Mountain Bike Action’s Best Bikes Of 2020

MBA’s Best Bikes Of 2020



Rocky Mountain Slayer 29

By Brandon Castelli

The Slayer stole my heart after I had the chance to put the bike to the test on the North Shore with Wade Simmons, Thomas Vanderham and Vaea Verbeeck. These three elite athletes showed me just how capable the new Slayer can be. The Slayer helped me ride some of the gnarliest terrain I’ve ever put tires on. From huge high-consequence rock rolls to thick roots and never-ending rock gardens, the Slayer proved to be the ultimate gravity bike, and it can still be pedaled back to the top of the mountain.

Read The Rocky Mountain Bike Test Here



By Brandon Castelli & John Ker

Brandon Castelli: I had the pleasure of putting all three Intense Primer bikes to the test, including the 27.5-inch, 29-inch and mixed-wheel-size models. All of them were fun bikes to ride; however, the 29-inch bike quickly became one of my favorite mid-travel 29ers of the year. It’s a balanced, shred-ready bike that is as fun when climbing as it is descending.

John Ker: After mixed-wheel-size bikes started winning World Cup downhill events and Enduro World Series races in 2019, the idea of bikes with mixed wheel sizes may have finally caught on for good. Even though mixed wheel sizes have been used on motocross bikes for over 50 years—and even though Cannondale, Specialized, Trek and Foes had all pushed the idea in the past, going all the way back to 1984—the concept had never really caught on in mountain biking until the past couple of years when they started winning big races. In 2019, Intense came out with its Primer S with a 29-inch front wheel and a 27.5-inch back wheel.

The bike offers the greater roll-over ability of a 29-inch front wheel with the faster cornering ability and acceleration that comes with a 27.5-inch rear wheel. We have yet to see whether the mixed wheel sizes will stay around for more than a couple of years this time, but with such top stars as Loic Bruni, Martin Maes, Danny Hart, Finn Iles and Aaron Gwin all using mixed wheel sizes now, we expect that the bike-buying public will probably accept them this time.

Read The Intense Bike Test Here


Norco Optic C2

By Brandon Castelli

When I first saw the Optic, something about its neon-green paint scheme, short-travel suspension and enduro-bike geometry made me think, “I’m going to enjoy this bike.” As soon as I hit the dirt on this mean little machine, a huge smile appeared on my face. The Optic’s ability to play around on the trails kept me entertained for hours, and once I got home, I couldn’t help but rip it around the neighborhood. It’s a bike that will definitely make your riding experience more fun.

Read The Norco Bike Test Here


Custom Giant Reign

By Traece Craig

Before working at MBA, I was slowly gathering parts for a 2019 27.5 Giant Reign. I really wanted an enduro rig that could tackle terrain and respond as a nimble 27.5 through the corners. Not only was I stoked to have the opportunity to get my bike built, I was also blessed with Giant’s Maestro suspension. The Fox DHX2 coil shock I am running responds well to trail vibrations and big-hit compression. Yes, I lose some pedaling efficiency, but the suspension system feels more active and gives me better traction in most situations. If you enjoy throwing it down and pushing the limits in the mountains, you’ll love the versatility of the Reign.

Read The Giant Bike Test Here


Structure SCW1

By Traece Craig

I was seeing this bike all over social media with comments like, “No way! That bike is way too wacky. Does it even work?” There is no denying it; the SCW1 by Structure Cycleworks definitely catches everyone’s attention with its innovative Without Telescoping Fork (WTF) linkage suspension system. The front suspension platform is designed to solve performance issues common with telescopic suspension forks. Essentially, the front end of the bike will have less dive than a telescoping fork. We recently received a bike from Structure for long-term testing. I am eager to get some extended time on the bike and see how it holds up to our wrecking crew.

Check Out MBA’s First Ride Of The Structure

Rocky Mountain Growler

By Traece Craig

Many hardtails on the market are designed for pedaling efficiency but aren’t the fastest down the rough stuff. The trail rippers at Rocky Mountain wanted to remedy this and designed a hardtail for an enduro-inspired downhill experience. I had a blast on the Rocky Mountain Growler, as it proved to be an extremely capable hardtail. Riders looking for the enduro/trail experience will appreciate this modern mountain bike with a price tag of less than $2000 and packed with up-to-date conveniences and components.

Read The Rocky Mountain Bike Test Here

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