5 New 29er Downhill Bikes Ridden & Rated

Jan 31, 2019
by Paul Aston  



From the moment they first emerged, 29" wheeled downhill bikes have caused plenty of heated debates, both online and in real life. After spending 12 months riding them, I discovered they are just bikes, and some of them offer performance and speed that is on another level to anything before.

What are the pros and cons of the big wheels? For tall riders, it offers a better-proportioned bike with generally longer chainstays and bigger XL sizes, and a bike that feels like the wheels fit the rider. They also offer the usual better rollover and decreased fatigue, and increased traction from more compliant wheels which can be a big benefit for lighter riders, but heavier and hard-hitting riders might be looking to increase stiffness here. The biggest caveat is the lack of butt-to-tire clearance. I estimate that 5'9" riders are on the lower limit. At just over 6', with a 33" inseam, I had a couple of squeamish moments where a connection was made and things got scary really fast as I started to pitch over the bars. Just because you ride a trail bike with 29" wheel doesn't mean the DH bike will fit. That extra 40-70mm of rear travel, and the increased time pointing down steep descents mean that wheel gets closer to your ass than you might think, and more often.

Here's a roundup of five downhill bikes that were put through the wringer in 2018.









Cube's Two15 chassis has been put to good use under their race team for a few years now, and last year we spotted the first prototypes being raced with 29" wheels. During the 2018 World Cup season the aluminum-framed downhill race bike was piloted by Matt Walker (the Kiwi racer) and up-and-coming German youngster, Max Hartenstern.

Cube will be offering a frame-only option, along with one complete bike. That model is ready to race with Fox Factory Suspension, SRAM GX 7-speed drivetrain, Magura brakes, wheels and rubber from DT Swiss and Schwalbe, and finishing kit from RaceFace. There is a cheaper 'Race' model that costs €2499, but if you want big wheels you need to invest the 'SL' model priced at €3999; you should be able to get your hands on one from your local Cube dealer before December.

Cube Two15 SL
Travel: 205mm rear / 203mm front
Frame construction: HPA Ultralight hydroformed and triple butted alloy
Suspension Design Four bar linkage with 'Horst-style' pivot
Suspension: Fox 49 + Float X2
Sizes: L, XL (S, M, L with 27.5" wheels)
Weight: 15.77kg / 34lbs 12oz (XL, tubeless, w/o pedals, actual)
Price: €3999 EUR / £3999 GBP
cube.eu


Cube Stereo DH 29 Review - riding


The Cube, well, looks like a Cube, and while it offered solid performance, it wasn't mind-blowing. Many bikes are bought on looks alone, and the Cube likely won't catch your eye as a Trek or Norco would. It's more of an all-rounder than something you would want to attack a World Cup on, but for a few shuttle days a month and an annual trip to the Alps it suffices. If you want a simple bike, at a decent dealer-price, you won't be making a mistake.


bigquotesCompared to other 29" downhill trucks on test, the Cube feels more like a park bike than a World Cup racer.... Don't let that fool you into thinking it won't outperform many downhill bikes from the last few years, though. To me, it had the handling that I typically associate with a park bike, but I wouldn't want the wagon wheels for constant park laps. Paul Aston


Pros

+ Solid build kit
+ Good value with high end parts for a non-direct sale bike
+ Simple frame design that gets the job done
Cons

- The least aggressive downhill race bike on test
- Park bike feel offset by 29" wheels










Trek's Session has more heritage than any other downhill bike that is still on the circuit, bringing home multiple World Cup DH victories and podium appearances over the years—most recently with Rachel Atherton and Kade Edwards at World Championships in Lenzerheide. The Session 9.9 is the latest iteration of this race-bred machine, with 29" wheels and a lightweight, full OCLV carbon frame that uses Trek's familiar-looking four bar suspension design.

Initially, the 29" version was only available in a frame and fork kit including the Float X2 and Fox 49 fork for $4,499 USD, but Trek recently announced a complete version for 2019 which will have a similar spec to the bike featured here for $8,399 USD.

