Field Test: Enduro vs Force 29 vs Slayer vs Mojo HD5 vs SB165 - 2020 Enduro Bikes

Dec 24, 2019
by Mike Kazimer  

There wasn't nearly as much controversy surrounding the Enduro category in this year's Field Test, especially compared to the heated debates that popped up regarding the Downcountry contenders. While “enduro” is still a fairly nebulous term, the bikes featured here all have a strong focus on the descending side of the equation, but they can also be pedaled to the top without too much effort.

Rear travel amounts range from 150mm to 170mm, and four out of five of the bikes have forks with 170mm of travel - the SB165 goes a little further, with a 180mm Fox 36 up front.

The Yeti SB165 and the Ibis Mojo HD5 both roll on 27.5” wheels, while the rest of the field have 29” wheels, although Rocky does make a 27.5” version of the Slayer.

Ibis HD5
Yeti SB165 review

2020 Specialized Enduro

Rocky Mountain Slayer 2020
GT Force 29 Pro

What do the geometry numbers look like? When it comes to head angle, the SB165 was the slackest at 63.5-degrees, with the rest of the field hovering around the 64-degree mark. Interestingly, all of the 29ers had chainstays that measured 442mm, while the Yeti SB165 has 435mm chainstays and the Ibis Mojo HD5 has the shortest at 430mm.

Even though it's a fairly tight grouping when it comes to geometry figures and travel amounts, each bike had its own distinct personality on the trail. From the mild-mannered, well-rounded nature of the Ibis Mojo HD5 to the incredible stability at speed of the Specialized Enduro, every bike featured here brought something different to the table.

Once we'd racked up enough miles in the bike park and around Pemberton it was time to sit down and pick some favorites.





Rocky Mountain Slayer Carbon 90
Full Field Test Article

• Travel: 170mm rear / 170mm fork
• Carbon front triangle / aluminum swingarm
• Wheel size: 29"
• Head Angle: 63.8° - 64.8°
• Seat Tube Angle: 75.8° - 76.8°
• Chainstay Length: 442 / 440mm
• Weight: 33.2 lbs (as tested)
• Price: $7,999 USD

Pros
+ More versatile than travel and geometry numbers suggest
+ Good traction in rough or loose terrain
+ Comfortable climbing position

Cons
- It's not a mini-DH bike - doesn't have high-speed stability of some other bikes in this category.
- It broke catastrophically.

Specialized Enduro S-Works
Full Field Test Article

• Travel: 170mm rear / 170mm fork
• Carbon frame
• Wheel size: 29"
• Head Angle: 63.9 / 64.3°
• Seat Tube Angle: 76°
• Chainstay Length: 442mm
• Weight: 32.5 lb / 14.7 kg (Tested)
• Price: $9,750 USD

Pros
+ Near DH bike feel. Can handle pretty much everything and still pedal to the top.
+ The SWAT system is so good it’s hard to go back to bikes without it.
+ Very reasonable weight considering amount of travel and capabilities

Cons
- Seat tube angle could be even steeper - top tube length is relatively long.
- S-Works version is really expensive, but the next models down offer similar performance at more realistic price.



GT Force 29 Pro
Full Field Test Article

• Travel: 150mm rear / 170mm fork
• Aluminum frame
• Wheel size: 29"
• Head Angle: 64.6° / 65.1°
• Seat Tube Angle: 76.6° / 77.1°
• Chainstay Length: 442 / 440
• Weight: 35.6 lb / 16.1 kg (as tested)
• Price: $4,700 USD

Pros
+ Easy to get along with geometry
+ Good suspension spec

Cons
- Heavy, even for aluminum
- G2 brakes aren’t appropriate for a DH-oriented bike, wheels aren’t up to hard charging
- Poor standover, tall seat tube

Ibis Mojo HD5
Full Field Test Article

• Travel: 153mm rear / 170mm fork
• Carbon frame
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Head Angle: 64.2°
• Seat Tube Angle: 76°
• Chainstay Length: 430mm
• Weight: 31.2 lb / 14.1 kg (size L)
• Price: $6,658 USD

Pros
+ It’s versatile, an all-rounder with easy to handle geometry
+ Good balance of traction and efficiency on the climbs
+ Quick in the corners

Cons
- Doesn’t feel like the race bike it’s claimed to be
- Traction Tune isn’t going to be for everybody
- Not the quietest, and chain slap has already taken paint off the chainstay



Yeti SB165 T2
Full Field Test Article

• Travel: 165mm rear / 180mm fork
• Carbon frame
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Head Angle: 63.5°
• Seat Tube Angle: 77°
• Reach: 480mm (L)
• Chainstay length: 433mm
• Weight: 33.3 lbs (as tested)
• Price: $7,699 USD

Pros
+ Very fun freeride/park bike that you can also pedal to the top of the hill
+ Excellent parts spec
+ Dual crown compatibility means it can be built into a mini-DH bike

Cons
- If you’re looking for outright speed then you may want to look at the SB150 or elsewhere
- Expensive, even compared to other high end carbon frames





2020 Field Test - Testers' Choice



Mike Kazimer's Pick: Specialized Enduro

The Specialized Enduro was my pick of this bunch, hands down. It's a bike that feels limitless when it comes to speed and terrain – it'll go as fast as you want, no matter how steep and gnarly the trail. The improvements over the previous version are noticeable, and welcome; there's no question that it's a more formidable bike than ever before.

Granted, this wouldn't be my pick if I didn't have easy access to properly rowdy terrain, but I'm fortunate enough to live in a location where that's not an issue. It does pedal quite well, especially considering the amount of travel, it just doesn't have quite enough liveliness to make it a bike I'd choose for mellower trails. I also wouldn't mind seeing a steeper actual seat tube angle, but that's really my only minor gripe with the geometry, and it's one that goes away as soon as the trail points downwards.
Me.
Mike Kazimer
Height: 5'11" / 180cm
Inseam: 33" / 84cm
Weight: 160 lbs / 72.6 kg

The price tag on the S-Works version we tested raised plenty of eyebrows, and there's no getting around the fact that $9,750 is a whole lot of money for a bike. However, the Enduro doesn't get my vote because of its carbon wheels, wireless electronic dropper post, or XTR drivetrain. Nope, it's the geometry and suspension performance that put it on my list. In fact, I spent time on the Elite model earlier this year, which is almost half the price, and my impressions of the bike's capabilities weren't diminished at all.

