2020 Pinkbike Awards: Mountain Bike of the Year Nominees

Dec 18, 2020
by Mike Kazimer  


Mountain Bike of the Year Nominees


2020 was a strange, stressful year for most of the world, but even in the middle of a global pandemic a whole host of new bikes hit the market, and more riders than ever headed out to their local trails in search of an escape from the chaos.

The growth of crazy-capable short travel machines shows no signs of slowing down, and we're seeing more and more fast and light bikes hit the market. Pinkbike's first ever XC / Downcountry Field Test made it crystal clear that XC is no longer synonymous with sketchy, with the Transition Spur as a prime example.

The aggressive trail / all-mountain category is also expanding, where bikes like the new Specialized Stumpjumper EVO reside, a bike that's adaptable to fit a wide range of terrain and rider preferences, while also offering amenities like generous downtube storage and tools hidden in the head tube.

Two burly aluminum bikes also earned nominations, the Commencal Meta TR and the Raaw Madonna V2. Both are built to survive the apocalypse, which could be important considering the way things have been going lately.

Last year, it was the Norco Optic that took the win, a bike that still holds up as a prime example of how fun and capable a modern trail bike can be. This time, the Spur, Stumpjumper EVO, Meta TR, and Madonna are all vying for the title of Mountain Bike of the Year.









Why it's nominated

The previous Meta TR was no slouch – it impressed us with its solid, ready-for-anything feel at the Value Field Test earlier in the year – but the latest version takes things to another level. With a longer reach, slacker head angle, and steeper seat tube angle than before the new Meta TR has pushed past the trail bike designation and into the territory typically occupied by longer travel enduro bikes.

As the long term review said, “the Meta's 140mm of rear travel helps it stand out from longer travel enduro bikes, in a good way. There's plenty of travel for dealing with chunky sections of trail, but there's a level of support and snappiness that makes it an absolute blast when it's time to get airborne.” The Meta TR has an unflinchingly solid presence that inspires confidence when the trail turns from mild to wild, whether that involves hitting big jumps, knocking out laps in the bike park, or dropping into a steep, sketchy rock roll.

Add in the fact the Commencal's consumer direct business model and adherence to an aluminum-only credo allows them to offer a very good price to performance ratio and it's easy to see how the Meta TR earned a spot on this list.

From the review:

bigquotesThe new Meta TR is all about more - it has more travel, more aggressive geometry, and it's more capable than ever. Can it still be classified as a trail bike? That all depends on what your ideal trail looks like. It's not the first bike I'd grab for an all-day epic on rolling terrain, but for a big ride that was full of steep rock rolls, jumps, drops, and tricky technical sections? Absolutely - this is one of the most fun bikes that I've ridden this year.








Why it's nominated

The Spur is something of a departure for Transition. After all, this is the company the got their start with chunky aluminum freeride / slopestyle bikes like the DirtBag and the BottleRocket – ten years ago it would have been hard to imagine they would be producing a bike like this, a sub-25 pound, 120mm full carbon 29er. Transition didn't forget their gravity-oriented roots, though, and that's part of the Spur's appeal. Its light and quick nature makes it easy to put in the miles, but it's on the descents where it truly shines, encouraging rides to go faster and bigger than they typically would on this style of bike.

As Mike Levy wrote, “The Spur isn't your normal cross-country bike and it’s not for racers. Instead, it's a short-travel bike for riders who don’t care that they have a short amount of travel, and for those who love the responsiveness of a 120mm bike but don't want to be held back by it on the descents.” The freerider's cross-country bike? Call it what you will, Transition have packed a whole bunch of fun into an incredibly versatile bike, one that epitomizes just how good a downcountry bike can be.


From the Field Test:

bigquotesIt's as if the Spur delays what's coming at you in a Matrix-y way, but instead of dodging bullets in slow-mo while wearing cheesy gas station shades and a suit, you're eyeing up giggle-gaps and all the inside lines. Spandex suit not recommended, by the way. That surefootedness means you don't have to tippy-toe through fast, rough corners as you might on a more traditional bike. Mike Levy









Why it's nominated

In 2018 Specialized released a version of the Stumpjumper EVO that turned heads due to its long and slack geometry, a departure from the norm for such a large company, and a sign of things to come.

That bike, which was initially available only in aluminum and in just two sizes, has now matured into a highly refined, and highly adaptable all-mountain machine, with a lightweight, full carbon frame, and six sizes to choose from. The latest version has 150mm of rear travel that's paired with a 160mm fork, 10mm more squish on each end compared to the prior iteration.

It's the number of geometry options that help set the Stumpjumper EVO apart. Thanks to a flip chip at the chainstays, and the use of a different upper headset cup, it's possible to achieve a head angle anywhere from 63- to 65.5-degrees. That's a spread that'll actually make a noticeable difference out on the trail, as opposed to the half-degree (or less) difference than many bikes have between their high and low settings. Along with all those geometry options, the Stumpjumper EVO raises the bar when it comes to frame features. The SWAT box has grown even larger, and there's now enough room to store a water bladder, making it possible to totally ditch the pack even on long rides.

This is a bike that could easily fill the 'one bike to do it all' position for a vast range of riders – as the review said, “Effortless" is the adjective that comes to mind when trying to sum up the Stumpy's handling in one word. No matter if I was on a steep, chunky descent, or on a smoother, jump filled line, I never felt like I was fighting the bike to get it to behave the way I wanted.”


