Pinkbike Poll: Choose Your Field Trip Trail Bike

Apr 17, 2020
by Mike Levy  
YT Jeffsy AL Base review


The recent value-focused Field Trip series saw us review eight trail bikes that all come in at a price that's well below that of the $10,000 super bikes that occasionally show up for review. We all know you don't have to be a dentist to enjoy yourself out there, but all eight also proved to be more reliable than some of the broken dream machines we saw last year. Not only that, but you'll also find modern geometry from the $1,400 Bossnut, AKA the Boss of Low Cost, to the $3,149 Norco Torrent hardtail.

No, things weren't perfect - there was a quick-release rear-end in the group, along with a few questionable brake and tire choices - but the gist is that you could choose any of these eight bikes and have a good time for a long time.

So, let's do exactly that in today's poll.


4 Trail Bikes Under $3,000* USD

YT Jeffsy AL Base review
YT Jeffsy Base 29
• 150 (R) / 150mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• 66° head-tube angle
• Weight: 34.4 lb / 15.6 kg
• $2,299 USD
Norco Torrent S1 review
Norco Torrent HT S1
• 150mm fork
• 29" wheels
• 64° head-tube angle
• Weight: 33.7 lb / 15.3 kg
• $3,149* USD (price changed after testing was completed)

Santa Cruz Hightower Alloy D review photo by Anthony Smith
Santa Cruz Hightower Alloy D
• 140mm (R) / 150mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• 65.5° head-tube angle
• Weight: 35.2 lb / 16 kg
• $2,899 USD
Commencal Meta TR Ride review photo by Anthony Smith
Commencal Meta TR Ride
• 130mm (R) / 150mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• 66.5° head-tube angle
• Weight: 33.5 lb / 15.2 kg
• $2,599 USD




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
Kona Honzo review
Kona Honzo
• 120mm fork
• 29" wheels
• 68° head-tube angle
• Weight: 32.3 lb / 14.7 kg
• $1,499 USD


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
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



The year is 2020 and you're ready to spend your state-rationed corona coins on a new bike for those social distancing trail rides. Do you choose one of the direct-to-consumer full-suspension rigs to get the most bike for your buck? Or maybe you're the type that's always going to spend those bucks in your local shop? Would a hardtail make your shortlist?


You've got $3,000 to spend on one of these four trail bikes. What's your pick?






161 Comments

  • 256 20
 Ripmo AF for under $3000, ALL DAY LONG.
  • 42 2
 You're not speaking CAD
  • 20 6
 I check'd with my LBS and in canada it's not that cheap. the quote i got was around 4050$ cad...
  • 34 2
 @Mathhhh: all these prices look great until you realize you gotta multiply it by 1.4 because of our shitty dollar.
  • 13 2
 i got a killer deal on my AF £2250 ,left me enough cash to upgrade brakes to codes and a longer dropper . deal of the decade
  • 3 0
 @kookseverywhere: Neither is PB!! And whatever Kooks... you bought the carbon version so you're not included in this Big Grin
  • 4 1
 @Mathhhh: Obviously. That's how it usually works, no? Please let me know what bike was a better deal in CAD, than the 4100 CAD I paid for mine (after tax).
  • 4 0
 @mammal: I've been found out!
  • 6 0
 @Mathhhh: 4050 CAD is about 2884 USD at the current exchange rate, so that's actually even cheaper.
  • 4 1
 @mammal: the commencal is 3650$ but you only pay 5% tax. Here the ripmo is 4050$ but you pay 15% tax at your LBS(don't know for other province). So in the end the commencal is almost 1k cheaper! If you are on a budget 1000$ is a big gap.
  • 8 0
 @Mathhhh: in BC bikes sold through shops are only 5% gst as far as I know. That was the case for my last bike.
  • 13 2
 The Ripmo AF's a great option, and we featured it in our previous Field Test: www.pinkbike.com/news/field-test-affordable-trail-bikes-canyon-spectral-al-ibis-ripmo-af.html
  • 6 4
 @Mathhhh: It depends where you see the value, of course. If my concern was solely about overall price, I would have gone with the Reign 29. My #1 concern was quality suspension, I'll take the premium DVO spec over that basic scram crap every day. Not to mention the Ibis comes with 35mm internal width rims (over Commencal with 27mm). The RAF hit all the crucial bits for me, aside from brakes (which I'd need to replace on all these field tes bikes anyway). And yeah, RAF was $4100 CAD after tax from my LBS.

