Welcome to the 2020 Pinkbike Field Trip - Value Bike Edition

Mar 23, 2020
by Mike Kazimer  


WELCOME TO THE 2020
PINKBIKE FIELD TRIP
8 value-oriented bikes put to the test on Sedona's unforgiving trails.


Words by Mike Kazimer, photography by Anthony Smith


If you've followed along with the Pinkbike Field Test in the past, then the idea behind the first annual Field Trip will be familiar. Take a whole bunch of bikes, ride them as much as possible for a couple weeks, and then report back on the pros and cons of each one. What worked, what didn't, what's worth upgrading - you'll be able to watch and read about all our findings in the coming days. Sedona, Arizona, served as our test location, where the dry desert conditions were a welcome reprieve from the seemingly endless rain back home.

We added a twist for the Field Trip – the focus was on value priced trail bikes, in this case four bikes that sell for under $3,000 and four bikes under $2,000. All of the bikes had less than 140mm of rear travel, and we even included two hardtails in the mix. Don't worry, they were all still subjected to the infamous Huck to Flat, as well as the Impossible Climb, which took place on a course that just-so-happened to be lined with a whole bunch of cactus. There's also a roundtable discussion for both groupings of bikes, along with a video that goes over the do's and don'ts of buying a used bike.


Giant Stance 1 review


4 Trail Bikes Under $3,000* USD

YT Jeffsy AL Base review
YT Jeffsy Base 29
• 150 (R) / 150mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• 66° head-tube angle
• Weight: 34.4 lb / 15.6 kg
• $2,299 USD
Norco Torrent S1 review
Norco Torrent HT S1
• 150mm fork
• 29" wheels
• 64° head-tube angle
• Weight: 33.7 lb / 15.3 kg
• $3,149* USD (price changed after testing was completed)

Santa Cruz Hightower Alloy D review photo by Anthony Smith
Santa Cruz Hightower Alloy D
• 140mm (R) / 150mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• 65.5° head-tube angle
• Weight: 35.2 lb / 16 kg
• $2,899 USD
Commencal Meta TR Ride review photo by Anthony Smith
Commencal Meta TR Ride
• 130mm (R) / 150mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• 66.5° head-tube angle
• Weight: 33.5 lb / 15.2 kg
• $2,599 USD




4 Trail Bikes Under $2,000 USD

Vitus Mythique 29 VRX review photo by Anthony Smith
Vitus Mythique 29 VRX
• 140 (R) / 140mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• 66° head tube-angle
• Weight: 32.8 lb / 14.9 kg
• $2,000 USD
Kona Honzo review
Kona Honzo
• 120mm fork
• 29" wheels
• 68° head-tube angle
• Weight: 32.3 lb / 14.7 kg
• $1,499 USD


Giant Stance 1 review
Giant Stance 1
• 120 (R) / 130mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• 67.5° head-tube angle
• Weight: 31.6 lb / 14.7 kg
• $1,800 USD
Calibre Bossnut review photo by Anthony Smith
Calibre Bossnut
• 130mm (R) / 130mm (F) travel
• 27.5" wheels
• 66° head-tube angle
• Weight: 33.4 lb / 15.1 kg
• $1,300 USD


Vitus Mythique 29 VRX review photo by Anthony Smith

YT Jeffsy AL Base review

The Riders

Me.
Mike Kazimer
Height: 5'11" / 180cm
Weight: 160 lbs / 72.6 kg
Notes: Managing tech editor, horchata addict
Mike Levy
Mike Levy
Height: 5'10" / 178 cm
Weight: 155 lb / 70.3 kg
Notes: Tech editor, gas station snack connoisseur


How We Tested




For our test loop, we selected a short, easily repeatable combination of trails that had a little bit of everything a modern trail bike should be able to handle. It began with section of climbing on the Peccary trail, with a few punchy, moderately technical climbs to get things going. Next came a traversing portion on Hog Wash, where the trail repeatedly dipped into small gullies and made its way up the other side, terrain that served as a good way to gauge how well a bike carried speed. The 1.6 mile loop concluding with a quick rip down Pig Tail, which begins with a short rocky S-turn that leads into series of trail bike-appropriate jumps and drops. The entire loop takes around 12-minutes, which meant that we were able to take multiple timed laps on each bike without completely exhausting ourselves.

There's a brief discussion of the timing results in each video, but as you'll see, that wasn't the main focus of these reviews. More than anything, the test lap served as a way to get accustomed to each bike's handling before heading out for longer, more difficult rides in the Sedona area.

One difference between the Field Trip and last year's Field Test is that this time we didn't use control tires. Why not? It's because the focus of this trip was on value-priced bikes, and if you're on a budget, the last thing you want to do after purchasing a bike is spend even more money to swap out the tires. For that reason, we made sure to mention if the tires were up to the task, or if they'll need to be replaced sooner than later.

We'll be kicking things off tomorrow with the first review, and we'll be releasing the rest of the Field Trip coverage over the next two weeks. Stay tuned!




The 2020 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible by support from: Smith, 7mesh, and Over The Edge Sedona.




