Video: Welcome to the 2022 Fall Field Test

Dec 5, 2022
by Mike Levy  

WELCOME TO THE 2022 PINKBIKE
FALL FIELD TEST
5 New Do-Everything Bikes


Words by Mike Levy, photography by Satchel Cronk


This Field Test takes us back to a drier and much warmer time of the year when fall may have arrived but maybe just hadn't quite made it to Whistler yet. Late September saw Mike Kazimer, Matt Beer, myself, and our tireless video team head to the world's most famous bike park... to ride trail bikes. I realize that might sound strange, but we kept it to (mostly) appropriate terrain and also spent a ton of time on trails outside of the park, which are even better but you didn't hear that from me.

I'm not sure if this is the tenth Field Test or the hundredth, but I do know that it was an exceptionally good one. They're all fun and all hard work, sure, but it's rare to have the moving pieces line up so well: warm weather, a bunch of good bikes, some of the best trails in the world, and everything just thirty minutes from home up a twisty seaside highway with a Tim Hortons on the way. Life is good, isn't it?


2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Levy holding on for dear life while riding the new Hightower in the Garbanzo Zone.

2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
A wild Kazimer in its preferred location, a decades-old skinny in a forest in BC.
2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Berms, sunshine, and Kazimer. What more do you need in life?


5 Trail Bikes

Another factor in that goodness is that we were riding a bunch of the newest trail bikes, easily the most interesting category in my mind. Most of these get-togethers see us on bikes that prioritize one aspect of the ride far more than another, with the cross-country and enduro editions getting more focus on either climbing or descending for obvious reasons. At the Value Bike Field Test, they just need to keep us from yelling, "ALHONGAAAAA" too many times, while at the Downcountry Field Test, they just need to, er, downcountry well...?

Point is, these five 130 to 150mm-travel bikes have to be pretty damn good at each of those things without being allowed to suck at one to benefit another. And doubly so when you consider that some of them cost many duffle bags full of money. I love me an outlier, though, which is why we also brought along a much less expensive option; a bit of perspective never hurts.

As usual, we installed control tires on all of the bikes in order to remove one variable from the equation. This time, those tires were Maxxis' DHR II tires, all with a DoubleDown casing. That thicker rubber does add around a half-pound to the total weight of each bike compared to lighter duty options, but it was worth it for the peace of mind they provided in Whistler's rocky terrain. The total number of flat tires we suffered during the test period? Zero.

2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Santa Cruz Hightower C GX AXS Reserve
• Travel: 145mm rear, 150mm front
• 29" wheels
• 64.5° head-tube angle
• 76.4° seat-tube angle
• Reach: 472mm (lrg)
• Weight: 32.4 lb / 14.7 kg
• MSRP: $9,799 USD
• More info: www.santacruzbicycles.com

2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Yeti SB140 LR Turq
• Travel: 140mm rear, 160mm front
• 29" wheels
• 65° head-tube angle
• 77° seat-tube angle
• Reach: 480mm (lrg)
• Weight: 32.7 lb / 14.8 kg
• MSRP: $10,200 USD
• More info: www.yeticycles.com


2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Trek Fuel EX 9.9 XX1 AXS
• Travel: 140mm rear, 150mm front
• 29" wheels
• 64.5° head-tube angle
• 77.2° seat-tube angle
• Reach: 485mm (lrg)
• Weight: 31.9 lb / 14.5 kg
• $10,750 USD
• More info: www.trekbikes.com

2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Scott Genius ST 900 Tuned
• Travel: 150mm rear, 160mm front
• 29" wheels
• 63.9° head-tube angle
• 77.2° seat-tube angle
• Reach: 485mm (lrg)
• Weight: 30.1 lb / 13.7 kg
• $11,000 USD
• More info: www.scott-sports.com


2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Norco Fluid FS A1
• Travel: 130mm rear, 140mm front
• 29" wheels
• 65° head-tube angle
• 76.7° seat-tube angle
• Reach: 480mm (lrg)
• Weight: 33.8 lb / 15.3 kg
• $3,999 USD
• More info: www.norco.com


How Do We Choose the Bikes?

It all starts with this simple Pinkbike Poll that told us which bikes you wanted to see reviewed. Aside from using those results to make sure we didn't bring in any of the most requested bikes, this round's fleet needed to be interesting, new, available-ish, and not too expensive. Just joking about that last one, but before you yell at us in the comments that I'm not going to see anyway, consider that we do our Value Bike Field Tests, and also that brands really want to send us the fancy version of their new anything.


2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Yeti's neat-looking Switch Infinity system is on display.
2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Scott hides all of the new Genius' suspension bits inside the frame.

2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
The aluminum Norco uses a tried and true Horst Link layout to deliver 130mm of travel.
2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
The new Fuel EX is the most adjustable ever, including coil-compatibility with the help of this flip-chip.


These five bikes are similar in many ways. The difference between the slackest and steepest head angles is just 1.1 degrees, and there's a 5mm spread in chainstay lengths, 18mm in wheelbase, and 7mm at the top tube. As for suspension, the Norco, Trek, Scott, and Yeti all use some variation of a four-bar layout, while the Santa Cruz is our lone dual-link bike. That means it was up to us to parse the differences between similar-ish bikes and a reminder that millimeters matter.


2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Whistler might be known for its descents, but it also has some of the hardest climbs of anywhere I've ridden in the world. Kazimer eventually cleaned this one after I showed him the line and yelled encouragement from the side of the trail.


How'd We Test the Bikes?

Field Tests are about back-to-back-to yada, yada, yada, comparisons, also strengths and weaknesses, blah, blah, blah, not a shootout, and so on and so forth. But we mostly just rode the bikes a whole bunch on the trails that we wanted to ride them on, which was anywhere and everywhere you might take a bike like one of these. And since we're in our own neighborhood, we may have ended up in a few places where you're not supposed to take a bike like one of these. You know, for science or whatever.

Whistler's mountain biking trails


The bulk of our testing took place on a fifty-fifty mix of pedal and lift-accessed descents, and mostly on the kind of trails where you'd want to ride a modern trail bike: rough, rocky, and either steep or fast but sometimes both. A Field Test is not the place for us to talk about long-term reliability, of course, but spending all day in the bike park is a good way to rattle loose any problems or concerns that wouldn't have surfaced otherwise. I'm always grateful to have a place like Whistler so close, but end-of-season conditions are no joke; Anthony Messere could hide between some of the braking bumps, and the tinder-dry conditions make for fun riding but also summer speed with winter traction, if you catch my drift... Which I definitely didn't about half a dozen times during our two-week stay.


2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Kazimer finding the smooth line through a tired berm.
2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Kazimer finding the smooth line through the air.


2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
It's important to look far enough ahead to know which of the two hundred oncoming trees you're about to hit.


Who Tested the Bikes?

If you think more editors put their hands up to volunteer for the Whistler Field Test than the Tucson edition, you'd be wrong. Kazimer rules with an iron fist and no one else gets to decide anything, but he let me come because I promised to do the efficiency test and not talk about aliens more than once an hour. Matt Beer joined us for testing and filming to make it a trio, but he was also there for his own round of downhill bike testing that I'm probably not supposed to mention yet.

We're blessed to be traveling the world to ride bikes - namaste, of course - but that also means we feel extra-namasted when we get to test bikes on our backyard trails. When we weren't trying to keep Matt in our sights on the mountain, Kazimer and I not having to share a bunk bed for the first time was another huge plus. Or bummer, depending on your perspective.

And without Satch Cronk, Maxon Barron, and Stefan Licko, AKA our photo and video team, on hand to document it all and ask for a 23rd take, none of this would be possible. Actually, without them, it'd just be Kazimer, Matt, and I having a ton of fun while doing whatever we wanted, riding really expensive bikes that we don't own in the bike park all day, playing Catan for hours at night, and relaxing in the hot tub while listening to Bob Seger's best two songs on endless repeat.

2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Mike Levy
Height: 5'10" / 178 cm
Weight: 150 lb / 68 kg
Notes: Tech editor, knows the aliens are here
2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Mike Kazimer
Height: 5'11" / 180cm
Weight: 160 lbs / 72.6 kg
Notes: Managing tech editor, the reasonable one
2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Matt Beer
Height: 5'10" / 178 cm
Weight: 170 lb / 77 kg
Notes: Tech editor, fast... and late

2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Yet another caffeine-powered Field Test.
2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
"Clap and then say the bike's name or say the bike's name and then clap?"

2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Matt stepped up to the plate for yet another Impossible Climb.
2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Elbows out, giant glasses on.

2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
The riding did not suck at all.

2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
"Wow, I did not expect to ride away from that."
2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Matt with the speed, Satchel with the pan.

2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Ride a bunch, drink a bunch, repeat.
2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
"Is this really October in Whistler?"


The 2022 Fall Field Test is presented G-Form




526 Comments

  • 486 11
 I'm not saying the Norco is the best choice, but it's an easy one.
  • 94 6
 meanwhile the LBS is waiting for the review to be done so they can sell the one bike available
  • 222 4
 I have had a pretty successful career and still feel like I'm getting priced out of the sport I love and was able to get into easily as a broke student over a decade ago!
  • 211 3
 I honestly can't imagine there being any increase in performance that would make spending an extra $5-7k. Buy the Norco and go on a trip. Or pay off debt. Or buy a clapped out Taco. Or a DJ. Or a season pass to the resort of your choosing. Or a couple tanks of gas.

Any of these options feel better than spending $10k on a bike.
  • 95 0
 You gotta want to save 2lbs of bike weight REAL bad to spend an extra 6000 freedom dollars (more than 8000 Canadian pesos for those counting) on it.
  • 8 4
 @map-guy: They're gonna be sold out everywhere before this series is finito
  • 55 1
 you can buy 2,5 NORCO for the price of all the others. The others wont ride 2.5times faster. choice made, simple.
  • 13 0
 If they had distribution in UK or ROI I would be right on this. Such a shame they're near impossible to get hold of here these days.
  • 8 7
 Well, sometimes you don't loose so much money in the end at the moment you sell the high-end bike. So its more about to get in than paying to keep in. But yeah there are other options as you said.
  • 89 0
 @jsnfschr: Unfortunately the clapped out Taco market has inflated worse than the bike market.
  • 7 5
 @Mugen: There are plenty of bikes in plenty of budgets.
  • 14 0
 @mitt: As a clapped out 4runner owner, I'm more than aware. Ha ha.
  • 16 3
 @Mugen: These are all the highest spec models of each bike, Find a good shop that will do a layaway payment system for one of the 2-3000$ models. That's how I've gotten lots of my bikes and when you compare a $2500 model today it really will blow a $2500 model from even 5 years ago out of the water. So nothing has really changed except more Higher end models becoming available but those cheaper options are still there it's just no one talks about them. Thats Norco comes in a $2900 model and it's a good bike.
  • 6 1
 @RoboDuck: I spent $4400 on a rocky instinct c30 which weighs 32.3 lbs. mind you it was on sale from $5900. That really is the sweet spot for tech nerds wanting a light bike.
  • 7 1
 @codfather1234: get yourself a bird instead, just as good
  • 3 1
 @jsnfschr: I just weighed my hardtail at 27lbs a day earlier another scale was reading 30lbs, anyway the perception of feel is such an important aspect. After analyzing the results i am happy with anything under 30lbs If it feels heavy to you then 2lbs may make a difference the point is yes you could get a light bike but where is the point of diminishing results? How much should you spent is obviously subjective I just feel like marketing plays a huge role in influencing people to spend their money for few grams versus going out and really just enjoying and making the best with what you got.
  • 16 1
 I'd say that this is the ultimate trail bike. The travel fits perfectly in the trail mode and can ride most every trail. Well done Norco
  • 8 8
 Yeah but when that rear triangle snaps your SOL for 6 months.
  • 1 0
 @jsnfschr: 1st gen? let me know if you want to sell it. : )
  • 2 0
 @codfather1234: Bike24 has all models on stock Wink
  • 9 0
 @RoboDuck: 1000% however egos write checks that people can't cash all the time.
Thankfully there are a lot of options now where bikes don't cost an arm and a leg and still rip thanks to brands like Norco, Marin and even the big S if you look at their Status bikes.
  • 4 1
 @ridingofthebikes: I won't call 32.3 lb light... Wink
  • 3 2
 @KellChris: It's not actually clapped out at all. 4th gen with just under 300k km. Just breaking in. Got a few plans for it in the new year.