And more on preference... They're not really in the same catagory. The Commencal is a 150/130 bike with pretty average all-around geo, while the 160/147 RAF is has geo much more suited to the rowdy crowd.
  • 6 6
 @mikekazimer: Yes, but that was a bit of a half-assed addendum to the summer field test. They weren't included in the regular field test write ups, just a quick 2-bike video at the end of the project. The RAF is good enough to hold up against a proper gamut of competition.
  • 11 0
 3000 US, that's like 9000 CAD
  • 5 0
 @kookseverywhere: it’s awesome for anyone in the US shopping for a used bike. Shipping isn’t a big deal when your getting a bike for 70 cents on the dollar!
  • 24 1
 @mammal, it's great that you're enjoying your Ripmo, but have your ridden any of the options mentioned here? The Commencal and Vitus in particular are very strong contenders.
  • 4 2
 @mikekazimer: I certainly have not, but hey both look like good bikes, for sure. I was having a look at the Vitus offerings when I first decided to go for my first new complete in 13 years.

With pretty much all Sea2Sky riding, I wanted 2 things over all others (of course, very personal): Great suspension and great geo for steep and challenging terrain. Based on what I've read about all these bikes and the numbers game, I made a great choice. And I apologize to everyone that doesn't want to hear me yell about it, but I'm going to keep yelling, because it's a hell of a deal for aggressive riders on a budget.

Additional caveat: I've got a modern aggressive hard tail and dedicated DH bike, so the suspension trial bike needed to fit a particular gap in my quiver.
  • 1 0
 @kookseverywhere: That being said, whenever it comes to the Buysell section your prices are always looking fantastic. Pick up a DH bike from Whistler BC for $800 less than what I can get one shipped to me in the states!
  • 4 2
 @mikekazimer: I'd take the commencal over the AF. The AF felt flimsy when I demo'd it. I went and tested the meta and it nearly felt like riding the stiffness of carbon.
  • 2 0
 @deertrackdoctor: where did you get that??
  • 7 0
 @Ajorda: can confirm, have a Meta 29 and it makes me stiff as f*ck