Along with being the only bike in this category with a secret compartment for storing a tube and some snacks, the Enduro's handling in and out of the bike park placed it right at the top of my list. This is one very impressive machine, and a bike I'd be just as happy pedaling to the top of a big ol' decent as I would taking lift-served lap after lift-served lap.





Jason Lucas' Pick: Specialized Enduro

It might seem like the easy answer, but I'm going to agree with Kaz on this one. I knew the Enduro had the numbers to be a fast bike when pointed downhill, but my legs quivered in fear when it came time to climb the bike around Pemberton. However, those fears were quickly put to rest once I started spinning up the climb trail and realized that things were going to be OK.

The fact that this bike can take on any trail in the Whistler Bike Park at near-downhill bike speeds and get you to the top of a climb relatively easily is impressive. The Enduro wouldn't be my first choice if I lived somewhere with mellower terrain, but here in the PNW, where many of the trails can be defined as "steep and deep," it fits the bill.

Photo Trevor Lyden
Jason Lucas
Height: 6'1" / 185.4 cm
Weight: 205 lb / 90.7 kg
Inseam: 33.5" / 85 cm

I can see the comment section now: "Of course the most expensive bike is the best!" Yeah, this build is really, really nice, and you know what? To some people $10,000 isn't all that much money. However, I'm not one of those people.

Specialized offers the Enduro at more affordable price points with very capable builds. I don't need fancy carbon wheels or a battery powered dropper post, so if I was spending my own cash I'd go for one of the less expensive options. You still get the same geometry, frame features, and suspension platform that the S-Works has, but at a fraction of the price.





The 2020 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible by support from
Race Face apparel & pads, Giro helmets, & Sierra Nevada beer.



260 Comments

  • 168 1
 Next year can you please huck the Mini over a bike?
  • 112 1
 That’ll be up to Levy, although most days his Mini has trouble even rolling down the street.
  • 39 0
 @mikekazimer: it's frequently clogging up the drive thru at Tim's
  • 1 0
 Agreed ???????? mini should send it !
  • 4 0
 Do it like The Italian Job and huck it down a stairset
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: MIke, don't know who to ask... do you know who could tell me what the music in the intro is?
  • 4 0
 @orientdave: dark daze - mikey geiger... According to shazam
  • 2 1
 @nordland071285: Cheers!

Nice Bminor chord progression...
  • 5 1
 @orientdave: I wasn't 100% sold on it to start, so @jasonlucas feels justifiably smug every time someone says they like it.
  • 1 0
 Might as well, would be Pinkbike Fiction at its best!
  • 6 0
 Just to get in early, that Mini was a pre-production Mini and will not have the same wishbones.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: what size enduro did you ride?
  • 69 2
 The Specialized Enduro needs to be included in the next round of Enduro bike field tests. You know, as the title holder of sorts.
  • 31 1
 I don't hate this idea at all.
  • 10 1
 This is actually genius, use the previous winner as a benchmark for any new tests.
  • 5 1
 Or maybe the best bike per catergory already reviewed that year is included?
  • 2 1
 I think this is a great idea, gives continuity from one year to the next and a reference point for past tests.
  • 8 0
 The marketing departments wouldn't like this. It might show that next year's model is no better than last year's and people would just keep riding what they have instead of constantly buying expensive new toys.
  • 1 0
 Now they need a rider to prove its worth. Wait and see...
  • 1 0
 Ya, wondering where the scott ransom stacks up next to these newer brawlers as it was basically the favorite from the last super enduro test
  • 65 0
 Really would have liked to see the SC Megatower in there to compare to the Enduro.
  • 13 24
flag cheetamike (Dec 24, 2019 at 9:27) (Below Threshold)
 Local rider just switched to the Enduro from the Megatower. Judging by his strava rides he really enjoys it.
  • 5 2
 @cheetamike: This week anyway hahaha
  • 2 0
 @Tmackstab: Hahaha yup.
  • 14 7
 Didnt they already test the megatower, and werent they not all that impressed with its performance?
  • 1 7
flag juxtapozy (Dec 24, 2019 at 14:53) (Below Threshold)
 Or the SLASH??
  • 5 0
 Or the Patrol.
  • 2 0
 Looking forward to
Seeing you in the race course , it’s go time@Tmackstab:
  • 3 0
 @bradical72: Hahaha YES!!!!! 2020 is the year of reckoning!
  • 1 0
 @Tmackstab: you going to try the EWS ?? I,m too old LOL happy with the local 5er,s at Burke etc.
  • 2 3
 I see no point in chosing any Enduro over Capra Pro CF 29. Damn I want that bike.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: sizing and seattube angle?
  • 2 1
 @Tmackstab: I am 178cm tall so i don’t care about the sizing and HT angle, I’d just throw an angle-set in there if I cared to be woke as fuk, modern and all.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I said Seat tube angle.
  • 1 2
 @Tmackstab: 76deg for Capra it’s super tits
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: That would put me comfortable behind the rear axle lol
  • 39 1
 Good job Pinkbike crew! What a great Field Test. Already looking forward to next year!
  • 2 1
 Us too! This cold rain is getting old.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: haha that’s not quite what I meant but I’ll take it! I’ve got two bikes that are new to me and I haven’t been able to put in any proper time on them yet! Even got rained out of a trip to Fruita!
  • 33 6
 @mikekazimer @brianpark I've said it before and I'll say it again: IF YOU COMPARE BIKES, MAKE THEM THE SAME PRICE. Just include a target price when asking the manufacturer for a bike to review. If the German magazines can do it, so can you.
If you cannot get them from the manufacturer at a similar pricepoint, upgrade the cheap bikes until the msrp is about the same. It simply doesn't make sense to test a bike that is 5000 dollars cheaper than the winner and then complain it is heavy and has poor brakes. There's almost 2 grand available to upgrade the GT to the price of the next cheapest competitor, the Ibis. That definitely gets you a set of decent brakes and some lighter replacements for wheels and cockpit parts.
  • 11 0
 Yeah, it makes no sense to compare bikes at such different price points. The worst part of the GT's review could easily be fixed and you'd still have spent less money than some other bikes...
  • 19 1
 My Canfield Balance is 170F/165R travel and I use that as my do-all XCFRDH trail bike. I’ve pedaled all day on trails and taken it to the park. I was beginning to think my dual crown DH bike was ready to become wall art, until I went to Bootleg. Places like Bootleg, while rideable on a single crown, remind you that there really is no replacement for a DH bike in some scenarios.
  • 3 2
 Love my balance. Gonna be hard to replace. I even ride it on pumptracks and small DJ lines.
  • 10 0
 Curious to see how Revel has adapted the Canfield suspension system to carbon frames. Also excited to see the comeback of Canfield. Also new Banshee.
  • 3 1
 Went from a balance to a nomad that I owned long enough to fall in love with it b4 it got stolen, and now on a 165. All sick *as bikes that charge anything and get u to the top.
  • 5 4
 Yep, I have a pole Machine, don't really feel the need for anything else for the trails.
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: I think some of the magic is the geometry as well. 420mm rear is super short and so easy to move around.
  • 2 0
 @mattrix2: Mine will only get replace with a newer version or a rail
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: The Revels have been getting killer reviews. The Riot was written up in the Bible of Bike Tests (no online yet) and got a very good write-up. Seems to pedal pretty well too. Shame it's a 27er (ducks).
  • 14 0
 Jason Lucas looks like Loic Bruni. Clearly, his vote for the Spesh was biased.
  • 15 1
 Hahaha, if only it would make me ride like him!
  • 13 0
 The Optic even made a cameo in the enduro bike discussion. That bike is going places.
  • 11 0
 Enduro: A category that has outgrown it's own inspiration.