Trek Session 9.9
Travel: 190mm rear / 190mm front
Frame construction: OCLV Mountain Carbon frame with magnesium Evo rocker link
Suspension Design Four bar ABP
Suspension: Fox 49 + Float X2
Sizes: S, M, L, XL (tested)
Weight: 15.36kg / 33.14lbs (XL, tubeless, w/o pedals, actual)
Price: $4499 USD (frame and fork)
trekbikes.com




Although super light and bloomin' good looking, the Session didn't offer the performance of any other machine here in terms of going as fast as you can through the gnarliest sections - which is one of the biggest attractions of pure downhill riding. Railing berms and hitting jumps were easily taken in its stride. It was the most expensive machine in this group, but I didn't feel like it's performance lived up to the hype.


bigquotesThe combination of the bike's light weight, suspension design, and massive stiffness makes the Session pedal and accelerate very well. It also rails fast, smooth berms exceptionally well, and it's easy to see why some riders have had success on the World Cup circuit with this bike under them. That said, heading into the rough stuff I found the Session noticeably, well, harsh. Tracking across off-camber sections and carving flat corners didn't inspire confidence - the rear wheel had a tendency to lose traction when the bike was leaned over. Paul Aston


Pros

+ Ultra light and stiff
+ Exceptional, simple finish
+ Balanced, aggressive geometry
+ Quick acceleration and efficient pedaling
Cons

- Possibly too light and stiff
- Top of the line price tag
- Lacking traction in rough stuff
- Reach may limit taller riders










We first saw spy shots of Norco's Aurum teasing us a couple years ago, and now the long-awaited stunner is finally in production. The carbon-framed trucker appears to have all the details locked down: 27.5" or 29" wheels depending upon frame size, along with Norco's 'Gravity Tune' that see the rear center length increase to correspond with each frame size, and 'Size Scaled Tubing', where larger diameter carbon tubes are used on larger frames in order to maintain the desired amount of stiffness for all rider weights.

There are a full six sizes to choose from, two tiers of build, and a frame only kit. The HSP1 reviewed is nearly identical to the Norco Factory Racing team bike with a full SRAM build, DT Swiss wheels, Schwalbe Magic Mary tires, and Deity finishing kit. It sells for $7,999 USD and the lower tier HSP2 hits the shelves at $5,499.

Norco Aurum HSP1
Travel: 200mm rear / 200mm front
Frame construction: Full carbon
Suspension Design High-single pivot with idler wheel
Suspension: RockShox Boxxer World Cup/ RockShox Super Deluxe World Cup RC
Sizes: 27.5" - XS/S, S/M, M/L, L/XL / 29" - M/L, L/XL
Weight: 16.14kg / 35.10lbs - XL 29", tubeless, w/o pedals, (actual.)
Price: HSP2 - $5499 / HSP1 $7699
norco.com


Norco Aurum HSP Review - riding


The Norco is a beauty and the King of Attention. Details were dialed throughout and their setup guide is second to none. These high-pivot machines are unbeatable in terms of ride comfort for flat pedal pilots, as well as charging rough sections and frequenting steep alpine descents. It's a direct challenger to the Commencal Supreme, an a good choice for the rider that wants a more refined, lighter, carbon bike, and isn't fussed by the hefty price tag.


bigquotesOn rough off-cambers when you want maximum traction, the Norco outperforms any four-bar bike I've tested, but it doesn't quite have the grip the Commencal offers. However, the Norco is more planted in corners than the Commencal when grip isn't at as much of a premium due to the lower ride height. Switching between corners and directional changes are slightly faster on the Andorran rig due to the higher bottom bracket and ride height, but we're talking fractions at most. Paul Aston


Pros

+ Beautiful finish and attention to detail
+ Intelligent sizing and carbon tune for front and rear triangles
+ The best set-up guide in the industry
Cons

- Slightly harsh feeling from the frame
- It's not overpriced, but it is expensive
- Available in limited numbers and not in every territory










Commencal's Supreme platform has been around for a number of years, but 2018 saw it gain more length, bigger wheels, and three World Cup wins in a row. The Andorran race vessel was also the first complete production-ready big-wheeled downhill bike - and it sold out two production runs.

Commencal initially offered the frame kit including a Fox 49 fork, DHX2 shock, and an e*thirteen wheelset for $4,599 USD, and as a complete bike with a high performance / low-cost component selection for only $5,399. That inventory sold out almost overnight, but the 2019 range has been released with new color options, including a RockShox-equipped team replica that can be had as a complete build for $4,699.

