Value Mountain Bike of the Year Nominees
There's no hiding that mountain biking is an expensive sport, and inflation hasn't helped that situation. More often than not though, bike companies send out the top of the line model to test because they want us to have the best experience possible. We all love riding the latest and greatest gizmos - don't get us wrong - but what about the folks out there that don't want to splurge on all the carbon parts and electronic components? They still want to ride just as fast and far as anyone else.
The truth of the matter is, those luxuries won't make up for poor suspension kinematics or goofy geometry. Pushing value bikes just as hard as their more expensive competitors can be quite humbling. Plus, we still have a ton of fun when we do test a bike that doesn't stretch to a five-digit price tag, provided it doesn't fall apart. That's why we give an award to the real hero of the bunch - the Value Bike of the Year.
The nominees for the 2022 Pinkbike Value Mountain Bike of the Year, in ascending price, are the Marin Team Marin 1, Specialized Status 140, Canyon Spectral 125 AL 6 and Norco Fluid FS A1.
Why it's nominated
If the price wasn't a dead giveaway why the Marin Team Marin 1 was included in the nominees, let me explain - you can ride legit trails on this $1,600 bike. That was the price of my first real bike way back when and it didn't have disc brakes or a 12-speed drivetrain. A short stem and 67-degree head tube make for some quick handling, but that's what makes the Team Marin 1 such a blast in rolling single track. Yes, you might want to add a dropper post, but people rode bikes off-road for decades without them, and still do. Fortunately, building a list of upgrades is a worthwhile venture for this value bike nominee.
Marin built this hardtail to bring beginners into racing cross-country and it sure as heck will help more people catch the mountain bike bug.FULL REVIEW
Why it's nominated
The Specialized Status 140 is all about bopping about on the trail, which equates to tons laughs and air time. What it doesn't add up to is a lot of cash in order to do so. The barrier to entry for this bike that can pedal all day or lap jump lines is only $3,000 USD, and it can ship right to your door. That's a new method of sales from Specialized and is designed to reach riders that might reside beyond their dealer network. If the 140mm of travel isn't enough, there's also a 160mm version for the same price. Both builds include quality Specialized rubber, Fox air suspension, a SRAM NX 12-speed drivetrain, and an X-Fusion dropper post.
The Specialized Status is a relatively low-cost package deal to try your hand at enduro racing or sessioning your local neighbourhood jumps.FULL REVIEW
Why it's nominated
Ok, let's get the weight out of the way first. The Spectral 125 AL 6 is not a light short-travel bike, but this was never meant to be an XC featherweight. Solid DT-Swiss wheels keep the rolling components round under abusive riders and an actual full-Shimano SLX groupset (no skimping on the cassette). The angles are also quite aggressive for the 125mm of rear wheel travel. To keep you out of trouble, the build is backed by a 140mm Fox 36 and wrapped with Maxxis 3C tires. Really though, I can't find a flaw in this build, especially when you consider the price is $3,500.
The Canyon Spectral 125 AL 6 is capable of more than your typical short-travel bike with a strong focus on descending.FULL REVIEW
Why it's nominated
Balancing the specs, pricing, geometry and appearance of a mountain bike isn't an easy task, but Norco did just that with the Fluid FS A1. At $3,999, it's the most expensive of the bunch. Remember though, we're talking about value and not budget. What you get is bang for your buck. Sharp components, the right angles, and quality suspension, plus, it's still a workhorse. In our Fall Field Test, it went up against larger trail bikes that were more than double the price and held its own. It didn't shine in any one particular corner - it simply performed well everywhere.
Norco has built the Honda Civic of bikes. The Fluid FS A1 is simple, effective, well-priced and steps up the component choices in key areas.FULL REVIEW
What your comment reminded me of was Vitus, a company that is very much in its golden era price-wise, I'm astounded they aren't on this list. The Sommet CRS will set you back $3,900. A carbon frame, Zeb Select, Super Deluxe Select+, SLX Drivetrain, SLX brakes, and a set of hardy Neutron V2 wheels. Vitus won't even skimp on tires, Maxxgrip Exo+ on the front, and Maxxterra DD on the back.
