but with more travel. The front wheel felt, as it should with a slacker HTA, farther out in front…so much so that i would not consider this bike for my riding. I felt it was definitely geared towards 60-70% shuttle, lift served etc type riding and not a bike that wanted to be ridden uphill. Going up the front end was twitchy and didnt like to stay down. Again my .02.

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Enduro Compare-O: Mtbr’s Best of Test Award Winners


Find out which bikes took home the hardware from our first-ever Enduro Compare-O.

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  • DaveG says:

    Kind of odd to see the Genius and TrailFox as runners up in multiple categories. Their reviews haven’t been that positive elsewhere.

    After riding one, I wouldn’t classify the Bronson as being “rocket out of corners” or “punchy up inclines.” Interesting to see it take the top racer boy spot.

  • Tommy says:

    I would love to see a shootout between the Enduro 26 and a comparable Enduro 29, with both objective observations and some hard data (i.e. times).

  • max says:

    Test the Norco Range Carbon 7.1. (The LE would also be a good test, but the 7.1 has better value).

  • Travis says:

    Would love to see the Kona Process 111, Trek Remedy 29, and Santa Cruz Tallboy LT aluminum all in the test!

  • Ken says:

    Please,I wish they would do bike tests all using the same wheelsets and tires ,just use Enve’s or something nice, this way the focuswill be more on the differences between the bike’s performance regarding different angles and suspension designs.

  • Grant says:

    Test the new Canfield Balance if possible.

  • Joe Millionare says:

    A 29er wins!!!! I can’t begin to explain how funny that is. All the back and forth about wheel size and a 29er takes the top award. Classic.

  • daverb says:

    idk… Overall/Most Versatile sounds very synonymous. And placing top on Overall/Most Versatile would also mean it’s the best bike for Enduro Race (do-all type of bike)

  • Edward Anderson says:

    Would love to see a review on the new trek slash! They are selling hugely I hear. Very interested in this bike and would love to see how It might compare to another all mountain rig!

  • Doctor says:

    I for one can’t figure out how “overall” “versatile” and “enduro” translates to judging a bike.

  • peter says:

    How does the overall “winner” of the comparo, which was also rated the best descender, not win the best racebike category? enduro racing, as i understand it, is for the most part all about descending… not that i have a dog in the fight, i’m just curious about the logic of the ratings.

    thanks.

  • Josh says:

    Kona Process 134 DL please:)!

  • ep says:

    in future comparos in would be more interesting and informative if the bikes had the same groupsets on them. a lot of apples/oranges going on here. maybe you should start by determining the best parts then hang them off the bikes for a straight up shootout. kudos for keeping us entertained though!

  • Patrick says:

    What about the Devinci Troy Carbon?

  • Peter Eibeck says:

    MTBR… look, everyone will have their ‘brand’ that they enjoy. You seriously are wasting the opportunity to provide a valuable service to your readers and your sponsors!!! NOW LISTEN UP!

    Create a table! Have each rider rank each bike for different attributes. Total the ‘score’. Don’t you think it would be interesting to know how close second place really was? Don’t you think it would be useful in which categories a bike excelled or lacked?

    You people have such an amazing opportunity. Please put it to better use.

  • Peter Eibeck says:

    I have a question about the method’s used, since it has never been spelled out. Did every rider ride every bike? Did some bikes have more riders than other bikes?

  • Russ says:

    I’m waiting for the Remedy review….and the final results are already posted! ????

  • FX says:

    Big Bike magazine in France does a much better job of leveling the playing field by using the same kind of tires for each category. A big Maxxis 2.4 for Enduro, a fast Hutchinson for XC…etc.
    Then each bike is review on the same set of data: position on bike, high speed grip, line precision, pedaling output, braking, drops etc… Then each bike has a tally chart with its score for each area being evaluated. Result: You can instantly see which bikes tick all the boxes and get max scores everywhere, and see where bikes have weaknesses.
    That’s how it’s done.
    Unfortunately, they can’t always test the very best models in all brands. So the aluminum Bronson at 2200 euros didn’t cut the mustard next to a carbon Rocky Altitude 770 at 5500 euros.
    In Mtbr’s defense, even the aluminum Spesh Enduro 29 did very well on the test and was “Big Bike Approved”… So the carbon version must be really sweet.

  • baumer says:

    Just curious, why not any KHS bikes? Considering they have several championships and several of the upper ranked riders are on KHS. Where were they in this comparo?

  • Shawn says:

    I concur with FX. What makes a bike a good descender to one person may be different than what makes it a good descender to another, for example. So it would be much better to rate the bikes on things like high/low speed cornering, high speed stability, jumping/in air stability, pedaling/acceleration, etc, etc. The categories of rating are way too vague and appear contradictory as pointed out by Peter. Neither the winner (Bronson) nor runner up (Trailfox) for ‘Best Racer’ even got a single vote for best descender, and Bronson in fact did not get one single vote in ANY of the other categories. This makes absolutely no sense at all.

  • Tom says:

    You really need to include the Subaru WRX and maybe even the new Porsche Macan in the next test to balance the field! 🙂

  • xema molina says:

    tengo una duda imortante. ¿cambia el comportamiento de una bicicleta en función del amortiguador que lleve?.
    Es decir que teniendo un mismo cuadro con los mismos componentes y sólo cambiando el amortiguador, (no solo de modelo, sino también de marca). ¿cambiaría su funcionamiento?

    Gracias si respondeis

  • Kevin Woodward says:

    I think FX has a great point and attempting to add a little scientific methodology to the comparison process would really provide value, not to mention cut back on the “what were they thinking” commentary. It is crazy not to recognize the obvious difference and edge that one bike will have over another based on carbon vs. alum frame, wheelset (Enve or not) and tires, to mention a few. And not to include Tallboy LT in the mix is such a glaring gap (you could get the 5010 and Bronson but not the Tallboy?) that it suggests an effort by the manufacturer to push those designs over others. There’s a reason many Santa Cruz employees ride Tallboys.

  • dcarterdman says:

    I would have liked to see the Santa Cruz Tallboy LT included in the field. Is the Intense Carbine the same as the Tallboy LT since they use the same linkage design?

  • gonsorellie says:

    Where is love for the Yeti? The “gorgeous high-speed weapon” with the downhill “magic carpet ride” did not even get any (honorary) mention in any of the categories you tested! So did Spech supply your “test team” 3 cold kegs of Pliny and Yeti only got you a warm six-pack of Coors Light?

  • ron erez says:

    Yeti Sb95 carbon was forgotten … .. how possible …

  • ron erez says:

    You might not be first to the top on the Yeti SB95C, but you might just be the only one who cleans all the tech sections. And so long as your talents can keep up with the bike’s suspension, you’ll definitely be first to the bottom.” how after this words this bike Yeti SB95
    did not get any mention at any of categories .

  • ron erez says:

    When you test bikes really need to test the frame , since all other parts can be the same.
    That is only way to find which firm or company made the best bike.
    i hope you will do it on your next test.
    Really i believe it all about money ,all about money spend on adverting correct me if i am wrong.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Pivot shoots for Holy Grail status with new Mach 6 Carbon


The versatile Mach 6 shoots for Holy Grail territory with it’s wide-ranging capabilities for a wide range of riders. Does it hit the mark? Read our Bottom Line review and find out.

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  • Acupunk says:

    This bike is on my short list. So how does this bike fit?? These reviews need to have a bit more info regarding size and rider fit. I’m 6’1.5″ and on the border between a large and extra large frame. What were your impressions? Do they run true to size?

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      These frames run very true to size. I’m 5’8″ on a medium with some god room even with a 50 cm stem. So you should be good on a large size.

    • Jon says:

      I have found them to be small to size with very short reach measurement. I am 5’10” and would have to go large. Large reach is same as on my medium bike now. I definitely hop on a large and XL to see for yourself. You could probably run large with longer stem only, which kind of sucks especially on a bike like this.

    • John Egbert says:

      I am 6 foot 1 and change and went with large. Definitely not too small, an XL would be too long I think.

  • Josh Johnson says:

    Francis, a 50 cm stem???

  • rob says:

    Curious how it compares the firebird as far as descending ? Sounds like its a beast

    • Joe Millionare says:

      I sold my Firebird to buy a Mach 6. So far there is no loss in DH ability. The DW link and suspension are so dialed, you feel like you have 7 inches of travel. I sure don’t miss the Firebird on the climbs. If the 429 and the Firebird had a love child, it would be the Mach 6.

    • sharon says:

      I have a firebird and demod a mach6. The firebird feels more slack despite also being 66o head angle.

      I think the firebird would be more capable in a bike park, but the mach6 would be able to handle most dh trails out of the park, its geo is also better for extended climbs. The firebird is more plush.

      Since I have the firebird and 5.7 I couldn’t justify the mach6, but if I wanted to replace both bikes, the mach6 would do it.

