Video: 6 Downcountry Bikes Ridden & Rated - Field Test Roundtable

Nov 3, 2022 at 17:36
by Matt Beer  


PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
Downcountry Bikes Roundtable






Predominantly French-speaking, the residents of Quebec are major recreationalists and have been hosting mountain bike events on purpose-built trails for decades. Take the notoriously demanding Mont St. Anne World Cup cross-country track, for example. Jagged bedrock, mud-covered roots, and sandy berms have claimed more than a few rims and tires from the world’s best. Quebec’s trail networks do have it all. What better of place to base ourselves for another Downcountry Field Test?

For those not in tune with the bike category inadvertently popularized by Mike Levy, it would best be explained as building an XC race bike to have some fun with off the clock and outside the tape. There are no rules to a downcountry bike, just go out there to pedal hard and put some miles behind you.

As per usual, the bikes we’ve rallied for each have their own flavor and features that set them apart in the garage and out on the trails. From very expensive carbon component packages to affordable aluminum steeds, the rear travel ranged between a minuscule 100mm on the skinny Ibis Exie to 125-millimeter equipped RSD Wildcat.

More doesn’t always mean better though. That DW-link suspension on the Exie blew our minds when it came to keeping the rear wheel on the ground, both up and downhill. That trait had us second-guessing its true travel number.

Those two letters “DW” stand for Dave Weagle, a legendary name in the world of bicycle suspension. He’s the man behind the dual link design on Ibis bikes and the DELTA system used on Evil’s fleet, including the Following. This trail shredder isn’t afraid to lean into a corner or pop a sizeable gap. In fact, it left us pondering if the geometry was holding it back from getting wilder on the 120mm trail demon.

Both the BMC Fourstroke 01 LT One and the Lapierre XRM 8.9, the two long-shocked XC-race bikes in the test, couldn’t shake their firm pedalling platforms. We’d go on to discuss how effectively their suspension performed and how efficiently they pedalled.

Clear as day, the winner out on the trail had to be the goldilocks of the bunch, Allied’s new BC40. Not only did the build have the right ratio of travel to weight, but the geometry let us attack downhills, without getting too carried away, and still punch it uphill. Although it was the most expensive bike, it did have a few flaws when we got nit-picky.

We expected to have a couple of mechanicals and certainly a handful of flat tires, given the amount of rock rolls and dirt doubles we came across on such quality level trails, but any mishaps came from negligence and not workmanship. Come to think of it, we didn’t even experience one flat tire.

Be sure to check out all of the videos to see the torment that we pushed these short-travel bikes through and all the laughs that were had out in Quebec.



6 Downcountry Bikes


Quebec Field Test Tom Richards photo
BMC Fourstroke 01 LT ONE
• Travel: 120mm / 120mm
• Carbon frame
• RAD 80mm integrated dropper
• 66.5º head angle
• Reach: 440mm (med)
• 74.8º seat angle
• 429mm chainstays
• Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
• Weight: 25.2 lb / 11.4 kg
• Price: $8,999 USD
• More info: www.bmc-switzerland.com
RSD Wildcat
• Travel: 125mm rear, 140mm fork
• Aluminum frame
• 65° head-tube angle
• Reach: 462mm (med)
• 76º seat tube angle
• 425-440mm chainstays
• Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
• Weight: 34.2 lb / 15.5 kg
• Price: $3,999 USD
rsdbikes.com

Ibis Exie
• Travel: 100mm rear / 120mm fork
• Carbon frame
• 67.2° head-tube angle
• Reach: 439mm (med)
• 73.8–75.9° seat-tube angle
• 435mm chainstays
• Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
• Weight: 24.6 lb / 11.1 kg
• Price: $10,048 USD
www.ibiscycles.com
Evil Following
• Travel: 120mm rear / 130mm fork
• Carbon frame
• 66.9 / 66.4º head angle
• Reach: 460mm
• 76º / 75.5º seat tube angle
• 430 / 432mm chainstays
• Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
• Weight: 13.04 kg / 28.75 lb
• Price: $9,050 USD
evil-bikes.com

