If you are looking for a new mountain bike for 2014, you have just one problem — which great bike is for you.
Based on the new models and innovations shown off at Outerbike, the industry’s big showcase in the desert outside of Moab, mountain bikers have more choices than ever when deciding on a quality ride.
The old standard 26-inch wheels still are around, but more companies are diving into the world of 29ers and the in-between size of 27.5-inch wheels.
After trying a variety of models, here are a few of the highlights.
The best all-around, do-it-all trail bike
Looking for a bike that can do it all? Check out the Kona 111 DL, the Specialized Camber and the Cannondale Trigger. The winner of the three was the Trigger. The Kona was nice and very forgiving, while the Camber is a typical solid build from Specialized.
But the Trigger had the great option of a switch that allows the rider to switch between 80 and 130 mm of travel.
The switch, plus a shorter stem, makes the bike a better climber than one would think with a setup weighing about 30 pounds.
While I still wouldn’t want to be on this rig for six hours due to the weight, it is a great option for someone looking for a responsive ride that can handle the pounding of Moab and the climbing of Utah’s mountains.
A runner-up would be the humble Diamondback. The 29er retails for around $5,600. Stiffer than the Trigger or Kona, it is a nice choice for those who do more mountain riding than hopping over rocks or ledges in the desert.
If desert is more your liking, check out the Kona. Good and responsive, it will make you smile rather than cringe when you hit rocky ledges and dropoffs.
Best bike for long hours in the saddle
Turner Czar — This 29er was very quick and cornered well but also excelled on the bumps, ledges and drops on the Moab test course, making it the favorite for those looking for a long-distance/race option.
The DW-link suspension kept the rear wheel hooked to the ground on steep, loose climbs, making it as strong a climber as it was a descender.
It is promoted as a cross country race bike, but the way it handles and the suspension make it just as fierce a tool for endurance riders or anyone who wants to spend long hours in the saddle.
Best of the 29ers cross-country
The popularity of 29ers continues to increase with good reason as more and more companies are developing bikes that won’t cost a fortune but will make you a better, smoother rider.
After checking out several, the Scott Genius was the favorite.Next Page >
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