I used to have a 3rd gen with a 3" lift, SCS wheels w/ 33" KO2's, ARB bumper. Beast of a truck, with abysmal gas mileage and I was doing way too much highway driving to keep it.
  • 8 1
 I know the companies want to send the highest tier bikes for these tests because they're more likely to get a good review. This was supposedly true years ago. But I'm not sure it's still the case today. I for one would pay a lot more attention to the trek review (for example) if trek had sent a mid/low range build: An aluminum frame w/ highish end suspension and low end drive train.
  • 4 0
 @jsnfschr: Yo .... I've got a basic 1990 Toyota 4-Runner that's still going strong! :-)
  • 6 0
 @RoboDuck: my experience with people who ride bikes like this is they’re not buying it for the performance — you’d need to ride more than 60 minutes per week to be able to suss out those differences. My friend sold his 2021 Yeti LR for an 2022 S-works Stumpy because his real estate buddies weren’t familiar with Yeti. It’s all about the badging to these people.
  • 6 0
 @mitt: Truth, been looking for a reasonable used Taco for a whle now. Probably going to give up and order a Maverick and wait a year to get it.
  • 3 4
 @ExShopRat: i have a 98 taco Im going to be selling in the new year. 3" lift and 31" K02's, headers and a CAI on a 2.7L. 350k on body 150k on the engine, super strong runner. Looking for about 8k monopoly money, so thats like less than 7k freedom dollars.
  • 9 3
 @Mugen: you dont need the 11000 dollar bike to have a good time, theres more to this sport that just trying to flex your expensive bike. i just bought a trail bike which needs nothing, brand new, 2200. I ride my bikes for at least 5 years, so itll cost like 35 dollars a month. Costs less than a gym membership. Costs less than whatever TV streaming things people do. Mountain biking isnt free like running, for example, but it doesnt have to be absurdly expensive either. We cant all have everything we want, so it sounds like you have prioritized other things, which seems like a strange thing to be mad about.
  • 1 0
 and the username to match @grnmachine02
  • 1 2
 Yeah but when it breaks you SOL
  • 2 1
 @Benjamin97: I have looked at bikes in buy sell here and the cost of getting them to the US had made good deals un reasonable. Can't even guess what would happen with a vehicle. Also I feel you could charge more for it here in the US. Especially if it's rust is low.
  • 1 0
 @Mugen: 100% it’s so dumb
  • 3 1
 @gmmachine02 Yep, I felt the same way when I was at the car dealership. Still bought the Porsche instead of the Hyundai.
  • 2 0
 About 40% of the cost of other bikes. That's a no brainer.
  • 6 0
 It'd be my first pick, if I wanna spend $10k+ on a bike it's going to come with a full tank of fuel
  • 8 2
 @Mugen: I can’t speak to your experience in Ireland, but getting into bikes in Canada in the 2000’s I had to work almost 900 hours at my minimum wage job to buy a norco team dh for $5700 that was absolute garbage compared to the $7300 patrol I currently own that would require 486 hours of work for a high school student at minimum wage to buy. I much prefer to buy bikes now.
  • 4 0
 @map-guy: Funny, but true. I pounced on my 23' Optic C1. My LBS became a Norco dealer last fall and received their first and only shipment of Norco a few months ago. They got ONE optic C1 in, and I bought it. They have no clue when the next shipment will come, or ever.
  • 6 0
 @Mugen: same here. Broke younger me in my 20’s bought a brand new specialized big hit 2 from the bike shop for $1200. Brand new dirt jumper frame for under $500. Very nice Mavic deetraks $350 or so. Current me with a career and making over double what I use to make I feel it crazy to see these prices and do not feel right about a 4K bike let alone 6k for one I would like to get.
  • 2 0
 @Markhijlkema:
Sadly Norco is 5209 euros plus 60 euros postage to Finland. Finlands VAT is 24 % and bike24 has to charge it from customers ordering from here. Okay, it's still "cheap" compared to those other bikes in this test with our VAT. Trek fuel is 12 471 euros
  • 1 0
 @RedBurn: example I went to a downhill race in colorado. 2007 or so. In the amateur class a rider road the old specialized big hit 24” rear 26” front and had a comparable race time to some pros. More about your riding than the bike
  • 1 0
 I just built mine up and it really is a capable (and fun) platform, not to mention easiest on the wallet from the bunch
  • 1 0
 @Mugen: Inflation calculator says that $4k Norco would have been $2700 in 2008, over a decade ago. Could you buy a bike anywhere near as good for $2700 in 2008? I had a steel Niner hardtail in 2008 I paid that much for and it was a deathwagon.
  • 1 0
 @map-guy: Is that a Norco-specific comment or general? The local shops around me have been chock full of bikes for months.
  • 4 0
 @Mugen: I just had the same thought the other day. Feel I am now making decent money and now bike costs have gone through the roof.
Going to hang on to my Ripmo AF for a long time.
  • 10 15
flag Phillyenduro (Dec 5, 2022 at 13:54) (Below Threshold)
 Hey Pinkbike, read the dang room. What proportion of us do you think are into a field test filled with $10k+ bikes? Clueless.
  • 24 9
 @Phillyenduro: I don't read Car and Driver for the Fiat tests.
  • 3 0
 Norco wins 2.5x over!
  • 2 0
 I wonder if they just threw that out there to appease us masses
  • 2 0
 @bFXG7yeG: only those of us who couldn’t stand to loose two pounds of beer-belly should be sweating two pounds of bicycle.
  • 1 0
 @Benjamin97: 5,893.24 Usd
  • 1 0
 @Mugen: a very clear take on our situation today
However I spent $5k on one (2k more than I wanted to spend) and it was money well spent! So if 10 or twelve thousand is in your pocket, you will be happy with your purchase. I recently reached the place where I felt how a top tier shock can keep the rear tire closer to the bumps than the lower-level model does. oh-what-a-feeling
  • 3 0
 @Torbo24: This is a really great way of looking at it. I just bought a bike for 3,499 on cyber monday. I bought my last bike in 2014 for $3100. Therefore, I got 8 years at $32.29 a month. Not bad. But I sold it for $1500 this past weekend so I actually paid $16.60 a month. Unless I keep the $32.29 a month and roll the sale of my old bike into the new bike which I now actually paid $2,000 for. So if I keep that for another 8 years it will bring my future mtn bike club membership down to $20.83! 16 years of mtn biking will only cost me $26.56 a month. Which is really good value! Running and the comparison to MTB is not as different as you would think. A pair of running shoes is $100 and assuming 1,000 miles a year and 500 miles/pair it costs $16.67 a month. Which is also really good value!
  • 1 0
 @jddallager: and I an 1983 pickup and a 86 suzuki samurai.

Thought it was weird clapped out Japanese 4x4 time lol
  • 2 0
 @ExShopRat: Good luck with that. They've frozen Maverick orders indefinitely. I honestly think half of the current 2023 orders will roll over into 2024, and they won't allow new 2025 orders until late 2024 or early 2025.

By that time, the new Toyota Stout will likely be available. Make sure you're first in line!
  • 1 0
 I had the most uncomfortable time watching this - the camera guy cut the alpine off Blackcomb in almost every shot.
  • 1 0
 @RedBurn: Or the Norco and many spare drivetrains/brake pads/tires.
  • 1 2
 @Mugen: Same, which is why I'm still riding a Kona from almost 2 decades ago.
  • 1 0
 @MovieStar: true, with the exception that a decent pair of running shoes starts from around 150, not 100...and a performance one is close to 250...at least in my part of the world.
  • 2 0
 Good geo... Tick
No headset cable routing... Tick
Alloy frame... Tick
Threaded bottom bracket... Tick
Solid spec... Tick
Not stupid expensive... Tick
Norco don't make e-bikes... Hang on, they do. Dammit I said I'd never buy a bike from an ebike maker. I hate my stupid principles sometimes. Next.
*sarcasm btw*
  • 1 1
 @Mugen: dude, a top of the line bike in 2000 cost 10k! 10k today is less than now so they’re actually cheaper, and SO much better. I never get what people are going son about this. AND you can still get a cheap bike, no it won’t have axs and top of the line suspension, but damn ittl still rip some dirt lol…..
  • 1 0
 Kaz has broke his back 3 times and still shows no fear riding big jumps and drops alone on gnarly trails. He's only afraid of the question "What does it cost?"
  • 2 1
 My dentist has a different opinion
  • 1 0
 @codfather1234: second this, Scouring marketplace for a Norco optic!
  • 1 0
 @codfather1234: You can blame Mike Ashley for that one, oh and Halfords.........
  • 1 0
 @Mugen: then don't buy the top end model? plenty of great performing budget bikes out there that would give these a run for their money. 99% of people in this sport don't need carbon, fox factory or anything better than a GX/NX deore/SLX build.
  • 1 0
 @blamalamadingdong: The $2800 entry-level Stumpjumper is arguably a better bike than the top end bikes from 8-10 years ago. Plenty of other options too. And you can always buy used.
  • 2 0
 @opetruzel: @opetruzel: Been trying to talk my coworked to sell me his XLT fx4 in area 51 color for months now. He hates the color loves the truck. It might be my fastest way to getting one, or pay 10k over msrp on a used one which is crazy. See we have something to happy about, no dealer adjusted market pricing on bikes! I also wait that toyota.
  • 1 0
 @ivemadeahugemistake: that Norco team DH wasn’t garbage compared to other bikes of the era, and you’re prolly gonna think the same thing about your Patrol in 20 years (not hating on the Patrol, I’m a Transition fanboy myself) the reality is, time and perspective has a tendency to colour our memories.
  • 2 0
 Look up Canfield bikes. ..thank me later yall
  • 1 0
 @jsnfschr: Ah got it. I was half joking about offering to buy it if it's a gen 1. The prices for the gen 1s are getting insane. My wife has a gen 4 and we love it. I'm the one driving the clapped out Tacoma, which I love too.
  • 212 3
 I just want to say thanks to the tech and video teams for doing FOUR field tests in 2022. It's been a hectic year, and I'm blown away at what they've delivered in spite of all the disruptions. Way more work goes into these things than you'd think, and I appreciate it.
  • 42 0
 and I'm VERY much enjoying four field test videos in 2022. Was not expecting a 4th before the new year
  • 1 0
 Hear hear
  • 9 8
 nice series indeed. Except of down-country one - that was waste of time Big Grin
  • 13 1
 And think, there's still almost four weeks left to do one more! Wink
  • 11 0
 @rrolly: Don't give him any ideas pls
  • 9 0
 @mikelevy: still plenty of time to do a fat bike field test.
  • 2 0
 @the-couch: gotta wait for more snow.
  • 6 1
 @brianpark , for sure, that’s a lot of content…high-quality content. As a comms director and video producer, no one knows the amount of work that goes into a series like this. Great job.
  • 140 2
 ...for some reason, I like the Norco best already...
  • 25 0
 I really want it to win ... for some reason
  • 17 1
 It arguably looks the best and is 6k cheaper than the rest of bikes on test
  • 14 1
 You could put full AXS on the Norco and it’s still about half the price of the other ones. That’s crazy.
  • 19 0
 You could buy the Norco and buy another bike for 6K. Lol.
  • 10 0
 @tacklingdummy: You could buy two Norco's and a pay for a bike trip for you and a plus one to ride said bikes.
  • 5 0
 @tacklingdummy: buy a Fluid and a aluminum Sight and then you can cover the full range of trail riding. For less then the Yeti
  • 5 0
 @mtmc99: Yeah, you can buy an aluminum Fluid and then buy a "carbon" Sight and still have money left if you were thinking about those other bikes. Lol. Not as good as builds, but much better bike fleet.
  • 4 3
 More precisely, your wallet likes the Norco best already, which has nothing to do with its real capabilities ;-)
  • 5 0
 @tpfenning: buy a Norco, get a Norco for a friend for Christmas: and use the rest to go wherever the heck you want with the two bikes
  • 2 0
 I actually think the Norco looks best, and it's the only bike sporting a visually non disturbing seat tube/bottom bracket area.