Commencal Supreme DH
Travel: 205mm rear / 203mm front
Frame construction: Aluminium 6066-alloy, triple butted
Suspension Design High-pivot swingarm with idler wheel
Suspension: Fox 49 fork, DHX2 shock
Sizes: M, L, XL
Weight: 16.99kg / 37.08lbs (actual, tubeless, w/o pedals, XL)
Price: $5,399 USD (exc. tax) / €5,399 (inc. VAT)
commencal-store.com


Commencal Supreme DH 29 Review - Riding

The Supreme DH 29 couldn't do any wrong from the day it attacked its first trail. It was superbly comfortable from the first run and gave me multiple personal records (albeit only Strava) from the get-go. Compliant, responsive, quiet, and a bargain. Around $5,000 for a bike that won three World Cups in one year, who would argue against that?


bigquotesCharging into rough rock gardens and braking bumps is unreal - I tried a section in Pila faster and faster, and the Supreme was the first bike I have ever ridden that got easier to handle the harder I pushed it. It never even came close to flinching.... The increasing chainstay length gives more confidence as it extends through the travel. The stiff but not harsh front end, combined with a fairly flexible swingarm, allows enough give at the rear wheel for fantastic tracking and line-holding through rough and off camber sections, without the springiness found with some carbon bikes. Paul Aston


Pros

+ Unbeatable bump and high-speed performance
+ Ready to go racing out of the box
+ Great price and specification
Cons

- Requires some adaptation to get the best out of the bike
- Falls off chairlifts and shuttle trailers and might not fit in your car or garage
- May make you ride too fast for your own safety










Banshee have taken a different approach to their Legend 29" downhill bike – this machine was planned to be a one size only XL frame with wagon wheels and one agenda – to be a high-speed racing machine for big riders. But, after receiving feedback from team riders and consumers, they will also be adding a large size to the lineup. For everything else, they still have their 27.5" Legend in three sizes.

Available as a frame kit including Fox's 49 and DHX2, the Legend will cost $3,999 USD when it is finalized. I tested a prototype sample of the finished product, which will have a couple of tweaks from the bike pictured here and will be available to buy in early 2019.

Banshee Legend
Travel: 190mm rear / 190mm front
Frame construction: Aluminium
Suspension Design KS Link suspension
Suspension: Fox 49 + DHX2
Sizes: L, XL
Frame Weight: 3.85kg (w/o shock, claimed.)
Bike Weight: 16.78kg / 37.00lbs (tubeless, w/o pedals, actual.)
Frame Kit Price: $3999 USD inc. Fox Factory 49, DHX2, Banshee headset
bansheebikes.com


Banshee Legend 29 Review - riding


The Legend 29 gave great traction, generated lots of speed, and was backed up by geometry to keep you safe at full speed; this bike also leaned into corners like nothing else.


bigquotesThe first thing I noticed before even hopping on the bike was the insanely supple first few centimeters of rear suspension travel. The bike would sag under its own weight, and needed hardly any pressure to get it moving further. On the trail, this gave incredible tracking and grip in the first part of the travel, and rolling speed down the trails seemed massive, as you can barely feel the initial hit of the bumps trying to slow you down.... On long corners the Banshee corners like a demon, too; the achievable lean angle is more than anything else on test before breakaway. Paul Aston


Pros

+ Superb small bump traction, grip, and balance
+ Great for generating speed and attacking mellower DH runs
Cons

- Limited sizing in 29", but 27.5" still an option in multiple sizes.
- Harder to ride than this year's HPP bikes on steep and rough tracks






Top Picks

Personally, I would pick the Commencal Supreme 29" without a single doubt. It was my favorite performer, and offers best value by far due to the fact that it's the only direct sale bike here. The Norco is a close call too, and as a flat pedal rider these high-pivot machines are the easiest to ride. Following this, I really enjoyed the Banshee Legend for its great corner-carving abilities and size. Finally, The Cube was too small without a bigger option, and the Trek was didn't offer the grip and confidence of any of the others.




End note: These are the downhill bikes we managed to put some serious time into and review during 2018. Don't worry though, downhill bike testing is still underway and 2019 promises reviews of the Intense M29, Saracen Myst, GT Fury and the Devinci Wilson.


169 Comments

  • + 81
 "looks like a Cube" will probably make me laugh every time I read that
  • - 1
 As long as your mom doesn't look like a cube...
  • + 4
 @fiatpolski: actually she´s on Cube e-bike, so ..
  • + 1
 I read this line in the article and initially knew, something with "looks like a cube" would be the top comment. You just have to love the pb-comment-section...
  • + 49
 Super happy to see a small player as banshee taking a great place here !
very well done @builttoride
  • + 9
 Best lines of any DH bike out too.
  • + 5
 Can't wait to put mine to the test this upcoming season! (Although 27.5)
  • + 4
 Have a Darkside and absolutely love it their rear suspension design.
  • + 3
 love banshee, great for privateers cable on the outside. no nonsense rig. Loving my rune and spitfire so maybe a big wheel dh on the cards;-)
  • + 1
 One of the only bikes with a regular running chain....the others are ugly, my opinion....
  • + 29
 Nice and honest review! I feel commencal has that rear flex dialled, my meta grips offcambers better than any other bike i‘ve ridden
  • + 6
 I find extremely stiff rear ends somewhat awkward to ride- Like sitting on an angry bull that wants to kicks you. My Lapierre DH had noticeable amount of flex - but just enough that it literally flowed over rock gardens and you didnt noticed them at all.. Far better for the average rider.
  • + 15
 Best review of 29er DH bikes ever, and first I've read to be honest about their limitations for shorter riders. Longer chainstays and high pivot suspension seem to be where things are headed.
  • + 3
 Why did they say it was falling off chairlifts in the cons!?
  • + 4
 @AidenGowans: I think it is because when you hang it on the back of the lift's seat it rubs on the ground and falls off.
  • + 3
 I welcome the settling down of the flex topic warmly. For years people were munching the weight to stiffness ratio marketing BS. It’s been painful to argue with folks. Now it is time to take that discussion to the front of the bike and get some more USD forks to be developed.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: the X Fusion Revel looks so good but kinda expensive Frown

