Are you looking for a new trail mountain bike? At OutdoorGearLab we want to help you find the right bike for you, your trails, your riding style, and your wallet. We researched all of the most interesting bikes of 2019 and our team of testers spent hundreds of hours and rode thousands of miles on these trail bikes. We put each bike through its paces in an effort to gain a complete and thorough understanding of each bike's performance. Some ride characteristics are obvious immediately while some of the subtleties take hundreds of miles to pick up on. Rest assured, this is the most complete review on the internet.
The Best Trail Mountain Bikes of 2019
|Price||$4,799 List||$7,199 List||$5,699 List||$3,999 List||$4,200 List|
|Pros||Excellent climber, aggressive geometry, rim/tire combination||Excellent climbing abilities, impressive downhill performance, high fun factor, tremendous build kit||Extremely well-rounded performance, confident and predictable descending, superb climbing abilities||Excellent handling, confident cornering, superb traction, spritely feel||Well-rounded performance, easy-going attitude, SWAT stroage system|
|Cons||Expensive, big impacts are less supportive, handlebars have too much backsweep||Expensive, pivots came loose a few times during testing||Not the most aggressive long-travel 29er, spendy||Requires an experienced rider to unlock full potential, poor build specification||Relies heavily on climb switch, poor fork specification|
|Bottom Line||An aggressive 29er with geometry to get rad while retaining a sporty and nimble feel||A fantastic trail that blends superb climbing abilities with fun and well-rounded downhill performance.||A well-rounded enduro shredder that can serve as an excellent daily driver.||Sharp handling trail bike with a quick-witted attitude.||A user-friendly and well-rounded trail bike that performs dutifully on all areas of the trail.|
|Rating Categories||Ibis Ripmo GX 2018||Yeti SB130 TURQ X01 2019||Hightower LT XE 2018||Ripley LS NX 2018||Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 29 2019|
|Fun Factor (25%)|
|Downhill Performance (35%)|
|Climbing Performance (35%)|
|Ease Of Maintenance (5%)|
|Specs||Ibis Ripmo GX 2018||Yeti SB130 TURQ X01 2019||Hightower LT XE 2018||Ripley LS NX 2018||Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 29 2019|
|Wheel size (inches)||29||29||29||29||29|
|Measured Weight (w/o pedals, Medium)||29 lbs 7 oz||30 lbs 2 oz (Large frame)||29 lbs 6 oz||30 lbs 13 oz|
|Suspension & Travel||DW-Link - 145mm||Switch Infinity - 130mm||Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) - 150mm||DW Link - 120mm||Future Shock Rear (FSR) - 140mm|
Best Trail Bike
Yeti SB130 TURQ X01 2019
The Yeti SB130 is a ripping trail bike that may just be the ultimate daily driver. This bicycle makes a ton of sense for a huge number of riders on a wide range of terrain. The Yeti sets you up in an excellent climbing position and delivers a feathery and efficient uphill experience. The Switch Infinity suspension beautifully balances excellent traction with a calm and relatively bob-free pedal platform. On the descent, this bike is a blast on a very diverse range of terrain. On fast and buff flow trails this bike delivers excellent stability, sharp handling, and berm-railing cornering skills. On rougher trails, the SB130 charges hard down anything but true enduro-grade terrain. The Yeti is fun on a tremendously wide-range of terrain. It is burly enough to hang on some gnar and tight and efficient enough to still be a blast on mellow and tame trails. This is a very high compliment. All of this performance is going to cost you.
Read Review: Yeti SB130 TURQ X01 2019
Best Quiver Killer
Ibis Ripmo GX 2018
The all-new Ibis Ripmo is a dialed aggressive trail mountain bike. This rig pairs a burly and mean front end with a lively and efficient rear end. This bicycle features 145mm of rear wheel travel and is designed around a 160mm fork. Despite its aggressive attitude, the Ripmo is a very efficient climber. The DW-link suspension functions well under seated or standing pedaling loads but is active enough to maintain traction. On the descent, this bike has the aggressive angles to be confident down gnarly terrain. The Ripmo remains impressively calm over small to mid-size chatter. At times, you need a reminder that this bike only has 145mm and it can be overwhelmed on gnarly trails. The Ripmo model we tested is reasonably priced, and it is offered in a variety of build kits to suit a range of budgets.
