PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
Trail Bike Round Table
The definition of a modern trail bike continues to be up for debate, but for this Field Test we decided to keep the rear wheel travel between 130 – 140mm. Even with that limitation in place, the five bikes on test exhibitited a wide range of personalities out on the trail, running the gamut from the quick and nimble Ibis Mojo 4 to the plow-through-it-all Actofive P-Train.
That aluminum and steel P-Train, which is made in small batches in Germany, stole Levy's heart, and ended up as his top pick if he could only have one of these bikes as his daily driver in Squamish, BC. The new Specialized Stumpjumper, which is a whopping 7-pounds lighter than the P-Train, also earned high praise, and makes sense for a wider range of riders than the P-Train.
Giant's Trance X was ultra-efficient on the climbs thanks to that electronic Live Valve suspension, but it wasn't as impressive on the descents – choosing the next model or two down, which don't require any batteries, might be the way to go. The Blackthorn is a big step forward for Salsa, and that purple trail singletrack eater falls into the same 'pretty-much-an-enduro-bike' category as the Actofive.
As for the Ibis Mojo 4, well, it hasn't lost its ability to turn on a dime, aided in part by those 27.5” wheels. That liveliness put it neck and neck with the Stumpjumper on the climbs, but on the descents it wasn't quite as surefooted.
At the end of the day, what constitutes a trail bike will depend on your definition of a trail ride, but hopefully this discussion helps shed some light on which bike might make the most sense for where you live and your riding style.
The 2020 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible with support from Dainese apparel & protection, Sierra Nevada refreshments, and Smith eyewear and helmets. Thanks also to Maxxis, Garmin, and Freelap.