Would love to test one.
  • + 4
 @AidenGowans: Nothing like bragging about how your bike is so long that the lift doesn't even work for it Smile
  • + 1
 32" wheel prototypes in the works, industry standard 2020!
  • + 2
 Are Manitou Dorado's still in production?
  • + 4
 @dobermon: I realise this is a joke comment but interesting to hear Aston talking about tyre buzz on the butt. It looks like we have reached the limits of wheel diameter, at least for long travel bikes.
  • + 3
 Commie still got the best commercial .. neg prop for too fast for average rider could handle
  • + 2
 @Neale1978: yes. and still buttery
  • + 1
 @dobermon: Maybe on the front for the real tall guys.
  • - 1
 @Flowcheckers: Ya or the real dumb guys!
  • + 2
 @dobermon: If they are using giant slalom ski courses for the new snow DH races the 32" wheels probably have huge potential for that also.
  • + 1
 @Flowcheckers: Keep praying for that hahahha
  • + 26
 Trek: Looks like a sleek super car with a beautiful finish
Cube: Looks like a robot from a '90s sci fi flick
Commencal: looks like dinosaur claw
Banshee: Looks like a WW2 tank
Norco: Looks like an alien spaceship

me: higher than giraffe pussy
  • - 4
flag MrDiamondDave (Jan 31, 2019 at 18:31) (Below Threshold)
 HAHA Yeah this is a silly review and holds little merit with me personally. Testing multiple bikes with multiple riders is a must, not just one rider. Bikes are all over the board pricing and carbon and alloy and giggits, widgets, and shit.
  • + 2
 cracked me up! nice one bud Smile
  • + 21
 ....Nice bikes....and in real news, Tippie turned 50 today.
  • + 0
 HBD DOOD! Yung buck wile maniacc.
  • + 11
 At this point I am convinced 29” v10s aren’t actually real. Just a rendering. Never will one be tested/reviewed.
  • + 12
 I am just going to wait for 29/27.5 rather than buying these obsolete 29er
  • + 12
 So in a way - DH at least - Aluminum kicks Carbons ass ;-)
  • + 6
 Yeah I think a couple things shoulda been in the pro's...Aluminum, and threaded BB's!
  • + 7
 I love my Supreme 29er... but then I am a 6'5 dh rider, on a budget, who prefers tech race runs to park runs and rides flat pedals so I guess it was basically built with me as a customer in mind. Seriously though after getting this I sold off both my 27.5 bikes as I feel like there really is something to the idea of taller riders getting on better with bigger wheels.
  • + 3
 @Fifty50Grip: told ya
  • + 1
 @BenPea: Yep I saw your chat below and had a good laugh, my closest riding buddy barely breaks 5'5... he still laments the death of 26 and his bike rides like a bmx to me haha
  • + 8
 @CONomad: At 5’4”, my nuts hurt even looking at a 29” dh bike. I too lament the death of the 26” hoop.
  • + 1
 What size do you have? Im the same height and am thinking about getting one, but im coming from a 445 reach XL transition TR500 and am worried the jump to an Xl supreme will feel a bit drastic.
  • + 2
 I switched from 26 to 29 last season and riding has never been more fun than it is now with a bike that actually fits me. Tall riders need to at least consider 29ers.
  • + 1
 @gsbomber34: I made the step from a radon with I think 460 in the reach... I'm riding the xl and for cons I noticed the longer wheelbase more than the longer cockpit. The reach and stack height felt good from the gate pretty much, I think it took about a week of riding before I really felt comfortable on it. But I picked mine up in person in Squamish and went right up to ride coast and whistler for the first time so there was just lots of adjusting going on everywhere and it probably would have clicked a lot sooner if I had been back at my home parks.
  • + 1
 @CONomad: for sure man, thanks for your help
  • + 8
 I still feel Paul Aston just fucked up setting up the session 9.9 ... You go back and read that review and it just smells of incorrect setup.
  • + 6
 Yeah the Float X2 has about a million clicks of adjustment. If you can't get the bike to stick to the ground, it sounds like you forgot your 3mm hex key.
  • + 4
 I've only come across about a dozen people who have owned or maintained them as part of a demo fleet, but not a single one of them recommend the bike.
  • + 7
 I think that's a fair part of the test. It should not be that hard to setup. If an experienced tester can't, what hope have I got.
  • + 3
 I agree... This happened with the Spartan review as well, it's that or they Have something against concentric axles/split pivot
  • + 0
 @fries: A few of the PB reviewers dont posses the ability to be humble enough to ever make the comment "Im not someone who can ride this bike hard enough to get everything out of it... Thats part of the issue too.