When did Enduro bikes stop being thought of as bikes for enduro racing?
  • 7 1
 That's an excellent question. I can't help but laugh when people talk about "enduro" trails.
  • 9 1
 Id love to hear their thoughts on the Yeti SB150 vs the Specialized Enduro. I have a SB150 and it is scary how fast and capable that bike is. I'm guessing they are fairly similar in what they are capable of but it would be nice to hear about their subtle differences. I don't feel like the SB165 is a good comparison to the Enduro.
  • 5 2
 As I have raced both of those bikes I have some thoughts. The enduro is just as good a climber, easier to ride faster, and harder to bottom out. My name is yetimike, but I would absolutely recommend demoing the enduro if I had to focus on one.
  • 7 0
 It definitely would have been nice to see a comparison to some of last year's bikes. While the Enduro sounds like a monster on the downs, how much more of a monster is it compared to the Ransom or 150 or Firebird? Without comparing to a baseline of previous bikes, it's hard to get an accurate idea of what these bikes can do.
  • 6 1
 @Yetimike2019: why do you say this shit in every thread.
  • 1 0
 @sambazza02: haha, The dame reason you touch your wiener every night, because no one else willWink
  • 9 1
 What's the performance difference between the performance you get riding the new Enduro and the performance you get riding the new GT and spending the $5000 price difference on personal training?
  • 9 1
 The performance difference is 7 Kelvin. Or maybe delta.
  • 10 0
 I always find it interesting how the cheapest bike would fare when spending a fraction of the price difference compare to the most expensive bike on useful upgrades (suspension, wheels and brakes).
I upgraded a very affordable Cube Stereo 160 (I know, most hated bike on this site ...) and replaced the front 2pot XT with 4pot Zee (kept the XT lever), Fox Performance 34 with a NOS Manitou Mattoc Pro (with IRT) and Fox DPS Evol Performance with a Manitou McLeod and swapped the 180 front disc for a 203 one. Shopping for discounts, I spent around €600 without selling the old parts. If I didn't keep them as spares, I would probably get half of that amount back, easily.
The difference in performance is staggering though and makes me wonder why I should spend so much on top level builds when smart shopping and swapping can get you 95% of the performance for half of the price.
  • 8 0
 The reviews make it clear that you'd be better off spending $5k on a lower end Enduro, than on the GT. Then spend the remaining $5k on personal training and nutrition.
  • 5 0
 Allow me to translate: "What's the difference between shit people will actually do (whip out a credit card on a bike) and shit people will almost certainly not do (spend $5000 on hard work.)" =D
  • 6 0
 Did you read the article, where it mentioned that you can get the same geometry and suspension performance for half the price? So you can still buy an Enduro and get the coach.
  • 4 0
 @JohnnyVV: the thing is you can also do both. Anyone who spends $5k on a personal coach for their hobby likely has $5-10k to spend on a bike.
  • 3 3
 @Mac1987:
No way a cube 160 is comparable to these. Cubes are just long travel trial bkes
  • 1 0
 @markg1150: did I say it is comparable? I just said that for a relatively modest amount of money, the upgrades significantly improved its performance. I wonder if the same could be achieved with the tested bikes and how the upgraded affordable model would compare to the top level expensive one. I never said the Cube would be comparable, because it is indeed another type of bike.
  • 10 2
 Mike was saying "hopefully in in the future we get a shorter travel version of that (the enduro)". Wouldn't that just be a Stumpy Evo?
  • 22 1
 Sort of - in my dream world I’d like the new suspension layout applied to the Stumpy EVO. That bike would benefit from more antisquat and end-stroke progression.
  • 8 12
flag WAKIdesigns (Dec 24, 2019 at 9:29) (Below Threshold)
 My thoughts exactly. But according to a few people I know who ride well and rode the Stumpy Evo it is under gunned for it’s geo.
So I’d say it the other way around: hopefully in the future we will see Enduro Evo with even more travel.
  • 3 2
 @mikekazimer: this exactly! This is the reason I moved from the big S to GG. I love the dealer support and parts availability of the big S but hated pedaling them (stumpy/enduro) up anything steep or extended. Can’t wait to demo a new one but know the enduro will be super boring like my last one unless I’m at Mach chicken!
  • 5 1
 @WAKIdesigns: wasn't at all impressed with the stumpy Evo. Felt very short once you'd got the bars at the right height, 105mm head tube is daft.

