Q: I am a second-year NICA racer looking to do enduro racing next season and need a new bike that can do both. I am currently on a ’17 Rocky Mountain Soul 27.5 hardtail with 120mm of front travel. I was looking at an ’18 Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt, ’18 Element and a ’19 Stumpjumper, and am wondering if you know of any other bikes that can do both XC and enduro in the steep, technical hills and mountains of Idaho? I need a bike that climbs well but still won’t hesitate on chunky downhill trails. I have a budget of $4000. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks!
A: Fortunately, we have tested some of those bikes. The Element is very capable for a cross-country bike but will have its limitations on more technical terrain. The Thunderbolt has 30mm more travel and more progressive geometry that will give you a bit more confidence on technical terrain. It will also allow for wider tires. Between the two bikes, the Thunderbolt is a more capable descender without compromising on the climbs. It’s tough to find one bike that works for everything, but you can get pretty close.
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