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Mountain Bike of the Year Nominees


Has it been nearly a year already? It was less than twelve months ago that the Remedy took the crown as the 2015 Mountain Bike of the Year by offering near mind-melting performance in every metric, and now we're back with three more contenders, one of which will be usurping last year's king. In order to do that, the winner must offer best-in-class capabilities, a trick that's harder than ever to pull off now that so many all-mountain and trail bikes (which all three of the nominees are) seem to be so damn capable. But it should be far more than just 'capable,' shouldn't it? The Mountain Bike of the Year needs to be damn brilliant; it needs to be the kind of machine that makes its owner a better rider than he or she actually is, and a bike that would still impress salty critics years from now.

Let's meet the contenders...

The 2016 MBOY nominees include Trek's beefed up Fuel EX 9.9 29, Pivot's convertible and controversial Switchblade, and the all-around all-mountain monster that is Transition's Patrol Carbon 1. All three are worthy of some hand wringing and salacious thoughts, but only one can be called the 2016 Mountain Bike of the Year.












Why it's nominated:

Last year it was the category-blending Remedy that took top honors, and this year it's a different, shorter-travel model but one that's been nominated for similar reasons: the Fuel EX 9.9 29. The all-new Fuel EX now has 130mm of rear wheel travel, a 10mm bump up over than the previous version, and the head angle has been relaxed by almost two degrees to 67-degrees in the low setting. In fact, the Fuel EX has a slacker head angle and a longer reach than last year's 140mm-travel Remedy 29 that won Pinkbike's 2015 Bike of the Year award. Combining slack and long doesn't simply equal better, of course, but it most certainly does in the case of the next-gen Fuel.

The 25.5lb Fuel EX 9.9 29 employs an evolved version of Trek's ABP suspension layout, a Fox shock with damper technology developed with help from motorsport powerhouse Penske, and, most importantly, revised geometry that makes the bike so much more than its travel and low weight would have you believe. Then again, at $8,399 USD, it better be bloody amazing.

From the First Ride
bigquotesMy first impressions are extremely positive; by all appearances Trek has elevated the Fuel EX's performance even further. Lightning fast, and wildly fun, it picks up right where its predecessor left off without missing a beat. - Mike Kazimer










Why it's nominated:

How the hell did Transition create a 155mm-travel all-mountain monster that, despite being designed to sit at 35-percent sag and be as capable as any rider would need a bike to be, doesn't feel like an intoxicated tractor with a flat tire when the trail isn't fast, steep, or rowdy? It might be the bike's smart geometry, or its killer suspension design, or even its 27lb weight, but it's actually all three of those things combined that create what could be the best mid-travel bike on the market.

The Patrol Carbon 1 is the bulldog that can win an agility contest; the Motorhead fan who secretly knows how to dance the salsa. Sure, the recipe to make a mid-travel bike that shines on rowdy descents is relatively straightforward these days, but few companies have figured out how to bake-in the kind of all-around versatility that Transition have given the Patrol without taking away from the bike's abilities when things get rowdy.

From the review
bigquotesThe Patrol Carbon 1 is the most versatile all-mountain bike that I can remember riding. It's slack and forgiving like a proper enduro race bike should be, but then it seems to transform into not just a completely manageable package when the terrain isn't burly, but one that's an absolute blast to ride. Transition hasn't employed any buttons or dials to change the bike's geometry, either, but rather just built a smart, easy to live with bike that's fun to ride everywhere and anywhere. - Mike Levy









Why it's nominated:

Talk about a suitable name. Pivot's new Switchblade is a 135mm-travel bike that offers grade-A performance with multiple wheel sizes and during differing types of riding. Despite sporting 428mm chainstays - some of the shortest in the biz - the Switchblade can accept some seriously large rubber; either 29 x 2.5'' on up to a 27.5 x 3.25'', and all with a ridiculous amount of clearance. And a front derailleur. And with either a 150mm or 160mm-travel fork up front.

What's so controversial? To make all of the above possible, and the chassis rigid enough, Pivot decided to go with 12 x 157mm axle spacing, something only seen on the back of downhill bikes. Did they really need to do this? ''To make this bike? Yes,'' says Pivot's Chris Cocalis. ''We’ve been working on this bike for five years now and kept shelving it. They rolled over things well, but the prototypes weren’t satisfying to us. Mainly, they weren’t stiff enough. Neither the frames nor the wheels.'' Why did companies stop at 148mm? Why not just use downhill rear wheel spacing? And that's what Cocalis decided to do by mating DH bike axle spacing to a trail bike drivetrain. It takes some cojones to employ a different hub ''standard'' in these days of understandably jaded and bitter consumer market, but the result is a damn good machine.

From the First Ride
bigquotesSo there you have it - the Switchblade is an interesting bike. A very good bike. What's more, it's versatile as all hell - the kind of bike that spans a lot of genres. - Vernon Felton





There they are, the chosen three that made the biggest impression on us over the last twelve months. There are many other great bikes out there, including other EWS-worthy mid-travel rigs, downhill sleds more capable than all but a few riders would ever need, and cross-country rockets worthy of Lycra and a razor, but it just so happened that all three 2016 Mountain Bike of the Year nominees slot into the all-mountain and trail bike genres this time around.

