MOUNTAIN BIKE BUYER’S GUIDE // FULL-SUSPENSION CROSS-COUNTRY MODELS

2022 MOUNTAIN BIKE CC MODELS

2022 MOUNTAIN BIKE BUYER’S GUIDE // FULL-SUSPENSION CROSS-COUNTRY MODELS

Designed with razor-sharp handling and efficient suspension for speed, cross-country bikes are the ultimate choice for those looking to get from one end of the trail to the other as quickly as possible. These are the lightest full-suspension bikes, and their use in races is only rivaled by hardtail cross-country bikes. They usually demand a high cost due to their race-oriented parts, design and intended use. We’ve also witnessed this category evolve where the same ultra-lightweight racing frames are built with extra travel. Essentially, these are bikes that combine cross-country speed with trail bike capability.

Weight range: Around 20–25 pounds

Travel: Between 100mm–120mm

Wheel-size options: Mostly 29”, occasionally 27.5”

Strengths: Often the first bike to take a rider to the top of a mountain climbs the quickest, thanks to its lightweight materials and effective suspension systems. Riders looking to cover ground fast and save weight will find a cross-country bike as the right tool for the job.

Weaknesses: Cross-country bikes are built for uphill speed and rolling terrain, but tend to feel less confident down technical/enduro-esque descents. Additionally, this style of bike requires laser-sharp focus and smooth line choices to safely navigate trails. 

Price range: $$$$–$$$$$


CANYON LUX TRAIL CF 9 EB-EDITION MTB

 

The Lux Trail has a secret weapon that some pure racing bikes will not come with—a dropper post. Compared to the shorter-travel Lux, extra travel at the front and rear, coupled with slacker angles, should help riders that are hunting rougher sections of the trail after fast climbs. Overall, the value of top-of-the-line parts and a custom Emily Batty paint job should make it appealing to many.

Price: $6999

—Shimano XTR 12-speed drivetrain

—Shimano XTR brakes

—120mm-travel Fox 34 Factory fork

—110mm-travel carbon frame

—29” DT Swiss XRC 1200 carbon wheelset

www.canyon.com

NINER JET 9 RDO 4 STAR XT MTB

 

The new Jet from Niner strives to blend the pedaling prowess of a cross-country bike with the suspension and geometry numbers of a trail bike. The frame is fully carbon with aluminum linkages supporting Niner’s very own CVA (constant varying arc) suspension system. It is available as a frame only while also offering build options at other Star ratings.

Price: $5700

—Shimano XT 12-speed drivetrain

—Shimano XT brakes

—130mm-travel Fox 34 Factory SC fork

—120mm-travel carbon frame

—29” DT Swiss XR1700 aluminum wheelset

www.ninerbikes.com

NORCO REVOLVER MTB

 

FS 1 120

Bumping up the travel by 20mm at the front and rear from the Revolver, the all-new FS 120 version is a great option for the endurance racer. Overall, the frame is lightweight, similar in geometry to a trail bike, but slightly more aggressive, finding that sweet spot between XC speed and trail bike capability. 

Price: $4899

—SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain

—SRAM G2 R brakes 

—120mm-travel RockShox SID Select RL fork

—120mm-travel carbon frame

—29” Stan’s Arch D aluminum rims

www.norco.com

ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELEMENT CARBON 70 XCO

 

The Element is flat-out fast, there is no doubt about it. Our test riders have always been amazed by how well this XC bike handled technical terrain. The burly fork and active rear suspension combine to provide plenty of confidence when the trail gets steep or rocky. 

Price: $6479

—Shimano XT/XTR 12-speed drivetrain

—Shimano XT 2-piston brakes

—120mm-travel Fox 34 Performance SC fork

—100mm-travel carbon frame

—29” Rocky Mountain 24XC carbon rims

www.bikes.com

INTENSE SNIPER T PRO MOUNTAIN BIKE

 

First off, the colored pattern on the 2021 Sniper T screams speed and fun! This design fits right in between the full-on race bike, the Sniper XC, and the longer-travel dedicated trail bike, the Primer. The Sniper T has progressive geometry numbers paired to XC efficiency for long trail-pedaling adventures. 