From the review:

bigquotesThe 2021 Stumpjumper EVO is a refined, adjustable, and more than anything, versatile bike. Specialized call it the 'ultimate trail bike', and while that phrase would normally set off my marketing hyperbole detector, in this case it's a very accurate description.








Why it's nominated

Is there even a need to explain how the Madonna V2 ended up earning a nomination? I mean, just look at it. The aluminum frame is built to last, with a clean, utilitarian look, sealed covers for all the bearings, and external cable routing to simplify maintenance. It's designed to survive multiple seasons of hard riding, rather than barely making it through a summer of shredding without needing a complete overhaul. With 29" wheels and 160mm of travel the Madonna is meant to shine on the descents, but the geometry, especially the steep seat tube angle, helps make climbing as comfortable as possible aboard a bike like this.

Out on the trail, it's a solid, bump-sucking brute – drop your heels, let off the brakes, and the Madonna will take care of the rest. It's a bike that wants to go fast, and as the review said, "Hands down, this is one of the best cornering bikes I've ridden in recent memory. The low bottom bracket deserves the bulk of the credit here, and while that might cause a few extra pedal strikes on the climbs, on the descents that low slung stance makes the Raaw an absolute riot when it comes to cornering or carving down the steeps."


From the review:

bigquotesDon't be deceived by the Raaw Madonna V2's no-frills appearance – there's something very special about this bike. Not only is it build to survive just about anything, its performance out on the trails is highly addictive. The way that it rails turns and smashes through whatever gets in its way more than makes up for any weight related concerns.





Honorable Mentions

There are four finalists in the running for the Mountain Bike of the Year title, but given the sheer number of excellent bikes that were released this year it made sense to give a little extra recognition to some of the other standouts that just barely missed making it to the final round.



2021 Santa Cruz 5010
Santa Cruz 5010
Little wheels and a whole lot of fun, the latest version of the 5010 is all about delivering a good time.



Cannondale Scalpel Photo Margus Riga
Cannondale Scalpel
A favorite in the XC Field Test, the Scalpel earned high marks in the speed department, and for how well rounded it felt.



Tom Richards photo
Specialized Stumpjumper
Specialized came out swinging this year, and realistically the Stumpjumper, or even the Epic EVO, would be worthy finalists.



Rocky Mountain Altitude review
Rocky Mountain Altitude
The Altitude's fast without being frightening, an easy going bike that can just as easily compete at the highest level as it can perform well on an all-day adventure ride.



Trek Slash 2021
Trek Slash
The Slash is as quick and capable as ever, and the addition of a snack compartment on the carbon and aluminum models earns it extra bonus points.



The Grim Donut
Grim Donut
This is obviously the actual Mountain Bike of the Year, except for one pesky line in the rules and guidelines that says all contenders must have been released for sale... Maybe next year.








241 Comments

  • 440 0
 The bike of the year for 2020 is...... backordered till late 2021.
  • 17 2
 I just got my 2021! I did order it 4 months ago while it was still under embargo though..
  • 21 3
 Jokes on you! I ordered my Revel Rascal Last month and it's be here next year...in May.
  • 3 0
 @Krispy-at-Go-Ride: what did you get
  • 1 0
 yup
  • 2 0
 @Krispy-at-Go-Ride:

Nice!

Glad I ordered my Megatower when I did back in May. Somehow managed to be riding it 3 weeks after placing my order. Seems like 2+month waits are the normal as of lately.
  • 1 0
 @brycepiwek: lucky, I ordered the V10mx frame three and a half months ago and was just told last week they are out off stock and no timeline when they will be available
  • 2 0
 @Krispy-at-Go-Ride: man.. it would've been nice if my SC rep had given us a heads-up of any sort on the new Nomad..
  • 4 0
 Going to get a new yz250 tomorrow that i found last week. Things are around...
  • 2 1
 @pargolf8: dude where do you live,Ill burgle in. I mean Im poor,love to complain and shit
  • 1 2
 @Krispy-at-Go-Ride: I have had my 2021 for 3 months....but then again, I ordered it in february, and I sell them so....lol
  • 1 0
 @Arepiscopo: you'll be stoked though. I waited 3 months for my rail and my buddy the same for his rascal, and they're both badass. 6th months IS painful, but you will be stoked.
  • 1 0
 @ranke: I’m on a rigid fatbike in the northeast until then. I wouldn’t take it out in this slop anyway!
  • 1 0
 Called Specialized for a 2021 Stumpjumper. I received it three days later. No joke.-
  • 161 0
 I would vote for the Grim Donut, but the Geo is going to be outdated in like 2 seasons.
  • 62 5
 If this was based on looks, the Tranny would have to take it...probably the best looking bike you can get...and again Transition, released a bit of a new trend-setter with this bike as they did with the SBG principles that everyone uses now.
  • 4 23
flag slickwilly1 (Dec 18, 2020 at 12:55) (Below Threshold)
 The Norco optic was the trend setter that the spur copied.
  • 17 0
 @slickwilly1: actually the optic is a copy of the transition smuggler. Spur is something totally different.
  • 12 1
 I feel like the V2 Sentinel should at least have made the honorable mentions...
  • 6 1
 @slickwilly1: Transition Smuggler is more like the optic, and the smug came before the optic.
  • 4 0
 @BrambleLee: The Sentinel V2 bumped up 10mm travel and got slightly slacker on the head angle. It is definitely more improved because of the stock progressive difference, but I don't think that would qualify it for bike of the year. A lot of the bikes listed above were big changes from the previous version, or were breakouts for the company that produced.
  • 44 1
 Raaw
  • 6 0
 Love my Madonna V2. Wish this wasn’t a covid year and I could actually demo some of these other bikes that look so great. Happy to be on the RAAW though, it’s such a well thought out bike from many perspectives.
  • 4 0
 I look at that bike and it brings back memories of the orginal Turner RFX. If I could buy a new bike today, this would be it.
  • 2 0
 Yep. Unflawed frame(maybe little too high anti squat), and very reasonable price.
  • 1 0
 @gafoto: How long does it take to get yours in America? I am about five weeks in of waiting
  • 2 0
 @frrider24: that’s nothing these days. Some bikes are 6 months behind.
  • 1 0
 @frrider24: I preordered in Jan and had the frame end of March. I think it shipped sometime in February. You’ll be happy when it shows up, the bike is made to be worked on. Cleaning/greasing the pivots/covers on the Madonna is so much more pleasant than my girlfriends YT Jeffsy.

