Pinkbike Poll: How Do You Decide Which Bike To Buy?

Jun 17, 2022 at 8:04
by Seb Stott  
Photo by Trevor Lyden
There are so many bikes out there and each offers a different experience. So how do you pick one to stick with?


For most of us, buying a mountain bike is one of the biggest purchases we'll ever make after a house or a car. In fact, the bike could cost more than a car. Current supply chain issues notwithstanding, there are lots of options out there within each category, and I can tell you that no two bikes ride the same. So if you're planning to stick with one bike for the long haul, how do you decide which one to choose?

Imagine you were looking to purchase a new primary mountain bike. How would you go about sorting through all the options? Obviously, right now your choices would be limited by what you can actually get hold of, but try to ignore that for now.

I'm clearly biased, but to me, looking at professional bike reviews, ideally from multiple testers, seems like a good place to start. Professional reviewers get to test many bikes, so they have a sense of how each bike stacks up against its rivals. The downside of swapping between bikes is that we can't say much about long-term reliability.

If the bike has been around for a while, you could also look at consumer reviews. Where many reviews are available, it is possible to get a sense of common problems, but because user reviews are written by people who have handed over hard-earned cash, they are almost by definition biased in favour of the bike they're reviewing (otherwise, they would've bought something else).

You might also ask your mates or the staff in a local bike shop, or go on the experience of the bikes you've owned before and extrapolate from that. For example, if your current bike feels a little small, you might want to try a slightly longer one next time.

The best option might be to try and demo some of the bikes on your shortlist to get a feel for them first-hand. This isn't always possible, and another problem can be that the bike setup - particularly the suspension and cockpit - can have a huge effect on how the bike handles, and there usually isn't time to get this perfected before you go for a test ride. If the setup isn't quite right, it could make your ideal bike ride underwhelmingly.

Of course, you could just look at the results of the World Cup or EWS race circuit. If a bike's winning races it must be good, right?

Jack Moir takes his first win and is joined on the podium by Richie Rude and Charlie Murray
What's that saying? Win on Sunday, sell on Monday. But is that (consciously) a factor in your buying decision?

So which tools do you use to decide which bike to buy?

How do you decide which bike to buy?

(Assuming you could actually get hold of the bike you wanted.)




249 Comments

  • 144 4
 This poll really just needs a 'picked the most bitchin color' option. Most of the other options are heavily affected by human's inability to know WHY they make the decisions they do.
  • 125 0
 I picked up my Transition Sentinel because I liked the lines of the frame. Then I did the research to see if I'd like it.

There should definitely be a "I bought it because it looked cool" option.
  • 6 2
 Agree, at a certain price point the bikes could be really similar, 1 might have better drivetrain then another that has better brakes, sometimes it just comes down to paint and cool looking factor.
  • 8 0
 Indeed, colors (or lack there of) and geometry. Oh and, availability...
  • 11 2
 This has /r/hailcorporate all over it
  • 53 0
 I'm surprised it didn't have an option for price. Biggest factor for most people.
  • 2 1
 Agreed, but I'd say "Marketing" kinda covers this and how the bike looks, at least for the purpose of this poll.
  • 2 0
 @Paul-Berger: good choice BTW, this bike is soooo goooooood.
  • 6 0
 I once demo'd a bike at Sea Otter because it looked cool and demos were free. It was WAAAY outside of the budget I'd decided on. Tried 6 other bikes that weekend but none came close, all for different reasons. Saved up and bought used. Still have that bike (though I have others too - including what was supposed to be its replacement). Pivot Mach 5.5
  • 3 1
 @sarcosphaera: no way, looks definitely fits into "experience". You don't know what colors or lines you like until you've experienced some colors and lines.
  • 3 0
 Curious - apparently price is not a factor...? I mean you can do all the research you want, but at the end of the day - price usually can influence the final decision.
  • 3 1
 Are you kidding me? Color? Car dealerships must love you
  • 1 0
 @mariomtblt: You literally cannot get cars in the color you want these days. My wife and I are on a waiting list for a vehicle that has us waiting over 12 months. We chose in priority which colors we like the most, because whatever comes in when it's our turn, is either what we get, or we wait an unknown length of time for a color we would prefer.
  • 1 0
 @Paul-Berger: I base the large majority of my choice on performance then price, but it is very true that I won't ride an ugly bike! It does have to look dope.
  • 2 1
 @gnarnaimo: buy used man, I was in the same boat for a m5 and I ended go with a 1 year old m550 and I haven’t looked back
  • 4 0
 @mariomtblt: Ex BMW mechanic here... I will exercise restraint from commenting on your life choices.
  • 1 1
 @gnarnaimo: hah yeah, not my first money pit either I’m ashamed to say
  • 1 0
 This also news brand buy in, do I like what the company portrays and represents
  • 3 0
 As long as it's black.
  • 1 0
 Purple.
  • 2 0
 @Paul-Berger: I bought a new transition sentinel because of the loam gold color
  • 74 3
 What about buying a bike not because of the actual bike - but because of the company? All these bikes work pretty good nowadays so I make my decisions off of other variables
  • 33 0
 Agreed. I bought my Guerilla Gravity Smash mainly because they are made in the USA and a super cool company. But also because the geometry was spot on, they look great, and have a good price point all things considered.
  • 11 0
 Very much this. I bought my Orange, as it is built in the UK and they are great with warranty issues.
  • 19 0
 These professional reviewers nitpick each and every aspect of a bike (as the should), but I think that can often make almost any bike look like it has some flaws.