Price: $5999

—SRAM X01 Eagle 12-speed drivetrain

—Shimano XT 2-piston brakes

—120mm-travel Fox 34 Factory SC fork

—120mm-travel carbon frame

—29” e*thirteen XCX carbon wheelset

www.intensecycles.com

GIANT ANTHEM ADVANCED PRO 29 1

 

This full-on race build of the Anthem is ready for the podium. This particular build is of great value with carbon wheels, durable Shimano XT and Maxxis Rekon Race 29×2.25-inch tires. 

Price: $6150

—Shimano XT 12-speed drivetrain

—Shimano XT 2-piston brakes

—100mm-travel Fox 32 Performance Elite SC fork

—90mm-travel carbon frame

—29” Giant XCR-1 carbon wheelset

www.giant-bicycles.com

TREK TOP FUEL 9.9 XX1 AXS MOUNTAIN BIKE

 

In a nutshell, the spare-no-expense 9.9 build of the latest Top Fuel has all the latest and greatest in suspension and wireless drivetrain technology. Additionally, it is fitted with a carbon wheelset and handlebars. Each model also has internal storage inside the frame, an easy place to pack ride essentials.

Price: $11,049

—SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 12-speed drivetrain

—SRAM G2 Ultimate brakes

—120mm-travel RockShox SID Ultimate fork

—120mm-travel carbon frame

—29” Bontrager Line Pro 30 carbon wheelset

www.trekbikes.com

REVEL RANGER X01 KIT MTB

 

Coming in a pound lighter than the Revel Rascal trail bike and a degree and a half steeper in the head angle, the Ranger’s frame is a quicker, livelier option for XC riding. Its CBF (Canfield Balance Formula) suspension design offers 115mm of travel. Plus, it’s capable of running Push’s ELEVENSIX-R micro-coil shock for a bike that truly blurs the lines between XC and trail.

Price: $7849

—SRAM X01 Eagle 12-speed drivetrain

—SRAM G2 RSC brakes

—120mm-travel RockShox SID Ultimate fork

—115mm-travel carbon frame

—29” RW27 Industry 9 1/1 carbon wheelset

www.revelbikes.com

KONA HEI HEI CR/DL MOUNTAIN BIKE

 

The Hei Hei CR DL has brought rider Cory Wallace home to three 24-hour solo world championships. While it’s proven it can be ridden fast, this bike also offers a solid value with SRAM’s electronic drivetrain 

Price: $6799

—SRAM GX Eagle AXS 12-speed drivetrain

—SRAM G2 RSC brakes

—120mm-travel RockShox SIDLuxe Ultimate fork

—120mm-travel carbon frame

—29” WTB KOM Light i30 aluminum rims

www.konaworld.com

SCOTT SPARK RC SL EVO AXS

 

If money is no object and you want one of the lightest bikes possible with 120mm of travel front and rear, the Spark RC SL is your answer. Perhaps one of the coolest aspects of this clean-looking ride is the integrated suspension system. This all functions with a single-pivot layout that Scott says is ideal for fast/punchy singletrack.

Price: $13,999

—SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 12-speed drivetrain

—Shimano XTR brakes

—120mm-travel Fox 43 Factory SC fork

—120mm-travel carbon frame

—29” Syncros Silverton SL2-30 CL full-carbon wheels

www.scott-sports.com

ORBEA OIZ H30 MOUNTAIN BIKE

 

If you are looking to get more involved with racing locally, or you want something to climb your local trails with and can handle mixed downhill settings, the alloy Oiz hits the mark. This is a great build to upgrade as you go that will handle a little bit of everything a rider could want. 

Price: $2799

—SRAM Deore 12-speed drivetrain

—Shimano M6100 brakes

—120mm-travel Fox 32 Rhythm fork

—120mm-travel alloy frame

—29” DT Swiss X-1900 aluminum wheels

CANNONDALE SCALPEL CARBON 3 MTB

 

The crew quickly fell in love with the Cannondale’s confident handling and climbing performance during our testing. The bike has a plush ride that makes it great for marathon-style races, but it is also efficient enough to power its way up singletrack. The Lefty fork may look strange to new Cannondale riders; however, the fork provides excellent handling, diving in and out of corners with ease. 