Photos: Anthony Smith
Additional footage: Lear Miller



249 Comments

  • 98 6
 Just waiting for half of the comments to be "NO RIPMO AF?!?!?"
  • 25 3
 ...and no Marin Rift Zone / Hawk Hill? Smile

The list will obviously always be too short. Adding a good older bike with a high share of the second-hand market as a benchmark could however be very useful for the potential buyers of these bikes.

In Germany for example, tens of thousands of the previous iteration of the Canyon Spectral must have been sold; you can now get it for 1000-1500 EUR, often in v good condition & with great kit. It may be a bit short and steep for today's standards, but a direct comparison would still be interesting!
  • 26 0
 @jansibar: we did a first look of the Rift Zone 3 last year and reviewed the Rift Zone Carbon a few weeks ago.

We also shot a video about some used bikes as part of this Field Trip.
  • 9 1
 I'd say rather why no Bird bikes in the test. The AM9 seems to be one of the top pedal friendly Enduro bikes in the market, regardless of price, and can be had for well under 3k
  • 15 18
 Indeed, the Ripmo AF should have been part of this test.
  • 5 0
 @brianpark: yeah, I saw the Marin test. That wasn't too serious Smile Brilliant that you'll have some reference to used bikes, too!

@Arierep: I second you on this - even more so since Calibre, as the other British bargain contender, stopped their international shipping some months ago...
  • 12 0
 @brianpark: thank you for moving the test out of the bike park.
  • 8 12
flag jimeg (Mar 23, 2020 at 8:42) (Below Threshold)
 These guys still need to get product to test. If the RIPMO AF showed(them all) up the other manufacturers would have pulled their product. Theories...

This is a strange omission though. Hopefully they call out the comparison. Anyone looking for a "value" bike is considering the AF. Even folks who look passed the stigma of that description and are looking for a great bike have the AF on the list. Aluminum frames are good enough for the current crop of top WC DH riders.
  • 7 5
 I'd be in that chorus. The Ripmo AF is the benchmark in the category right now. Including it would give me a better understanding of where these bikes fall, particularly as PB already declares it a winner of a value comparison.
  • 7 5
 @jimeg: Definitely. Ripmo AF, NX build is an unbelievably good package for the price. It's a shame it wasn't included here.
  • 20 0
 Like @porDIOS-porSANTO mentioned, we already featured the Ripmo AF in the value portion of last year's Field Test. It's still a great bike, and certainly a very worthy option if you're shopping in this price bracket.
  • 114 0
 Why isn't my bike included in this test. I need validation that I bought the best bike on the market!!
  • 8 0
 @tbubier: thank you.
  • 12 1
 @brianpark: you've moved the test out of the park, there's talk about carrying speed thru undulating terrain in the first paragraph..you guys are listening to us.

Thank you. I'm very excited and can't wait for the firts review.

(Although I wouldn't own any of these bikes). Wink
  • 3 3
 @FloImSchnee: Indeed. Despite it already having been reviewed on Pinkbike, it is kind of a benchmark bike in the class. Would have been really be useful to see how these other bikes compare. Edit: Posted before seeing other similar comments, and reply from Kaz. Still, I stand by the comment - having at least one point of comparison is really important.
  • 4 0
 @tbubier: seriously, isn't that the very reason people are critical of what is reviewed?

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, how does my bike compare to them all.

Vanity is pretty lame.
  • 7 2
 No AF notwithstanding, looks like a really good test - props on the methodology, location, trail choice.
  • 12 2
 That Norco is HEAAAVVY for a hardtail!!! :Eek:
  • 4 1
 @nurseben: what a great idea..

First ever Pinkbike commenters personal bike shootout.

Where do we ship our bikes?
  • 3 0
 @landscapeben: especially for the price. I get the Honzo weighing that much at half the price, and I hate to bring it up because all of the comments about it already, but you can get a Ripmo AF for the same price and almost the same weight.
  • 25 0
 @landscapeben: a British guy complaining about a steel hardcore hardtail? What a time to be alive
  • 6 0
 @mikekazimer: I understand the reasoning, but I think it's very valuable to include one bike that has been previously reviewed to help readers make transitive comparisons to a much larger set of bikes than can be included in any one test. Enduro did this with its trail bike test and I found it very useful.