I feel like the reality for most average riders though is that they can throw a leg over almost and good quality bike and get along with them all just the same. I know for me personally my riding isn't consistent enough to feel out most of the differences between high end bikes. They might have slightly different characteristics but I feel like I'd just adjust to that without without eve realizing. If you lined up 10 of the top trail bikes and told me I had a week to test them all out, I'd probably feel like my favorite one would always be the one I just got off of.
  • 61 4
 exactly, I bought a Specialized to piss off the pinkbike comment section
  • 44 0
 @arrowheadrush: one man’s trash is another man’s specialized
  • 10 0
 Too many times I’ve been put off by terrible warranties and customer service. There’s a lot to be said for being treated well after just spending £5k+. Would love there to be more research on warranties and damage etc to back up bullish responses from bike companies who flat out don’t give a shoot.

This shout out goes to Orbea with their ‘lifetime warranty’ and lie package. Local bike shop is now disowning them!
  • 5 0
 THIS! There are some brands I wont go know near for any money.
  • 1 0
 Especially since the Horst and VPP patents expired, there are lots more options from brands that are better aligned with different values and attitudes.
  • 1 0
 @awilso27: what happened?
  • 1 2
 @winko: snapped seat stay whilst pulling a skid down a footpath. They offered crash replacement but wouldn’t entertain the idea that it was a crash! You can’t argue with them unless you can prove it in the lab which is pretty difficult! Would be interesting to see if any manufacturers would publish their design reports when testing to see how materials react until failure.
  • 2 4
 Hold up,
You purchase the bike based on the company?
What exactly is your criteria?
So a bike that isn’t ideal, is a bike you’re willing to buy based on the company marketing, or environmental track record, or it’s support of workers….
I’m calling shenanigans, it might be a factor, but if the bike isn’t right, you’re not buying it.

With all honesty, currently on a Transition, new bike is a Transition, next new bike is likely to be a Transition, wife’s new bike is likely a Transition,
Shit, Sorry man, my bad
  • 1 0
 @arrowheadrush: I hate you. LOL!! JK. Wink
  • 1 0
 @arrowheadrush: I bought one because they’re the best mountain bikes on the planet.
  • 1 0
 @awilso27: in reality, the seat stay likely broke before that, I’d have a hard time believing it broke while skidding. I’m assuming it’s a plastic bike, also assuming you rarely gave it a good looking over when you were done rides.
Doesn’t excuse Orbea if it went down as you said
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: your assumptions aren’t quite right. Always thoroughly clean my bikes and look over them, granted I wouldn’t expect it to go in the way it did, but it did, which questions the design credibility and build quality of the piece! Either way, Orbea aren’t even coming to the table with anything. Frustrating to have only owned a bike for two months to be left high and dry! Not the first time a bike company has done this and think there should be more accountability.
  • 1 0
 @BigFactHunt:
This post is being investigated for its litigation potential by a company that starts with S and ends with ecialized.
  • 1 0
 @awilso27: i wanted a good reliable hardtail, quality and well reviewed ... and within budget budget. not many to choose from because most bikes are dual sus - the deciding factor for choosing yeti rather than nukeproof was that i could get it from my local bike shop and take it there for service. price was important but not the main factor
  • 56 1
 Frameset only please
  • 21 0
 Yes and all bike weights should be advertised by frame weight rather than what it weighs with xc tires and other undergunned throwaway components they specced to game the advertised weight number. Tired of having to throw away tires and other components which shouldn't have been put on an enduro bike or ebike in first place.
  • 14 0
 100% frames - also sell them for more realistic prices.
  • 7 0
 @r-jesse: And in that world, Giant will still tell you to go down to your LBS and ask them to weigh the frame...
  • 13 0
 @boozed: This is one thing i agree with from giant, The Built bike weights vary so much, Alot of brands list weights but in X size but not the rest so whats the point.

Framesets however should list their weight in every size.
  • 6 1
 @HeatedRotor: and also everyone should have to build it themselves to keep all the Joey's off my trails
  • 1 0
 @mtb-thetown: To be fair building a frame isnt hard and selling frames is probably worth more to a shop, they make a small bit on the frame and then you can bet Most people would take a deal a shop offers to build the bike for XX set amount.
Im all for alot more frame only options and people keeping their suspension/drivetrain/wheels etc Lets us swap between frames more often without trying to sell a complete bike to buy anther one, This also hugely benefits the current market by taking the load off brands desperately trying to get stuff.

There are alot of brands i want to try still but they dont offer frame only so they wont ever get my $$$. seems silly to limit yourself so much as brand by only offering half the product you could.
  • 8 0
 I've built two full bikes from scratch and have never been able to come close the price of a fully built bike. I'd rather just find a full XT build and buy it. Smile
  • 5 0
 @r-jesse: recently saw frame weight listed WITHOUT paint. *sigh*
  • 3 0
 @mybaben: but once you already have your own parts its cheaper.
buy a complete med-high specced bike to start then do frames from there

dont ever buy everything by itself lol
  • 1 1
 @HeatedRotor: you're preaching to the choir. I just found a Transition Scout frame in my size and I'm gonna swap over parts from my hardtail Throttle. I want a short travel bike to go with my Spire and riding a hardtail feels like it causes bad habits that slow me down when I go back to the big bike.

I expect the swap to take a couple hours, and if I want to ride the hardtail can always swap back.
  • 2 0
 @mybaben: it's not always about getting the best deal, it's also about getting exactly what you want so you aren't wasting resources on replacing stuff right away (not just money, seems wasteful to have a bar and stem made that just gets taken off and thrown on a shelf, let alone cranks, saddles, etc.).

