La Palma – best winter riding spot you’ve never heard of

“La Palma? That’s a city on Gran Canaria right?” Every time I mention La Palma to a friend at home the response is something along those lines. For many, the island appears to be unknown, pushed aside by its popular winter getaway neighbours Tenerife and Gran Canaria. However, La Palma really is the island that has it all.

One day on the bike – trails, unlike anything I’d seen before

I am awoken by the roaring sound of crashing waves. My day starts looking out over the North Atlantic from the window of my seaside apartment. After a quick breakfast and cup of coffee, I walk to meet my hosts for the week, Atlantic Cycling, at their shop in the peaceful beach town of Puerto Naos. Spirits are high as we load our bikes onto the trailer and hop into the minibus. 45 minutes and a scenic drive later we arrive at Refugio El Pilar, a camping and recreational zone situated almost slap-bang in the middle of the island and 1811 meters above sea level.

Our guide for the day, Simone, is a downhill racer from Austria and knows the island like the back of her hand. We lock and load and drop into the first trail of the day. It starts as a fast, flowy descent through loamy pine needle forest. We fly through huge natural berms and over rollers that can be doubled or pumped, whooping and hollering the whole way. After regrouping in a clearing, we drop into the lower half of the trail. Suddenly everything changes, pine trees and loam are replaced with lush jungle greenery, rocks and roots. The speed of the trail changes and smart lines are needed to find flow in the steep rocky corners. Before my brain can process what just happened we arrive at the end of the trail, where our shuttle is waiting to take us back to the start.

Atlantic Cycling were my hosts for this trip
Our guide for the day, Simone, knew the island well and wasn’t afraid to send it
The trail quickly changed from fast, flowy loam to techy rocks in jungle-like terrain

Back at El Pilar once again, we start climbing towards the south of the island. The final destination, a volcano called Nambroque. After an hour of climbing and 500 meters of elevation gain, we are nearly there. A short hike-a-bike up the side of the volcano takes us to the crater. The views are stunning. From this point, you can almost see the entire island, and El Teide, the highest point of Tenerife (and Spain) looms through the clouds across the sea. We take in the views whilst refueling with some “bocadillos” for lunch. The descent off Nambroque is up there as one of the most fun trails I have ever ridden. Starting as a flat out blast over rocky steps and drops, with an abundance of natural lines and hip jumps. I follow Simone and do my best to copy her lines gapping over rocks and roosting corners. The trail then leads us back into steep pine forests, littered with technical switchbacks.

The climb to the top was challenging…
…but the stunning views kept us going

From this point, you can almost see the entire island

The descent off Nambroque was truly amazing! Fast, flowy and fun!

The next change in terrain is just as drastic as we fly out of the forest and into a crazy lunar world of lava. This is riding unlike anything I have ever experienced before. Surfing through deep lava sand makes you feel like a hero, drifting into every corner and kicking up clouds of dust! At the other side of the lava field, the trail joins the forest again and a hand cut downhill trail called “Moraditas” by the locals takes us to the town of El Paso. Here we enjoy a coffee before riding a pump track like ancient lava stream back to Puerto Naos.

Smiles all around. Surfing through the lava sand makes you feel like Mr. Sam Hill himself!

The ride finishes with a beer (or two) at bar Las Olas, right on the seafront. The refreshing Dorada gives us a chance to reflect on the events of the day. The vast variety of trails is truly mind-blowing. In one day we rode flowy trails through pine forest, technical rock puzzles in the green jungle, flat out volcano descents and surfed through deep lava sand.

Cheers!

Where is La Palma?

La Palma is the most north-westerly of the volcanic Canary Islands, and located 400 km west of Morrocco. Many of our road cycling brothers head to La Palma in search of warmer weather, but with the variety of trails on offer, I am surprised that the mountain biking on this island has stayed secret to riders for so long.

La Palma? That’s a city on Gran Canaria right?

Getting to La Palma

La Palma Airport (SPC) is located 8km from the capital Santa Cruz. There are many direct flights from Europe and the UK. If a direct flight is not an option, one of the most painless alternatives is to fly to Tenerife, and then take a boat or short flight over to La Palma. A super fast ferry is operated by Fred Olsen and takes just two and a half hours. Alternatively, there are regular flights from Tenerife Norte airport. However, to get there from Tenefire South airport you will have to take a transfer bus. The journey takes about 50 minutes and costs around €9.70.

La Palma is a volcanic island about 400 km west of Morocco
It’s highest peak reaches above 2400 meters, with trails from the very top of the island all the way down to the sea

Getting around on La Palma

Getting around on La Palma is simple. There are regular bus services all over the island, and the buses have storage space for bikes and bike bags. There are also numerous specific shuttle services available, such as La Palma FREEride and Aceshuttle La Palma. These providers offer shuttling and uplift for rides, as well as airport pick-ups and drop-offs.

Getting around on La Palma is easy, with numerous providers offering shuttling and airport runs

Mountain biking on La Palma

The trails on La Palma are truly unique. The combination of breathtaking views and the vast variety of trails make for an unforgettable riding experience. However, due to the remote and exposed nature of the trails and terrain, we would strongly recommend you pay for guided tours. This will not only maximise your safety but also mean you ride the trails that are best for you, as the guides can tailor the tour to your preferences and riding skill. The diversity of trails is extraordinary, and means you can easily spend a week riding without hitting the same trail twice! If you are looking for a guiding company in Puerto Naos to show you around, we would recommend Atlantic Cycling and Bike Station for their smooth operation and great guides.

The trails on La Palma are diverse, and there is something there for every level of rider
We bumped into RedBull athlete Tom Oehler, who seemed to enjoy the riding on offer!