That was what you were saying right?
  • 2 0
 @Upduro: This is the best comment ive seen all day. I also recognize you from the Meta AM 29 forum!
  • 1 0
 @Ajorda: I demoed a meta before buying my af and didn't notice a stiffness increase. I've got a Levy build though.
  • 2 0
 Totally Agree!! Great bike. DW Link is best in class. I'm waiting to find a Ripmo AF for under $3000 (??--the SLX spec is listed at 3900.
  • 3 1
 @Upduro: Yessir. The AF felt like a limp noodle, everything was set up similarly in terms of suspension.
  • 1 0
 Not really, once you factor in shipping (if you order online) and taxes, you're looking at least $300 to $500 added on.
  • 4 0
 @kookseverywhere: I would pay your prices to ride your amazing trails every day...
  • 2 0
 $3320USD for just the frame in lil ole New Zealand.
  • 1 0
 @kookseverywhere: That is aboot $7000 in CAD.
  • 1 0
 @kookseverywhere: i don't think your shitty dollar can match our shitty dollar!
  • 1 0
 @Colson217:
PB Buy&Sell now is, for financially savvy 'Murican's buying Canuck bikes, like shooting fish in a barrel.
  • 2 5
 Why are your canadian dollars so weak? Do you even economics bro?
  • 2 0
 @kookseverywheoh you don't realize how lucky you are.. haha here in Argentina we have to multiply it by 66
  • 1 1
 mammal, you're rowdy as f*ck.
  • 2 0
 @mammal: You really hit it. If I needed a new bike today, the RAF would probably be at the top of my list. I may get one for my son now that he's riding steep double blacks.
  • 1 0
 @Mathhhh: Yeah, and if you want the SLX equipped one it's like 4600-4800
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: aannnnddd this is why people kept asking for a section as to how to compares to the RAF. Leaving that out for such a prominent value bike is a miss that's probably easy to correct.
  • 2 0
 I’m loving my AF coil. NX drivetrain is pretty good and the DVO suspension is really good!
  • 6 0
 My feelings are really hurt because PB didn't review the bike that I like/own and instead reviewed some other bikes because they only have finite time and resources. How dare you PB.
  • 3 1
 @rockhammer: Not to mention when you do upgrade the drive train, Ibis has a separate driver for like 60-90$ that lets to change to a modern hub driver to XD or Microspine. You aren't forced to do an expensive wheel/hub swap. No small thing when buying a value bike, ideally they upgrade nice and it does. To many good things about that bike for the price. It's their best suspension design as well, they didn't skimp on it.
  • 1 0
 @deertrackdoctor: tell me more! Where?
  • 82 6
 Dick Pound shreds with the Bossnut
  • 4 12
flag man-wolf (Apr 17, 2020 at 12:30) (Below Threshold)
 You win today, sir.
  • 2 3
 I also, like Dick Pound, would choose the Bossnut and spend the leftover 700 Dollars for a flight to BC. Probably way more fun than the Vitus on the trails we have here.
  • 64 1
 Deep inside, I'm always looking for a review of the bike I currently own and ride, just to be sure...
  • 10 0
 To be sure it's the bike?
  • 3 14
flag CircusMaximus (Apr 17, 2020 at 13:41) (Below Threshold)
 @IntoTheEverflow: woosh!
  • 10 0
 @IntoTheEverflow: That, and to be sure I don't need yet another bike. But I do. We all do. Don't you?
  • 1 0
 I have a Meta Am, so it was close. It wa reviewed by PB but somehow with much less excitement than TR, maybe bacause of a coil damper.
  • 6 8
 @ranke: woosh! This is fun
  • 2 0
 Yeah man. I’m the same
  • 3 0
 Exactly...why no Nukeproof Reactor here? Ha ha! Wink
  • 18 2
 YT infuriates me to no end. "out of stock".."out of order"..."please deposit another 50 cents to continue"..."game over"..."check engine"...."past due".......