(Disclaimer: I own no bikes involved in this test or being suggested for inclusion)
  • 1 0
 @landscapeben: The Norco is just under 1.5lbs heavier than the Honzo,and at least 1lb.will be from the frame.
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer: Although you guys already tested the AF, it’s clearly the benchmark for this segment. Without comparing them to the best in class so far, it leaves no frame of reference.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: run it like car and driver 10 best. They include the winners from the previous year and then any new vehicles that have had significant changes or new models
  • 3 1
 The Ripmo AF isn’t a budget bike. It’s a high end frame with top of the line suspension parts that happened to be priced low. So I wouldn’t have put it in the budget category @mikekazimer:
  • 1 0
 @dualsuspensiondave: Ha, *frame* of reference, I get it!
  • 1 1
 @brianpark: no dartmoor??????????
  • 1 0
 @Arierep: If Mike wants to drop me a message it can be arranged Wink
  • 3 0
 I'd be super interested in a gas station snack comparison test.
  • 1 0
 @whambat: I know right!? I have a 26" alloy Ghost hardtail frame with a pair of 27.5" 160mm Pike's up front and Magic Mary DH casings and my bike is still only just over 30lb, so that Norco is a real porka...
  • 1 0
 @tbubier: Bingo!
  • 2 0
 @mammal:

Yep. The other build prices don’t even make sense compared to the NX. For the price I paid for my Ripmo AF NX, I could order full GX groupset, brakes & bikeyoke dropper and it would still be less than buying the GX build.
  • 1 0
 @porDIOS-porSANTO: they also already reviewed the Hightower.
  • 1 0
 @landscapeben: you running a 26" wheel in those 27.5" Pikes?
  • 38 3
 Geez aluminum framed hard tails over 32 pounds. What a time to be alive.
  • 4 5
 But it's 1500 bucks. You could get it sub 30 for sure but at that price point you're seriously cutting strength.
  • 10 4
 @j-t-g: that giant is lighter and $300 more.

I bought a ti hard tail frame from Asia (100% custom geometry, sliding dropouts, internal routing) for $1100 shipped and finished the build for about $900 more. it weights 26 pounds flat.
  • 20 3
 32 pound hardtails lol whats the point?
  • 10 2
 @reverend27: My aluminum frame, front suspension, fat bike is 32 lbs. I don't get how that Kona is the same weight? Must have some anchors for wheels.
  • 1 1
 @reverend27: n + 1.

Sheesh.
  • 11 0
 @Thisisbenji90: haha, nope just the SX group ( aka boat anchor ).
  • 4 0
 @hamncheez: I don't think a direct to consumer Asian made frame is a fair comparison to an off the shelf bike dollar for dollar. Here, you have an enthusiast picking out part for part exactly what they want who is able to hunt for deals that might only exist for them at a particular time. And you don't need to add a markup on top of any of the stuff you bought to sell it to someone else. PLUS, 900 bucks goes a long way when we're talking the difference between 1500 and 2400.
  • 2 1
 @hamncheez: where did you get your ti frame from? Thanks.
  • 5 0
 Im sorry one of them is almost 35 and it's in the 3k bracket. Well at least this testing ground will shake out how much weight matters on topography that I and many more ride.
  • 1 0
 @vuddha: waltly, although I've been working with them and a few other ti shops in china on my next build, and two weeks ago they ALL stopped responding to my emails, so who knows whats going on over there.
  • 5 1
 The Norco, while steel, is even heavier. No justification for that weight at that price. There are Starling Murmur builds lighter than that without being uber expensive.
  • 22 5
 Freaking out about weight of a hardtail that’s designed to comfortably handle burly terrain? Don’t understand how anyone can focus so much on weight these days when our geo is so spot on, parts are durable and actually work, and bikes are so much more fun than they ever have been! Weight is such an out-dated focus-point for the type of riding that most (I think?) PBers like to do.
  • 3 1
 @babymorox: where is the freaking out
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: more details about this custom ti frame please
  • 3 0
 It's Chromoly.
  • 2 0
 It wont break..
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: you know anything with out a brand name will fall apart and kill you right? Wink
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: fair enough. Delete my first sentence please but my point still stands Smile
  • 7 0
 @babymorox: If that honzo was built with 11 speed SLX, it would be at least 1.5 pounds lighter. If 11 speed XT it would be closer to 2 pounds lighter, and could probably be sold at the same price. 12 speeds gives us very little besides extra weight. I just wish the new box prime 9 had a middle option between the 550 gram cassette and the XTR/Eagle priced cassette.
  • 5 0
 You guys would hate my bikes if you think these are heavy
  • 3 1
 @hamncheez: I want a 9 or 10 speed 10-45 cassette but with all the latest tech and super light. Made like the xx1 10-42 I am currently running.

Could probably get the weight down around 245 grams.
  • 4 0
 @hamncheez: Dude I am actually in total agreement with you about that if your numbers are accurate. That's kinda insane. 11 speed SLX works great, I have it on both my bikes (including my 32 lb steel hardtail Wink ). This is kinda unrelated but I'm with the NSMB guys on this, I would love less, not more, gears for the type of riding I do. Sometimes I think a 3 speed would be perfect, super easy granny gear, trail gear for descending/climbing low angle hills, and a street gear for cruising fast. Probably not possible given the big jumps between gears but a guy can dream eh?
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: but wherefore did it come?
  • 5 0
 @babymorox: You can; run a single speed rear with a chain tensioner and a triple chainring up front!
  • 1 0
 @babymorox: Also this exists, and I considered buying one:

www.aliexpress.com/item/32964386080.html?spm=2114.12010612.8148356.57.162f5492lvsn5B

11-50 10 speed cassette @365 grams. Only issue is that I've heard its as durable as cheese. Box prime 9 is currently our greatest hope.

