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Bike Tests

Bike Test: Airborne Wingman

The growing popularity of jump bikes, based more closely on conventional 26-inch-wheeled mountain bikes than 20-inch-wheeled BMX bikes, has been paralleled by another growth trend?their cost. Jump bikes were once thought of as disposable?use ’em, abuse ’em, recycle ’em. These bikes were often built using tough components on used frames. Now, it is not uncommon […]

Bike Test: The Ellsworth Evolution 29er??

If 29-inch wheels had not gained wide acceptance, the concept of one bike that does it all would be a pipe dream. You would have to have one bike for your daily rides (say an Ellsworth Glimpse), one for those times you wanted to slap a number plate on (an Enlightenment) and one for when […]

Bike Test: The Pivot Firebird

Long-Travel Bird Of Prey: The Pivot Firebird The Firebird is a remarkable bike. No doubt about it. With nearly 7 inches of rear wheel travel, it’s almost a downhill bike on paper. However, this test bike was built to show the frame’s versatility. It tips the scales at less than 30 pounds and is obviously […]

Bike Test: The Scott Genius LT

Long-travel trailbikes have become a popular weapon of choice for riders looking to blur the lines between cross-country, all-mountain and downhill. Scott’s most recent venture into this segment is the 2011 Genius LT, sporting 7.3 inches of travel. While this amount of travel is typically reserved for heavier and more aggressive black-diamond bikes, the Genius maintains […]

Bike Test: The Kona Unit Singlespeed

In this day of dual-suspension mountain bikes, with their heavily defended patents, licensing agreements, rising rates, falling rates, single pivots, multiple pivots, pedaling platforms and special tools just to set them up properly, there are riders who long for a simpler time when you could just hop on a bike and go riding. Kona senses […]

Bike Test: The Intense Tracer 2

Jeff Steber and crew are known for building frames their own way. Just about everything on their creations is designed and built from the ground up in their facility in Temecula, California. By controlling the process from start to finish, they have power over the smallest details, ensuring that they turn out bikes that they […]

Bike Test: Trek Superfly 100 Elite

A Stealth Fighter on Singletrack: The Trek Superfly 100 Elite Still confusing to some riders, the “Fisher” brand was absorbed into its parent company, Trek, late in 2010. Bikes that used to be Fishers (like the Superfly 100 tested here) are now Treks with a “Gary Fisher Collection” notation on the frame. You can get […]

Bike Test: Tomac Supermatic 120

Tomac Mountain Bikeswho pride themselves on the fact that they don’t offer road, cyclocross, BMX or commuter bikes?offers nine models for 2011. The Supermatic 1 works the hardest out of the nine models to appeal to the widest range of riders. This is the bike that hopes to be loved by everyone. And after spending […]

Bike Test: The Orbea Rallon 30

Racing Heritage Hits The Trail American riders think of Orbea as the brand that Julien Absalon rides. The most dominant modern day cross-country racer in the world has made the name Orbea synonymous with superior high-speed, cross country weaponry: hardtail weaponry. Now that’s great if you are a cross-country racer, but where does it leave […]

Bike Test: The Trek Rumblefish II

It’s A New Beginning In case you haven’t been keeping up with current events, there are no more Gary Fisher brand bicycles. The Fisher brand, for years owned by Trek Bicycles, has been completely absorbed by Trek. The only Fisher graphic remnant found on the Trek Rumblefish II is a small rectangle on the downtube […]

Bike Test: BMC Fourstroke FS01 – Nothing Lost In The Translation

The BMC Fourstroke FS01 ‘Nothing Lost In The Translation’ All too often, a mountain bike dreamed up in a distant land hits our shores as if it were intended for some alien life form (which, we guess, is how most Europeans think of Americans). It is usually worse if the bike is intended for cross-country […]

Bike Test: Intense Tracer Gets a 29er makeover

We have had the opportunity to review two versions of Intense’s versatile and all new Tracer trailbike. The bikes shared the same adjustable-travel frame (5.5-6 inches), however, one was built with cross-country oriented components, while the other leaned toward a tougher, all-mountain package. The verdict of that test session? We loved how the bikes handled […]

Norco Range SE, A Premium Long-Travel Trail Performer

The all-mountain cross-country bike category has seen serious improvements in versatility, making these bikes the top choice for many riders today. Just a few years ago, all-mountain bikes were largely compromises between long-travel suspension and pedaling performance. Now, the segment has evolved to the point where numerous brands have 6-inch-travel all-mountain offerings in the 25-28-pound […]

Rocky Mountain Altitude 29er SE, Taking The Altitude Even Higher

When we tested the 2009 Rocky Mountain 5.5-inch-travel Altitude we said, “If you need lots of travel but don’t want to give up the performance of a shorter-travel trailbike, the Altitude fits the bill.” The bike we have here is another Altitude, but this one rolls on 29-inch wheels and has slightly less travel. WHO […]

Scott Scale 29 Pro, Low-Price, Low-Weight 29er

You don’t need us to tell you that bikes like the $6300 Scott Scale 29 RC cross-country race hardtail are awesome. You also don’t need us to tell you it is priced way out of your budget. That’s why we jumped at the chance to test Scott’s Scale 29 Pro. At just one step below […]