Read Review: Ibis Ripmo GX 2018
Best Playful/Fun-loving Trail Bike
Ibis Ripley LS NX 2018
The 2018 Ibis Ripley LS received a revision. The result is one of the most fun and playful trail bikes we have ever ridden. The Ripley offers a sharp-handling and precise ride. Changing lines or snapping out of corners is a blast and requires minimal rider input. This bike encourages riders to seek out trail features to boost. Climbing abilities are solid. Efficiency is decent but the Ripley really shines on loose and technical climbs where huge 2.6-inch tires offer excellent traction. Downhill performance is very fun, but the Ripley can get overwhelmed on rocky trails. This performance comes with a hefty price tag, although the Ripley LS is offered with several build kits to suit a variety of budgets.
Read Review: Ibis Ripley LS NX 2018
Best Short-Travel Trail Bike
Giant Trance 29 2 2019
Giant's new Trance 29 2 is an affordable short travel trail bike that is practical for a broad range of riders and terrain. This bike is playful and agile and boasts a high fun-factor. It feels efficient with excellent climbing abilities despite its 31-pound weight and is plenty capable for any length ride. Downhill performance is composed and impressive, especially considering its shorter 115mm or rear wheel travel. Handling is quick and precise and it excels in technical terrain and rips corners with the best of them. This is a great bike for the rider who appreciates solid climbing abilities and wants a moderately aggressive geometry and travel numbers for the descent. Our test model is also an impressive value with a rip-able build, although there are several other builds available for anyone looking to go a little more high-end.
Read Review: Giant Trance 29 2 2019
Best User-Friendly All-Around Trail Bike
Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 29 2019
The Specialized Stumpjumper is a 140mm travel 29er that is fun for everyone. There are some high-end bikes that require a very aggressive rider to come alive. The Stumpjumper is a more user-friendly option and is a great choice for a huge number of riders. Downhill performance is confident and reliable while climbing is efficient and comfortable. Handling is reasonably sharp and this bike reacts with minimal rider input. This well-rounded bike has no fatal flaw and makes sense for a tremendous amount of riders. Pricing is competitive with affordable aluminum builds and high-end carbon models offered.
Read Review: Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 29
Best Value All-Around Trail Bike
Commencal Meta TR 29 2019
Commencal has had great success with their Meta TR series of bikes and the Meta TR 29 is the new 29" wheeled version of this popular trail bike. We loved the 27.5" models of this bike and were equally impressed with the performance of this affordable mid-travel 29er. Despite its heavier weight, we were impressed by its uphill abilities thanks to its steep seat tube angle and comfortable seated climbing position. Its downhill performance is excellent, and it descends with far more confidence than its 130mm of travel might suggest. We feel this is an excellent option for the aggressive trail rider who doesn't mind trading a little extra weight for durable frame design and downhill chops. We also feel that it's a great value, with a shred-ready build and a reasonable price.
Read Review: Commencal Meta TR 29 2019
Best Value Aggressive Trail Bike
Canyon Spectral AL 6.0 2018
The Canyon Spectral provides a well-rounded ride on a wide range of terrain. This 140mm travel aggressive trail bike is capable charging down burly trails as well as fast and flowy ones. A meaty 2.6-inch Maxxis Minion paired with a stout 150mm RockShox Pike fork makes for a confident front end with excellent traction. Climbing positioning is upright and comfortable. The Spectral performs well with or without the use of the shock's climb switch. Most importantly, the Spectral AL 6.0 that we tested sells for a very reasonable price considering the excellent component specification.
Read Review: Canyon Spectral AL 6.0 2018
Best Women's Trail Bike
Juliana Joplin S Carbon C 2018
The Juliana Joplin is a lively 29-inch trail mountain bike that boasts nimble and playful manners. The balanced and comfortable cockpit sets riders up in an effective position to grind uphill. The calm suspension makes for quick and efficient climbing. When aimed downhill, this short-travel bike punches way above its 110mm weight class. The Joplin has a defined speed limit on rougher terrain where it gets overwhelmed. This is a short-travel bike after all. This high-end performance doesn't come cheap. Juliana only makes carbon fiber frames and our test Joplin C R will cost you a fair amount, there are less expensive build kits available. The Joplin shares a frame with the Santa Cruz Tallboy.
Read Review: Juliana Joplin S Carbon C 2018
Best Hardtail Trail Bike
Specialized Fuse Comp 6Fattie 2018
The Specialized Fuse 6Fattie is a well-balanced mountain bike. This bike descends with confidence, climbs swiftly and offers absurd levels of traction. The Fuse is built around spot-on geometry that makes for a comfortable ride on a wide range of trails. The 3.0-inch tires relieve some of the harsh nature of a hardtail mountain bike and offer unbelievable traction when climbing. Gravel, sand, hardpack — these wide tires hook up like velcro. It's tiring to roll velcro uphill all day. This bike is best suited for areas with rolling terrain that lacks 45 minute or longer climbs. The Fuse is a beautifully simple mountain bike that can be appreciated by riders of varying experience levels.