Just go ahead and order the 7075 derailleur hanger if you live in a rocky area though. The stock one is just too weak.
  • 1 0
 @onemanarmy: Yeah I know I’m lucky so far. They’ve already shipped it I’m just waiting for it to cross the ocean
  • 1 0
 @gafoto: thanks for the tip! Hope it arrives soon!
  • 1 0
 Agreed! I seriously thought about getting one, or trying to get one this year, but decided it was a little too hardcore for my local trails. Super bad ass bike, and Enduro-mtb.com also really loved it.
  • 5 0
 To me one of the coolest aspects of the RAAW is that they give the buyer 2 choices of rocker link to optimize the leverage ratio for lighter and heavier riders. This is something that I think has not been as big of an issue as it should be. If I was a heavy rider (say over 200) I would not even consider the stumpjumper. If you would need a 700lb plus coil to get correct sag on a bike it may not be the best choice.
  • 1 0
 @onemanarmy: ordered two bikes this year, 4 months for one 6 months for the other.

You’re looking at 10 months to get an ibis at this point.
  • 1 0
 @gafoto: did you have to order the hanger from raaw or were you able to find a local one?
  • 1 0
 @frrider24:
Pretty sure RAAW is the only provider. Boutique bikes = boutique parts. The stock hanger bends back easily if you hit it (mighta done that a couple of times...), but the Shimano 1x12 is so sensitive it won’t shift perfectly if it’s at all out of alignment.
  • 2 0
 If people are interested in this bike, I ordered mine earlier this summer through bike-components.de, which sometimes has a few frames still when raaw is sold out. I believe it's the only outlet to buy the frame other than through raaw. They also typically have hangers and small parts in stock. I had a very good experience with them, shipping to US with no issues
  • 1 0
 @Gnarcoticsanonymous: thanks I’ll check it out!
  • 37 0
 Spur!

Never thought I’d be so amped on a 120 29er... but damn.
  • 4 0
 Dude sell me your Pole !

f*ck that’s a stunner

One Pole and a Spur yeah nice combo
  • 2 1
 before it was like anything less than 160 was a waste of time but now... dunno if it's modern geo killing the need for the travel or getting to fat for 15kg bikes and getting older and slower on general. Iv no idea stopped using strava and giving a dam. love that spur or a sb130
  • 2 0
 Have to admit, the Spur has one going 'well that's surprising and interesting'
  • 46 19
 I haven't ridden them yet (other than the parking lot), but the Stumpy and Stumpy evo have reached a level of refinement thats probably class leading. There might be better suspension designs out there, but the geo, weight, finish, accessories, etc are top notch. Looks can be polarizing, but I'm a fan.
  • 13 16
 Yeah. Specialized always seems a year or two behind on the latest geometry trends but they do put out a really nice product and you get really good resale value. It is a shame no 27.5 option though.
  • 32 4
 Much as I hate to admit it, the new Stumpy's are 100% on point and truly a clas-defining bike
  • 14 4
 Stumpy EVO, hands down. One of the most refined bikes out there, and some of their builds rival direct-to-consumer pricing (Carbon Comp w/ SLX). Also the ability to go from 63.5HA to 65.5HA (may be off by .5 degrees or so) takes it from trailbike territory to plow sled territory. Versatile, refined, competitively priced. Winner by a long shot.
  • 6 3
 One criticism I do have is the shock yoke. The old, bolt on design nuked rear shocks by making them "structural members" (Ohlins words, not mine) of the frame. Going to the more industry standard of just rotating the eyelet 90 degrees no doubt is an improvement, but I still hear people saying this (along with Ibis frames) wear rear shocks more quickly.
  • 7 0
 @hamncheez: The shop I used to work at is a Specialized dealership and really the only blown out shocks we kept getting were the BRAIN tech shocks on the Epic. I don't think we got a single stumpy in for a shock rebuild in the 1.5years I was there. This was just my experience though.
  • 9 1
 @rickybobby18: Yeah and keep in mind that the EVO frame is lighter than other direct consumer brands and has adjustable geo and the Swat box.