  • 5 0
 Is YT customer service just really bad in the US? I've had 2 bikes from YT, the last one was delayed, they were up front about the delay and gave me a decent discount for the inconvenience.
I don't like the loading gif on their website is all.
  • 3 0
 Ive bought 2 YT’s in the last 6 months with absolutely 0 issues. So i have to disagree
  • 3 0
 I see so many comments about this, but it’s not that complex. They’re not a huge company and they have become rather popular. They come out with the new range before spring. Buy accordingly. Everyone complains about them running out of stock, when that is the goal of these companies (to sell all their bikes). They don’t want to have to sell last year’s bikes for pennies, it doesn’t make business sense. They scale their business to the demand. It’s smart.
  • 3 0
 @pargolf8: Agree with your disagree. Ordered one last fall and it was on my doorstep a week later. Zero complaints.
I'd much rather they post a date when they are to be expected, as they are doing, than simply take your money and string you along like some companies do.
Not exactly the best time for manufacturing and shipping in the world these past couple months. If a guy can't realize that well...
  • 17 0
 I bought the Honzo, I think that means I have to vote for it.
  • 16 0
 Weird, my answers agreed with majority of others.
  • 6 0
 Never thought I would see a Vitus at the top of any poll but they are gaining respect and deservedly so.
  • 21 5
 Giant trance
  • 6 1
 Yeah Giant Trance 2 29 comes with SLX drivetrain and 4 piston shimano's for $2900. Fox front and rear
  • 5 1
 @GBeard: no good enough for pinkbike? Sounds sick to me
  • 2 4
 Alloy flex stays = hard pass
  • 4 0
 @mrosie: trance is maestro no flex stay. The only giant with flex is the stance
  • 3 0
 @Cspringsrider: oops, I read that as “Stance”. You’re right, Trance is a good back, Maestro is legit.
  • 11 1
 I'd probably pick the Vitus on both of those poles if it was an option
  • 3 0
 Honestly yeah. The vitus with your favorite mid range brakes and that new Microshift 10 speed still makes that next price bracket.
  • 8 0
 I love my vitus Mythique so much! Glad I got it before this test. Been recommending it to a few friends and now it seems to always be sold out. Absolutely amazing bike.
  • 10 1
 "I like what they like" -Pinkbike
  • 10 2
 Wrong wheel size only the bossnut as an option
  • 6 0
 I’m starting to to wish the whole bike media enterprise started to realize we aren’t all cumming in our pants over 29” wheels.
  • 4 1
 At this point, I think the chances of me buying a new complete bike are pretty slim. The stuff from a few years ago both frames/parts generally suits me better. Better yet with a damper upgrade the suspension is up to date or you can get the fancy stuff from someone like Push. Plus you save a boatload of $$$.
  • 7 0
 Insert your "I prefer my bike" comment here.
  • 5 0
 Just built up a Meta Tr and LOVE IT!! Bruiser enough to plow, nimble enough to flick.
  • 6 3
 2999$ gets you a YT Jeffsy Comp with a full carbon frame, a Fox 36 and a Fox DPX2. Not really any reason to buy anything else if you like to shred. Maybe an Ibis Ripmo AF, if you can deal with the hefty weight...
  • 3 0
 Jeffsy for the win. But, then again, I'm biased since I already own a 27.5. Big Grin
  • 5 1
 @Poulsbojohnny: But most riders would then want to spend another $500 to replace the e13 parts.
  • 3 1
 @DoubleCrownAddict: I have the Jeffsy cf Pro race...the only bad thing about it is the Headset...acros is rubbish...


