Field Trip: Sub-$2,000 Trail Bike Round Table

Mar 31, 2020
by Mike Levy  


PINKBIKE FIELD TRIP

Four $2,000 (and under) bikes put to the test on Sedona's unforgiving trails



Words by Mike Levy, Photography by Anthony Smith



We took four trail bikes that all cost $2,000 or less and put them through the wringer on Sedona's rough and rocky singletrack. All of them held up to the abuse, and the bikes impressed us with (mostly) good handling and rear-suspension that's ready for anything you might encounter on your trail ride. Things weren't entirely perfect, of course, but our general takeaway is that no one should have trouble finding a capable trail bike in this price range. It's not a bad time to be on a budget, is it?

As impressive as the bikes are, we're not here to hand out participation medals. Mike Kazimer and I sat down with James Huang, a tech editor from CyclingTips, to chat about what we liked and didn't like, and to choose our favorites out of this category.


4 Trail Bikes Under $2,000 USD

Vitus Mythique 29 VRX review photo by Anthony Smith
Vitus Mythique 29 VRX
• 140 (R) / 140mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• 66° head tube-angle
• Weight: 32.8 lb / 14.9 kg
• $2,000 USD
Field Trip review
Kona Honzo review
Kona Honzo
• 120mm fork
• 29" wheels
• 68° head-tube angle
• Weight: 32.3 lb / 14.7 kg
• $1,499 USD
Field Trip review


Giant Stance 1 review
Giant Stance 1
• 120 (R) / 130mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• 67.5° head-tube angle
• Weight: 31.6 lb / 14.7 kg
• $1,800 USD
Field Trip review
Calibre Bossnut review photo by Anthony Smith
Calibre Bossnut
• 130mm (R) / 130mm (F) travel
• 27.5" wheels
• 66° head-tube angle
• Weight: 33.4 lb / 15.1 kg
• $1,300 USD
Field Trip review





Levy's Picks

While it's not entirely fair, it's also a no-brainer for me: I'd choose the Vee-tus all ride, every ride. But the $2,000 Mythique 29 VRX hits our price cap, and Vitus' direct-to-you sales mean they can out-spec some of their competition. It might not be new-school enough for some, but the geo is trail bike-appropriate as well, so yeah, of course it's my pick of the bunch. More surprising was how fun Bossnut was to ride, especially given that Sedona is a toothy, unforgiving place to spend two weeks aboard a $1,400, questionably named mail order bike from the UK. Aside from a few bolts rattling loose, the 'nut was a reminder to me that inexpensive doesn't mean less fun. I kinda already knew that, but things get a bit hazy when many of your rides are on ridiculously expensive, near-flawless dream machines.
Mike Levy
Mike Levy
Height: 5'10" / 178 cm
Weight: 155 lb / 70.3 kg
Notes: Tech editor, gas station snack connoisseur

Barring a few of those unavoidable cactus-jumping-in-front-of-me incidents, the Field Trip value bike experience was largely trouble-free. I came away thoroughly impressed with how capable most of the bikes were, and I also learned a few things.


Kazimer's Picks

The Vitus Mythique gets my vote out of this quartet of value bikes. It's a very easy to handle machine, with a nimble feel that keeps it entertaining on trails that don't plunge straight down the fall line. It's not a watered down enduro bike; instead, it has a liveliness to it that's often missing on those longer travel sleds. In this case, the 140mm of front and rear travel feel perfectly matched to the its intentions, and that Marzocchi Z2 fork is especially deserving of a shout out. That fork punches well above its weight, and is one of the reasons we were so impressed by the Mythique's price vs performance ratio.

On the topic of price, the Mythique was the most expensive option in this $2,000 and under category, but what you get for all of those hard earned dollars is a bike that's well equipped right out of the box. The tires are trail worthy, the brakes feel better than what's on the other three bikes in this grouping, and even the wide handlebar / short stem combo leaves little to be desired.


Me.
Mike Kazimer
Height: 5'11" / 180cm
Weight: 160 lbs / 72.6 kg
Notes: Managing tech editor, horchata addict

My second place pick would be the Kona Honzo. The parts kit pales in comparison to what you'll find on the Vitus, and it obviously doesn't have rear suspension, but the Honzo's geometry makes it well suited to goofing off – a manual here, a little rear wheel drift there – and I'm all for bikes that encourage goofing off and having fun above everything else.

Third place? That goes to the Calibre Bossnut, the red bike with a funny name and good handling, as long as things don't get too crazy. The lack of a dropper post would be the first thing I'd change, and then I'd scrounge up some more funds for tubeless ready tires. After that, it'd be a great bike to test the waters of mountain biking with, a way for a rider to get their feet wet without going broke.




The 2020 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible by support from: Smith, 7mesh, and Over The Edge Sedona.