But completes are typically a better deal, especially if you aren't picky.
  • 2 0
 @HeatedRotor: Yeah for sure, when you already have the components, buying a new frame is a good way to go!
  • 3 0
 @mybaben: I'd polity disagree, I've just bought a epic Evo Comp, stripped it down and rebuilt it with retail components ( everything apart from the dropper and rear mech) the similar spec and weight bike from specialised was $3.5k AUD more than my build once I'd sold the surplus. Maybe specialized is a bad example, but my last Santa Cruz was the same ( frame + build was way cheaper than the lbs version). Also you get to shop around and pay a little more for the parts that really improve performance and back off on the stuff that doesn't, i.e a rear mech.
  • 1 0
 @RichieNotRude: That's cool. I'm glad that worked out for you. I think it's hard to really compare though because I know you Aussies have super expensive prices there for your bikes, and Santa Cruz are way over priced even here in the States. Frown
  • 1 0
 @mtb-thetown: love it
  • 39 1
 I poor over geometry charts and debate the difference in 3mm of chainstay length.... that is sadly not all that sarcastic. IMO it is pretty hard to buy a bad bike right now, as long as you buy it for what you ride. I have an Epic XC bike, pretty sure I would be just as happy on a spark, sniper, scalpel, lux etc
  • 69 0
 I also poor.
  • 17 0
 I was just gonna say where's the option for obsessively scouring geometry charts for months on end?
  • 4 0
 Yup I put all of the bikes I was interested in, including geo and specs, I was interested in on a spreadsheet. Gave points and color weightings based on what was most important, HTA, chainstay reach, stack, brakes etc. Narrowed it down to 3 and was ready to buy and which was prettiest but got to demo 2 of 3.
  • 8 1
 @blissindex: the second I hit post I saw it. but It was too late, now it is on the internet forever...
  • 13 0
 I think this is part of the fun of buying a bike, is the nerding out and researching.
  • 1 0
 @eroc43: There's an option to edit a comment, which is available for a few minutes after posting.
  • 1 0
 The more you look into geo etc the higher the Chance that you will search for downsides on your bike. Atleast I do it every time lol. But I bought a Stumpjumper after trying it out because I liked the ride and didnt even look at geo etc. And I didnt think about downsides very much this time
  • 35 0
 What delivers the best price to performance ratio and is in my budget.
I don't give a f*ck about a great review of a 10k bike if I will only get sram sx and level t brakes on the 3k€ spec bike.
  • 9 0
 This. That’s why I switched from a ’18 Spez Enduro to a ’21 Propain Tyee with a spec that would send the Enduro to €10k+. And the Tyee came in at about €4,5k.
  • 4 0
 I mean you kinda should,
Sometimes you gotta read between the lines on these things.
If they reviewed an S-Works stumpy, and raved about the fork, brakes, wireless shifting, and glossed over the frame details, and how well it climbed/descended……you’ve got your review on the lesser Stumpy right there.
SX and level area gonna perform largely the same on an S-works frame, as they do on a alu frame.
  • 2 0
 Agreed, price needs to be an option in the poll
  • 1 0
 @Utter: It also helps that Tyee is a bomb of a bike and you get close to nothing extra by shelling out extra thousands.
  • 1 0
 @grotesquesque: Fully agree, love it!
  • 19 1
 I lust after Dreadnoughts, Yetis, and other high end brands. When it comes to new bike time I am going to look at the price of a consumer-direct bike, compare with everything else, think about value of spec, and also consider the one that has the least issues with warranties and breakage. So probably a Commencal, and anything else in that price range. Race results also important. Good results = the bikes survive and are proven fast enough for my middling abilities. Putting the least money possible into a "good enough" frame is a fine privateer strategy for buying a new bike.
  • 16 2
 About those Commencals...you might want to check Paul Aston's channel
  • 9 1
 @Will762: yeah wouldn't buy a supreme after these cracking reviews
  • 3 1
 @bashhard: hell no! Just because they win on race day, does not mean they shouldn't be recalled.
  • 2 0
 @Will762: good thing I buy Meta's for privateer enduro, but I probably wouldn't shy away from a Supreme (bought new for warranty) even after that video.
  • 11 2
 @Will762: that man is an absolute clown,
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it every time it comes up. He provides entertainment, same as PinkBike, and any other reviewer website/YT channel.
His non-sense complaints about stem length on the Norco Shore, jeez, I’m not sure how anyone can sit through his videos
  • 2 0
 @onawalk: so because you disagree with his views on bike set-up, he's a clown? I actually agree with you that he has very...particular views and it's a little tiresome that he brings them up over and over, but in this case (and the case of the Shore issues) he's doing nothing but good work to try and improve bikes. Don't see why you resort to name-calling.
  • 1 0
 @Will762: I didn’t feel the need to write up a detailed multiple page comment on why I believe he’s a muffin stump.
I could go on, but I’m merely making my opinion known.

I’m all for different views, and counter points, and open discussions, etc. In fact I openly encourage it, I could talk bikes, and parts, and set-up for ever.
He’s a clown because he believes he’s doing something other than providing entertainment, the idea that he’s “doing good work” is debatable at best, prolly worse.
I have every right to believe he’s a cheese bag, and as long as I’m not being slanderous, or swearing, I can voice that opinion. I’m aware that voicing my opinion brings responsibility along with it, as does his.
  • 18 1
 The first thing I think of when buying a new bike is: where I live. So I get online and build out a Canfield, a GG, and a Reeb, to keep it local you know, but then I get distracted and check the prices of a KTM 690r and think: I’ll just ride my old bike for another year.
  • 12 0
 I went to a bike fest in Eagle back in 2013-ish with my eyes on a certain bike. When I got there the guy had a f*cked up toothache, ratty hair and was having trouble with a bum shoulder & kinda looked like he was chasing the hair of the dog. He fixed me and my friend up with 2 bikes, then gave us two Extra Golds each "One for the top of the climb and one for when you finish the descent". We rode, returned and then he let us borrow the bikes again the next day for a chainless race. I miss that guy and hope he's doin' okay - but since then I've continued to buy Konas.
  • 25 1
 I don't know what you just said but am heading to the shop to put a deposit on a Kona.
  • 16 2
 For me it's all about clean lines and integration, hidden cables through the headset are a must
  • 14 0
 Press-fit DUB bb's, integrated stem/bars, and no water bottle bosses to better maintain aerodynamics when I'm ripping down the trail at 23km/h in my baggy shorts
  • 1 2
 found the guy who spends more time looking at his bike and touching himself than riding it
  • 14 0
 One that l can afford.
  • 10 3
 I bought two bikes in the past year. Both Specialized (get mad bro). Both times, I demo'ed the bikes at my local experience center, talked to a mechanic there about the bike for about an hour, shopped around for other brands, then went back to Specialized. After being able to try the Stumpy Evo and Epic Evo on the trails I ride every week, it was nearly impossible for me to consider other brands. At the price point high end bikes are now offered at, not being able to demo is absolutely insane. If I wasn't able to test drive my Subaru STi, no way would I have thrown down for the car. Same goes for a $7,000 bike, I'm not going to trust anything other than my own hands on experience. I'm not a pro, not a tech editor, just a mediocre guy trying to get silly on two wheels- why would I compare my experience to that of a pro or tech editor?

