PINKBIKE FIELD TRIP
Four $3,000 (and under) bikes put to the test on Sedona's unforgiving trails
Words by Mike Kazimer, Photography by Anthony Smith
4 Trail Bikes Under $3,000* USD
It's Commencal's Meta TR that takes the top spot on my list. It has a great blend of quickness and stability, which means that climbing isn't a chore, and it punches well above its weight (and amount of rear travel) on the descents. It'd be an ideal bike for the rider that's a little more focused on the downhill portion of the equation, but still wants something that's entertaining on all the parts of the ride that happen before gravity takes over.
The parts spec is excellent for the price, all the way down to the little details like the comfortable lock-on grips. Yes, I would have preferred 4-piston brakes over the 2-piston SRAM Level T's, but at least there's a 200mm rotor up front, and it's not something that would need to be swapped out right away.
Mike Levy and I don't agree on much, but in this case we both reached the same conclusion – if we had to choose a daily driver out of these four bikes, it'd be the Meta TR Ride.
When talking and comparing bikes, something Kazimer and I do every now and then, I'm usually the one leaning towards whichever machine is more "nimbly bimbly.'' Kazimer's words, not mine, and his sorta mean way of describing bikes that lean towards the quicker handling, firmer-feeling end of the spectrum. But not this time. This time, it was the gray Meta TR, a 130mm-travel trail bike that nails that balance between all-day-ability and send-all-the-things.
While the YT would usually be more my thing - it's a better climber than the Meta in my books, and more playful on the way back down to boot - Sedona's rough terrain saw me reaching for the Meta TR when I had the choice. The Commencal seemed the least fussed of the group in those settings, and it's simply the bike that I had the most confidence and fun on. I mean, that's all the reasons I need, right?
Photos: Anthony Smith
Additional footage: Lear Miller