PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
Value Full-Suspension Roundtable
Cascade Peak vs Stumpjumper vs Izzo vs Spectral 125 vs Process 134
After we'd finished picking cactus spikes our of our hands and drank another gallon of horchata, it was time to see which of these five full-suspension trail bikes stood out from the rest. The two clear favorites ended up being the Canyon Spectral 125 and the YT Izzo. Both bikes are very well spec'd for the price, and deciding which one to go with really comes down to what type of terrain you prefer – the Izzo does better on rolling terrain, with a light, lively feel that makes it well suited to long trail rides, while the Spectral 125 has the edge at higher speeds and on steeper trails thanks to its longer and slacker geometry.
The Specialized Stumpjumper is also worthy of a mention, thanks to its well thought-out frame design and geometry. While we weren't totally impressed with all of the Stumpy's components, the chassis itself is a great starting point for riders who want a bike that's worth upgrading as time goes on.
On the topic of components, Fezzari's Cascade Peak has the best spec for the price – somehow they managed to put a top of the line fork from DVO and a SRAM GX drivetrain on a bike that's less than $3,000 USD. Once again, it was Shimano's Deore and SLX drivetrains that won us over – in a head-to-head battle, we'd pick either of those drivetrains over SRAM's SX and NX options. Brakes were another factor in separating one model from another – the Kona Process 134 and its Alhonga brakes is a prime example of a bike with modern geometry that couldn't reach its full potential due to lackluster stopping power.
Watch the full roundtable video for more insight into our favorite and least favorite bikes, and vote below for the bike you'd most like to try.
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My perfect setup 140/130 trail bike for all riding I do in AB and BC and 203/203 DH rig for parks like Kicking Horse with real techy stuff and not machine build flow
Surely at this level going from approx $2500 to $3500 puts the bikes in a completely different price bracket.
Edit - Mike says below there is a $3500 price cap - fair enough but $2600 is a bloody huge amount under.
If the cheapest bike in the test is $900 less than the most expensive, allow $900 in upgrades, preferably after you’ve ridden them a little so you can see their shortcomings. You can buy a nice set of brakes and some good drivetrain parts for 900 bucks.
I understand this adds complexity, and there’s subjectivity in parts selection, but I trust Pinkbike staff to know where this money is best spent.
What do you think about that, Kazimer?
That said, would love this as a standalone series. $4000 budget, one bike at $4k out the door, another maybe 50% of that price, and then the rest is based on used or new part upgrades to get to the $4k mark. A few test days first to get an idea of what components suck and what are worth keeping on.
Commencal meta frame / shock £1300
Lyrik ultimate £550
Hunt wheels £350
Gx groupset £350
Bars, stem, tyres, grips £350
Obviously a few bits I’ve missed where do you get a £5k NX build with yari’s with todays component prices.
A Lyrik Ultimate at £550 is also about £200 better than I can find but you may know somewhere that has 2020 stock at that price.
As far as the other bits you missed, brakes (?£300) & rotors (?£100), dropper post (£140), saddle (£50), headset (£20) are the main ones.
Overall still comes out below £5000.
I've only used the stock bars and stems that came with a build-up bike. 760-780mm and with pretty standard/contemporary rise and sweep.
Am I missing something here???
Don’t like that? Want/need more travel and stupid aggressive geometry? Cool. $2850 will buy you a new Giant Trance X. 160mm travel Yari up front, 140ish mm travel in the rear with a Fox DPS shock, 1X12 Deore drivetrain, 4 piston brakes that work properly, and a solid tire spec. 27.5 wheels suit this bike perfectly. It’s so good I bought one.
The days of compromising on geo when buying a Giant are over, ignoring the too-long seat tubes. The component spec is super solid, they ride well, you get proper warranty support from the biggest manufacturer in the game (not that you’re likely to need it), and the pricing is outrageously good. They’ve even started to make an effort with colours and graphics. What more can you ask for in a budget bike???
The Anthem I ordered in October should be here by October - it was one of only three (any level or size) coming into my local shop. It's tough to see that bike being delivered and ridden all around the world when it's still six months before it lands on Canadian shores.
Its pretty much only these or its the Polygon Siskui T8 2500-2600$...and that's literally about the only bikes that have a spec that isn't disposable junk and can be maintained with a very nice value. Maybe the Fezzari but its so dang ugly and on the expensive side. Marin Alpine Trail 3k$ build is pretty nice too actually, very nice bike there too. The other great value entry will certainly be the new Vitus Mythic (or whatever they call it) assuming its still around 2600$. Old one was nice as well but geo was a bit dated for better or worse. I'm all about supporting the local bike shop and do, but these junky spec bikes (aside from the few Giants) just aren't worth it and don't turn into great used bikes either.
I think sometimes the information gets lost in context when you force yourself to stay within the field test options. and people have been begging for field tests to include references to previous bikes in the same category. which ultimately just means they want more relevant context. comparing a 2600$ Kona to a 3500$ Canyon punch for punch muddies the waters. mentioning the Deore spec as a middle ground and competitor to the Fezzari would have been reasonable.
That's why they won't even begin to touch 'extra' fees. Even MSRP is difficult to track in 2022. Have you seen the Ibis price bump??
How MTB is a growing sport at all is bewildering to me. How many new riders outgrow their $500 hardtail-from-the-garage, look into an upgrade, see the 'budget' full-sus bike is the price of a used car and just nope out of the sport forever?
Just get the pinecone tattoo and tell people that you got it for the sole reason of enjoying the tattoo of a pinecone and you think that shit is dope.
The Rouge Bulle sinks to the bottom (top ?) then the SupaShuga prevents the nipple from freezing. How's that for Canadian science?
Reach is also more relevant to the downhill side of things and Enduro bikes are king right now.
I do not think reach is un-important, I just think that considering they way enduro style riding has taken off (i.e. peddling uphill, mainly seated) that ETT is hugely important. You're seated climbing at probably like 75% of the total time of a ride in my experience.
Words from a chronic lower back pain sufferer lol.
But currently YT is beating out Specialized by a margin of 3:1. And agreed, the Izzo is purdy and I prefer the frame design.
Just make sure the shock you want to buy has the same eye to eye length (center of bolt hole to center of opposite end bolt holes) and the stroke is the same as what is on there now. You can look it up on the specialized website.
I guess you won't be riding only downhill since you got a 130mm, and in that case the need of bigger shock is not obvious to me
But they Were more than happy the other day to help diagnose a knocking fork in my new canyon/fox 36.
My understanding is they make more on the hourly rate Bike maintenance and selling other hobby grade stuff instore than the effort of 1 bike per time to sell it.
Bottom line is that in the world where I'm struggling for 2 weeks trying to find a new rear tyre, organising a group test must be an immense pain in the arse
The $1,800-2,000 bikes are at least somewhat of a value.
But, whatever. I guess Pinkbike likes making up labels that make no sense.