Read Review: Specialized Fuse Comp 6Fattie 2018
Why You Should Trust Us
Our team of testers has spent years relentlessly hammering these mountain bicycles around the Sierra Nevada mountains in every condition imaginable. We don't simply ride our bikes for a week or two and then move on. No, these bikes are passed around between riders for months on end and are tested for well over 700 miles each.
Our trusty testers are salty bike industry veterans, shop mechanics, racers, and gravity fiends. These testers eat, breathe, and sleep mountain bikes and always push these bi-wheeled fun machines to the limit.
Pat Donahue, our Senior Mountain Bike Editor, has been riding a revolving door of bicycles for a decade and a half. He has ridden well over 100 bikes in that time and is passionate about connecting people with the right bicycles. He has ridden and tested bikes in a huge range of locations and trails ranging from burly bike park laps to heinous all-day epic rides. In 2018 alone he rode approximately 3,000 miles with over 350,000 feet of climbing.
Paul Tindal is a tremendously versatile rider. Growing up in Australia, Aussie Paul rose through the elite ranks as a road rider and triathlete. Upon moving to the United States, he spent time building wheels for a high-end manufacturer prior to becoming a manager and lead mechanic at a high-volume bike shop. All the while, Paul was racing in the professional ranks in the downhill and enduro disciplines. All of this goes to say, this man performs at an outrageously high level on every type of bicycle.
Joshua Hutchens is an industry veteran who has been working with bicycles since the ripe age of 12. This California native has spent an enormous amount of time rolling on two wheels. Joshua has owned a bike shop and is a meticulous mechanic. He has traveled the world as a bicycle guide leading clients on massive rides in some of the most beautiful locations imaginable. Joshua has put in his time as a cross country racer and rides with a tremendous level of finesse and is tremendously in-touch with his bicycle during testing.
You can learn more in our Related: How We Tested Best Trail Mountain Bikes.
Analysis and Test Results
After testing and racing groups of similar trail bikes head-to-head, we cross-examined the lot of them to bring you this all-encompassing trail mountain bike review. Teams of testers rode two dozen trail bikes extensively over a wide range of terrain and ranked them in terms of fun factor (worth 25%), downhill performance (35%), uphill performance (35%), and ease of maintenance (5%). We compare the best of the best below. Read about our testing methods and time trial protocols in our How We Test Article. The bikes' intended applications, build qualities, and prices range widely. We've found that our favorite bikes shine even with less than ideal components and the best are appropriate for a wide range of terrain.
With such an enormous variety of bikes to chose from, pinpointing which one will offer the best value for your needs can be a big task. The table below maps out the overall value of each bike in our test in relation to the rest of the competition. Hover over each dot to see which bike it represents, with blue dots indicating award winners and a spot further into the lower right quadrant representing a great value.
Thomas Aquinas once said, "Fun factor is critical when evaluating a trail mountain bike." That's why fun factor is worth hefty 25% of the final score.
The Ibis Ripley LS is the epitome of a modern, zippy and fun-loving trail bike. Everything about piloting this 120mm fluorescent fun-wagon is a blast. Take some sharp handling and a quick-witted attitude, mix in a copious amount of traction. The result? Rally car handling that instills confidence to change lines in a hurry and surgically pick your way down trails. The Ripley is happy seeking out boosts and trail-side shenanigans. There are plenty of overused, cringe-inducing, terms used to describe trail bikes in 2017. Phrases like poppy, snappy, and flickable are hurled around all willy-nilly. That said, the Ripley LS is a poppy, snappy and flickable bike that truly doesn't feel like a 29er. The only time the Ripley's fun-level plummets is when we blew past its confidence threshold on rowdy descents. It's a sudden, soul-rattling shift.
The Giant Trance 29 2 is another playful trail bike that will have you seeking the fun line at every opportunity. Riding the Trance 29 is a hootin' and hollerin' good time. This is another short-travel 29er that has the ability to alter the opinion of the 29er naysayers whose criticisms get quieter every month. Fine-tuned geometry encourages playfulness on the trail in the form of boosts and manuals. While the Trance doesn't possess the pure playful manners and supreme cornering abilities of the Ripley, it's an incredibly capable descender. This bike can and will comfortably tackle more aggressive trails that may seem to be above its short-travel pay grade. A bonus for those of us who don't live for the climb, the Trance climbs comfortably and painlessly.