  • Evan says:

    The cable routing is no big deal. If you just follow the directions, it’s easy to route. This is the one bike that truly lives up to the hype. Unless you want a 9r, this is a must try bike before buying anything else.

  • Lee YM says:

    I’m 5’8″, and went for a small. Medium fits well too, and is a tad more stable.
    You’ll REALLY enjoy this bike! 🙂

  • Jim H says:

    I really want this bike, but am confused about the sizing. The reach at 16.3″ for a large seems small compared to the size recommendation. I’m 5’10” with a 34″ inseam measurement and was thinking large would be best, if not a bit small. (Medium Bronson with 15.9″ reach felt much better with a 90mm stem than 70mm, but I’d rather run 60mm or less). Any insight from the knowledge of the group would be greatly appreciated.

    • mountain biker says:

      I am 5’10.5″ and got the large and like it, you could go either way I personally like the large a little better. I guess it just depends on your frame preference. My dad is the same height and he likes the medium but he’s kind of a weight weenie.

    • Joe Millionare says:

      @Jim
      You would want a medium given your digits. I’m 6-0 and ride a medium with a 50mm stem.

  • Shane AU says:

    Francis, thanks for the great review. Planing a custom build of this bike. I’ve seen your various photos of this bike build and am interested in which wheels your preferred in order of preference and why. Photos I’ve seen include: Mavic Crossmax Enduro, ENVE AM, Bontrager , others?
    Cheers!

  • Oli says:

    There is a word missing from these reviews of the new 27.5″ bikes and that word is “playful”. Is there a bike among these that could be considered playful? I tried the Bronson carbon the other day and while it definitely railed berms and rough ground like nothing else, I kind of missed a certain “pop” when it came to smaller obstacles that I am used to pumping and grabbing some air on.

    • siege says:

      yes there is a bike missing from this review and its the turner burner. I also enjoy alternate lines, pumping and popping of roots and rocks to make fun line changes. I came from a 6inch travel bike and now with the burner find myself able to find even more of those hidden gems in the trail. I also rode the mach 6 before i made my purchase and and found it to be trail soaking and I find the turner burner to be lively and a tad more exciting at speed as it doesn’t deaden the trail but give you more reward for your pump and creativity.

    • John Egbert says:

      My exact thoughts on the Bronson. I have been riding a 29er and wanted a more playful and nimble bike that had about 150 mm travel. One that would handle rowdy descents but would definitely be ridden to the top, and on the trails. I tried the Bronson totally expecting to be blown away, I was pretty sure it was going to be the bike for me going into the demo and was actually left unimpressed. Handled more like a tank, better at plowing the obstacles than playing off them. The front end was surprisingly heavy and it was difficult to pop it up or manual. The Mach 6 on the other hand was everything I wanted. It’s short wheel base and chainstays make it really nimble and easy to throw into corners. The short chainstays also help it with quick acceleration for manuals. At 27 lbs it pops off roots and rocks and gets air with ease. Yet despite its lighter weight for a AM bike it feels stable on technical descents. The DW link also allows it to climb very well, even in descend. I have never felt the need to use climb mode, trail is stiff enough for anything you would ever take a mountain bike on in my opinion.

  • Tad says:

    When I saw the geo on this bike initially, I dismissed it as being inefficient and too much bike. After reading all of these positive reviews though, this bike is on my short list as well. Was somewhat concerned about the slacker seat angle, but I did the math and with a 32″ inseam it is only about 3/4″ different from a 73 degree angle bike. As is mentioned in the review, I can get that much by sliding my seat forward a bit.

  • JD says:

    Considering Yeti SB75 (pending carbon version), 5010c, or Mach 6 carbon for endurance XC races. I like the slacker angles and suspension to give me confidence on the descents but want the best efficient climber of the bunch. Which one would you pick? (I’ve ruled out a 29’r; feels to big and clumsy). Thanks!

  • david says:

    pivots rule the roost! drool worthy with extra powershredding ability!

  • Raym says:

    The bike has minimal tire clearance.

  • Paul says:

    @ Raym Have you even seen a Mach 6 in person? Mine has monster WTB Vigilantes and there is a ton of room. I imagine you are thinking of a different bike. BTW I’m 6′ and ride a Large with a 55mm stem. Fits perfect.

  • pegleg says:

    Interesting that the reviewers gave the Mach 6 high marks for climbing but not the Bronson; other reviews I’ve read said the opposite (Bronson was a better climber/all-arounder than the Mach 6, which was more downhill-oriented but killer at that). I’m hoping that the final awards/conclusions will speak to some of these comparisons and give us an idea of how the bikes compared in various respects side-by-side.

    • sharon says:

      Its like comparing a clydesdale to an Arabian Stallion.

    • Jon says:

      I thoroughly rode both on same trails and find the Bronson to be the better climber and overall better balance in geometry, fit/feel and performance for aggro up/down techy trail riding. The Mach 6 is a great descender for sure and pretty playful for a bigger wheeled bike, but definitely had to work harder to get up the climbs due to much slacker geometry in front and especially back end of bike when ridden with same 150 Float fork on both. I am getting a Bronson for go-to trail bike duties and keeping my aggro AM bike (Rune). If was in the market for AM/Enduro shredder bike, the Mach 6 is top of the list for sure.

  • gg says:

    Nice review, Pretty well spot on Chris knows how to build great bikes. Rode the Mach 5.7 ALU a few years back and just hop on and ride like it was my own in South Mtn AZ. Mine is an 07 Titus ML. Tempting, but riding mine till it breaks can’t justify the upgrade – such a great ride! Not a fan of the overstated graphics on Pivot now. Must be the marketing dept…

  • tyrebyter says:

    The sag specs must be typoed. .8″ would be something like 15%. What is it supposed to be?

  • jpre says:

    “There is a word missing from these reviews of the new 27.5″ bikes and that word is “playful”. Is there a bike among these that could be considered playful?”

    I would have liked to have seen what the testers thought of one of the Kona Process lineup.

  • Spanky says:

    I demo’d one of these and the front end wanders alot during all moderate to steep climbs. Wasn’t fun. Downhill all the reviews hold true. Decided with the sworks enduro 26. Couldn’t! be happier

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 is the king of descent and more


The Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 makes the case for being the best of both worlds—a bike that handles like a 26er and rolls like a 29er. Did they pull it off?

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  • DaveG says:

    “A new lockout feature on the Cane Creek Double Barrel Air CS shock…”

    It’s not a lockout.

  • stuart English says:

    I built one recently and am on my first week or two riding trip of the year. I came to Tuscon to start and after 3 days of riding 5 different trails in the area I csn say it works great in this rocky terrain. There are no huge climbs but many that are rocky and ledgy and I don’t notice any wallowing or squatting as you tackle the climb. On the downhills its just amazing how it stays so composed.

  • mr.habanero says:

    The 29er all other 29ers wish they were.

  • Sean says:

    Is nobody going to comment of the chrome short-shorts, tank top, and helmet?

    • TJ says:

      Sean – I’m pretty sure that is just a standard issue kit that comes with all Specialized 29ers now – this explains a significant portion of the $10K price tag

    • rydeordie says:

      Thats just the ASS bro, hes trying to be more lowkey and left the cape at home.

  • Jw says:

    Props to Specialized for getting the build kit right, but it’s hard to see much useful comparison between a $10K bike and a $5-7K bike. Climbing would be noticeably improved if all the bikes had carbon fiber wheels, and descending would be way better if they all had a RS Pike and Cane Creek DB Air (or similar) shock. This comparison would be more helpful of the build kits had been similar between bikes (and preferably not completely out financial reach for the normal reader). Obviously you run what you get for a test and some manufacturers don’t give the same value for money as others, but at least get the bikes within a couple of thousand dollars of each other so that readers can see real value comparisons.

  • PJMacatac says:

    So it rides like a 26er eh? But as you read the comments, many don’t agree. I took both versions (26er, 29er) of this bike out for a ride, and decided to get the real thing. That’s right, the 26er that the 29er is attempting to behave like. It has more travel, is far more playful and flickable than its wagon-wheeled sibling and…guess what? Everybody is buying into this wheel size BS so they can’t give the 26ers away. So I got a screaming deal on the superior sibling. Take advantage of this situation like I did and get yourself a bargain on one of the best bikes ever built.

    • pb says:

      I just picked up a new 2013 carbon expert enduro 26″ that a shop was almost trying to give away at this point. Never ridden, just been sitting on their floor waiting for someone to look through all the 29er hype and see this beauty. I love this 26″ bike. And now that it seems like a 27.5 enduro is inevitable, I’ll most likely never ride a 29er and I’m sure I won’t miss a thing.

  • Doctor says:

    “turns Braille into a kiddie pump track”! wow! but it raises a question. Why not just go ride a kiddie pump track in the first place?

  • Horse says:

    No mention of the massive problem this bike has with braking and wheel flex?!

    did you ride it down on anything steep?