Now for the hard bit: picking one of these dream machines over the other two. I'd be happy to call any one of the three my own, as would most other riders out there, but there can only be one. - Mike Levy




Click here for information about the judging and selection criteria for Pinkbike's Year-End Awards




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241 Comments

  • + 166
 Since the Knolly Warden C didn't make it, Transition ftw.
  • + 4
 I'd replace the pivot with the knolly honestly. If not for the obvious reason, then because it's nicer to look at.
  • + 6
 I just want to try the alloy version of the warden. such a good looking bike (beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all.)
  • + 9
 @Lookinforit: I'd replace it with Firebird
  • + 0
 @Pedropapa: Ooh yeah that bike's a looker and looks really fun to ride!
  • - 7
flag DylanDaSilva (Nov 18, 2016 at 16:17) (Below Threshold)
 Warden, it has bushings.. so no
  • + 8
 Patrol for breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and dessert please
  • + 8
 @DylanDaSilva: only on low load pivots that activate the shock, all the important ones are bearings, good bearings, with ti-collet hardware
  • - 1
 @Lookinforit: NO such thing as a good looking knolly. they obviously forgot to think of form after the function
  • + 7
 transition is a game changer... just watch they're vids.. no bull sh#t fun bikes backed by the best in the biz.. I've been on a smuggler all year and have zero complaints.. waiting for a carbon smuggler
  • - 7
flag FunctionalMayhem (Nov 18, 2016 at 18:38) (Below Threshold)
 Warden is heavy and they forgot the carbon in the rear!
  • + 5
 @NeilsElbek: just watch their vids! Best reasoning ever!
  • + 4
 @viatch: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I love the look. It grew on me, for sure, but I love it. You don't have to though, so keep excising that freedom of speech!
  • + 15
 If they are going to be assholes and not nominate the bike I ride, then I will bitch about their choices!
  • - 1
 @FunctionalMayhem: It does have carbon seat stays, only the chain stays are alu. only for protection I assume.
  • + 1
 @FunctionalMayhem: ask around how many people have gone from carbon yetis, SantaCruz, Pivots to alloy ? check warden forums, check Canfield Balance forums... you'll be surprised... frame weight to decide which bike to get ?...
  • + 8
 @FunctionalMayhem @viatch
I'm the lucky guy who owned a troy, sight 650b, range C, firebird (not the last gen) and ... a Warden. All of them with high end shocks from float X to X2 and CCDB on the troy.
I sell them all except one, guess which one ?
From all of them, the warden get the best performing suspension kinematic by far in terms of traction, ground tracking, shock absorption. Its kinematic make no compromise toward pedalling efficiency, with acceptable figures in terms of anti-squat, but lowest pedal kickback you can find, neutral brake squat and very progressive suspension ratio.
And the geometry is dialed too, slack, long with low BB. This bike is a blast.
And concerning apparence, put any other high carbon superbike close to, and it will just look tame because of knolly's finish, perfect welds and hardware.
This thing is made to last.
  • + 2
 @OzMike: the rear linkage on a knolly looks like a bucket of smashed crabs.. jus sayin'
  • + 1
 @DylanDaSilva: Bushings does not equal bad quality...
  • + 1
 @PaulLehr: exactly!!!
  • + 4
 @gnralized:
I guess I better have another look at the ol Warden again. I remember really liking how odd it looks to most other frames. I soon got pushed away because of price. I really would go back to the idea, especially because they are local. Too bad they manufacture overseas. I guess that would make them even mor pricy!
Carbon or alloy???
  • + 0
 @Lookinforit: The red Pivot looks much better!
  • + 4
 @naturechild15: your correct. But bushings do require more maintenence and are known to creak. They are also not as smooth.
  • + 3
 @DylanDaSilva: in fact bushings are known as "journal bearings".
For instance your shock rely on journal bearings to interface it with the frame.
Do they creak or need special care ?
No, because they take no lateral load and works only in rotation, since it is the main pivots job to bear lateral and vertical load, as well as shear stress.
It is the same for knolly's journal bearings, whose are located in the secondary link that don't bear lateral load or shear stress. Their only fonction is to link the shock to the suspension and permit the suspension ratio wanted by the designers. Shear stress, vertical and lateral load are handled by the main suspension pivots (horst link pivots), whose rely on angular contact bearings.
  • + 0
 @gnralized: honestly think Knollys are good looking and good performing bikes. But they are not the best. From my experience there are other high end bikes in the price range of the Knolly do perform better. An good example of a similar bike would be Yeti SB6. The Evil Insurgent is also a far superior bike. It is much lighter and features far superior suspension kinematics. I'm not trying to diss Knolly. They make great quality bikes. I would ride a Knolly long before other bikes such as Giants or even Cannondale. But currently, compared to other bikes in the same price range they do not perform the best.
  • + 3
 @DylanDaSilva: depends of what "perform" means.
All 160mm bikes that have AS superior to 100% at SAGgot pedal kickback superior to 15 degrees in 30/16 at full travel or near, which is huge.
Meaning that your transmission strongly interfere with your suspension and doesn't allow it to work at the best of its capacity. E.g. Chainless runs with high times of Gwin and MacDonald.
In a kinematic perspective, giant maestro implemented on the reign is better than yeti and evil (low AS and pdkb, progressive kinematic ratio). Just check the curves.
For a given 1x transmission, a bike that have a high AS cannot have a suspension that work freely.
  • + 3
 @gnralized: you Sr know what you are talking about. The active suspension on Knolly's is love or hate though...I love mine
  • - 3
 @gnralized: way to tech for me. All I want to say is that out of my experience. Yeti and Evil produce very well performing bikes compared to other brands at least for aggressive riders. Maybe that's not your riding style.
  • + 2
 Exactly. Been on the Warden C for about 2 months now. This bike continues to blow my mind. It really does it all. I never thought I would be this stoked on riding again. It's like when I was 13 or 14 and got my first real mountain bike and simply couldn't get enough. Long XC slog? All day long. Scary steep enduro race with bike park jumps and shit-your-pants rock gardens? Point it and hang on for the ride.
  • + 2
 @gnralized: Unfortunately, this is not true. Knolly upper main pivot is very flexy, and this flex is transfered to a shock. How do I know? I have a Chilco from first series which had every possible part skewed. One of the effects is that top of seatstay is 2mm shifted towards non-drive side. And yet you can put this together, simply because seatstay is connected to the frame with two thin links (which are separate parts, connected to the sides of seatstay). And this 2mm skew shows on the upper shock mount. All bearings on Knolly take lateral load, those bushings also.
  • + 1
 Knolly Warden C is a hideous piece of shit, from that ugly bent front triangle to the ridiculous & redundant linkage concraption it's just grotesque & stupid all rolled into one. Couldn't pay me to ride it. Well OK, pay me & I'll buy a real bike like a Trek.
  • + 1
 @Trials-FTW: you have no filter
  • + 134
 I think this is a category that definitely needs more than one award. Considering trail, xc, enduro, and DH (not to mention the multiple road disciplines, if that's your thing) is like comparing apples and oranges and then trying to pick the "best" one.