The Yeti SB130 also has a very high fun factor. This mid-travel 29er climbs extremely well, shreds downhill and operates with razor-sharp handling. This bicycle is fun on a huge range of trails and you'll never feel like it's overkill. A bike that is fun on any trail you put in front of it is somewhat of a rarity.
The Canyon Spectral is an impressively versatile bike given its 140mm of travel. Here at OutdoorGearLab, we find versatility to be very fun. The Spectral has a big-bike look but its climbing abilities remain very respectable. This rig is an efficient climber with a calm pedal platform. Once at the top of the hill, downhill performance is incredibly fun and user-friendly. While the Spectral is not fun on double black diamond terrain, it is a blast up to that point. This Canyon is significantly more capable on the descents than the Ibis Ripley and Giant Trance. That said, it sacrifices much of the fun-loving, zippy, handling of the shorter-travel bikes.
Some of the harder charging options are quite fun in their own way. The Santa Cruz Hightower LT and Ibis Ripmo are a blast for those who ride aggressively on steep or rough trails. No, these longer-legged 29ers can't match the climbing abilities of some of the short-travel options, but they really shine on rough and steep trails. They are extremely fun in that they are not limited to certain trail types. You can jump aboard one of these three bikes and ride pretty much any trail. That sounds like fun.
The Santa Cruz Hightower (non-LT) and Specialized Stumpjumper are also well-rounded bikes. Riders who don't typically encounter truly gnarly terrain will have a blast on both mid-travel 29ers. They climb well enough to be great all-day bikes. On the descent, they can ride pretty close to any trail, they just need to be ridden with some caution and precision on the most difficult trails. The Stumpjumper is a particularly interesting option for newer riders. This bike doesn't require an ultra-skilled rider or mach speeds to be fun. Anyone can hop on this bike and start having fun. That is a very high compliment in our books.
Shredding downhill is undoubtedly the lynchpin of a fun mountain bike experience. While all of the bikes in this review are categorized as trail bikes, some are more fun descenders than others. Downhill performance is worth 35% of the final score.
The Ibis Ripmo won the Quiver Killer award. The Ripmo is an impressive descender, especially when you consider how well it climbs. The Ibis has very aggressive geometry and instills confidence when rolling into some sketchy terrain. A 160mm fork is paired with a 2.5-inch Maxxis Minion DHF WT and creates a supremely capable front end. Rolling into a steep chute or nasty rock garden is confident. The Ripmo is great over small bumps and has a calm rear end. The long-and-low geometry delivers an extremely stable ride at high speeds.
The Rocky Mountain Altitude is a balanced descender that is confident on a wide range of terrain. 27.5-inch wheels and balanced geometry allow this bike to react well at any speed. This user-friendly bike doesn't need to be driven hard to activate its talents like the Hightower LT or Ibis Ripmo High-speed trials with fewer ultra-steep rock gardens are a blast. This bike can get into trouble on harder black-diamond or double black diamond terrain.
The Santa Cruz Hightower is an extremely capable descender amongst mid-travel trail mountain bikes. It places riders in a confident position to work down a steep section of trail and provides excellent stability at speed. It is more difficult to find the Hightower's speed limit compared to the Ibis Ripley LS or Specialized Stumpjumper. The suspension keeps the rear end calm and feels excellent on bigger impacts. Our downhill test track featured a couple relatively harsh G-Outs and drops, the Hightower ate it up. There is no-question this bike rides more aggressively than 135mm of travel suggests. Testers are confident taking this bike down the steepest and burliest local trail that often demands an enduro bike.
The Santa Cruz Bronson slides nicely into that not-quite-enduro and not-quite-trail category. This 27.5-inch bike possesses similar downhill manners to the Rocky Mountain Altitude but requires a more aggressive rider to tap into its full potential. The Bronson is also a bit harder to rattle on black-diamond terrain. The Commencal Meta TR is a zippy and quick handling performer on the descent. While this 130mm bike isn't as comfortable straight lining rock gardens, it still feels pretty aggressive and stable. Commencal built the TR with near enduro geometry on a mid-travel platform. The result is a high level of stability at speed while retaining a nimble feel.