Photos: Anthony Smith
Additional footage: Lear Miller



158 Comments

  • 211 1
 Now can you write a guide on how to convince someone to spend $2,000 who asks me “I really want to get a nice bike and I’m willing to spend a lot, like $800”...
  • 64 0
 I wish I could up vote this a 1000 times because 1000 is generally the budget of anyone around here looking to get into the sport with a “nice bike”.
  • 41 3
 They should write a how-to convince your Mom that you are NOT going to die mountain biking and it is worth spending her money on article, because I could really use one of those.
  • 14 5
 At that price is all about the 2011-2012 used bikes
  • 23 18
 @Supergirl56: Wait... Why aren't you spending your own money? Work to play.

Buying toys is easier while you're living at home because you don't have living costs. If you're not used to buying these things for yourself now, it's going to be a huge shock once you're paying $1500/mo on rent.
  • 4 1
 @Maverick18T: And that's about the price point for a well maintained five year-old used bike with decent parts spec.
  • 5 0
 Is a $1000 bike with modern geo possible? Even if it's just RC, or even R suspension, and a spec that works and won't break down in a few months. Dropper could be an upgrade option down the road. There are so many people interested in the sport but can't swallow the price tag.
  • 5 0
 Just recently I had this conversation with my wife’s co-workers husband. I recommended the Norco Fluid HT 2 or 3 depending on which side of 1k they wanted to stay on. Dialed geo, decent (for the $$$) part spec, and defiantly not going to hold a brand new rider back.
  • 4 0
 Someone on my local FB group just posted saying he wanted a full suspension for $500-$600.
  • 6 1
 @chriskneeland: I don’t think beginners need modern geometry...what they need is to spend time on a bike learning how to navigate through rocks, both uphill and downhills...preferably on a hardtail, but still $1500 would be the minimum starting point for something durable and not terribly heavy.
  • 4 4
 @Chilla8: It’s just a shame it’s a qr back end.
  • 5 0
 @g-42:

lol not around here brother, people are still trying to get msrp value for used bike. 500$ is the going rate of a 15 year old dirt jumper around here. I did just find a 2012 SX trail for 750, believe it or not that’s a crazy good deal for around here.
  • 6 0
 @Maverick18T: shouldn’t matter, we rode for years with qr hubs front and rear...maybe not the best choice for more advanced riders on more advanced terrain, but shouldn’t be an issue for new riders...until they need a new wheel...
  • 9 7
 @Maverick18T: are those CAD or real dollars?
  • 5 2
 @unrooted: this right here, I don’t think geo matters as much as trying to get new riders to stay off of the seat on descents, huge problem for the ladies around here. And then they wonder how they ended going OTB after that root section.
  • 4 0
 Do you get the Voodo Bizango in the US? Gets great reviews, sub $1000. Sadly sold in Halfords (a car spares showroom) over here, so there's a good chance of people being put off by less knowledgeable staff (I'm sure there are some good ones).
  • 4 0
 @unrooted: well, the market might be different here in Italy, but with 1400 euros i got a YT capra with still some warranty left, in excellent conditions... I scouted months for the best occasions, sure, but I got a great ride for less money than the vitus or even the giant!!!
  • 2 0
 @Chilla8:

My apologies, they’ve been updated. Originally it was a qr backend and some stupid axle size that I’ve never seen before and can’t remember / Norco was smart enough to remove that spec from the archive.
  • 7 0
 @unrooted:

That would be our Monopoly money I’m talking about.
  • 2 1
 @unrooted: our trails are about 70-90% roots, qr axles get taken for a wobbly ride.
  • 3 1
 @Maverick18T:
141 boost QR was likely the hub size. I remember when I predicted to the buyer at a store I worked at that there would be a 141 boost QR standard and just got an eye roll and a "no way, that's stupid". 6 months later they mentioned that I was right and should we stock replacement wheels.
  • 6 1
 @DaneL: I do, but I don't have a summer job because coronavirus, so my money supply is very very finite and low.
  • 2 1
 @Supergirl56: have you applied at the grocery store? The ones in my town are the only places hiring, and stocking shelves is dead easy...
  • 2 0
 Easy. See that $800 bike. In a year you're going to want to flip that bike and put that money toward that $2,000 bike. You could maybe sell that $800 bike for $500 (not including the upgrades you did to it within that year), so you're going to essentially be spending $2300-$2400 on that $2000 bike next year.