And you could buy that, upgrade the fork and maybe the wheels and still have a lot of cash left to go on an Alp or Whistler trip. Or just heat your house this winter.
  • 126 3
 Here's an interesting idea that I have no idea if it's feasible or not. Have a company send you every build kit of one model of bike and test them back to back to back. I think it would give a more honest comparison of how component levels affect ride quality.
  • 31 3
 The finding would be that suspension makes 90% of the difference. Which would be bad for some companies and that's why this will never happen. For the same reason this field test is good entertainment but has close to 0 value if you would like to base buying decision on it (assuming you do not buy that specific 10k+ bike). Anything that would be actually useful for consumers will be bad for PB and manufacturers ... But this is obvious from the start, PB = comments + good entertainment.
  • 8 3
 I'll save them the time and effort...there's no noticeable difference with new properly setup components. At least not within the component ranges on the bikes by these companies. Done.
  • 6 1
 That's a great idea, The one alot of people want to see.
  • 12 2
 @MegalodonMatt: difference comes to light after 6-12 months of hard riding. The more expensive components last significantly longer.

Also check the RD slop between NX and XO1 out of the box, dramatic difference.
  • 67 0
 @adamszymkowicz, I'd say brakes and the fork make the biggest difference in ride quality on a bike when it comes to components. It's all about finding the sweet spot in a company's lineup, the point where you step out of the truly 'budget' offerings that have clunky forks and brakes that don't work very well and move into the good stuff without entering the crazy expensive realm.
  • 4 5
 @lkubica: Nah. The finding would rather be that there hardly is a difference between the most expensive and the cheapest. The obvious conclusion would be that there's no reason to buy the expensive model. Most of these brands that sell bikes for 10k wouldn't like that for obvious reasons.
  • 2 0
 That would be a super interesting comparison
  • 3 1
 @mikekazimer: almost my formula…buy the cheapest bike with a half decent shock, put factory forks on, change the brakes, sell the new unused bits, done.
  • 7 3
 @mikekazimer: As a rider who rode for a very long time before I got a brand new bike, I refer to this as the "workingmans' build" XT and mid-range suspension, no electronics, no Kashima.
  • 16 1
 @codypup: everyone's got their priorities, but I'd drop XT down to SLX and put more $$ into the springy bits
  • 4 2
 @pmhobson: Xt shifter, slx/deore shifter, deore cassette, Xt chain, slx brakes, mtx pads, aeffect r crankset, Saint/xt bottom bracket
  • 2 0
 @salespunk: going from Alivio to Deore? Definitely. Deore to SLX? Less noticeable but still noticeable. SLX to XT? Shifter yes, everything else not by a lot. XT to XTR? Nope.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: would you suggest the Fluid A2 would be the sweetspot? TRP brakes and Z2 fork for even better price
  • 2 0
 @pmhobson: heck, the even more workman brakes may be deore levers, saint hose, slx four pots, and mtx gold pads.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: I agree completely, and I’d say 9 times out of 10 you’ll be better off buying the base model and buying a new fork and brakes immediately, and then planning to upgrade drivetrain when the base stuff inevitably wears out.
  • 1 0
 @dreamlink87: All good. Maybe a Saint shifter. It would be interesting to see a breakdown of sales figures for the different builds of the same model. My bet is that it would be shaped like a bell curve, with loss leaders at the bottom and a pretty low number of the halo builds and SLX/GX leading the way.
  • 1 0
 @dreamlink87: Interesting, I've never given a second thought to the brake hoses on my bike. What do the Saint hoses get you?
  • 2 0
 @pmhobson: longer banjos, bit more heat dissipation I think (might be wrong though). And they’re gold colored.
  • 1 1
 @dreamlink87: I’m here to spread the gospel of the MT520, Shimano’ e-bike 4-piston that’s just as good as the Saint/XT: www.bikemag.com/gear/tested-shimano-bl-mt501-br-mt520-145-per-brake
  • 1 1
 @dreamlink87: You only need one shifter…
  • 1 0
 @bikewriter: yeah, didn’t get to the edit button in time. Kinda assumed people would get that the second shifter was meant to say derailleur
  • 2 0
 @sfarnum: that’s so cool, I haven’t seen those. I like the slx caliper because it allows the banjo to rotate to a better angle
  • 2 0
 @salespunk: starting to wonder about this logic, which I still mostly hold true.

Just warrantied an XTR shifter after 20 months of normal use (~2k miles). Shortest life span for a shifter I’ve ever had.
  • 1 0
 @dreamlink87: that’s the catch, no banjo on the caliper, no toolless adjustments on the lever. Though you could easily run a Saint lever with the MT520 caliper and still save a ton.
  • 1 0
 @sfarnum: I can take or leave the toolless adjustments and free-stroke adjuster. Do the calipers use a bolt to hold the pads in? I've got a set of deore calipers and it drives me nuts that the pads shift against the cotter pin.
  • 1 0
 Everything makes a difference in regards to the builds (suspension, drivetrain, and brakes). It is a bummer that the base builds now are a couple of steps down from what they used to be a few years ago.
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: in the end we would all ride coil suspension
  • 1 0
 @dreamlink87: The pads are held in by a pin.
  • 1 0
 @salespunk: up to a point. Generally for the super spendy top end stuff you’re buying extra lightness that doesn’t necessarily translate to better lifespan?
  • 2 0
 @vhdh666: I think that coil suspension is definitely not for everyone and honestly I think that damping is mostly what makes the difference (but air chambers are also not created equal). What I like about coil dampers is that they are easier to service and maybe easier to make robust. But performance wise they are just different, not necessarily better.
  • 2 0
 @pmhobson: Better hoses do a lot for a brake, especially for the rear brake. If you want the best, get steel braided hoses. Helps with heat dissipation, but I actually like it for the rear brake to make it feel as responsive as the front brake. I've got an old braided steel hose from Magura. You can always get hoses from Goodridge. Not sure what the effect is considering these also seem to have a plastic coating over their hoses. I would expect it would still radiate heat better than regular hoses.
  • 2 0
 @lkubica: I am a big fan of coil suspension, however I’m not sure it’s advantages are so clearcut when compared to modern piggyback air shocks, which are very impressive.
  • 81 0
 If you ever wanted a bike with an Evil head tube, GT top tube, and Niner bottom bracket then buddy have I got the bike for you.
  • 68 1
 Anyway… How’s Alicia doing? There are no news on CF…
  • 14 0
 She recently posted an update on her Instagram
  • 16 0
 Better, but not great. Still a long way from full recovery, if that's even possible. She's lost hearing in one ear (probably permanently), and some peripheral vision. Memory is not great either.

If she wasn't wearing a helmet she would be dead.
  • 17 0
 Check out the GoFundMe page... lots of updates. Has slowed down recently but provides a really record of her progress. But her latest insta post provides the best (and most recent) update.

www.gofundme.com/f/alicia-and-her-family-with-medical-costs

www.instagram.com/p/ClurLFgOYhP
  • 9 0
 @islandforlife: I think Evil (?) did a raffle to help raise money for her a week or two ago? Pretty cool.

TBI's are brutal, though. Even in the best case scenarios, recovery is a long, slow process.
  • 10 0
 Thank you all!!! I don't have Instagram, and I was worried because the last update I see is dated 09 November! God bless her and you all!!!
  • 258 0
 Hi! I'm doing okay, all things considered. I'm a long way from all better, but I'm here reading the comments! (Not working right now.) The short version is that I crashed hard, hit my head, and got a traumatic brain injury. My balance, ability to multi-task, processing speed, and similar have suffered, but I'm expecting to make a mostly complete recovery. The silverish lining is that I remember very little from the last two months, so this whole thing has actually been far more difficult for my family to watch unfold than for me.
I was at this Field Test for the beginning before leaving to ride bikes in Bellingham, where I crashed, so my heart goes out to these guys for still making the FT happen. They're amazing.
I'll be back, as soon as I can be! I miss these people. All the best!
  • 20 0
 @alicialeggett: so awesome to see you posting, we are all wishing you the best!!!
  • 24 0
 @alicialeggett: I think I can speak for a lot of Pinkers when I say we are so happy to hear from you. All you folks at Pinkbike provide us with great information and entertainment, and when one of you goes down, we do care and worry about your well-being and recovery! Excited to see you are doing better!
  • 7 0
 @alicialeggett: So happy to see you here commenting Alicia! Keep that head high and come back strong. We're all routing for you.
  • 7 0
 @alicialeggett: Glad to hear from you, keep your spirits up. I suffered a tbi about 11 years ago from a fall at work. I still have side effects from the fall but even though it's a long recovery you will get back to the sports/hobbies you love. One of the most surprising things is that even a couple years down the road you will notice yourself improving and still gaining coordination. Keep pushing yourself and taking care of your body to help speed up the recovery
  • 5 0
 @alicialeggett: all the best. you'll be back for sure.
  • 7 0
 @alicialeggett: this is the comment of the year. So heartwarming!!!! Good luck with the recovery and welcome back in this mad (but also wonderful) community!!!
  • 1 0
 @alicialeggett: so great to hear from you and hear you're doing better. We miss your voice, insight, and humor on the podcasts. Prayers and healing vibes for a speedy recovery!
  • 1 0
 Didn´t know that. Thx for the info. All the best to @alicialeggett to make a full recovery and to stay strong!
  • 66 6
 @Pinkbike, can you please, please stop autoplay on all of your videos??? Thank you!
  • 4 28
flag madmon (Dec 5, 2022 at 8:20) (Below Threshold)
 enough of the it looks like a session crap it is played like Trump
  • 3 0
 Autoplay has been decimated ad nauseum since inception so it's probably not leaving anytime soon. However, several folks have pointed out the Chrome extension, and the Safari and Vivaldi settings that actually work and stop the autoplay.
  • 51 12
 The current gen Fuel EXs aren't beautiful, and Trek has no sex appeal or bro-street cred... but it seems like such a great, versatile package of a mountain bike I keep thinking it could be my next bike. Curious to see how it places vs. more exotic offerings... Kill that Scott with fire. Even if it's the best riding bike in the test, imagine owning that abortion.
  • 8 1
 I never ever considered Trek until these last iterations of top fuel, fuel ex and slash. I’ve only ridden the slash and it was great.. those trails bikes look spot on too. Think Trek has turned the corner
  • 35 9
 Trek fuels are the Toyota camry of mountain bikes, built well, nothing wrong with them, just a little uninspiring.
  • 40 4
 @howejohn: This Fuel EX is crazy capable and well rounded, I feel like calling it a Camry isn't fair.
  • 12 2
 @howejohn: ....until ya ride one. Have been on a XL Capra for 3 full years, full scale pushing times on numerous (dh style) runs in my local area and feel I've maxxed my times out. Swapped the Capra for a Fuel w/ a buddy for a day on local trails I've been teasing for nearly 3 decades and easily dropped 10-20 seconds on every DH run, first time. I'd been hoping to drop a few seconds on these segments for years, so this was the bike's doing. It simply handled better. I've been calling Trek generic for years, but I'll take those times hands down, and I may take a new ride now...and this was even dropping 20mm travel rear / 30mm travel front & rear. The Trek ate it up. Not that I can afford one tho...
  • 20 0
 @mikelevy: what do you have against the Camry?
  • 19 0
 @mikelevy: Camrys are very well rounded, have excellent dealer support and last a long time. Makes a ton of sense to buy one, yet I don't own a Trek... I mean camry.