Lapierre XRM 8.9
Lapierre XRM 8.9
• Travel: 110mm rear / 120mm fork
• Carbon frame
• 66º head angle
• Reach: 440mm
• 74.5º seat tube angle
• 435mm chainstays
• Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
• Weight: 12.0 kg / 26.5 lb
• Price: 5,199 EUR
lapierrebikes.com
Quebec Field Test Tom Richards photo
Allied BC40
• Travel: 120mm
• Carbon frame
• 66.5º head angle
• Reach: 445mm (med)
• 76º seat angle
• 435mm chainstays
• Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
• Weight: 24.9 lb / 11.2 kg
• Price: $10,755 USD
• More info: www.alliedcycleworks.com

Which Downcountry bike would you most like to ride?







The 2022 Downcountry Field Test is presented by Quebec City Mountain Bike, Sweet Protection and Specialized Ground Control Tires





151 Comments

  • 117 2
 I am angry that the bike I own was not reviewed, because it is the best bike for everyone under all riding conditions.
  • 37 0
 Considering we ride the same bike I consider you a person of good taste in bicycles.
  • 8 0
 I too agree everyone should own the bike I own, and ride it and think it the best bike ever made
  • 13 0
 @Hg1: It seems we are both insecure and require external validation
  • 11 7
 Which bike would you most like to ride?

None of the above
  • 25 0
 @NorthYorkWhale: @Hg1: I completely disagree! How can we be superior to other riders if they are all riding the best bike ever made?

It reminds me of the time I was passed on a climb by a guy on a Walmart bike with the seat entirely to low …. I still regret not being able to catch him to tell let him know he was doing everything wrong.
  • 7 11
flag Yaan (Nov 4, 2022 at 11:47) (Below Threshold)
 @skiwenric: no kidding, 10K USD for 120mm travel bike is laughable
  • 10 0
 @skiwenric: everyone wants to ride a 200mm travel downcountry bike.
  • 3 0
 @Yaan: unless that's the bike you already own. Then you're laughing for a different reason?
  • 6 1
 @Yaan: because travel and cost are somehow correlated?
  • 1 2
 @sspiff: Well a 200mm travel fork costs for than a 120mm so I guess that's your answer.
  • 1 0
 @pgomez: never going to own one
  • 1 0
 @NorthYorkWhale: For a second I thought this was written by my sister-in-law.
  • 1 0
 @Yaan: what does the amount of travel have to do with the cost?
  • 4 0
 @dllawson819: good point. I don’t want anyone to actually buy the same bike as me, I just want everyone to recognize that my bike, and by extension me, are superior in every way.
  • 1 0
 @skiwenric: so true, i want a chromag monk or pbj
  • 37 0
 Still not convinced that a rock puncturing a frame can be blamed on negligence, not workmanship. Maybe if you bashed it against a rocky ledge on a challenging climb or bad line choice on rocky descent, but I think someone mentioned it was descending on a fire road. No excuse for that kind of failure...
  • 3 0
 I'd guess that they would have dwelled on the puncture more if they had liked the way the Lapierre rode. Even if they should have made a bigger deal of the frame damage it would have felt like kicking a guy that's already down.
  • 6 5
 @kcy4130: Who cares? These reviews are intended to be for the benefit of the consumer. The sad reality is that not all of us are dentists with thriving practices and who can afford to regularly shrug off frame replacements.
  • 4 0
 @BigMulaCeazy: It's not like they covered it up. They just didn't rub salt in the wound.
  • 2 2
 @kcy4130: Sir, that was pure finery.
  • 39 2
 COMPARE THESE BIKES TO PAST DC FIELDTEST WINNERS.

Yes, I'm SHOUTING, because we asked you to do this nicely last time, everyone agreed it was a good idea, and now here we are again with zero comparisons.

It would massively increase the value of these field tests to relate them back to previous tests - at least for the class leaders. Knowing how the best climbing / descending / overall bikes in this test fair against those respective winners from the last test allows us to carry over so many more relative considerations. Instead, we have five or six more bikes in isolation each time you do a test.

