Once again, as usual as we begin a new year, the Pinkbike editors have chosen to look into that murky crystal ball to try to predict what we might see in the bike industry over the next 12 months.
We've been seeing more and more bike brands move away from traditional model years, which (in my personal opinion) is great. That means that bikes are updated according to the pace of geometry shifts and technology advancement, and all that stuff tends to move forward on a two or three-year cycle. (Though, of course, many bikes are re-released each year with fresh paint and are branded as "new.") Regardless, I've taken a look back at the bikes that were last updated in roughly 2018 or 2019 in an attempt to predict what might be coming our way this season.
Guessing what to expect from the bike industry right now is extra weird, considering we've been in a pandemic for nearly two years that has thrown the industry all kinds of wildcards, but brands have continued to release new bikes amid supply chain issues, so we do expect to see that continue, even as bikes remain in short supply.
Now, a reminder: Yes, some editors have knowledge of unreleased bikes. No, those bikes aren't on this list. If you'd like more information on how we deal with embargoed information, check out Episode 51
of the Pinkbike Podcast. Note also that just because a bike isn't on this list doesn't mean that it's a bike I have embargoed information about. It's much more likely left off because this list is inexhaustive. There are plenty of bike brands out there releasing all kinds of bikes all the time, so clearly there will be lots of bikes coming out this year that aren't listed here. As my colleague James Smurthwaite wrote a year ago
, "The methodology was as simple as going back through our archives and going, 'Huh, haven't seen that updated in a while.'"
So, here you are: These are my "Huh, haven't seen that updated in a while" bikes for 2022.
Pivot Mach 5.5 & Phoenix 29
Pivot has two bikes that haven't changed in a while. While I'd place my bets on the Mach 5.5 being the next one to be updated, the brand will likely have just as much, if not more, reason to update the Phoenix 29. The Mach 5.5 in its current iteration came out in 2017-2018, so it sports a 66.5-degree head angle and 460mm reach in size large, but what makes it seem most outdated is the 74.25-degree seat tube angle. Still, the Mach 5.5 is a 27.5" trail bike that isn't being raced like the Phoenix 29 is, which leads me to think the Phoenix may be higher on the priority list. The Phoenix 29 emerged in 2019 when Pivot put big wheels on its existing Phoenix DH, so it's about due for an update. All of that said, the Grim Donut encapsulates both the pedaling ability of a downhill bike and the descending ability of an outdated trail bike, so maybe the new Donut could replace both those models in Pivot's lineup?
Like some of the other brands on this list, Cannondale has focused its energy on its enduro and cross country offerings in the last couple of years, rather than what falls in between. With a new enduro team of Mitch Ropelato and Kera Linn and a growing cross-country presence that now includes Mona Mitterwallner, those race bikes make sense. Still, that mid-travel trail bike is going to need a refresh one of these days, and unless Cannondale has some surprises up its sleeve, I expect a new Habit to be next in Cannondale's pipeline.
GT Fury & Sensor
While the GT Fury looks plenty modern with its high pivot and 29" wheels, the current version was released in 2019, and with GT ramping up its team
again with some fresh up-and-comers on the downhill side of things, we'll very likely see an updated bike for those riders.
The other GT that hasn't changed in a while is the Sensor. While the enduro team has the new Force to play around on, GT will likely want to keep a shorter travel full suspension bike in its lineup, so we'll probably see a new Sensor one of these days to fill that gap.
The Kona Operator is a classic, and I bet it'll stay around for a while yet. The last time we saw a new Operator was in late 2018 with the release of the carbon Operator CR. The Operator isn't currently on Kona's site, and there's a possibility Kona just isn't going to make a downhill bike for the time being, but I'd place my bets on seeing a new one sooner rather than later. The brand has its heart and soul rooted in the Pacific Northwest, where gravity reigns supreme. Even without currently supporting a downhill team, we expect the brand to keep some downhill blood running through its veins.
Scott Genius & Ransom
We included the Scott Genius on this list last year, but it still hasn't been updated, so we're holding out for a new one in 2022. To be fair, Scott has come out with some new and interesting designs since then - take the latest Scott Spark and its hidden shock, for instance - so the brand hasn't been slacking off. We expect to see some of those changes trickling into Scott's flagship trail bike next time it sees an update.
And while I expect Scott will update the Genius before the Ransom, we may well see another Ransom this year. Scott's 170mm travel enduro bike returned for 2019 with modern geometry that still holds water today, but with already-long and already-slack bikes becoming even longer and even slacker, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Ransom receive the same treatment. Plus, with the Scott SR Suntour team taking on EWS races aboard the Ransom, Scott has plenty of reason to keep it current.
Yeti SB100, SB130, & SB150
Yeti went on a roll in 2018, launching the SB100, SB130, and SB150 bikes in a matter of months. The following year, Yeti unveiled the SB140 and SB165. Now, however, it's been a while since we've seen a new SBX bike. Could that mean that Yeti is preparing for a new naming scheme? I can't say for sure, of course, but I will point out that the new 160E doesn't contain those two letters in the name. Whatever they're called, Yeti will no doubt release updated versions of its full suspension mainstays - especially the SB150, as Yeti still has a prominent enduro team to field.
Santa Cruz Megatower, Hightower, & Tallboy
Santa Cruz has been busy, but not with updating its trail bikes. In 2019, the California brand released its new Megatower, followed closely by the Hightower and Tallboy, which were both officially 2020 bikes. (I think... with model years these days coming almost a year early, who really knows?) Regardless, essentially the entire remainder Santa Cruz lineup has been updated since then, plus Santa Cruz has released new two eMTBs. Now, I wouldn't be surprised to see the brand turn toward its enduro bike again to keep it as modern as the new Blur and even the V10, which hasn't been fully updated but saw the release of a mixed-wheel version in 2020. Then, I'd expect to see a new Hightower and Tallboy.
The Trek Remedy is another one that was featured on this list last year, but has yet to see the update we're expecting. It seems brands have been focusing their efforts on the farther ends of the bike spectrum, updating their cross country, enduro, and downhill bikes before their middle-of-the-road, everyday trail bikes. After all, long travel bikes are climbing better than ever and short travel bikes are impressively capable these days. It's no surprise that, much like the American middle class, mid-travel bikes don't have quite the dominance they once had.
Sure, it feels like just yesterday that the latest Enduro arrived, but somehow it's been more than two years since the 2020 Enduro's August 2019 announcement. Since Specialized is on a relatively quick update schedule compared to most other brands, we expect to see another iteration of the Enduro before the current one turns three. It's worth mentioning that the current version is plenty modern, with 170mm of travel front and rear and a 63.9 to 64.3-degree head angle, but this is the bike industry, and the quest for marginal gains is never over, meaning that Specialized's work isn't done yet.
Lapierre Zesty & Spicy
Isabeau Courdurier absolutely crushed it in the 2021 EWS, and she did it on a bike that was last updated in 2019. The Lapierre Spicy fits both 27.5" and 29" wheels and shares a frame with the shorter-travel Zesty, only differentiated by different suspension parts. Both Isabeau Courdurier and Adrien Dailly have run various anglesets and custom shock links since at least 2020, and a half degree angleset comes stock on the Spicy for a 64.5 degree head angle in size small and 65 degree head angle for the rest of the size range. As that's a bit steep for a 170mm bike these days, we imagine the brand - which supports the 2021 EWS's #4-ranked team - will want to slacken things out.