Theres a big difference between good on a bike and great on a bike.
  • + 3
 @fries: my time , sorry buds, on the Split Pivot DeVinci's was that they were harsh. pedaled ok, took big hits fine. but on high speed chatter (which dominates our riding) they were harsh and bouncy. both carbon and aluminum. I was really surprised. Honestly, the Trek review sounds valid to me. lots of things can contribute to that feeling.
  • + 1
 Curious how the review would have gone with a nice coil on the back..
  • + 1
 Well. Once you see Paul riding in live, it's clear that this guy has dialled in his ride

@paulaston
  • + 1
 @tadgercat: fair enough, did you ever try to flip the chip to the high setting? I noticed that made a huge difference for me. Ive Been on pretty much every design and I have to say the split pivot is my favorite. I'm itching to try out this new forbidden bike though...
  • + 1
 @TheBearDen: I heard that bud, next time you are in Pemberton/Whistler hit me up, we'll send the goods
  • + 5
 I remember reading that the Athertons mechanics were detensioning their rear wheels on really rough tracks and adding tension in for smoother stuff. I assumed it had to do with the the carbon Line DHs were too stiff, but maybe the bike doesn't play well with a coil and the stiffness of the rear suspension and pivots doesn't allow the wheel to follow a natural path.
As a hardtail rider, (Rootdown BA) I had a similar issue when I went to stiff 30mm internal rims. I backed off my spoke tension and the bike played a little nicer in really choppy stuff. Down side being that I spend more time truing.

Life is full of tough choices, most of the time I just go ride my bike.
  • + 1
 Lots of mechanics in the WC do this. Its not just a trek thing. Greg Minnaar has talked about in the past as Well. Compliance can be achieved in many ways and so if you can get a slight compliance advantage for certain tracks might as well do it.
  • + 5
 Bare with me
with the front axle higher off the ground, an BB (COG) heights lowered. This increases the distance an pivot mechanics from BB to front axle. OK.
now, with extended wheel base of modern bikes of which, All DH 9ers will most certainly have. This will increase leverage force needed to go OTB,with the allready mentioned increased pivot point.
So
we have a higher front axle with more force needed to go OTB
So
My theory.. If your'e going OTB on a DH 9er, your'e going WAY MORE OTB. It's gonna be a LOT harder to control or get away with mistakes that could lead to this type of crash

just my theory.....
  • - 1
 Tyre contact point with the ground is in the equation too, which draws us back to a good old (BB+grip location)/tyre contact patch relation which is common for all wheel sizes, but not common for different geometries. It is possible to build a bike with 26” wheels with same reach, stack, wheelbase, front/rear center balance as a 29er (bb and grips go up in relation to axles) and it will handle similarily, especially if you add weight to the tyres to even out the gyroscopic effect. That’s my theory.
  • + 3
 The higher COG of the big wheels is a disadvantage in some situations.. higher COG overall, slower turning, tire contact. But the long wheelbase, and especially the long chainstays, are more likely to keep the rear end on the ground.
  • - 4
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 31, 2019 at 8:29) (Below Threshold)
 @Flowcheckers: if you think about it, the cog of the 29er won’t go more than 1,5mm than one of an adequate 26” bike. The half of the weight of the bike, the frame, shock and the drive train stay where they were, wheels, bars, controls and fork go up by 33mm. You moved 8kgs 33mm up, remaining 8kgs + 70-90kg stay where they were. Bikes COM is a blurry concept that has been prpagated by Jason at Specialized whever new Demo came out. And it is hard to motivate it IMHO
  • + 3
 nobody willing to try a production bike with a wheel combo?