What bike to bring

Due to the technical nature of the trails, we would definitely recommend bringing your own bike, as you will be most confident on a bike you know. In our opinion, the ideal bike for La Palma is a long travel 29er. We would strongly advise running a tubeless setup with tough, ideally dual ply tires. Upsizing to 200mm disks would be beneficial too, as the bigger rotors will help to deal with the heat build up on the long, steep descents. Frame protection also wouldn’t go amiss and would prove beneficial on the rocky trails. If bringing your own bike is not an option, don’t panic. All the tour providers on the island have their own hire fleet, with prices for a full suspension bike around €40 per day. Special weekly rates are also often available.

What else to do on La Palma

Mountain Biking is not the only activity available on the island. To fully experience the island we would recommend taking some time to soak up the sun on the beach and explore the beautiful Caldera de Taburiente national park. One spot that is definitely worth a visit is the “Plaza La Glorieta”, a beautiful little square with intricate mosaic floors and colourful flowers based on Gaudi’s Parc Guell. It is right next door to a wine museum inside a traditional Palmero building and is a great place to watch the sunset and taste some local wines. If hiking and sightseeing are not your things, there are a host of other sports on offer such as SCUBA diving and paragliding. It’s safe to say that everyone will find an activity they enjoy here.


Food and drink

The gastronomy on La Palma is great too, focusing a lot on fresh seafood and locally grown fruit and veg. Meat is common too, especially grilled pork. While on La Palma you have to try the smoked goat’s cheese (Queso de Cabra), which is absolutely mouth watering when grilled and served with a green chili sauce called Mojo Verde. Simple yet flavourful foods are popular, so expect a variety of tasty stews, as well as the famous Papas Arrugadas (Palmero potatoes boiled in salt water).


The spots favoured by locals often have the best, most authentic food at low prices

The Barraquito Completo is a must try for coffee lovers!

We had a great time riding and relaxing on La Palma, and will definitely be back soon! We would like to extend our thanks to Atlantic Cycling and Bike Station for the great guided tours. Peace out!

Trek Top Fuel 2020 announced – XC racer turned bad boy?

For many years, the Trek Top Fuel was a purebred cross country race bike, born as a lightweight, competitive weapon for attacking the most challenging XC circuits. However, according to Trek, the new Top Fuel takes a big step away from it’s racing heritage and reinvents itself as a more fun-loving, capable and versatile all-rounder. We have all the most important details for you!

The new Trek Top Fuel 2020 has transformed into a capable trail weapon. Pricing starts at €2999.

The new Top Fuel in detail

For 2020, the Trek Top Fuel has undergone some significant changes, that Trek claim will make it a more versatile and capable trail bike. We have summed up these changes for you:

  • More travel: The new Trek Top Fuel gets 120 mm travel up front (increased from 100 mm on the previous model), and 115 mm travel out back ( a 15 mm increase).
  • Geometry changes: The new Top Fuel features longer and slacker geometry compared to its previous iteration. The reach has grown slightly, the head angle has been slackened by over 2.5 degrees and the seat tube angle has been steepened by one degree.
  • More clearance: The new Trek Top Fuel now has clearance for 29 x 2.4” tires and more room for dropper posts.
  • New lower shock mount design: The new Top Fuel has moved away from Trek’s Full Floater design and opted for a fixed lower shock mount (as found on the Slash and Remedy). According to Trek this improves frame stiffness and cable routing whilst having no derogatory effect on the suspension performance.
The new Trek Top Fuel now features a fixed lower shock mount – like the Slash and Remedy
The “Mino Link” geometry adjustment system is a neat feature and allows you to fine tune the Top Fuel’s riding characteristics

Features of the new Trek Top Fuel

Every Top Fuel now comes specced with a dropper post and downtube protection as well as wider bars and shorter stems compared to the previous model. The stem has 13 degrees of rise and can be run both ways, giving the option of a slammed cockpit for more nimble steering or a raised bar for trail riding.

The decision to spec a dropper post on every model really highlights the Top Fuel’s trail intentions

The new Trek Top Fuel also features Trek’s renowned Active Braking Pivot (ABP) which helps to keep the suspension active under braking. Trek’s Mino Link geometry adjustment system (flip chip) is also included, now located on the front of the rocker link at the upper shock mounting bolt. The Top Fuel will be shipped with the Mino Link in “Lo” position.

Trek’s signature Straight Shot downtube is claimed to increase the stiffness of the downtube and save weight, while the Knock Block prevents the fork and controls from impacting the frame. Trek’s Control Freak cable routing ensures a neat cockpit and is Di2 compatible.

Every Top Fuel comes with a Bontrager stem with 13 ° of rise. It can be run high, or flipped and slammed for a more racy riding position.

Geometry of the Top Fuel

As the Trek Top Fuel moves away from its former XC race-bike self, the geometry has changed too. Following the longer, lower and slacker trend the new Top Fuel has lost 2.5 ° from its head angle (in “Lo” setting) taking it to 67.5°. The reach has also been stretched by 13 mm to 470 mm size large (in “Lo” setting). The seat angle has been steepened by 1 degree to 75 °.

Size S M ML L XL XXL
Seat tube 394 mm 419 mm 445 mm 470 mm 521 mm 750 mm
Top tube 564 mm 599 mm 615 mm 632 mm 651 mm 676 mm
Head tube 90 mm 90 mm 90 mm 100 mm 110 mm 120 mm
Head angle 67.5° 67.5° 67.5° 67.5° 67.5° 67.5°
Seat angle 75° 75° 75° 75° 75° 75°
Chainstay 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm
BB Height 336.5 mm 336.5 mm 336.5 mm 336.5 mm 336.5 mm 336.5 mm
Wheelbase 1117 mm 1152 mm 1168 mm 1186 mm 1207 mm 1234 mm
Reach 405 mm 440 mm 456 mm 470 mm 487 mm 510 mm
Stack 594 mm 594 mm 594 mm 603 mm 612 mm 621 mm

First impressions

The new Trek Top Fuel takes a big step away from its purebred racing predecessors and shifts its focus to chasing trail thrills instead of XC podiums. It has transformed into a bike that looks capable and fun and could be the perfect bike for riders looking for a fast, agile and precise trail bike for flowy trails. We can’t wait to try one for ourselves!