Coil shock it wallowed everywhere, unless you over sprung it, then it just felt choppy. Air shock was a big improvement (db air) no idea why specialized specced a coil on the carbon one, super deluxe, float x would of been a far better choice.

Sold it and went back to my Enduro sworks, lighter and far quicker up the hills and down the hills.
  • 5 6
 @sir-hc: both guys I talked to owned Enduros 29 and got back to them Smile
  • 3 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Agreed. Most Stumpy Evos I've seen have been over forked, or the owner wants more travel. I bet they wish they had Enduros now (since Stumpies don't pedal well).
  • 5 7
 @rojo-1: now imagine how “great” Optic must be. It has very similar geo to Stumpy evo and even less travel...
  • 3 1
 @mikekazimer: Yes please!

The current Evo with an X2 rear shock (stock coil and DPX2 suck) is a weapon on the descents, but not the most efficient climbing machine. It does climb rough tech well though.
  • 3 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I'm intrigued by the optic, looking to update my Smuggler (figured I can't really replace the Enduro with a shorter travel bike). Optic is less extreme than the Evo and has a decent headtube length, so you maintain the reach with getting the bars to the right height.

Optic does tick a lot of boxes, getting a proper meaningful demo in the UK is going to be a challenge, as the UK distributor doesn't have any demo bikes!
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Just put a 160 Fork on it and a damper with 2.5mm more stroke and you have yourself a more capable stumpyEVO. Gonna do it next year in spring.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns:

Lol ya troll. The Progression is strong with the Optic
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: sound like the Stumpy Evo needs a MegNeg.
  • 3 0
 @housem8d: it only has same geo as my 27.5 Enduro bike which I personally feel could use 20mm more travel. That is end up at 180/180.
  • 8 2
 I am really interested in a comparison between the SB165 and SC Nomad. I keep thinking about building a yeti but it's billed as a freeride bike, yet my brother rides everything on a Nomad. If the yeti is anywhere near as efficient and playful it might be my next bike.
  • 8 0
 The 165 is as efficient and playful. I currently ride a 150, work at a Santa Cruz dealer, and riding the 165 is awesome. It pedals up everything very well and RIPs down. It does ask for more gnar, even the 150 is too much where I am, but the 165 is damn awesome.
  • 9 0
 Before I bought my 165, I demo’d 150, MT, and Nomad. 150 was best pedaler, both 29ers were trucks going down but the 150 was more composed and easier to ride. The nomad was by far my favorite going down but worse climber. I took a leap of faith that the 165 would give me everything I loved about Nomad with climbing close to the 150 and so far that’s what I’ve found. The Nomad and 165 are very comparable going down, but the 165 is a far better climber, or I should say, you feel way less gassed and inefficient on a 165. Having said that the Nomad has the oldest of the designs, so I imagine the next gen will bring it up to snuff.
  • 3 0
 Thanks for the info! I'm on a capra 29 ltd right now and it really is spectacular but I find myself a little more focused on fun than fast right now. It takes a lot of body english to flick such a big 29r around. It does it and I'm learning a lot in the process. The 165 just sounds like a more playful monster truck. Also, n+1.
  • 10 2
 I’d like to see where the GT would have landed w a few hundred spent on a brake upgrade if that’s the major gripe against it.
  • 3 2
 The brakes were wrong for the bike's intentions, and the wheels were not up to the task, but we'd LOVE to see an improved spec version of that bike. Not necessarily a few hundred more, just some changes.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: let me just say I love that this bike was included w the heavy weight priced bikes, I hope this continues in the future! One thing that might be cool to do to this or a future match up would be to address the largest issue/complaint with aftermarket parts outside of the build spec and see if or how much it would improve its overall standing. Would pb buy/sell classified new take off code r’s have improved the standings? This bike is so much more obtainable than the others it would be very interesting to find out how it would stack up with minor improvements.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: Why did you guys not test the carbon 27.5 force? It still comes in significantly lower price than the rest and would have made the weight differences more even.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: that's why you guys have to compare bikes which are in the same price class.
  • 9 3
 " If you’re looking for outright speed then you may want to look at the SB150 or elsewhere"

Doesn't this kind of seem to contradict the fact that the SB165 was one test riders fastest bike and being middle of the pack (2% behind) the second test riders?
  • 1 0
 @brussell that confused me too
  • 2 0
 Maybe it feels slower, but actually isn't?
  • 1 0
 They didn't have the SB150 in the test.
  • 3 0
 Timing for mountain bike runs is next to irrelevant outside competitions. The human body is the engine, the primary suspension, and the stability control system, and has a lot of variability based on things like amount of sleep, diet, previous activity, e.t.c.
  • 4 1
 I think the problem here is the testers can't decide if they're conducting a park bike test or an enduro race test. Whistler bike park is not representative of the vast majority of enduro races, even at the EWS level. They try to square that circle with comments like the one you quoted, but clearly had more fun of the park bikes (because they're riding park.) Anyone using this field test to choose an actual race bike for the enduros they actually race would be best served by ignoring the top line results, listening to the analysis, and balancing it against the Whistler context that applies to very few of us.
  • 13 1
 @brussell Kaz explained in the video that it rained on 1 of his timed testing days, and his results were affected. I don't know how many more caveats we can put on it: timed testing is just one small metric. A fun, interesting one. But absolutely broscientific.

