‘Tis the season to be tempted by a whole new model year of mountain bikes, and we’ve got some good news. Dialing in your own personal style of off-roading has never been easier — once you wade through the overwhelming amount of options, that is. There’s a different bike for just about every type of trail and rider, and even some that claim to do it all. You need a bike best suited to the kind of riding you enjoy, but that also won’t keep you from the occasional change of pace (or any surprises the trails throw at you). As part of our week-long series on bikes to celebrate the launch of Limits, we’ve picked our favorites for racing enduro, downhilling, or just getting out for a weekend adventure ride.
Scott Scale Comp 29
Most bang for your buck mountain bike: Looking for a lightweight, durable and fast-rolling bike that leaves some dough in your bank account? The Scott Scale Comp 29er is a custom butted 6061 aluminum frame outfitted with Shimano brakes and drivetrain, and it touts the same geometry as a higher-end carbon race bike. For just under a grand, you can’t go wrong with this set up.
Spot Rocker SS Ti
Sweetest mountain bike for single track: Combine a single speed belt drive with a titanium frame and you won’t make the noise of a rocker — even an unplugged one. Instead, you’ll fly through single track with the stealth and speed that comes from one of the most advanced drivetrains (the Gates CenterTrack) ever to hit the trail. If you want to hear the sweet sound of a chain banging against titanium and gears moving up and down the cassette, not to worry: the engineers at Spot have completely re-imagined how a vertical slider-style dropout should come together. The Rocker SS allows you to run both belt-driven and chain-driven single-speed configurations, and if you get tired of pushing a single gear, you also have the option to add a derailleur.
Orbea Occam OMS 29 S10
Best marathoner mountain bike: Ample travel in a lightweight package makes this bike perfect for long-distance racing, while CTD (Climb, Trail, Descend) technology enables you to switch between three suspension setups from the handlebar based on conditions. In addition to a stunning frame, the Occam OMS 29 has some sweet design features, like the “Cable Downtube Highway”, which routes all cables through the main pivot point and limits movement as the suspension compresses, creating less cable rub. There’s also good news if just looking at this beauty is making your wallet hurt: the Occam comes in a number of different models for all budgets.
Santa Cruz Bronson
Fastest all-mountain bike: Looking for an all-mountain bike that combines the handling of a 26-inch and the speed of a 29er? The Bronson nails it. Originally planned as a 26-inch update to the Blur LT trail bike, the Bronson sports 27.5-inch wheels (the first Santa Cruz model of that size) thanks to a healthy barrage of rider requests. You can purchase this all-mountain machine in carbon or aluminum versions, both of which use the VPP dual-link suspension system.
Specialized S-Works Enduro Carbon
Hottest enduro mountain bike: This lightweight all-mountain ride is perfect for enduro racing. Point the 165mm of rear wheel travel downhill and let the custom Cane Creek Double Barrel Air shock and Fox 34 TALAS CTD factory fork with Kashima stanchions do their thing. As they say, “all good downhills come must come to a end”, and during an enduro event you must eventually go back up. Simply adjust the seat height on the fly using the Specialized Command Post BlackLite right from the bars and start your spin back up to the next peak. Repeat.