That being said, used is definitely the way to go unless you're getting into the $3500 and up price range IMO. I got the lady on a 2015 Intense Tracer with an XT build for $1100. Ya, it needed some TLC but there's deals out there to be had if you're patient.
  • 7 0
 @chriskneeland: I nabbed my wife a Marin Hawk Hill end of year for $1000. It was a demo from a shop in a more rural area so it had only been out about three times. Has similar spec as the Bossnut here, but Shimano 1x10 (which I prefer) instead of SX and also came with tubeless ready wheels and Hans Dampf rubber. It has modern geo and is a super fun bike. Will put a dropper on it at some point, but she has no complaints.
  • 3 0
 @unrooted: Steep head angles and long stems equal OTB, especially if you lack skill...I respectfully disagree. Not saying you need Grim Donut angles, but 70 HA and 120 stem are not going to help. It's not like recommending flat pedals to learn technique either.
  • 3 0
 @DaneL: I do, but I don't think I'm going to get a summer job at this rate, so it would be nice to get a little parental help.
  • 2 0
 @unrooted: ... as is catching corona there.
  • 1 0
 @unrooted: I agree that anyone starting out would benefit more from a riding hardtail with more trail/am oriented geo. But like myself and most others, beginners are attracted to the full squish. Friends of mine usually want to stay under $1000 for their first full kit. If the bike industry could make that a reality, with periodic upgrades over the years possible instead of changing standards on every other bike model, they'd have a much bigger consumer base on the hook.
  • 2 1
 @mi-bike: I thought corona was a hoax...in Brazil???
  • 6 0
 I remember buying my first hardtail for $800 and I thought it was ridiculously expensive and overpriced. Now I ride my $3000 full suspension and think my bike is too cheap.
  • 8 2
 @unrooted: that’s right. It’s a “little influenza”, “only kills people who were near death anyway“, and ”you face it like a man, not a boy” according to the president and his supporters.
  • 4 1
 @mi-bike: I’m glad we don’t have a president like that!!! ????????
  • 1 0
 @Maverick18T:
I got a Nukeproof scout (hard tail) as a temporary bike while I save for my new fully, ended up loving the bike, don't think I'll part with it. Deore version is just over a 1000 and it can take a beating. It's a sweet bike!
  • 3 1
 @unrooted: oh, hem... well.
;-)
  • 1 0
 @fullendurbro: saw a bottle rocket on KSL classifieds for $600. More slopestyle than trail, even set up for tailwhips & barspins!
  • 1 0
 @ichabodchain:

You realize 1000 of your moneys is like 2500 of my moneys right, welcome to the Canadian economy.
  • 1 0
 @MeloBikeCO: scott spark 960 level comes with a 142 through-skewer! WTF? Synchros were the only ones making hubs that size before I saw Trek uses a "boost141" QR.
  • 1 0
 Correction, it’s 1500; wait till later this year it will be 2500.
  • 4 0
 You are right, these are more realistically the third bike or even fourth bike people will buy as they enter the sport as newer riders. The entire category of true beginner bikes - between these bikes and the $200 Walmart beater bike most people discover their local trails on when they first start riding, is where the biggest gains need to happen.

In 24 years of MTBing, I've had a lot of people ask me what bike to get into MTBing. The hardest part is not explaining they probably need to spend $500-1000 on a beginner bike just to even get them on the trails somewhat reliably...the hardest part is explaining that they would probably be spending at least double that on a new bike within just a year as their riding progresses quickly. The entire segment of beginner bikes is quite disposable and does not offer much in the way of long-term desirability.
  • 3 1
 Didn't they just review every 33lbs boat anchor on this article.
  • 2 0
 @Maverick18T: My wife has a 17 Stance. Yeah, the QR (front and back) are kind of lame, but it doesn't stop her from riding and she doesn't really care. That bike has seen Galbraith, Bend trails, and my local PNW trails. I takes it and has never let her down.
  • 3 0
 @jorgeposada:

I wish my AM bike didn’t weigh 33lbs but saint brakes, T-Mac pedals, and Double Down front and back makes a chonky bike.
  • 2 0
 @kookseverywhere: and 120mm stems on your enduro bike.... But yeah like, ride a $400 clunker for a year to decide if you like mtb and then buy something nice... so you don't look like the guy on Friday fails who instantly OTBs reaching the lip for no reason on his $6k hightower he has never ridden before
  • 2 0
 @chriskneeland: Used Honzo. I always tell people this is the best place to start if you are interested in mountain biking and have a budget of about $1000.
  • 1 0
 @Dogl0rd: Buuuaahroski! Klunkerz are fun AF! That's where it all started... BTW; bikerumor-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Airing-Transition-Klunker.jpg

PS: I know what you meant! But I do love me some Klunkerzz
  • 2 0
 @Maverick18T: It must be fun going down.
  • 1 0
 @TW80: nice pic!! Rigid fork hell yeah
  • 1 0
 Well put ! I was like wait what ? M’m And dad ? @DaneL:
  • 1 0
 @Maverick18T: I hear you there. Mine's 34.5lbs with carbon wheels and bars... DD tires and T-Macs add some weight
  • 1 0
 @mi-bike: Sooo, you basically have Trump for president!?
  • 1 0
 Get a hardtail 1000 bucks new I’m going to get a San Quentin any day now and you can up grade as you go @chriskneeland:
  • 1 0
 @Alvey72:

