PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
5 Trail Bikes VS the Efficiency Test
Words by Mike Levy; photography by Satchel CronkPinkbike sent us to Whistler with five brand-new bikes
and nothing but sunny skies and dry trails, so what did I end up doing? Climbing the same gravel road too many times, of course. We spent a ton of time on the chair lift, obviously, and we also did a lot of tricky, technical climbing while testing the bikes. This isn't any of that, however, because we also need to know how they perform when the onus is on your legs rather than your technical skills.
And yeah, I know I'm not wearing my lab coat and this won't get published in Science Journal, but that's not what we're trying to do. The goal here is to have a little "fun" while maybe learning a thing or three to back up our on-trail impressions, which is usually how it works out. All of the bikes were wearing the same Maxxis control tires set to the same pressures to help even the playing field, and the suspension was also set up for my weight across the board. And of course, not a single pedal-assist lever was used during the Efficiency Test.
Efficiency Test Results
1st Trek Fuel EX - 1:53
2nd Norco Fluid FS 1 - 1:54
3rd Santa Cruz Hightower - 1:56
4th Scott Genius ST - 1:58
5th Yeti SB140 - 2:00
As usual, I had a set of Garmin Rally pedals and a 1030 computer to keep my power consistent, and our trusty Freelap Timing System served as the start and finish lines. The climb itself took around two minutes, with the first half being relatively low-grade that I stayed seated for before kicking up to that classic B.C. steepness for some out-of-the-saddle work at a lower cadence. And while the climb was short, the differences could add up to some much larger gaps over a long ride.
Question: You've just stumbled onto a duffle bag (or maybe two) stuffed full of money and it's time to replace your trusty Brodie 8-Ball with a new trail bike of some kind. How much of a factor does pedaling efficiency, or even just climbing in general, play in your purchasing decision?
The 2022 Fall Field Test is presented G-Form