  • Melissa Thomas says:

    I have the basic comp version $2500 and I lightened it up with some XTR but this bike climbs and descends awesome. It is heavy if you are riding with XC racers but I can clean every thing just as good as I did on my superlight superfly 100 and it floats on the downhill

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Enduro Compare-O Bottom Line: Intense’s Carbine 29 knows how to go big, fast and fun


The confidence-inspiring Intense Carbine 29 likes it meaty, beaty, big and bouncy-check it out right here.

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  • TJ says:

    Since when are 740mm bars narrow? Must have missed that memo.

    • Mtbr says:

      TJ- Bars are getting wider all the time, and though it used to be a DH fanboy fad, those of us riding all-mountain and trail bikes–particularly 29ers–are finding wider bars help with leverage when steering, making the bike slightly easier to press into turns.

  • Scott says:

    All the reasons you listed, are exactly why I built one of these. It climbs better than my previous 4″ 29er, and descends closer to my 6″ El Guapo. The only drawback is that the lower pivot pretty much eliminates the ability to run a 2x chain guide. I’m still not totally in love with 1x drive trains because of the limitations at either end. The bike geometry, weight, stiffness, and surprising maneuverability were the selling points.

  • Ben says:

    Scott, what size did you go with and how tall are you?

  • Sean says:

    It comes from Intense with High Roller II’s, but there is a Schwalbe Nobby Nic on the front in the pictures. Which tire did you prefer, and why the swap?

  • Eric says:

    Do you know what the inseam measurements are on the taller test riders? I’m about 6′, but my inseam is around 35.” I’ve been looking at large frames that run larger. Thankd for the heads up on the sizing!

  • Alex Bo B'Alex says:

    Don Palermini,
    I thought you were going to feature the x-fusion hilo sls on the carbine 29er? Or is the article exclusively going to talk about just the sls?

  • Dongoose says:

    Alex-
    I like your attention to details! The X-Fusion Hilo SLS is installed on the Carbine 29 currently and I just put some miles on it this evening. For the review above we rode the bike as spec’d by Intense with the RS Reverb. I want to log some serious miles on the SLS before writing about it, because as you likely know, all posts work well for the first few weeks…what makes a good one is how it responds to crummy conditions and how it works (or doesn’t) over time.
    Stay tuned.
    Don

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Fun, techy Soquel Demo Forest a perfect host for our Enduro Compare-O


Though it only measures out to 2,600 acres, the Soquel Demonstration State Forest packs a big mountain biking wallop. We show you around the place, and give you the map for a Compare-O of your own.

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  • al bundy says:

    Do any of these companies Specialized, Santa Cruz, Fox, Giro, Ibis, Bell, Kali Protectives, Ritchey, Easton, Praxis Works and X-Fusion

    donate or support Demo? or do they just leach off the biking community by shredding trails and NEVER giving back?

    • Scott says:

      If you look at the “supporters” link on MBoSC page, you’ll see that most do especially when you keep in mind that Easton, Bell, and Giro are all under the same umbrella of Bell. Not to mention the fact that many of the workers at all of those are active in the community on their own time. Please don’t assume that these companies just leach off the community.

    • Mtbr says:

      Al- All the companies listed have a history of supporting trails with both cash donations and sweat equity on the local trails, and they are in fact a vibrant part of the local bike community.

  • Dangerc says:

    I know at least Ibis helps out around here.

    http://www.ibiscycles.com/info/own_the_flow/

  • gg says:

    Thanks for these maps! This would’ve come in handy when I was pondering the same 2 -for-1 OtterDemo trip a few years back. A+

  • Sangwich says:

    Can’t wait to read the enduro 29er review! Come on with it!

  • Jimmy says:

    Thanks guys, that’s the best map of SDF I’ve found yet.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Cannondale Trigger 29 Carbon 2 has the good kind of split personality


The split personality Cannondale Trigger Carbon 2 has the climbing chops of a short-travel XC racer, but can rip descents like a true trail bike.

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  • Pika Boo says:

    Your review is almost spot on. I’ve had the 2013 Tigger 29er 1 alloy for almost a year now. I absolutely love this bike. It does everything as advertised. Climbs like a monkey being chased by a hot metal rod. Descends like a herd of hungry cruise passengers on a free buffet.

    Can it keep up with light weight XC guys? Almost.. Depends on your fitness
    Can it keep up with DH bikes? Yes… again depends on your fitness and skills

    I must admit that the first time I sat on this bike, it felt huge and gave me the feeling I was on top of it. But once on the trails and cruising at high speed, I felt one with the bike.

    One thing I disagree about the review is the perceived complexity of setting up the suspension. Lefty setup is just like a regular fork. Shocks are just as easy. Cannondale provides a list of recommended air pressure (in both provided manual, downloads, and iOs app) depending on rider’s weight. The listed pressures are almost spot on. As with all types of suspension, they need to be tweaked for rider’s preference.

  • r1Gel says:

    Excellently written review. Great work.

  • Thierry says:

    Great review, nicely written and almost complete. I would have appreciated your feedback about the wheels that I find a little bit heavy for a bike with this price.

    Congrats

  • Bas says:

    Since a few weeks I own this Trigger 29 Carbon 2. What a bike!

    I am used to ride lightweight XC-bikes so changing over to something like this was a big step for me. The Trigger replaced my Specialized S-Works Epic which (I felt so) was too much for XC but too less for the more rough terrain.

    First two weeks of use where I my hometrails and I ended up with a big smile on my face. As mentioned in other comments the bike felt quite big, I asume mainkymbecause of the higer bracket. However, tracks normaly hard to manage became easy, most climbs where also no problem. Very technical climbs became more easy, very steep (and longer) climbs became harder (8,5KG full rigid vs. 13,7KG Trigger).

    Faster technical singletracks are no problem. The few KG’s extra weight are, remarkably, hard to notice. The bike feels very light on the trails!

    Last few days I have been riding in the Austria alps. Did some longer climbs amd multiple long(er) (some very) technical descents. The suspension is still on the recommended settings just to experience what I would (maybe) like to change. I tend to use a slightly softer setting for the 130mm (long) travel and a slightly firmer setup for the 80mm (short) travel.

    Last few days I am using a new and slightly lighter pair of wheels. This based om traditional 32-spoke wheels with wider (25mm) rims instead of the standard Mavic wheels that, I felt so, where not a very good match with the type of bike. The new wheels are stiffer, lighter (?!) and (I think) more reliable. For use in the Alps the wheels are equipped with 2.35″ Hans Dampf tires (feels like you’re riding on rails ;-)). At home I will switch to a little less profiled tire in 2,25″. Think the weight will than be just under 13KG.

    So far there are on there are no other things I would like to change.

    (apologies for my poor grammar)

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Yeti SB95C is a gorgeous high-speed weapon


Captivating looks, big wheels and the simple yet innovative Switch suspension set the Yeti SB95C apart. Take a deep-dive into it’s performance here.

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  • Sean says:

    Can you clarify the issue with the shimano xt brakes? What is it about the bike or the brakes themselves that was an issue? Rotor too small?

    • corey says:

      the pictures show it doesn’t have the ice tech rotors. which is what make shimano brakes run cooler and by extension reliable.

  • Matt B says:

    ‘“I got the Yeti loose in a few high-speed turns, but it pulled through with impressive composure giving me added confidence,” said one rider. “Other bikes with 27.5-inch tires would have been sent skittering off into the weeds.”’
    These Compare-O reviews are so trashy, so over-the-top with marketing speak, that it comes across like an artsy in-joke at the expense of credulous mountain bikers and MTBR users. Don’t think about the wheel sizes themselves, or the Internet bickering over them that has become a meme in its own right. Just re-read that little passage above, and ask yourself WTF this kind of pointless, speculative nonsense is doing in a review written by average-ish amateur reviewers for average-ish mountain bike consumers. This bike will bone your mother but always leaves you the last piece of pie. Earn your turns. Enduro. !!11!

  • Francis says:

    When did 17.5″ chain stays become “long” for a 29er?

  • VII says:

    I’m curious about the chain stays. Here, you write in the negatives: “Longer chainstays not ideal for tight, technical trails.”

    But in the SJ EVO review, you state: “The low BB height and shorter, 17.9-inch chain stays helped the bike track nicely, even through the few tight turns on our test track.”

    My question is, are these discrepancies in your reviewing? Or does the overall geometry of a bike influence the feel and turning ability, regardless of chain stay length?

    • Gregg Kato says:

      Hey VII,

      Chainstay length by itself will only tell you so much. Typically, a longer chainstay would mean less nimble, but more stable at high speed. However, chainstay is just one measurement and overall geometry and suspension design differ a lot between the SB-95 and the Stumpy and these will play a bigger part into how the bike handles overall then just how long the chainstays are.