I'd love to see separate trail and DH categories at the very least next time around!
  • + 74
 For sure, that's worth considering.
  • + 13
 @mikelevy: Actually, while the "best bike for X niche" thing is fun and interesting (and often quite drool-inducing), I like the idea of a bike that's the best one bike quiver/desert island bike. The one bike that you'd happily ride in almost all circumstances, on almost any trail. The one bike that's got so much range you don't mind it's shortcomings at the very edge of its performance envelope. For me, given my personal mix of skills (decidedly pedestrian) and risk preference profile (self-employed suburban dad with a well-developed preference for self-preservation), that's a short travel 29er (fun at the bike park, fun just about anywhere, at speeds that are just the right mix of exciting and reasonable for me). For someone a bit more gravity oriented, that's more likely to be a full-on enduro sled that climbs in a reasonably dignified manner. For someone more on the endurance athlete side of the spectrum, it would be one of those quick trail/capable XC bikes (like the Hei Hei). But the concept of a bike that performs remarkably well over a remarkably wide spectrum of uses - that's a pretty cool thing, and splintering it all up into niches has a bit of a wishful thinking dimension to it that rings hollow for most of us.
  • + 7
 @g-42: Totally agree the "best all rounder" would make for an excellent award category, but if that were the case, a DH sled (and other one trick ponies) would never stand a chance of making it into the mix, which doesn't seem completely fair.

Regardless that they're all going to be based on subjective opinion (supported by each rider's various underlying values and personal biases), I still like to hear what guys who have ridden them all have to say at the end of the day!
  • + 0
 @g-42: I'm not a fan of the "best one bike quiver";you end up with a bike that's good at everything but not great at anything. Most people either ride a certain style, or have more than one bike and choose the bike for the trail. Accordingly, I think separate categories would be most useful.
  • + 2
 They could have categories for best climber, best descender and best all-round bikes.
  • + 3
 there should be a "climbs like an XC and Descends like a DH" Category
  • + 64
 "What about the new Ellsworth?" - No one
  • + 62
 I actually just got one in to test. Haven't ridden it yet, but it looks interesting. I'm an open minded kind of guy.
  • + 24
 @mikelevy: At least when you're on it you can't really see it. Probably helps for a more fair review of how it rides.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: Oh really?.... ;-))
  • + 4
 I like ellsworth bikes,, i actually dont know why the fck is everyone getting angry about this brand!
  • - 1
 @mikelevy: but Rocky there is a limit!
  • + 2
 how about redalp?
  • + 50
 That Transition is so hot right now!
  • + 6
 Considering from the three photos, it is the most dirty. Maybe hints at which gets ridden the most.
  • + 2
 @alwaysOTB: Or cleaned the least.
  • + 21
 @EKrum But can it turn left?
  • + 7
 "Transition, so hot right now. Transition."
  • + 40
 But what about the Zerode Taniwha? 600% Gear range, next to no maintenance and ridiculous cornering abilities. www.zerodebikes.com/page/enduro
  • + 45
 Very cool bike, but also not available yet.
  • + 0
 @Sydneywainwright Guess only next year then!
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: the patrol allu is the same bike ?
  • + 18
 @yoyo21: Same geo. The carbon frame is said to be 700 grams lighter, but the important numbers are the same.
  • - 3
 I wonder how many people will look at the zerode and think it's an e-bike?
  • + 4
 @mikelevy: What about everything by @RockyMountainBicycles, they have been killing it since they revamped the Altitude and now everything has been getting a facelift, the Thunderbolt, Element, Maiden, Slayer... all some next level shit!
  • + 8
 That's exactly what I was thinking, right along with the Evil Wreckoning and the YT Jeffsy.
  • + 2
 I agree with the fact there should be a Rocky in there...
  • + 4
 @BoneDog: Current Altitude frame is unchanged since 2013. Other than the top link that now supports lower maintenance bushings and grease ports.

Other more recent models are nice though.
  • - 6
flag b45her (Nov 18, 2016 at 12:46) (Below Threshold)
 @jdhutch5454: yt? really, catalouge frames with blingy but unreliable parts bolted to them??
  • + 10
 @b45her: which of the sram, e13, dt swiss, raceface, fox parts do you consider unreliable?
  • + 4
 I agree. Evil wreckoning should be in place if the switchblade.
  • + 1
 @ibishreddin: Exactly what i've thought. Thanks @mikelevy for answering this.
  • + 31
 It's kind of hard to say I want it to be a Trek two years in a row, but the new fuel is just so, so good. It's the first 29er I've ridden that I've actually really loved. I know Trek doesn't have the "cool" factor that a lot of smaller brands have, but IMO that Fuel is still the best bike out there right now.

Somehow every year Trek makes the best bike you think they can make, and then they turn around the next year and do it again. /fanboy
  • + 20
 Trek may not have the excitement factor of the smaller brands, but they're by far the coolest of the big brands.
  • + 6
 @theextremist04: it's amazing - none of the Lance Armstrong stain ever carried over to them or at least not the mtb side.
  • + 3
 @powderturns: Not all of us have forgotten. It would take a lot to make me buy something from this brand.
  • + 2
 @mbl77: Trek was pretty hard on Greg Lemond and his brand too! Not good!
  • + 18
 Why does it seem like suggesting that the dh hub standard is a weird / bad thing.

