There are many sports that don't require much in the way of expensive gear, but mountain biking ain't one of them. If you've spent more than a few minutes on the Pinkbike homepage, you might assume that we only review $7,000 bikes with all the carbon fiber and XTR. And to be fair, you wouldn't be too far off the mark. While those machines usually offer impressive performance, and they sure can be interesting to read about, it's not like they throw us many surprises. I mean, who knew that that dream machine would be amazing? We all did...
But it's a lot more interesting when the price is capped at $3,000 USD or less, which exactly what this year's trail bike Value Field Test is all about, as well as this episode of the Pinkbike podcast. Number 50(!) was recorded from the Sunshine Coast, BC, where we're testing ten price-conscious mountain bikes. Not only that, five of them are hardtails that all cost way under $2,000 USD, while the five full-suspension bikes start at $2,099 and top out at $2,999 USD. And while there's no carbon anything, you will find (mostly) decent geometry and some smart spec choices.
Full-Suspension Value Field Test Bikes
Devinci Marshall: 130mm / 140mm / $2,099
Polygon Siskiu T8: 135mm / 140mm / $2,369
Giant Trance X 29 3: 135mm / 150mm / $2,500
Marin Rift Zone 29 3: 125mm / 130mm / $2,679
Ibis Ripley AF: 120mm / 130mm / $2,999
Hardtail Value Field Test Bikes
Canyon Stoic 3: 140mm / $1,099
Norco Fluid HT 1: 120mm / $1,499
BMC TwoStroke AL 1: 100mm / $1,599
Rocky Mountain Growler 40: 140mm / $1,669
Vitus Sentier 29 VR: 130mm / $1,450
Hosted by Mike Levy (usually) and featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.
My bike: 2018 Rocky Altitude C50 (mid-range) = $5,370. 2021 version, same spec = $7,099. Whaaat.
Bikes obviously can't do this. so for the same bike and same spec, the price just has to go up. You can thank this on all the debt borrowing of world governments(the US primarily, as their monetary policy drives the rest of the world). You cannot just print trillions and trillions of dollars, inject it into the market and expect nothing bad to happen. lmao
bad news? it's going to get so much worse in the coming 18-24 mo, you will wish for these holecene days of 8-10% inflation(yes, that's the true current number, no matter what the pretend governmnent CPI and inflation propoganda says).
Have to make the most of it and show and tell us why. Hahah would be interesting and rad for sure
I did the same thing but over the course of two years. Had a rideable bike after one year and now it's pretty much dialed, all on a budget of $100 CAD per month. You've got me beat though, when I was around the $1800 USD mark I was still missing a dropper post.
I think Levy is either doing it really wrong, or doesn't know what he's talking about here.
As far as pedals go, sorry @mikelevy I have to agree with Kaz and Brian. I have a set of spd's on a bike that has thousands of km's on them and are 15+ years old and the spring tension is only now needing to be tightened. I also have a set of XT clipless pedals that are 8+ years old and are awesome and now on their second bike. I also have a set of saints are 10+ years old on my DH bike that are still going strong. I am yet to need to replace much on any of them and they all still work well. maybe your just doing something wrong ha ha sounds like you might need that coaching ha ha.
bikes...... Hats off to companies like marin who make great, well specced aluminum bikes that regular folks can afford.
Press doesn't help suggesting we all need 160mm of dxh suspended hope hubbed, ultimate carbon wonder to roll down a gravel road. Bit tongue in cheek, but most folks of average ability will have as much fun on a 3000 rift zone as a 8000 yeti sb whatever, except they will have 5gs in the bank for bike holidays and beer with their mates.Oh and hats off to PB for budget tests!
My experience tells me that appreciable performance gains would be had from investing in coaching, getting fitter, and riding more.
Get an entry to mid range bike, than spend your time riding. Invest in parts when they wear out.
Real math says the performance difference between 5&7k is minimal. If you aren't happy on you 5 grand bike, dropping 2,000 dollars isn't going to change anything other than spreading your lack of joy to your S.O. and fill your garage with parts.
But seriously, I drive around a lot for work and listen to a lot of podcasts and the Pinkbike podcast is by far the best mountain biking podcast out there. You guys do such a great job of highlighting the articles and talking about relevant stuff from the website. And I love the banter and personal stories and shit talking that occurs every episode. Keep up the good work! I'm seriously looking forward to this next field test because they are the bikes I can actually afford and will hopefully purchase next year. Tell the gang I said hi.
To be fair, I feel like the 70 series and older pedals lasted much longer. Ever since PD-M980/780 and newer, they just haven't been the same. My friends argue it's because I weigh 200 lbs., but that didn't seem to matter with the older pedals, and Levy is 40 lbs. lighter and wrecking them.
I tried a set Xpedo CXR triple cartridge bearing pedals last year on one of my bikes. No regrets... and set of replacement bearings is $25. But after a few thousand miles, the original bearings are still butter smooth. One bike at a time I'm getting Shimano pedals out of my life!
And yes, cars. But not stuff like that Garbage Jeep pick up you all posted as the 'ultimate' bike base camp thing where you had to hoist your bikes onto the roof 8' off the ground. No glamping/ car camping (sorry, "overlanding") stuff.
Brian Parks ad read
The Brian Park Tool Company
The Giant Trance X 3 to win the value bike so I can feel even better about my purchase.
- Siskiu T7
- Vitus Mythique VRS
- Marin Rift Zone
- YT Jeffsy Base
- Devinci Marshall
[what am I missing?]
Geometry looks pretty good on all those, and components look pretty good (though I haven't dug in too much on that side). Ignoring any supply issues, it does seem like a good selection of options at that price point
The Shimano PD-M515's that came with my 2001 Specialized Enduro are still in use to this day.
As for pedals, could part of the durability issue be related to the fact that so many people are convinced that pedals have to be as thin as possible? Smaller bearings are not going to hold up to much...
And yeah, no new pedal standard! Mike, you may not like pedal durability, but it's got absolutely nothing to do with the pedal/crank threaded interface. Cranks generally bend before pedal axles. And axles almost always taper out after the threads to save weight. No reason you couldn't beef them right up if you were so inclined.
I mean, I'd still love to have one, but there are so many more interesting options out there!
Can I put forward a suggestion for the short list:
Golf R estate/wagon. Fast as f*ck, loads of room for kit, great handling and low enough that getting bikes on the roof is no issue even for a guy of average height (5'7.5'').
Probably because they have already done a review of one. I have a single speed fuse and it’s a lovely bike.
My bike - 7100
Wifes bike - 6500
Sons bike - 7300
Other sons bike - 6300
Mountain biking ain't cheap! And if we had lesser bikes they would be destroyed in no time. If you ride a lot and you ride hard you need to step up and shell out the cash.
Luckily bikes hold their values for years to come so they are a good investment lol.
This perspective is obviously spoken from the "correct" side of that price point haha.
Travel back in time with $2750 US (2001 dollars were worth 30% more than pandemic money...) and you got a base model Heckler with a 69 degree head tube angle, a hot garbage Judy (or maybe SID?) fork, Shimano Deore 3x9 drivetrain, fixed seatpost, and Hayes HFX-Comp brakes that might bring you to a full stop. But realistically the Kenda tires already kept you at safe speeds. Pony up $3200 US and you could have Fox's first Float or Vanilla fork and the Progressive 5th element shock with platform damping. And maybe better brakes.
Bikes have come a long way, everything's gotten better, but inflation's a bitch.
good point, chrod... and the Bronson example is so far from good value for the pricepoint... you can find insane bikes for $4k.
The ol' SC VP Free is still the bike I compare my current ones to on the downhills.