  • Jason says:

    For those seriously looking at buying this bike, just an FYI: I purchased this exact same build (Large, Race), swapped out the DT Swiss wheels for a set of Mavic Crossmax ST, tubeless, lighter weight saddle, reverb dropper, and xtr pedals. These changes dropped the weight down to 28.4 lbs. Run a 1×11 and you could probably get into the upper 27 lb range. Not bad for 5″ 29er all mountain ripper and you don’t have to go crazy spending $10K on top-end components and carbon wheels. Also, with the exception of the Specialized Enduro 29er, the 17.5″ chainstay length is pretty much right in the ballpark with other tested long-ish travel 29ers. When shopping, I considered 17.5″ fairly short for this type of bike, and a selling point. The bike handles really tight, technical trails like a champ. Do swap out for a longer bar and shorter stem….makes a HUGE difference.

    • grumpy says:

      i built up an alloy front/carbon rear, large. 27lb12oz. spinergy wheels ,9speed, carbon bars, XO gripshift. I am guessing the wheels and components are where the weight lies with their test bike.

  • jamesc says:

    Have a 95c built with xx1, xo trails (a must), 150mm pikes, ks lev, raceface carbon bars on Thompson stem, roval carbon wheels and it is under 28lbs, so god knows what they used to get this 30lbs+. The pike was recomended from a friend at yeti and is perfect, i don’t even have to lock it on 99% of climbs. I also have a carbon camber running xx group and the yeti is almost as close on the ups but so much better on the down, handles all but the most extreme dh tracks amazingly. Camber for race day, yeti for the rest.

    If you only want 1 bike this is definitely worth considering. Mines yellow and gets comments everywhere, rare, beautiful and amazingly capable.

  • AaronH says:

    It is not true that the eccentric rotates counter clockwise during climbing and clockwise during descents. The eccentric basically stays put in one location until you get to the last third of the travel on the rear shock, at which point it rotates counter clockwise. Don’t believe the hype.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Niner’s WFO 9 eats big trail—and convention—for breakfast and still gives you change for lunch


No carbon, no tweener wheels and half the price of some of our test bikes, the WFO 9 might just be the “get real” bike of the test.

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  • DaveG says:

    “If you like to race or ride big and rough—and are willing to trust a 29er for the task—the WFO 9 will reward and delight.”

    If you did none of these things how can you make this statement?

  • Mtbr says:

    Well Dave, while we did not enter a formal race, we DID indeed ride the bike at race pace, in race style on several occasions…and DID ride trails–while not Whistler big–with big drops jumps and rocks. Not really sure what your point is.

  • Haggis says:

    Gotta be impressed with the 2lb/$5k difference to the Bronson C. Despite the wimpy tyres and carbon post; it’s still a full alloy kitted 29er and it’s only 2lb heavier…

  • barcolounger says:

    Thanks for the review, but why no comparison to the Specialized Enduro 29? As far as this whole compare-o series, I think your definition of “compare” is different than mine.

  • DaveG says:

    “Though the WFO 9 appears to deliver on its gravity promises, we frankly didn’t have the terrain—nor the gonads—to give ‘er…”

    Your words, not mine.

    • Mtbr says:

      You left out the critical “to give ‘er Whistler Bike Park-style” which makes all the difference when using that quotation. But point taken Dave–you didn’t like the review. We appreciate your feedback.

  • Peter Eibeck says:

    MTBR – Please due your readers a HUGE service and begin an actual compare as barcolounger says.

    You guys & girls are riding some of the most interesting bikes in the world yet we have zero feedback one to another. You don’t tell us about the rider who’s giving feedback. Are they big, small. Are they XC or downhill. Don’t you think this will have a big impact? If small riders think small bump is poor and heavier riders think it works well… don’t you think this is IMPORTANT?

    You have some crazy number like 100k worth of bikes on review. Please table this out. Give some details about rider type. Do something to give us some relative benchmarks.

  • Peter Eibeck says:

    MTBR – I’d also like to second that DaveG makes a valid point. I understand the spirit of what he is saying to be this… ‘Why is a person who is not the target rider reviewing this bike?’. This bike is a long travel gravity focused machine. The Rip 9 is a bit more all mountain. So why would the review not place this in the hands of someone who is very familiar with this style of riding?

  • RDO Shredder says:

    Climbing performance would have improved dramatically had the bike been equipped with a Fox suspension. RS is the pits and the pike is over rated mumbo jumbo.

  • Topher mc garry says:

    Gotta say, feel the review was pretty weak and lopsided. ” If you can trust a 29er wheel””, Really, I thought we’d moved past this. Way to dawn the black face and perpetuate the myths. Small bump compliance? ” No matter how much sag I dialed in I couldn’t find the “…. So you think only sag is going to “dial in” your ride? Well how about rebound? Roll any bike over a staircase and play around with above, end result? Plush magic carpet goodness. Take to the trail and spend a few more moments dialing in and “Presto” a $10k bike for half! Please take some time to dial in your bikes before putting pen to paper. Pedal bob while climbing? I really can’t figure out this one. For those RIP owners wanting an upgrade Im here to tell you, the WFO out pedals the previous generation RIP. Weight? Less again. Brilliant up and down? Yes, in spades. Giant gap jumps, crazy rock gardens? Check. Flowy buff trails? Check. Rolling to the pub ’cause you can’t belive you are so lucky to live in an age where a bike like this could come with anything but the most revered review? Check, but make sure she gets parked within hands reach, given any crack head will appreciate it more than our “professional testers” will:)

  • CO Rocky ride says:

    RDO shredder has been on FOX to long. I have Pikes on my Enduro 29 and I am happy to say I think that SRAM/RS has finally topped Fox with the Pike. If the WFO rides similar to that of the Enduro, I’m sure it will be Niner’s top seller. Think of Monster truck ability with climbing of a trailbike.

  • freddy hernandez says:

    Hello, I know this is an older article, but if someone knows the size of the frame in the pictures it would be very helpful to me.

    Thanks

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Santa Cruz’s über Bronson a beautiful, agile killer


It’s beautiful. It’s expensive. It wins races and slays mountains.

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  • Joe Millionare says:

    It would be nice to read a review that didn’t use the term “with ease.” The (insert bike here) climbs with ease. The (insert fork here) soaks up bumps with ease. Anyone heard of a thesaurus?

    That said, it was a good review of a good bike. It was a little on the fan boy side, but the bike probably warrants the attention. It’s be interesting to see what they say about the Mach 6 which is arguably the most talked about bike of the year.

    • TJ says:

      They should be able to fix this with ease

    • Mtbr says:

      Joe – Thanks for the feedback. We used the word “ease” once in this story–to describe wheel acceleration. Frankly describing things accurately without being redundant is difficult within a single story and nearly impossible across 44–which is how many we’re doing in this feature. That said we will ask our editors to be as precise as possible in future articles in regards to performance characteristics.

  • johny says:

    So I have been reading all these reviews and I am left wondering where is the compare part? How do these bikes compare to eachother in terms of performance and spec? Which one is the best climber, descender….? So far all the reviews are beginning to sound the same.

  • Paul says:

    @ johny the actual comparison part is coming later after this phase is over. I agree it’s been draaaawn out a bit too long. In a couple weeks you’ll be able to compare them with ease.

  • Chader says:

    There will be a final award section once all the other reviews are completed. See the “The Golden Pliny’s – Enduro Compare-O Award Winners” link preview in the index at the top right.

  • Pegleg says:

    “When pressed to choose between the Bronson and its shorter-travel brethren, the 5010—which is touted more as the “all day adventure bike”—most of our riders see no point in going shorter given a weight difference of just over a pound when you consider the greater capability the Bronson provides.”

    But what about the loss of climbing ability? The 5010 review lauded it for its climbing prowess, wheres this review is kind of “meh” on the Bronson’s climbing. I’m getting the sense that the review team is biased towards downhill performance, and will always choose the burlier downhill performer over the bike that’s a better climber. Here in the CO front range, we spend most of our time climbing to get to the fun downhill (e.g. a 3 hour ride is usually 2 hours of climbing and 1 hour of downhill), so it seems to me like climbing performance really ought to carry more weight.

    • Mtbr says:

      Pegleg – You make some valid points. There is definitely a bias towards descending as we look at the bikes through the lens of enduro racing first and then for other things. Regional differences will dictate preferences, and the 5010 did indeed climb better than the Bronson–if I has to put a number on it 3-5-percent better. Maybe. Interestingly, our Colorado-based test rider was much more enthused by the 5010 than he was the Bronson.

      • Pegleg says:

        Thanks for the reply. That makes sense; I wasn’t really thinking of these as being through an enduro-specific lens (I know, it’s in the name of the series – I was just thinking of it more as a category of bike than a type of riding). In the end, I’ll just have to ride both (plus the Tallboy LTC) and figure out what’s right for me. Great series, appreciate all the info.

      • Bazou says:

        Hi Mtbr! Did you mean 3 to 5 percent better or 35 percent better?

        Can’t wait to read you’re compare-o between the 5010 and the Bronson…

  • Mike says:

    Please stop with the quotes! Especially since we don’t know who you are quoting. You might as well take all the comments and weave it into the review without the quotes, so it flows better.