The ethirteen parts work fantastic in my opinion
  • 2 0
 Agreed. A lot of people are interested in what's the best bike for 3k$. Its annoying that prominent bikes are left out for lesser bikes...or maybe the lesser bikes hold up. We'll never know. So many of these bikes cant be remotely demo'd. Silly to leave them out
  • 2 0
 Definitely commencal, however sc also near and dear to my hurt, the issues it they are all 29’, which is not something i like

From 2k category hard to choose since i would pay more for better bike for me or my family, just because it worth it to pay for better at the beginning then upgrade later
  • 2 0
 I got a 27.5 pivot firebird for sale that's ripmore++ and others too. I liked the ripmo af second and the yeti sb6 third of that generation of enduro bike. Pivot fb pedaled as well as both but descended better, not near as energetic as the yeti. Which had poor climbing traction that really hindered it on amasaback style climb but was efficient feeling. The ripmo af climbed as well but descending felt a little vague but quick and poppy. The yeti sb6 felt like a solid bike that climbed fireroad great but was tough in tech climbing (rear wheel traction) and descending captain ahab was not as memorable as the pivot or ibis. Really tough call between the firebird and ripmo af, just depends on your terrain and style. Firebird owns the descents and is just a little more work climbing but has great uphill traction if you can keep it together. ymmv? peace.
  • 2 0
 i meant lots of other firebirds for sale. I think that's because you need steep fast terrain to really appreciate it, it's okay in rolling stuff but not inspiring. great tech traction thought.
  • 3 0
 Pivots reward you when you push them hard.
  • 6 1
 Polygon siskiu t8, $2099. Shimano Slx 12 speed, 140/140-done!
  • 5 0
 Whoa, I hadn't seen that bike at that price. Criminal we dont see more SLX at that price pt
  • 5 0
 What does the Grim donut costs?
  • 7 2
 Why all but one are 29ers!?
  • 5 1
 Yeah, not everyone wants a 29er.
  • 3 0
 I love that despite a solid review PB readers still love to sleep on YT's value and performance Frown
  • 14 1
 Yt isn’t same great value it used to be and for the money commencal is always better speccing
  • 3 1
 @Tflores2828 never ridden a commencal that wasn't epic if you rode the terrain its geo and travel was made for. Have ridden two buddies' YT's that were fall-apart pieces of junk that were a hassle for both of them to get warranty work on. Granted, their decoy rode sweet if you're into ebikes.
  • 2 0
 I thought the jeffsy would be more popular than the meta, very interesting. They're both amazing looking bikes, idk jeffsy would be my choice though.
  • 4 1
 @ranke: why were they a hassle to get warranty work on? I take my YT's into my local bike shop and since they use standard components all the warranty work is handled by the shop. I've never had any frame issues so haven't had to deal with YT themselves ever. I've had 3 YT's, a capra, jeffsy, and Tues and one Commencal (the absolut)
  • 6 5
 Yt is not a good value. They have zero quality control. Very poorly built crap
  • 1 0
 @alexisfire: yo you’re fiiire
  • 4 0
 @alexisfire: and you ride intense?? Ok, I personally know two shop owners who stopped carrying the brand because they were sending so much warranty shit back to them
  • 1 0
 I would still love to hear an actual YT owner that wasn't happy with their bike. This is all hearsay and just proves my point that YT is looked down upon for some reason. I am sure if they had a dedicated team in every level of UCI or EWS racing then it would be a different story lol.
  • 3 0
 I would spend the $5K on a trip to Scotland and keep on riding my old hard tail.
  • 1 0
 Scotland? Just come out to Washington, our terrain is pretty much the same without the long flight.
  • 4 0
 @NWBasser:
I used to live in the Alsea Falls area in Oregon and rode there daily for a while. My son was stationed at Whidbey NSA and I have ridden there a lot on my ancient Ritchey full rigid. Also a lot near Bend, OR on that same Ritchey. All three are great places to ride.

But the Hebrides are magic. It's not just the terrain. My wife and I rode out to a 1500 year old ruin once. And to a Prehistoric Pictish settlement that we were told about.

We have been to castles from 800 years ago that are still inhabited. To the Island of Vallay which was abandoned fairly recently, and the village of Hallaig that was depopulated during the clearances. So much history that we just don't have here in the USA.

I haven't ridden the old postal trail on Harris, nor the trail from the Bridge to Nowhere to the Butt of Lewis. More to see!

And Scotland's right of passage laws make for some wonderful trails. And the people are marvelous. Not sure if you will like a particular beer? Have a sip of mine! I have had that happen more than you can believe.
  • 1 0
 @Dangerous-Dan: Yeah, I think the people and history of the place would definitely be worth visiting. I'd love to go there myself.
  • 5 1
 Torrent is shore approved. That is all that matters.
  • 5 1
 So is a Kona Process 153 SE, as well as the Commencal, both for for less money. Personally, I think the Torrent is poor value. YMMV
  • 2 1
 Making the assumption both bikes are in the same condition after 2 years of light to moderate trail riding, does the Commencal or Santa Cruz sell for more? Which one holds its value better?
  • 2 1
 Frame only, Santa Cruz
  • 3 3
 Norco Torrent for geometry alone. Who wants a bike these days that's just a big wheelie loop out machine? I mean, I don't exactly enjoy climbing, but I might as well make it more fun and less sucky.
  • 1 0
 So if more fun less sucky climbing is a goal then an e-bike for you.
  • 2 0
 @onemind123: I like human powered climbing! And I want the geometry to work best for each of us for this function.