More info at trekbikes.com

The full model lineup can be found on the next page.

Pivot Mach 4 SL – XC weight weenie announced

With just under 10 kg and packed with state of the art technology, the all-new Pivot Mach 4 SL is literally made for racing. You find all the information right in the official press release:

Pivot Mach 4 SL Team XTR | 120 mm/100 mm (f/r) | 11.45 kg | € 12,449

Starting at 1845 grams, the Mach 4 SL takes a front row seat in the ultralight full suspension category and has the best stiffness to weight ratios we’ve ever created. The new Mach 4SL is over 300 grams lighter than its feathery predecessor, the Mach 429 SL.

“The Mach 4 SL is a total cross country rocket ship,” says Pivot Cycles President and CEO, Chris Cocalis. “We wanted to give our athletes every advantage possible in the upcoming Olympic year.  With the development of the Mach 4 SL we exceeded all our weight and performance targets.  This one really takes both the Mach 4’s lightweight and agility as well as the Mach 429SL’s speedy heritage to an entirely new performance level.  The bike just flat out rips.” 

Pivot Mach 4 SL Team XTR in detail

Fork Fox Factory Stepcast FIT LIVE 120 mm
Rear shock Fox Factory Live Valve 100 mm
Brakes Shimano XTR
Drivetrain Shimano XTR 1×12
Handlebar Pheonix Team Carbon 740 mm
Stem Phoenix Team 75 mm
Dropper post Fox Transfer 150 mm (Size L-XL)
Wheels DT Swiss XRC 1200 SPLINE
Tires Maxxis Ardent Race 29″x2.2″

Fox Live Valve integration gives the Mach 4 SL next level cross country suspension. The efficiency benefits are undeniable, and the speed gained on every part of the course is truly mind-blowing. The shock layout may be different, but the 100mm travel dw-link® suspension keeps its legendary and familiar ride qualities: ultimate pedaling efficiency, reactive to impacts under power, and fully active while braking – its everything you want from the ultimate XC race bike.


















The Mach 4 SL fits the widest range of riders and all genders without compromise. The new extra-small size fits riders down to 4”10” with a lower standover height than even our Mach 4 Carbon with 27.5” wheels. “With the Mach 4 SL I still have room for handlebar height adjustment and spacers under my stem… I’ve never had that on a 29er before,” says 5’2” Stan’s Pivot athlete, Chloe Woodruff. “and my size XS frame still fits a large water bottle!” The Mach 4 SL comes with a slacker head angle, longer reach and shorter stays for a whole new feel and confidence on the fast, tricky descents that have become increasingly common on World Cup cross country courses.

Geometry of the Mach 4 SL Team XTR

Size XS S M L XL
Seat tube 356 mm 394 mm 419 mm 457 mm 502 mm
Top tube 575 mm 588 mm 616 mm 640 mm 671 mm
Head tube 85 mm 95 mm 108 mm 119 mm 140 mm
Head angle 67.5° 67.5° 67.5° 67.5° 67.5°
Seat angle 73.5° 73.5° 73.5° 73.5° 73.5°
Chainstay 431 mm 431 mm 431 mm 431 mm 431 mm
BB height 334 mm 334 mm 334 mm 334 mm 334 mm
Wheelbase 1,103 mm 1,116 mm 1,146 mm 1,170 mm 1,203 mm
Reach 392 mm 402 mm 427 mm 447 mm 472 mm
Stack 589 mm 599 mm 611 mm 622 mm 641 mm

Pricing, specifications and availability

The new Mach 4 SL will be available in three color options—Team Blue, Cherry and Stealth. It is available as a frame, frame kit, and a complete bike in multiple configurations, ranging from $4,599 to $11,299 USD. The Mach 4 SL is available now, in all sizes, at key Pivot Dealers worldwide.

For more information head to pivotcycles.com

The best budget trail bike of 2019 – 11 mountain bikes head to head

How much does a good trail bike cost? This group test proves that € 3,000 is enough! But there are a few things to consider if you want to make sure your savings don’t come at the cost of fun and durability in the long run. We’ve gained many exciting insights from this group test – and found a clear winner in our test!

We always have a lot of fun at ENDURO when we get to compare affordable trail bikes for this group test. Why? It shows us how much performance and value you’re able to get for your money. In times when bikes costing more than € 10,000 are nothing out of the ordinary, this test proves that having fun on the trail doesn’t have to be crazy expensive. But what is it that you have to look for in a good trail bike?

What makes a good trail bike?

The best trail bike is the perfect do-it-all machine. It should be fun to ride both uphill and downhill, performing well on flow trails as well as more demanding, rough terrain. A trail bike is just as suitable for multi-day adventures in the Alps as it is a trip to the bike park. It’s the one bike in your garage that you can get on and always know you’ve got the right tool for the job.


The test field

Although the bikes in this group test share some similarities, they couldn’t be more different. On average, they cost € 2,791 – the € 2,199 FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE is the most budget-friendly, whilst the € 3,099 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alu 29 is the most expensive. Travel varies between 115–150 mm at the rear and 130–160 mm in the front. The Giant Trance 29 2 is the underdog in the travel stakes, while the Trek and Canyon offer the most. We had 29ers and 27.5″ bikes in the test field. The lightest bike is the 12.98 kg ROSE PIKES PEAK AM1, while the most expensive bike, the Specialized, is also the heaviest, measuring 14.90 kg on the scales. But of course, numbers on paper never tell the whole truth.