I'm with you; I'd prefer smaller cassettes, but all full suspension bikes nowadays have their instant centers optimized for 30-32 tooth chainrings, making a 48t or 50t low cog all but a requirement on 29ers. Otherwise I'd die clinging to my 9-42t e*13 cassette, that gives you more range than 11-50 and is super light.
  • 2 1
 My bike, ready to ride, is somewhere around 38-40 pounds (I can't remember, and I don't care). People get way too worked up about it. And of course, I am currently about 5 pounds heavier than I like being at 148 pounds. I wonder how many here can lose more than 5 pounds @quinnltd?
  • 1 0
 @reverend27: the point is that it's an affordable bike?
  • 4 0
 @lehott: cool I disagree.

I dont find a 3k 34lb hardtail any kind of value.
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: my xx1 10-42 weighs 260 grams Im on my 5th chain and its still going strong.

I'm going to need a 9 or 10 speed cassette to be pretty near that 260 mark.
  • 2 0
 All the 3k bikes weigh more than the 2k bikes!
  • 2 0
 @reverend27: fair point
  • 4 0
 @hamncheez: on the other side my xx1 cassette is fused to my expensive Chris King driver and wont come off.

So there's that.
  • 2 0
 @littleskull99: I noticed but i think it might be the forks? To start anyway the cheaper bikes looked like 32mm stanchions.
  • 5 5
 @babymorox: bike weight is 90% a dick measuring contest for middle age dudes with too much money
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: Where id you get your components from That shop should be listed in online deals of the month! $900 for wheels, groupset, brakes fork, stem, bars, dropper, tires, cranks, grips... That's a bargain!
  • 3 0
 @chize: why does that hurt so much
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: I’ve wanted to do that for years with a 2x crank and single in rear. Full sus with a Paul Comp tensioner. Basically an up gear and down gear. Maybe one day when I can have an extra bike just because
  • 2 0
 @quinnltd: they would really hate my bike as its heavy AF.
Weight smeight.
  • 1 1
 @chize: and no strength, fitness or skill. Who gives a f*ck what it weights its how it performs that matters. Give me a heavy bike that rides well over a light bike that is shit to ride anyway.
  • 4 0
 @babymorox: Weight is never going to be unimportant, it's just one of many factors to consider when you're buying a bike and it's all about personal preferences whether you place more emphasis on weight or geo or componentry etc. The key point I that many are making including myself, is that one of the things that draw people to a hardtail option is that they are lighter - or at least they can be... Strength, especially with steel, does not have to equate to a significant weight increase. A friend of mine has a one of a kind steel hardtail that was built for a racing team in the 80's with fairly progressive geo for the time and he rides that thing HARD without any breaks and the bike weighs around 26lb with Cook Bro's cranks - proper old skool!
  • 3 0
 @Rider-TJones:
My friend I grew up biking with had a 24 inch cruiser with a shortage road rear derailleur that was controlled by a brake lever. You would hold it down for starts, and then when you released it you would shift into high gear for the rest of the lap. Pretty sweet set up.

Maybe you could just shift your version with a shock lockout or something like that.
  • 3 0
 @MeloBikeCO: I was just thinking an older X0 2x front derailleur and shifter with a 2x crank of some sorts, then a single ring on rear with a Paul components tensioner that should take care of enough slack to make it possible on a short travel full suspension. It'd be crazy but I wonder if you could run a Etap axs front derailleur from the road side and have it wireless... dreams
  • 2 0
 @Rider-TJones:
I think that it would likely make the most sense to cram 2 or 3 gears on this hub or something like it and run a DH rear derailleur sense you already need a tensioner.

www.profileracing.com/product/elite-boost-mtb-single-speed-cassette-hub

Then you would get the NW ring retension, the clutch derailleur and a 2 or 3 speed set up.

If you really want to shift up front only you could always just go Hammerschmidt 2 speed crank.
  • 1 0
 @Rider-TJones @MeloBikeCO Simplest and best performing would be to just use an old Hammerschmidt.

Also, the appeal of a 10 speed cassette is the larger jumps in shifting. I feel like my 9-42 ten speed has the perfect gear spacing.
  • 1 0
 @MeloBikeCO: hammerschmidt could be a good solution. I don’t think the shifting would be very smooth if only handled in the rear, at least in the gear jumps that I had in mind. The idea of the 2x1 on front was to basically have a dedicated uphill and dedicated downhill gear, so a large gear space that I thought might be handled better on the front. The other idea is that transfers all the weight from the back, to the lowest center point of the bike. All just thoughts and nothing I’ve tried yet. Sure there are a variety of viable options. Fun concept! Thanks for input
  • 1 0
 @Rider-TJones:
Your 2x front set up is a pretty cool idea. Some of the gravel set ups have huge jumps in the front. You can get 44/28 ring set ups pretty easy from a few companies. I just found that the 46 on my gravel bike gets smashed by everything when I go places I probably shouldn't be and am looking to hybrid together a Raceface 2x spider with 38/28 gears onto a Easton road crankset, to get the low q-factor and run one of the ethirteen 9-39 11 spd cassettes to have all the gears. That bike goes all sorts of places it wasn't really meant to, so gearing range has to be huge.
  • 1 0
 @MeloBikeCO: Thanks!