Price: $4500

—Shimano XT/SLX 12-speed drivetrain

—Shimano Deore brakes

—100mm-travel Lefty Ocho fork

—100mm-travel carbon frame

—29” Stan’s Crest S1 6061 aluminum rims

www.cannondale.com

IBIS EXIE MTB

 

What sets this bike apart is that its full-carbon frame is made in the United States at Ibis’ factory in Northern California, just a short drive from their main headquarters in Santa Cruz. Not only that, but it’s one of the lightest full-suspension carbon frames on the market with sub-2000-gram claimed weights. Great for the racer looking for top performance or the more aggressive rider looking for a unique ride to tame their local trails.

Price: $12,799

—SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 12-speed drivetrain

—Shimano XTR brakes

—120mm-travel Fox 43 Factory SC fork

—100mm-travel carbon frame

—29” Ibis S28 carbon rims

www.ibiscycle.com

KHS TEAM 29 FS MOUNTAIN BIKE

 

Our wrecking crew has always been a fan of how well KHS bikes perform with such a great value to the rider. This model and build of the Team 29 FS is no exception. For a full-carbon frame with a reliable set of components, there is a lot to like for cross-country riding and racing. 

Price: $5299

—Shimano XT 12-speed drivetrain

—Shimano M6100 brakes

—100mm-travel Fox 34 SC Performance fork

—100mm-travel carbon frame

—29” Shimano XT aluminum wheelset

www.khsbicycles.com

SANTA CRUZ BLUR S CARBON C

 

Boasting a claimed weight savings of 289 grams from the previous frame version, the all-new Blur is a pure full-suspension race machine. The frame can also be adapted to run 120mm at the front and 115mm of travel at the rear for riders looking to smooth things out over rougher environments. 

Price: $5199

—SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain

—SRAM Level TL brakes

—100mm-travel RockShox Sid SL Select+ fork

—100mm-travel carbon frame

—29” Race Face AR Offset aluminum rims

www.santacruzbicycles.com

BMC FOURSTROKE 01 TWO MTB

 

This lightweight weapon is aggressive and purposely built to keep a rider at the front. The carbon frame and full-carbon upper link keep it incredibly light. While it comes with a carbon post to save weight, the frame is Stealth-dropper-post compatible for better maneuverability.

Price: $6999

—Shimano XT 12-speed drivetrain

—Shimano XT brakes

—100mm-travel Fox 32 SC Performance Elite fork

—100mm-travel carbon frame

—29” DT Swiss XR 1700 aluminum wheelset

www.bmc-switzerland.com

LITESPEED NOLICHUCKY MTB

 

Titanium full-suspension bikes are not always easy to come by, but Litespeed has an option that will appeal to anyone looking for a Ti cross-country bike. It utilizes Litespeed’s four-bar Uplink (Horst Link style) suspension system for 120mm of travel to smooth any rough patches on the trail.

Price: $7094

—Shimano XT 12-speed drivetrain

—Shimano XT brakes

—120mm-travel Fox 34 Factory fork

—120mm-travel titanium frame

—29” Stan’s Sentry S1 aluminum wheelset

www.litespeed.com

YETI SB115 C1 MOUNTAIN BIKE

 

Made to be efficient, the SB115 is intended to handle quickly and be more capable in aggressive terrain than a typical World Cup racing bike. The SB115 is a bike that needs few upgrades other than to save weight, but riders will not be disappointed by Yeti’s Switch Infinity suspension system.

Price: $5400

—Shimano SLX 12-speed drivetrain

—Shimano Deore four-piston brakes

—130mm-travel Fox 34 Performance fork

—115mm-travel carbon frame

—29” DT Swiss M1900 aluminum wheelset

www.yeticycles.com

MOUNTAIN BIKE BUYERS GUIDE // COMPETE ARCHIVE

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