The test field

Bike Price Weight Travel (f/r) Wheel size
Canyon Spectral CF 7.0 € 2,999 13.70 kg 160/150 mm 27.5″
FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE € 2,199 14.68 kg 140/140 mm 29″
Giant Trance 29 2 € 2,599 14,08 kg 130/115 mm 29″
MERIDA ONE FORTY 800 € 2,999 14.14 kg 150/140 mm 27.5″
Propain Tyee AM Performance € 3,015 14.12 kg 150/145 mm 27.5″
RADON SLIDE TRAIL 8.0 € 2,499 14.06 kg 150/140 mm 29″
ROSE PIKES PEAK AM1 € 2,999 12.98 kg 150/150 mm 27.5″
SCOTT Genius 950 € 2,999 14.50 kg 150/150 mm 29″
Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29 € 3,099 14.90 kg 150/140 mm 29″
Trek Remedy 8 € 2,999 14.08 kg 160/150 mm 27.5″
YT JEFFSY 27 AL Base € 2,299 14.48 kg 150/150 mm 27.5″

Canyon Spectral CF 7.0 | 160 mm/150 mm (f/r) | 13.70 kg | € 2,999

FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE | 140/140 mm (f/r) | 14.68 kg | € 2,199

Giant Trance 29 2 | 130/115 mm (f/r) | 14.08 kg | € 2,599

MERIDA ONE FORTY 800 | 150/140 mm (f/r) | 14.14 kg | € 2,999

Propain Tyee AM Performance | 150/145 mm (f/r) | 14.12 kg | € 3,015

RADON SLIDE TRAIL 8.0 | 150/140 mm (f/r) | 14.06 kg | € 2,499

ROSE PIKES PEAK AM1 | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 12.98 kg | € 2,999

SCOTT Genius 950 | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 14.50 kg | € 2,999

Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29 | 150/140 mm (f/r) | 14.90 kg | € 3,099

Trek Remedy 8 | 160/150 mm (f/r) | 14.08 kg | € 2,999

YT JEFFSY 27 AL Base | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 14.48 kg | € 2,299

Since when is € 3,000 cheap?

Granted, € 3,000 is a lot of money for a lot of riders, and to call these bikes cheap is bordering on irony. But let’s face reality – there aren’t many brands with a new, trail-ready, full suspension bike for less than € 3,000 in their portfolios. Besides, according to our reader survey, you’re looking to spend an average of € 3,599 on your next bike – that’s at least € 500 more than the price range of this test field (€ 2,199–€ 3,099).

You voted, COMMENCAL didn’t deliver

We asked you on Facebook which bike you would like to see in this group test. The COMMENCAL META TRAIL got the majority of the votes. Unfortunately, COMMENCAL didn’t want to participate. So we invited the brand with the second most votes: Propain. You can find our full review of their Tyee AM in this group test.

Who tested the bikes, where, and how?

Trail bikes have to prove themselves in every kind of terrain, both uphill and downhill. For this reason, we rode them on our varied home trails at our headquarters in Leonberg, on the demanding trails around the sun-drenched Laces in Vinschgauu and even rounded the test off with trail excursions in the foothills of the Alps and in Germany’s low mountain ranges.


The team crew

The test crew consisted of experienced ENDURO test riders and newcomers alike. Just click on the images to find out more about the riders.

Christoph Bayer, 31, Editor-in-Chief/Test Manager
Christoph has been heading the tests at ENDURO for more than five years. As an all-rounder, he attaches importance to well-balanced handling and good suspension. The best bike manages to combine completely opposing qualities.
Felix Stix, 27, Editor
Felix studied sports equipment technology, bringing with him a wealth of expertise in suspension and biomechanics. He likes to stay off the brakes and go as fast as possible. His demanding riding style quickly reveals a bike’s weak points.
Finlay Anderson, 18, Trainee
Finlay is a newcomer to the ENDURO team. He currently lives in the Tweed Valley, the Scottish trail mecca. His riding style is fast and wild. Finlay loves to race, and also loves to see if he can rip the tire off his rims in the corners. For him, agile, fun handling is important, but not at the cost of high-speed stability.
Valentin Rühl, 23, Editor
As a former dirt jumper, Valentin is just the guy to judge a bike’s jumping capabilities. Which one is easy to get off the ground, which one is stable in the air and which bike is best left on the ground?
Andreas Maschke, 33, Editor
From South America to the Dolomites, Andreas has done numerous bike-packing trips and knows all about long rides. For him, ride comfort and reliability are crucial.
Sarah Fischer, 26, Test rider
Sarah doesn’t have that much experience with bikes – but that doesn’t matter because we want her opinion as an average, beginner rider! She values freedom of movement, good-natured handling and reliable braking power.

It is important to set the right priorities

With an unlimited budget, buying a really good bike is relatively simple – you just get top-of-the-range everything. But when your budget is tight, you have to prioritise. What influences the handling more, good suspension or a high-end drivetrain? All manufacturers have had to compromise on the components spec in this group test, but they set their priorities very differently. For example, the € 2,499 SLIDE TRAIL 8.0 from the direct-to-consumer brand RADON, has a carbon frame but a low-end fork. In contrast, while you “only” get an aluminium frame with the € 500 more expensive Trek Remedy 8, you also get a much better RockShox Lyrik fork. ROSE and Propain are the standouts regarding equipment, offering the customer a lot of choice with their online configurators.

Low-end components are getting better

If you check internet forums, users repeatedly complain about the fact that bikes are getting more expensive and supposedly with cheaper components. “They used to spec an XT derailleur, now you only get the SLX,” is a phrase you’ll likely hear. That’s true, but a lot of the low-end components of today perform better than the more expensive components of recent years. Good examples in this group test are the SRAM NX-Eagle drivetrain and the FOX 34 Rhythm fork. Both are the entry-level components in their respective product range, but they offer solid and reliable performance.