It's much better they are using a current standard than creating and completely new one?!? Easy to switch wheels between dh bikes and bomb proof enduro machines, although when you're trying to sell us parts it much be much better to make us all buy new standards
  • + 3
 The standard existing already isn't as much of a benefit as you might think though. sure, it's better than not existing at all, but if you're an off-the-rack shopper, when it comes to wheels, good luck finding a company that makes 157mm 29er wheelsets. 10 years ago, needing a custom rear wheel was a pain, but doable (hello, Specialized bikes with 135 & ART rear ends) but these days, not being able to buy a catalog wheelset is a big deal, both for the brand manager specing the complete, & the end user.
  • + 1
 @groghunter: The thing is there maybe isn't a catalog 157mm 29er wheelset, but we already have 157 hubs and 29er rims, it surely is cheaper to produce more of the hubs and build them onto 29ers than it is to design and test and manufacture a completely new standard, at the end of the day it isn't anymore effort really than building any other wheelset, it is just you would have to up the production on 157mm hubs
  • + 15
 Never thought I'd own a bike for this long / enjoy a bike so much every single time I ride, the Patrol is an unbelievable rig! If you live in an area like North Shore / Squamish / Whistler where the extra burliness can take you into the bike park but also have just as much fun on local trail its insane. If your trails are more mellow or a bike park is out of the question, that switchblade or fuel looks awesome! Really want to try the Fuel.
  • + 2
 To be fair to the switchblade it will take a 160mm fork according to the summary, so you may be happy bike parking that too? It can't be too flimsy with that size fork...
  • - 5
flag Travel66 (Nov 18, 2016 at 12:45) (Below Threshold)
 @slimboyjim: I wouldn't touch the switchblade.....how's it gonna climb with CS that short and such a slack seat tube unless your small?....and when you point it down you only get 135mm because the CS is so short....does not compute....
  • + 5
 @Travel66: I demoed a Switchblade in Vermont this Summer and after a 2000 ft (600m) climb I went to flip the switch to descend and realized I climbed the whole way up with the shock open. It's that good. Interested to try it with 29" wheels this Spring since I am not a fan of 27+. Definitely on my short list although a bit heavy.
  • + 0
 @Travel66: The SB has a stupid steep seat tube. I demo'd one and the only way I could ride one would be with a setback seatpost. The one criticism you can't make with that bike is that the STA is too slack.
  • + 4
 @vikb: I smell BS.....setback seatpost my ass.....the effective seat tube angle gets lower the taller you are....with short CS that's no good for tall guys when climbing steep stuff.....end of story....you can't fudge the maths....sure the 27+ helps with traction as @kkmb said but it doesn't change the climb angle factors.....maybe your average/short and it works for you?

On the way down it's got a steeper front end and shorter travel at the rear.....I'd fancy my chances on the trek fuel more....although I'd rather have a trek slash!

And one other thing...157mm sounds great at the back end unless the CS are really short and you bang your heels on th CS cos there so wide!...... I don't get it.....my Phoenix has 442mm at the back end and it feels sweet...
  • + 2
 @Travel66: I actually rode the bike [I actually demo'd two of them] I'm not analyzing based on a photo the saddle position at full extension with my 33" pants inseam was still quite steep. So steep I wouldn't be able to ride it in stock trim and would need a setback dropper.

I didn't have any issues with heels hitting the CS and I run 11.5 US men's shoes.

Wasn't my favourite bike and I am not buying one. But these two ^^^ criticisms are non-issues.
  • + 1
 @vikb: I don't get it...why not slide the seat back on the rails if it was too far forward?

MBUK calaculated an effective seat angle of 72 degrees for a tall rider.....I've done the maths on lots of bikes to see where neutral point is (namely ass directly over rear axle) and 72 degrees and 428 cs means a very low maximum climb angle
  • - 2
 @Travel66: My everyday ride has a 72.5 deg effective STA. The SB was much steeper. I didn't have the ability to accurately measure the SB as it was a demo and other folks wanted the bike, but I could tell by how it felt relative to my bike that it was much steeper.

I don't know if you have ever tried to ride a saddle slammed all the way back on its rails. I have more than once and they last a couple weeks before you bend the rails or snap them entirely. If I bought a bike with a steep STA like the SB I'd just get a 9.8 dropper with a 1" setback head and then I could run the saddle in the middle of the rails where it will last me years.
  • + 2
 So true. Whistler resident and Patrol is just an amazing bike. Selling the one I've had for two seasons and I'm just going to build the exact same thing again. Best bike I've ever had, and best I've ridden (and I've tried most).
  • + 1
 @vikb: I'm struggling with the contradiction of the geometry chart and your claim, but bottom line it will be harder to climb once your seat is moved back to where you need it and then the short CS will come into play as well...

Read the WMB review...
  • - 1
 @Travel66: I ride a bike with 16.9" CS and a 72.5 deg STA. Climbs like a freaking goat on crack cocaine or whatever the current lingo is. Back wheel has tons of traction and front wheel is a touch light which is perfect for skimming up a techy climb without getting hung up on stuff and it's very easy to light and place the front wheel down on a new line.

Theories are great, but actually riding the bike is what will tell you the what's really going on.

I'm shopping for a new bike and it will have short sub-17" CS and a slack STA. I've got no doubt it will climb really well.

Sorry what's WMB stand for?
  • + 1
 One guy says the seat angle is too steep, another says too slack. It is actually pretty standard/average/normal. SB is 74.25, Patrol is 75.4, Santa Cruz Bronson is 74, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 74, Specialized Enduro 76. If you want a bike with a seattube angle slacker than 74 good luck with your shopping; you better stock up on old bikes now, because anything slacker is not efficient. I recently sold a Patrol and bought a Bronson. I prefer the steeper angle of the Patrol TBH. I would never consider a bike slacker than 74 ever again.
  • + 2
 @tetonlarry: Unless everybody has the same body dimensions you are going to find that steeper STAs are not "efficient" for everyone. That said if they work well for you awesome - gold star!

And no I don't have to stock up on old bikes. I just need to buy a dropper post with a 1" setback like 9.8 offers. That's what I would have done if my demo rides on the SB had made me want to buy one.
  • + 1
 @tetonlarry - Your right save where the actual tube angle is slacker than the effective angle.

