PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
10 Trail and Enduro Bikes VS The Impossible Climb
Pseudoscience in the name of climbing
I know, I know, you're patiently waiting to watch the Huck to Flat bottom-out orgy. That's on the way - it wouldn't be a Field Test without it - but first, we need to get to the top of the mountain. Sometimes that means shuttle runs, or spinning up a gravel road, or maybe even a difficult and long climb that requires everything you've got. Or sometimes it means facing a wall of wet roots, tall ledges, and switchbacks so tight they'd trouble a unicycle. This is where we find ourselves today.
Thanks to evolving geometry and suspension, modern trail and enduro bikes offer descending performance that was unheard of only a few short years ago. But everything is a balance and that should, presumably, come at the expense of climbing capability. Thing is, these new, relatively long and slack machines don't seem all that fussed by some tricky uphill singletrack, handling nothing like you'd expect given what the geometry chart says.
Good thing this version of the Impossible Climb is the most heinous yet then. Its shiny roots were about the same diameter as your bicep, and the loose rocks offered the same purchase as a few thousand wet marbles, all of which were laid out over a steep, 200-foot wall. The climb might be new but the same rules apply: Each bike gets a couple tries to set a high mark, and they're all wearing matching tires set to identical pressures. The enduro bikes got Maxxis' Assegai and DHR II tires, both with EXO+ casings (Double Down wasn't available in time), while the trail bikes all wore a Minion DHF and Dissector combo with the same casing and sticky compounds. Of course, all of the suspension was adjusted correctly as well.
It was a long day and two bikes set identical high marks by the end of it: Giant's Fox Live Valve equipped Trance X Advanced and Specialized's all-new Stumpjumper. Previous Impossible Climbs13 Bikes VS The Impossible Climb8 Value Bikes VS the Impossible Climb, 1 Huge Upset9 XC Bikes & the Grim Donut VS Impossible Climb
The 2020 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible with support from Dainese apparel & protection, Sierra Nevada refreshments, and Smith eyewear and helmets. Thanks also to Maxxis, Garmin, Freelap, and Toyota Pacific.