I run a pretty traditional 42t(on the easton cranks) with 10-42 in rear on my gravel bike and haven't had any issues with chainring contact. 46 is monster and not possible with the climbs around me. I take my gravel bike all kinds of places it shouldn't be so I hear ya on that!
  • 2 0
 @Rider-TJones:
I am not in any kind of shape to pedal my bike up the climbs around here with a 1x set up. I weigh a lot and ride logging roads here in the PNW that will include climbs that can average 13% for 1000-1500 feet elevation gain in one shot. Often trying to keep my front wheel on the ground in sections. I also end up on derelict, illegal motorcycle trails with downed trees and stuff on them, which is where I tend to smash my chainring. The bike also does double duty as a road commuter so I like having a long high gear as well.

I currently have a FSA 46/30 upfront and XT 11-42 cassette, with a 105 shifter moving a XT derailleur with the help of a Wolf Tooth Tanpan. When I run the commuter wheels they have an 11-32, remarkably I actually don't have to touch a thing and it shifts just fine once I spaced the cassettes to match.
  • 1 0
 @reverend27: You do realize Steel has the best damping qualities of all normal materials, right? It is also heavier. You really won't be able to tell pedaling a hardtail. You really can't tell me otherwise.
  • 1 0
 @Ajorda: fair enough.
  • 25 0
 2021 Value Trail bike of the year - The Grim Timbit?
  • 3 1
 Naw, they're saving that one for a slack AF run bike
  • 1 0
 Should name the whole fried pastry bike line up perhaps. Futuristic Gravel bike - Cruel Cruller
  • 16 2
 Look at that Giant coming in as the lightest bike! And by quite a ways too! Such an epic ride for the price point. Even the $1500 Stance 2 is 98% as good as this one.
  • 19 1
 Just as long as it doesn't ride like a noodle. That weight has to come from somewhere.
  • 37 3
 It's also got a quick release dropout byeeeeeeeeee
  • 4 2
 Yeah but maybe there's a reason the stays on the giant stance are so light Smile
  • 2 2
 @j-t-g: Yep, same configuration as the 14-16 Trance. Which, I can say from experience, is light and super flexy. Even with the through-axle version.
  • 18 0
 @DaneL: It's an over-cooked noodle.
  • 4 1
 @mikelevy: Didja experience the good ol' Stance snippy snappy stays?
  • 5 1
 @mammal: that would be false. The trance has the lower shock mounted to a pivot. The stance does not it uses a flexstay design and boost 141 spacing. Not in the same bracket as even the older trance. The stance is not rated for jumping/bike park use.
  • 2 2
 @Cspringsrider: Fair enough. So I guess you're suggesting that sharing the same type of un-bridged rocker link, and Giant's super lightweight stay tubing will not result in an incredibly flexy rear end. I also don't imagine that the 14-16 trance was bikepark or jump rated.
  • 4 0
 @mammal: actually it is I have had one for years used at keystone and winter park. The trance has a pivoting rocker link where the stance is solid. The stance is super flexy in a bad way. I worjed at a giant dealer in town for a year and the back cover says on it not for freeride and bike park use. The trance from 14-16 does not share the same warning just checked my owners manual. Not trying to argue just state fact Wink
  • 1 1
 @Cspringsrider: Yet in the video you can see Mike jumping the Stance!
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: they dont have to worry about the warrenty lolz
  • 1 0
 @Cspringsrider: Fair enough. Thanks for the info. I stand corrected on the Stance (but certainly wouldn't ride one)!
  • 2 0
 @mammal: neither would I we agree there. Just test riding those things they creaked under my weight. Great for noobs tho.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: my talon had the same warning didn't keep me from hitting trail features. Just pull the old JRA if you have issues lolz
  • 3 0
 @j-t-g:
they got redesigned for 2020, unsurprisingly. I wouldn’t worry about a beginner learning how to ride trails on this in terms of stiffness.

However, the cheapest trance platforms have much nicer frames and start a bit over 2 grand. Never saw the point in stocking an 1800$ stance when the trance is a couple hundred more, and the stance without a dropper post and admittedly worse suntour suspension is $1500. It’s a weird price point in their lineup and I’m not sure why people would want that package. Just get the cheaper one and smack a brand x dropper on it and use it for a few years I’d you’re on a budget.

@mammal
The stays of the stance are designed to flex for compliance throughout the rear travel. I believe trek, specialized, and cannondale have all done this in recent years on lightweight platforms. That being said, I haven’t liked any of them lol. I do keep a ‘20 stance 2 at the house for friends/beginner riders to rip around on though.