Carbon frame, carbon bars, X01 groupset, and pro4 hubs laced to ex511’s with super comps.. I’m looking into another wheel set but it’s not gonna drop much weight. I took my frame under the knife this winter though, removed all paint, it’s a 32lbs bike now haha.
  • 131 4
 Every time I see the the word Mythique, I can't help but see Mike Tyson trying to say mystique.
  • 64 1
 Careful. He might kick you ath.
  • 16 5
 or bite your ear off!
  • 50 0
 In a radio show with a 50 Cent (the rapper) and other, they kept making fun of Mike Tyson. The group on the radio show kept going on until they noticed that 50 Cent was not saying a word or laughing. He was asked by the show host what was up with him. 50 Cent was said to have slowly leaned forward to the mic and said "You know Mike Tyson is still knocking Mother F###ers out right?" The show then went quickly to commercial and moved on from the subject completely when they came back on.

Just saying. LOL
  • 3 26
flag dexterfawkes (Mar 31, 2020 at 8:06) (Below Threshold)
 @foxwl01: your*
  • 8 0
 @dexterfawkes: In Mike Tyson talk, it's you*.
  • 1 38
flag dexterfawkes (Mar 31, 2020 at 8:24) (Below Threshold)
 @chriskneeland: Mike Tyson talk = Ebonics
  • 19 0
 @dexterfawkes: You suck at trolling.
  • 3 12
flag dexterfawkes (Mar 31, 2020 at 8:49) (Below Threshold)
 @chilllout: yessir
  • 2 0
 A 60' years old Mike Tyson would kill me. No doubt !
  • 2 0
 Everytime I see this joke, I can't help but not laugh
  • 1 0
 @Germanmike: oth mate, oth.
  • 1 1
 @QuebecPoulin: Yeah, I think people think of him as an old dude because it seems he's been around so long... but he's only 53...he was the heavy weight champion at 20 years old...he's been famous for over 30 years..and yeah even when he's 60 I wouldn't make fun of his speech to his face.
  • 9 2
 @greener1: Making fun of anyone for a speech impediment isn't cool, whether they can knock you on your ass or not.
  • 5 8
 @Poulsbojohnny: I disagree... Bullying is the key to success for our future generations
  • 61 10
 The Vitus probably gives 95% of the performance of an $8k bike for 25% of the cost.

Doesn't stop me being drawn to more exotic, expensive bikes mind but does put things into perspective....
  • 12 6
 All the people who downvoted you own $8k bikes. Just cuz it doesn't have a high price tag, doesn't mean it lacks performance. Downvoting isn't gonna make that hole in your wallet go away!
  • 3 1
 67.3% of all numbers ...
  • 6 19
flag Skinnyman (Mar 31, 2020 at 10:02) (Below Threshold)
 @stumphumper92: I did downvote, but do not own an 8k bike. I am just a weekend warrior and "performance" for me also means durability and ease of maintenance. In this context for me personally Vitus offers only about 40% of performance of _some_ 8k bikes.
  • 7 2
 @Skinnyman: Have you ever owned a Vitus? Hard to speak on a bike you've never owned.
  • 10 3
 @stumphumper92: wait. You just claimed - without any evidence - that all OP’s downvoters own 8k rigs, and that their wallets now have a hole in them. And now you accuse @skinnyman of talking about something w/o first-hand knowledge? That’s rich.
  • 5 11
flag Skinnyman (Mar 31, 2020 at 10:57) (Below Threshold)
 @stumphumper92: > Hard to speak on a bike you've never owned.
Am I on pinkbike now?

I have ridden the parts it is specced with and I know what it takes to get the replacement bearings for Vituses. Sure, a great bike for one season. For 5? Not so much.
  • 8 3
 @Skinnyman: Obviously you have no idea what you are talking about. My Vitus has been holding up great going into its fourth season. Bearings directly ordered from CRC, came quick as hell. Has been holding up superbly while the Giants, and YT that my mates ride need constant repairs. And why is that ? Because I look after my bike, and clean and lubricate it regularly. If you really rode a Vitus for a whole season and it didnt last, it wasn't on the bike, it was an you.
  • 5 0
 @Skinnyman: I've had a Vitus for 6 years, first as a xc bike, then as it got older as a do it all full suspension living off old parts. The bike was a tank. Easy to replace and standard bearings, fun to ride, and never had any issues!