    Also, almost every review on this website uses the word “prowess” to describe the bikes climbing ability. Use a thesaurus like another commenter has mentioned!

    • Mtbr says:

      Mike- Sorry you don’t like our format, but the backstory is that we wanted our editors to convey the predominant sentiment of the test rider feedback, and use direct quotes to both support and offer alternate POVs on a bike’s performance. We could have attributed the quotes to the specific test rider, but felt that would be even more distracting as even if named, you have no idea who they are. We appreciate your POV, however, and will take your feedback into account when we do future tests.

  • Russ says:

    It adds no value to the comparison by saying “XX1 is great” or “Enve wheels are great” or “the build is too expensive” or the totally worthless “tire X is grippy or sucks”. All of those are items that can be configured on any frame. So the real value of the comparison would be to have the bikes have similar builds (understanding that more travel may mean different required components) and then compare performance related to the bikes geometry, proprietary suspension design etc.

  • Mtbr says:

    Russ – Thanks for your note. We had much debate over how to test the bikes and even contemplated a ‘stock spec’ we’d swap from bike to bike. But aside from it being physically impractical, the truth is most people still buy complete bikes as spec’d by the manufacturers–so that’s how we tested them. As practicably as possible, we tried to filter out the easy swaps–tires, saddles and the like, but some of the parts become integral to the way we experience bikes on the trail, and there’s no way not to factor them.

  • Andrea says:

    First of all sorry for my bad English, I’m Italian! I Think is not fair making reviews or bikes comparisons with very expensive components like Carbon Enve Wheels that only 5% of us ,If not less, at the moment can afford. A carbon wheel set can change the climbing performance of a bike from good to great I think. It’s not fair to compare a bike with carbon wheels with others with aluminum rims, it’s a key component that can change the judgement and the climbing ability of a bike. I ’m sure they will be the future for top level bikes but for the time being they are too expensive.
    Anyway I’m a MTBR fun from a long time and I’m waiting for a reliable and sincere comparison of all bikes at the end of test. As others have mentioned aslo for me climbing is a key point in a bike, enduro bikes are at the end do it all bikes so they must be good in both worlds, up and down, I don’t think all the readers here are enduro reacers! All the best!

  • enduro119 says:

    Hey Thanks again bicycle manufacturers, for making yet again another overpriced five hundred percent marked up carbon frame BICYCLE! Anyone could walk into a Honda or Yamaha dealership drop 8500 and walked away with a motorized bicycle… come on these prices are getting ridiculous An absolutely unacceptable…Are We trying to kill our sport?

    • Mtbr says:

      Enduro-
      High prices would only “kill the sport” as you put it, if there were no viable lower cost options available–which there are plenty of. We will be testing the $3400 version of this bike–the Bronson Aluminum–in the coming weeks and seeing how it nets out against this version. And that motorcycle comparison is a tired one. Yes, we know there are MX bikes that cost less than this, but how often do you get to ride it? If it’s everyday, then absolutely it’s more valuable–TO YOU. To me a bike brings adds more value to life than a car or motorcycle…and just about anything other than family and friends, so the value is what you make of it and what it means to you.

  • Ray says:

    It’s very easy to sit back and read a review and pick holes in it. I’d like to see everybody who has complained about the writing style and the use of “certain” words in this review compile a review as well written as this that keeps the reader engaged from start to finish.

    Santa Cruz makes a great product, and this is a phenomenal bike.
    Great review MTBR.

  • Jon says:

    FWIW, I rode a Bronson Alu and 5010 Alu with same R build kit back to back over course of 5 hours on mixed techy climb/descent terrain. I found the Bronson to ultimately perform and climb better to me under these conditions due to much better balance (front to back) than that of 5010 to my surprise. For some reason, I never felt in optimal position to steeply climb or descend on the 5010, whereas the Bronson felt equally good to me in both directions. Both frames were same size, same length stem, tires, Fox suspension with similar sag. Bronson just had 150 travel front to back versus 130 on the 5010. I am still perplexed that the Bronson was the better climber for me, but think that added travel allows for a better tune of the shock, cause it felt livlier and more compliant to me, whereas the 5010 kind of felt dead in the back end to me and too steep/thin up front (fork). My take between the two bikes with exact same build ridden on same trails back to back.

  • Sun says:

    I am really enjoying the reviews. I was only 5 months in to the sport when I bought my Bronson w/ the same equipment as the one tested. But I feel like I made a wise purchase for my local conditions even if it is a bit overkill for my skill level.
    I ride MX and I’m not sure that an MX bike is really more complicated than a top of the line MTB. Look how all the MX rear suspensions are basically identical, yet every MTB has it’s version of a virtual pivot and many other variables to account for. Either way, riding my MTB is so much easier than getting out on my MX bike that it’s worth every penny.
    Would this be the appropriate place to ask what I should be running the sag at front and rear on the Bronson? MX bikes all have a set same number for the sag but bikes don’t appear to be the same. I’ve asked a lot of people and I’ve gotten a wide variety of answers leaving me pretty confused.
    Is this bike specific info or just a general number related to preferences or maybe riding conditions?
    Thanks

    • Ray says:

      Hey Sun,

      Sag for the shock can be set initially according to the guidelines that Santa Cruz offer on their website. http://www.santacruzbicycles.com/en/us/bronson-carbon if you scroll down to the section where shock setup is and set it according to your weight. Depending on what fork you have on your bike you can get a recommended sag setting from there too. After that, you can mess around with sag settings yourself to find what suits your riding style and where you are most comfortable. Hope that helps, suspension setup is something that all depends on your riding style.

      Ray

  • mike says:

    where is the $3400 alloy frame review??

  • jim says:

    I test roded both the bronson and the 5010. I ended up with a 5010 with the more beefy bronson talus fork. I also went to the XL instead of the large. For me this ended any climbing struggles. Decreasing the angle with the reduced fork length and extending the front end with the larger bike created a climbing experience that is nothing short of amazing. The more stretched out front end put the downhill speed that the brolo produces under even more control. No one has mentioned the low bottom of this bike. It makes for fantastic control when pushing the rubber to the turn. However, it does necessitate attention what your peddles and/or front cog may come in contact with.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: GT Sensor Carbon Expert’s stellar suspension performance underwhelmed by parts spec


GT’s new AOS suspension design delivers high-level performance. But can it mask sub-parts spec.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Orbea Rallon’s brings punk rock attitude to the enduro party


Orbea’s 160mm-travel Rallon throws down some serious Euro-trash punk rock on our Enduro Compare-O.

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  • tyrebyter says:

    Are those the same formula brakes you guys trashed in the GT Sensor review? Why such different impressions.

  • Paul says:

    In the “bad” list you forgot to mention it’s $7000… for an aluminum framed bike! That’s a tough pill to swallow.

    • Brian Q says:

      This is one of the few times I think you can safely say: Someone has to pay for the extensive R&D.

      Plus it comes in 4 levels if your are more budget minded, and don’t mind riding Fox and XT.

  • r1Gel says:

    Have to agree with Daniel’s FB comment. This bike’s performance boils down to its fork and shock. Take those away and what do you have left? It’d be interesting to know how the Fox-equipped Rallons perform.

  • hellbelly says:

    I demoed this bike today and was completely blown away. It laid to waste every bike I have demoed over the last six months. It smokes down hill and technical rides like nothing else while still being able to claw up climbs. I am now seriously considering purchasing this frame. Regarding Daniel’s comment above, I thought the suspension felt great, but I don’t think that was all that was happening. The Rallon has a unique geometry (long top tube, short chainstays, steep seat angle, slack head angle and really low bb height) that is just that notch above than other similar bikes. Plus, I like the feel of the DB Air even better (weight diff of 4.5 ounces…BFD), which is what I will run on it paired with a Pike SA 160.

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Enduro Compare-O: The Mtbr test crew picks their favorite Dream Bike Spec components


Our test crew picks their ultimate, no-holds-barred component mix from the Enduro Compare-O in our Dream Spec feature.

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  • scott says:

    Flats or clipless???

  • Seric says:

    Anyone of you tested the Syntace W35 wheels? Should be on your list, as I think they would beat any of the non-carbon wheels you mentioned. For bling, Enve is the thing, but for best performance on alu wheels, Syntace is one of or if not the best.

    • Mtbr says:

      Scott, our riders were about 80% clipless and 10% flats. Seric, we’ve not ridden the W35’s as they weren’t OEM spec on any of our bikes. If we do a wheel shootout, we’ll try to include them. We’re currently looking for objective ways to test wheels–weight and width are easy…real stiffness vs. the perception of it–is not. We need to drop some real science on that part.

      • Moshe says:

        How about trying them with the same tires bikes and air pressures and seeing how they hold up to the ride.
        For example 4 bikes, 4 tires:
        SC Bronson, Trek Remedy, Intense Carbine, and one other.
        Maxxis High Roller II, Continental MountainKing, Bontrager X4, and one other.
        Try it!!