I now have a Sumpy Evo and Epic Evo, killer combo.

I would love to see a purely demo-based shop to create a more even playing field. House multiple bike brands, demo all the bikes, show me the way to the inventory. If I could ride a Stumpy Evo then turn around and ride a Norco Sight, maybe I would own a Sight.
  • 13 2
 Availability
  • 1 0
 Definitely this. 'Whatever is in stock' should be one of the choices given the current situation.
  • 1 0
 I was looking for that exact option
  • 3 0
 To be fair that option was excluded by the question
  • 1 0
 Definitely what’s available. Narrow it down to the 3 bikes I would like, then buy something $2k more expensive bc none of those bikes are available.
  • 9 0
 Hype and insta influencers for me, Clive.
  • 18 9
 I look for rainbow flag logos and greenwashing!
  • 1 0
 Camelback
  • 4 4
 Agreed. My bike maker must contribute to whatever is the hip identity politics issue of the day!
  • 6 1
 For me it's all about fit and feel. After that, support after purchase and the chance of landing commonly broken parts. As far as reviews, Paul Aston is the only reviewer going far enough with each bike to generate an actual impression. Sorry PB, but you just are not hard enough on bikes in your tests. They should be well flogged before giving any opinions. Go harder. Hire heavier testers. Push things to their limits for our sake.
  • 5 0
 I use PB reviews but not the way they intended. I specifically stay away of anything called sporty, playful, mid stroke support, "not very sensitive", race ready, climbs like a goat because this translates to: a bike which rides too harsh for my taste. On the contrary, bikes deemed too much bike immediately catch my attention Smile Problem with reviews is that you really cannot draw any definite conclusions from someone else's review. He might be a good rider but maybe too good, maybe biased towards efficiency, maybe trails are gnarly but less chunky, maybe less twisty, generally different. So bike reviews are a fine entertainment but not much more.
  • 7 11
flag wyorider (Jun 17, 2022 at 12:55) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah-as someone who cracks frames from pedaling stress (and I’m only 160 lbs) I’d love to see some tests with more watts, more sends, and more chunk.

I’m also frequently frustrated by tire tests for the same reason. Find a drop with a nasty case on it. Validate that a double casing tire with a Cushcore will survive rear wheel hits on said case rock. Test EVERY tire marketed as sturdier then pure XC on the ROCK OF TRUTH!!!!

I keep buying Aggressor DDs for the rear (with a Cushcore) because they work well and last a long time, but also because rims and tires are expensive and I got fed up with being a beta test pilot and shredding tire casings/destroying rims.

And to the snarky comment this will get (learn to ride, bro). If you ride big lines fast, sometimes you’ll come up a little short, or a rock will have shifted in the trail-and another tire goes in the trash.

I know their current stuff is good, but the 15 or so Schwalbes that died prematurely still prevent me from trusting their stuff.
  • 11 2
 @wyorider: "cracks frames from pedaling stress"
LMAO
  • 3 0
 100%, Paul's review's are great.. his reviews are realistic of a typical bike the customer will own an experience.

The only review ive ever taken any notice of was PB and Enduro-mtb, then GKW on YT, of the rocky mountain altitude and based on that i bought one. was exactly as described.

Im lucky enough to be able to change bikes/frames often and theres so many brands i wont buy again, From poor Customer service, poor frame design, poor QC.. the list is getting small of brands that are worth buying.
  • 2 14
flag wyorider (Jun 17, 2022 at 15:23) (Below Threshold)
 @nozes: true story-sorry about your chicken legs bro. Maybe you can get a broped to keep up with those of us who can punch out the watts.
  • 1 0
 @HeatedRotor: What brands, in your experience, would you advise against buying?
  • 3 0
 @nozes: that's what I tell the warranty department every time.
  • 4 2
 @tdbh: i think the easier answer is what brands are worth buying: Giant, Rocky mountain/santa cruz( both expensive though) - Trek(depending on model), Kona, Commencal(depending on model)
Specialized(depending on model), Norco except the range.

Few mentions for avoid as can be hit or miss, YT(sometimes ok but lack customer service), Canyon(customer service is excellent but QC is horrible on alot of models.), Scott's carbon models but all but the XC bike ride like cr@p. Yeti(4 frames broke around the infinity link or rear of seat tube)

It's hard to put into words as alot of brands have good bikes but also have some absolute cr@p.
  • 1 0
 Aston mtb has my vote
  • 1 0
 Paul is good and brutally honest. It's a shame he can't do more reviews.
  • 1 0
 @HeatedRotor: I’m generally on the same page as you about what brands I will and won’t buy.

However I’ve been lucky with canyon. The household has bought four of them. Excellent customer service, creaking forks were replaced no questions asked. The one QA issue we had (on my girlfriend’s spectral 27.5) was due to paint. The coating failed after about six months. They sent us a complete new bike as a replacement. I had been expecting just the frame carbon to be sent out, so this was a really nice outcome. I asked if they wanted the parts swapped, but they were happy for us to have the whole bike.