Just the geometry was suicidal, but the bike was from 2010, so that's ok.
  • 2 6
flag Skinnyman (Mar 31, 2020 at 12:33) (Below Threshold)
 @Floho: Of course I have no idea, you are the ultimate authority, sorry. I am perfectly aware that the longevity of a frame depends on the maintenance and the riding style. That is why I wrote that this bike is not 95% of an 8k bike "for me personally". For me. I'm not you. I'm a different human being.
  • 4 4
 @Caiokv: I am genuinely happy for you. The experience I have witnessed is that the dude had creaking bearings, wanted to replace them, but they were out of stock on CRC, so he went through some hurdles. Again, there are bikes for 8k that are on a different level for me personally when it comes to the quality, availability of spares, customer service, durability etc.
  • 3 0
 I blame marketing and stagnation for why we spend so much. Yes, marketing has convinced us we need this or that, we can feel a difference, who cares if it's placebo, it's what the pros run, etc, and we spend the extra money with little hesitation. But when's the last time most of us have actually ridden a much less expensive bike? Many of us have spent some duration on higher end equipment, we've willfully neglected to actually try a less expensive modern bike that have benefited from trickle down technology. I think just getting riders who've stagnated to try cheaper bikes would be an eye opener... but probably bad for business.
  • 3 0
 @Skinnyman:
Bearings are bearings. I have never ran across a bike that has special bearings that you can't source from a regular bearing supply store. I have run across bikes with proprietary bushings, but most bikes just run bearings that you can get from a lot of places. Of course it is nice to get ones made for pivots, but others will work if you are in a pinch.

I've seen a lot of very expensive bikes that blow through bearings incredibly fast. In this order, it comes down to cleaning habits, quality of sealing done around the bearings, the loads the frame puts on each location, and then frame alignment. I've only ever seen frame alignment effecting bearing life a few times, and it was never a low cost frame causing that wear issue.
  • 2 4
 @stumphumper92: So is $2k not money or what? Hot take: Vitus Nucleus probably gives 85% of the performance of a $2k bike for 25% of the cost.
  • 1 3
 @MeloBikeCO: I fully agree, just a note: 1) bearings: there are places where a regular bearing supply store is not in a reasonable vicinity and it is just a waste of time to look for a substitute, especially for someone who does it for the second time in a lifetime. 2) I am not generalizing all the "expensive" bikes as being created equal.
  • 3 0
 @Skinnyman:
Perhaps, but bearings are pretty easy and it is a good thing to know in general. The mythique for instance uses 4x 6900, 2x 6901, 2x 6903. Some of the most common bearings used in bikes. Any decent bike shop should have a handful of each hanging around, and I have gone down to a industrial supply store and picked those up off the shelf as well. I think some of those are also often used in skateboard wheels... or maybe they use 6902's or 608's(both of which get used in bike suspension pretty often as well)...anyway, really common bearings.

The only issue taken here is that you are trying to claim that a Vitus bike has bearings that are hard to source, and perhaps that you have seen some wear out.

The following is something that people should just know if they own a bike. Most shops can fix nearly anything on nearly any bike. Almost all of the parts are universal so that you don't need to service it at a shop that sells that brand. There are exceptions, but they are limited to specific proprietary parts, like frame parts, shock yokes and hub parts for branded hubs, and I've run across proprietary derailleur hangers.
  • 4 0
 For a college student who works part time, buying the vitus Mythique was the dream for me. It's blown away all my expectations and is a phenomenal bike. I really think it is somewhere about 80-90% just as good as an 8k bike. Absolutely an amazing bike.
  • 2 0
 @Skinnyman: CRC sells bearings for all the vitus bikes on their website. And judging how fast they were able to ship a bike across the world, I'd assume they can get bearings out fast too. There's also a lot to be said for treating your bike well. Learned from a lot of my mistakes on my hardtail and now I baby my Mythique haha. Definitely not the right bike for everyone but if you want to ride hard on a budget, Vitus is on fire.
  • 3 0
 @stumphumper92: Listen here humpstumper, I resent that remark. I don't own an $8,000 bike, I own two $4,000 bikes.
  • 3 0
 @MeloBikeCO:
Here's the deal with buying brgs from an industrial supplier:

Consider the following general rules:

1) 69XX & 68XX (aka 619XX & 618XX by skf & fag) are much more expensive than 60XX brgs of a common bore size (XX - ie - 00 is 10mm, 01 is 12mm, 02 is 15mm, 03 is 17mm, all larger #'s multiply by 5 to get bore).

2) 60XX brgs are more expensive than 62XX brgs of a common bore.

3) 62XX bearings are generally the cheapest for any given bore. (63XX and 64XX also cost more respectively, but are not used on bikes)

Reason: the price reflects the number of brgs that are mfg'd. The more they make, the less they are. This is driven by demand in industry. 6203 or 6205 are about the most common brgs on earth - neither used in bikes (too large).

Where this breaks down:

1)Mfgs base distributor discounts on many factors, the main being overall sales. Usually distributors that sell high volume have better discounts. BUT some mfgs give additional rebates on specific product lines only, meaning some of their products are cheaper than others for the same distributor. This is almost always negotiated based on individual sales territories, meaning the same bearing from the same supplier may vary widely a few counties away. Change suppliers, the rebates change aswell. Also, depending on the supplier, you may be getting owned for being a "non account" or "cash sales" customer. This depends on the market in your area and how crusty the salesman is you speak with.