    • Andy B. says:

      I looked closely at the Syntace wheels recently but when comparing the weight and price the American classic Wide Lightning wheels won me over

  • Motivated says:

    I’m surprised none of the bikes came with an X-Fusion fork. Especially the Riley, since I believe Lopes raced with one.

    • Mtbr says:

      Lopes’ suspension sponsorship is separate from his bike sponsor, so that’s explainable. To our knowledge X-Fusion has a spec on a few OEM bikes at relatively low price points. That said, they make some killer forks and shocks worthy of further consideration on bikes of any price, but they’re primarily aftermarket at this point.

  • Dave says:

    I have a Mach6 xt/xtr build with a 160mm Pike. Pretty close to my dream bike! I opted for Nox carbon wheels with CKing hubs (1K less than Enve). If you’re thinking carbon I would checkout this bike/fork/wheel combo!!!

  • Mike says:

    one question – are there any enduro worthy trails in the bay area? there are some nice bikes & components featured but seems overkill imo

    • Mtbr says:

      Enduro race venues feature a pretty broad spectrum of gnar and we tested these bikes on the same trails used for the Santa Cruz Super Enduro…which we would call medium-intensity.

  • Mr. P says:

    You forgot the #1 component that most riders seem to favor;

    Stoked to be on a bike and rocking the trail.

    P

  • me says:

    Hmmmm if you look at this article it’s giving us a clear heads up on the overall winner. Which bike comes with the majority of all these components standard? Plus they even mentioned it as their top frame. Santa Cruz Bronson wins…

    Ok MTBR stop making us wait, post the rest of the articles and agree with me.

  • MotoLoco says:

    I did two dream builds. Trying components from smaller companies. Santa Cruz Solo C XL 5,5 pounds. Chris King InSet pewter. Magura TS8R 120 with eLect 3 pounds eleven ounces with axle, star nut, and t25 tool. Race Face Next SL, 484 grams with 36t ring is impressive. MRP carbon AMG for 32-36t very light frame protection. Magura MT6 brakes with MT8 levers, front brake w/o rotor weighs 175 grams with pads. Custom wheels using a robust build featuring carbon rims 30mm wide at 375 grams. Spokes are Sapim strong with polyax brass nipples laced to DT swiss 240 hubs, front being the OS with 20mm capability. Stiff. 815 grams front, 865 rear. Schwalbe Nobby Nic front, Rocket Ron rear tubeless, and they seat with a floor pump. Shimano XT GS-s rear derailleur, XTR cassette 11-36, XTR chain sil tec 981. Race Face Next SL green carbon bar, with Loaded precision green pistol grips. Thomson seatpost, and binder topped with Selle Italia Flite Kit Carbonio green saddle. Pedals are either Loaded Precision AMx Signature with green alloy traction pins or Look s-trak. The Pivot Mach 6 I’m building has yet to be finalized but front suspension is the Formula 35, and the brakes are Formula T1 with shimano rt-99 freeza rotors.

  • MTBP says:

    GOOD thing for online retailers, otherwise, hardly anyone could afford any of these nice products. MSRP is DEAD!!!!!!!!!

    Also, the X01 cassette shifts better that the XX1.

  • Matt says:

    Did you guys not have any Hope brakes? That’s the only thing I would change.

    • EAS says:

      I have the hope Tech 3 E4. They are pretty good, great modulation like all the reviews say. They don’t have overwhelming instant power, but you can still lock both wheels up if you want to. The levers are comfortable and easily adjusted. Compared to some other brakes I’ve ridden they remain fairly consistent from the top of the run to the bottom with a minimal change in power when they get hot.

  • Moshe says:

    XO 2×10,
    XTR Trail Brakes,
    Bontrager Rhythm Pro Wheels,
    Bontrager Rhythm Stem and Handlebar,
    TALAS 34 150 CTD
    Float X CTD DRCV
    Reverb Stealth,
    Bontrager XR4 Tires,
    ODI Locking Grips,
    On a Trek custom Remedy 27.5 Frame

  • dude says:

    SC Bronosn C
    XTR drive, shifters and brakes
    Enve wheels, bars and stem
    RS Pike fork
    HighRoller 2’s
    RS Reverb post
    RaceFace Atlas pedals
    Specialized Henge Expert saddle
    Specialized Grappler grips

  • C54N4 says:

    Corsair Marque
    E13 drive
    Saint shifters and avid brakes
    Dt swiss wheels
    Renthal bars and stem
    Bos Deville fork
    Bos vip’r shock
    RS Reverb post
    Straitline amp pedals

  • Paul says:

    @Mike are you new to the area? Ever ride in Pacifica? It’s not hard to find trails that push the limits of these bikes in the Bay. There are lesser known DH worthy trails all around and these bikes make those trails much easier to access. A modern 5-6″ travel bike is perfect for most of the steep and tech stuff in SC too.

  • Alex Bo B'Alex says:

    Mtbing is a sell out

  • TheChez says:

    XT 2×10 converted with a narrow wide and clutch derailleur.
    XTR brakes(trail or non those things stop!)
    Wide rimmed wheels like Syntace 35
    KS Lev
    King headset
    50mm stem
    750mm bars(Havens are nice or new Thomson)
    Charge saddle
    Time pedals
    ODI Vans grips
    Pike fork
    Monarch Plus shock(highly underrated shock)
    Trail King tires front and back

  • MBR says:

    Re: Dream Bars “If your bars aren’t at least 750mm wide, you’re doing something wrong.” Oops. Guess I’m doing it all wrong. My carbon bars are just 720 mm wide, weigh 40g less and cost half…

  • Chris says:

    I concur with the syntace wheels.
    They would probably rule here as well as their stem, the megaforce is lighter and prettier (subjective) than the Easton.
    Other than that I agree with a lot of the choices.
    Maybe the x-fusion vengeance should at least be mentioned.

  • Derek Chavez says:

    Obviously some of you haven’t ridden SRAM 1×11. It is incredible. Just built up an Anthem 27.5 aluminum. Sweeeet race bike! Didn’t like the fox ctd the frame came with so I installed a rock shox monarch rl. It has a real lockout. XX1, xx fork, Stan’s crest wheels. Not my dream ride but close. Needed an extra 4k to spend on carbon for that ( carbon wheels for sure), but a light weight very sweet ride.

  • chris aka Mr Ski says:

    I am seeing more and more Dream bikes around. Wow. Built my dream bike last year. Turner Burner, Fox 34 Fork, Fox Kash CTD shock, XX1 165 mm crank arms and 28 teeth up front, Shimano XTR Race Brakes 160 rotors F&R, LEV post, Chromag saddle, Cane Creek 110 Headset, Chromag HI FI stem, Raceface 6c bars, ODI grips, Could not see the sense in carbon wheels as the weight was the same as my Stans ArchEX 650B, laced to Hope hubs, high roller on the front and Hans Damph rear, and XTR trail pedals. Gets me around Whistler. 63 and tax

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Scott Genius 710 offers many options to suit many riders


The Scott Genius 710 is an excellent climber and is a bike that you could use for racing Enduro or even XC Endurance races.

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  • DaveG says:

    “Part of the reason we say TwinLoc is critical is because the suspension (especially the rear) can be quite finicky to setup. Small adjustments make big differences, and all of our test riders preferred running the rear shock with more sag than normal to soak up bigger hits. The downside was less-than-ideal climbing efficiency, which we compensated for with frequent use of TwinLoc. Just like dropper posts, the easier it is to access, the more you will use it…the more you use it, the more you appreciate it.”

    Sounds more like a lipstick on a pig than a useful feature.

  • LJ says:

    Had a chance to ride this bike. It looks awesome and climbs really well, but the rear shock did not perform well when it gets rough and there is a lot going on with all the adjustments and controls.

  • John Smith says:

    Of course the problem is that your spend-thrift competitor in the race crowd is going to buy the Specialized S-Works Epic World Cup and at less than 21 lbs, that’s a full 6 and 1/2 pounds less weight, they are going to blow your damn doors off- rip your helmet off your head- strip your jersey off- while passing you.

    • slo_rider says:

      that’s a useless apples to oranges comparison, since the $10.5 K USD epic wc is optimized for XC/24-hr endurance events, not super-D or enduro races.

      this ain’t the XC compare-o reviewing 20lb XC race whips, and if you were forced to race that spec epic wc in any technical enduro series at the same race pace as others riding the 27-30+ lb bikes in this comparison, you’d be lucky to survive the season without breaking your bike or your body.

  • Austin Walsh says:

    This bike design rules, along with bikes from Liteville and Rocky Mountain that keep a straight open seat tube for all options in fully lowering a standard seatpost or using the longest length adjusting seat posts. By stretching back the lower portion of the seat tube to the BB, it doesn’t need to put a bend in the seat tube.

    The Scott Genius 710 is the design that most MTB bikes will have in the near future.