For those tubes that don't run straight up from the BB.....as the seat is set higher the angle gets slacker.....hence why WMB measured the Firebird at 72 degrees....this is a lot lower than the official STA which is measured at one height...its the combo with short CS then that causes problems if your taller or have longer legs...

@vikb: What Mountain Bike....and you haven't said whether your short/have short legs or odd proportions in your femur length etc
  • + 1
 @Travel66: My current bike is Pivot Mach 6. The geo chart says 72.3 deg STA. I measured my actual STA at 72.5 deg - given the margin for error that's essentially the same thing. My legs are longish with a 33" pants inseam for a 5'11" height.

Anyway I'm not trying to sell the SB. I didn't love my test rides. I wanted to love it, but I didn't. I just commented here because having actually ridden this bike a couple times I can tell you it does not have a slack STA. I'd agree with TetonLary that the STA is right in line with the current crop of modern geo bikes.
  • + 17
 So basically it's just the Remedy again.
  • + 1
 Trek has a bigger ad budget than Pivot and Transition combined. $$$
  • + 6
 Nope, I had a remedy 29 last year and the fuel EX this year, the fuel EX is better for sure.
  • + 1
 @mtmtber182: are you a dentist?
  • + 3
 @phdotd: No, a bike mechanic so I get a great discount and I can usually sell them for what I got into them but I still don't buy the most expensive models.
  • + 14
 The patrol because it's not a 29er or plus bike, but a no nonsense, no new standard, trail destroying machine. Shame it doesn't come with a coil as standard though.
  • + 1
 So it's finally as good as the Banshee Rune...
  • + 2
 @Jokesterwild: considered a rune before I got my suppressor
  • + 1
 @jokersterwild: "As Good"? Carbon vs. Aluminum. 6.8lbs Patrol Large vs. 9.2lbs Rune Large. The Aluminum Patrol was already a better bike than a Banshee Rune. I rode an aluminum Patrol for 2 seasons, but have never ridden a Rune. Have you ridden both? On paper the Rune cannot touch the Patrol unless it has some type of magic fairy dust sprinkled on it.
  • + 1
 @tetonlarry: lol on paper. That's how I judge all my bike purchases. Yes they just had a demo day here actually. It's a great bike. I just perfer the charcteristics of the rune better. Probably more personal then truly one beingbetter than the other but I digress.
  • + 13
 Love my Carbon Patrol! Best bike ever! It is so fun and lively! Plus, the TR guys are the best!
  • + 11
 Not sure on the 27lb weight on the Patrol. I have the exact same bike, and mine weighed just under 30lbs in size large. Killer bike though!
  • + 2
 My large alloy patrol weighs 30.6 lbs with a fairly heavy wheelset and tires.
  • + 11
 I am so happy to live in a time with so many awesome bike options. There is a bike for everyone now and for every type of trail. Just makes decisions difficult.
  • + 12
 P to the Trizzol...,
  • + 12
 Transition FTW.
  • + 11
 Funny how the trek is box fresh in the photos and the others are used..
  • + 9
 Where's the new 2016 Canfield Balance? One of the best all-mountain/enduro bikes by far.
  • + 2
 Was going to say the same thing! Best geo out there, best linkage design, impossibly durable... CB knows what they're doing!
  • + 4
 Agreed, the Balance is the best bike I've owned in the past 20 years of riding, I've had the opportunity to own some awesome bikes, aluminum, titanium, carbon; and suspension designs also Horst link, KS link, ABP, DW lInk, VPP just to name a few. The Canfield is the bike I grab most often from my steed when heading out to hit the trails. It obviously descends great, but always baffled on how they designed it to climb awesome too.
  • + 9
 No love for Yeti? The SB6c and SB5.5c have been getting some killer reviews (and winning lots of Enduro races).
  • + 2
 I was not only surprised that the 5.5c was not in the top three (the SB6 came out last year), I was a quite surprised the Patrol was. Impressive bike but not even in my top five from the 14 bikes we rode at Outerbike.
  • + 10
 PATrol
  • + 10
 THE TRANSITION!!!
  • + 9
 PAAAATROOOOOOOOOLLLLLLL!!!
  • + 8
 Wrong... it's the Mondraker Summum. Razz
  • + 1
 This!! How can 1 bike that placed top 3 podium at Worlds not get a shout, sort it out PB
  • + 5
 Missing from the list:

Evil Wreckoning (a trail bike that's won DH races)
Mondraker Summum (Put three men on the World Champs podium)
Yeti SB5.5c (duh...)
  • - 2
 Roger that!
  • + 1
 Thank YOU for mentioning the Wreckoning! So true!!!
  • + 3
 @mikekazimer