2) chineese mfg'd brgs (aka "off shore").

Before you say "hey skf, ntn and many brg mfgs have plants in china" I am talking about the off brand china bearings (heck, Timken is still mfgd in the us but its all china steel - minus the large spherical stuff). These offshore brgs do not seem to follow the general rule. These seem to be priced more along the lines of; smaller brg, smaller price. In many cases, distributors will sell you one of these, so make sure you know what you are getting. What's the diff between chineese brg & skf brg? Depends which plant it came from, but it should be noted that the worst built brg and the best skf are equal if contamination enters the brg - they both WILL fail (main reason they do in most cases - 2rs seals are pretty limited). Note: I ran a good line of offshore stainless brgs in my pivots with good results for years - changed each season regardless.

"Other" bearings:

Many bikes use less common brgs, like max fill, double row, or extended inner race pivot brgs. Enduro brgs make alot of these that are not made (or off the damn charts expensive) by skf & the likes. In most cases it is better to go to your Lbs for these - although many brg distributors can buy enduro through abi in Oakland, ca, but beware of additional freight (or if you're in canada, the legal rape we call "brokerage" fees).

Well if you read this far I concede; there are many more exceptions that exist, so my advice if your buying from a bearing distributor is:
1) call all of them in your area to "shop" the price
2) make sure your comparing apples to apples ie - skf, fag, timken, ntn, nsk, versus offshore
3) make sure your not paying more than the lbs and double check if they're charging freight

Otherwise if u found cheap pivot brgs from a major mfg - DONT KEEP IT SECRET!!!! SHARE!!!!

Hope someone finds this useful.
  • 4 0
 @respect-my-authorita: easy there hambini
  • 2 0
 @j-t-g: imgn hw mch lnger it wld hv ben wo the abbrvtns!
  • 22 1
 QR rear dropout, ewww
  • 8 7
 Just convert to bolt on, problem solved.
  • 11 0
 Some of those vitus bikes are even better deals if you're happy with 1x10 Deore and/or X-fusion suspension. You can get a full-sus bike delivered with all duties paid for under $2K canadian that is not total garbage.

A good bike to distract your S.O. from your new ride that costs 3-4x as much...
  • 9 0
 Thanks for the great series! Really curious how much better things get with an extra $1000 to spend. How would the Vitus compare to the higher priced bunch? What really makes a great bike?

Here's an idea for a Pinkbike contest: Give readers the opportunity to spec a bike with a $3K budget using parts they can find online, frame up. Your entry is the parts list and links to the prices. Pinkbike staff judges and builds the top 2 and tests head to head. Winners get to keep the bikes built for the test, if they survive the huck to flat! Maybe a few of the online retailers can sponsor since it will get a bunch of people clicking their sites while many of us are stuck at home.
  • 6 0
 That is pretty hard to beat those prices.. like seriously my first thing i wanted to say was if your gonna cheap out go buy a hardtail.. then i looked at the build options for a NX spec chromag rootdown at 2950 CAD.. and I was like holy shit.. these are some cheap ass functional bikes. update the SX derailleur and ride.
  • 3 1
 But I’d wager that a Chromag would be with it’s original owner a lot longer than any of these bunch. You gotta love your bike, even if it cost a little more. You’ll end up taking better care of it and riding more.
  • 1 0
 Well... Even Chromags Asian made frames aren't exactly budget.
  • 4 1
 @j-t-g: I own a rootdown BA and a Monk, the build quality is insane and the geo is honed in like no other. I'm a huge fan and will ride these until they hang on my wall.
  • 2 0
 I wasnt saying chromag isnt quality, on the other hand I don't think they make a single sub par product in any of their ranges. But they aren't budget (in any of their product ranges!). Look at the new growler if you wanna recommend someone a value hardtail with super modern geo.
  • 1 0
 @j-t-g: Growler 50 is still 2500$
  • 3 0
 @j-t-g: My point is how much are you going to pay in depreciation when you sell your bike after 2-3 years vs. 5-10 years (or longer). I'd argue that you save money in the long run buying quality. And if not, at least you're happier with better gear.