  • Vanguard. says:

    I own this bike and it rocks. However, I’d not give it the oh-so-trendy Enduro tag. Its geometry and suspension design makes it an ideal all mountain / trailbike. Compared t the Specialized Enduro, its suspension is less plush, and its head angle is less slack, but it climbs a lot better (A LOT).

    From 2013 to 2014, Scott has dropped the 34 Talas for a 32 Float, reducing the weight at the cost of a less firm fork. So putting the Genius 710 in an Enduro test might be a bit misleading. If you’re into enduro racing, this bike is probably not what you are looking for (Scott has the Genius LT series, though, if you are looking for more travel).

    But if you are looking for an all mountain bike that climbs even better than it descends, you find a great companion that will not let you down on any terrain. To me, it’s really a one-quiver bike.

    NB: I cannot really understand the complaints about the suspension remote, when a remote-controlled adjustable seat post is considered standard. I love changing the suspension setting on the fly, at speeds and on trails I won’t risk taking a hand off the handlebar. Is one additional lever really too much to handle?

  • eboysen says:

    This Scott 710 Genius is an awesome bike! It is a great climber and awesome on technical descends. The 27.5 wheel size really is a great all around size for rocky technical trails, handles much better than the 29er. Yes the 29er is fast on single track trails but the versatility of the 27.5 wheel is great. I feel Scott hit a home run with this 710 Genius and truly excited about riding more trails in Southern Cal.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Highly versatile Ibis Ripley eschews convention to splendid results


The Ibis Ripley has the get-up-and-go of a long-travel cross-country bike, the playfulness of a small-wheeled trail tamer, and even the cajones to tackle some light-duty enduro racing.

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  • Ian says:

    Every test of this bike is in light XC build. Can someone build it with AM wheels : flows ex or wtb i25 s on Chris kings and 34 fork at 140 or pike and really take it through paces on some rocks. Love the bike and hear it can handle the burly parts but have not seen it. Also hear that 2.3 tires rub seat tube in the back. Tell me it is not so and I can use my beloved HR2 2.35

    • DP says:

      No you can’t…. Because Chris King at least to the best of my knowlege still won’t accommodate xx1 which is absolutely what this bike wants. Furthermore the beefed up light bicycle carbon rims are another must have. I have ridden 120 and 140 forks. I went 140 I had the fox and switched to the pike which is light years better and couples better with the 120mm rear because the fox mid stroke support is garbage. With the 140 front this is a bike I would take anywhere that I would pedal up. I never ride my hardtail and am selling my bigger hit bike.

  • Andy B. says:

    Hey Ian, these guys tried the 34 but I don’t think it was a Talas judging by their complaint of balance being thrown iff though it’s not clear.

    http://www.bikeradar.com/us/mtb/gallery/article/ibis-ripley-29-review-38062/1/

  • phil kaznowski says:

    I just built this bike with a 140 Fox Float, the bike felt rock solid and perfect for rough all mountain terrain (Lakes Basin).

  • Motivated says:

    What’s the real max rider height for the XL – when I was considering this bike the ETT was a very short 625mm, but indicated fit up to 6’6″ rider – does not jive. I never test ride one.

  • manchvegas says:

    2.35 HRs wont fit. I run mine with 2.4 xkings an it doesnt rub. I also tun mine with 140mm 34 fork and have raced some gnarly enduro. Itll do the job pretty well. I want a little more travel for northeast enduro.. but the bike will handle just about anything you throw at it.

  • Benja says:

    It’s funny how Ibis bikes kind of stump a lot of the market. Ibis is not a marketing-centric company. They make great bikes that they would love to ride. Sure sometimes they respond to the demands of the market, but their bikes don’t fall into the nice marketing categories that the bigger brands prop up to move units. Anyway, the Ripley is a good example of that. Is it an XC bike? Sure. Enduro? Sure. The HDR is somewhat similar; it doesn’t fall into neatly defined categories. But all their bikes reward the rider in spades. And yes, the Ripley deserves a 34 or Pike.

  • bigfoot jr says:

    “Effective last January, all Ripley frames are now shipped with a beefier lower eccentric core and new titanium bolt, which besides addressing the over-tightening issue, increases lateral stiffness by 10 percent claims Ibis. These updated parts can be retrofitted on older Ripley frames, and are available on the Ibis website for $35.”

    Wow….They spent 5 years designing this bike?!?!!

  • Jimbo says:

    I have the Ripley built with a 140mm Talas and Sram XX1. The bike can handle anything you throw at it. Super efficient climber and is bomber on rocky, technical DH’s. I would recommend carbon wheels to reduce flex in hard, fast corners. My previous bike was a Nomad. Didn’t think it was possible to have a better bike. The Ripley is better. This bike could win Downieville.

  • Alan says:

    I also own an Ibis Ripley and couldn’t be happier. My build is with the Pike Solo 140, Enve AM rims (Butcher 2.3’s F/GC 2.3’s rears), XX1, and have both a Pushed CTD and X-Fusion Microlite (Still haven’t picked a favorite). This bike is capable of anything I’m willing and able to throw at it. Bottom line… I purchases this bike believing it would be the best all around bike for my style of riding. Ibis has delivered!

    I’ve also been impressed with both Ibis’s customer service and product. Great job Ibis.

  • r1Gel says:

    How is the test bike’s build different from the standard XT build? Why is it $70 less?

    • r1Gel says:

      Correction — just realized the test bike has an X01 build. Still, there’s a $400+ discrepancy between the quoted price and what’s in the Ibis website.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Rocky Mountain Altitude brings full-tilt, all-mountain attitude


If we gave out a Chuck Norris award the 2014 Rocky Mountain Altitude MSL 770 Rally Edition would win by a tractor pull.

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  • Roger says:

    30lbs is light for an all-mountain rig…I guess you XC guys are still adjusting.

  • Benja says:

    It’s 2014, I’d say 30lbs no longer counts as “light” for All-Mtn. You can build a Bronson or an HDR at 26lbs. Full DH rigs are hitting mid-upper 30s.

    • Krash says:

      The Altitude can be built to 26lbs too. The Rally editions are the heaviest of the build options. The Altitude 799 comes out of the box a tad over 26.

  • roger says:

    Yeah, it’s 2014 alright…Enve wheels, xx1cassette, and carbon cranks will get any of these carbon bikes on 26lbs range. No one drops 10K on a mt.bike these days unless they are rich, middle aged men, 30lbs overweight who just started mt.biking.

  • enduropierogi says:

    I hope you guys have a Trek Slash somewhere, this Compare-O won’t be complete without it….

  • Benja says:

    Roger, hate to break it to you, but where I’ve been living and riding for the last 25 years (Bay Area and Portland OR) there are a crap ton of folks who spend $6-10k on bikes regularly, and trust me, they are not overweight or have just started riding (riding since ’86 here). Rich, sure some, middle aged, definitely. Doesn’t mean they can’t smoke riders half their age!

    And you don’t need Enve wheels or full XX1 to build an HDR or Bronson at around 26lbs. But it’s not worth arguing, these are bikes and these are First World Problems. The Rally edition stuff from RM just doesn’t feel like it has a point IMO, but I’m sure Rocky’s Marketing Dept knows better!

  • Gunnar says:

    I have the exact same model as tested, and was a bit surprised by the amount of sag used on the testbike. After breaking in the shock i ended up with 20% sag. With that i use all the travel even in the most progressive geo setting. That is also real close to the recommended setting from Fox. Any comments from the testers on that?
    Regarding the weight: the wheelset is real sturdy but crazy heavy and some of the other components are a bit overkill as well. I would have no problem running this bike on a dh track. Will try it with light wheels though, which will be interesting.

    • Dongoose says:

      Gunnar-

      We didn’t get any rides on the Rocky before the test and the bike was brand new from stock, so its likely our shock wasn’t broken in…in fact it did seem to get better the more we rode the bike.

      Curious to hear how you deal with the rebound setting on the shock. We took to carrying a small screwdriver to adjust it.

      We think you could easily drop a few pounds without any durability loss–wheels and tires being the most obvious…crankset too…if you went with an RF Next Sl with direct mount you could cut its weight in half.

      Don

  • Skyno says:

    I was able to test ride this bike and it absolutely shreds – just eats up the terrain – I liked it so much that I am building one up right now. I ran the sag at about 30% with the Float X & that was pretty close to perfect – hucked it as hard as I could & bottoming out was a rare event. Rally edition has an alloy rear triangle and a few components that aren’t particularly light; the full carbon model has a frame weight just over 5 lbs. (about 1 lb. lighter than HDR & 1/4 lb lighter than Bronson).

    • Rene says:

      Do you know what the rally ed. frame weight is?