Weak brakes are a common problem

Während der Performance-Unterschied zwischen einer günstigen SRAM NX Eagle und der hochwertigeren GX-Eagle auf dem Trail kaum spürbar ist, machen unterdimensionierte Bremsen einen großen Unterschied. Es ist nicht nur gefährlich, wenn auf langen Abfahrten die Power nachlässt, es kostet auch Kraft und reduziert das Selbstvertrauen. Das merken natürlich schwere Fahrer besonders, aber selbst unsere leichte Testerin (ca. 60 kg) hatte Probleme! Auch die Annahme, am Heck reichen weniger Bremskolben, ist ein Trugschluss – schließlich lässt man im steilen Gelände hier mehr schleifen, wodurch es zu einer hohen Hitzeentwicklung kommt. Als ideal erwies sich in unserem Test die SRAM Code R am MERIDA sowie die MAGURA MT5 am Propain, alle anderen Räder hatten mit unterdimensionierten Bremsen zu kämpfen.

Tops & Flops

Often small details can make a huge difference: seamless integration, first-class ergonomics and carefully selected parts. Easier said than done – here are some of the tops and flops from this grouptest.

Tops

Outstanding
The SRAM CODE R brakes at the MERIDA deliver a lot of braking power and excellent modulation. Heavy riders should still upgrade to 200mm rotors.
Genius
As with the Enduro version, the geometry and suspension progression of the PIKES PEAK AM can be adjusted via a flip chip within seconds, without the risk of losing parts – an ingenious system.
The best in the test
The RockShox Lyrik delivers unbeatable performance. It smokes the competition and plays a significant role in the Trek’s test victory!
Convenient
Although you can’t fit a bottle cage to the bosses on the top tube, you could attach something like the B-RAD system from Wolf Tooth, among other things. Convenient for carrying a spare tube.

Flops

Underpowered
The small 180 mm rotors, paired with the two-piston calliper at the rear, aren’t reliable enough for long descents. That’s a problem a lot of test bikes have in this test.
Too thin
The 2.6″ MAXXIS Rekon offers surprising amounts of traction at the MERIDA and SCOTT, but it can’t convince in terms of puncture protection and in muddy terrain.
Annoying
The climb switch lever easily jumps from open to trail mode at the FOX shock on the YT. During our tests, the shock switched from closed to open by itself several times.
Too tight
The tire clearance in the rear of the FOCUS JAM is too tight. If you push the bike into corners, the tire rubs on the frame. When things get muddy it’s bound to leave unsightly scratches.

The never-ending battle: 27.5″ vs. 29″

It’s an on-going duel between 29″ and 27.5” wheels, though currently, they seem to be at a tie. There’s an equal split of wheel sizes in the test field, with five 29ers and six 27.5″ bikes, each offering closely matched performance. There are some excellent, agile 29ers, as well as composed 27.5″ bikes. Both wheel sizes have their pros and cons and play a role in defining the handling of a bike, but in the end, they’re not the deciding factor. However, the wheels on lower-end bikes are usually heavier – a disadvantage that is particularly noticeable on a 29er.

Direct-to-consumer vs. local bike shop?

There are some brands that won’t participate in group tests as soon as the field includes direct-to-consumer bikes. They’re worried about being punished due to poor spec in a point scoring system, the way other magazines do it. While we don’t use a point scoring system, the fact remains that the direct-to-consumer bikes in this group test are either around € 500–800 cheaper, or have better componentry. However, this doesn’t necessarily reflect how a bike handles and is to live with in the long run. Of course, a direct-to-consumer bike means you’ll have to make do without a local dealer for after-sales service.

There’s no such thing as a beginner’s bike

The phrase “our bike is ideal for less experienced riders” often sounds like an excuse, because it usually is. After many years of testing with many different test riders, we can say with confidence that a good bike serves novices just as well as riders looking for maximum downhill performance. Everyone benefits from balanced geometry and well-tuned suspension. Just because you don’t ride as fast doesn’t mean that the bike’s suspension doesn’t have to be progressive. Even less aggressive riders can benefit from a plush, progressive rear end with a lot of feedback. Of course, different bikes have different characters, but the best manage to combine allegedly opposing properties. Bikes that don’t succeed in doing so simply aren’t that good.


The best trail bike for € 3,000

The good news first: none of the bikes was a total disappointment. They all delivered a solid performance that a few years ago we could only have dreamt of. Nevertheless, there are some significant differences in the handling, workmanship, suspension and componentry. The best affordable trail bike is the Trek Remedy 8! With its super-balanced handling, outstanding rear suspension and well thought-out spec, it secures our coveted Best in Test. On easy, flowing trails, its agile and direct handling is sure to put a big grin on your face, while also offering enough composure to compete in an Enduro race if you wish. It climbs superbly thanks to the central pedalling position and the efficient rear suspension. The only tuning tip we have is to swap the 2.6″ wide tires for a narrower alternative before you leave your local bike shop.

We would like to have awarded one of the bikes in the field with our Best Value Tip, but none of the other bikes is even nearly as versatile as the Trek. Either they have weak points in the componentry or finishing quality, or their handling is too one-sided. Some climb less efficiently, others are less fun on flow-trails, and others are quickly overwhelmed in demanding terrain. Yet this specialization is also the strongest argument for some of them. The Canyon Spectral and the YT JEFFSY 27 AL Base are great bikes if you want to let rip on demanding descents, but they get bored on more moderate trails. The Giant Trance 29 2 is the opposite with spritely and direct handling, but a harsher ride. You’ll find in-depth reviews of the bikes on the following pages.

Best in test – Trek Remedy 8

All bikes in test: Canyon Spectral CF 7.0 | FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE | Giant Trance 29 2 | MERIDA ONE FORTY 800 | Propain Tyee AM Performance | RADON SLIDE TRAIL 8.0 | ROSE PIKES PEAK AM1 | SCOTT Genius 950 | Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29 | Trek Remedy 8 | YT JEFFSY 27 AL Base

This article is from ENDURO issue #038

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YT JEFFSY 27 AL Base in review

The new YT JEFFSY has caused quite a sensation. However, for this group test, we had last year’s model. The reason for this is that YT currently only offer the new frame in a carbon version which is outside the price limit of this test. Can the bike still deliver?