I don't dislike E-bikes in principle, but I like the fitness factor of DIY
  • 3 0
 In recession times, expensive leisure is the first thing you scrap.
  • 2 0
 Build the skills on a Honzo and then when money allows, I’d go for the Hightower.
  • 3 0
 Bossnut for the fact that its the only 27.5 option!
  • 1 0
 Can recommend the Commie. had the meta 2018. awesome spec for the price. Bit of a chunkster. but nice descender, and able climber.
  • 2 0
 well i did spend my money this year and got myself a 2020 giant reign 2 with wait for it 27.5 wheels
  • 3 1
 I would pick the torrent just on ride feel.
  • 2 2
 I would pick Dick Pound just on ride feel
  • 4 3
 Got myself a Rossignol All-Track Trail new for $1300 USD and I would happily take it again over all these.
  • 2 1
 Are you a skier new to mountain biking?
  • 1 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: Hardly. I don’t ski and I’ve been riding for years. Deal was unbeatable and the bike is great.
  • 1 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: tito tomasi is sponsorised by rossignol. They basically bought a chinese frame. but he never complained about it and did a shit ton of km with.
  • 1 0
 @lecriquet: Like the vast majority of bikes in the market it’s made in Taiwan actually. The bikes are actually great if you don’t care about the brand, and enjoy having a bunch of extra money for other stuff. The ride is excellent. I invite anyone to try and find a better bike for $1300.
  • 1 0
 @man-wolf: ok I checked it out nice bike for that price.
  • 3 1
 Gonna have to stick with my Canfield Balance that I build for $1900...
  • 1 0
 If it definitley had to be one of those: Vitus for sub-2k and Commencal for sub-3k.
  • 1 0
 Chose the hardtail both times. At the spec on that Norco is amazing, looks like a hell of a fun bike.
  • 2 0
 Honzoooooooo
  • 1 1
 So, technically the YT Izzo (130/130) should be on the Field Trip Trail Bike Tests.
  • 1 2
 Minus the 5300 price tag and being an uglier spark sure.
  • 1 0
 @sethius: The Izzo Carbon Comp is 3K. Izzo looks rad. The Spark is rad too.
  • 1 1
 Clearly didn't read this test...
  • 1 0
 @alexisfire: Please explain. I want to be educated like you.
  • 2 2
 Doesn't the commencal come with 2 piston brakes and a revelation?? Sh*t show alert!
  • 1 0
 The revelation chasis is 35mm. Is there any stiffness difference to a pike?
  • 2 0
 @inverted180: A huge difference in damping. I'd take a Z2 or Mattoc Comp over a Revelation any day.
  • 1 0
 @NWBasser: Ok but some revelations OE are coming with charger dampers.
  • 2 0
 @inverted180: I'd still take a Mattoc Comp or Z2. Just my opinion that the Charger damper isn't all that great. Especially compared to the damper in pretty much any Manitou.
  • 1 0
 I fucking love my meta. Best bike i've owned hands down.
  • 1 0
 Would of been fun to see CAD prices though!... @mikekazimer
  • 1 0
 Stop doing brands statistic job
  • 1 0
 Looking for a trail bike with just a little bit more donut...
  • 1 0
 The weight of that Giant... either the kg or lb value is wrong
  • 1 0
 "broken dream machines"

so good!
  • 1 1
 not in list but, i take saturn 14 st bay more chinese crap, but don't complain later about new china viruses.
  • 2 3
 Pinkbike Poll: Choose Your Field Trip Trail Bike (and don't be a dick about it)
  • 1 2
 If it ain't a hardtail.... That's a fail....

#hardtailpride #hardtailforever
  • 17 19
 Ripmo AF...its not even a contest if you can swing 2999$. Please add this in, it seems silly without it.
  • 1 1
 That bike is a meme lol.
  • 2 0
 As stated earlier, the RAF was already reviewed a while ago. However, I'd bet that if it were in this poll that it would win by a landslide. If I needed a new bike and had 3k to spend, then it would be the obvious choice if I wanted something new.
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