"The Patrol Carbon 1 is the most versatile all-mountain bike that I can remember riding." Ditto! Couldn't agree more Mike.
After riding a Specialized Enduro and a Transition Carbon Covert the previous years I'm a happy owner of the Carbon Patrol.
Pretty sure Transition hooked me up with the first Carbon Patrol in BC, was well worth the wait.
I rode more this season than any previous year and have no intention of getting a new bike for the 2017 riding season. Usually, after a year I'm itching to try something new. Not this year, the Patrol is all I can ask for in a bike. My partner rides the alu version and is equally happy, the bike made her instantly a better rider. Williams Lake is a Patrol hotbed and I haven't heard a negative comment yet. Between my wife and me we own 5 Transition bikes and the craftsmanship is what keeps me coming back. Steel hardtail, DH bike or Enduro... all of the bikes have a super solid feel, are low maintenance and have a high-end quality to them. And so they should with the high sticker price. Especially for us in Canada the cost of the bikes are a bit over the top.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/13280044
  • + 2
 I bought an alloy knolly warden with the X01 kit this year. I've Been to the Yukon, the shore, the Fraser valley, Squamish, and whistler bike park. Man if there's one bike that does it all... it's this bike!!! I feel it should have been in the consideration. I can say Ive ridden more bike, in more situations, and in more places than I ever have thanks to its versatility. Im in love!!!!
  • + 2
 I guess with so many good bikes out this year, having 3 that are on a next level performance comparatively is impressive. Considering most tested are on similar top tier builds, to stand out among such good products is not easy to do. A lot of people like to base things on bang for the buck, but if you even told a lamen your bike was over $2k they would think your crazy! So yes the Trek is $9k+ but it's a top shelf production bike and should stand out. Most of us won't and shouldn't ride one based on the fact we might dislike our current bike. But this is again, about the best product, not how overpriced we think it is
  • + 2
 @mikelevy @mikekazimer @vernonfelton What's your guys' take on your selections verses the Dirt 100 choices? Those boys keep coming back to the Enduro 29 and Process 153, something like years in a row. Would you include either bike in the nominations if you could ignore that they are established, evolving models, not "technically new"?
  • + 3
 I am going to get some hate for this but why wasn't the 2017 Enduro even mentioned? That bike blew away all the perceived notions of what an all mountain bike should be. Maybe next year...
  • + 4
 The 2017 Enduro is a great bike, but it's not really a radical departure from the previous model. It has more travel and a SWAT box, but otherwise the ride characteristics are fairly similar. It's still lots of fun to ride, but the smiles per mile ratio was just a little bit higher with the bikes nominated above.
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer: They got rid of the retarded pressfit BB and added some reasonably sized bearings, too. They made a decent bike in to a bike worth owning.
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer: The shiny new Slash only just caught up with where the Spez Enduro has been for years, nothing new there really...
  • + 3
 Plus, ya know, it's hard to consider a 2017 bike for a 2016 award...
  • + 4
 Transition bikes are just so clean looking. Always a thing of beauty. That being said, Pivot should win solely based on their philosophy of axle standards!
  • + 3
 @vernonfelton The race is on! will your beloved Switchblade win or will my Fuel EX 9 come from the shadows to take the win! haha


Loving my new Fuel! Folks if you get a chance to ride one take one for a spin!
  • + 5
 As far as Trek bikes are concerned, they should have nominated the Slash 29 instead of the Fuel.
  • + 19
 We have a Slash on test right now, and have also done a 'First Ride' article on it - you'll be able to read the review soon. In short, it's a killer bike, but it's also extremely focused on just one task. Having ridden both, the new Fuel gets the nod over the Slash because it's a killer all around rig, more so than the Slash.
  • + 5
 @mikelevy: and that's the issue.....apples and oranges....given the PB crowd I would suggest we need categories for Trail/AM, Enduro, Downhill......maybe Hardtail?.....horses for courses...
  • + 7
 Santa Cruz Hightower
  • + 5
 yeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssss!
  • + 2
 I have to agree with this. The whole rear hub dimension thing is just a giant WTF. I very much prefer the Hightower over pretty much anything pivot. I have yet to try the firebird which seems like a step in the right dimension.
  • + 2
 I say Pivot just because they choose an axel dimension that already existed, 157mm. I just can´t understand why the industry had to "invent" a new dimension when there was a good one already.
  • + 5
 How about a downhill rig?
  • + 6
 The YT was nominated last year but not this time around. There are a lot of great bikes out there, including some DH sleds.
  • + 1
 Trek really does kill it with their MTBs. Reaktiv valving is the real deal, too.

BTW: Lenz has been doing 157x12mm rear axles on trail bikes for a number of years, so Pivot isn't quite the innovator presented here. My Lunchbox has 157mm, and the wheel stiffness is phenomenal (as is frame stiffness).
  • + 5
 Transition for the win, best bikes, best company, best videos, best best !
  • + 1
 I'm honestly surprised the Giant Trance Advanced 0 didn't make it, or even a lower model or the Giant Reign Advanced 1. For the quality of bike your are paying for, the warranties on the frames, and the price. You just can't beat it!
  • + 1
 Trek makes a great bike. And as a long time trek owner riding aggressive trails I didn't think there could be a better bike than the likes of the scratch and as of late the 650b carbon remedy. Then after having the opportunity to ride a yt jeffsey comp1 I've been proven wrong. So I bought one and the rest is history. Thanks YT.......
  • + 4
 Switchblade! Great engineering went into that bike. No new standards needed.
  • + 1
 I can not for the life of me understand how it's remotely possible for Transition to create a Horst link design and SUDDENLY it's so amazing...?

What could POSSIBLY be SO different about a patrol compared to an Enduro...? How much time, money and experience in research and development has Specialized put into the Horst link design over all of these years that the dude at Transition throw's it up in AutoCAD and "tada"... this is the bike of the year...???

I'm not saying it's a bad bike at all. I've looked into buying one more than once, but their prices for the parts spec are more expensive than other bikes that I think are easily just as good.

It was the same thing with YT and with Canyon in years past. Everyone would bag on the Horst link design being not as good as everyone else. Until you were able to buy it from somebody other than Specialized. NOW that the patent is up Horst link designs are good again...???
  • + 0
 Hahaha, AutoCAD? Definitely not in the bike world. Transition uses SolidWorks for their modeling.

In terms of cost, they don't call them "boutique" brands for no reason. Brands like Specialized have a huge marketshare and can stand to make less margin. I used to see nothing but Specialized around here in Phoenix. They were so common I hated them. Part of the reason why it's no hip to be a fan boy of Specialized. (Just my opinion Smile )
  • + 0
 @HK-Mazur: LOL My bad, your right about the software. I was just making a point and that's what pop'd in my head.

But your comments on how it's "not cool" to like specialized are exactly what I'm talking about. I think there is a huge amount of bias based on trends and brand/designer popularity.

I do NOT see why someone would consider Transition a boutique builder. They are not leading in development, they do not provide a product that is somehow above and beyond what many other manufacturers also provide. They do not even try to position themselves as that kind of brand like Intense does...? ("giddiup" suspension and dwarf horse riding?) It takes more than just adding a large markup to your product to try and make up for the recent capitol investment needed for going Carbon.