You only appreciate the Swat box if your bike has one to ne fair.
  • 6 0
 Agreed. Normally I would NEVER consider a Specialized after 1993 but these new Stumpjumpers are very appealing. They seem to have just nailed down a do it all rig. Good thing I have student loans to take care of first.
  • 4 0
 @chezotron: My first real mountain bike was a 1993 Stumpjumper (rigid, purple green fade M2 frame) that I just so happened to use student loan money to pay for. Oh the irony. Big Grin
  • 6 2
 @rickybobby18: I have to agree with this. No bike offers the level of features that the 2021 Stumpy Evo offers. Massive adjustment lets this bike thrive no matter where or how you want to ride it. In-frame storage is incredibly useful especially now that it's even larger. Excellent builds for the price. Nothing comes close to this bike right now.
  • 1 0
 I swore off Specialized after riding my 1999 FSR Rock Hopper for ten years. It wasnt the bike it was the shitty customer service and local dealer. But now I might stop the hate and get the Stumpy EVO. Blasphemy.
  • 2 0
 @Monsterman156: I feel ya. In almost all cities I have lived in such as Atlanta, Denver, Austin, Specialized dealer are smug or pricks. Truly a shame. I recently moved to Bentonville and haven't checked out the local Specialized dealer here.
  • 3 0
 @bman33: I understand. But their new bikes seem rad. There are a couple new Specialized dealers in SLC that are good shops. So I hope things are better. Too bad I cant get one for a year! Within a week I want a spec, a santa, a nuke proof, and a Transition. Who knows where I will go next!
  • 1 0
 @bman33: Did you get-in on that $10K and a free bike deal?
  • 1 0
 @twozerosix: Haha. Funny enough, I am a consultant in the I.T. world. I moved from Denver a few months before it was announced, but applied and fingers crossed get it retroactively. We will see. Big Grin
  • 4 0
 I'll likely get downvoted for saying it but Specialized's bully litigations against small-business is not something I'll ever be able to forgive. There'll never be a Specialized bike in my garage for that reason alone.
  • 2 0
 @bman33:

Very true. Been riding one for a couple weeks now and it’s perfect on all levels.
  • 28 1
 Doughnut for the win!!!!! Who needs polish, refinement, in-frame storage, and other nonsense when you can have 57 degree HTA!
  • 16 1
 its a shame spec never "officially" released the new status, in my eyes its a very strong bike of the year contender. it was understandably a slow year in terms of new and exciting bike developments, but a $3600 CAD 160mm mullet bike with a good spec from specialized stands out to me.
  • 15 1
 The Transition sure stands out as the best looking of the bunch. VERY clean lines; I love how the seat stays /rear triangle line up with the top tube.
  • 13 0
 I'm surprised not to see the Propain Spindrift on this list. It's not even honorably mentioned.
  • 5 0
 Except for the commencal only north american bikes .. guess it is a little biased.
  • 7 1
 @tommynator, you forgot about the RAAW - that's from Germany.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: true! In my opinion the Germans are doing a good job building bikes. Same with their cars.
  • 1 0
 Probably because its geometry. Still looks like an awesome bike, would love to try one.
  • 13 0
 That Spur is really floating my boat.....
  • 12 1
 I laughed at the Grim Donut, but then I stopped and marveled at the sight of it. I love it.
  • 8 0
 I may be biased as I own one, but great as the others bikes no doubt are, the Spur has to take the win. The others are awesome rides but I don’t think any really move the game on in the Spur has. It pushes whatever you want to call this type of bike (“down country” or whatever you want) further. It’s crazy light, stupid fast and literally laughably good fun to ride. It’s a brave bike for Transition to make but it’s paid off, best bike I’ve ridden, period.
  • 2 0
 Id be curious to know how it would do in an XC race under a fast rider. I wanna see a bike like this have a go at a world cup track just once!
  • 13 2
 Scalpel over the Specialized Epic/Epic Evo is a spicy choice.
  • 12 2
 Epic Evo is bike of the year in my opinion, but I bought one so I'm hella biased... I think they passed on it b/c they'd already put both the Stumpies in there. Spur is a great choice in the downcountry category, too. Scalpel is also sweet, just not the downhill ripper the Spur and Epic Evo are.
  • 10 2
 @Lokirides: Yeah, I suspect they did not want to have too many Specialized(s) in there. What can you say, Spesh is killing it.
  • 3 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: there would have been a riot in the comment section if the nominated three Specialized bikes
  • 8 0
 @mtmc99: Part of me kind of wishes it would've happened for that reason alone Smile
  • 3 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: lol some people just want to see the world burn
  • 1 0
 @Lokirides: Agreed. I bought an Epic Evo as well and it's hard to go back to my other bikes now. The EVO is the best all around bike I've ever owned. I hopped on my Intense Carbine the other day for a short 15 miler and thought the whole ride, "damn, this thing pedals like crap! I miss the EVO!".
  • 13 2
 Umm what about the Pivot Switchblade !
  • 1 0
 Here's the comment I was looking for! A super one bike and refined geo to do it all. Rather take this in the park vs. anything in the 120mm category plus climbs pretty damn well IMHO
  • 6 0
 Tough between the commie and the trannie but being an alloy boy and not a big fan of carbon I'd have to go Commencal MetaTR. Have my eyes set on the bike even though not sure if I'll be able to get one in 2021. Also tell them to clean up their damn build spec! SX derailleur on their 2900$ build? No... Just no
  • 2 0
 Agree this is absurd!
  • 10 0
 I’m all in for the Madonna.
  • 6 0
 My favorite is probably the Raaw Madonna. It’s beautiful, functional, and has great geometry.

But the win probably deserves to be the stumpy evo. It’s going to have more impact to both the industry, and to more people.

It’s got adjustable geo AND adjustable chainstay length. And reportedly it rides quite well.