So many of the things you're saying about the Allied (a bike VERY few would see in shops or trails) seem to echo what was said about the Epic Evo (a bike most of us have some connection to).

HOW DO THEY COMPARE?
  • 39 2
 Marry the RSD, boff the Allied, kill the Lapierre. Oh wait, a minor rock strike already killed the Lapierre.
  • 26 0
 The following is a trail bike?

Idk, I consider a downcountry bike to be a raked out XC race bike under 26lbs.
  • 12 2
 Spur with XO1 build is 25.2 lbs, with Deore build is 29.4 lbs, so it is but it isn't?
  • 4 1
 @DizzyNinja: I'm replacing my blur 110 with a 120 SC 34 with a spur at some point for my "xc" bike. Idk, I have owned an evil (insurgent) and have ridden the following. The following is much bigger than it rides. I would feel comfortable on a following on more stuff than a spur, no?
  • 9 0
 I fully believe if your bike isn't a race specific build, a dj or dh bike its a "trail bike" regardless of travel.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: AKA mountain bike..
I ride my DH on climby xc rides & my 120 mm Pistol on DH terrain. All depends on how sendy you wanna get.
  • 4 2
 I don’t get it, what’s with steep head angles. Even with 120mm of travel up front all the more reason to have slack geo to make it more fun. I have never once thought ‘whoa this head angle is too slack’ even when climbing.
  • 2 1
 @blackthorne: This is the main reason I want to get rid of my blur and get a spur. I'm not racing and want a lightweight trail bike that handles most of the terrain when I'm not riding my 170 enduro.
  • 2 0
 You can get a Following under 26lbs without going radically crazy. I just borrowed one for BC Bike Race that was 24lb 5oz w/o pedals, though as a non-XC guy, I added a few lbs in my preferred tires and other contact points....
  • 1 0
 @eljefespeaks: how did they do that? I have a Following V3 with the lightest kit available, 120 SC forks, 1300g wheels and so on and mines 27.8 pound.
  • 1 0
 @deathbystereo: also wondering this. A spur with real tires (which I value probably the most on a 120 "trail" bike) is still under 25.5
  • 1 0
 @deathbystereo: I should slightly re-phrase - it was done up as an XC-ready race machine with Sid Ultimate, Level Ultimate, light wheels, XC race tires, Ti bits and other weight conscious decisions, ie light and strong, not cheap. I raced it at about 28lbs with Maxxis Dissector / Specialized Ground Controls tires, plus my contact points (heavier seat, seatpost, bar, pedals) as I'm decidedly NOT an XC racer and not used to full on XC tires, and it performed absolutely awesomely for me (again, as a non-XC guy who was happy to be on a bike waaaaaay lighter than my usual rig)
  • 1 0
 @eljefespeaks: nice one. Thanks for the info
  • 24 1
 Still no comparison to other previously reviewed bikes, Epic Evo, Spur, Blur, etc? Just going to leave that for the comment warriors, eh?
  • 2 0
 Yup. Always wonder this. Wouldn't be surprised if the Epic Evo, though it's several years old, still comes out as one of the best bikes in this lineup.
  • 4 0
 100%! I want to know the comparison vs. the spur?!

In fairness, they did include some more references in the enduro field test earlier this year talking about current bikes vs. Specialized enduro
  • 2 1
 @pgomez: $1,000 says you own an epic Evo???
  • 25 7
 New Orbea Oiz was just released yesterday to crash this party.
25 lbs, full carbon (w/ carbon wheels), Fox Factory and XT for $6k.....game, set, match
www.orbea.com/us-en/bicycles/mountain/oiz/cat/oiz-m10
  • 40 2
 ...you forgot about the through-the-headset cable routing.
  • 7 17
flag XCplease (Nov 4, 2022 at 9:28) (Below Threshold)
 @slumgullion: the frames can be made cheaper tho
also what's wrong with it any competent mechanic shouldn't have issues with it
  • 6 0
 @slumgullion: argh...I know. On the other hand, they made the frame longer and slacker and kept the same weight as the prior model (and didn't increase the price!)
  • 2 0
 Interesting. For me that fit doesn't line up well - short ETT and their means of measuring ST length is odd which might explain the weird numbers.
  • 3 0
 and room for two bottles!
  • 1 0
 @slumgullion: so close....
  • 8 1
 NOPE...says right on the website: Oiz isn't down-country or trail; this is a 120mm XC race machine...