IMO Transitions success was being grassroots rider owned and having an "ear to the ground" producing what their customers wanted. I think they still do that. But they used to do that with a much more competitive price point.

Something that occurred to me just now. If Transition truly makes HL bikes better than specialized than how come their 29er is only getting 115mm travel. (their previous single pivot 29er was doing 140) While the poor guys at specialized who somehow just don't know how to make a good HL bike are getting 165mm of travel on their newest Enduro...
  • + 1
 Patrol is awsome. I have Reign Advanced. It's almost exactly like the Patrol in geometry and suspension design. I will be buying the Patrol when I destroy my Reign because it has a Threaded BB and it's a local company. The Reign sucks only because it's lacking the Threaded BB.
  • + 1
 I heard claims it doesn't pedal as well, but because of that, had great active suspension in the chunk.
  • + 3
 You're all wrong. The best mountain bike is mine. Not because it's the most expensive or has the best components but because it's the bike that gets me my thrills!
  • + 1
 I just bought a Switchblade. You cannot believe this bike. Easily the best suspension I've ever ridden. This thing IS SO FUCKING stable at speed it feels as stiff as a DH bike. Whips around corners in a way that doesn't make sense. Unbelievable bike. Not surprised to see it on this list. It should win.
  • + 4
 Pivot Switchblade has my vote. I absolutely love mine. From bike parks to all day adventures, it's hard to beat.
  • + 2
 That's funny. I rode a bunch of bikes at a demo day, and the 2 bikes I hated the most were the Fuel EX and the Switchblade. To each their own I guess.
  • + 1
 Interesting, I demo'd the Carbon Patrol when shopping, as great as it was I found the Evil Insurgent to be more agile and playful for me (and ultimately won my $). Different strokes for different folks!
  • + 0
 my bike should've been nominated. My specific bike. I love it and that's the only reason why it should've nominated haha

I agree tho, that there should be different categories one for XC, DH, Enduro/trail, DJ, Fat Bike, Cyclo, and Free ride.You'd see a lot more positive posts, that's for sure.
  • + 0
 Alu Jeffsy has got to be the best bang for buck 'do pretty much everything' bike out there. Plus it seems to have had "must be fun to ride" really high up on the design spec sheet, I'm very biased as I have one and I love it!
  • + 1
 27 pound patrol? I need to reevaluate my build, because I'm apparently two pounds over weight.

Maybe my i29 alloy rims and Maxxis WT tires? But there must be something else. Hmmm.
  • + 2
 After seeing your review on the Radon Swoop 170 I assumed it would make the list. Disappointed. Direct sellers still don't get enough credit for what they do
  • + 0
 NIce placement of the crank arm on the Pivot picture...gotta hide that unsightly rear derailleur cable that they so stupidly routed under the bottom bracket. Nice work Chris...NOT!
  • + 1
 My last Scott Genius and the Patrol both route theirs the same way.
  • + 2
 Pathetic. The Patrol is worthy. Not a single Yeti SB bike nominated??? Whomever advertised most with PB wins... weak.
  • + 3
 2016 Kona Honzo AL/DL rocked my world !!!
  • + 2
 Still riding my Transition Scout and love it. Any good reason(s) to jump to a Carbon Patrol?
  • + 3
 I have both. No there isn't a GOOD reason to go for one over the. The Scout is a more agile in slower tech, especially tight climbing turns. Patrol pedals almost as well as the Scout. At speed I like the Patrol better, more forgiving, stable and becomes much more responsive. If I could only keep one it'd be the Patrol. But I wouldn't sell my Scout to buy a Patrol unless it was a straight trade...
  • + 2
 @JMSmitty:

Good to know, I agree 100% the Scout it good in slower technical. I prefer that kind of riding over speed and jumps etc..
I guess the only think that would be nice is carbon. I've always loved the feel but the cost is crazy these days.
cheers
  • + 0
 I've ridden the fuel ex, I don't understand how you enjoyed that ride compared to ripley LS, even trek's other bikes, altitude, etc. probably one of the most boring bikes I have ridden.
  • + 3
 Never seen any of these bike in real life.
  • + 4
 Mandrake Summum.
  • + 2
 Hmmm Canfield Riot would be my vote. In fact picked over the Patrol when it was time to decide on the new frame
  • + 2
 Why isn't the Canyon Sender in there?
  • + 2
 That trek looks like they cut the middle out of it.
  • + 2
 But did any if these bikes make a clean sweep of a world champs podium?
  • + 0
 With so many great bikes out there it seems impossible to pick only three......let's not forget Evil bikes line up...pretty sick!!
  • + 2
 All way to expensive for a damn bike!
  • + 1
 I would choose the Trek Fuel Ex 9.9 29" for its lifetime warranty. Their customer service is next level.
  • + 1
 "I bought a bike for its warranty?"......dude WTF?
  • + 6
 @Travel66: Customer service is an important part. If Trek offers to replace my frame for free 8 years from now for a brand new model because of a failure, I'll rather choose for that company than for the one who only offers 2 years of warranty and I wouldn't even buy a frame from companies known for not replying to warranty claims when needed.

Especially when all three bikes are so close in terms of riding quality, things like service become an interesting thing to base your choice on. If I'd spend nearly 10K on a bike I would want to trust the company that when something goes wrong, I didn't flush the money down the toilet. And Trek doesn't only offer the lifetime warranty but also has proven to be great with customer care.