The Juliana Joplin is our favorite women's bike for charging downhill. Despite having a slender 110mm of travel, this bike is capable on the descent. The wagon wheels motor over most obstacles on easier to moderate trails. Be warned, this is a short-travel bike and it does have its limitations.
While grinding uphill may not be as adrenaline-inducing as charging a descent, it is equally important in a trail mountain bike. Being able to comfortably ascend a long climb is critical in choosing a bike. Climbing performance is worth 35% of the final score. It is no surprise the short travel bikes dominate this category. It is worth noting that some of the longer travel options provide exceptional uphill skills especially when you consider how aggressively they attack the descent.
The Ibis Ripley is a fantastic option thanks to its tremendous levels of traction. The wide 2.6-inch tires provide a nice wide footprint that allows for exceptional performance over loose terrain. Ascending technical terrain is pleasant and effective with a planted and confident feel. Just get a portion of the monstrous amount of rubber onto a rock and the Ripley crawls right up and over. The DW-Link suspension is calm and remains fairly active. Climbing positioning is upright with riders being positioned directly on top of the bottom bracket. While this bike doesn't offer the most outright pedaling efficiency, it is a clear favorite on technical terrain.
The Yeti SB130 is an excellent climber. It is especially impressive when you consider how capable this bike is on the downhill. The Switch Infinity suspension is active enough to deliver fantastic rear wheel traction while still offering a firm pedal platform. Pair this dialed suspension design with impressive components and a 29.5-pound weight and you have a formiddable weapon. The SB130 is a bike that you can climb on all day long while still being able to thrash down the hill.
The Ibis Ripmo is a surprisingly effective climber. Thanks to the steep seat tube angle riders are placed in a comfortable and upright position right on top of the cranks. Seated climbing efficiency is impressive and standing climbing loads are calm with a very minimal amount of pedal bob. There is little need to use the climb switch on this 145mm bike. It rides fairly high in its travel to help keep your pedals from smashing rocks or obstacles. There's no doubt that this is one of our most confident descenders, and uphill abilities better than you'd expect from this ripping 29er.
The Pivot Trail 429 has an extremely feathery feel and efficient approach. This short-travel trail mountain bike leans towards the cross country side of the spectrum. Sitting and spinning uphill is calm and relaxing. Riders sit directly over the crankset allowing for maximum power transfer. The DW Link suspension platform is calm with almost no pedal bob whether standing or seated. Every pedal stroke is productive and is effectively transmitted to the wheels. The Trail 429 is more of an efficient climber than the Giant Trance 29, but it is less comfortable charging through the rocks on the uphills and downhills.
The Juliana Joplin is a women's trail mountain bike with a comfortable climbing motion. Modern trail bike geometry creates a balanced and efficient uphill position. Sharp handling makes navigating uphill switchbacks or technical sections of trail reasonably easy. The Specialized Fuse 27.5+ is also a sure-footed climber. While the pure efficiency isn't outstanding for a hardtail, traction really sets it apart. The huge contact patch of the 3-inch tires hooks up well over a wide range of soil types.
Ibis Ripmo vs Santa Cruz Hightower LT
The Santa Cruz Hightower LT and Ibis Ripmo are two of our very favorite bikes. Why? Versatility. These bicycles are comfortable climbing 5000-feet and also spending a day in the bike park. You can't go wrong with either of these two bikes, but they do have inherent strengths and weaknesses.
The Ripmo offers a tremendously calm climbing experience. Despite the aggressive geometry that screams enduro, this bike works uphill very well. Downhill performance is balanced, the slack geometry and burly components instill confidence while the sporty rear end is surprisingly peppy for a big bike. This bike is best for a rider who wants an aggressive front end while still retaining a very, very sporty feel.
Santa Cruz Hightower LT
The Santa Cruz Hightower LT has feels more like a trail bike compared to the Ripmo. This bike has steeper geometry than the Ibis. Climbing is efficient thanks to high levels of anti-squat that creates a firm pedal platform. On the descent, this bicycle sacrifices small bump compliance for big-hit stability. Small chatter can be a bit jarring, but bigger lines are handled with tremendous composure. This bike is best for a rider who wants enduro capabilities and a trail bike feel.
Mountain bikes are expensive toys. They require a fair bit of maintenance to keep them running in top shape. It is best to refer to component product manuals for service schedules. That said, you should expect to service your bike regularly.
Full Suspension vs. Hardtail
There is no doubt that a full suspension trail mountain bike possesses performance advantages in every ride category. The one area where hardtail bikes have an advantage is that they don't require pivot/linkage maintenance. You should clean/regrease/torque your suspension pivots multiple times a year to prolong the life of your bearings. In addition, this will keep your bike running far more quietly.