My last Giant (Reign bought second hand) had really poorly aligned PF BB faces and it went through BBs monthly. I’m still looking hard at the new Trance for my next trail bike though. I love the way they ride and the fact I can get a mid travel 27.5 trail bike off the rack and don’t have to go down the expensive custom build path to get rolling is so appealing, even if I will end up replacing just about every part on it. I will either get a Trance or a Spectral 125 next.
  • 1 0
 @Afterschoolsports: Yes i cant fault canyon for their service, especially in Aus/NZ. However if you have a look at the spectral owners FB page their is so many BB cup problems with the current spectral CF range, replacement frames are cracking in the same area, First ride on my 1st replacement frame it cracked... 2nd was about 3rd ride... Hard for me to justify keeping the 3rd replacement frame... currently sitting in the garage in its box - all the parts ended up on a SJ Evo Frameset.
Canyon without hesitating have been replacing the frames but its frustrating having to do it in the first place.
  • 1 0
 @nozes: It's a thing especially on XL and XXL sizing. Cracked a Connondale Lefty rear chain stay and a Specialized hardtail in the same spot. Generally caused from metal fatigue.
  • 10 0
 Threaded bottom bracket.
  • 6 0
 Last bike I bought was a used XL frame only off BuySell. It wasn't really a matter of choosing so much as waiting for something vaguely appropriate to get posted.
  • 7 0
 Geometry? Or is that asking too much. Pretty sure I know what they want to learn from this poll...
  • 1 0
 This, especially when one Company's XL is another companies Large. Kind of like Ibis and Santa Cruz used to be 5 years ago with their stupidly short TT vs most other brands.
  • 4 0
 Money means something to me so I generally get the best combination of support and build spec I can get. Haven't bought a new bike in a few years but that's always led me to giant in the past.
  • 3 0
 Why is there no option for doing my own analysis of geo chart, suspension and other data to make up my own opinion ? Only interest for pro review for me is to know that a new bike came out and carry on my own analysis if said bike fits within my needs (enduro, preferably alu, rather more than less travel).
  • 3 0
 I've taken the principles from the book "Dialed," and got my body measurements. Then I found what I believe is my ideal set up based on past bikes I've ridden (riding characteristics I liked and problems I had.) From there I calculated my "Ideal" set up numbers and created excel calculators to compare different bikes based on geometry and a few possible set ups to those ideal numbers. I weighed different outputs from the calculators (based on my preferred riding characteristics) to give each bike a "grade" out of 100. The highest scoring bike in each category should be the bike I will get along with best, but any bike scoring 70 or above should be a bike that I can adapt to well enough to have a good experience.

Last summer I tested out a number of bikes in the enduro category. I ordered the bikes from what I liked the best to what I liked the least, based on the test rides. That order followed the order of what my excel calculator for enduro bikes came up with. For example, during my test rides, the Large SC Megatower felt better to me than a Large Yeti SB-165, but not as good as the Large RM Altitude. My calculator gives the Megatower a 95.8, the SB-165 an 89.5 and the Altutude a 99. I then got the build kit of RM Altitude that fit my budget and allowed me to buy the handlebar, stem and spacers needed to get that 99 score (stock h-bar, stem and spacers weren't quite good enough a fit.)

It's a great bike, and rides really well without much thought on my part. It just seems to work with me and how I like to ride. My previous bike was a Medium 2015 Knolly Warden. Fun bike, but it was difficult to get set up quite how I wanted it, and long rides on it gave me a sore lower back. My new Altitude hasn't done anything yet that really bothers me, and gone is the lower back pain.

Anyway, I went through all that trouble because there are some great bikes out there that aren't carried by any of my LBS, or that are great deals in the buy/sell section of this website, all of which I can't physically take for a test ride. I needed a way to accurately compare bikes I can't test ride to ones that I can. So far, it seems I've figured it out.
  • 4 1
 I have stopped relying on reviews from media/testers. When media/tester says that a Fox/Rockshox suspension product is the benchmark of quality and performance I want to beat my head against a table.
Demo's are the way to go for picking a new bike...that or whatever looks coolest Smile
  • 3 0
 Pro reviews are relatively useless unless you change bikes every 6 months. A review seldom lasts more than 3 months, and does not always include riding in fall/winter conditions which takes the heaviest toll on the bike, especially the suspension and bearings.

User serviceability, availabilty of spares, and long term support is never a factor.

U guessed it right, I ride ze German aluminium modern classic and some british steel for hardtailing in the winter
  • 4 0
 It's extremely strange that "characteristics of the bike" is not one of the answers. A whole poll could even be conducted, about which characteristics are most favoured. What exactly is going on in here????
  • 3 1
 I don't know if it counts as marketing, but another influence over my last bike was how responsive the company was to my myriad inane questions. I mean, how many bike brands will be able/willing to engage their frame designer in an on-going conversation over email, usually with one or two replies each night for a week? But yeah, in addition, recommendations from friends that are tons faster than me, pro reviews (multiple reviews to try to weed out the shills), etc.
  • 3 0
 All those words and not the most important one,
Which brand, which brand provided customer service like that for you. Give them props for Christ sake….
  • 2 0
 Demo or test ride if at all possible. Buy from local shop if at all possible. Modern bikes are a few grand-some due diligence is worth the time. Choosing a bike I can go get a warranty claim on with a local shop is worth narrowing the options. Just cracked the bb shell on a Reign 29 Advanced, just built up the new frame from Giant.
  • 2 0
 Ever since I owned a Tallboy 4, I literally base every trailbike purchase on my experience with that bike. I have a spreadsheet with all the geometry on the size I rode so I can compare and contrast potential bikes. It's been pretty helpful. Holding out for the new Tallboy 5...
  • 1 0
 What do you think they’ll do to the V5?
I have a wildly frankenbiked V4 right now and it’s my benchmark for what I want in a trail bike at the moment and it’s the best trail bike I’ve ever ridden. Perfect for what I’m after
  • 2 0
 I rode a lot of bikes looking for "the one". While I wouldn't say riding a bike around a parking lot gives you an idea of if the bike is perfect, I noticed pretty quick which bikes didn't feel right., even in the parking lot. I sat on my 2015 Process 153 and knew immediately I had found "the one".
  • 3 0
 The field tests mean nothing to me, it’s just their opinion and they don’t take a lot of things into consideration, for example bike upgrades and simply getting used to a bike.