Also, me being someone who studies marketing I do learn that "invisible" aspects of a product are also part of the product you buy.
  • + 2
 @Travel66: ha ha I'm with you.
But then I was one of the first people to buy an
evil following on the promise that the build quality was better than before....
  • + 1
 @Richt2000: nothing wrong in being EVIL !!!
@Mattin: "important part" as you say not why you buy a bike though.....you wouldn't buy something flawed beansue a warranty...and in reality we all try to buy the best we can get for what we want it for....usually its nice to know the warranty is worth something...that's all !! I would also buy a trek because the slash, remedy and Fuel are all brilliant...
  • + 1
 @travel66: you misunderstood what I said. I wouldn't buy a bike because of it's warranty. But when three bikes are so close in competition, quality and price, something such as great warranty could be the deciding factor between the three. Especially when you spend so much money on the bike, having lifetime warranty is something that would make me choose for that certain bike out of the three because it ensures you will be happily riding that bike for a long time.
  • + 2
 Most Expensive Bikes of the Year is more fitting!
  • + 1
 If you can include Motörhead in the description you win everything forever
  • + 1
 FueleX walks it, bit of XC bit of enduro racing or just general thrashing around the hills... what's not to love about it
  • + 3
 #notmybike
  • + 2
 By Mike's replies, its so obvious Trek has won....
  • + 4
 Is it obvious?
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: 2 years in a row this will be with quite bland Treks winning, this is turning into more of a paid Trek ad.
  • + 2
 @Gvus2001: They obviously make some great bikes. I don't own a crystal ball, though, so I'm not sure if they're going to win for a second time in a row.
  • + 1
 @Gvus2001: Have you ridden a 2017 Trek? Or even seen the sheer level of R&D they've put into the 2017 bikes from the already dialed 2016 lineup? Yes 2016 looked fairly bland, but were rammed with great tech, now for 2017 they've got character in the looks and feels and even more great tech. That ISO Speed on the Procaliber is the tits. Definitely deserve to be on this list!
  • + 1
 @Richt2000: no it's not saying anything at all. Mike is only replying to people why the Trek made it into the top 3. Not why it's going to win.
  • + 3
 Meh.....
  • + 1
 Surprised all American. I still see the Canyon Strive as the most innovative, capable and affordable.
  • + 4
 Cause Trump is making America great again......
  • + 3
 Patrol FTW
  • + 2
 Tranny all the way!
  • + 1
 Where's Transition's funk machine?

I give it top honors!
  • + 1
 Not a fan of 29ers, but that Trek is damn fine.
  • + 1
 I wouldn't choose any of them!
  • - 3
 Selection criteria:

"All nominated bicycles must be visibly and technically new models. Upgraded models from the previous year may be allowed if the bicycle has been visibly and technically modified in a significant manner."

So, none of these then.
  • + 5
 Actually, all of these.
  • + 2
 Pivot
  • + 0
 the rear D cable routing on that Trek looks like they just gave up on it.
  • + 1
 WE WANT DOWNHILL BIKES
  • - 2
 No YT Jeffsy or Intense Primer ?
I'd have either of those over a Trek!!!

Out of those I'd take the patrol, the the switch, the fugly trek
  • + 9
 Have you ridden the new Fuel EX? The Jeffsy is an excellent machine, and the price is hard to beat - we have a long term review in the works - but the Fuel EX is on a different level as far as its trail manners go.
  • + 7
 @mikekazimer: oh that is not gonna sit well with the fanbois
  • + 2
 Ive been seeing reviews for the Primer popping up and I havent heard much good about it, the most common complaint is that its a bike with a lot of compromises that doesnt seem to know what category its in.
  • - 1
 @mikekazimer: nope. Its just too fugly I wouldn't want to. It looks like its been squashed by the big garbage squasher thingie on Starwars.

Now the remedy or slash 29 - beautiful bikes...
  • + 1
 @aharris: which review say its comprimised? Id be keen to read them. It seems to get praise in all the mainstream reviews? Are you sure you dont mean the recluse? As that is getting poor reviews....
  • + 0
 Hasn't the Jeffsy been out for a year already? By next November, it'll be old news. Too bad, sounded like it had a chance.
  • - 1
 @bishopsmike: yea and considering the amountof advertising they do on pinkbike it is quite surprising.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: I recently had a test ride on a Trek Fuel EX 8 29, several levels down from the 9.9, and about 6 lbs heavier. It blew my mind - I had no idea a 29er could be so capable and flickable on the downs. I can only imagine what new worlds the Trek Fuel EX 9.9 would open up for me on the ups and downs. Definitely one of my next bikes.
  • + 1
 @Richt2000: I can see a Fuel EX on a stand from my workshop at work, it's definitely a thing of beauty in the flesh, looks incredibly similar to the remedy and slash you praise too. If you get the chance to ride one then do, it'll open your mind
  • + 2
 I rode the Primer for 3 days and wanted to love it (especially since I could get the Pro for less than $6k) but in the end it had some flaws I just couldn't get over. Was incredibly fast and playful but it bounced around a lot in the chunder. I had to get over 40% on sag before I could feel the rear sus was doing its job. Maybe a 2.5 true at low vol would help but not sure. And a fox performance fork on a "pro" build with a $7k msrp is insulting.
  • + 1
 @Radioface: you would love the jeffsy pro then - best 140 suspension bike I've ridden, and I've ridden A LOT!
  • + 1
 really...
  • + 0
 Evil wreckoning for sure!
  • + 1
 Huh, no E-bikes...
  • + 0
 Let's keep it that way.
  • - 1
 Specialized Turbo Levo FTW!
  • + 0
 Your mather
  • + 0
 YT or YETI versher
  • - 1
 Yeti SB5.5C is better than all of those. That or Evil The Wreckoning.
  • + 0
 YOU FORGOT THE CAPRA!!!
  • - 1
 There is NOTHING unique about that Transition open-mold open-design POS.
  • + 0
 Explain
  • - 1
 Rose Soul Fire 2 Propain Spindrift Radon Swoop 9.0
  • - 2
 I think the entire 2016 Trek Fuel EX line should've been nominated as a whole , as well as the Farley EX .
  • + 0
 YT hands down!
  • - 2
 PB you're high on $, Knolly Warden will slay any Pivot 135 pos that runs a front mech.
  • + 0
 Ibis Mojo 3!
  • - 3
 $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
  • - 1
 Santa Cruz Hightower!
  • - 2
 Trek sure have big pockets...
  • - 1
 McLaren 675LT FTW.
  • - 1
 Carbon Warden yummy!
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