27.5 rear, 29er front

motocross has been doing mix-match wheel sizes for decades ***fully understand there's "motor" in motorcycle
  • + 1
 they are coming....wolrd cup it will happen this year. The UCI just made the rule change this winter to allow bikes to have 2 different size wheels. since they weren't allowed in UCI (World Cup, any National series etc) no one bothered developing them. Its gonna happen this year since the entire womens field and 1/3 of the mens field are under 5'10"
  • + 1
 I have a Foes Mixer that I love with. 29er in the front and. 27.5 in the rear. By far my favorite bike of all time!! 170 custom DVO up front and 170 rear. It just rips!!
  • + 2
 at the risk of being downvoted to oblivion (hello darkness, my old friend), i have to say that i really don't like HPP bikes VISUALLY. i honeslty can't see the "beauty" in the Supreme and especially in the Norco. that Banshee is the real stunner, IMHO, followed by the Trek, and the Cube is meh. That said, i will also admit that the visual aspect should be marginal when choosing a bike, performance wise, and i also admit that while not visually appealing, the supreme looks fast as foook!
  • + 2
 I've had 2 version's of the Canfield Jedi and loved both equally, I like the high pivot and I think they're very aesthetically pleasing. It was time to try something new so I purchased a Banshee at the end of the lift season this year.
  • + 0
 @krashDH85: but the Jedi is not a high pivot bike Wink it's DW-link like suspension system with idler. it was one of my two final choices when i was in the market for a new dh bike a few years ago, i was attracted by pronounced rearward wheel path. spoiler alert: i went down with an intense M9.
  • + 1
 @Bruccio: You're absolutely correct...I replaced "pivot" with "idler", which they all do share that commonality. That's what 5 hours of sleep will do to a person, thanks for the catch!
  • + 1
 @krashDH85: no problem bro Wink i know the effects of sleep deprivation, not funny at all.
  • + 5
 RIP “Dentist”, who blew us all away last time there was a mass 29er review
  • + 5
 Wait... really? I didn't know i could go racing straight out of the box with a new supreme!
  • + 39
 And the con is too fast for your safety. Same con of being rich.
  • + 23
 I prefer ham and pineapple
  • + 4
 @ThePM: you don't deserve to be a human being
  • + 3
 Skill too ride it, is in the box too, next new trend will be brakeless DH bikes?
  • + 4
 @chyu: 29ers are the quintessential "checkers or wreckers" bikes. I can see the trade offs being worth it if you are shooting for a World Cup win, but for a old slow guy under 6' like me it's more fun to be on 27.
  • - 1
 @chyu: usually the con with being rich is all the free time usually missed from working so hard. Not too mention the taxes..get two nurses or two police officers and they're rich-to the radical. Left
  • + 1
 @mihauek: or at least shouldnt be allowed to vote Smile
  • + 1
 @LuvAZ: I think because of their right to vote, you have such president now (the same kind of people chose the ruling party in our government...)
  • + 2
 That Supreme is a stunner and super long. He didnt mention anything about dealing with the length of it, including the longer backend. You'd think at least some of the DH and Park riding has some twisty and tight gnar. You don't get all that stability without some trade-offs I'm sure.
  • + 3
 There is a distinction forming between race bike and park bike. Race courses rarely ever have super tight turns, and if they do, its like 1 or 2, so it makes sense to optimize for the straights and rock gardens. Parks are a different story. At some smaller parks, you can actually go faster on smaller lighter bikes because of their agility and easier acceleration.
  • + 0
 I rode the supreme 28 all last year
Sick bike , it is long especially in the xl
But it fast fast fast . It is really long and quick changes in direction take a bit to figure out but the trade off for everything else is worth it .

Sold it due to injury but a new one is coming !!!

I’d recommend it to anyone
  • - 1
 @mxmtb: Are you sure it wasn't a Supreme 28.99?
  • + 1
 @Brahma: Bwhaha oops , I don’t wanna start a new wheel size debate
  • + 2
 Or understand that the best riders know how to nose manual at insane speeds mid 'tight' corner so the wheelbase is not really any issue.
  • + 0
 How often do you get a tight or twisty section of track that you cant gap or use other technique too get through on a bike, its all about progression, but longer bigger wheeled bikes just make riding gnar boring, until you get it wrong & because your going really fast, most likely end badly. So 29ers make you feel your a better rider that you really are, for good or bad
Your choice?
  • + 1
 @andrewbikeguide: seriously???
  • + 2
 Two things.