The only problem is it's hard to sell a bike that you've had for that long. It kind of becomes part of you.
  • 5 1
 Just wanted to clarify - our Bossnut and other bikes are stocked in GO Outdoors stores (50+ stores in the UK) so there's every opportunity to sit on the bikes and have a chat to our store colleagues before you buy either in store or online. International shipping is coming imminently! Cheers
  • 3 0
 Great to hear - I have recently emigrated to New Zealand from the UK, bought the new version Bossnut just before leaving and shipped it in our container! The bike has been absolutely flawless here in NZ, riding all sorts of trails, brown pow to rock infested madness (Christchurch area) based on its performance - you'll definitely be getting more custom from me in NZ once you guys start the international shipping. Keep up the great work.
  • 4 0
 Love these reviews. Everyone likes super cars, but not everyone can buy one. These reviews of affordable everyman bikes are great. It's a shame, though, that SRAM came out with NX and then the bastard child SX. Really. Yeah, wide range blah blah, but they are really doing riders a disservice with these components. Heavy, and riders are stuck on the Shimano spline. There is no reasonable upgrade path for these components without replacing a rear hub. So new riders are wowed with big tall gears and then get the shaft down the road when these boat anchors wear out.
  • 3 0
 Couldn't you just upgrade the shifter/derailleur eventually and stick with a 12sp cassette that takes that hub? Not sure what you mean exactly. That said, I've got SX Eagle and was convinced by online comments that I'd have to immediately swap it for something quality. Like I even factored that in the budget. Glad I gave it a chance because it's been working flawlessly so far, shifts fast and smooth, never skips or misses, way better than expected.
  • 3 0
 @DylanH93: The problem with the NX/SX components isn't their functionality. They are wear items. And the only replacement options you have for them are more of the same (granted they are fairly cheap) or putting a SunRace cassette in its place. My experience with the sun race and Shimano XT derailleur combo hasn't been favorable on more than one bike (YMMV). You could go with Shimano, but nothing new (they designed a new hub for their wide range cassette). They don't make a wide range that fits the old spline design. So, if you get to the point where you want to upgrade that cassette to a new one, you are out of luck short of buying a new hub/wheel.

And it isn't just entry level bikes that are getting this treatment. It is really a shame that manufacturers are on board with it as well. Bikes that used to ship with SRAM GX Eagle or even just GX are now getting specc'd with the lower cost/quality NX/SX kit. Prices, strangely, haven't followed...

Here is a prime example
www.konaworld.com/process_134_dl_275.cfm
A $3,600 bike and they are putting that crap on it.
  • 1 0
 @Poulsbojohnny: I'll probably just replace it with the same system. If you say the functionality isn't the issue, then I don't see the real problem. Why upgrade if what you've already got works? I'm not into xc or anything, I just like fun enduro runs. All I need of my drive train is functional not premium. I'd be more focused on upgrading or changing everything else first. If it doesn't last though, I'd consider something else. But if it works, it works.
  • 7 0
 Great feature of some affordable bikes in some great terrain. Well done!
  • 3 0
 I think it would have been great if they had someone testing that was maybe a couple years into riding and had never been on a $10k bike before. I feel like it's hard to subjective when you've tested the best of the best.
  • 8 0
 Counterpoint to that would be that if you take someone to whom any reasonably modern bike is a revelation, they'll easily miss the nuance.
  • 2 0
 On that note, I really wish they’d told us more about the differences between these bikes and ones that cost 2-4x as much. After reading these reviews, it sounds like these bikes are almost as good as much more expensive ones, but I’m sure that’s not the case.
  • 2 1
 Great review on entry level bikes, but how long will they last? If this is a sport you intend to do regularly, I don't you'll save money at the end of the day. There is a price point on the next level up like the Ripmo AF for example that can go the distance without breaking the bank. If that's out of reach then it's a hard tail, which I still love to ride sometimes. Just my average joe and avid wanker opinion.
  • 5 1
 I think you think that bikes are not durable. The average rider doesn't break frames on a regular basis. The only thing separating these bikes from more expensive bikes is components.
  • 3 0
 @Poulsbojohnny: so true. Even on my cheap ass starter hardtail, that thing took a beating and still lasts just fine. Components are the real wear items. I don't think any of the bikes in this test would have trouble lasting 5-10 years with proper care.
  • 1 0
 @Poulsbojohnny: Yeah we agree, I meant components. Giant does a pretty good job of adding value to their builds, but at a certain build level things get pretty sloppy and wear out fast. SRAM SX for example, and some of the lower end suspension doesn't hold up as long and ain't cheap to replace.
  • 5 0
 @3:20 Levy's silent protest against bad brakes. Just say no to bad brakes.
  • 4 1
 I hope the guys from Vitus read these comments. Guys, you gotta change the name of this bike. It may be the worst name out there.
  • 13 0
 Dick Pound
  • 1 0
 Not as bad as Bossnut IMO. :-)
  • 1 0
 It’s not at all related to the bike test, but I did wonder what the most dangerous wildlife is out there? Being based in the green and lush Calder Valley, UK, we have irate farmers with guns but I’m imagining snakes, large spiders and dog/wolf mullet animals where this riding was?
  • 2 0
 It's more the plants that want to get you - everything is super sharp and pointy in the desert. If you take an inside line you'll pay for it. There are coyotes, javelinas, scorpions, and snakes, but those aren't really anything to worry about.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: still sounds fraught with hazard, with teeth and stings and bites. #complacencyhurts
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: I agree, the wildlife is not what you have to worry about while biking in Arizona. It's the sharp and pointy plants, and the sharp and pointy ground. The "dirt" is usually barely decomposed rock where all the edges are still sharp; there's no gravel or river stone that's been worn down by rivers or glaciers. If you hit the ground, you WILL hit something sharp. The joke about no inside lines is very true.
OTOH, perfect weather, day after day after day. Just bring water and a radio beacon.
  • 4 0
 @mikekazimer: Don't forget about mountain lions, those are the only things that truly spook me when it comes to encountering wildlife solo.
  • 3 0
 First the new Following roll out and now Evil bikes in the shop clip. This and the plague are surely signs of the end times.
  • 3 0
 ok just me or does Kazimer remind anyone else a lot of Alex Honold the dude who free climbed El Cap
  • 1 0
 what did Levy smoke before shooting this video? I can't be the only one who thought he was mildly high through the whole video.
  • 3 0
 Only mildly? Smile
  • 3 0
 Do you call them "veetamins"?
  • 3 0
 Yeah. What's with that? It's pronounced like vital right, or am I going mad?
  • 1 0
 Yes, I do call them that.
  • 1 0
 Build an insanely slack hardtail and put budget parts on it.