Trek Fuel EX 9.7, A Speedy Trail Rocket Refuels

Trek’s top-of-the-line, 4.7-inch-travel, carbon fiber Fuel EX trailbikes have impressed us with their lightweight and plush suspension performance. For 2011, Trek introduces the $3669 Fuel EX 9.7, a carbon-framed Fuel with a price tag geared to make it accessible to more riders. WHO IS IT MADE FOR? The Fuel EX’s sleek appearance and racy performance […]

Trek Remedy 9.8: An All-Mountain, Cure for the Common Trail

It took a few years for all-mountain cross-country bikes to come into their own. Originally, when longish-travel cross-country bikes rolled onto the scene, they were a compromise between climbing and descending prowess. Today, thanks to lightweight frame materials, tubeless wheels, new gearing combinations and air-sprung suspension, they’re nearly the best of both worlds. Trek has […]

Turner Sultan: American-Made 29er Built For The Long Haul

I t has taken us too long to get a Sultan in here for testing. Introduced in 2007, the 29-inch-wheeled trailbike got a total makeover in 2009 with the adoption of a dw-link rear suspension. The key ingredient of a dw-link (a dual-link version of the classic four-bar design) is its anti-squat feature, which cancels […]

Specialized S-Works Epic 29er, Should Everyone Else Just Stop Trying

The Specialized Epic is the world’s most popular cross-country race bike. When we tested the 26-inch-wheeled Specialized S-Works Carbon Epic Disc (MBA, November 2010), it was impossible to imagine that Specialized, or anyone else for that matter, could top the competitive performance of that bike. Well, meet the Specialized S-Works Epic 29er. It not only […]

Pivot Mach 5.7, How Adding A .7 Can Double The Value

The Mach 5, one of our favorite trailbikes since we tested the first version in 2008, got a complete makeover for 2011. But what was this .7 stuff? The Mach 5.7 got less than an inch of additional travel, which seemed to position it in some weird no man’s land between true 6-inch-travel, all-mountain bikes […]

Giant’s Anthem 29er 1: Cross-Country Performance Meets Versatility

The 29er movement, or should we say revolution, has largely taken over the performance-oriented cross-country segment in the United States. Traditional 26-inch-wheeled cross-country race machines can be very lightweight; however, they are largely one-trick ponies. The inherent ride quality of 29ers, combined with newly developed lightweight componentry, has spawned a 29er cross-country category that is […]

Bike Test: It’s A New Beginning

Name game: It has a new name and it plays a new game. The combination of Fisher creativity and Trek ingenuity results in a great bike that is free of the teething problems of old. In case you haven’t been keeping up with current events, there are no more Gary Fisher brand bicycles. The Fisher […]

Bike Test: Giant Faith 0 2010

Giant had one major goal for every 2010 Maestro suspension bike in their line?make it lighter. From their cross-country race machines to their downhill dragster, each design was refined to shed weight. Along with revising their existing models, Giant re-introduced their Faith black-diamond bike, which was last available in 2005. Giant discontinued the original Faith, […]

Bike Test: The Foes B29

Big-wheel trailbikes are headlining every mountain bike brand’s 2010 lineup, so it should come as no surprise that Foes has a dual-suspension 29er this year. Foes’ B29 fits nicely on the more aggressive end of the 29er spectrum. WHO IS IT MADE FOR? Foes makes no specific performance claims for the B29, because it is […]

Bike Test: The Cannondale F4

All the excitement in mountain bike design seems to surround 29-inch wheels, ten-cog cassettes, two-ring cranks and carbon fiber everything else. So where does a bike like the $1059 Cannondale F4, which does not have any of these advancements to tout, fit in? Everywhere.               WHO IS IT MADE FOR? The F4 […]

Bike Test: The Scott Scale RC

Scott takes cross-country racing seriously. They offer ten models of their Scale hardtail and nine models of their Spark dual-suspension cross-country race bikes. That’s 19 models specifically designed for cross-country racers. Many bike companies don’t offer that many choices in their entire lineup. WHO IS IT MADE FOR? Cross-country racers. Period. That’s it. There is […]

Bike Test: The MSC Hunter RR

Founded in 1999, MSC offers a complete lineup of bikes with everything from ultra-light, carbon cross-country race versions to World Cup downhill rigs. In 2010, MSC products will be available in the United States, and we had the opportunity to welcome their 6.7-inch-travel Hunter RR all-mountain bike to Southern California.     WHO IS IT MADE […]

Test: Carbon Fiber GT Fury

In 2008 at the annual Interbike tradeshow in Las Vegas, there was a buzz among those who cruised the aisles searching for groundbreaking products, and GT’s  prototype carbon fiber downhill bike was the reason for their excitement. GT took their time developing the first production carbon fiber downhill bike frame. Prototypes were ridden and raced […]

Bike Test: The Felt Virtue Two

It has been over two years since a Felt Virtue rolled through our test fleet, and when the Felt Virtue Two finally showed up, we had to wonder if we got the right bike. This Virtue is so different in so many ways from the 2008 model; maybe Felt should have named it the Felt […]

Test: Trek Fuel EX 9.9

We raved about Trek’s 2009 carbon fiber Fuel EX 9.9 trailbike (MBA, August 2009). The 4.7-inch travel machine screamed uphill like a race bike, and the top-notch Fox Shox suspension smoothed the trail on descents, making it worth every foot of elevation gained on the climb. We liked last year’s Fuel EX 9.9 so much […]