I just wish it had an alloy frame option. Then it would be a shoe in. Maybe that’s coming next year?
  • 8 0
 If that Stump Jumper EVO wins. I wanna see the 2021 Norco optic C1 in a head to head battle with that bike. Make it happen PB!
  • 1 0
 Second this!
  • 5 0
 Just tell me what bike or bikes the testing staff would want to keep for themselves and ride daily at the end of every couple of months. These guys ride so many dam bikes, that at the end of the day, a statement like" I f*cking love this bike, if i could keep it I would", means more to me than the same old long winded reviews and PB polls.
  • 8 0
 We've got a bunch of "Things I loved in 2020" articles on the way - those will give you an idea of what each editor's personal favorite bikes and parts were this year.
  • 5 1
 Evo based off of how effective and meaningfully they incorporated the adjustable geometry. Finally adjustable geo that makes a difference (more than +/- 0.5° in head angle) and the ability to apply those changes without major compromise elsewhere.
  • 5 0
 The Meta TR is a fun looking bike but a SX derailleur on a $3800cad direct to consumer bike? When it's easy to find brick and mortar examples that beat it in value, it better be amazing.
  • 1 0
 RIGHT!? You're better off getting the base model and upgrading or paying out the nose for a custom build. Hor hard could it be to just toss a matching NX derailleur on? Very sneaky beaky of them...
  • 1 0
 @lepigpen: I didn’t rip on the base because I have no idea if that 35 silver r fork is garbage or good. All I know is with 35mm steel stanchions and coils it probably weighs a ton. The steel stanchioned Recon is 2300g so I would guess significantly heavier. At $3200cad, it’s the most expensive trail bike I know of without a dropper. You’d have to give me a much better reason to pick something that doesn’t support my community at all.
  • 2 0
 @JayUpNorth: Yeah I think Commencal has a very distinct clientele. And that 2200usd model is like literally an upgrade model. Where you get a running bike. And save money to change the things you care about, be it brakes, drivetrain, dropper, etc.

At least Vitus and Polygon have sub 2k models (and with droppers), but for that above 2k price yeah you can get a bike from an LBS and get service/support.

Direct to consumer is gonna shake a lot of things up though. I'm not even sure what the ultimate effect will be. Maybe not much at all. But they have my attention for sure (and many other bikes struggling in this "economy" lol)
  • 5 0
 The 5010 is the most fun bike I have ever had. From trail riding to Brian Head bike park, to Deer Valley, to Grand Targhee, to the Teton chunk to Moab rocks. I need to try the V4. Im tall. 27.5 aint dead.
  • 7 0
 not a single DH bike? what a shame!
  • 4 2
 Canfield One.2 should be in here somewhere. Better choice than the Spur...
  • 1 0
 Not a lot of new DH bikes this year...
  • 6 0
 No Specialized carbon hotwalk? Pretty sure that bike got more views and comments than all of these nominees combined.
  • 3 0
 I’ve never ridden a Commencal, and I tend to be all about buying my bikes from a shop but.........that bike looks like the kind of machine I like to operate!!

If that one doesn’t get the nod, I’d say Slash. Had a last gen Slash, and that bike crushed it as a daily driver for riding out west.
  • 1 0
 I'm on the 2021 meta am.. if it's anything to go by.. the tr should be pretty amazing
  • 4 1
 Gotta have a few nominees… but this isn't even close... for 90% of PB'ers, the Spur more than covers their wants and needs. From XC to Trail, and even DH, this bike is not only the best looking, but most capable from a broad application perspective.
  • 3 0
 I ordered my Spitfire v3 and received it in 3 weeks give or take a day or two. Smile

Maybe one of the only local BC companies still producing gnarly bikes for awesome folks that have stock right now > wink wink

I love mine and recommend it highly
  • 5 0
 Im very much into the Altitude even though it's too expensive. Love the bike though.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer @mikelevy After all of your bike testing for the last 2 years. What bike do you want to keep in your garage & not return to the manufacturer after testing?
Thanks!
  • 3 0
 Is the Privateer 161 too old and the 141 too new to qualify? Seems like these bikes should serve a lot of people really well.
  • 3 0
 The 161 seems like a more affordable version of the Madonna. It was high on my list but I think it would qualify more as a Best Value instead of a Best Bike.
  • 1 0
 @gafoto: ‘best value of a bike’ should be a yearly award imo. I’d be most stoked to see that line up
  • 3 0
 Raw Madonna V2 versus Specialized Enduro: Let hear some opinions.

Both are high on my "I wish this was my next bike" list.
  • 3 0
 I can't speak to the enduro, but I have the Raaw and it's awesome. The two are at vastly different price points though - if I recall correctly, the Raaw cost me about $7,000 CAD to my door for full XT + full factory 2021 Fox suspension; to get the same spec on the Enduro, you'll be looking at a lot more.

I prefer aluminum because it's pretty rocky where I ride and I crash a fair amount, so not an ideal scenario for a carbon frame.

Re: the bike itself, I feel like it's just begging me to ride faster - I'm still getting used to the length and big wheels, but it wants to charge.

It climbs surprisingly well and is ideal for my kind of riding - grind up a long climb and then fly down.

If you're worried about weight, you'll probably want to give a closer look at the Enduro - this thing is not light. That being said, I'd ride it down anything that I'd take my DH bike down and wouldn't feel undergunned.

I'm really happy with the purchase and don't have any regrets - feel free to PM me with any specific questions.
  • 2 0
 @jordanredshaw: I have a Madonna V1 and totally agree, the best all-rounder bike I have ever owned. I especially love the fact that while its really capable when descending you still have a surprisingly efficient and comfortable climber. With the DPX2 air shock it feels lively on the trail, its not just a smasher. The only downside I can see is that I'll never be able to justify buying another bike again unless I move somewhere flat. Then I'll get a Spur!
  • 1 0
 Probably doesn't qualify because none were sent out for review*, but I think the Vitus Escarpe/Sommet deserves a mention for showing the rest of the industry what value is.