We're looking to level up our testing every year, but doing German magazine style bench-testing and then implying some sort of certainty about speed test results would be unhelpful at best and dishonest at worst.

@JohnnyVV We rode the bikes a TON outside of the park, and our impressions weren't just formed there. We chose the timed testing lap because of the helpful logistics with the chairlift, and it obviously has an EWS pedigree. More info on our timed testing here: www.pinkbike.com/news/video-how-we-tested-at-the-2020-pinkbike-field-test.html
  • 1 2
 @brianpark: Well, I guess change "can't decide" to "failed to convey" because, aside from a nod to climbing, almost all they talk about in the review videos is performance in the bike park. Regardless, I think I said essentially the same thing you said in the video you linked: Fastest lap time doesn't amount to much and consider the context of the testing when thinking about a bike that makes sense for you.
  • 1 0
 They’re stating the purpose of the bike. How yeti intended the bikes to be ridden and perform.
  • 9 0
 Is there a reason the new Giant Reign is usually left out of the Enduro conversation on pinkbike?
  • 2 0
 Curious about this myself. Seems like a capable ride.
  • 3 4
 I suspect the Reign 29 is a bit shit. Giant bikes are everywhere in Australia and NZ because they're so much better priced than even the direct to consumer brands. However I haven't seen a single Reign 29 on the trails.
  • 2 1
 @PhillipJ: They actually ride really well, having ridden a advanced pro 1 myself... They're hard to get though - know two guys that have been waiting a month so far for theirs (pro 0 and pro 1)... Rear brake scrub still seems to be an issue though
  • 1 0
 I'd like to see Giant and Trek make a love child - a Super Advanced Deluxe Ultimate Pro Doubleplusgood Trump 1 bike, would really get you to the top.
  • 1 0
 @JohanG: yep, I'm no fan of Giant's naming conventions either...
  • 6 1
 The GT Force 29 is half the price of the rest of the bikes in the test. With that extra cash you could buy the best brakes money could buy and still have enough for two mountain bike trips of your choosing.
  • 11 6
 @stiingya: and bonus, you get to take both those trips with a POS bike!
  • 1 0
 @garrisond5: Lol i have a one of the new 2020 27.5 force and it has been the most capable bike i have owned and ridden yet.
  • 1 0
 With the extra cash you can buy a dirtjumper, it will improve your skills and make you a better rider then the specialized does
  • 17 15
 So is the Enduro better than the SB150, the Ransom, the Firebird, the Megatower, the Geometron G1, the Stamina 180 the Capra etc? I understand that you review 2020 models but without comparing them to the rest of the best I don't see the point.
  • 14 2
 How's it different than any other bike test EVER? Nobody can test all bikes at the same time, and there are always gonna be new bikes coming out since nobody follows a release schedule anymore. So there is no way to ever test them all...
  • 6 6
 @stiingya: I was pretty sure that I would be downvoted but still I think that it is important not only to review bikes but also to compare them vs. the best in class. To be honest I was really looking forward for the Enduro vs. the Slayer comparison so it is really disappointing that they couldn't get another Slayer to test. Also I don't expect them to have all the bikes in one test but they have already tested most of the other bikes so it wouldn't be that hard to proceed with a proper comparison. Anyway this year's field tests have been disappointing and almost awkward watching as if the guys were reading some notes rather than really interacting with each other. As for the timed laps in different conditions they were a joke. Guys you can clearly do much better than this.
  • 2 2
 @gpgalanis: have to disagree. The Slayer breaking on a trail every other bike had gone down without issue and causing injury leaves the other testers with no confidence in its ability to complete testing. Unless RM can point to a direct cause of failure and issue a remedy; saying it “must have been a lemon” isnt very confidence inspiring. I completely agree with @mikekazimer on the call. Its just not worth it.
  • 3 1
 @SacAssassin: If you check bike forums there are full of cracked bikes and in most cases the manufacturing companies don't issue a statement about the cause of failure. That means that if PB plans to only test bulletproof bikes then most probably they won't have many bikes to test. Personally I never had a RM bike and I don't plan to get one soon but still I think that PB should have given them another chance. If RM wanted to play the safe card they would have said that it was a pre production version with an XC rear triangle etc.
  • 1 1
 @gpgalanis: How many bikes have u heard about breaking during testing? At least the pole nobody got hurt...
  • 2 3
 They are just writing fiction. If one thinks that this comparison has any validity other than reporting the personal preferences of two people he or she is very delusional!
  • 2 0
 @duzzi: So were supposed to listen to YOUR opinion on how THEIR opinions don't matter...?
  • 1 0
 The Enduro can store food in the downtube. Winner!!!
  • 1 0
 @vanillarice19: would be more interesting if it could store a can and a freezerpak. Otherwise I agree.
  • 5 0
 I gotta stick with my Canfield Balance or a Revel Rail. CBF is the best suspension design I’ve ever tried.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer and/or @jasonlucas while I tend to think this would have been inconsequential to the end result, I'd like to know why you guys opted to test two bikes with DHFs and the rest with Assegais? Perhaps to compensate for weather and trail conditions?
  • 2 0
 N/M. Just realized bikes with DHFs have 27.5" tires. Availability at the time of testing, I assume.
  • 2 1
 @KatzT: you got it.
  • 1 3
 Because all these is littered with biasing details. These are not valid tests, just going around with a few frames, equipped with widely different components, in very different conditions and than electing a "winner"