So I always test ride
  • 3 0
 I'm quite tall so getting something that actually fits me is a huge part of the decision... there are only a few companies that I can even consider when I'm looking at new bikes.
  • 2 0
 Frame features: metal (AF), threaded BB, water bottle inside the triangle, room for at least a 180 dropper, geo/travel for how I intend to use it, availability.

Was looking at Reeb, RAAW, even willing to compromise on BB for a Rocky Altitude. Got on the wait list for a Madonna last year and ordered one at 3am on release date. I could have been equally happy with a Sqweeb but they were like 9 months out on production. I do like their modular shock mount but riding a bike is more fun than waiting for one.
  • 2 0
 Looks are important, but what about pucker factor?
Can pucker factor be broken down into other sub categories?
As in… I took more technical lines and had an absence of fear, thus yielding far more stoke?
Versus: the suspension kinematics and shock choice/component lineup hindered my smoothness and flow to go for the gnarlier stuff?

Also, some bikes are a world different once we change up the cockpit, different stem different bars different paddles different component groups brake levers having adjustable throw etc…
  • 5 0
 At least the person who said marketing is being honest with themselves
  • 2 0
 Anyone that didn't is a lier!
  • 1 0
 At this point, the biggest deciding factor to me is how my next bike compares to what I'm currently riding. Geometry, kinematics and components are (probably in that order) the most important factors to me. Professional reviews (and, to a lesser extent experienced rider reviews) are helpful to determine a bike's overall characteristic, personality and execution of the design and can be super helpful in weeding out the weak and/or narrowing down the field.
  • 1 0
 None of the above although the Pinkbike of the Year award made the decision easier. Was waiting on a Giant Trance who's date kept moving around during the Great Pandemic Shortage of 2021 or as it's better knows as GPS21. Called a bunch of local shops and one had just gotten a '21 Optic C3 that hadn't been spoken for, did a quick google search to read some reviews and bought it the same day. Ah GPS21, it made us all a little crazy.
  • 1 0
 Professional reviews with a filter for my riding abilities. Owner reviews with a filter for positive reinforcement of their purchase. Friends for their experience of a type of bike.

Don’t rule out question for the Pinkbike podcast. Podcasts are actual great for the noddy stuff that doesn’t make the reviews or comparing bikes not in field tests to ones that are.

Having said that, if I could get one of the UK Cyclescheme I’d be on a Commencal because videos - Reunion Island - and a great race team.

Option: Demos and test rides… nominate for poll gold,
  • 3 0
 PRICE PRICE PRICE ! WHO GIVES A DAMN IF MOI MOI OR RICHIE OR AMAURY CAN RIP IT ! THESE BIKES ARE MORE EXPENSIVE THAN A DIRT BIKE.
  • 1 0
 Nah, mate, just wait 2-3 years and the dirt bike will be same price but the MTB will be worth half the price. Buy 2 year old bikes.
  • 1 0
 I bought my ancient Cannondale Prophet frame because I could actually afford it. I cannibalized my old bike for parts. It took me 6 years of saving to get a good modern parts spec and it rides well now all things considered. So price really. I enjoyed the learning experience of building and upgrading over time. That's priceless.
  • 2 1
 A few months ago I made an excel sheet with 45 different trail bikes with 130-150mm of rear travel. I included the amount of travel front and rear, the reach in the size that best fits me, chainstay length, average anti rise, anti squat at sag in a climbing gear, geometry adjustment, leverage ratio, pedal kickback.

I still couldn’t decide so I’m making my own
  • 3 0
 I bought my bike 10 years ago, and have just been buying parts since. That being said, the only original parts are the rear triangle, seatpost clamp, and front hub.
  • 5 0
 Hey Theseus! How have you been?
  • 3 0
 @boozed: sic transit gloria mundi
  • 1 0
 I just bought a new bike a few weeks ago. Direct to consumer. Unfortunately, there were some bikes that I would have considered that just weren't available for months down the road. Price, specs, and geometry were the main considerations. I have no real brand loyalty, only interested in who could deliver me the best value.
  • 1 0
 I look at geo charts a lot honestly, then a huge thing for me is rider owned.. Also I like brands that I can source parts for it very easy or if I email the company they actually respond. Reviews from companies help me seal the deal but rider owned and being able to actually talk to the company is the main things for me.
  • 2 0
 DGAF about brand or type, its all about what 1-2 bikes can get the most of. 10 Years ago it was a straight up trail bike and a DH rig for the park, today its a lightish but long travel enduro and an ebike, smiles for days.
  • 1 0
 Test rides, and experience with a brand and how their bikes ride. I test rode most Transition bikes at this point, and have a feel for how they ride. Therefore I'm confident getting a new bike from them I haven't tried (like my Spire which I got without testing)
  • 1 0
 Last bike I had brand new was when I built my banshee spitfire v2, first on 26" than on 27.5 wheels, since then I'm on second slightly used yeti for great price which the bikes can keep for pretty long time, just safe investment
  • 2 0
 Data. My choice was done based on combination of reach, stack, chainstay, mullet friendly, weight, components, price and availability. Parameters may change next time, but process will be the same.
  • 1 0
 Advice from friends and advice from shops should not be the same line. Very different things. I will happily take advice from some of my riding buddies but will never ever listen to anything the clueless kids at bike shops have to say.
  • 1 0
 +1 for frameset option. In the current low/no stock market swapping frames has been a **relatively** cheap way of trying new things. Learned I like extra slack, steep seat angle, travel for days, QUIET bikes, and I’m not in love with ebikes (even though they’re fun). Plus I discovered the zen addiction of building up bikes. Not everyone’s cup of tea but it is shockingly meditative and rewarding.
  • 1 0
 Super easy. It's my hobby, so it's mostly an emotional decision. From time to time I'll see a bike that just looks like something I'd really want to ride. If the feeling is strong, I check the price; if I can afford it, I check the reviews; if it's not a lemon, I pretend to keep doing research and "check what else is available", but I know already what I'm getting.