Edit: to anyone who owns a camry you made a wise choice. I should have gotten one to be completely honest.
  • 3 2
 @mikelevy: It's obviously a Volvo XC70... Fun, versatile, great daily, good longevity, but also can handle a little rallying.
  • 4 1
 @mikelevy: The Subaru Crosstrek?
  • 1 0
 @howejohn: I'm a big Toyota fan ... a la our 1990 4-Runner still going strong. BUT gotta admit I couldn't/wouldn't afford any of the new "clapped out" Tacomas or 4-Runners.
Of course, some running shoes now cost $250 and might last 250 miles. :-)
  • 3 3
 @howejohn: check Semenuk or Edwards rip a Trek for inspo Wink
  • 6 0
 I've always enjoyed Trek's and thought there was beauty in their simplicity. I think this new gen is fugly.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: What is the equivalent mountain bike to the Levy Mini?
  • 12 0
 @MTBrent: The 8-Ball?
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: Perfect! You should slide on over to NSMB (we won't tell @brianpark ) and do a Pistons and Pivots guest appearance with both...
  • 6 0
 @MTBrent: The Mini has a new owner, I sold it to a rider who lives in Whistler so I'll still see it around. It's been on the internet more than enough haha
  • 2 1
 @mikelevy: Until you remember that current Camrys out-accelerate a WRX.
  • 11 1
 @TucsonDon: For sure, but when I think of a Camry I can't help but picture a Kleenex box on the back window shelf, a CAT sticker, and it's definitely a light beige one doing the speed limit. Great car but super boring, and the new Fuel EX is pretty interesting and not boring IMO. I know it's not a steel high-pivot hover bike or whatever, but it's neat.
  • 6 4
 @mikelevy: nothing wrong with cat stickers and going the speed limit though.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: what did you switch to?
  • 2 1
 @mikelevy: so is a Camry. Toyotas are very underrated.
  • 4 0
 I would argue that the new Fuel EX is ugly as SIN
  • 1 1
 I NEVER thought I'd buy a Trek, they just seemed like such mainstream, literally mushy riding bikes. Tried a last gen Fuel EX because opportunity knocked and it rode like a boring safe, even unbalanced bike, and all my beliefs were cemented. But the reviews for the Top Fuel detailed all the characteristics I prefer, so I found one I could spend 30 minutes in the woods on. And now I own a Trek. Not a brand disciple (still not cool), but happy I have it. If my son had stopped growing, this EX would be top of the test-ride pile, but he'll be getting something used. They seem to have really overhauled their kinematics for the better. To go with not cool this one is not sexy either, but it's not ugly or uninteresting, just busy looking.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: for the next test you should do a VALUE enduro/dh/xc for people who's wallets are a little tighter.
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: Agreed, just don't do it in the left lane Smile
  • 7 0
 @zeedre: '21 Supra, different kind of irresponsible.
  • 3 0
 @egan-carter: For sure, there will be some changes for next year. These things are always changing, but I'd like to do more value bikes across all categories. It's more interesting for us and a lot of readers, as much as I love riding these fancy-ass bikes.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Wooo, I'd like to see a picture with a bike attached.
  • 2 0
 @Adamrideshisbike: There will never be a bike attached, which is perfect haha
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: fair enough! I've always loved a sports car with a bike rack, but I get it.
  • 3 0
 @Adamrideshisbike: No rack but I've stuffed a bike in the trunk and done some awesome road trips to some awesome rides, but I pretty much had to disassemble the entire thing. I kinda like that the cars and bikes don't get together too much.
  • 1 0
 @Glenngineer I keep eyeballing the penny/orange EX8... not the best looking frame ever made but man does it seem like a great all-rounder.
  • 38 0
 Norco Fluid: peoples choice
With how inflations going 4k for a no bullshit spec is certainly something to lust over. Good brakes, Good drivetrain, good suspension for a reasonable price certainly beats out the 10k carbonium
  • 14 1
 Also weird how the cheapest bike is the best looking in my opinion!
  • 1 1
 @DKlassen8: The SC is my favorite to gawk at, but the Norco is a close second and above the rest.
  • 1 1
 Not my choice. Good bike, good price, bad local Norco dealers and bad Norco support when shit brakes. At least in my area and experience.
  • 2 0
 Although I guess if it did break you could buy another one for well under the other bikes in this test…
  • 1 0
 @thechunderdownunder: although some people might laugh at this, this is spot on, you would always be fuming if you broke an expensive bike, but there would be less fuming and time off the bike if you have the cheaper option here.
  • 46 6
 Stop Fukcnig auto play !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 46 0
 Or if you do, please do so safely.
  • 3 0
 didn't autoplay for me with Safari and autoplay disabled in its preferences
  • 1 4
 Autoplay has been decimated ad nauseum since inception so it's probably not leaving anytime soon. However, several folks have pointed out the Chrome extension, and the Safari and Vivaldi settings that actually work and stop the autoplay.
  • 1 0
 Mine auto-plays, but stays muted...
  • 4 0
 @pmhobson: good to know that a feature that is supposed to block autoplay stops autoplay.
Still, cut it out PB. No one wants it.
  • 1 0
 i love autoplay. i love lamp
  • 38 1
 Performance elite and GX for just shy of 10K? Are you out of your damn minds?
  • 44 1
 Performance Elite is just Factory that looks better
  • 21 0
 Or get the Norco with factory and XT for 4k
  • 8 1
 @ak-77: True, but it is cheaper than the kashima coated suspension. To have a bike with non-top tier suspension and drivetrain for 10k is insane.
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: Mix both: black uppers with orange lowers. Smile
  • 1 0
 @cool3: hmmm, I like it
  • 2 0
 You're right, you could easily ask a couple grand more these days!

(yes, this is sarcasm)
  • 2 0
 @cool3: Actually I don't like the orange either. Since the only difference between PE and Factory is aesthetics (and bragging rights, but that is a sort of aesthetics too), I will take PE any time. The prices of these bikes are insane though, especially with the Norco to put it into perspective.
  • 36 0
 That complete Norco costs $500 less than that Yeti's frame.
  • 5 2
 Yes, but a Yeti sticker makes you faster...
  • 5 4
 @cool3: Why? Cause you have to ride fast to escape the dentist jokes?
  • 7 0
 In fairness to Scott and Trek they both offer sub $4K versions of the bikes on test. The Norco still appears to be a great deal with Factory on a $4K bike.
  • 26 0
 I'm at a point in my 55 years of life that I could buy a $10k bicycle if I wanted to, but I didn't get to this point of my life by doing things like that.
  • 13 1
 At 55 and having spent my life having fun in the mountains, I can no longer afford anything.
  • 18 0
 I took delivery of a 2023 Norco Fluid FS A1 back in October. Just the fact that you are testing it against bikes that cost 2.5 to nearly 3 times the price, tells me I made an excellent(& correct) choice. The bike just rips for trail riding and I can't imagine needing a bike that cost even a dime more. (for trail riding)
  • 22 5
 Literally none of the bikes have RockShox forks; only the SC has a RockShox shock. When did Fox become so completely pervasive? Modern RockShox stuff rides so good. It's a shame people are unlikely to ever use it since it won't ship on their bike, there's way less in the used market, and it has way less clout (since everyone prefers what THEY ride, whether they're tried anything else or not).
  • 14 0
 Come to europe. Here, more people ride rockshox because fox is way more expensive
  • 5 3
 Probably because PB always points out the bushing play and nobody wants to be associated with that negative.
  • 10 1
 I'd love to try some RS stuff, but I'd also love to try cane creek, and intend, and Ext, and push, and DVO, and MRP, and Manitou, and Vorsprung, etc. etc.
  • 1 1
 @dreamlink87: I think there’s a little more to it than it didn’t ship on their bike.
  • 5 0
 Marketing money is being spent on larger levels. There are tons of options out there that we do not really see. I would love Manitou, MRP, DVO, etc... but they probably cannot offer the bulk build deals that Fox can.
  • 4 30
flag mtb-scotland (Dec 5, 2022 at 7:27) (Below Threshold)
 TBF RS and Fox suspension sucks ass. I wouldn't use a bike with either. crappy air springs and damping that sux ass.
  • 11 0
 Maybe because they're reviewing a lot high end bikes and the Fox Factory is the high end price wise stuff, so it ends to be on the high end bikes? I know when Pinkbike reviewed the new Lyrik and the Zeb when it came out, the editors had high praise for both.
  • 2 0
 @bashhard: It's about 50/50 in the US for the same reason and Rockshox being easier to work on. Guys that come from moto always have Fox stuff though.
  • 4 0
 @FMHUM: You can find expensive stuff from RS, Cane Creek, Manitou, DVO, etc... Fox probably has the marketing and stock to push their stuff for cheaper
  • 1 0
 @dreamlink87: ... Formula
  • 13 0
 People who spend $10k on a bike want that Kashima bling. If you're spending that much you wan to show off that you spent that much.
  • 13 0
 @vitaflo: ^^^This. Fox stuff costs more. Higher price is often equated with better performance regardless of what reviews say. Rock Shox forks often score higher than their Fox counterparts in most comparisons. Fox has a swath of fans that keep them perceived as the best. I personally prefer Rock Shox for their simplicity, performance, durability and lower costs.
  • 7 0
 I have a 21 Slayer with a Zeb Ultimate and a 22 Altitude with a Fox Factory 38 fork - I prefer the Zeb because it’s been very easy to set up, feels great and just keeps on trucking. The altitude came with a Factory X2 shock and on the very first ride the damper aeration issue showed up and it has had to go for warranty repair. Fox may be more pervasive but IMHO it’s not better than RS. I also don’t experience any benefit to the Kashima
  • 5 1
 @mtb-scotland: That's a pretty elitist statement. what kind fo riding are you doing that requires a better fork than these...What kind of magical fork would make you happy then? like those forks are just forks.... they all work man.
  • 2 0
 @hellbelly: It is that old 'it was expensive, so it must be good.'
  • 2 0
 @Segamethod you're not wrong... at least not around here in NorCal. Everyone I know gushes over their Fox suspension and won't try anything else (at least those that I ride with). I run both, however. Maybe 50/50 of Fox to RS. I run Pikes (or SID Ultimates) & monarchs on most of my bikes because their dampers are more supportive for my weight (over 200lbs). I also have several 34s, 40s, 36s, DPS, Xs, etc. I will admit, my last Stumpjumper EVO build started with a sweet second hand MRP Ribbon Air 160. Amazing fork, but had noticeable flex. Jenson just had a crazy sale on the Fox 36 Factory, so I decided to pick one up (for half cost) and move the MRP to another bike. No way would I ever buy this fork full price. Having said all that though, I absolutely love the feel and adjustability of the fork! Time will tell how it treats me and if I jump back on the Fox bandwagon. So far so good!
  • 3 8
flag mtb-scotland (Dec 5, 2022 at 10:57) (Below Threshold)
 @ridingofthebikes: It isn't elitist. The Dampers that fox and RS produce are pretty shit and you need to add stuff to make the air spring decent. Then there is the crown creaking you get.