The stays of the trance weren’t designed in this way as there’s two links in the maestro system, with a bridge on the non-drive side, with no vertical flex being designed in to compensate for a lack of linkages.
  • 2 0
 @parkourfan: couldnt have said it better
  • 1 1
 Vitus will smoke that Giant
  • 1 1
 @headshot: hell yeah 100%
  • 1 0
 And it did smoke the Giant. Sorry Giant fanboys.
  • 14 1
 The most expensive bike in the test is a hardtail? Weird...
  • 22 0
 coz #steelisreal
  • 7 0
 At least they spec'd a good fork
  • 1 0
 I don't know why they didn't do the price point version of the torrent. They picked the baller one lol. Or maybe that's what Norco sent them.
  • 9 0
 @j-t-g: we wanted a hardtail in each of the price point brackets (3K and 2K).
  • 2 1
 Strange that the most expensive bike is one of the only ones with an NX spec.
  • 7 0
 @shaney223, the derailleur, shifter and cassette are GX - it's just the cranks that are NX on the Torrent.
  • 9 0
 Hill climb challenge prediction:

First bikes up don't do well.

Last bikes up do very well.

Conclusion: learning a technical climb takes time.
  • 9 0
 A genuinely good idea, at a time we'll all want interesting coverage to keep our brains engaged. Looking forward to it!
  • 9 0
 You'll need a wide-angle lens for the round table. Social distancing ya'll!
  • 9 0
 Pre-pandemic Wink
  • 11 2
 I just put aHonzo together and it slays everything!!! #yearofthehardtail !!!
  • 1 0
 Man I absolutely love my Honzo! I'm still in the market for picking up a new full squish bike, but I love that I'm not still on the search for a new hardtail--the Honzo has fit the bill perfectly for me. Had a few shuttle days with it, and after the guy has lugged a row of full suspension bikes off the trailer, there's always a comment 'Wow, this thing is light!' Smile . Have to dial in back a few clicks in the rough stuff, but been a blast to ride.
  • 8 0
 Good job Mike and Mike... so tired of all the wankers complaining about you didn’t test this ...you didn’t test that... SHADDUP!!!
  • 10 5
 Personally I find the web settings really annoying that always makes the pictures and videos fill the full width of the screen, it always chops the top/bottom of the image off and makes watching videos surreptitiously at work more of a pain! What does everyone else think?
  • 19 1
 I'm browsing on a 27" 5k iMac, the photos like stellar. The fact that the photos actually fill up my screen is one of my favorite bits of these reviews.
  • 8 0
 They're letting you work in an office?
  • 2 1
 @yonderboy:
He lives in the UK....
  • 1 0
 @vuddha: They were sheltering in place with the rest of the world, last I heard
  • 3 1
 @Thisisbenji90: 27” is dead bro, 29” is where its at.
  • 1 0
 I also only really browse on my 27in mac. Love photos on it. @Thisisbenji90:
  • 9 0
 35lb trail bikes. Literally weighs more than a new gambler.
  • 7 0
 That looks like a Session
  • 9 0
 The Norco Torrent looks rad!!
  • 4 0
 Rides rad too.
  • 5 0
 I'm a Norco Fan. I own one of their gravel bikes and love it. My MTB Guerilla Gravity Trail Pistol, and for just a few hundred dollars more than what the price of that Norco Hardtail is listed for you can get a GG Trail pistol. While I'm sure that Norco is a sick bike I personally couldn't justify it. Really curious what the price dropped to.
  • 1 0
 Margins lol the bike is just so clean , but it should be a tad cheaper
  • 1 0
 Look at the T2 model under 2k.
  • 4 0
 Mike and Mike,

My lawyer will be sending you a cease and desist order shortly....This content will likely be damaging to my ego ( on my current 10,000 bike)and limit my ability to purhcase $11,000 bike next year. This will force us to buy bike below our station and allow spouse to stop teir partners from buying said bikeonthreat of divorse ( or sleeping on the couch). The bike industry will fall into ruin as the technology from my former 10.000 bikes wont trickle down and all progress on bikes will stop forever. PB will be forced into bankrupcy due to no advertising funds, the used bike market will dry up, only Walmart and costco will sell bikes. This is not the time for budget friendly holy shit we are screwed help you survive the great economic depression to come bike review....You need to give me the info I need to buy my new top end bike to give the people hope in these dark times.