* although all its numbers are very Norco Sight.
  • 1 0
 The Vitus bikes are nicely priced, but the value disappears in Canada with import duties. The Escarpe is $2900 cad which is excellent but delivered is ~$3800 and any bullshit SkyNet adds on. At that price point it competes with the Stumpjumper Comp Alloy which might have it beat plus local support. Our Southern neighbors usually get better deals from CRC so maybe an American will let us know their shipped price. Historically the mythique and nucleus/sentier have been worth importing, but now that the nucleus is QR and discounts are lower they are less attractive.
  • 2 0
 @JayUpNorth: Ouch! CRC includes all taxes in its Australian prices, does it not do that for Canada?
  • 2 0
 @boozed: 100% they do. You just don't see it until you can add to cart and check out. I was suprised my first CRC order as well, but it makes sense.
  • 3 0
 The RAAW Madonna V2 ticks all the boxes for me and is an absolute beauty. If I were in the market for a new bike, this would be it. Stunning.
  • 1 0
 Agreed, and the black one is SICK!!!
  • 3 0
 Surprised to see the Ripmo Carbon V2 not on the list. It was released in 2020 and is probably the most universally acclaimed bike amongst all.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer not specifically a question for this award but more just the whole process in general. When considering these prizes are you primarily just looking at what is the best purely based on performance, or is value a big consideration as well?
  • 2 0
 I feel like over the years I've ridden bikes similar to all of the nominated except the Spur... Not a quiver killer but I'd love to have something like that for the majority of my rides in Central Oregon.
  • 2 0
 When I saw theTR Spur release video I knew it was going to be special! Glad I bought one before they were sold out and got a chance to put 4 months of riding on it. Great F'ing bike!
  • 1 0
 Same - picked up my Spur in August, as well. It just shreds everything I've thrown at it and bends all the "rules" of what a trail bike is supposed to be. It may not win BOTY with such amazing choices; but, at minimum, it definitely deserved its spot on the list. Well earned.
  • 1 0
 God I love my evo! Didn’t think I would end up on a Specialized with so many other awesome bikes out there, but this bike just checks so many boxes that can’t be rivaled right now by other bikes. The s works frame is also one of the most beautiful and refined frames I’ve seen!
  • 24 22
 Any of them except the comencial. I don’t see the point of a short travel enduro bike that weighs more than a long travel enduro bike.
  • 22 45
flag BunnyR10 (Dec 18, 2020 at 9:13) (Below Threshold)
 If you care about the weight of your bike, you must be a roadie
  • 8 4
 My next bike will be that commencal. Well, hopefully not for a few years, I'll see how long my 19 al sentinel lasts. The point for me is it's a trail bike that can take the abuse of me, a 6'3", 230lbs aggressive rider. Theoretically, I haven't ridden that bike, I'm more making a point about the type of short travel, heavy duty bike that the meta tr is. For the same reason the light weight of the stumpy's makes me dismiss them as options.
  • 18 1
 @CM999, I mean, it is a really, really fun bike.
  • 6 2
 price maybe and durability? @CM999 , I own the AM version and the bike is definitely a Heady Duty Machine, the bike will last for decades.
  • 5 9
flag Thirty3 (Dec 18, 2020 at 9:31) (Below Threshold)
 The latest Commencals seem unbalanced. Super long front too short in the rear.
  • 4 0
 @kcy4130: haha, i handt seen your comment, and you are right, the Metas are some Heavy duty rigs, the AM that i own is a pretty good climber too, my guess is the TR will be still better.
  • 6 0
 If you want a bike that can take everything you throw at it without failure, chasing weight is the wrong way to go.
  • 7 3
 @Thirty3: The "unbalanced" myth comes from riders sizing up and riding bikes that are too long for them. If you look at EWS athletes, most are sizing down if anything. The front/rear weight bias is based on the rider's center of mass as much as it is the physical geometry of the bike. The COM will be significantly farther forward for a taller rider in attack position vs. a short rider. Yeti has almost identical front/rear center proportions on the SB150 compared to the Meta TR and I don't see many racers complaining about front/rear balance. You do see them sizing their frames appropriately, however.
  • 3 0
 @kcy4130: I'm the exact same size and ride a 2021 Meta TR. You will not regret it. It has a perfect suspension ramp up for larger/aggressive riders. It only gets better the harder you push it.
  • 4 0
 The weight helps keep it planted, these long travel bikes are great for some but 140mm rear with 29 inch wheels is more than enough for 90% of riders. I want my bike to last and my meta tr should. It's great fun and the seat angle means I don't really notice the weight riding up.
  • 2 1
 @grizzlyatom: SB150 in size L and above is most definitely unbalanced. The easiest analogy is skis; you don't see skis where the as the length grows it only grows in the front of the binding. Bikes should be the same way as skis, as the size goes up, both front and rear grows proportionally. I went from that SB150 to a Banshee Titan with chain stays that are 20mm longer and it so much more balanced and overall fun to ride. Sure maybe I can't schralp a corner quite as easily but I can sure do it on command and no longer do it on accident because the rear end is overcome by the long front.
  • 1 0
 @grizzlyatom: Yes thats where i was going with it. In the smaller sizes things seem much more balanced.
  • 4 0
 @heatproofgenie: I ski and bike, and while there are some similarities, there are more differences. The biggest difference is body position. On a bike your feet are elevated from the ground and your hands bear load and initiate the turning motion. There are at least five interface points between rider and bike that can be played with vs. two on skis. Obviously there is a point where there can be too much or too little weight on the hands based on frame geometry, but that balance is mostly dependent on the rider's center of mass, which can be vastly different between body types and sizes. I'm simply pointing out that if you are riding the correct frame and stack for your body, a shorter rear end is not as big of a deal as some are making it. I'm coming off a Sight with 10mm longer rear center. There is a difference between the handling, but I would say I prefer the Meta for jumping, turning, and even technical climbing. I have had no issues with the front feeling too light or the bike feeling unbalanced, especially due to the seat tube angle putting my mass farther forward on the bike (which the Yeti doesn't do as well).
  • 4 0
 @grizzlyatom, @mikekazimer
I second both of these.