Lets not start on the rear shocks either.
  • 5 0
 @mtb-scotland: So what's the mega awesome alternative with zero issues you recommend? Kinda seems like we're asking a lot don't ya think? I have a Marzocchi z2 (a crappy fox 34 pretty much) and couldn't ask any more of it. maybe I suck at riding? what shock is going to make your riding any better? I get the more$$$ golf clubs will make me a better golfer vibes lol.
  • 3 1
 You're really calling SRAM/Rockshox the unknown, underappreciated underdog?
  • 1 2
 I am no specialist so this is very subjective. I have 2011 Marzo Bomber 888, open bath monster. In 2011 this was top of the line, ridden by top names during Rampage and world champions... and etc. This year due an issue in DH park I had to rent a bike with 2000 CAD RS fork on it, the bike was good, but the fork was total garbage... 11 years between these and my old Bomber felt like Fox 40 vs Walmart Suntour Big Grin

I would love to do more testing but if I was on the market - my money would not go to RS.

On the other hand, the trail bike I have has cheap RS Gold 35 from 2021 - it blows mind in comparison to top-notch Fox 36 from 2012 I used to have
  • 1 0
 It comes down to the fact that people just assume because something is top of the line it should be Kashima colored. Which is ridiculous. It needs to be remembered that Kashima was developed as a coating for cookware, and really doesn't do anything at the temperatures achieved by non-motorized suspension.
  • 2 10
flag Mtbdialed (Dec 5, 2022 at 14:56) (Below Threshold)
 @Explodo: RS bushing play is pretty gnarly. My wife has a 2019 lyrik on her Yeti(yeah yeah.....say what you want) that was just fine for 3 years. then I put it on my bike for 6 weeks.....f*cking destroyed from bushing slop.

RS stuff works great at WC level where it gets broken down and new bushings every other race....as well as the very conservative rider(my wife) who never punishes stuff.

If you want to ride hard and do a normal amount of maintainence, its Fox or Ohlins.....or Intend if you have a trust fund. lol
  • 2 1
 @valrock: I think you were used to how your old fork felt, and I bet the one on your rental was set up wrong.
  • 1 1
 Probably because the new stuff is hot garbage
  • 2 0
 @Mtbdialed: or DVO. Or Manitou. Or higher-end Suntour. Or...
  • 1 1
 @adamszymkowicz: I don't think so, I know how to set them up, I rode quite a few, but never had a bike with such a bad-feeling fork ( edit... it's not that it is bad feeling, it just doesn't feel like fork that is worth 2600 CAD). It was also a current model on a current-year bike in July... a weeks after the park opened, so there was no chance it was already toasted.
  • 2 0
 @valrock: New forks that feel bad have something wrong with them. Either it was set up incorrectly (possible), it was defective (possible), or it was toasted (also possible). You haven't told us what company or model, or what bike it was on, or where you rented it from, so there's not a whole lot of data to go on beyond "I rode a new fork and I liked it less than my old fork." That your new 35 rides better than your 2012 36 should tell you how much better a high-level fork should feel. Those old 888's were just coil sprung anchors with no rebound tuneability to speak of, and if that's what your baseline for what a good fork is, I'm not sure I can help you.
  • 1 1
 @adamszymkowicz: you are trying to sound like you know things but you do not. There is all tunability on RC3 EVO you can ever wish. There is only 1 RS double crown fork existing at any given time for 2600 CAD, what else do you need to know? My new 35 is low end, my old Marzo is what was the best on the market availble in 2011... just go and watch Rampage. Also I am saying RS felt like shit and not claiming FOX 40 is the same... because I rode it all and FOX 40 actually works very well as well as 38. The Boxxer just sucks and based on these comments I might be not only one thinking that
  • 18 0
 The two Mikes have such good chemistry.
  • 7 0
 Agreed, they should do all the field tests together.
  • 2 0
 I would like them to hold hands a bit more though. Even if they are merely exchanging long protein strings.
  • 15 1
 I’ve been reading “bike” tests of some form since for many decades. Say what you will, but these guys do the best tests I’ve ever read/seen!
And, they’re acutely aware of the kind of blow back they’re gonna be getting so they’re already talking value and it’s only the trailer!
They read the comments, they know what you’re thinking before you think it..
  • 5 3
 I love PB but Enduro mtb mag tests are often more in-depth and probably more objective too: enduro-mtb.com/en
  • 1 0
 Not really sure that it is some big secret what issues will crop up in the comments...
  • 1 0
 @gonebikin143:
Right, but these guys read and learn! This is where I see their testing methods improve over the years. Check out an old bike test on PB. Like a REALLY old one.
  • 20 5
 5 trail bikes of which 4 are for very wealthy people. They look good though.
  • 19 44
flag hi-dr-nick (Dec 5, 2022 at 7:05) (Below Threshold)
 or just people who take years of buying cheaper bikes then saving up and selling them to buy a nicer bike. It's really not that hard.
  • 9 7
 @hi-dr-nick: nah, folks who buy 10k bikes are wealthy, I ain’t see a an average Joe riding an expensive bike, the rest of us know the value of a bike.

I ride a Canfield Lithium, and my new sled, a Zerode Taniwha, neither is built up fancy, lots of reused parts, new value ~ 5-6k, and they ride awesome!

Of course both bikes weigh 36#, but I’m getting a good workout, so it’s all good !
  • 4 0
 @sanchofula: so you are saying 6000.- is a price point for non wealthy people?
  • 13 2
 @hi-dr-nick: Right? Like I had a $8000 dirtbike when I was 19... Does that make me wealthy? I was shipping and receiving in a warehouse. Its all about your motivation.
  • 6 0
 I think the norco is by far the best looking bike in this test.
  • 9 1
 It's all about how you prioritize things and spend your money. I'm not wealthy, but all my bikes are very expensive (IMO). We prioritize bikes in my family over other things like an expensive house in an upscale neighborhood, new cars every 5 to 6 years, hiring contractors to do upgrades or repairs that we can manage ourselves, expensive vacations, etc., etc. All about compromise my friend.
  • 7 0
 Who cares, the versions for half the prize will ride basically the same besides being about kilo heavier
  • 7 3
 @Muckal: When you're talking about these sorts of bikes, yes 5-6k USD is reasonable; you gotta' pay to play,

More to the point, if you are comparing a 5k bike to a 10k, let's recognize that there's no significant difference in performance that justifies the additional cost.

So yeah, if you are complaining about spending 5k on a performance full suspension enduro bike, then you need to shop used, drop your expectations, grow a pair and ride a hardtail, or change to a sport you can afford.. hiking is cheap Wink

PS the moto comparison and talking about what you paid ten years ago is an old argument, time to put that old man silliness to bed. At 4k, that Norco is perfect for 99% of riders.
  • 8 0
 @sanchofula: yeah, it's not cost, it's value. Some of those $10k bikes are specced with 1/1 hubs, Code RS brakes, and GX cassettes/chains. None of those things are bad, but you're getting ripped off spending $10k on them. The overall weights are also pretty embarrassing too.

I can buy lots of great bikes with similar builds and weights for $5k.
  • 2 0
 @sanchofula: I am not complaining at all. If people are willing to pay that much money feel free to do so. But don't do like it's not a sport (or pricepoint) for people with lots of money on their hands. I know since I am one of these people.
  • 16 2
 what you can buy vs what you want to buy how you ride vs how you want to ride 1 trail bike vs 4 enduro bikes 1 Dacia vs 4 Pagani
  • 3 2
 It's a false analogy. Supercars are wild and harsh, but Enduro bikes are stable and comfy
  • 17 1
 140/150 is JUST a trail bike now, which means I need 160/170, 'cause.
  • 4 0
 I hate how painfully accurate this is.
  • 2 0
 Yeah, I know... I remember when a trailbike was just a bike that you used to ride trails... no suspension, just big tires and a flat bar. Then it was 120/130mm, now it's bumped to 140/150. Soon, your enduro bike of 5 years ago will be an XC bike. Wink
  • 3 0
 @cool3: I've actually been wondering if I should get a bigger more park friendly (pedallable) bike and then use my 34lb ripmo AF 150/160 as my easier 'trail' bike, hahah. With lighter tires etc. it's actually pretty peppy!
  • 19 3
 All over 30 pounds and all over 10 grand? For trail bikes?
  • 3 6
 ya the 28 pound trail killer is a myth
  • 13 0
 @madmon: my Propain Hugene would like a word.
  • 3 0
 @madmon: pretty common weight for the new carbon stumpy
  • 15 0
 I was hoping this would be the time for the new Smuggler to drop.
  • 2 0
 I'm super stoked for that announcement!
  • 13 0
 I'll take the Norco- and a year of excellent travel and riding to go with it.
  • 12 0
 Unless Norco somehow bungled the rear suspension it's pretty hard to see how it doesn't win this round simply because of the value proposition.
  • 6 0
 they didn't I've had the Norco FSA1 since October and weigh 235 # and ride it pretty hard. The rear shock came with one volume spacer in it. I have yet to totally bottom it out. Basically. i don't really even notice the rear suspension while riding. It does it's job. Which tells me it's good.
  • 2 0
 @draggcj: Iv'e had the base model for a month and a half. I'm shy of 6'8", 230 on the xxl, so i figure the ride align is accurate, setup was bang on by my second lap. Best bike I've ever ridden. I still think the A2 is the sweet spot for price but I've got $1500 left in the budget and don't really know where i'd put it yet...
  • 3 0
 @jdiggs: wheels. Like my Optic C3, the wheels are the soft spot in the build. The Flows have been pretty bombproof but a nice set of carbon hoops would push the price up of the Fluid but would shave close to a pound of weight.
  • 11 2
 Always find these an entertaining read!
I gotta say though, what a generic selection of bikes, compared to last year.
The last few tests have included a few "interesting" bikes, last year had the Raaw, the ghost, the propain
Just as feedback, I really appreciate when you review a couple less mainstream bikes.
  • 11 0
 We had a couple options lined up for this one, but they weren't ready in time. We like riding the slightly-out-there stuff too.
  • 4 0
 "Generic" is actually a really good thing.