Now the $1600 Marin above is 100x the bike of that 1989 bike I had, for a fraction of adjusted price....
Even the A4 for just over $2k has a great spec for the price. I'd probably find a way to swap out that fork, but other than that, everything else is pretty good to go (maybe tires? Don't know anything about those good year's).
The problem is that whilst inflation has upped the price of everything, your wages are pretty much what they were 15 years ago, combined with housing costs that have been artificially inflated to provide the illusion of ‘growth’. I’m not defending the bike industry (Santa Cruz and NX drivetrains) but the anger is better directed towards a series of Western governments who have consistently made their citizens poorer whilst enriching the few at your expense.
Analog just sits.
My 2nd hand jeffsy has been solid for 2 years I've had it so far.
I've helped 4 people get into riding over the past few years by helping them buy used bikes... all were great deals for great bikes that are still running strong. I've bought 3 used bikes for my kids over the past few years. Last year picked up a barely used mint 2018 Rocky Reaper for $1500! Have bought 3 used bikes for my wife over the past number of years. Lastest was a Norco Sight that someone bought, used 3 times and it sat in her garage for a year before she decided to sell it for a steal.
If you do your research and know what you're doing.... lots of fantastic deals are out there. I've found that key is... if you're looking, be watching often (multiple times a day). The best deals I've found is because I saw the ad within 10 to 30 mins of posting and was the first person to contact them and made a reasonable offer right away and came to check it out and pick up that day.
Now id be hesitant if buying a used enduro or any other that has had major recalls/warranty issues past years.
[prices at cost to consumer given purchase of full bike]
-Make an aluminum full suspension frame with geometry that's approximately 1 year old [+$700]
-Put some middle of the road suspension on it [+$800]
-Middle of the road SLX-esque group [+$1000 with wheels etc.]
-House brand bits and bobs including a dropper [+$400]
I think that's reasonably conservative and gets you a great bike someone could buy for less than $3k that performs just below the Norco above. I'd love for a product manager/rep from a big company to open up a book and tell my why they couldn't do this with a bike any day of the week.
It bothers the hell out of me that employee pricing is almost always 50% off. Can we open up the middle of the road, high-performing bikes to some people by making margins more like 25%? It just pisses me off.
We’re lucky in the U.K. that a few companies are actually pretty much doing what you suggest. Privateer and Vitus, Ragley and Nukeproof all make (relatively) good value aluminium frames with decent geometry. I’m not sure whether there’s an equivalent in North America.
Norco Team Norco 1
Trek Team Trek 9.9 RSL
Rocky Mountain Team Rocky Mountain 40
Canyon Team Canyon 3
Santa Cruz Team Santa Cruz 4
NS Bikes Team NS Bikes 2
But the price the big S sold the status for around Black Friday/cyber Monday.... dang dude. Best deal I've seen in the industry in a long long time.
Aside: This is a big deal because they also unloaded a ton on dealers without telling them they where having a online fire sale.
Sorry, miss jackson.
for 3.7k, which seems to be the very same bike. Doesn't matter much, since you can't get them anyway.
It would also put an end to Cool Todd, that guy at a trailhead near you who wastes way too much of your time telling you why the DHR is better in the front/the DHF is better in the back.
Look harder? I guess they didn't call it the "DHR 1" though.
value is pretty relative with a range of $1,600 through $3,999.)
Why do we not see Pivot reviews or press outside of their team riders? They seem like great bikes.
Radon Skeen trail / Slide trail
There is no "would of," but there is a "would have."
I'll fcuk off now.
But, you seem like you're a decent fella, so Merry Christmas.
PB Commenter- proceeds to b*tch about price.
Good (if not outstanding) quality, generally reluctant to jump on new trends, traditionally a little conservative in terms of colour and design. You know it’ll work out of the box but might not be the most exciting prospect.
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