XC only...last place in test. DO NOT BUY!
  • 1 0
 @slumgullion: dammit. i wish manufacturers would stop doing this.
  • 1 0
 @smartyiak: not sure if you're serious or not, but the geometry shows it being quite close the the Allied...
  • 1 0
 @trillot: Not serious. But seriously, that's the exact language (copied and pasted) from Orbea's website. Smile
  • 15 0
 Just waiting for that Reeb SST review!
  • 8 0
 I own one and love it. But heads up, I'd expect its going to be compared to bikes like Tallboy/Following/Trail429 vs. some of the XC DC bikes here.

Even tho PB called this field test DC, it's really more of a Lollapalooza of short travel bikes. Makes more sense that way.
  • 4 0
 just on sex appeal, the sst wins.
  • 14 3
 Sorry but the RSD isn't a Downc*nty bike. Its too much fork. The Max fork has to be 130, and rear shouldn't be over 120. There are ton of trail bikes at 130 rear and 130/140 front.
  • 9 1
 You're arguing something kinda pointless though. When "downcountry" was first a thing it was over-forked, heavy tired, short stemmed xc bikes. When did it get defined as ultralight short travel trail bikes? Downcountry was originally xc bikes getting ridden and setup by goons, now its $12,000 yuppie sleds?
  • 2 0
 @RonSauce: Sounds like we both find them to be Downc*nty bikes now....
  • 13 1
 and the winner is...TREK SUPERCALIBER!!!!!!!!!!! 60mm of suspension 69 degree head angle...FUCK YEAH!!
  • 1 1
 Damn that's steep, I cringe a little when I see the Blur TR with 67
  • 15 0
 ..... and yet Jolanda would rip right past most here.
  • 3 0
 have you ridden one? Absolute rocket ship.
  • 3 0
 I’ve got one and it’s surprisingly able to do just about everything, it only complains a bit on the super crazy stuff because it’s probably about to snap in half haha
  • 3 0
 @numbnuts1977: I've been racing it for a year now and don't plan on selling it...it honestly descends better than some longer travel xc bikes i've tried, and climbs like a goat!
  • 2 0
 @DBone95: she'd probably do that on any bike. Still, the SC is pretty sweet - I got to test ride one last year, and man it's a fun time. Just wish I could slacken it a couple degrees to fix my lack of skill.

Profane idea: slap an angle set and a 140mm Bomber Z2 on an Supercaliber
  • 2 0
 @intelligent-goldfish: A friend of mine put a fox 36 on his, it looks killer
  • 6 0
 NICA kids "hold my non-caffeinated drink"...
  • 12 1
 My Sponsor's Money For Racing - Allied BC 40, My Money For Racing - Lapierre XRM 8.9, My Sponsor's Money For JRA - Evil Following, My Money For JRA - RSD Wildcat
  • 11 0
 I’ve just realised that the Ibis Exie is pronounced XC.

I feel quite special for not noticing that before.
  • 3 0
 Question. So much difference in rear suspension performance/review between Lapierre and Allied, and yet the suspension design and profile look very similar. Any thoughts on why they are so similar but so polarizing? Are the flex-stays just not as good and not worth the weight savings?
  • 3 0
 You cannot discern any meaningful differences in suspension visually between two similar bikes.
  • 2 0
 "look very similar" with linkages, especially short links, a few mm can make a huge difference in performance. But also it could be the flex stays, if there was a bit too much material I could see that making a harsh feeling.