There's a lot more relevant bikes in here than in last years' test. This selection does a very good job at representing the most popular options that 90% of riders will look at when searching for a mid-travel trail bike.
  • 2 0
 @Muscovir: I'm not saying don't include any benchmark mainstream bikes, obviously. What I'm saying is this is an enthusiast site and lots of people are interested to read about the less common bikes.

If this were a car enthusiast site, it's little like reviewing 5 different Toyota Corollas. Sure it might be what most people are actually in the market for, just not as interesting as when they mix things up a little.

Kazimer, glad to hear the thought was there anyways!
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: *cough* Smuggler? *cough*
  • 2 0
 @opetruzel: yeah surprised that one didn't make it. Good call.
  • 10 1
 From a practical one-bike standpoint, if you can build a modern, progressive 160ish travel bike with a 35-36mm stanchion fork and a piggyback shock for less than 33 lbs, there's not much reason to bother with mid-travel bikes. There are no major weight savings until you get into the sub-130mm down country builds with 34mm forks. Long travel bikes often climb better than mid travel bikes because they have more traction and clearance. If you want some niche, short travel Enduro thing, that's obviously a different story and I get that.
  • 2 0
 i somewhat disagree. It's not so much the weight, but the length (and sometimes squish) of the 160mm+ bikes that differentiate them in feel to me. A mid-travel bike like a Ripmo just has a different feel than something like a Capra (or even something like an SB150, which it's actually pretty close to in travel). 90% of the time, I like the feel of the mid-travel bike even if I could efficiently pedal the bigger bike around. 10% of the time I wish I had a bigger bike.
  • 11 1
 Just to be pedantic, isn't the Trek a variation of single-pivot rather than a variation of a four bar? Since the pivot is at the rear axle?
  • 3 0
 To quote Dave Weagle himself: "Single pivot, floating brake"
  • 4 0
 And the Yeti is a dual link not a Horst link, even though they are arguably the same concept.
  • 4 1
 Split Pivot/ABP. As a Devinci owner all I know is that the design works.
  • 4 3
 LOL "variation of a four bar". A four bar is a type of linkage that includes four links, not suspension type, so if you look at the trek and count the links, there are four. Four bar is not a type of suspension. Single Pivot only means that the input link is also the chain stay.

and if you are only counting three links, the frame is also a link (ground link)
  • 2 1
 If you don't believe me just look at a pair of locking pliers lol. what kind of suspension is that?
  • 9 1
 9800$ for a Santa Cruz and you don’t get good carbon, good cranks or a good cassette.

They really do think the customer is that dumb (and apparently they are that dumb) to be sucked in by GX AXS. (Which by the way is going to be obsolete sometime in the next two months)
  • 1 0
 Why is it going to obsolete?
  • 1 0
 @amrosen: I think because of the new direct mount AXS derailleurs that are coming out?
  • 12 4
 I know companies want to send the fanciest stuff, but it's still disappointing. There is a marked difference in how that $11k bike rides and the $6k one that only has the frame in common with it.
  • 14 0
 and now you know why they don't send the $6k bike. lol
  • 4 0
 These tests would be infinitely more useful if they tested the low/middle spec of these bikes (the one most folks would actually buy).
  • 10 5
 @mikelevy: The solution is simple. Don't just swap the tires to control tires. Do only field tests of frame-only and build them up the same. If the companies don't deliver frame-only strip them down.
  • 2 0
 @bonkmasterflex: if bikes are similarly equipped, it's still a valid test for lower build levels. It isnt' like 2 bikes ride the same with XX1 and then when you downgrade everything to GX, one is going to ride demonstrably different than the other....step off would be very much the same.
  • 8 0
 So you can get one of the $11k USD bikes or the Norco, bike park seasons pass, food and campsite for a month and still pay off your mortgage/rent...
  • 1 0
 @ridingofthebikes: or the Norco and a DH Bike
  • 6 0
 I think only the Scott and Trek have aluminum twins of their fancy carbon bike. It would be interesting to see a comparo at a later time between the Aluminum and Fancy carbon. I think the Trek 8 is pretty interesting- XT drivetrain, rhythm/float x suspension.

And I enjoyed Levy's intro writing. Well done.
  • 1 0
 XT drivetrain and crappy rythm suspension is such an ass-backwards build made for clueless punters to notice that XT derailleur on the shop floor. If Trek's target market were actual riders, it would be the other way around and that price point would have Performance Elite suspension and a Deore/SLX mix (maybe with an XT shifter).
  • 7 0
 the worst thing is, you spend over 10k for an of the shelf bike. no special upgrade from some small company or hand built wheels. just a catalogue bike. nice bikes, but boring.
  • 7 2
 Are these bikes sized right for 5'10 sized humans? Not trying to be inflammatory, genuinely curious whether size L with 485 reaches etc are the right choice?

And I know the "right" choice is "up to you" and whether you want "stability" or """""nimbility"""" but let's be real?
  • 5 0
 I watched a review of a 5'10 editor that downsized from the recommendation from the new Fuel EX cause he said it felt better on the trail. Longer lower slacker trend has uhh.. reached its limit
  • 11 0
 Not to be pedantic, but I do believe the correct term is *nimbly bimbility* sir
  • 8 0
 @hughbm, I'm 5'11", so they're all the right fit for me Smile . But yes, I'd say Levy and I are both the right size for these bikes.
  • 2 1
 Agreed, just saw the Canfield press release and noticed the size chart where they recommend their M size bikes with 450 reach up to 5’-11”. (Of course, there’s also overlap with size L). I think that’s real-world realistic for a lot of people riding in a lot of places (myself included).
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Interesting. I've always been on 460 reach bikes with 605 ETT or so. Maybe I need to drop the nimbly bimbility as @tomfoolerybackground suggested and get with the times. Thanks!
  • 6 0
 @hughbm, I say ride whatever works for you. These days I'm pretty comfortable on bikes with a reach between 470 - 490, and the 475 - 480mm zone is what I prefer. There are obviously other numbers to consider along with reach, and you'll want a relatively steep seat tube angle to help keep the bike from feeling too long when you're sitting down.
  • 1 0
 @hughbm: I hear tell if you can say it five times fast, you can ride it. But I'll leave the constructive commentary to the expert @mikekazimer
  • 8 1
 And are any of these really better than '21 Ripmo or SJ EVO? Design seems to have hit a plateau for a bit which is good for buyers.
  • 3 0
 I was thinking exactly the same thing. I never did see the "long term" ripmo v2 test either... just the preview by Mike #2
  • 1 0
 @spudreau: this seems to happen frequently. I'm still waiting for an update on the Manitou Dorado
  • 5 0
 I hate to say it but we've gone beyond being able to justify paying more to support the LBS with a lot of these bikes. You can get a Core 4 YT izzo with better spec than all of these bikes for 5k right now. DTswiss xmc1501 (carbon wheels with 240 hubs), sram xo1, carbon bar, guide rsc brakes and fox factory suspension... And it rides really well. Insane that some of these bikes are more than double with the same parts (or lesser)
  • 1 0
 My last bike was a YT. Great bikes, but the build quality IMO is not the same as some other brands. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. That’s where the money gets saved IMO.
  • 9 1
 Norco looks the best too. The Trek is an abomination and that's coming from someone who rides and Ibis.
  • 6 0
 It looks like they just took the motor out of their Fuel EXe!
  • 4 0
 Really interested to see how that Fluid compares. Shorter travel that the rest plus, geez, 4 10K bikes. I understand why the companies send those bikes out for review, but good god, the reviews become less and less relevant. Hopefully some focus on how the bike handles in terms of geo and such to de-couple the super fancy parts with what most people are going to buy. Or maybe I'm just way off in what people are actually buying these days.
  • 6 0
 Canfield should get a review, I’d put my Lithium up against these bikes any day, friggin bike is perfect!

… and they are available right now !!
  • 10 0
 I think that Matt has a Canfield DH bike in his upcoming DH mini-Field Test.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: Awesome, love me a Canfield!
  • 1 0
 those new fking colours as well.. i nearly purchased the yellow last night!!
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: One2 or Jedi
  • 1 0
 Not sure, silver with big links haha
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: only the Jedi is silver. Looking forward to your thoughts on the Dorado
  • 1 1
 @mikelevy: Leave it to Mike Schlubby to get paid to articulate and review mountain bikes for a living..yet he can't even identify the new idler Jedi from the groundbreaking One.2.

weak candy ass mf
  • 1 0
 @SixxerBikes: Try reading again either my comment or the article again. I said Matt has the DH bikes for testing, not me. He was on his own program with those bikes and they weren't part of this Field Test at all.

Do you see that your comment history is consistently nasty and brings nothing to the discussion, or is that completely lost on you? Why bother being so negative everywhere and all the time? You could just not come here or at least not comment?
  • 5 0
 Fluid is also the shortest travel front and rear of the bunch. Wonder if that'll have much of an on-trail impact, or if it'll just be the spec charts in the back of rider's minds.
  • 6 0
 It has been scientifically proven that Tim Horton's has the worst doughnuts in Squamish, and possibly the universe. Fox and Oak is right there. The humanity!
  • 9 5
 All donuts are good donuts.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: /\Homer Simpson in hell/ heaven
  • 5 1
 @mikelevy: But some are grim...
  • 1 0
 @cool3: Grim donut doesn't exist.
  • 9 2
 That Trek looks like a Niner.
  • 6 3
 I was hoping to see something from a small brand like you've done in the past with Actofive, Contra, RAAW etc. I'm sure these are all great bikes, but part of my interest in the Field Tests is seeing obscure bikes going up against the big brands.
  • 2 0
 They could have dual purposed that RSD Wildcat from the Down Country/XC test!
  • 7 0
 That purple people eater is a fine looking bike.
  • 2 1
 Revel wears it better. Wink
  • 6 0
 Yeti is not a 4 bar design, more closely resembles dual link in both form and function.
  • 6 0
 Does the Scott look like an e-bike to anyone else with the fat carbon downtube and bb area?
  • 2 1
 and, I wouldn't buy it for this reason.
  • 2 0
 @snowFFFFFF: Quietest. Ebike. Ever. lol Smile
  • 6 0
 Night Moves and Against The Wind?
  • 1 0
 Promote this man. We would also have accepted Hollywood Nights.
  • 8 2
 lmao get the hell outta here with the 10k USD bikes
  • 5 0
 Norco may be the cheapest but it's also the one I can't stop staring at... damn that's a good looking bike.
  • 3 1
 Somebody at SC should lose their job for sending a " value" bike to the field test. How is it even a fair test when you compare a sub 10k bike to a mid tier +10k bike. Atleast they have control tires. SC I didn't open the page to have it AutoPlay that cheap crap, fire that idiot and get a proper mid tier +10k bike for us next year.
  • 3 0
 You could buy both of these motorcycles for the price of 3/5 bikes in this test. Bikes are so overpriced it’s absurd.