@kcy4130 I’m 6’5” 200 on an XL. Trust these men. It’s good. The short stays are fine, maybe especially if you already ride stuff with little wheels.
  • 1 2
 @mikekazimer: I’m sure it is but there is no excuse for it being that heavy in 2020. To my mind it just means the engineers were not doing their job well enough to take off the excess weight.
  • 4 0
 Technically it is the same bike as a V1 Transition sentinel with some small differences. I owned a 2020 TR in actual trail mode(wrecked the frame) and now I own a 2021 TR in enduro race mode. I wouldn't even call it a trail bike but just in the category because of the rear travel. About the weight.... Commencal openly says they don't give a sh+t about bike weight and will never make carbon bikes. Its allll about what you want to ride and the purpose of you riding it. My 2021 Custom TR build cost me $2k more than the highest spec TR you can get. I don't ride their price because of the great price point but I ride @COMMENCALbicycles because they're such an amazing company that makes savage bikes and has savage team riders who greatly market said bikes. oh and they know how to WIN!!!!!!!!!


@mikekazimer yes it is an extremely fun bike!
  • 4 0
 @CM999: My Meta is .8lb heavier than my Carbon Sight was. I'm running a heavier fork and tires on the Meta as well. I don't think that is unreasonable at all. If you haven't noticed, all bikes are getting heavier over the past few years. It's mostly due to the fact that no one wants to run paper-thin, small-volume tires, disposable wheels, or light-duty suspension anymore. Frame and component manufacturers have been putting their design emphasis on ultimate durability to accommodate the wave of enduro-minded riders and trails. Commencal employ some very good engineers who have helped turn their WC downhill team into what it is. With a very keen focus on tuned flex, kinematic masterpieces, material optimization, and high quality manufacturing processes. They know what they're doing, and they have a solid identity for their bikes and brand.
  • 4 0
 @jalenparson: not just fun but freaking fast!
  • 1 1
 I owned a previous-gen Meta TR29 for some time and I think it was hugely overrated.
  • 1 0
 Thanks to COVID, and everything being shut down into early summer, this seemed to be the year of the trail bike. But at least there were a lot of short travel options with newly updated geo to choose from.
  • 7 2
 Norco Shore?
  • 3 8
flag Afterschoolsports (Dec 18, 2020 at 10:37) (Below Threshold)
 This is the real bike of the year imo. Bang on geo, design, build, and price. Norco obviously doesn't spend as much on advertising with pb as Satanized.
  • 8 0
 Being more neiche than a downhill bike probably has something to do with it.
  • 4 0
 How about a cheap light hardtail thats not carbon?
  • 4 1
 The Bike of the Year is the one in my shop. I smile every time I see it, and ride it.
  • 3 0
 Bike of the year is my son’s Prophet since it survived all the abuse he ladled on it.
  • 5 0
 Spur gets my vote
  • 2 0
 I'm surprised not to see the Honzo ESD on here. It made splashes when it was released, and I continue to see builds and positive reviews around the web.
  • 1 0
 Kaz reviewed the Honzo, and he was pretty lukewarm on it.
  • 3 0
 they forgot the norco sight. its one of the most exciting bikes of 2020, in my opinion
  • 4 0
 I'm surprised the ibis ripmo af wasn't mentioned.
  • 1 0
 I know they don't ship to the US and I haven't ridden one, but to me, the bike of the year would have been the Last Tarvo, incredibly light, bikepark approved and it looks as good and clean as the Transition.
  • 1 1
 Specialized Levo SL - just for the eMTB haters Wink

Seriously though, this is what an eBike should be imo. It's really fun and capable without being too heavy or overpowered. It allows people who wouldn't usually be able to keep up to do so in group rides. Orbea recently released a similar bike. A demo on one went a long way to convince me to finally get a 29er and a trail / Enduro bike to boot (Reign 29).
  • 4 0
 Ripmo V2 FFS.
  • 3 0
 Getting old and need to rest up, need something to Spur me on though
  • 11 8
 Must be an error, I don’t see the Pivot Switchblade v2.
  • 5 3
 Rocky Mountain Altitude Honorable Mention? HAvent they recalled every single one of these made in the last 5 years?
  • 1 0
 I woulda thought one of the high pivot bikes would of gotten a bit of atttention. Its the only actually new thing in the last year or two.
  • 2 1
 How about dead trend of the year? I'd vote for Fat Bikes. Winter 2020 I saw few on the trails. Bike shops had few in my area.
  • 2 0
 I really think that the Trek Slash should have been in the actual nominees, the bikes amazing
  • 2 0
 Stumpy evo, big brand bike with various geo options giving customers what we want from day1 only con is the big S haters
  • 1 0
 Santa Cruz 5010 because they make some of the best all around bikes out there and stand behind their products like no other company.
  • 5 2
 The winner is Pivot Switchblade
  • 4 1
 Not a mention of the Pivot Switchblade, interesting...
  • 1 0
 No love for Ibis ripmo v2 ???? such an acclaimed bike! Balance is the key to a great bike IMO and the ripmo v2 achieved that perfectly.
  • 1 0
 I am certain my Pivot Switchblade XT/XTR Pro w Carbon Wheels is a far better all around bike than any of these. Never been more sure of anything in my entire life.
  • 3 0
 Deleted
  • 1 1
 i wanted evo but ended up with enduro, no evo in stock. not much difference between them and enduro is future proof me thinks? At least i keep telling myself this.
  • 5 7
 Bummer that something like the 5010 gets a nod while other tasty frames like the Reeb Sqweeb and the Gorilla Gravity series get left out. That Santa Cruz "Jam it all near the bottom bracket" look is dog ugly, and in a list of Big Names (Raaw notwithstanding) it'd be great to see some high-performing frames from other manufacturers.
  • 5 0
 The 5010 was called out particularly as it's a 27.5, yet you suggest two 29ers should get the nod instead.