  • 7 3
 Don’t know if I can enduro ‘nother year til the next bikes are reviewed :,(
  • 3 0
 I don't want to wait either...Yet I will.
  • 3 2
 Shows how much better RM's reaction to a broke bike was compared to Pole. Most people are ready to give Rocky the benefit of the doubt and asking for a 2nd chance full review. But most were ready to tell Pole where they could stick their pole....
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the reviews PB! It's not possible to create perfect reviews that takes all variances of spec, pricing, availability, application, etc, into account. But you did a good job considering. Fortunately nothing here makes me feel the need to replace my Foxy. Whew!
  • 1 0
 I would actually love to see a full review of the new Lapierre Spicy. Even thou it may not be a big bike brand in the US or Canada. But not all of us live there and yeah, it may be a somewhat small brand in Europe but the bikes really looks good and would be cool to read what you guys would think of it. Merry Christmas PB readers and editors!
  • 1 0
 Would really like to know the size of each bike tested and how each rider felt they fit or if the rider would size up or down. I'm 6' - 215 and keep seeing myself fitting on L, XL, XXL depending on manufacturer. Getting to demo near my trails on two sizes per brand is difficult.
  • 4 1
 We were promised the huck to flat video before X-Mas. Post it today or else...
  • 26 26
 I would've liked to see a complete review on the Slayer. You could've acknowledged it broke and asked Rocky for another one. I understand somebody got hurt but that failure hasn't been seen on any other bike as far as we know. Regardless, I went out and bought one. Sick bike.
  • 14 0
 Was the "sick bike" a joking reference..
  • 2 3
 @adrennan: LOL. Come ride with me at Lefthand. I'll let you take a lap on it.
  • 14 10
 saw a santa cruze snapped in half online today, saw a yeti Sb with a cracked chainstay the other day., whats the deal? people break shit all the time. Great choice on the slayer, man are they sexy.
  • 15 0
 If someone was testing a bike and it broke catastrophically causing them significant injuries I'd be a tough call to expect them to test another one with a clear / unbiased mind.
  • 6 10
flag teethandnails (Dec 24, 2019 at 8:48) (Below Threshold)
 @wallheater: It was a freak scenario. They found the reason it broke, so make sure the axles and all the bolts for that matter, are tight, and then test it. Bike Mag will give us the details in their Bible 2020 soon.
  • 1 0
 @teethandnails: What was the reason? Did someone put an article out? Thanks.
  • 1 0
 @teethandnails: I didn't say it wasn't a freak scenario, but I was in that situation and someone said 'Here, have another one to test.' I wouldn't be in a situation where I could give the bike an unbiased review based on the accident and subsequent pain I had to endure.
  • 2 0
 I got one as well! So good. Threw an mrp progressive spring in and it got even better. Specialized looks insane tho. Beautifully put together.
  • 26 2
 @Grunk, without a clear answer as to why it broke it wasn’t worth taking the risk that it could happen again.
  • 21 0
 @mikekazimer: if only that attitude was used with at Boeing .
  • 6 8
 @mikekazimer: Riding for a bunch of years, I've seen lots of broken frames. Worked in a shop and barely any of those failures were ever explained by the manufacturers. Some were obvious rider mistakes, other times, mechanics missing a step, sometimes the anomoly fail and subsequent warranty replacement of said item. Every bike company has failures every single year. I mean, as a bike journalist, why don't you go ask various companies? I'm sure they'd all love to tell you exactly what their warranty's have been lately Wink You could always ask some shops, there's definitely some bitter techs out there willing to spill the beans. Either way, it's no secret in the bike industry, if you dug a teeny bit, you'd hear tons of stories about frame fails. Maybe less these days than years ago, but I still see enough of them around to know it still happens. I have a tough time believing with the number of bikes that go through Pinkbike's doors, you guys haven't witnessed quite a few other failures yourselves. Enough to know it's not un-common. Also, the whole, "our mechanic tightened the axle" thing. Was he running around with a TQ wrench, or hand tightening them with an Allen key? How does he know he didn't forget that one, while assembling a fleet of test bikes? or that he used the correct TQ number. Do you folks use QC documents or paint markers to mark bolts that have been tourqed? There's room for this to be a simple mistake and bang, another frame bites the dust, a rider hits the dirt, and nothing new has happened in MTB. You'd at the very least have to give the benefit of doubt. What is it, about this one particular failure, that's worth sinking a bike companies reputation? Or at the very least crushing the rep of that particular bike model. Was it that it happened during the field test itself? Or because it was a new bike? Or because Rocky didn't make up a failure reason? (I actually appreciate them saying they don't know, because it's likely the truth with many companies failures). Anyways, unless there's some other story you folks know that we all don't about how Slayers are blowing up all over the place, you guys should grab another one, put a brave soul on it, and give a review. If your lucky you'll break two bikes, then you'll really have a story. Stop pretending this is something new, or maybe a broken bike story gets a lot of clicks. Next time the Rocky guys will just lie, because what good did it do to tell the truth?
  • 5 1
 @teethandnails: neither us nor Rocky Mountain have "found the reason it broke". As tech editors we've speculated a few scenarios (and been clear about that speculation), but definitely can't confirm our suspicions with anything more than educated guessing.