For an overview of the test fleet head to The best budget trail bike of 2019 – 11 mountain bikes head to head

YT JEFFSY 27 AL Base | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 14.48 kg | € 2,299

Although YT JEFFSY 27 AL Base’s frame has remained unchanged for two years now, the bike is far from outdated. A beautiful shape with a modern design, good componentry, and the whole thing for only € 2,299 – fantastic! The entry-level model we tested comes with FOX suspension consisting of a Rhythm fork and a Performance shock, both offering 150 mm travel. Shifting is taken care of by a SRAM NX-Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, and you’ve got MAXXIS Minion DHR II tires providing grip. We were also impressed with the smooth performance of the 150 mm SDG TELLIS dropper post. The only components we didn’t like are the SRAM Guide T brakes. They simply don’t provide enough braking power for a bike as capable as the JEFFSY. Helping riders leave their backpack at home, YT have developed their own water bottle and cage that fits into the space under the shock – there’s not enough room for a regular bottle. Unlike its 29er aluminium counterpart, the 27.5″ frame has internally routed cables for a cleaner, sleeker look.

Bang Boom Bang – the JEFFSY likes it rough!

Helmet POC Tectal | Glasse Oakley Jawbreaker Polarized | Jersey ION Tee LS 3/4 Scrub Amp | Backpack EVOC STAGE 12 l | Short ION Bikeshorts Scrub Amp

The YT JEFFSY 27 AL Base in detai

Fork FOX 34 FLOAT Rhythm 150 mm
Shock FOX FLOAT DPS Performance 150 mm
Brakes SRAM Guide T 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM NX Eagle
Seatpost SDG TELLIS 150 mm
Stem Race Face Affect 50 mm
Handlebar Race Face Affect R 780 mm
Wheels DT Swiss M1900 SPLINE 27.5″
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHR II 2.4″

Better closed
The FOX 34 Rhythm delivers a solid performance overall. Heavier and active riders should definitely close the low-speed compression by at least one-third to avoid excessive sag.
Overwhelmed
The SRAM Guide T-Brake can’t live up to the demands of the JEFFSY. It lacks power and reliability. Besides that, adjusting the lever reach is very fiddly.
Annoying
The climb switch lever easily jumps from open to trail mode. During our tests, the shock switched from closed to open by itself several times.
An option
If you ride a lot of flat and flowing trails, it may be worthwhile putting the flip-chip in the high position.
For a quick spin
If you like leaving your backpack at home for a quick spin on your home-trail, you should include the THIRSTMASTER 3000 in your order – and yes, that’s really what it’s called.
Size S M L XL
Seat tube 410 mm 450 mm 480 mm 520 mm
Top tube 573 mm 602 mm 625 mm 648 mm
Head tube 95 mm 110 mm 125 mm 135 mm
Head angle 66.5°/67.0° 66.5°/67.0° 66.5°/67.0° 66.5°/67.0°
Seat angle 75.0°/75.5° 75.0°/75.5° 75.0°/75.5° 75.0°/75.5°
Chainstays 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm
BB Drop 15/9 mm 15/9 mm 15/9 mm 15/9 mm
Wheelbase 1,138 mm 1,169 mm 1,200 mm 1,224 mm
Reach 415 mm 440 mm 460 mm 480 mm
Stack 584 mm 597 mm 611 mm 620 mm

The YT JEFFSY 27 AL Base in test

The riding position on the YT JEFFSY 27 AL Base is comfortable overall. However, we had to push the saddle as far forward as possible to get our weight further to the front for a more comfortable position on steep climbs. You will also want to activate the climb switch to prevent the pedal bob you’ll have to contend with if you don’t. The bike is guaranteed to get you to the top of the trailhead, but there is no mistaking YT’s priorities when they developed this bike.

Tuning tip: more powerful brakes

Typical of the direct-to-consumer brand, it’s all about good times on the descent, and there is a lot of that to be had on this bike despite the low price! It takes a while to get the JEFFSY 27 AL Base up to speed, but once it’s going, it’s hard to stop. The rear suspension is very sensitive with seemingly bottomless travel, the geometry is confidence inspiring and very composed. Demanding, rough trails don’t faze it at all. However, some of the rider’s energy is sapped on easier flow-trails. It might be worthwhile adjusting the flip-chip to the steeper geometry setting for those kinds of trails. The FOX 34 Rhythm performs solidly, though it can’t quite keep up with the better forks in the test field. It feels less defined, especially on fast, repeated hits. Overall, the geometry is nicely balanced, but the plush rear suspension means you have to actively get your weight over the front of the bike to avoid understeer – the YT wants it steep! Still, it corners very predictably and is generous in forgiving mistakes. If you’re thinking of signing up for your next Enduro race, the JEFFSY 27 AL Base is the right partner for you.

Just pull up, the JEFFSY will take care of the landing!

Conclusion

The YT JEFFSY 27 AL Base is a bike for those who like descending hard and fast! It convinced our test crew with its plush suspension, good geometry and decent spec at a very fair price. Although it will get you up to the top of every trail, the JEFFSY has a more relaxed approach to climbing.