The Reeb looks like a 2008 Giant Trance knockoff, and the 5010 sitting above a photo of a Cannondale catches your eye as dog ugly? Taste sure is personal.
  • 1 0
 @kram: That's fair on the wheel size. I'm all for the 27.5" representation, it was more about the fact it's a very Big Brand list.

And no fan of the Cannondale look. I just didn't feel right dogging on multiple frames based on looks, and Cannondale's always had its own thing going.
  • 2 0
 Did they just say you will be able to buy the Grim Donut next year?
  • 2 2
 Ja ja ja ja, The best bike of the year in Northamerica. Only one bike is out of EEUU manufacturer, right, the rest of the world don't know to make bikes. Please,...
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer Kaz, would be sick if you guys can get your hands on one of the newly redone Megas from NukeP!
  • 2 0
 Wheres the Nukeproof Mega? @pinkbike
  • 2 0
 Petition for the Pivot Switchblade to be somewhere on this list ->
  • 1 0
 I call BS. The 2020 Pivot Switchblade is twice the bike of any and all of these, period.
  • 11 12
 None of the 3 new Evils that debuted this year then? Not even the highly anticipated latest Wreckoning? Same old same old 'round here...
  • 7 2
 Evil has not kissed the PB ring, and their seat angles aren’t steep enough to impress geo chart nerds. They also get a lotta PB hate for old Revolt and Undead disasters, but have a solid fan base and sell out every run of every bike. My v1 Following is a great bike.
  • 10 0
 We weren't able to get one in for a long term review - we tried. Maybe next year.
  • 3 1
 There have been plenty of great bikes that were released this year and are not mentioned. The list should be “bike of the year that we tested for ‘x period of time’”
  • 2 0
 @onlyDH: Should they give the award to bikes they’ve never ridden and don’t know anything about?
  • 1 0
 @gafoto: no, that’s why I legitimately think that consumers should understand that the feedback provided has nothing to do with the total bike market and is only related to bikes that have long term reviews (so bikes that they have ridden for a day and know things about still don’t count)
  • 2 0
 I shouldn’t have implied that PB has something against Evil, it isn’t really what I meant and it may be that Evil doesn’t see a need to get their bikes reviewed. Not everybody has the same likes and needs in a bike so variety is good. Those who like Evil’s formula know it when they ride it. I hope we don’t end up with such convergence in the industry that every travel category is dominated by a few big brands with the same geometry and kinematics. That would suck. Most all of the contenders mentioned for BOY are great bikes.
  • 4 0
 Great repky !

Just got what might be the last XT Druid build, close choice was a shimano Evil build but just impossible this year apparently and I want shimano.

Evil is a great company, building awesome bikes. XTR exclusive build is pretty exclusive though.

Spech evo looks spot on, but where the hell is the pivot switchblade ? Honestly, that is a great bike, up down and sideways.

@t0mislav:
  • 1 0
 Repky or Reply ?
  • 4 0
 I don't know what criteria they're using for their list of candidates but the new Wrecker should be on anyone's long travel 29er list for bike of the year. Best cornering, most playful long travel bike that you van happily climb 5k on.
  • 1 4
 It would be really nice if those photos could be cropped to get the scale to match. We know looks are important (not the only thing, but important) to many, but looking at a bunch of pics with different scaling, it's tough to compare aesthetics.
  • 1 0
 Revel Rail es el mejor!!!!
  • 2 0
 No Slayer lol?
  • 3 1
 Pivot Switchblade
  • 2 0
 Still the Norco Optic
  • 1 0
 5010 should get it. Amazing bike!
  • 1 0
 Stumpy Evo is my pick. That bike is so danged fun.
  • 2 0
 Ripmo V2!?
  • 1 0
 And the winner is - MY Bike .
  • 1 0
 So bikes in general are really good now.
  • 1 0
 What about the new Canfield Balance???
  • 3 3
 What about the Chromag Doctahawk?
  • 3 1
 Ppl on pinkbike do not like hardtails ,.... sad
  • 7 0
 bike was released Feb 2019...
  • 4 4
 Should have dropped an eBike just for the haters!
  • 2 2
 No love for the pivot switchblade because of superboost I assume.
  • 1 1
 Propain Spindrift?
  • 2 5
 >>>DOWNVOTE ALERT
sorry bout the hand grenade{ donut} but it is a Frankenbike and not for sale.
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