We've spoken to Rocky Mountain several times since the failure and have not received a definitive answer yet either. We're hopeful that with further testing they can figure it out, because that bike was awesome till it wasn't.

@Grunk we definitely want to follow up once they get to the bottom of it.
  • 4 0
 So.... you could buy the GT and a venti latte from Starbucks too.
  • 4 0
 Every workday for 3 years.
  • 3 0
 Well, so much for Protour having a merry Xmas. Cold blooded on the part of Mikey K and Jason IMO.
  • 5 2
 Specialized Enduro best in class? Man, that’s going to trigger some cognitive dissonance.
  • 3 1
 Seems to me you could have doubled the number of enduro bikes tested because you're just riding them down hill, not doing a lung busting lap like the others.
  • 5 1
 Drink every time Mike says "just something to keep in mind"
  • 10 10
 Damn Ibis..wish you stayed away from the traction tune. At least offer a classic tune, even if it costs a couple hundred more. That's a rock solid frame with great geo. IMO traction tune is like putting 160 rotors on an endure bike. Wait, my HD4 came with 160 rotors..lol. That was cheaper to fix, so I didn't feel like I had to whine about it. Enduro is awesome....still can't get excited about it. Like that the Slayer is more versatile than it should be. But that SB165 looks like it'd be so much fun.
  • 10 1
 Didn't Kazimer say that he was able to move the fork and shock to where he likes it with a standard tune even explicitly stating that the traction tune suspension still has a lot of range. Sounds like that'd be $0 to "fix" unless you're typically out on the tails of the standard tune window.
  • 5 2
 @OriginalDonk: yeah he did, BUT if your heavy or maybe even if your light your gonna have trouble getting that bike set up because the shock tune is so far off.
  • 1 2
 @OriginalDonk: That's why they took the time to mention traction tune may not be for everyone. Don't know about you, i'm only around 4-5 clicks out from closed on my forks rebound. I've tried running faster and squishier...no way. How many reviews of Fox's Grip2 have we heard that it they wish it was tuned lighter? I could understand running traction tune on the Mojo or Ripley "Trail bikes", not their aggressive big bike.
  • 2 0
 @canuck-rider: actually, never heard anyone complain about a grip 2?
  • 1 0
 "Traction Tune" may be a suspect concept, but as a lighter rider, I'm pretty happy that the Ripmo that shows up on my doorstep sometime next week will have a lighter HSC compression tune stock. I'm pretty sure I'll still be able to slow the rebound down way more than I'd want to.
  • 2 2
 And why would you believe that is does not work? Just because a couple of Pinkbike "testers" spent a couple of afternoons on it and somehow said something not so flattering. You really believe these "tests" actually mean anything?
  • 1 0
 @stiingya: That’s what OD probably meant when he said “out on the tails of the standard tune window.” Probably a stat guy referring to a bell curve’s tails. That’s where really light or really heavy riders would be in terms of setup.
  • 1 0
 @duzzi: Maybe it does work from a traction perspective and I’ll certainly give it a go when my bike arrives. But, I know what over fast rebound feels like in the air and it’s usually not confidence inspiring.
  • 1 0
 @stiingya: Exactly. Grip2 is considered one of the best.
  • 1 0
 @duzzi: Watch the video of Jeff K Weed trying it out. Plus the video where they explain it. Basically they say they wanted to mimick the suspension speeds of their enduro riders for regular riders. I liked the PB reviews, look like a good cross section of riders. I’m sure the Traction Tune will work for a large number of people. It’s good that ibis has the curiosity to try something different. It’s not looking like it would work for me. It’s an amazing frame. Hate to see it being held back.
  • 4 4
 Since this is the last field test video and this has been bothering me since the first one, am I the only one who didn't like how when the beer was opened by the bike doing a whip he just drops the beer. Come on that's such a waste.
  • 1 0
 How many more did you want him to drop trying to get the shot?
  • 2 2
 Why are the seatposts all at different drops? None are topped out nor are any fully dropped. Really f*cks with the perspective: the Rocky looks obviously like it has wagon wheels, where as the Spesh could be a size small on 27s at first glance.
  • 4 0
 Different seat tube, stack, and rider heights? The saddle nose is level with the stem in all cases. They're trying to create the same frame around each bike. Compromises have to be made with symmetry somewhere because uhm...the bikes are different from each other.
  • 1 0
 @JohnnyVV: those measurements are why they're all inserted to different depths. But both riders rode all 5 so it would only make sense to snap a pic of each bike while set up for the same rider and then either top out the seat post or slam it down.
  • 2 0
 @just6979: Yeah, I have no strong opinion about what they should have done. You asked why they were all at different drops and I answered: they made an aesthetic choice to level the saddle nose with the top of the stem and that meant different heights for different bikes. If you browse other reviews and bike launches, you'll find it's a pretty common approach to photographing bikes. I guess they could have tried to adjust for more consistency but I'm not sure anyone else cares.
  • 9 9
 What's with you guys ? Spesh won hands down, and all the comments are about the other bikes not quite being perfect, just accept the fact that the spesh enduro is the best bike of the bunch, and if you check out for sale ,my awesome 2017 enduro is for sale,merry Xmas pinkbikers Smile
  • 1 0
 "specialized offers cheaper builds with capable parts", don't really feel it to spend €5000 for a bike with a Nx Drive train, Code R brakes and the cheapest Rockshox Lyrik fork.
  • 3 0
 You don’t slay on the Slayer. It Slays you.
  • 3 0
 It would be fun to see how the Ripmo AF compares to the HD5.
  • 1 0
 Seems like the Specialized Enduro really nailed it this year. Just a bummer that east coast terrain probably doesn't suit it. Or does it? Hmmm...
  • 2 0
 That all depends where in the east you ride it. Lots of spots warrant a bike like the enduro.
  • 2 0
 @elsinore: there's a load of places in New England or Quebec you'd be fine on it!
  • 2 0
 Is it just the wheels and brakes on the gt? Easy to upgrade then still have thousands of dollars to spare over the others
  • 1 0
 whats wrong with the wheels?
  • 1 0
 @raphl: exaclty i doubt any normal rider will not have an issue with the wheels
  • 1 0
 I think Rocky does have a quality control problem. I’ve had two frames and they both had issues that should’ve been caught before being sold
  • 3 0
 @jasonlucas
Is that a 29er?
Ugh!!