Tops

  • very composed on rough trails
  • excellent rear suspension
  • good value for money

Flops

  • sluggish climber
  • underpowered brakes in steep terrain
  • a bit cumbersome on flat trails

Riding Characteristics

12

Uphill

1

  1. sluggish
  2. efficient

Agility

2

  1. cumbersome
  2. playful

Stability

3

  1. nervous
  2. confident

Handling

4

  1. unbalanced
  2. balanced

Suspension

5

  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

6

  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

7

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Technical Data

YT
JEFFSY 27 AL Base

Size: S M L XL
Weight: 14,48 kg
Travel (f/r): 150/150 mm
Wheel Size: 27,5″
Price: € 2,299

Intended Use

XC 8

Trail 9

Enduro 10

Downhill 11


For more info head to: yt-industries.com

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to The best budget trail bike of 2019 – 11 mountain bikes head to head

All bikes in test: Canyon Spectral CF 7.0 | FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE | Giant Trance 29 2 | MERIDA ONE FORTY 800 | Propain Tyee AM Performance | RADON SLIDE TRAIL 8.0 | ROSE PIKES PEAK AM1 | SCOTT Genius 950 | Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29 | Trek Remedy 8

Trek Remedy 8 in review

The Trek Remedy 8 made it to the very top of the group test. It impressed all of our test riders with its outstanding performance, deserving the title Best in Test. But what makes this bike so special?

For an overview of the test fleet head to The best budget trail bike of 2019 – 11 mountain bikes head to head

Best in test – Trek Remedy 8 | 160/150 mm (f/r) | 14.08 kg | € 2,999

Last year, Trek gave the Remedy a complete overhaul. Gone is the full-floater suspension, though the linkage still hinges around the rear axle. This decouples the braking forces from the suspension so that both can work independently of each other. Apart from this, the geometry has also been refined. Despite the reasonable price of € 2,999 and traditional distribution model, Trek has managed to spec the Remedy 8 with good quality components. We were particularly impressed by the RockShox Lyrik fork, but the GX Eagle drivetrain is just as rare a sight on bikes in this segment. The componentry is rounded off by plenty of in-house Bontrager parts. Fortunately, the much-criticised dropper post has been revised and now performs just fine. At the back of the Remedy, there’s a RockShox Deluxe shock featuring Trek’s RE:active technology. Even with the climb switch engaged, the shock responds sensitively to small irregularities in the trail. However, it does so without Trek’s Thru-Shaft system, as featured on their more expensive carbon models. We didn’t use the Mino-Link on the seat stay to adjust the geometry – the slack setting was ideal. There are additional bosses on the top tube to mount something like the Wolf Tooth B-RAD system to carry a spare tube and tools – very nice!

Helmet Bell Sixer Fasthouse Edition | Glasses 100 % Speedcraft | Jersey Fasthouse Dropper MTB | Hipbag Bontrager Rapid Pack | Pants Fox Ranger Cargo | Shoes Five Ten Freerider Pro

The Trek Remedy 8 in detail

Fork RockShox Lyrik RC 160 mm
Shock RockShox Deluxe RT3 150 mm
Brakes SRAM Guide R 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle
Seatpost Bontrager Line 150 mm
Stem Bontrager Line 50 mm
Handlebar Bontrager Line 780 mm
Wheels Bontrager Line Comp 27.5″
Tires Bontrager XR4 Team Issue 2.6″

Excellent
The rear end of the Trek Remedy 8 works brilliantly. Sensitive, defined and seemingly bottomless. Nice!
Swap them out
Less experienced riders will benefit from the grip and traction of the wide 2.6″ tires. However, anyone with an active riding style will be happier with a narrower, more precise alternative.
Convenient
Although you can’t fit a bottle cage to the bosses on the top tube, you could attach something like the B-RAD system from Wolf Tooth, among other things. Convenient for carrying a spare tube.
The best in the test
The RockShox Lyrik delivers unbeatable performance. It smokes the competition and plays a significant role in the Trek’s test victory!
A familiar issue
We’re reluctant to repeat ourselves, but the Knock Block on the Trek’s head tube isn’t optimal. It’s supposed to protect the frame from being damaged by the fork or the bars, but it limits the steering significantly, which is particularly annoying when trying to fit the bike into your car.
Size XS S M L XL
Seat tube 394 mm 419 mm 445 mm 470 mm 521 mm
Top tube 562 mm 588 mm 604 mm 625 mm 649 mm
Head tube 95 mm 100 mm 105 mm 110 mm 125 mm
Head angle 66.5° 66.5° 66.5° 66.5° 66.5°
Seat angle 74.2° 74.2° 74.2° 74.2° 74.2°
Chainstays 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm 505 mm
BB Drop 16 mm 16 mm 16 mm 16 mm 16 mm
Wheelbase 1,140 mm 1,167 mm 1,184 mm 1,206 mm 1,232 mm
Reach 395 mm 420 mm 435 mm 455 mm 475 mm
Stack 587 mm 592 mm 596 mm 601 mm 615 mm

The Trek Remedy 8 in test

Unlike the old model, the update geometry that offers a central riding position thanks to the steep seat tube angle. It feels steeper in reality than one would expect when looking at the numbers. The rear end doesn’t wallow on steep terrain and performs very efficiently. That makes the Remedy a capable climber and it really comes into its own on technical, twisty climbs. With plenty of traction at the rear and the central riding position, you’ll master even the trickiest sections. Reaching for the shock’s climb switch is only worthwhile on long, monotonous ascents.

Tuning tip: swap tires for a narrower alternative | more powerful brakes

Going downhill, the Trek Remedy 8 succeeds in perfectly combining supposedly opposing handling characteristics. The bike is agile yet composed, the suspension is sensitive yet defined. This mixture is what makes the Remedy the perfect all-rounder. Fast flow-trails are as much fun on this bike as a trip to the bike park or a multi-day adventure in the Alps. The rear suspension performs very sensitively and effectively feels like much more travel than 150 mm. The weight distribution on the bike is superbly balanced, allowing it to corner as though by itself, and remaining very predictable when you start to reach the limits of its capabilities. We recommend leaving the spacers fitted under the stem seeing as the head tube is very short. The reach is on the shorter end of the spectrum at 455 mm, but the Trek Remedy doesn’t lack stability. The only two things we didn’t like are the 2.6″ wide Bontrager XR4 tires and the weak SRAM Guide brakes. Both should be replaced with better alternatives at the bike shop. Narrower tires underline the bike’s precise handling and a slightly more robust casing makes perfect sense for the kind of terrain the bike feels most comfortable in.