now that everyone is on 1x drivetrains i think you can get pretty similar suspension performance with any modern pivot arrangement : horst, single pivot, vpp, dw link, abp.
  • 4 0
 I was curious about the climb & descend times for these bikes like had been included in past roundtables (although anecdotal). Any intent to include those in one of the upcoming articles?
  • 1 0
 Many want the same, but what would mfg's say when old bikes were just as fast or faster than new improved super duper bikes? Same rider, same course, all the bikes from past 1-2 years and 3-5 years.
"Well I'll be, looks like we got us a 15-way tie. Shucks."
  • 3 0
 I'd love to see a comparison of some of the less XC short travel bikes (RSD, Evil, etc) versus some slightly longer travel bikes (kind of 140-150mm range), I'd honestly be curious in what situations they make sense versus some a bit longer travel.
  • 3 0
 I´m mostly interested in SIZING, to be honest. All bikes tested here are mediums, while the bikes from the last DC field-test were larges. With 180/84 cm I´m always between a (too) short medium or a (too) long large. Just remembering Henry Quinneys quote "some bikes are almost getting too long", from the last field-test. It just makes it really difficult for me to decide which size to go for the next bike with all this modern geometries. Up- or downsizing was easier with more conservative geometries, I think ...
  • 2 0
 I would love to hear some commentary on this. They 5’10/5’10/5’7 riders on a 445 reach Allied, best-ish in test. Last years best-ish was 480 reach top fuel, with 5’10/5’11/6’0 riders. 35mm is a solid jump.

So I get why they sized down for this test with Sarah being shorter, but especially for @mikelevy who road them all some insight on his experience with the reach would be great.
  • 1 0
 @pbandjam: Jepp - that would be helpfull. I have the same measurements like Kazimer, while Levy, Sarah, Matt or Alicia are 2 cm shorter, and Henry beeing a smidge taller than me. All of them can go M or L sizes.
Maybe they do an additional podcast and include this as a topic ...
  • 3 0
 I was stoked about this review when I found out there was an Evil Following in it and they were riding trails in Quebec. It is weird to compare the Following and the RSD to the other bikes in this category. I wouldn't hesitate to take the Evil or RSD down the pro lines on wolverine at SDM but wouldn't ever consider it on the other bikes. Climbing up Tourbillon and Klondike over and over on my 34 pound Fugitive was one of the reasons I went for the fugitive. The RSD being 34 pounds wouldn't be super fun on the climbs, regardless of how the suspension performed. I can see the more XC style bikes excelling at the Shanahan sector trails but even for something relatively tame like slab city I wouldn't be picking the Exie. I am curious to see how the climb times and descents looked though. Like others have mentioned it would be really interesting to see how a comparison between the Following, Pivot 429, Revel ranger, SC tallboy, Rocky Mountain Element, and Ibis Ripley. I think many people who watch the tests and read articles here would like to also know how the shorter bikes stack up against the heavier hitters like a Forbidden druid, Ripmo, Evil offering, Hightower etc. Is there any benefit to riding a heavy hitting short travel bike or can a longer travel bike be as light and as playful?
  • 4 2
 Seriously throw a relatively light, supple, ultra-modern 120mm steel trail hardtail in the mix (e.g. Cotic SolarisMAX, Esker Japhy). Build it up with good wheels and XT/GX for less than $4k and 27ish lbs. It will be a better all-rounder than half of the bikes in this test and also save you a pile of cash.
  • 5 0
 Eh, I don't know. Head into a rock garden at speed or have any techy sit&spin climbs, I'd take a squishy bike over my hardtail anyway. Negative traction on those things when it's bumpy and hard on bad landings. I like hardtails, but I don't think they are an every day bike for every trail. Certainly not the onces near me. Stick alu frames and you can get a solid bike for 3kUSD (wildcat, ibis ripley af etc)
  • 2 0
 Can the wheelbase be included to the quick look-up table please?

