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Bike Tests

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Test: The Titus FTM Carbon

The new-in-2009 aluminum Titus FTM (Full Tilt Moto) tested in our July 2009 issue unseated a perennial favorite, the Titus Motolite, on our short list of recommended trailbikes. The FTM offers a half-inch more rear wheel travel than the Motolite and a completely different frame. The FTM frame is available in aluminum, titanium and, for […]

Test: Redline D660 29er

Redline only offers two mountain bike models, the MonoCog and D Series. The MonoCog is a single-speed, fully rigid bike rolling on 26- or 29-inch wheels and your choice of a chromoly or aluminum frame. The MBA wrecking crew heartily recommends the MonoCog to riders who want to try the unique world of single-speed riding […]

Bike Test: The Motobecane Fly Team 29 Ti XX

Motobecane U.S.A. has a reputation for delivering a lot of bike for the bucks. The Fly Team 29 Ti XX is going to cement this reputation, coming in way below $6000 and loaded to the max with the SRAM XX group. WHO IS IT MADE FOR? The Fly Team 29 Ti XX is made for racing […]

Bike Test: The Morpheus Oracle World Cup

Wandering the new-exhibitor section of the annual Interbike trade show, we discovered a 10×10 booth manned by Michael Schwartz, who was showing off his creation?the Morpheus Bikes Oracle World Cup. The bike was a real eye-catcher because it was loaded with everything but a giant price tag. While the $5000 neighborhood is not low rent, […]

Bike Test: Tomac Snyper 140

Can it really be only two years since the Tomac brand was reintroduced (for the third time) under the control of an all-new company headed by industry veteran Joel Smith and John “Johnny T” Tomac? That seems impossible, because the latest incarnation of Tomac Mountain Bikes is already so entrenched in the mountain bike community. […]

Test: Specialized Epic Expert

Specialized Bicycles produces seven models in their Epic cross-country race line. The top offering is the World Championship-winning S-Works Epic Carbon Disc at a staggering suggested retail price of $8800. While we would all love to ride the bike that Christoph Sauser races (he’s the World Champ), we’ve got to put food on the table […]

Bike Test: Norco Fluid One

Norco is located in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, north of our border in Canada. Their location gives them a certain advantage when it comes to developing mountain bikes. There are few places on the planet that allow you to ride most of the year on epic trails that spawned a new style of riding, and […]