Grim mini-Donut!!

Also-you guys built that SOB. When is the review? Is this like a Sick Bicycles thing??
  • 3 0
 Live tomorrow!
  • 1 0
 Grim-bit
  • 2 0
 Hey PB, super solid and excellent reviews on the value bike round up! Well done!!
  • 3 0
 Glad you enjoyed them Smile
  • 1 1
 Giant works very well ... I don't see any reason to spend more!
Of course if a person has money to spend do it (I know the feeling since in 99 I bought the Giant ATX One DH) but why support a crazy market?
  • 1 0
 Great test and review, maybe not long enough (more please), knowing people with the Vitus its supposed to be a great bike.

No idea what a Veetus is though. lol
  • 1 0
 Great series,I am going to pull the trigger on the Vitus...when they get stock up.
  • 1 3
 Now lets test the same bike with people who are riding walmart "mtb" (a $200 one) and see what they think, because hey, beginner mostly don't "manual here, or do little rear wheel drift there" and may be looking for completely other details.
  • 2 0
 I guess it goes to show when you spend more you get more.
  • 1 1
 Thinking about buying a Vitus Mythique... I have an old factory 26" TALAS 160mm, think I would be able to put it on the 27.5" model without much trouble??
  • 4 0
 Bad idea
  • 2 0
 No, please don't.
  • 1 0
 Who wins the next round? I'd say that commencal tr 29(maybe cuz I have one)
  • 1 0
 Here you can easily get a sale trek slash for $2000 at your lbs just like I did
  • 5 4
 Grim Donut Ride rev... Oh, no... ????
  • 4 1
 Soooooooooon
  • 2 4
 I just dont get why some people would still pay for those brand new bikes when you can get a more decent used ride for the same price... Except for those who works in bike shops obviously. Just my 2 cents.
  • 3 1
 Because people buying new bikes, for the first time, have no idea what they are buying.
  • 5 0
 I always used to think the same but have found the second hand market to have just got more and more expensive over the years, to the point where, unless you get lucky, you're hardly saving any money once you've replaced all the bits that are wearing out or are not quite what you want. At the same time direct to consumer brands have taken off and brought brand new prices down, so there's even less of a difference. You also don't have to worry about hidden issues such as cracks or whatever
  • 4 0
 So I do pretty much all my own mechanical work and am a college student on a budget, so perfect candidate for used. 3 problems with buying used, just my opinion. First is 75% of people are selling for a ridiculous price. I get that it's their special bike and they don't want to let it go cheap, but the used prices are just crazy. And if something does go for a decent price, it's immediately snagged. Second is when you can find a good price, it seems like there's always something you won't see that will end up costing a ton negating the price savings in the first place. I've had 2 friends buy good used deals on what seemed like quality bikes (and they tested them and looked them over). In both cases after about 2-3 weeks they found out something suspension related needed to be replaced, which knocked out all the savings. And probably the biggest point, you don't get a warranty on the frame and it's just nice starting out with totally fresh gear. Also let's you get familiar with how the bike should feel a lot more.

So personally I've been riding a hardtail the last 2.5 years, upgraded basically everything on it. Always wanted to go FS though. I got the Vitus Mystique VRS for $1500 and it's amazing. Better than any used deal I saw. So if you can find an awesome used deal, hell yeah! But for most people I'd recommend a similar route I went. Unless you've got tons of time to devote to online searching, it's just not worth it.
  • 1 1
 Thats like almost 2 wellfare checks...said the usa college student whom made zero $ last year but will get some .gov$
  • 3 3
 No Marin Hawk Hill 2 or Rift Zone 2 this article is invalid for me.
  • 1 1
 Do the gravel bike test ride down casner canyon.
  • 1 1
 Then head over to Preskit and see how they ride on Yankee Doodle.

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