After "researching" enough to make my decision seem reasonable, I buy.

I'm currently riding a Propain Tyee, obviously. No regrets, great bike, but let's not fool ourselves - my decision was only as rational as an emotional decision can be. And that's just the way I like it.
  • 1 0
 How can they write this poll without "value proposition" or some such? I bought a Vitus Escarpe in '18 on that alone, and I'm so so happy I did. XT + Fox for $3k (on sale for $2k)? Unreal value, and the geo, while not "bleeding edge", was v sold. I love that bike, and I cannot imagine paying triple that for a bike that's, at best, marginally better.
  • 1 0
 Gathering information from the channels listed here is just one part of how my decision making process works. Prioritising the various functions a bike performs in your life, on the trail and in general, how much money you have etc…there’s a lot more to consider and weigh up than just what’s listed here.
  • 1 0
 For me, the smaller the brand the better. I like when I can send an email directly to the CEO. Even better, the brand has no CEO. It's just a bunch of guys that ride bikes and choose to risk their savings creating a mtb brand.
  • 1 0
 save up your cash, go to a big multi-day festival like Outerbike. Ride your ass off for three days, immerse yourself in the bike industry, talk with mechanics, sales reps, and other riders. Ride the same trails on multiple bikes. Pretty soon you'll figure out what is right for you. Eventually, something might just reach out and grab your attention. IMHO if you can't demo these super spendy machines it's a total crapshoot on how to even guesstimate what might work for you.
  • 1 0
 Bought a Slash in 2020 as it was a banger deal (and i wanted an upgrade from my Remedy). Frame cracked and Trek sorted the warranty out, couldn't fault them. Really impressed to be fair. They had no 2020 stock, so sorted me a 2022 frame.
Would i buy a Trek again? Yeah defo, after that experience i would.

That being said the Forbidden Dreadnaught does look sick.......
  • 2 0
 whatever is best value and available. the best warranty is the tie breaker if I have multiple options. I'm not picky, most bikes ride pretty good these days.
  • 2 0
 I bought on price and online reviews last time and got lucky with a bike that I like a lot. I prefer to do a test ride or demo otherwise though.
  • 3 0
 Gently used & cheap please followed by riding the ever loving p!ss out of it.
  • 1 0
 There should be a “other factor” option.

For me that would include the company being local, do they provide demo days to try their bikes out.

More importantly, do they hold migrations…
  • 2 0
 You forgot forums. If there are problems or quirks with a frame you will read it there. Also: www.instagram.com/astonmtb
  • 3 0
 I work at a bike shop so I make my short list by what I can get staff discount on!
  • 1 0
 ……and how much room is left under the house to hide them from your wife Wink
  • 4 0
 I bought a transition spire because Henry wouldn't shutup about it.
  • 3 0
 Find yourself someone who loves you the way Henry loved that Spire
  • 3 0
 Everyone should answer "Race Wins and Podiums" to encourage brands to keep sponsoring and running teams and races.
  • 1 0
 This is it.
  • 2 0
 Each of answers are actually ‘marketing’ it’s simply different levels of self delusion we are being asked to identify with.
  • 2 0
 Geometry(specifically the reach to chainstay ratio and chainstay length in itself), travel numbers, and what company is behind it
  • 4 0
 What ever Walmart has in my size.
  • 2 0
 Whichever brand will let me open a dealer account even though I don't have a brick n motar front. And will let me place a minimum order of 1. Seriously, it works.
  • 1 0
 These days, you gotta be critical when deciding which reviews to or not to trust.
If there's something to be gained by being anything but 100% honest and transparent then you better believe someone is doing so.
  • 1 0
 Many reasons but overall just remembering that anything I buy will always bring along being passed by a 12 yeard old on a walmart bike. So it doesn't really matter too much lol
  • 1 0
 IMO geometry charts are the worst thing to go off, there more of a guide, sitting on a bike will do more than guessing of geo chart for numerous reason the main one being NONE off the big brands give away there real numbers
  • 1 0
 Metal.
Non-trunnion.
No yoke / extender.
Non-propritary shock.
Press in headset that I can swap for a Works.
Short uninterrupted seat tube.
Enough progression for a coil.
BSA BB shell.
Etc...
  • 3 0
 where’s the “best option that fits my budget” option?
  • 2 0
 i wouldve thought there would be more people wanting to demo a bike than this.
  • 2 0
 My guess is that we would all love to do that, but even without the Covid situation and aftermath, it's basically impossible to demo what I really want to. Reasons could be availability, and cost. Some shops charge quite a bit to rent/demo. Or you have to fly somewhere and stay to attend a show like Sea Otter.
  • 2 0
 Which ever company emails me first to let me know that they have my size in stock.
  • 2 0
 There needs to be an option for "forced to buy this because it's the only thing that fits" for the XS and XXL in the room.
  • 2 0
 Whatever has the same parts spec as my last bike, don't want to learn how to work on new shit
  • 3 0
 How is geometry not an option?
  • 1 0
 none of the above, and I've never bought a brand new bike. I find the best deal on the lightest bike on buy sell, currently riding a genius tuned.
  • 2 0
 Step one: Ooooooooh shiny. That looks cool. Step two: buy bike.