You can't do this too us...please dont post it...
  • 7 0
 I'm super stoked for these tests! I freaking love pinkbike!
  • 6 0
 Bossnut is going to own this test
  • 3 0
 Bossnut for the win!! I wish it was easily available in the US, such a value and for what I read it only rips!!!
  • 2 0
 It's definitely going to own where straight value is concerned.
  • 3 0
 Bossnut is such an ESL name.
  • 3 0
 You guys obviously have connections to get your hands on a Calibre. Can you give them a social distance punch for us that have seen "coming soon" on their international delivery for at least 6 months.
  • 3 1
 With so many comments about the Ripmo AF and others (but mainly the AF), we really need to somehow capture that without giving it a full review. We need like an "other contenders to consider" section at the end with a quick summary blurb on each of them. Perhaps a subjective ranking from a few of the test riders. I think the goal is to not highlight a few nice value bikes but to give users a decent article that coagulates and compares the top options within a price point.
  • 5 2
 Dear Pinkbike thank you for this test! Just wondering why not included Marin Rift Zone 3. Great value for money and sub 3000 usd
  • 5 0
 Been looking forward to this one. Rooting for the Torrent.
  • 3 0
 I can't find any evidence that you can get Calibre bikes shipped to the US. The gooutdoors.co.uk site says it doesn't ship internationally...
  • 7 1
 I WANT THAT NORCO!!!
  • 1 0
 As owner of the "heavy" Norco Torrent hardtail I can say that yes it feels heavy and this is making me push a bit harder, because then you do not feel the weight that much. It is a big and heavy frame also it has bih 35mm 800mm wide bars which adds to the final weight. The ugliest part of it is actuallu the stem which alone look like it wighs 1kg at least Smile
Nevertheless it is not the weigh which concerns me most - in my opinion the BB should be a little lower on this bike. Anyway I am interested to see how the heavy-hard-tail Smile compares to the full suss bikes. Cheers!
  • 1 0
 Fantastic article initiative. I live on and Island so there is not a lot of space to ride so we make the most of it. Yet I have seen new comers to the sport spend way too much on a bike they will likely ride 3-4x a month based on an impression that spending over 3K grantees them less issues, more fun and better quality.
This and the articles resonate with my belief about the sub $3k bike being the sweet spot for general MTBrs.
  • 1 0
 This looks great, really looking forward to the reviews.

At a whopping 5'9" I'm just bummed it's almost all 29ers again (and the one 27.5" bike will probably have that pointed out in the cons). Will still read with a lot of interest as it should give some idea of how their 27.5" counterparts behave (where and while still applicable until they sadly go the way of 26").

Really cool to see what manufacturers are doing at this price point in 2020 and I like the potential upgrade comments.
  • 4 1
 Oh, the weights.... I just built Dartmoor Primal 27,5 that weights 12,9kg for 1200$
  • 3 0
 Thanks to the Pinkbike guys for the bike reviews. They just really cut me a list of what I'd like to ride on.
  • 2 0
 Canyon Neuron Al 7.0 would have made great addition at $2300. I bought one last year and have loved it. Value is great for build, but frame is still solid too.
  • 2 0
 Something to read other than COVID-19 news!

Thanks for the great work, and of course, I'll be here refreshing the Pinkbike page at 12:01 every day as usual Smile .
  • 3 0
 Can't wait to get my $1000 COVID-19 stimulus check to blow on one of these!!!
  • 3 0
 "All of the bikes had less than 140mm of rear travel". Then look at Jeffsy...
  • 3 0
 All the bikes but one have 140mm rear travel, Jeffesy has 150mm. Not that is makes a saft of difference.
  • 2 0
 “All bikes have 140mm rear travel or less.”

First bike: 150mm rear travel.

Regardless, a great set of reviews and some solid bikes for the price points.
  • 1 0
 Looking forward to the reading material over the next little while.