Just like keeping up with regular car services, smaller, more frequent services can save you big bucks in the long term. Here's a quick and dirty primer:
- Before Ever Ride — Check tire pressure, brake function, axle torque levels
- After Every Ride — Clean and lube chain, wipe down stanchions
- Weekly — Clean off mud and debris, check spoke tension
- Bi-Weekly — Check for and tighten any loose bolts, check headset for proper tightness, clean pivots, check shock pressure
- Monthly — Check chain wear and brake pads. Replace as necessary
- Annually — Complete professional overhaul
Ease of Maintenance Ratings
Some bikes are more challenging to maintain than others. We ranked the ease of maintenance for the bikes in our test based on the following criteria:
- Suspension Pivots — How often they need to be serviced, how complicated that service is, and how expensive the bearings are.
- Fork and Shock — These are the most expensive components on your bike and also the most complicated. Suspension products should be serviced at least once a year. Manufacturers will tell you to replace wiper seals far more frequently. This all depends on trail conditions and how frequently you ride. We rate the forks and shocks based on how often the oil and seals need to be changed, how often it requires a complete rebuild, and how costly and accessible that service is.
- Dropper Post — The dropper post is a relatively new component. Just like any suspension product, it needs to be serviced periodically. Certain designs require far more attention than others. Mechanical droppers are often preferred as opposed to hydraulic units which have a high number of seals that wear and require replacement. Having a dropper post means more maintenance (and fun). These bikes scored a little lower.
- Brakes — Brake pads wear and the hydraulic fluid needs to be bled to have air pockets removed from the lines. This should be done annually. We score Shimano brakes a little better than SRAM. Shimano has a long service interval and uses mineral oil and a simpler bleed process. SRAM brakes require corrosive DOT 5.1 fluid and a tricker bleed process.
- Drivetrain — Chain, cassette, and chainrings all wear together. If you ride 2-3 times a week, expect to replace a chain a couple times a year and other drivetrain components annually. We don't account for drivetrain wear and tear in the rankings.
- Tires — Different rubber compounds burn at different speeds. Expect to purchase one or two sets of tires per season for your trail mountain bike. We don't consider tires in the rankings.
- Wheels — It is important to have proper spoke tension on your wheels. It is a good idea to have them trued and tensioned a couple times a year to avoid serious issues. We don't include wheels in the score either.
Our fork and shock ease of maintenance rankings reflect the manufacturers recommended service intervals. According to owner manuals, Fox suspension items require less attention than RockShox. Local mechanics we spoke with stated they have to service Fox products more often than their intervals suggest.
It can be difficult to comment on fit specifics as it often boils down to personal preference. Some folks like to ride a slightly smaller frame for added maneuverability and confidence. Other people prefer a larger frame with a shorter stem for stability and extra space to move on the climbs.Here is a list of bikes that have unusual fit characteristics:
- Ibis Ripley LS- The Ripley fits very tight in the top tube. Be careful if you are on the taller end of a recommended frame size and considering sizing up if you are.
- Santa Cruz Hightower- The Hightower has a long and spacious top tube. Riders on the shorter end of the size spectrum should be careful and consider a shorter stem.
- Specialized Stumpjumper- The Stumpjumper is tight in the top tube. Be careful if you are on the higher end of a recommended frame size.
The Ibis Ripley LS and Giant Trance 29 2 are standouts in the short-travel category. These trail mountain bikes are ideal for the rider who doesn't feel the need to attack particularly rough or steep terrain. The Santa Cruz Hightower and Yeti SB130 are fantastic mid-travel options. These bikes are fantastic for folks who want to ride a wide range of terrain. The Ibis Ripmo and Santa Cruz Hightower LTare excellent longer travel options. These bikes are best suited for riders who want to ride aggressive black-diamond terrain and don't mind sacrificing some climbing abilities.
Our bike-obsessed testers are racers, shop owners, mechanics, and writers. These folks spend their spare time banging out epic rides and exploring new trails. These noble riders put their time into energy into our timed benchmark testings and lay their bodies on the line to push our bikes to the limits. This is hard work, but most importantly, it is fun. We do it all of you.
Height and Weight: 6'1 and 190lbs, prefers extra large frame
Height and Weight: 5'10 and 165lbs, prefers large frames.
Height and Weight: 5'10 and 170lbs, prefers medium frame
— Pat Donahue, Joshua Hutchens, Paul Tindal