Tag on "value" to "Mountain Bike of the Year" and it conjures up images of less-than-desirable components and second-tier frame construction. This year's winner, however alters that perception in every respect. It's not perfect, but it makes a good case for it.
Before we break the news, this is a good time to point out that this year was the first since we began our year-end awards that the landscape of value priced, high-performance mountain bikes was well represented. So much so that selecting our four nominees; the Vitus Escarpe, 29 VR, Marin's Alpine Trail 7, Ibis' Ripmo AF, and Guerrilla Gravity's Trail Pistol, was more of a celebration of a new and welcome era than a heated debate here at PB. So congratulations to all the nominees, including our surprising winner:
VALUE MOUNTAIN BIKE OF THE YEAR
Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol
Carbon front triangle, made in Colorado, competitively priced, and you can customize its spec and ride dynamics.
Guerrilla Gravity’s 29-inch-wheel Trail Pistol emerged from our most recent Field Tests
as a surprising favorite. Labeled in the downcountry category, it proved itself worthy on the climbs, and wowed us with a mixture of capable handling at speed and downright enjoyable manners everywhere else. Standard builds feature impressive component selections, beginning at $3,695 and topping out at $5,895 for the Race model featured in the Field Test review. The frame only is priced at $2,195, which isn't far off from the price of an aluminum frame from many other companies.
Keep in mind that we're talking about a made-in-Colorado frame and that price becomes all the more impressive. It's also worth noting that there's a difference between a good value and something being 'cheap." Even the entry-level Guerrilla Gravity will still cost you a decent chunk of change, but when it's compared it to other carbon bikes, the value becomes evident.
New for 2020, the carbon version of the Trail Pistol features a flip chip on the upper link that alters the suspension feel from firm to supple. Up front, a similar flip chip arrangement at the headset lengthens or shortens the reach by ten millimeters. Add that adjustability to its modern numbers and already dialed-in handling and you get a machine that can make almost any trail rider happy.
Guerilla Gravity goes one step further by offering customers the option to tailor their component selections and even offers custom colors and the ability to purchase a different swingarm to convert a bike from one model to another. Oh, and there's a 'secret menu
' version of the Trail Pistol called the Pistola that has 130mm of rear travel (up from 120mm) thanks to a longer stroke shock. That's a lot of options for a bike that claims to be a cross-country oriented trail machine, but that's how Guerrilla Gravity rolls.
The Trail Pistol's rival nominees also scored high marks for handling, component selection and value. The Ibis Ripmo AF earned our respect for the most bang for for the least amount of bucks, followed closely by the long-legged Marin Alpine Trail 7 and downcountry Vitus Escarpe 29 VR.
Guerrilla Gravity's Trail Pistol, however, takes the win for Value Mountain Bike of the Year because it offers a customizable, elite-level chassis and (thanks to its direct-sales model), builds priced almost a thousand dollars below the most well respected brands. Plus, it's an opportunity to own a truly customized, made-in-USA boutique bike with a distinctive profile.
Congratulations to Guerilla Gravity's Trail Pistol: 2019 Pinkbike Value Mountain Bike of the Year.