Wink
  • 1 0
 I'm dreaming about the Scott Ransom Al for the next decade. Where do you think that bike is good, and what's that that you don't like about it.
  • 1 0
 Are the folks at pinkbike still planning a review of the banshee titan? Last word from Kazimer (IIRC) was to expect a field test review...
  • 8 6
 I would have sent my Slayer in for a complete review.
  • 20 10
 I would be worried about riding a slayer now. Not trolling, but I would find it worrying. I think Rocky should maybe look a bit deeper in to what hapened?
  • 12 14
 @lev3000: from the other comment thread misaligned bearings in the frame caused it to crack, not the actual frame itself. All these bikes are over-engineered to begin with since they want to avoid lawsuits etc. I wouldn't worry about it. it was unfortunate for Rocky that this lemon got sent
  • 15 7
 @lev3000: they have had their team riding and shredding the slayer for 9 months?? released plenty of video of dudes sending these bike massively, on top of that they release a statement reassuring that this is the strongest and best slayer they ever made. no other troubles with the bike. how can you say they should look into it. guy's are sending these bikes down the most demanding terrain every day. Case closed.
  • 3 1
 @lev3000:
I wouldn't worry about that bike breaking. It would be different if there were many people reporting a particular model breaking often, or a particular manufacturing run of them breaking.
  • 2 5
 all these armchair engineers downvoting me. Maybe go to school and get a degree in it first?
  • 12 0
 @monkeybizz: i too am an engineer. If it was truly over-engineered it wouldn't have broken in spite of mis-aligned bearings. That falls under the category of "fault tolerant design". And manufacturing process control should keep mis-alignment from happening, or should have caught it before it went out the door (QC inspection). I think the Slayer looks awesome, but this scenario is truly a fail.
  • 1 0
 They definitely need an RCA done immediately. My best guess looking at the pics is that the threads on the axle were cut too far in. The axle then failed at the thread cut where the axle and the frame mate up. This is not a Rocky frame strength issue, it would be an inspection problem at assembly
  • 2 0
 How do you know if someone’s an engineer? Don’t worry. They’ll tell you.

@monkeybizz:
  • 1 0
 @paulwatt: watt was that? Wink
  • 5 4
 Does Pinkbike need crowdsourcing for gas money to North Van to get another Slayer to review? Lets make this happen!
  • 2 0
 I can see the RMB office from the highway every time I drive to the PB office. Smile

But hey if you guys wanna crowdsource some TimBits or something we're down.
  • 1 0
 Pinkbike, fix the hyperlink under Jason's name. It's taking you to Kaz's page!
  • 3 1
 Name bike model after category. Win award. Done
  • 3 1
 I'd get the GT - decent bike regardless....not everyone is a trustifarian.
  • 1 0
 Can confirm, it is a great bike
  • 1 0
 would be nice to see a shoot out between the specialized enduro and the megatower
  • 2 0
 Would have liked to have seen a Ripmo AF review here.
  • 1 0
 Somebody already snapped the carbon link on Vital.... Nice looking bike but I wouldn't run out and buy one.
  • 3 2
 Pour one out for poor old rocky Frown
  • 4 2
 That yeti is dope AF
  • 5 8
 About the Slayer: "It's not a mini-DH bike - doesn't have high-speed stability of some other bikes in this category."

Yet the travel and geo is almost a perfect match for the numbers on the Enduro, within a few mm on wheelbase for the respective reaches, and in fact those differences are longer on the Slayer for the closest matching sizes (going by reach). Sure seems you guys had a winner picked out before this shootout...

"More versatile than travel and geometry numbers suggest"

Again it's a great match for the Enduro. Why didn't the Enduro, or others, get this accolade?
  • 1 0
 Actually after seeing the Huck to flat pics, it's 100% the low BB height giving the Enduro the stable feeling. Maybe instead of just mentioning reach and chainstays in the quick specs, go back to doing a full geo chart, or at least give the ones that have the most import for fit (reach mostly) and feel (bb drop/height, wheelbase, chainstays, front center (though easily derived once you have CS and WB))
  • 1 0
 No comparison to the ransom or more importantly the mach6
  • 2 1
 Santa Cruz S works ahuehahuaeh
  • 1 0
 Merry Chrysler pinkbikers!!!
  • 1 0
 Would love them to Do a commencal clash review
  • 1 0
 Thank you PB, one of the nicest field test i ever seen!
  • 1 0
 29er Enduro LT comparative:

Megatower - Ransom - Enduro - SB150 - Range
  • 1 0
 Was this review really done by Bill Cosby?
  • 1 0
 Why are they comparing a 275 to a 29er just asking.
  • 4 5
 Why you guys keep avoiding on your tests new mullet bikes like the NS Nerd HD ?
  • 36 5
 Because no body cares and it’s not going to make you faster
  • 1 0
 They did unfortunately test the mullet version of the Intense, which put it at a disadvantage to all the 29er bikes in that test.
  • 2 0
 @TucsonDon: but they used tires that made the BB too low and then complained about the low BB and pedal strikes. So not really a great test...

Course, if they would have used the stock tires they would have complained about the big tires... but trying the bike with 165 cranks or something might have been a good compromise between tires they don't like and making the BB too low?
  • 2 1
 @stiingya: yep fair. It was a choice between the tires being bad for the intended use, or the BB being too low. We tried to go with the lesser of two evils, but I'd consider doing it differently if we were doing it over again...
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: Well the Flip side is that it's too bad Intense didn't do something, different links, a different rear triangle, flip chips, something... so the bike could use "normal sized" tires AND have a decent BB height... Missed opportunity.

Thanks! and Merry Christmas! Santa's just done building a new kids bike!! Smile
  • 1 0
 Abc
  • 3 3
 I am worried about my Slayer, maybe I swap with the 165.
  • 8 0
 Bikes break all the time. I think you are fine.
  • 2 2
 no thanks, I'll stick to my $1700 2020 sommet 29.. XD
  • 2 1
 My Mega 275 is doing just fine at $2100 US
  • 1 0
 No surprise there.
  • 1 1
 The NEW Knolly Warden LT riders better than all of these bikes.
  • 1 1
 Kaz is testing one now IIRC.
  • 1 0
 Are you sure about this?
  • 1 0
 Slash 9.9!!
  • 1 0
 I have one... I think both the Slash set up fairly light and the Enduro setup for gnar would be awesome, maybe even a dual crown fork set at 180 on the Enduro... Smile The Slash is amazing but more of a trail bike by today's standards.
  • 1 2
 Before I open link, I already know who is winner and payer for this test. Bullshit.
  • 3 5
 Nice. I am sure Knolly is very proud to see their suspension design win this contest.
  • 2 4
 Really tho, a bike with 27.5 wheels didn't have a chance... And rightfully so
  • 7 8
 27.5 Nomad & 27.5 Capra still smoke all these
  • 10 1
 capra. lol.
  • 1 0
 No love for the Capra?@ranke:
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