1. You can buy a whole Cube SL 29 for the price of the frame and fork of the Trek Session.
2. I feel the Banshee is a bit overpriced. It's only $500 cheaper than the Trek frame and fork which is already too expensive in my opinion.
  • + 4
 So I’m 5’7” with short legs 29” inseam. Guess the bike industry thinks I don’t count? #26forlife
  • + 9
 #platformshoes
  • + 3
 Can still go 29er front wheel, that is if you have a 29er fork too fit your straight steerer?
  • + 1
 I'm 5'7 and really want to try that supreme 29, since I've tried firebird and wreckoning and carbine, they fit pretty comfortable. So just wondering if that extra 40mm travel gonna set my crotch on fire
  • + 1
 @knightmarerider: on a real dh course, you will get your crotch sucked violently into the frame...it will not be good. Dh travel and steepness simply is not big enduro bike. I'm 5'10" with shorter inseam...looking forward to the 27/29 bikes in 2020
  • + 1
 I want that Commencal bad, but it is so big that it is a tough fit in both your car rack and lift rack so I really don't want to have issues. If you have a hitch mount tray rack that rear wheel protrudes, I've seen that in the parking lot. And I heard that people were having trouble loading them in the racks that my bike park Killington uses.
  • + 6
 5'6" tall. Don't care.
  • + 2
 6'6". Don't fit.
  • + 1
 @Lugers: you would fit on the supreme 29 .
  • + 3
 Commencal Pro:

"Ready to go racing out of the box"

Commencal Con:

"Requires some adaptation to get the best out of the bike"

I don't get it
  • + 2
 Interestwd in the comment about the Trek being "too light"... is that being a con due the air shock not having the traction of a coil?
  • + 8
 Its about sprung vs unsprung weight. More sprung weight results in a calmer ride. Look at reviews of bikes with gearbox, or e-bikes. Not for xc or trail, in enduro it's debatable, but for DH there deffinitely is a "too light" bike.
  • + 2
 I have a phoenix, I never thought I'd say it, but I agree! My sender rode way better through the rough stuff, by a country mile
  • + 3
 Also Paul is pretty lean and light to begin with, I don't think the Trek suits his build or riding style. Obviously, the bike has and can win, depends on the rider and how they get along with it.
  • + 2
 @ondrejaugustin: This is a true statement. I'm 6'2, 190 coming from anywhere in the 37-40lb DH bikes. I hopped on a buddies who had built it up around 33 lb and I felt like I was all over the place and couldn't control the bike how I wanted, even through multiple suspension adjustments. It just seemed squirreley
  • + 3
 Not surprised that the 2 worst reviewed bikes were air sprung and the top 3 were coil spring....especially considering the tester was a flat pedal rider. Air shock + flats is nowhere near as fun as coil and flats.

If you're clipped in, you can keep the edginess of an air damper at bay easier.
  • + 4
 But damn, am I too short for a 29er?
  • + 11
 Yes, we both are, but that guy over there is too big for a 27.5. Don't sweat it.
  • + 10
 If you can not touch the ground standing over back wheel, you need some platform shoes too ride 29er
  • + 4
 @aljoburr: Shit, that's a very good point.
  • + 5
 I struggle with the being too short part. I’m right on the cut off for 27.5/29.

DH bikes are the ultimate gamble. Almost impossible to properly demo and a huge investment.

If everyone is riding 29 is there going to be any 27.5 resale?