I also noted that the four lower price point bikes were lighter than all the higher group... but tended to have shorter travel. Was this a conscious decision or just a result of entry level longer travel bikes commanding a higher price point?
  • 1 0
 I was expecting to see the Marin Rift Zone. Still looking forward to seeing how these bikes fair. I keep looking at the Vitus bikes. Hoping they would be a good value bike to recommend someone getting into the sport.
  • 2 0
 Out of curiosity @mikekazimer, why is it that HTA is the only geometry noted in the summaries at the top of the page?
  • 3 0
 No particular reason - you'll be able to see more detailed specs in each review video / article.
  • 3 4
 Very ice one and why not just put some 3 to 4 year bikes in the test to see if it is much of a difference cause I can see a 2017 Bronson and many of that time bikes being up to that (expect the wheel size),cause in the numbers tell you what they will make a fight and maybe surprise in the all mountain category,just saying
  • 20 0
 Yup, there are a lot of things we could have done, but there's only so much time.
  • 26 0
 Anyone wanna see a top gear (old version) style test where the presenters are given an absurdly low budget to purchase whatever they can and then have to ride the bike in an absurd series of tests culminating in levy saying “how hard can it be?”
  • 3 0
 @gotohe11carolina: Yes, this would be amazing. Make a few of the PB editors/writers purchase whatever they can for less than $1000 and then do timed runs on an Enduro style loop. What a great write up that would be.
  • 1 0
 @gotohe11carolina: OMG yes. $20 on Levy, regardless of whether we're talking cars or bikes.
  • 1 0
 @gotohe11carolina: GMBN have done that with their cheap bike challenge
  • 3 0
 Is it still a roundtable discussion if its only Mike and Mike?
  • 8 0
 Acrosstable discussion?
  • 1 0
 Next time do it over a checkers board Smile
  • 2 0
 If you are using the Jeffsy why not use the Comp 29 model? $3K for a legit carbon trail bike is hard to beat...
  • 2 0
 Because PB commentators hate Carbon.
  • 3 4
 honestly. The Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt A10 is $2499 canadian thats $1700 american, has dropper, 140/140 is lighter than most these bikes, has adjustable geometery and the same frame as the $4000 A50. How is that not on this list? Shimano components all the way around... What the heck guys? don't sleep on the Rocky's!
  • 21 1
 "How is XXXXXX not included?!?!?!" There are a lot of bikes out there Smile
  • 3 8
flag maxgod (Mar 23, 2020 at 15:08) (Below Threshold)
 27.5 is dead anyway
  • 2 1
 RM sent one but Levy pulled it out of the box too hard and it cracked. User error obviously.
  • 3 0
 Calibre looks good, straight lines win the beauty contest, always.
  • 3 0
 That Norco is silly expensive.
  • 1 0
 I agree, when it was first announced I was scratching my head where your money went, considering the frames are pretty reasonably priced. I guess a large part is eaten up by that fork, which now run more than factory fox stuff somehow.
  • 2 0
 Everyone whinging about hardtails being heavy seem to be really quiet about the Santa Cruz being over 35lbs
  • 3 0
 The YT Jeffsy has 150mm front AND rear not 140mm in the rear
  • 1 1
 Pinkbike doesn't seem to review very many specialized products.. I can think of a few bikes from specialized that could make this list. The Chisel and the Stumpjumper are pretty great for the value!
  • 1 0
 We did include the Fuse in the value portion of last year's Field Test: www.pinkbike.com/news/field-test-hardtails-marin-san-quentin-3-vs-specialized-fuse-comp-29.html.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: I remember that. I guess that there are a lot of bikes to choose from, so it is probably difficult to make everybody happy!
  • 1 0
 @TheWizardofSWAG: in the last year we reviewed the Enduro and the Fuse in the Field Test, did a standard review on the Kenevo, plus did extensive first rides on the Epic HT, Demo, and others. Smile
  • 2 0
 Own a Norco Torrent HT S1 and a full sus.... I find myself going for the Torrent every time....so much fun
  • 1 0
 Love this! Wish Bible of Bikes would take a note from this competition. This is the price point most people are at, and probably the best value anyway.
  • 2 0
 Yes! The Vitus is my top pick for my next bike!
  • 2 0
 Just ordered the 27.5 version on Friday for my son. Hope it tests out OK.
  • 5 3
 Only one out of the eight is a 27.5? Uff...
  • 2 0
 I had to google to find out what horchata is.....
  • 8 0
 It's the nectar of life.
  • 1 0
 @BartDM @lake-st ...I had to google what a saft was...and I think that makes a difference.
  • 3 1
 By the way i love this content, but where is the donut ride review??????
  • 2 0
 I'll be waiting for the value burrito comparison.
  • 6 0
 In Sedona, Tortas del Fuego is the winner.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Tortas de Fuego wins for burrito ingredients, but Los Betos wins for burrito value.
  • 2 1
 Norco you sneaky little bat eaters did you think no one would notice its a hardtail!!
  • 1 0
 McDonald's diet bikes field test. All of them above 15 kg with pedals, madness
  • 1 0
 As someone who only gets value bikes, thank you for doing articles like this. Looking forward to all the impressions.
  • 1 0
 Thanks PB..soooo need this right now. I hope you don't say Covid or pandemic in any of the videos!
  • 1 0
 How many times you reviewing Santa Cruz pinkbike????????????????????????????????
  • 2 0
 This is great!
  • 1 0
 Great article, video PB, thanks!
  • 1 0
 now this is what i want to see!
  • 1 0
 Levy going into the cactus haha!
  • 1 0
 This looks great and well thought out, looking forward to seeing the rest!
  • 1 0
 So stoked on this field trip test, I want that Jeffsy
  • 1 0
 First and : what the hell is a horchata?
  • 1 0
 Nice, i believe we will se some awesome content!
  • 1 0
 Levy probably has better pedals than Kazimer.
  • 3 0
 I disagree - his pedals broke and mine didn't.... Shimano FTW.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: So if you guys aren't breaking frames, you're breaking pedals?
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Ya got me there.
  • 1 0
 I’m just here for the RIPMO AF and and Heavy AF Steel bike comments...
  • 1 0
 120-140 travel but first bike say 150. hmm
  • 1 0
 You dont want a floppy front end...
  • 1 0
 Trail Hardtail should be in it's own category.
  • 1 0
 What jacket are you wearing in the intro picture, Mike? @mikelevy Thanks!
  • 1 1
 How is there nothing from Marin here?
  • 1 0
 That was my thought too. The Rift Zone has a brand new Geo this year. Probably more up to date than the majority of these bikes.
  • 1 1
 Grim Donut needs to be added to the test group.
  • 1 2
 HOW COULD THE MARIN SAN QUENTIN NOT BE ON HERE?????
ID RATHER RIDE MINE THAT AN S WORKS.
  • 10 0
 Shhhh, no need to yell. We included the San Quentin in last year's value bike portion of the Field Test: www.pinkbike.com/news/field-test-hardtails-marin-san-quentin-3-vs-specialized-fuse-comp-29.html.
  • 1 0
 grim donut
  • 1 0
 Who?
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