IMO, wheelbase is no less important than travel amount, when it comes to classifying where it could fit in a quiver. I'd want a short WB for tight and playful terrain and longer WB for bigger terrain that is fast and calls for something more stable. Even 25mm of WB difference is a very big deal to me.
  • 2 0
 I’ve had a V1 offering with an 11-6 and 150 fork for 2 years and am considering a following for flatter mellower riding. I really like my offering. I recently got an enduro for the heavy stuff and now have 2 bikes that can kind of handle the same terrain. I ride on the aggressive side(style wise) and take every side hit/ jump I can find, but I don’t hate climbing. I don’t race bicycles. Am I going to like the following? Maybe a Spur? It won’t be easy for me to demo either. This sounds like riddle, but I’m looking for experienced advice. Thanks in advance.
  • 4 0
 The Following is made to take every side hit and jump you can find. It's the best part about the bike. That's probably why the PB crew couldn't figure out who the bike was for since they seem to be grading on XC climbing or downhill sledding and not "fun". If you don't like popping off of every feature then the Following probably isn't for you. But if you do, there aren't many bikes that are more fun.
  • 1 0
 @vitaflo: I mean Matt Beer said it was the bike that he would most want to own.
  • 2 0
 @vitaflo: I have a Calling and I wholeheartedly agree.
  • 1 0
 @vitaflo: sounds like my kind of action. I might have to give one a shot. I’m not pumped on the superboost, but I heard I can just put spacers on my boost wheel?
  • 2 0
 Yeah had a V1 Following then upgraded to a V1 Sentinel for more cush, but missed that fun ride. Just got a V3 Wreckoning for park/enduro/shuttle and want to get a V3 Following as a trail bike.

Demoed the Offering 2x but did not think it felt much different than my Following.

The Wreckoning is a whole ‘nother story. With the Push 11/6and a Mezzer Pro up front, it can both plow over stuff and pop depending on what you want to do. Amazing bike.
  • 4 0
 The Allied has nearly the same geometry as the Spur. How did those compare? What about Epic Evo, or Top Fuel. I think we need a shoot-out!
  • 1 0
 Spur is more like the evil following but lighter and not as good rear suspension Epic Evo is lighter and cost less than the BC40... but the BC40 is made in the US and has a slightly better geometry
  • 3 0
 Anybody else want a printed table with timing information ? lol... Up, down, and total. Wish all three of them did it as well.
  • 2 1
 Shouting into the wind here but I'm target market for the Exie and had been leaning hard towards ordering one, but the fact that all sizes ship with the same chainstay makes me doubt that anything I read here would apply to an XL frame. Just can't do it. I can't understand a low batch made in the USA ultra-cash frame with one chainstay mold to save money.
  • 1 0
 Exie XL size review and video here www.bebikes.com/the-hub/ibis-exie-review
  • 1 0
 @Strenki: it's hard to consume bike reviews from a bike store. at first glance i can't find anything negative in any bike review published from that platform. will try to take a closer look tonight and will dig around. at the very least, i'd like an explanation of why the smallest and largest sizes are optimal with the same chainstay part.
  • 1 0
 @Mtmw: we are all so much different. you focus too much to chainstay length, but is fine if this is important to you. I had to check (because I had no idea), all my 4 previous bikes had same chainstay lenght for all sizes from S to XL. Is funny, every person have different priorities. Other rides want great kit for low price, no matter the frame/suspension is crap or they route the cables through the headset. Now after years, I know I want best frame quality and suspension platform. Regarding build kit you can always alter per budget or specific liking...
  • 2 0
 Eh, just the typical XL struggle. Some companies are doing size specific stays for their longer travel bikes, maybe it'll trickle down to XC/Downcountry eventually. But it's not an Ibis or small batch thing. Reeb don't do it, neither do Nicolai (though at least Nicolai's are long).

I think the reasoning for most companies is simple - overwhelmingly they'll sell M and L bikes. Of the few XL's they sell, a very small percentage of those buyers will know the difference. It's an easy place to save money while keeping most customers happy, regardless of what the bike costs.
  • 4 0
 Talking about Dave Weagle, I'd love a PB podcast with him a lot. I'd be very pleased
  • 1 1
 Let's all appreciate the fact that this misfit batch of bikes might be the last time until the market corrects that we have an entire DC field test full of rigs that have passable cable routing.




Edit: Challenge: everybody write a Haiku for your favorite brand about how much you love or hate internal headset cable routing.
  • 6 0
 I suck at Haiku's But I hate headset cable Routing more, people
  • 3 1
 Hey @mattbeer: could you please add links to the individual review videos for those of us too stupid/hungover/lazy/etc to search for them? Thanks.
  • 3 0
 I'd like to hear a comparison of this crop of bikes vs the best from the last round up a year ago.
  • 1 0
 The Allied comments would be a copy/paste of the Element and pretty close to plagiarizing the Blur TR opinions.... But insert outrageous price wording.
  • 3 0
 Bummed the Kona Hei Hei was not included. Again.
Its the less-filthy-rich-person's Allied BC-40! (And I love mine.)
  • 1 0
 The industry thinks it's a 5 year old design with a price tag not worthy of a non-boutique brand.
  • 2 0
 @bikewriter: Huh. Really? The "new" design is only 2 years old and is very similar to a ton of other DC bikes (like the Allied, Spec Epic Evo and SC Blur TR). $4899 US isn't bad for the SLX/Fox Performance build. And Levy liked it back in 2020 www.pinkbike.com/news/review-konas-fresh-hei-hei-can-make-cross-country-fun.html#pinkbikestake
  • 1 0
 @Somedewd: I think the problem is perceived value: Kona's old Hei Hei was $2499 and the new one went to $3100 two years ago. Everyone said "$3100 for a Kona?? Not happening." Plus frame-only usually had horrible paint (Barney Purple) or the brand was sold in multi-sports stores next to skis. Kona then got swamped by Bellingham brands that got more press and had much better marketing/brand recognition.
  • 2 0
 @bikewriter: Hmmm...sure you aren't thinking about the old design? I remember that purple one. Anywho, you are probably right about perceptions and getting swamped by other Bellingham brands. Which is a shame because its a great riding bike that I think could do well if it got more press.
  • 1 0
 @Somedewd: addendum to reply minutes ago: But this color is nice: cambriabike.com/products/kona-hei-hei-cr-dl-29-frame-ferrari-gray-2022-23
Three years with no change is ancient in this industry as you know. But $3250 for a Kona? I think many will spend $300 more for a Santa Cruz or part out a complete for the frame. It'd pay off in resale if that matters.
  • 2 0
 @bikewriter: Ah well. Perceptions are funny. I didn't realize Kona had such a shitty reputation. Regardless, I'm loving my Hei Hei and have zero regrets.
  • 1 0
 @Somedewd: Marketing is a biyatch. If the Barney Purple or whatever model year it was (the Failed Drug Test Yellow paint?) would've been the current grey that frame would've come home. Cambria or some shop had them on closeout.
  • 1 0
 @Somedewd If you already have one, why do you need a review of it?
  • 3 0
 Lapierre's website will be updated today to say: Mike Levy says "I would take the Lapierre home."
  • 3 0
 Wildcat for sure! It may be the slowest and heaviest, but it’s the cheapest and funnest.
  • 3 0
 My previous bike was what was more defined as a downcountry bike by Mike Levy when the word came out with XC geo, 100mm rear/120mm front, 25lb, 125mm dropper, Magic Mary front and rock razor rear both in snakeskin.

I currently own the Wildcat v2 and can tell you I don't even regret it being 8lb heavier. Much more fun in everything but a little bit slower when climbing.
  • 2 0
 If you put the Allied Geometry (ummm Ibis Ripley Geometry from a few years ago) on the Ibis Exie design you would have the best bike in class.
  • 1 0
 If I had to choose a bike to buy with my own money for the riding I like most, would go with the RSD. The Evil is a close second but I am honestly kinda scared of carbon (what happened to the Lapierre is not unheard of).
  • 5 1
 *Cough* AUTOPLAY *cough*
  • 2 0
 I would've liked to have seem the pivot trail 429 included in here in place of some of the less common brands
  • 1 0
 I'd probably never buy an XC bike, except maybe for bikepacking. Still, I enjoy watching these videos, and it's cool to see Ibis getting more good reviews.
  • 1 0
 Not my home trails but trails a shortish drive away for weekend excursions. Love to see the shots/videos on stuff I have riden! Come out East more often PB.
  • 2 0
 I'd go with the Allied BC40 but in the XT trim, then swap to carbon wheels eventually.
  • 1 1
 Downcountry another phrase I have an unreasonable dislike of along with kinematics.

But I’d try the BMC or the RSD, as I like to be different and the BMC would match my road bike.
  • 1 0
 I'd really like to try the Scott (Bold) Spark - its a super clean looking machine with the hidden rear shock
I'd like to throw a leg over the YT Izzo as well
  • 5 2
 Hard tail
  • 2 0
 'Holy Crap!!' (a short review of the Lapierre).
  • 1 0
 I just clicked on a webpage and a video started playing. Quick, what do I do? Someone please help!
  • 2 0
 Huck to flats or this test didn't happen
  • 2 0
 Not expecting to see many LaPierre ads on here in the near future.
  • 1 0
 You asked which you would take home....but which one would you steal change from grama's purse to buy and ride?
  • 1 0
 I was really hoping to see the new Niner RKT in this shootout. @mikekazimer any idea when we will see that review from you?
  • 2 0
 I am stoked for the new cyclocrossduro bikes!
  • 1 0
 I wish they had a bench mark bike in these tests. Like a top winner from 3 years ago and see how it stacks up.
  • 3 2
 Why not sit around a round table as the article implies?
  • 2 0
 the sitting side by side and forcing eye contact with the camera feels awkward to me. A round table where they sat and had a conversation about the bikes would look/feel more natural for sure. The camera/us would be the "fourth" person. It boggles me that they have stuck with this format so long.
  • 2 0
 @dudegetabike: It is very weird. I am sure it is on purpose. They must think it is funny? The awkward stares at the camera when they aren't talking is creepy. I don't think they can fix any of this though, their priority toward speaking very clearly makes their fake conversation sound very forced/robotic. I think it's impossible to get it right though. The Loam Wolf guys seem to be able to talk about the bikes in a more natural way and seem more like a group of friends but I am sure the 'bro-vibes' turn a lot of people off too. You can't win.
  • 2 1
 Ride? Allied.
Own? Evil.
My own money? BMC.
  • 4 4
 Evil Following, with a -1° angleset and lighter wheels, it'll e better and way more fun then all the others
  • 3 2
 If I am not paying, Evil. If I am paying RSD.
  • 1 1
 I have an Insurgent for the bike park and thought about getting a Following, but the Pivot Trail 429 called my name.
  • 1 0
 Only here for hack to flat part of revies... but I cannot find it
  • 1 0
 I’d have to go with the 7k build Allied.
  • 1 0
 did protective eyewear become uncool and no one told me
  • 1 2
 Why does it look like Sarah and Matt are being held hostage by Levi at the round table?
  • 2 0
 I don't think they're wearing jeans.
  • 2 2
 I wouldnt ride any of em..but if i had to choose the evil...
  • 2 1
 Agreed. But I'm super curious to ride any Evil bike to see how that wild suspension feels.
  • 1 0
 @Evo6: It's fun. I rented a Calling on two occasions (few days in Sedona, a few days in Pisgah). It felt like a very poppy bike. I'm not great at proper bunny hops, but it felt like I could do them much higher on the Calling than typical 4-bar or dual-link layout.
  • 2 2
 I don't see NONE option in the poll
  • 1 1
 Idgaf about xc i just came here to complain. Pedaling sucks! Bye
  • 3 5
 $10k for the Ibis and it doesn’t even have wireless shifting. Lol
  • 2 0
 get with the times top end bikes are now 15k. Consider yourself lucky it didn't have GX or SLX for that low price!
  • 2 0
 @pink505: unless it’s Santa Cruz, then they give you the worst dropper on the market for $15k





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