Yes I'm single.
  • 1 0
 I narrow down the field to bikes that to those that are known to work well (geo) and last in the region I ride (North Shore).
  • 1 0
 Demo events are great. Same with test rides. But once you enter ridden a few bikes from a brand you can guess how the others will be
  • 1 0
 What about price point? That’s a big factor for me. Closely followed by a brands customer support. Thanks to being left high and dry by Vitus & Trek in the past
  • 1 0
 Depends which shop I’m working at and what bikes I can get industry pricing on. Bikes ride much better when you’re getting them at 35-50% off retail.
  • 1 0
 Rented an Alitude 50. Decided enduro was what I wanted.
Looked at geo numbers. Made a spreadsheet.
Pound for pound.....
Nukeproof Mega was about $2100 to my door.
August 2019
  • 1 0
 I found one of the most unobtainable, begged and begged for it, and they finally gave in and decided to build me one... pretty excited...
  • 1 0
 None of the above,..... I can work it out for myself. Geometry and understanding one's own physiology and riding style is enough
  • 2 0
 Price, material and linkage
  • 2 0
 what ever the f*ck is in stock ahahahaha Big Grin
  • 2 0
 The one with the biggest BMX background
  • 3 0
 where is price???
  • 1 3
 Came here to say this. Ironically I'm on a Santa Cruz 'cause of price. I wanted a well-equipped, high-end carbon trailbike. Arguably, there are a whole lot of those that are cheaper than Santa Cruz, but when you have a dealer-cost hookup on Santa Cruz, and not the other ones, the math changes a little bit.

Having said that, I did demo quite a few bikes, including and other than Santa Cruz. I probably spent 6 months in the run-up to my last bike purchase riding as many different models as I could, which is why I chose "demos and test rides".
  • 1 0
 The poll is missing some really important factors:
-Does it look cool?
-Can I afford it?
-Will it get me laid?
  • 2 0
 High pivots are a real panty dropper.
  • 2 1
 Poll needs a "I buy the bike I can get a deal on" option, or more accurately these days, "the one that was available"
  • 1 0
 Um, you are missing crunching the numbers ad the watching hours of youtube #spreadsheetlife
  • 2 0
 Uh, pick a brand and be a dick about it?
  • 2 0
 Where's the "I pick what's on sale" option?
  • 2 0
 None of the above? I take hours upon hours to obsess over geometry tables.
  • 1 0
 I bought a gg pretty much solely because it was a carbon frame manufactured in Colorado and wanted to support local
  • 2 0
 1.- Geometry Chart
2.- Linkage design (thanks Antonio)
  • 1 0
 Needs to be sold in black. Coil compatible. Lifetime warranty. Available at a local shop. Frame only preferred.
  • 1 0
 Some bikes look plain stupid so I completely avoid them. I bought my Trek Fuel EX cause it’s gosh darn sick looking
  • 1 0
 I watched the Pinkbike value trail bike and bought my Commencal Meta TR29 based on their testing
  • 1 0
 I always buy second hand, so it often comes down to the condition its in ; )
  • 1 0
 Since Covid I choose inbetween avaliable bikes at a decent price, si there is almost no choice
  • 1 0
 Me: "I don't care about colour that much"
Santa Cruz megatower 2022: "Hold my beer"
  • 1 0
 I have the ability to read a geometry chart and know how a bike is going to ride
  • 1 0
 marketing for me is looking at the geo chart, so yah marketing is in there!

"Freaking Lasers!!!" sold me!!
  • 1 0
 Should have been an option for 'trying out my mates bike and then wanting to buy one'
  • 1 0
 And whatever enduro mag says mostly
  • 1 2
 I just buy them all, and then decide which one I like the most. Then throw the others in the trash.


how's that bike shortage going for yall?
  • 2 0
 kinematics and geometry?
  • 2 0
 Beta Tests... ohhh :-(
  • 1 0
 reviews, brand, geometry, suspension sistem.... color sometimes
  • 1 0
 Whichever one I like that a local rider is putting up for sale
  • 1 0
 It has to be drop dead sexy
  • 1 0
 None of the above. Why isn't price an option?
  • 1 1
 by which one is the lightest ;-) after that frame only option then colour
  • 1 0
 Marketing, marketing, and marketing.
  • 1 0
 not so many reasons. a reliable brand, good design
  • 1 0
 No spot for geo numbers and similarity to previously enjoyed bikes?
  • 1 0
 What bike manufacturer paid pinkbike for this survey. What a joke.
  • 1 0
 I voted race wins and podiums. Everyone should do that. F*ck their algorhythms.
  • 1 0
 I want the shiny over there, yeah that’s perfect
  • 1 0
 The bike that gets the least hate on pinkbike.
  • 1 0
 So price is not a factor for anyone?
  • 1 0
 I would love to not say 'marketing', but I have to be realistic...
  • 2 0
 Has to be steel
  • 1 0
 The brands my rockin' LBS carries.
  • 1 0
 Just listen to the voices
  • 1 0
 a Session gotta look, like a Session
  • 1 0
 Where is price? That's always my number one as like to get 50% off.
  • 1 0
 The one what was available at the time
  • 1 0
 Why isn't there a choice for whatever Mike Kazimir likes?
  • 1 0
 I ride the bikes my sponsors give me…
  • 1 0
 Most of them have two wheels and squishy bits
  • 1 0
 no "weight" option?
unless we talking dh it is one of my considerations
  • 1 0
 I boughtna Propain because of Remy Metailler!
  • 3 2
 Pinkbike Field Test...
  • 3 2
 none of the above
  • 1 0
 Frameset and on sale
  • 2 3
 Whatever Bike doesn’t look like an E bike so I will not be perceived as a pantywaist.
  • 1 0
 Alloy in 27.5.
  • 2 4
 The bike that has a motor and battery.
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