dirtbikemagazine.com/amp/honda-crf300l-vs-kawasaki-klx300-dual-sport-video-series
  • 1 0
 the margins + vastly increased production volume + more people buying motor bikes isn't anywhere close to that of MTB....
With all that being said...MTB companies almost purposefully overspend on R&D, production costs and wasteful advertising nonsense that 'helps' them inflate the mystical retail expenses in MTB.
  • 2 0
 Love the fact that there's virtually no weight difference between the full-aluminum Norco and the 10k carbon superbikes. In fact, if you bought the Norco, you could probably make it significantly lighter than the other bikes (for less money) by swapping the rims for value carbon hoops.
  • 2 0
 I was bummed not to see the Arrival 150 in this test! Would be close to lightest bike in the test and I bet would smoke the rest of the field. Plus has more soul and personality than a catalogue brand! I'll stick with my GG Smash for now though as a pretty sweet trail bike at a pretty reasonable price that prioritizes sustainability.
  • 2 0
 after reading all this I’m pretty happy with my 2016 Kona Process 134DL. I’ve made some upgrades along the way (see longer fork and more adjustable rear suspension) but the thing rips, still only weighs in at 29lbs with meaty tires and is nearly all aluminum….
  • 3 0
 That's a great bike, no need to change.
  • 2 0
 I feel like this should work on a Golf style point system. They all start at whatever the retail dollar amount is and have points subtracted from that total as they do well. Best descender -50, best climber-50. Closest to 0 when it's all done is the winner.
  • 2 0
 I still can’t get over the following:

Brand new 2022/2023 Scott Genius ST 900 Tuned - $11,000
Brand new 2022 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 - $12,899

Somebody is going to go on about scalability, target market, blah, blah, blah. I get it all. I studied economics in college. It still just blows my mind how the gap in pricing has closed.
  • 2 0
 Should have tested the Arrival in this field test. It aligns perfectly with the travel segment (compared to the 160-180 bikes of last years enduro field test) and it actually cost less than all of these bikes spare the Norco. Really curious how it would have stacked up, as its specs are VERY similar and build options are almost bang on to these high end bikes as well
  • 2 0
 I'm not excited about any of these. Which is good for my bank account of course - this year I'm happily putting my cash into after market suspension and planning to get at least another season or two out of my current ride(s).

Is it just me?
  • 10 5
 But why wasn't (insert bike here) included??? its obviously the best
  • 5 0
 The Yeti 140 LR is 160mm up front, not 150.
  • 2 0
 He does mention in the video that it is the 160mm
  • 3 1
 Oh Man, @mikelevy @mikekazimer Time to have Taj Mihelich Draw a full on comic about all the superheros #SuperTrailDude, #DownCountryCrusader #TheThruStearerBandit #EnglishThreadedSavior and more...
  • 5 0
 very surprised the Commencal Meta TR 29 is not in this test group.
  • 3 0
 It's already been reviewed here and for some reason that means that PB won't include it again in another test.
  • 2 1
 @Muscovir: i have seen them do individual reviews as well as field test reviews. oh well.
  • 4 0
 @Gnaarls: No you haven’t. You’ve seen “First Ride” article bikes get included in field tests. You’ve never seen a bike get a full review all on its own and then also show up in a field test.
  • 2 0
 @BrambleLee: yeah I think you’re 100p right. My bad.
  • 5 0
 But how is Alicia doing? Cannot find any news
  • 1 0
 intagram you;ll find your answer
  • 1 0
 @criscoe: don't have it but will check lol
  • 6 2
 Since when is 32-ish pounds acceptable for a trail bike? Prices and bike weights are trending upwards.
  • 6 2
 I know, I remember when trail bikes were 130mm, 26lb things that were super sketchy haha. To be fair, all of these bikes are crazy capable, far more than when trail bikes were lighter and steeper.
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy: I was thinking about the weights to. It seems like as a bike manfu, You can’t build a trail bike because people will enduro race or park lap them so basically let’s build short travel enduro bike and call it a day so we don’t get labeled as bikes that break…..
  • 2 0
 Since people want to take their trail bike to a bikepark. It's a good thing trail bikes got a lot more robust (and heavier, as a result) in recent years.
  • 1 0
 I thought the same thing. Didn't less weight use to mean a higher price? 20 years ago on a popular trail (climb out) in Santa Cruz, everybody was putting in strava climb times, now on these bikes half the riders on a Sat afternoon are pushing their bikes out.
  • 3 2
 so besides a few dentists on this website do the majority of the audience here really care about 10k bikes? Or will they really buy it? I rarely see 6k bikes in the wild. I own 3 bikes ( Trail, DH and FAT tire - all brand new) and they all together still under the price of one SC or Trek from this review, they are all together are also much more of the bike than any of these Big Grin
  • 4 3
 @norcobikes It's still overpriced @ $4K, but looks good compared to the competition that has lost their collective minds.

Unsure who has a spare $10K USD (~$13,500 CDN) for a fun hobby? Still more expensive than every car I've purchased in 37yrs.
  • 5 0
 Stop calling expensive bike superbike. They're just expensive.
  • 1 0
 The pricing is astounding considering; Pole is offering the Evolink 1.4 with a fantastic spec for $2979 + shipping! Seriously one of the best bikes to come along in a decade for under 3K... That is the BEST DEAL ON OFFER right now! I own one plus a Stamina and both bikes are a joy to ride on everything from mellow trails to DH tracks. Cheers!
  • 1 0
 looking at this now, how does it right, the blue looks fkin awesome!
  • 1 0
 @WkDayWarrior: I have the blue color and its stunning. Check out Pinkbike' first review back in 2017. The one on sale is the updated 1.4 but they're all just a blast, climb up anything and descend so fast and stable!
Here's the review link: www.pinkbike.com/news/pole-evolink-140-review.html
There's also a review of the updated 1.4 as well: www.pinkbike.com/news/the-original-game-changer-just-got-better.html
  • 1 0
 @manco: thank you
  • 1 0
 I'm one of those people who is happy with alloy MTB frames. I have nothing whatsoever against carbon, the cost/benefit equation simply does not appeal to me. Its funny how carbon mtb frames and related prices have gone from crazy exotic to mainstream.
Trek used to offer the alloy Fuel EX 9 with alloy, XT and good suspension vs the EX 9.7 (same price) with carbon but cheaper components. It was a no brainer for me to go with the EX 9. Still is.
Based on this - I think the Fluid FS A1 is an ideal bike. Looking forward to the review.
  • 1 0
 Another decade and I reckon Carbon will be the cheap option for bikes, given current trends.
  • 1 0
 2 months ago Norco drops the DH team and everyone says they are trash and gonna go bankrupt. Today Pinkbike tests the new Fluid and everyone suddenly loves them... Having just sold my Optic C1 a few months ago, I can guess this Fluid will be just the magic mix of good parts and "low-ish" price. I would 100% recommend this platform to anyone.
  • 1 0
 These price points in these reviews are getting old. I almost never see a bike worth more than $4-6k out on the trails. The core of riders in our sport 1) like to ride a lot, so are very unlikely have allocated the time to amass the budget for a $10k bike, 2) ride a lot, and know this is a game of skill, and that extra $4-6k you spend on top of a base or mid range price point has increasingly marginal returns compared to cost.

Of course I am making generalizations, but this is what I observe the overwhelming majority of the time. I am not saying that expensive bikes are bad, or people who spend lots of mulah on bikes are lame or anything, but why not make these reviews relatable to the PB readers? The budget bikes reviews are no good either. That is just the other end of the spectrum, and most readers aren't interested in a base build (see above, "because we ride a lot"). Why not just review bikes that are in that $3-6K sweet spot, where you get a lot of bang for your buck?
  • 2 0
 First, I 100% agree that the prices are crazy. It's just so much money.

But it all comes down to priorities. I see countless $10k bikes every time I'm at a popular local trailhead, endless carbon wheels, AXS or XTR, and even EXT shocks etc. A lot of people that live here chose it specifically for the riding, so it's a big priority for them, and an expensive bike is nice to have when a lot of your life revolves around using it. I think one of the local shops has sold a whole bunch of much, much more expensive e-bikes!

Also, as we've said many times, including in the video and article above, sometimes we're at the mercy of what the brands have available or are willing to send us. The "media bikes" are often high-end for obvious reasons.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: I appreciate your response and that all certainly makes sense. That is suprising to hear you say that you see a lot of bikes at that price point.... that is crazy money for a bike but if someone can afford it, more power to them. No doubt a brand will send you guys the cream of the crop builds because they want get good reviews. I really enjoy the website, reviews and podcast by the way.
  • 2 0
 @MT36: I don't think where I live is the norm, though. You're 100% right about the majority of places, I think, but I'm always surprised by how many fancy bikes I see out there.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: Agreed. There are a lot of low-mid priced bikes around, but it's not uncommon for there to be $50k worth of bikes on the back of a truck on shuttle days.

It blows my mind how many Arrival's, Druid's, Dreadnaught's, Enduro's and SC's (often with EXT's shocks and forks) there are around my local trails.

I don't love how expensive bikes are these days, but there are no shortage of people willing to spend the money companies are asking. At least not around here in Calgary.
  • 1 0
 I think it is interesting to hear that you guys see a lot of $10k bikes. I live in Montana, so kind of in the stix, but there are loads of trails here and very active mountain biker communities, and I see almost exclusively mid tier builds. I started MTBing in the 90s, so today's mid-shelf aluminum build is a magic machine by comparison.

I guess I get a little concerned about the direction of the sport.... is it trending towards these super expensive builds? I think about where skiing is right now and there are so many people getting literally priced out of that. MTBing has this raw and wild nature to it, like skateboarding and BMX, that I would hate to see go away because a large segment of dedicated athletes and families can't afford it, or don't prioritize earning at the top income tiers.
  • 1 0
 @MT36: Sounds like a good podcast topic.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: I think so too, that would be a cool topic. I feel like our sport has been doing a good job appealing to a relatively wide range of approaches, everything from BMX riders who take up FS bikes to XC racers, as well as a (relatively) wide range of economic means. I personally would like to see that sort of diversity keep going. The whole $10k bike phenomenom seems limited to very high earners, trustafarians, or dirtbags who are spending every last penny on their whip. As a third generation ski bum, I have seen the ski industry chase the top percentile of moneyed skiers while literally pricing out the entire ski bum culture. Food for though I suppose...

Not to mention, I am raising a rabid junior DH racer and bike park rat, and have to keep a close eye on the budget as he is going through a frame every other season now haha
  • 1 0
 "Generalist Trail Bike Field Test"
$9700, $10,200, $10750, $11,000

Article by Kazimer on a buyers market coming:
www.pinkbike.com/news/opinion-the-pace-of-change-in-the-mtb-world-is-slowing-down-and-im-all-for-it.html

Any thoughts on a retraction or rewrite??
  • 3 0
 Do you throw the bikes off drops or how can we expect the "fall" part of the field test to look like?
  • 4 1
 The Scott looks like an fat emtb with the thick downtube / bottom bracket. Yikes!
  • 6 3
 Get two Norcos and have change left for trips for the price of getting any of the others!
  • 3 1
 only bike I could ever possibly afford is the Norco. Dentist pocket field testing.......and..................................................go
  • 4 0
 Norco Fluid FS A1 for the win
  • 4 0
 "not cheap" is the new norm
  • 2 0
 @MikeLevy If "Rosalie" isn't on your short list of Seger songs, then I can't trust your opinions on bikes or aliens. . .but I do still like your choice in board games.
  • 5 1
 The Field Test aimed at dentists
  • 1 1
 on Paper that Fluid's Geo and numbers are every bit on point between the Optic/Sight... but both were much more of a burlier 'get after it' type of option.