      • Skyno says:

        I couldn’t find a definitive source on this, but since I am building up one of these, I did bit of research and estimated from measurements I found that the 770 frame was about 250g heavier than the 790 with a comparable shock, but keep in mind that the Rally edition comes with the upgraded Float X, which I believe is about 150 grams heavier than the standard Float, but well worth it for the performance – so you are probably looking at just under 6 pounds

  • Gunnar says:

    Don – Thanks for feedback! Both shock and fork have improved after breaking in and are now real good, a huge improvement over the fox products of the last couple of years.
    I use a small allen key for adjusting the rebound, it works but is still a hassle.
    Already dropped close to a pound by going tubeless and getting better tires on, switching to a SixC bar (same dimensions though) and removing the lower chainguide. The tire-change got rid of all of the vagueness in the corners, it now rails!
    With a rear hub change, lighter spokes and a lighter cassette i think the bike will be spot-on.

    Benja – for riding conditions where i live RM have pretty much nailed it with the Rally edition. They have done most of the changes that riders end up doing anyway. Also for european style racing it is nicely set up. So for some markets and customer groups, this is real good!

  • Jordan R. says:

    Rad review! I’ve been riding this exact bike for the last month or so and I’d have to agree that it’s one of the most fun descenders I’ve ever ridden. So far my only gripe is using a dental pick to adjust my rebound. The flow rims are rather heavy, but I am also riding this as my only bike, so it’ll end up on a chairlift soon enough. I’ve been running the shock at a touch under 30% sag and I definitely use all of the travel, but bottom outs never seem harsh. As far as the climbing I only feel the need to take it out of descend mode for smooth climbs and out of the saddle efforts. On anything technical I like the added traction from leaving the shock wide open.

    The first thing I did when I took it out of the box, however, was take the fork and shock apart to make sure I had proper oil levels. It’s something I do with any new suspension product.

  • Ryan says:

    I have been riding the piss out of this bike since aug. It is awesome. The conti tires started falling apart within the first month. (The stock ones do not have the black chili rubber)
    The 1X10 toughned me up on the climbs. When it gets steep switch it to climb mode and tell your friends you’ll meet them at the top. When they catch up and you can breath again tell them you’ll see them at the bottom because this bike hauls ass. Just be careful of the tight trees, the bars are wide.
    My plan was to buy it in aug and sell it in June. But it’s going to be very hard to replace this bike with something better.
    It is straight out of the box worth it. $5600 for everything you get is awesome.
    I have never been a Rocky fan but my mind has been changed.

  • scott says:

    I’m pretty certain you could build this same bike for around $5,000-but with a carbon handlebar, better tires and xt brakes.

    My 29er Banshee Prime XL weighs in at 32.8 lbs with Flow EX rims, Adent 2.35 tires, SRAM carbon cranks, 1×10 (42t oneup) and I only paid around $4500 for everything on it. . .

  • scott says:

    Oh and for climbing ability-do you think it has a lot to do with going with a single chainring? Older bikes were designed with the pivot placed above the smallest chainring to reduce bob- now that the middle ring is the only one left you are now climbing with the chain well above the pivot. . .

  • Sterling Mudge says:

    How about switching out the front chain ring for a smaller one? I know I can’t pedal a 34 where I live since we climb so much. Anybody know the smallest chainring you can run on the Turbine?

  • Ruben Blanco says:

    How much does this bike from 2014 cost, more or less??

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Fezzari’s roll-your-own Timp Peak packs value, performance


The Fezzari Timp Peak delivers value in and performance in spades with this 150mm travel bike sporting a 1×11 drivetrain and carbon wheelset.

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  • bryan says:

    Crazy that we call a $6400 bike a “great value” bike lol. (and I’m not arguing it isn’t).

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      >>Crazy that we call a $6400 bike a “great value” bike lol. (and I’m not arguing it isn’t).

      Succinctly put. 🙂

  • Peter Eibeck says:

    Guys, I check your site every day to see these reviews. However, with each review, I’m becoming less interested. Here’s why. I want to see HOW THE BIKE RIDES! This review is pretty useless.

    Please, consider maybe a 5 or 10 star system. Rate things like small bump, big drop, stiffness, climbing, descending, cornering, nimble-ness, etc. Without some common ground, much of this is less interesting.

    If you really want to provide a HUGE service to your readers, consider making a master table. List the categories, travel front, rear, price, frame makeup, wheel makeup, and then add the ‘score’ below. At a glance, your readers can look and see what they gain and what they give up for each model. If a person loves up and down, you need one that is competent in both.

    What do you think?

  • VII says:

    Something more comparative would be nice, as Peter E said. You’ve got all these riders and bikes in one spot, why not give a lap time average on these bikes? Which is fastest up or down? You call this a Compare-O, but it’s far more serial reviews than comparing the bikes.

  • Francis Cebedo says:

    >>Please, consider maybe a 5 or 10 star system. Rate things like small bump, big drop, stiffness, climbing, descending, cornering, nimble-ness, etc. Without some common ground, much of this is less interesting.

    Point taken. What we’ll have in a couple of weeks is awards in about 5 categories. Best climbing bike, Best descending, Versatile, etc. Winners and runners up.

  • bigfoot jr says:

    No details of the pivot hardware,bearings or links on this basically unknown brand? We all know that the quality of these items can make or break any FS frame.

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Sublime Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29 makes a case for substance over buzz


If you’re a fan of big wheeled bikes, the Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29 is a sure fire hit. And if you’re skeptical of wagon wheels, this bike just might change your mind.

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  • Tad says:

    You described the 17.9 inch chain stays as “shorter”. They would have been shorter 4 or 5 years ago, however now it is definitely on the long side. Having a hard time manualing up and over logs? Look no further than those long chain stays. The Ripley, Enduro 29er, and the BMC that you tested all have much shorter chain stays. Be willing to bet that the Stumpy will get the short Enduro stays for 2015.

  • gg says:

    Arrghh. Can’t stand the external cable mess at the BB. Surely Spec and fix that with internal routes? And it just looks like crap. C’mon!

  • Loll says:

    Your tester said climbing was the same with climb trail or wide open mode. Obviously they are not hammering and standing. I own the non evo version and one ride up Kennedy or Mission Peak will prove your test wrong

    • slo_rider says:

      i agree w/ above: there’s plenty of commentary on mtbr’s forums about spec’s FSR rear suspension having less anti-squat compared to other designs like VPP, DW-link, and Maestro. pros are more active suspension (and less pedal kick-back) when climbing, cons are more pedal-bob. seems like it’s the kind of rear end that favors smooth pedaling while grinding in the saddle, as opposed to mashing while standing.

    • Shaun says:

      I have to agree with Loll! I have a 2013 model and putting it in trail or open mode when climbing is like riding a pogo stick.

  • Mike says:

    Sounds a lot like my Pivot Mach 429 that I just picked up for a third of the price.

  • VII says:

    Got one of these after riding a VPP2 (Blur LTC) for years. After everything I’ve been reading over the years on forums, I was expecting a decrease in pedaling efficiency, but it actually pedals very well. It’s plusher on the descent than my Blur, more active when pedaling in the rough, and there isn’t a noticeable loss of efficiency climbing. Maybe a factor is rider weight? (I’m a light rider.)

  • Bob Stimson says:

    Next time you do a review, how about picking a component/wheel set that most people can afford. How about all XT, $3000 bikes, instead of this $10k titanium/magnesium setups that are in the realm very few…

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Compare-O Bottom Line: Born on the ‘shore’ Norco Range 7.1 packs proven DH chops in AM package


The burly Norco Range Alloy 7.1 can handle the steepest and gnarliest of trails all while offering one of the best values on the market today.

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  • Roger says:

    32lbs well duh, it’s not a carbon bike! It’s single pivot…the shock that does all the work! Does it have enve wheels? Makes all the difference!

  • Roger says:

    This compare-o is ridiculous! It’s apple and oranges! We know carbon and aluminum bikes are too different rides, also carbon and aluminum wheels! Also factor in rider fitness! Let’s see some pro credentials!

  • Shawn says:

    Roger,it’s not a single pivot bike. Norco licences Specialized’s four bar Horst link suspension design.

  • Ian says:

    Some carbon and alu bikes are very close. Pivot 5.7 is within half a pound and rides great in alu. Well build alu wheels will be as good as carbon and less,prone to fail on hard rock hits. Most of us are still on alu frames with alu wheels.. So it is very relevant NorCal sight in alu got a lot of praise so I have hopes for this one too

  • David says:

    How have you selected the bikes that are under test?
    I see a number of boutique brands, niner, yeti, ibis etc, but a brand like Transition have a couple of bikes both 29 & 26 that fit this category yet are nowhere to be seen.
    Their Bandit29 is an awesome ride and the Covert to more agressive again.
    Any thoughts?

  • Chez says:

    I agree mostly with this review. It is a portly bike(I have last year’s Range 2) but can be lightened up very easily with the money you save. It climbs EXCEEDINGLY well for how heavy it is. I switched mine up to a narrow wide front and it has been great. It’s like having a mini DH bike that can climb. Bike design has come a long way in just a few short years. Now to get some lighter wheels.

  • Doctor says: