Video: 5 Trail Bikes Ridden & Rated - Field Test Roundtable

Dec 9, 2022 at 18:17
by Mike Kazimer  

PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Trail Bike Roundtable


There aren't many places in the world better suited to bike testing than Whistler, BC. The bike park provided easy access to a wide range of trail styles, and made it easy to get in a bunch of back-to-back laps on the five bikes we had on hand for this Field Test. We did our best to choose trails that were well suited to the bikes' intentions, although there may have been a few bonus laps in the mix in zones where you might not typically expect to see a trail bike...

Don't worry, though, we earned our turns too, pedaling up countless steep, techy climbs in order to see which of these five bikes truly deserved the all-rounder designation. Whistler's not just for DH bikes or slopestyle machines – there's a lifetime's worth of trails to explore outside of the bike park, no lift ticket required.

The bikes for this round of testing can all be slotted into the aggressive trail bike category, although the Scott Genius teeters on the edge of that designation with its 150mm of rear travel and geometry numbers that look like they were lifted from an enduro bike. At the other end of the travel spectrum is the 130mm Norco Fluid, which punched well above its $3,999 USD price tag. On the topic of pricing, we realize that most of the bikes in this round-up are very, very expensive. We've got another Value Field Test in the works next year that'll focus on more obtainable options, so stay tuned for that some time in 2023.

After all of the testing was done, Mike Levy and I sat down to figure out which bikes were our favorites, which ones surprised us, and which ones didn't quite make the grade. When it comes to the best pedaling options, the bikes that felt quick and efficient, the Santa Cruz Hightower and Trek Fuel EX were our top picks. The Yeti SB140 is in the mix too, thanks to its quicker handling and excellent traction.

For riders who place a higher priority on downhill performance, the Trek Fuel EX hits that mark too, as does the Scott Genius. The Genius isn't going to be for everyone due to its high level of integrated everything, but there's no denying that it's a great descender.

Watch the roundtable for even more insight into which bikes impressed us, surprised us, or disappointed us, plus a comparison round with one of last year's favorites, the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO.


5 Trail Bikes

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

Which trail bike would you most like to ride?



Author Info:
mikekazimer avatar

Member since Feb 1, 2009
1,740 articles

275 Comments
  • 179 10
 marry the norco cause she doesn't need all your money, kiss the scott cause I can tolerate all her stupid trendy fashion for a quickie demo ride, put the yeti out of her misery cause that switch infinity makes it look like the frame has a tumor
  • 51 3
 Ride the Scott, own the SC, buy the Norco
  • 3 75
flag BigPapi69 (Dec 13, 2022 at 14:16) (Below Threshold)
 @PeakHopper: Dentists are obviously the smartest buyers out there if they are buying these bikes. It is a absolute waste of your money if you even consider these other awfully designed and foul looking bikes. The Norco is an absolute eye sore and I honestly lost 10 years off my life looking at that piece of junk (its honestly waste of material). That shade of green on the Norco doesn't even come close to Yeti's amazing colors like the 120's dust color. Since 1985 these bikes have been flawlessly designed and race proven by the best riders known to mountain biking. So many people in these comments complain about stiffness and other such non sense. And to that I say you simply can't handle this bike. If you say it isn't "playful enough" you obviously just don't know how to jump. Go back to working on the basics with these junker bikes (I'm sure the Norco will be perfect for you beginners). Stop ranting about Yeti's performance when you just can't ride a bike of this level.
  • 3 0
 It's the tumor ferrrrr me
  • 22 0
 Buying order: Norco>trek>SC>yeti>Scott
Ride as demo or rental: exact opposite
  • 18 1
 @BigPapi69: you didn’t even a do a good job of being entertaining or clever with this comment.
I appreciate a good troll now and then, but it needs to be entertaining to come across well.

Good luck in your future endeavours
  • 5 1
 @onawalk: he's just upset because he rides a Yeti from 1998 and likes to floss after every meal.
  • 4 0
 @kanasasa: that's a pretty clever message. A super indicator of how it works when the emotions have to turn into reality
  • 4 0
 It's naht a toomah! It's naht a toomah, at all! - Kindergarden Cop
  • 143 4
 I do not accept that those others are worth $6000 more than the Norco. Talk about diminishing returns.
  • 8 2
 Probably so. But sounds like they really just liked the Trek & SC,
  • 38 1
 @KingPooPing: Yes - but the Trek also comes in an AL frame. You gain a pound or more of weight, but otherwise the bike will perform identically. Honestly, from this review it sounds like that is the play here.
  • 16 0
 @KingPooPing: I'm sure the Trek and SC are great, I love my Trek. But they are not 130% better than the Norco.
  • 8 4
 @redrook: Your math is off. The Trek and the SC are ~250% as expensive - so the expectation should be that they are 250% as good. Smile
  • 8 0
 @KJP1230: I was thinking of the increase only. They are 230%-250% as expensive, but 130%-150% more. But yeah, staggering when you think about it. And good point about the marginal weight sacrifice, particularly since we're all going to park a 60kg to 100kg+ person on it!
  • 1 0
 @KJP1230: I know. Thats my point they like how it performed.
  • 37 27
 Sorry to bust up the pity party, but the line in the sand can be made well below the Norco. Lots of bikes out there for $1.5K that provide 90% of the Norco minus rear suspension. Before everyone jumps in and says that isn't fair, EVERY trail can be ridden on a good HT.

Marginal gains will always be incredibly expensive. This is one of the few sports where you can walk into a shop and buy a replica of a World Championship winning bike. Try doing that with a Supercross bike, F1 car, etc.

Getting the last 1% of performance is always going to drive 100%+ of the cost increases relative to the other 99%. F1 teams spend $5M/yr on tires yet they could go to Discount Tire and get the same number of them for $15K. Supercross transmissions are rumored to be well over $50K per bike yet you can walk into a dealership and buy a complete race ready rig for $10K.

People need to stop focusing on cost. I personally don't want to see reviews on Walmart bikes or $1500 HT's. I want to see the best most exotic stuff on the market most of the time. I will then make decisions on whether I need Kashima, XTR/XX1, etc and where the best trade off is for me personally.
  • 7 0
 How it's always been...once you get above that 3500-4500 price point, it's just bling and saving some grams unless you are a pro.
  • 18 1
 @salespunk: That's a bit of a stretch, a hardtail and a full suspension are fundamentally different.
  • 8 4
 @salespunk: This 100%. I'm all about value for money, but every time this cliche false equivalency of "X bike costs 2x more than Y bike and should be 2x faster/better" shows a lack of understanding of what constitutes "value".

Otherwise we'd all be ripping off our Maxxis tyres and slap on some Mike Bear rubber, they're a quarter of the price and Maxxis tyres don't go 4x faster.
  • 7 3
 @salespunk:

Ironically, Salespunk has ridden and owned more high end bikes than most on the comments board.

Richard Cunningham said it best: There’s always a sweet spot, where you get good value for the money, and above that you get marginal gains and diminishing returns. About 4/5 years ago that was $5k.

At the end of the day, Salespunk is right. If you want proof, go up to Whistler and watch the locals school you on 10+ year old dh bikes or even regular trail bikes…

In the meantime, I will enjoy my full suspension.
  • 5 1
 @salespunk: I think I disagree with your assertion that there are bikes for $1.5k that provide 90% of the value of the Norco.

How are you defining value? Let's suppose you mean a combination of: capability/performance, ride quality/experience, and equipment longevity. I would struggle to find a $1.5k bike that will offer 90% of the outright speed, enjoyable ride quality, and parts longevity as the Norco (in this example).

On the other hand, if you define value simply as "the ability to ride a given trail" - then sure. A $1.5k hardtail in capable hands can certainly fit the bill.
  • 6 1
 @Saidrick: The argument of "watch so-and-so rip past you on a crappy bike" is not the correct way to think about it. It is about what YOU can do on the bike YOU have.

I am absolutely faster on my current enduro bike than I was on the enduro bike I purchased in 2015. Conversely, I was a much better skier in 2015 than I am today (damn you aging!) - a point I make because ski equipment has not changed meaningfully in at least 15 years.

Just because some bike park local can absolutely shred on a 10-year old DH bike does not mean that the same rider would not be even faster/shred-ier on a bling'd out 2022 DH bike. In fact, I would guarantee they would be.
  • 4 0
 @salespunk:
I suspect that in a blind test, you would be unable to tell that the Norco is a way cheaper bike than others. Where as bikes in the $1.5K range do have have real performance compromises.
  • 4 2
 Good heavens,
We are all well aware, that most of the bikes come in a more reasonable spec/value package. The SC and Yeti being the outliers.
We get it, bikes are expensive, so much more than 2-3 years ago, big business blah, blah blah.
Buy what you want, Christ on a cross
  • 4 1
 @salespunk: you can’t buy a supercross race ready bike for $10k, you can buy a reasonable facsimile, but it’s not even close to the same bike.
That being said, you can race what you want, where you want, but your not getting to the big show on your showroom bike.
Much like WC mtb bikes aren’t quite what you walk into the store and buy, again reasonable facsimile.
Now the performance between my buddies demo, and Finnes might be mulch closer than my YZ to Eli’s, there still a difference my man.

And really, i just want fun entertainment, that’s all these tests are, there’s nothing here that’s astonishing to anyone is there?
The bikes were good, the most adjustable bike was well received, and the plucky alu bike was call described as a tank, and shop rat bike. We all could have written the reviews our selves, but the Mike’s made it entertaining
  • 2 1
 @lennskii: they might grip 4X better,
Have you had the pleasure of riding Mike Bears?
  • 2 2
 @KJP1230: can you go out and ride any trail and have fun? Won't be the same speed, but will you laugh your ass off after you make it through a sketchy section? Will the bike allow you to get out and enjoy yourself on a regular basis for years to come? Will it allow you to ride with your friends?

That is the value of riding, not how much travel you have, how smooth your bike is through the chatter and definitely not VPP vs Horst vs Single Pivot, etc. I could actually make a plausible argument that we would have MORE fun on janky bikes.
  • 6 3
 @salespunk: you are full of it, bud. we know you own a bike shop. you’re not fooling anyone with your suggestion that a $10k price for a bike these days is a good deal. you must hold stock in the bike industry. they’ve massively ramped up prices since 2019, blaming it on supply chain BS, while raking in record profits and providing zero performance improvements to justify these prices. road bikes costing over $15k. mountain bikes costing over $10k. absurd. drop the extra $2-3k that’s been added to the cost of bikes.
  • 1 0
 @lennskii: Delium tires, sure. I’ll pass on the Mike Bear’s though!
  • 3 1
 @moroj82: i keep seeing people cite record profits for these bike brands...got a source?
  • 4 0
 @moroj82: if @salespunk owned a bike shop, how exactly do you think he can drop $2-3k off a bike?
You want him to sell them at or below cost?

Do you have much concept on sales, and how business works?
  • 1 0
 @salespunk: Different people define "value" differently. Personally, I like to ride alone (or to make new casual friends to ride a lap with at the top of the descent) for about 60-70% of my rides. I love pushing myself and seeing new PR's - so for me, "value" comes from a combination of my fitness, my skill, and the bike's performance.

None of this is to say that I couldn't have fun on a hardtail or inexpensive bike. If that were my only option, I'd take it! But I get an absolute thrill from pushing myself and that feeling of "being on a burner lap!". From that perspective, a hardtail would not offer me 90% of the value of a high-end (component spec) bike like the Norco.
  • 1 1
 @KJP1230: so you’re of the idea that the bike, and it’s components are what’s offering you the performance benefit. So you’re always left chasing what the newest, latest, etc is.
I’ll counter that idea with different bikes present different challenges, and excel in different areas. You’re never going to be on the perfect bike, for the entirety of a trail, so there’s always the hunt for performance, and better times, or experiences. The hard tail might be the faster bike for portions of any given trail, then the challenge comes from capitalizing on those areas, and refining skills to be quicker in the areas that aren’t the hard tails strong suit.

Just a thought
  • 2 1
 @moroj82: I hope that was sarcastic. I couldn't afford the bikes I have on a shop owner income and have nothing to do with the industry. I have paid full retail for my last 5+ bikes even though one of my closest friends owns a good sized bike parts company. Current retail prices are idiotic with Santa Cruz charging $10K for lower cost frames with GX.
  • 2 0
 @onawalk: @KJP1230. As long as you are having fun ride what you love.

As a side note one of my now good friends I met at an Enduro race years ago when he was schooling the pros on an early 90's Merlin hardtail with V-brakes at one of the roughest tracks in San Diego.

I am also having a blast riding my Epic Evo down stuff I would normally blast on my Hightower or Megatower just because I have to pay more attention and use actual skill.
  • 2 0
 @salespunk: Thats fair man,
We did a big ride Revelstoke ride last year, on one of the jankiest trails I've ever ridden, it was incredible. Two of us on aggressive geo 140ish bikes, absolutley blasting, buddy on a 170 big bike was doing his best to keep up, then an absolute legend on a 10 year old hardtail just smashing his way down.

I'll say, at the end of 10kms of steep and deep we all had smiles on our face, but only two of us went up for a sceond lap.....
  • 6 1
 @salespunk: The number of downvotes here is surprising for the truth in the comment. PinkBike, Vital, etc. don't exist to celebrate the middle of the road, the unremarkable, or the "bike next door." For the same reason I'd prefer to watch the NBA over a high school JV team, I want to read about new, top of the line bikes. If you want some fist bumps for your fully-rigid, steel, single-speed, form a support group.
  • 2 0
 @rbruhns: I think the point of this thread is that there is nearly zero (performance) difference between the $3999 Norco and the $10k Yeti/SC. All of them are within 0.5% of performance with one another.

The point salespunk attempted to make was that if you define "value" as anything that could be reasonably ridden as a mountain bike, then there are $1.5k bikes that offer 90% of the performance. It's just that most of us disagree with that definition of value AND with the assertion that $1.5k hardtails offer anything close to 90% of the performance.

The whole point of this thread is objecting to the cost-to-peformance ratio of some of the "bling" bikes. It's a fair gripe. During COVID supply constraints, I managed to custom build a Spec Enduro with Fox Factory suspension, Shimano XT + SRAM GX AXS drivetrain, I-9 Wheels, and Trickstuff brakes for about $8k all-in. My bike is decidedly more "bling" than the bikes in this test, and I saved nearly $3k over the price of the Yeti, SC or Trek. It's worth complaining that these companies charge you FULL MSRP on all the parts they put on their already expensive frames. It's ridiculous that there is no love to your customer in terms of cost efficiency for buying a complete bike.
  • 2 0
 @KJP1230: Spot on.

Discussions around "value" are philosophical and unhelpful. Looking at the cold facts is far more useful, and as you say, raise some eyebrows around what people are charged. A dash of the rare common sense is useful too.
  • 2 1
 @KJP1230: why would they lower prices during COVID when they were selling everything they could build before it even hit the shops. In economic terms they did exactly what they should have done which is raise prices until people stop buying.

You also see companies like Specialized now reacting to the new market and offering 25% off sales on some of their most popular bikes. They are trying to figure out if this is a temporary slow down or a long term trend before they drop MSRP.

In personal terms if you were selling your car would you list it a fair market value prior to COVID or take the extra 20% in cash because of shortages? You are asking companies to give up profit just to be nice.

I guarantee that in the coming slow down consumers are not going to offer to pay more just because it would be fair.
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: Maybe they do. Maybe they don't. Not the point though.
  • 1 0
 @icthus13: Ha. Agreed. Was simply to prove the point that basic multipliers of cost being applied in the same magnitude to performance is a false equivalency.
  • 1 0
 @lennskii: not sure what you’re replying to their bruh, help a guy out….

Maybe copy and paste the comment you’re referring to?
  • 75 1
 Gonna buy 3 Norcos.
  • 23 0
 ^^^ this. Primary bike, back up bike, and an extra for when a buddy visits
  • 111 2
 @SATN-XC: For my wife and my girlfriend.
  • 11 0
 Norco Fluid FS A1 for trails, Norco Fluid HT1 to ride to work, Norco Aurum A1 if you can find one for bike park
  • 18 0
 Thank god they put in the Norco to lower the average cost of all the bikes from $10,437 to 9,149.
  • 5 1
 Or the Vitus Mythique, which is the same bike more or less.
  • 3 0
 Bike, backup bike, and a bike for the trusty trail dog if he ever learns to ride
  • 1 0
 Or buy then Norco, then another carbon enduro bike, then take a vacation with the extra money.
  • 1 0
 @MarXaZ: your wife is your left hand and your gf is your right hand?
  • 1 0
 @foggnm: The Vitus bikes look like an amazing value right now, especially their base model e-bike.

us.vitusbikes.com/collections/e-bikes/products/vitus-e-sommet-297-vr-mountain-bike-2022
  • 1 0
 Or just get one Norco, and 2x 2004 Toyota Corollas
  • 1 0
 @trevor-bag: one norco + dh bike, or whistler/silver mountain/trestle trip, or a lot of professional coaching/suspension tuning. So many great options
  • 76 16
 Would be cool to see a field test of the full range of bikes for 1 model, from the top spec carbon to the parts bin equipped aluminium one. Plus the models in-between. Top spec alu vs low spec carbon ect
  • 61 4
 Bike companies would be too afraid to allow this - as top tier models would likely not prove their value over the mid-tier priced bikes

edit: but I would also love to see this happen somehow
  • 28 2
 I keep seeing this comment but the top spec will always ride better then progressively get worse down the line...if a lower spec lower priced bike in the same lineup out performs the top spec, the company seriously f'd up. The real value with these field tests is seeing a 4k bike perform almost as well as a 11k bike....but if you can drop 11k on a bike no problem, that person is likely just going to get the 11k bike but if you can only afford the 4k bike, you can buy it and know its not holding you back
  • 15 0
 I honestly don't think there's that much mystery here. A bike's handling is mostly determined by the frame, suspension, tires, and wheels to a slight degree. However, someone familiar with the tires on the bike can kinda separate out their contribution. Things like brakes and drivetrain are less influenced by the bike they're on. IOW, certain shocks work well with certain frames but Code RSC's feel like Code RSC's regardless of the bike. So an experienced reviewer is mostly reviewing the frame and suspension. It's not like upgrading the brakes is going to make the bike suddenly 'become alive' and do all the things better...no, they're going to make it slow down faster. Once you're familiar with the different group sets the frame and suspension (more so the shock) are 90% of what's important in the review.
  • 10 0
 Many times, the difference between low-spec and high-spec bikes is how long they'll be trouble free, which doesn't lend itself to field testing in a reasonable amount of time.

High end components(not all of them, mind you) tend to last longer than low spec parts and they tend to weigh less.

In this field test, the lower-cost bike still had high spec parts, which is very nice. People bash on kashima plenty as a dentist option, but if you keep a fork for a lot of years, the ceramic coating tends to hold up better.
  • 11 0
 @re22: Diminishing returns are very real. I think the price to performance ratio probably tops out around $4-$7k USD (obviously a ton of variables in this)
  • 3 0
 @mkul7r4: I totally agree, diminishing returns are very real in the mountain bike world.
  • 1 0
 Vital did this with stumpy. They took s-works and alloy comp and compared. And there was difference. But I assume if there was a bike in a middle spec, comparison would be even better.
  • 53 0
 @hgardner, honestly, that'd be a really boring test. Suspension, mainly the fork, and the brakes are the most important bits. If I was shopping for a bike and knew what model I wanted, my priorities would be to find the one with the best brakes and fork I could afford, and a decent shock. The rest of the bits are upgradeable, and don't make as much of a difference in how the bike rides.
  • 7 0
 @mikekazimer: well put (though I would put wheels up there as well)
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC: Yep. Shifters/derailleurs shift and wheels roll. While premium suspension might feel a little better, the spec isn't going make or break your ride.
  • 1 5
flag lkubica (Dec 13, 2022 at 9:56) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: cool, but the problem is which is the decent one, especially the shock cannot be tested without a specific bike, since it's the shock + frame leverage what you are testing. What is more a good manufacturer should have shock tuned for the frame or at least properly matched. I suspect that cheaper models get whatever they could find cheap, no matter the tune.
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC: Wheels make a difference, but not in the short term where a test would take place.
  • 25 0
 @SATN-XC: Y'know in Top Gear when they get like £1500 to buy an old estate car and then they have to complete a load of challenges in the car. Each presenter chooses their fighter and then the presenters bicker and argue about who's bike is best...

Bike version of that would be cool. $4000 choose your best trail bike - has to be new, could be a bike that's $4000 exactly, or a $3500 bike with $500 of upgrades or whatever.

Each presenter introduces their chosen fighter and justifies why they chose it.

Then they have to complete a huge day in the saddle, an impossible climb, ride a double black trail, clear a tricky bit of north shore and then pass the bike over to the Stig for a timed lap.

Could be fun
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: I could be looking at this only from an XC point of view (may not matter as much on a trail bike) but nice wheels and hubs would greatly improve technical climbing (engagement), speed (lighter wheels are easier to get up to speed), and cornering
  • 2 0
 @re22: Perhaps Pink Bike riders can lend their bikes so Mike and Mike have the complete range to test ride?
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: with all due respect, this was kind of a boring test. All of these bikes share amazingly similar geometries. Yes there is difference in spec, brakes, forks, drivetrain, features, a flip chip etc...The main talking point is about how they all seem to perform essentially the same and only one of them is affordable. I mean hell, if this test had a ripmo in here, that would be the main talking point too "it feels the same as the rest, specs are different, the price point is in the middle"

I'd be way more interested in a trail bike comparison of 5 boutique brands, or an xc comparison of 5 other boutique or obscure brands. But that's just my opinion.
  • 1 0
 They have control tires but add control fork, control components, control handlebar and stem, control wheels etc but it’s called pink bike not pink frame
  • 44 1
 Biking is in such a weird place. I've been a bike nerd for years and have always looked forward to picking up a new ride in the Spring. But this is the first year I've looked across the entire market and just shrugged. Competitive convergence is painfully obvious, and there's almost nothing that seems different/unique/cool enough to justify spending money on.

And even if one of these bikes is super amazing, for the first time since being a working adult, I'm left wondering who on earth is willing to pay these prices and I work in US tech, the most overpaid workforce in the world, where we all have the WLB of a kid in their sophomore year of college.

I don't know. I think I'll keep my current quiver and buy that used moto for $2,800 I've been threatening to buy for years. Seems like the perfect time to branch out.
  • 6 0
 hit the nail on the head here. anticipating I won't be looking at a full new bike for at least another few years, and any big advances will likely just be in components which you can upgrade ad hoc
  • 4 2
 Completely agree. There was a time around 6 to 10 years ago where most decent bikes were in an affordable (if a bit expensive) price range, with outliers at either end. Nowadays that relative price range has far less, and you're looking at a significant chunk of an annual wage to buy a pedal bike (or a pedal bike with a tiny, simple electric motor). For far less you can get a moto easily, which is a no-brainer if you're somewhere you can use it. Isn't that the exact opposite of what we should be encouraging people to do?
  • 13 1
 @Blarger: Why is a moto a no-brainer over a pedal bike? Pedal bikes are dead simple, super connected feeling, cheap to maintain, easy to transport and they are great exercise. Some people seem to have an idea that bikes with engines are aspirational and I don't understand why that is the case. It just seems like a completely different activity. Perhaps someone could shed some light on this for me?
  • 12 0
 Stop telling people we aren’t busy… they are gonna fire us (sent from my phone in a trail parking lot)
  • 6 1
 @WheelNut: I've definitely seen a lot of comments that make it seem like getting a moto bike is aspirational:

"$7,500! You might as well just get a insert moto bike> for that money since you're already there!"

For me it's more about trying something new that happens to share some of the best parts of riding pedal bikes (going fast, blasting corners, jumping, etc). I'm at a stage in life where I'm over riding bikes competitively, and I'm more open minded about where my thrills come from.

Mountain biking is such a huge part of my life and community so I'll never give it up. But having a dirt bike to explore different places and terrains could be a great way to mix it up. And while it's not the same level of cardiovascular exercise, wrestling a dirtbike around for 4 hours will leave you sore in places you didn't know you had.
  • 9 1
 The Digit Datum was originally going to be included in this field test, is that the kind of different/unique/cool you hoped to see? Unfortunately the field test plan had to change as PB's schedule got pushed around by outside forces.

I would've loved to see how it compared with the big brands: whether/where the mullet was better/same/worse vs 29ers, how integrating the shock for simplification compares with hiding the shock and it's levers on the Scott, or if the sliders on the Yeti offer any similarities, whether the low weight was noticable on trail, etc...
  • 7 1
 disclaimer: I'm the Digit Bikes guy. I realize my post above could be read as disgruntled, which I'm not. My point is that PB had originally intended to include something different. I understand that things often don't go to plan, I think there were originally supposed to be more people around the roundtable, injuries knocked that part of the plan way off course.
  • 1 0
 Pfftt, as you obviously stated, you're not in the dentist pay grade...$20k bikes coming soon!
  • 4 0
 @fullendurobro - I tend to agree. That said if you have a bike that came out post 2019-ish the improvement to be had from a new bike is pretty marginal at this point. Spend 10K on more or less the exact same bike you already have or spend 1500 to do the bearings, re-build the suspension and other small maintenance and you got more or less a brand new bike. That has been my calculation at least...
  • 3 0
 @DirtBagTim: Would have loved to have seen that included in this round! Hopefully you can get it to PB for a long-term test?
  • 44 1
 How do you do a round table discussion with 2 people and no table?
  • 8 3
 Big personalities and opinions. Levy and Kaz have more chemistry than most of the other presenters combined.
  • 5 1
 Pinkbike poll time: are Mike'n'Mike most like Siskel'n'Ebert, Bert'n'Ernie, Statler'n'Waldorf, or another duo?
  • 8 0
 @DirtBagTim: Tango and Cash lol
  • 9 0
 Who cares - I'm just glad they referenced these bikes against a previous winner from the category. We've been asking for that at every field test and I think this is the first time it happened. Plus, the whole second half of that video was hilarious! Mike and Mike are amazing together. They can deliver an hilarious conversation, without going off-topic or making themselves the focus. Everyone else producing 'content' please take note of that!
  • 5 1
 @jspier: didn't they include a previous winner in last years field test to compare?
  • 6 0
 @DirtBagTim: Crockett and Tubbs, Laverne and Shirley, Deadpool.
  • 3 0
 @DirtBagTim: The Quebec field test definitely didn't have any past comparisons.
  • 2 0
 How do you go tobogganing with only one boggin?
  • 2 0
 What do you call an alligator wearing a vest?


...An investigator
  • 2 0
 Still waiting for that Mike vs Mike race!
  • 41 11
 Mike Levy in 2011: "I'm not trying to convince anyone that 29" wheels are the future, they aren't, and 26" wheels will likely always have a place in our sport, but the latest crop of 29'ers do add another element that is different enough to warrant their place on the mountain"

I think they have found their place on the mountain.

www.pinkbike.com/news/Pinkbike-Best-Of-Levy-2011.html
  • 31 2
 I mean, he's not wrong...the 26" have their place on the mountain still, at the bottom on a DJ bike. I remember buying my 27.5 XC bike in 2017 and being on the fence about getting a 29 but thought....nah, 27.5 is still being raced in the WC....boy was a I wrong on that, felt like that bike was out dated a few months into 2017 after I bought it, lol
  • 20 0
 Sounds like you had this one in the chamber.
  • 19 8
 I still ride a 26 inch due to not being able to afford the new 29 inch full suspensions, sadly when I go to trail systems a lot of people make fun of me and laugh at the bike. I ride some tough trails in Pisgah in Ashville NC. I cant say anything about 29ers since I've never ridden one, but I'm sure their good. I ride a modified 2004 rocky mountain edge in blue. I will say that 26ers can easily maneuver through rocks and accelerate better.
  • 8 5
 @Southeast-Shredder: as a Pisgah rider, I am laughing at you right now.

I kid I kid
  • 2 9
flag Southeast-Shredder FL (Dec 13, 2022 at 7:53) (Below Threshold)
 @slayersxc17: lol, dude nice strider bike
  • 22 0
 @Southeast-Shredder: sounds like those people are a*sholes. I have a lot of respect for riders that maintain and ride older bike models....they were capable then, they are capable now. Only time it becomes noticeable is in group rides....if everyone is on a modern 29'er and you are on a 26, you'll be working a lot harder (but its still doable....like the masochists that ride gnarly stuff on hardtail single speeds)
  • 3 0
 @SATN-XC: Thanks man, yea i have issues keeping up on flat areas but i can still keep up
  • 2 0
 @Southeast-Shredder: gotta start somewhere
  • 2 0
 @Southeast-Shredder: man, I used to ride a Rocky Mtn Flow, up Rocky knob just so I could hit PBJ on the way down on a DJ bike...it's all good, you do what you gotta do to make it work.
  • 4 3
 Taking someones comment out of context and arguing it at face value. Classic passive aggressive. Very little to be learned here other than thats what he thought at the time. Move on.
  • 4 0
 @rockyflowtbay: that's what she said
  • 3 1
 I mean, most 29ers in 2011 were pretty terrible. I and most gravity oriented riders thought the same at the time.
  • 6 0
 @Southeast-Shredder: Do you only ride with children? Who seriously makes fun of you? I mean, I would chuckle and remember the plight of my days of riding 26ers on trails, but I would never laugh at you and the bike for being budget-constrained to a 26er.
  • 2 0
 @SATN-XC: I feel like the writing was on the wall for 29" being dominant as far back as 2013-2014. I made the jump when the 2014 (maybe it was the 2013?) Spec Enduro 29er was touted as "bike of the year" from a lot of different reviewers. That, combined with the marketing video of Curtis Keene shredding the wheels off that bike was enough to convince me that 29 was the future.
  • 1 3
 @nickfranko: you mean 50 year old's with yetis and Santa Cruz's?
  • 3 0
 A lot of it was just the tire options. I think maxxis didn't release the dhf in a 29" size until around 2010. Before that, the 29er tire options kinda sucked. Once the tire options got better, the bikes got better too.
  • 8 0
 Now it’s the opposite. Hard to find decent tubeless 26” rubber.
  • 1 1
 @Southeast-Shredder: Or Pivots/S-works. Where I ride it's always someone on a Pivot who makes comments at me on my 10 year old hardtail.
  • 2 0
 I still have my 26er GT Fury. It still destroys everything on DH trails and bike park. My only concern is when wheels start to become scarce. I guess I should stock up on 26er rims, tires, and spokes. But I also have a 27.5 and 29er bike, so its a real treat to compare the ride characteristics of each bike.
  • 4 0
 @Southeast-Shredder: A 26" FS Gary Fisher I spent the last two summers on...getting ruthlessly mocked by my overbiked friend on a 27.5 Trance (never joining me on anything harder than paved gravel), getting chuckles from other riders at the sheer novelty of still riding 26".

I will never forget how much fun I had pushing that bike through EVERYTHING improving my overall balance, situational awareness, and endurance. It was the only fun I knew on a mountain bike. Just a desire to have fun and get better so I could have more fun. Also get my friend to shut their kfng face.

Best was keeping a high cadence through techy bits, having the agility to weave around obstacles, winch up hills on a relatively light, zippy bike and make a fun challenge of staying on the bike. I'd like a spare mountain bike for friends, ideally a thrifty 26" fun mobile so they catch the bug in the same way. I'll always admire those 26" qualities. The 29" enduro hardtail I saved my pennies for is....different.
  • 4 0
 @GorgesIthacan: That's cool, i took a look at your profile and i like your Gary fisher. It feels good to see that alot of people still ride 26ers.
  • 2 0
 @Southeast-Shredder: I’m over by Charlotte on my 26” and I don’t feel the least bit guilty holding anybody up. Because I’m not. And if I am, it’s on an incline and I don’t care.
  • 2 0
 @Southeast-Shredder: it’s not about the bike but the fun you’re having!
  • 1 0
 @itslightoutandawaywego: 704 in the house.
  • 17 3
 Hopefully the survey feedback guides PinkBike’s testing choices and some companies R&D efforts. We’re all willing to spend a lot to ride bikes, but maybe, just maybe focusing on 10k (and more) bikes with features like electronic shifting that won’t trickle down to mid-priced or affordable (1k-1.5k NICA special hardtails) isn’t the direction the industry should be going……

Think Honda vs Ferrari. The K series motor was developed to fit in a lot of affordable cars. But it’s so well engineered that it’s one of the best swap engines out there.

Ferrari has “cost no object” engineering and makes shockingly unreliable cars with horrific depreciation.

Both companies make very fun to drive cars. But the company thst focuses on the mass market with their R&D builds better stuff.
  • 6 5
 This poll lacks the "meh" option. What we have is: A bike which has a value so low, that it could be used to teach limits in college, a mellow bike for dentists, a bike so ugly that only a mother could love it, a bike which embodies every useless trend in the industry, and an ok bike lacking ~20mm of travel.
  • 5 1
 You misspelled LS
  • 3 0
 Obligatory 'Shut the f up about the K motor, I haven't had a chance to buy one yet' comment Big Grin

I agree with the sentiment though--if, as Kaz has mentioned here in the comments, the feel of a bike is mostly the suspension and geometry, then why not just go ahead and ask for the mid-price bike from these brands? Ride and test the one that most of the public would be considering.
  • 4 1
 Ferraris do not have "horrific" depreciation. Average is about 15% over 3 years, with numerous models APPRECIATING due to scarcity. Not terribly relevant here, but that's probably not the best example.
  • 2 0
 @bronco5: if you need a bigger clock, that’s a winner.
  • 2 0
 @mikealive: part of my beef is what’s tested. A bigger part is the focus on “trickle down” technology. Sometimes that works, often it doesn’t.

I wish the bike industry would focus on reliable designs that work up and down the price scale, and that ain’t carbon rims and wireless drivetrains.
  • 1 0
 @bronco5: check out the stanceworks ferrari
  • 1 0
 @fruitsd79: That thing is awesome.
  • 21 2
 Prices are stupid.
  • 3 0
 The norco is so low much lower....
  • 12 1
 @rockyflowtbay: The Norco is not lower. It is just normally priced
  • 3 0
 Half the overpriced bikes in the field test have completely reasonable builds
  • 12 0
 The thing about modern bikes is that almost all of them are pretty darn good. In this test you could spend $10k to get the top of the line bling, but really that is not at all necessary. The aluminum Norco hardly weighs more than some of the carbon wonder bikes and is less than half the money, add a few well bought upgrades and the weight would be real close. I am glad that people can and do buy these as it drives the research and development but for most people that are just not necessary to enjoy the sport.
  • 2 22
flag BigPapi69 (Dec 13, 2022 at 8:01) (Below Threshold)
 Dentists are obviously the smartest buyers out there if they are buying these bikes. It is a absolute waste of your money if you even consider these other awfully designed and foul looking bikes. The Norco is an absolute eye sore and I honestly lost 10 years off my life looking at that piece of junk (its honestly waste of material). That shade of green on the Norco doesn't even come close to Yeti's amazing colors like the 120's dust color.
  • 2 0
 @BigPapi69: you should see my Norco Truax , perhaps the most eye pleasing example of the perfect melding of form and function in modern industrial design. Permanent exhibit at MOMA.
  • 6 0
 @BigPapi69: Ten years off your life you'd be nine. Take a seat and come back when you know what you're talking about.
  • 13 0
 Good to see Trek making the #1 slot in the group. Unexpected.
  • 10 1
 For 11k, I would rather commission the Machina guys to build another prototype with a resigned head tube junction. Better get in on that now while their stock is low. Can't wait to see what they come out with next.
  • 6 0
 Free health insurance with every purchase?
  • 1 0
 Sure-take is back to the 1990’s where riders are beta testers for the most expensive parts. Which break all the time.
  • 2 0
 @wyorider: I've been an unwitting and unpaid beta tester of SRAM products for years. I sure wonder if they do any testing of their own. In fairness to Machina, it was a prototype, not a finished product.
  • 10 2
 I think the real goal of the 11k bikes is you get them into a comparison test to gets clicks on your site to find models you can actually afford. Which I did. Scott's website is poor and they need help- but they have 3 Genius models under $5k, all alloy. Trek has 3 that count (the 4th is the old model), 1 of those is even carbon. The higher end specs are close enough between SC, Trek, and Scott - the SC is a little less spec per dollar but whatever. Which leaves the Yeti- it just doesnt make sense anymore. The frame is overly complicated. It doesn't do anything particularly better. You even have to spend an extra grand for carbon wheels(the wheels on it are fine, just spending that extra is maddening when you're already so deep in). I don't think they have any particular cachet anymore. Especially in a world of We Are One Arrival's and Athertons.
  • 7 2
 Are flagship models a new concept to mountain bikers?
  • 8 0
 This poll needs to be two questions. "Which trail bike would you most like to ride?" and something like "Which bike would you be most likely to buy?"

I'd most like to ride the SC, but no question, the bike I'd buy is the Norco.
  • 1 0
 I agree. I'd love to ride the Scott and see how all the tech and integration felt on the trail, but it probably wouldn't be my choice to buy (if we were choosing only between these specs, it would clearly be the Norco).
  • 6 0
 The value field test and the regular field test tend to sample the two extremes of the market place. Can we get a mid priced or bang for the buck field test? You know, more like the Norco, good components at a mid tier price? Bikes for dads on a budget because their kid also needs a bike, or for students who have saved up for a year or two. Bikes that are desirable to have because they have good kit, but affordable enough to actually be attainable. Make it so pinkbike.
  • 9 0
 50% off in the tanking used market
  • 10 0
 Agreed. Probably the biggest differential we’ve ever seen is coming. 10k new is going to be worth 4K used 12 months later.
  • 3 0
 About time. I buy new I I can have warranty coverage. But for folks trying to get into the sport, lower pre-owned values are a good thing!!!!
  • 4 2
 @txcx166: You speak as though people will make rational decisions and sell their bikes for what they are actually worth.
  • 2 0
 @wyorider: So important. As a student we'd prowl pinkbike buysell for Vancouver doctors' leftovers. And these days, components tend (specific brands' frames aside) to hold up better so you can get great deals on nearly new bikes. My current whip dropped 2x in resale value but it's back to about where SB5.5s were pre-covid.
  • 4 0
 @slimjimminnies: the price is determined by what someone is willing to actually buy it for, until then it's just a for-sale ad.
  • 6 1
 surprised with the survey results....question is which bike would you most like to ride [not own]. I don't want to own a Scott Genius (too rich for my blood and I don't want to deal with the headset routing), same way I wouldn't a Ferrari, but I sure as hell would like to give it a spin.
  • 1 0
 You wouldn't want to own a Ferrari?!
  • 2 0
 @fullendurbro: sure but maintenance and upkeep would be too expensive. I'm not willing to part with 11k to own the Scott as the performance benefits don't outweigh the cost of ownership, but I would sure like to ride it!
  • 3 1
 @SATN-XC: New Ferraris come with 7 years of full coverage and maintenance. Heck of deal when the car only costs $440k. So when you look at it that way, you pretty much have to buy one.
  • 1 0
 oops I did that.
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC: way cheaper builds of the Genius available, anyway
  • 5 0
 Due to autoplay, I have to hit stop and every time I do, @mikekazimer is looking like Ricky Bobby not knowing what to do with his hands and @mikelevy has a stoned, slack jaw thing going on. As funny as this is to me, I would appreciate not having to do it...
  • 2 0
 Smile
  • 7 0
 Kazimer: “I like to ride gnarly terrain. This yeti would be great in Colorado where’s its designed”

Coloradoans slowly realizing that they are not the gnarliest:
  • 1 1
 The gnarest gnar in Colorado is gnarly, but BC has more. A lot more.
  • 7 0
 ...would I most like to ride? Genius.
...would I most like to own? Hightower.
  • 4 0
 Why would more people want to ride the Norco over the others? Great bike and it's where my money would go , but . . . if I was offered Subway or a restaurant meal , Civic type R or Corolla, Paningale or GS 500 I'd go the one I'm less likely to get the chance to experience.
  • 4 1
 In 2023, I would expect an updated Deviate Highlander to shake up the mid-travel class. That would be way more interesting than these warmed over dentist bikes from 2018. The Norco seems like a great, affordable option in the meantime.
  • 7 1
 How would the Ripmo hold in this lineup? So many people like it as a trail bike.

Hump
  • 3 0
 Yeah that’s a good question. At least we got a quick stumpjumper evo comparison.
  • 2 0
 Aren’t Ibis actively telling people it’s not a trail bike by fitting it with a Bomber coil and Assegais front and rear, at least on the AF?
  • 1 0
 I feel the Ripmo would fit right in with this group. But now you get factory level suspension in the $6,100 ngx build. Expensive to be sure, but way better value than Yeti or SC. And its a Ripmo, it does everything really well.
  • 1 0
 One of the best daily drivers out west. On a Ripmo AF and it’s chonky with sturdy wheels/tires/Cushcore but the shock tune is great!!
  • 8 1
 No orange Fox forks! That is a win for humanity
  • 6 2
 There is no "None of the Above" or "I'll see what shows up in PB Buy and Sell"
Apart from the Fluid, Spending close to 15K CAD on a bicycle seems ludicrous.
  • 4 1
 Great content as always!

Autoplay doesn't serve your customers. It's a mad flurry of maneuvers to scroll down/up, unmute, rewind, fat finger everything, and try again. Please discontinue this .
  • 4 0
 I’m surprised nobody has roasted Levy yet for saying he would put the Trek in his bedroom just so he could stare at it. Didn’t the comment section decide it’s ugly?
  • 6 4
 Can we stop fussing about the price of these bikes and just take these shootouts at face value? Sure, some bikes are pretty dang expensive and yeah there’s diminishing returns at a certain point. But if someone can and does buy a top spec bike good for them. Man, I see some of the best riders ride low to mid level bikes and yeah that probably means $3000-$5000 so what!? I do see a few amazing riders ride top spec bikes. I also see some of the worst riders ride top spec bikes. I like to think I’m somewhere in the middle, so I build my own bikes up and select the components the work best for my preference, ability, discipline, and budget. For 90% of local riders and tourists I see everyday that Norco is more than enough bike for them. For some that’s out of reach. Is what it is. We live in a world of haves and have nots. But if you absolutely shred on a 10 year old clapped out machine and have a dgaf attitude that will always be cooler than the over serious guy on that kashima’d out rig making excuses the whole time for not being able to clear anything.
Just stfu and ride what you have/can and be chill.
  • 2 0
 I upvoted you but I love even more that you’ve been downvoted.

And yeah I’m the guy on the 10 year clapped out bike.
  • 1 0
 @itslightoutandawaywego: hell yeah bro, keep spanking that alloy pony.
  • 1 0
 @BroDozer69: who said it was alloy??!!
  • 2 0
 The trek seems so good but its also a bit irritating, Why is it so much? Its the biggest manufacturer that has a huge range of products. If any single company on earth should be able to leverage economies of scale and pass it on to the customers while still making a buck, its them.
  • 3 0
 You can get a version with the same geo for under $5K…
  • 1 0
 Trek no longer makes anything. The bike is heavy and expensive because it’s sturdy and well-built.

Fuel EX8 weighs a little more, has solid spec. That’s the volume bike, and the best deal.
  • 2 0
 Why are all those bikes so heavy? I mean... a 2018 Fuel Ex8 (alu) is lighter than all of them except Scott (blah).
Wouldn't buy any of those at that price and with all that weight, imo a trail bike at this price point shouldn't exceed ~13.5-14kg.
  • 2 0
 Takes the Hightower as a no fuss all rounder . Instantly forgets the Yeti thanks to hassle (like the ex wife)
Looks longingly at the Scott for the slender looks . Ignores the Trek as not my type .. and smashes the Norco like the cheap dirty bike it looks like .
  • 2 0
 Me, still sleepy, walking around in my robe with a coffee in hand, receiving a notification from pinkbike: "Oho! What's this?! Another bike review article?!"

Immediately I dart to the cabinet where I keep my pitchfork and torches, yelling "Honey, get my notes from teh bedside table!! Yes, for TODAY is the day the bike industry will finally know my wrath!!! All my friends agree it is I who must deliver SWIFT JUSTICE to the bike company overlords!! Oh, the explosive mix of righteous indignation and furious keystroking I will drop on their corporate doorstep via pinkbike comments will not soon be forgotten!!! Oh, yes. I expect the management team will need to do much soul-searching after this one. To assuage their guilt, they will have no choice but to make only a single, ~$4000 model with alloy frame, GX drivetrain, and pike fork!!!! That is all I, a simple man with simple needs, asks after all."

wife, in the corner, on the phone to sister, whispering: "they already have it. I've shown him a dozen times but he just won't stop. I wish he would stop."
  • 3 0
 I love how the tests are always on the top models at the highest price. Only bike that is affordable that matters to 80% to the general public is the norco.
  • 1 0
 I guess the brands send the bike they want tested, after all Norco sent their top spec it just happens to be much cheaper than the others…
  • 5 0
 Awesome...and I'm keeping my EVO.
  • 3 0
 How can I view the comments without watching a video I've already watched. You're using my data without my consent. No autoplay!
  • 1 0
 Thanks.
I'd pretty much convinced myself that my Giant Trance X Adv Pro 1 was good enough and I don't need(can't afford) to upgrade to a Stumpjumper Evo. Yet here it is getting rave reviews in a field test it's not even part of!!!
  • 3 0
 Buy the Norco, spend some money on coaching and use the remainder to take care of rent for half the year
  • 10 0
 Man I want to pay what you’re paying for rent
  • 2 0
 There`s a sweet version of the Trek at 4800usd, would go for that one in a heartbeat. If I didn`t still love my stumpy evo comp that is.
  • 2 0
 Agreed, that 9.7 is sweet.
  • 4 0
 Can we get a review on the new Chromag FS bikes now pretty please?
  • 1 0
 A great time for trail bikes! Like the Trek. That in alloy with a similar spec to the Stumpjumper Evo Elite would be a mega proposition, assuming the price was similar. Not that I'm in the market.
  • 2 0
 The specialzed mountain bike marketing team taking their 56th consecutive week of vacation as pinkbike continues to do their job:
  • 1 0
 I honestly don’t understand the value of Yetis… the geos are meh, the aesthetics are meh, the lil’ kashima thing is meh, the prices are meh, like wtf is going on here that makes it so desirable for people?
  • 3 1
 The allure? #1 they’ve been at it long enough they have “heritage”. #2 they don’t do any horrible spec. The big 3 and Santa Cruz do builds that are flat-out crap. Yeti doesn’t. #3 they do ride well. I haven’t ridden a Switch Infinity Yeti I didn’t like. More than other bikes? Maybe not-but I’ve enjoyed every one.

Worth the squeeze? Probably not. Nice bikes? Yeah.
  • 1 0
 You know those people who comment “Horst link? Yawn”
  • 1 0
 This made me laugh…I’m literally in my garage building my new sb140 with a 170mm zeb on it. Word for word what Mike says you can’t do. Either way fun watching the reviews thansk guys
Cheers
  • 1 0
 Nest bike test: Take the latest Fuel EX and compare it to a 5 year old Fuel. Hightower 3 vs Hightower 1. I'd like to see how modern versions of the same bike compare to their ancestors.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the laugh! The trek is like your significant other dressing up for sexy time. I would avoid multiple personalities.
  • 1 0
 Could we get a list of the trails you tested these on? I try to get to Whistler once a year and these look like spots I’d like to hit.
  • 1 0
 I'm a biased Norco fan, and like their clean lines. The rest are HO's - Hideous Offerings. The Trek is vying for Best Geometric Dome-frame of 2022.
  • 3 0
 Norco looks like a bike. Rest look like ugly spaceships.
  • 4 5
 Trail bikes? These things are all mega-slack tanks! When I started working in this industry 15 years ago it was possible to buy sub-20 pound mountain bikes. I spent years downhill racing on an aluminum 25 pound bike that cost 1/4 of what they're asking for these rigs. I don't want any of these bikes.
  • 2 1
 Well...don't buy any of those bikes. I have been riding /racing MTB since the mid 90's (XC, DH/Slalom), bikes now are VASTLY better than anything then and better than the vast majority of bikes even 15 years ago. More capable, more reliable, better tires, brakes, geometry, etc. My trail bike from 2005 would fold in half compared to what I ride today and the the new one is carbon. In addition, plenty of alloy models (like the Trek) you can build up with your choice of parts. The old bikes are cool from a nostalgic perspective, but I would rather ride modern bikes every single time.
  • 2 0
 @bman33: Yes, but even a couple of years back trail bikes were lighter. Those bikes with all that weight and at this price are laughable. Don't compare them to bikes from early '00s. Compare them to 2-4 year old trail bikes. Is 2019 YT Jeffsy CF a terrible bike? Or... idk, a 2018 SC Hightower? Damn, even a 2017 Trek Fuel EX8 (alu) is lighter than the tested bikes and I am sure it can do the same things.
  • 2 0
 @kuejku: good point, and agree these are heavier then it should be. Maybe it's the DD tires? That said, my comment references his regarding bikes 15 years ago.
  • 1 0
 @bman33: DD tires are usually ~200-300g heavier (per tire) than an EXO or EXO+ tire, that would still place those bikes at or above 14kgs... And that's still way too heavy for a CF top of the line trail bike.
In regards to bikes from the early '00s, I completely agree. Today's trail bikes are way better than the best DH bikes back then - in terms of both the geo and durability...
  • 1 1
 What have we come to when the Santa Cruz is the sexy option?
Yeah the Trek is more up my street in terms of geometry and stuff, but they can't be rewarded for aesthetics like that.
  • 1 0
 No doubt I’d buy the Norco. Throw butter hub on the rear when the original bearings give in. Pretty awsome bike for the price.
  • 1 0
 The price model of the current bike market, the number one reason for the success of PinkBike Buy/Sell page
  • 3 2
 Levy said the Hightower is the most fun. 20 corners in a row. So everyone stfu about the price.
  • 2 0
 All Goood options, I think Norcos are the best value
  • 2 0
 I wonder how the V2 Offering would have compared...
  • 1 0
 I wonder why the Transition Scout wasn't included in this test. . . I sense a 27.5 bias here Smile
  • 3 0
 Well it was also released in early 2020, so close to three years ago. It would have been fun to have one 27.5 in the test though.
  • 1 0
 I want a simple spreadsheet of rear travel mm vs kg and rear travel mm vs $(usd).

Maybe I’ll cook one up.
  • 2 0
 The one that doesn't cost $10,000 .. that's the one.
  • 1 0
 Toss up between the Trek and the Norco for me, but I'm biased and in the market for a 140mm-ish bike.
  • 2 0
 The Trek may ride well but its the least attractive bike of the bunch.
  • 1 1
 the norco is the only trail bike here, and maybe the trek. all the others are light enduro to full enduro. i would honestly race a DH on most of the 10 g plus builds
  • 3 3
 what's crazy is that the Scott is the ugliest by far...and the priciest....
  • 5 0
 Seems to be a pretty divisive design, I think its the coolest looking of the bunch though not the prettiest. That would be the Norco
  • 1 1
 Looks like spesh enduro with hidden shock
  • 2 0
 The Trek is money.
  • 1 1
 Lots of it.
  • 2 1
 Breaking news: MVP assault charges dismissed.
  • 1 0
 I cannot look something that I can't touch and feel it... Norco!
  • 1 0
 TLDR; every one of these bikes is great.
  • 1 1
 All that extra complicated up n on the yeti, but no ,mentioned performance advantage. Gimmick I reckon
  • 1 0
 Most $10k bike are good..
  • 2 0
 No autoplay please
  • 2 1
 Luckily there are smart builders like Norco who make human bikes..
  • 1 0
 And I thought my Hightower CC XT was expensive
  • 2 0
 Make war on 8k+ bikes!
  • 1 0
 Cant wait for a 5 trails ridden , round table
  • 1 0
 8 years back these were called enduro bikes
  • 1 0
 They do make that point about the Scott being “all mountain”.
  • 1 1
 The Chinese New Year predicts 2023 is the year of the dentist. Long live the dentist and their fancy rides.
  • 1 0
 I don't even want to stand next to a $10K bike.
Bike companies are high.
  • 2 3
 Which one would you like to ride? None of them. I'll take the ebike thanks!
  • 2 1
 Plus one
  • 1 0
 *Next bike test...
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