I really 'wish' there are more control options for the bikes that are being tested... like other than the manufacturer Frame, pivot design and tune, really you're then comparing other OEM parts.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer This great. Please always throw in an underdog at at least half the price.
  • 4 0
 are we seeing a weed decal on pinkbike?
  • 5 0
 No we are not haha
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy: worlds fastest response.
  • 3 0
 No, Levy likes Japanese Maple trees and Boast polo shirts.
  • 1 0
 @tprojosh: cuz liability reasons
  • 2 2
 This field test is bogus...not everybody lives in or rides Whistler. For a fair comparison we now require you to test all bikes in multiple locations around the world...oh and these bike are too expensive and they do not include the bikes I would like tested...aaaand they are all 29". What's up with that!? Do better Pinkbike.
  • 2 0
 The Norco is the only one that looks fun enough to use as a trail bike. The rest look fun for the bike park, but not to actually pedal on singletrack.
  • 3 0
 Thise price tags are nuts. Who are you writing this for? Druglords? Lol! Have some sense of decency!!
  • 2 0
 Incredible how overpriced and under specd most of these are except the norco...rocking rs shock and fork on my marin..mostly trouble free.
  • 2 0
 If you want to go boutique why not a shootout of some metal loving small brands like RAAW, Banshee, Canfield, MDE, Geometron, Knolly?
  • 2 0
 Tell me pinkbike, how do I return to look at comments without my data being used to buffer a video I've already watched? @mikelevy @mikekasimer
  • 3 0
 You know you’ll see the comments Levy
  • 3 1
 The Fezzari Delano Peak should have been here especially looking at those price tags
  • 3 0
 In New Zealand the new yeti sb140 is around $20,000 nzd !!! Crazy
  • 1 0
 And in Zimbabwe it's 3,284,400 ZWL!!! Crazy
  • 3 0
 The dream team is back together!
  • 2 0
 Have to appreciate the dad-joke potential in Levy's knee tatts. The bee's knees?
  • 3 0
 Santa Cruz, one of the value brands I’m this test.
  • 2 0
 And last not least here comes Norco…
Norco says: ,,HULK SMASH!”
Was a good field test.
  • 2 2
 How much will through the headset cable routing in the field test? Based on the unfortunate consent among pinkbike editors and users that Scott can't be fun to ride and has to be the clear loser of the test.
  • 4 2
 Add a wheelie and endo test!!!!!!!! And see how long before mediums get tested.
  • 3 0
 I can wheelie or manual all of these bikes and the lengths feel pretty good.
  • 4 1
 @mikelevy: video or it didn't happen.
  • 4 0
 @tprojosh: I can't do it on video, obviously. Only in photos.
  • 3 0
 a good priced bike?!?!?!

No. Way

No. Freaking. Way

Impossible.
  • 2 0
 But that means its bad by pinkbike/dentist logic!
  • 4 1
 All of the bikes are very ugly except the Norco
  • 1 0
 Regarding the Trek: Wouldn't the lower shock mount being closer to the seat tube make the lr more progressive? If so, why is it in that position with the air shock?
  • 2 0
 The more progressive position isn't just for coil shocks - it works well with an air shock to help the bike deal with bigger hits, like those we were encountering in the bike park.
  • 1 1
 It’s about time we started referring to the cost of bikes in terms of duffle bags full of money and since when does Mike Levy have a gold tooth?

1 duffle bag full of money = $1k (universal currency) = 1 gold tooth.
  • 1 0
 in england its called a *bag of sand* = grand/1k
  • 3 0
 Was really hoping y'all would finally review the 2015 Raleigh Kodiak
  • 3 0
 C'mon where's the Banshee Prime IknowIknownobodyvotedforitbutc'cmon
  • 3 0
 where's the new Smuggler at???
  • 3 0
 A bike under $10k being tested?? Is this pink bike or peasant bike?
  • 2 0
 4 times cheaper you could buy a snowmobile and nice mountain bike or just an overpriced bike
  • 3 1
 I can't mountain bike on a snowmobile tho
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: That's why the OP said "you could buy a snowmobile and nice mountain bike" so you don't have to mountain bike on a snowmobile.
  • 2 0
 Trail bikes are getting heavy! Not a single one under 30lbs, most are at 33..
  • 3 1
 Bring on the DH bike test!
  • 4 2
 Final Result: Norco wins hands down.
  • 2 1
 I'm very curious about the Scott. Such a shame when manufacturers won't sell you the high-end frame/ shock only.
  • 4 0
 The genius is available in combo frame, shock, fork.
  • 4 1
 Replying to myself as apparently you can buy these as a frame only.

www.scott-sports.com/us/en/product/scott-genius-st-900-tuned-hmx-frame-fork?article=292051010
  • 2 0
 Yes, Mike, this is October in B.C. New bikes, new climate
  • 2 0
 The clip of Levy manualing out of that corner was SICK
  • 5 2
 That Scott is Bold
  • 2 0
 Fall 2022 "All-Mountain" Field Test
  • 1 1
 Cables out front of the handlebars look great on that Santa Cruz. (am I being sarcastic) (am I saying #HEADSETCABLINGRULZ ?)
  • 3 2
 Really excited for the Norco! They just keep nailing it with every new release.
  • 2 0
 Law of diminishing returns......
  • 2 2
 Big story here is PB crew doing all this high energy bike testing in these pads enduro-mtb.com/en/best-lightweight-knee-pads-can-buy/6
  • 2 0
 Those aren't the pads we used. These ones are: g-form.com/pro-rugged-2-bike-knee-pad-protection.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Good call, didn't mean to imply it was the same model. I don't think they've changed their non-newtonian fluid formula though, so I keep that lab-based impact testing as a reference for their pads. If they changed their formula for something like D3O would be good to know.
  • 2 0
 Mean price of only $9,149.60!!!
  • 2 0
 Lol, ill buy the Norco and a Husqvarna. The rest can fade into oblivion.
  • 1 0
 I cant believe how heavy carbon or all bikes are now, my 2019 alloy Stumpjumper weighs 33lbs/
  • 1 1
 You could spend 10k on a bike or buy my lighter and more capable Knolly Warden Carbon. Easy choice!
m.pinkbike.com/buysell/3463297
  • 1 1
 I would love to see any plus size / full size testers with real world height-weight ratio of old dad of two with 180 cm and 110 kg.
  • 2 0
 Video Autostart is Bullshit. Just like cables through headset.
  • 2 0
 The Norco is clearly 4x better than the others- stop the pricing insanity.
  • 1 0
 Very interested to see how the Norco Fluid FS stacks up in terms of value:performance!
  • 2 1
 I‘m actually very excited! Smile
  • 9 12
 Throwing in a low spec Norco to a high end bike review is a distraction from what is the most interesting - performance. It reduces it to a debate about cost. I'm all for affordability, but I'd rather compare apples to apples. All these companies offer lower end spec bikes as well.
  • 18 0
 Low spec? SLX shifts excellent, TRP brakes are underrated, the rear shock might not have kashima but kashima is probably the most overrated thing in mtb. Calling it mid spec is still kinda an insult
  • 2 0
 If they didn't throw in some less expensive options, folks wouldn't know that less can be just as good. Bikes are so good these days that I doubt anything over 4k is gonna suck.
  • 2 0
 @ryann "low spec"? Fox's highest end dampers and a mostly XT drivetrain are "low spec"? Lol. It's got a higher end, more adjustable rear shock and arguably a higher end drivetrain than the Santa Cruz.
  • 1 0
 A "something" powered field test Smile
  • 1 1
 It feels like this should've been the 10k Trail Bike test...The Norco doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of them.
  • 1 0
 Did Levy said: RSS feed? ❤️
  • 3 1
 Too many 29ers.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy Nice Rushmore Hoodie, Come out and ride sometime!
  • 2 0
 We stopped in there and Devil's Tower on our drive to Wisconsin in the summer. Maximum tourist-mode engaged and I was not disappointed.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: as someone who lives in Wisconsin, I'm curious what you were doing here? This place kinda sucks, at least 9 months out of the year.
  • 2 0
 @bones89: My girlfriend is from Eagle River, so we drove there from Squamish and back this summer to visit her family. Spent two weeks there. I only brought the gravel bike because I wasn't sure, but I really enjoyed riding in and around the town! I need mountains where I live, but I really liked Eagle River.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Sounds like you missed all the great Mountain biking in South Dakota
  • 2 1
 That Norco looks pretty sweet for that price. Just needs Gx upgrade.
  • 1 0
 'namaste, of course'

What this mean?
  • 1 0
 How none of these bike models aren't named the "Inflation" is beyond me.
  • 2 1
 I want the gravel bike field test sooo much.
  • 2 0
 Same here. Maybe CyclingTips will let me come play.
  • 1 0
 Anyone expecting a huck to flat test? WTF is "Fall" lol
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy Tell me about those clear glasses. Xmas is coming!
  • 1 0
 I think those are the Rapha glasses. I like them. I generally think the oversized glasses-look is weird but also too functional to ignore dammit.
  • 1 0
 I choose the Norco Fluid…..because I just wanna ride…..
  • 1 0
 that norco is the best looking bike for sure
  • 1 0
 Someone tell me how to get the Fluid in just a frame please
  • 1 0
 Let's do a test at a bike park riding them in ways most people never do.
  • 1 0
 PB One Takes, Smoking Tire style Smile
  • 1 0
 Hello everyone, welcome to the dentist bike field test!
  • 1 0
 *except the Norco Fluid FS
  • 4 5
 Why isn't my Pivot Firebird involved in the trail bike field test? What the heck Pinkbike?!
  • 2 1
 looks like a GT...
  • 3 0
 Headline: Trek sued by GT over triple triangle patent
  • 1 0
 Mike's bike is back!
  • 2 3
 Dentist visits about to get way more expensive.... (if you live in the USA)
  • 1 1
 Not a 27 inch wheel in sight
  • 6 6
 Ripmo v2 is better than the entire field
  • 1 0
 Strongly believe its just a personal opinion, just like mine thinking that the best here would be the Offering V2
  • 1 0
 what a great lineup
  • 1 0
 The GT is vary yellow
  • 1 0
 Fall failed test…
  • 11 13
 27.5 is more fun then 29. Just saying.
  • 10 2
 Why?
  • 2 5
 Initiating turns is much easier
  • 5 0
 I thought that for the longest time (I still ride a 27.5), because it used to be like that.... Then I rode my friends new Slash, boy was I wrong haha.
  • 2 1
 True.
  • 6 0
 @Dogl0rd: I've lost count of the number of great rides which were spoilt by turn initiation being 0.5% harder.
  • 1 1
 @dave119: if you have Strava it's easy to count them. You can note which bike you used on the ride and it will summarize for the year how many miles you did on that bike. But if you want the number of great rides you have to estimate because not every ride is great, some are just good. So you could say 10% of the miles. 100% of that 10% has been ruined by the size of your front wheel. And then you can make some coffee and ruminate about how sad it really is.
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