I get the feeling from the bike industry that if you are a good rider you should be on a 29 and I’m not going to ride something with smaller wheels because I’m a good rider damnit
  • + 3
 @wibblywobbly: Bigger wheels accelerate slower, but speed is not just about that, ride what you like as there is not much difference & is more advantage in riding a bike that fits well!
  • + 2
 @wibblywobbly: 29'er DH is for tall riders and for serious racing....everyone else, 27.5/26 and have fun. Too tall and too long of a bike isn't really all that fun(more work to lift and move it, and when you get tired, it sucks even more)...tho it may be faster...depends how serious you are about the race. Weekend warriors under 6ft shouldn't even consider a 29 Smile
  • + 2
 ...and if you enjoy riding anything you can find where you're already dragging taint with a 26/27.5...a 29 is a death sentence...hahaha
  • + 1
 @wibblywobbly: the DH parks I went to last season had Giant, Specialized, Santa Cruz, and Scott available to rent. Not to mention all the 27.5 and 29er (sb5.5 that I noticed) single crown bikes available to rent. It's not the cheapest way to do it for sure, but you can get time behind bars riding adequate terrain. Not to mention riding friends bikes, unless you're an XL guy and all your friends rock mediums. I only got to test in a parking lot, the L and XL were straddling the size of what I was used to and I went up a size (reading too much Pinkbike!) and have pretty much regretted it ever since. I should've rented another bike or two, now I'm stuck with a bike I only really like on certain tracks.
  • + 3
 Was looking forward to seeing the GT Fury here. Anything coming soon? @paulaston
  • + 1
 Bottom of the article he says the fury review is on the way.
  • + 3
 Make you ride too fast for your own safety? If you're worried about safety stay off mountain bikes
  • + 2
 Are we going to see the same type of article on short travel trail bikes and one for XC race bikes?
  • + 8
 Yes for short travel trail, eventually for XC race.
  • - 6
flag GreyJay (Jan 31, 2019 at 6:29) (Below Threshold)
 @brianpark: Awesome thanks DH is fine if you live in the mountains, but the rest of us east of Alberta don't really care about slack head tube angles and like to pedal up the hill instead of riding the chair.
  • + 4
 @brianpark: Is Levy working on downcountry article as well?
  • + 12
 @winko @brianpark I'm always working on a down-country article
  • + 3
 @GreyJay: The rest of you east of Alberta? This is a global site and we care.
  • + 3
 @GreyJay: I hope you find vacation time to put the mountain back into your mountain bike. The best DH runs are the ones you are willing to hike a bike. And keep sending Ontario the DH bike reviews for hopefully another RB champ.
  • + 2
 @winko: the trick is to find the @mikelevy article that isn't down-country ;-)
  • + 3
 What’s the story about the commercial falling off of a chairlift?
  • + 1
 Commencal* ... stupid autocorrect
  • + 4
 @InstantBreakfast: Yea how can you put that as a con and have zero story line here...
  • + 1
 @InstantBreakfast: Too long to fit properly in the wheel trays on the chairlift.
  • + 1
 There really long , if your in whistler and have to hang your bike on the end hook the rear tire catches the deck and pops it off the hook .
  • + 3
 Great to see Banshee getting some love. Proper bikes!
  • - 2
 Would have much rather seen the Wilson and m29 in the test Or better yet the new v10 Cube and banshee are not even players in this market And next time you do this get 5 people riding and switching between bikes throughout the weekend Do a proper shoot out with really dh guys riding then , not trail bike guys who like to go in the park every now and then Go look at a MX shootout test and copy it If you wanna give the best reviews and info on how the bikes rate against each other
  • + 1
 I wish i could enjoy 29'' bikes, but i feel so high riding them. (so high in a bad way)
  • + 1
 Paul: What flat pedals do you use? Catalysts? Other? Recommendations for more trail/all-mountain MTB'ing?
  • + 1
 DMR Vault here. Loads of traction, reliable and can take a beating.
  • + 1
 Someone probably already mentioned this, but would love to see a review on the Atherton DH bike when it is released!
  • + 2
 That Norco is beautiful Drool
  • + 1
 The norco and the banshee take the win for the looks! Especially the banshee ????
  • + 1
 i‘m missing the m29 here?! would‘ve loved to see how it fares in comparison and be part of the verdict.
  • + 1
 Session looks like a Slash.
  • + 1
 Banshee for the win of the best looks!!
  • + 1
 Testing ground? Finale once again? Not the badest.
  • + 1
 Cube comes spec'd with a Fox 49, sweet.
  • - 2
 Why did the 27.5" DH bike preview come out first if 29" DH bikes are so much faster huh makes you think the proof is right in front of you sheeple 29 is a fad dont by into the hype #smallwheels4lyfe
  • + 1
 Looking forward to the Wilson 29 and V10 29 review.
  • + 1
 So is 5'8" (170 cm) the height prerequisite for a 29er DH bike?
  • + 1
 Typo -- should've read 5'7" not 5'8"
  • + 2
 I'm that height and a 29er fanboy but wouldn't get one because it restricts me in steep tech.
  • + 2
 Flats!!!
  • + 1
 Looks like a Session ..... disappointed you
  • + 2
 Starling Sturn...
  • + 1
 Test the NS Fuzz 29er too.
  • + 2
 Mmmm Banshee is Alive!
  • + 1
 I scream, you scream, we all scream for su-preme!
  • + 1
 eh cube. the 90ies called...
  • + 1
 “The trek was didn’t “?
  • + 1
 Gleaming the CUBE!!!
  • + 0
 ns fuzz?
  • - 1
 id be curious of how he would rate the Intense
  • - 2
 Really surprised that Scott dont have a 29er Gambler
  • + 4
 The new gambler comes in 29 too
  • + 2
 @ORTOGONAL555: lol wow I'm old.
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