Top suspension, top geometry, top spec – the Trek has it all!

Conclusion

Agile, playful, smooth and composed – the Trek Remedy 8 has got it all! It also impressed us with its brilliant suspension, good looks and high-quality workmanship. Whether flow-trails or bike-park, efficient climbing or fun descending, the Remedy is the one bike to rule them all. Best in Test!

Tops

  • efficient climber
  • super fun and balanced on the descents
  • best suspension in the test
  • quiet
  • great value for money

Flops

  • brakes and tires limit the bike

Riding Characteristics

12

Uphill

1

  1. sluggish
  2. efficient

Agility

2

  1. cumbersome
  2. playful

Stability

3

  1. nervous
  2. confident

Handling

4

  1. unbalanced
  2. balanced

Suspension

5

  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

6

  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

7

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Technical Data

Trek
Remedy 8

Size: XS S M L XL
Weight: 14,08 kg
Travel (f/r): 160/150 mm
Wheel Size: 27,5″
Price: € 2,999

Intended Use

XC 8

Trail 9

Enduro 10

Downhill 11


For more info head to: trekbikes.com

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to The best budget trail bike of 2019 – 11 mountain bikes head to head

All bikes in test: Canyon Spectral CF 7.0 | FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE | Giant Trance 29 2 | MERIDA ONE FORTY 800 | Propain Tyee AM Performance | RADON SLIDE TRAIL 8.0 | ROSE PIKES PEAK AM1 | SCOTT Genius 950 | Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29 | YT JEFFSY 27 AL Base

Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29 in review

The Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alloy is not only the most expensive bike of the group test, but it is also the heaviest, featuring a relatively low-end spec. Nevertheless, it ultimately turned out to be one of our test crew’s favourite bikes and for very good reason.

For an overview of the test fleet head to The best budget trail bike of 2019 – 11 mountain bikes head to head

Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29 | 150/140 mm (f/r) | 14.90 kg | € 3,099

If you are looking for an affordable trail bike, you’ll still have to fork out if you want a Specialized. The Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29 is the most affordable model in their portfolio, though it isn’t cheap at € 3,099. If you look at the spec, it seems a rather unattractive proposition: SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain, Guide R brakes and a FOX 34 Rhythm fork – measured in terms of price you would expect more for your money. But the Specialized has something that justifies the higher price: a high-quality frame. The bike looks amazing and it features some smart details. The ridges of the specially made chainstay protector reduce chain slap noise to a minimum, the low slung top tube offers maximum freedom of movement, the geometry can be adjusted via a flip-chip and the threaded bottom bracket facilitates easy maintenance. Like the carbon model, the aluminium counterpart has an asymmetrical brace between the top and the seat tube, which is supposed to ensure optimum stiffness. The 14.9 kg bike offers 150 mm travel up front and 140 mm at the rear. It rolls on 2.6″ Specialized Butcher and Purgatory tires front and rear respectively. However, the tires are a bit narrower than comparable MAXXIS or Schwalbe models.

The Specialized Stumpjumper is a one bike quiver, guaranteed to deliver a good time on any kind of trail!

Helmet Specialized Ambush | Glasses 100% Speedcraft | Jersey Specialized Demo Pro | Short POC Resistance Women | Shoes Ride Concept Hellion

The Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29 in detail

Fork FOX 34 FLOAT Rhythm 150 mm
Shock FOX FLOAT DPS 140 mm
Brakes SRAM Guide R 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM NX Eagle
Seatpost X-Fusion Manic 150 mm
Stem Specialized Trail 45 mm
Handlebar Specialized Trail 780 mm
Wheels Roval Traverse 29″
Tires Specialized Butcher/Purgatory 2.6″

Classy
Overall, the frame and its discreet paint job look stunning – we like!
Tuning potential
The rear suspension of the Stumpjumper isn’t progressive enough. It could be worthwhile experimenting with volume spacers. The climb switch is also a necessity on the climbs to prevent the rear end from bobbing.
Overwhelmed
Weak brake + small rotor = pumped arms. If you live in mountainous terrain, you should invest in better brakes with larger rotors.
High-quality
Where other brands save, Specialized scores: the contact points (saddle and grips) are top-notch and very comfortable.
Silenced
The specially developed chainstay protector effectively dampens chain slap, keeping it nice and quiet.
Size S M L XL
Seat tube 380 mm 410 mm 455 mm 505 mm
Top tube 573 mm 597 mm 628 mm 662 mm
Head tube 100 mm 100 mm 125 mm 140 mm
Head angle 66,5° 66,5° 66,5° 66,5°
Seat angle 74,8° 74,8° 74,8° 74,8°
Chainstays 437 mm 437 mm 437 mm 437 mm
BB Drop 33 mm 33 mm 33 mm 33 mm
Wheelbase 1,151 mm 1,171 mm 1,201 mm 1,232 mm
Reach 405 mm 425 mm 445 mm 470 mm
Stack 619 mm 619 mm 642 mm 656 mm

The Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29 in test

There is only one thing to say about the riding position: ultra comfortable. However, it is still worthwhile pushing the saddle forward so as not to pedal with too much of your weight over the rear. The suspension is very sensitive, but it tends to suffer from pedal bob. Reaching for the climb switch on the shock is basically mandatory on the climbs. Once you’ve done so, the Stumpjumper will happily get you up long, steep climbs. Surprisingly, we hardly noticed the bike’s weight when going uphill. On the contrary, the Stumpy is made for long rides.

Tuning tip: more powerful brakes | Vvolume spacer in the shock

It’s a phenomenon: you’ll immediately feel at home aboard a Specialized. This is generally due to moderate geometry and the Stumpy is no exception. Going by the numbers, it’s very conservative, almost old-fashioned. But you don’t notice that on the trail, where the Specialized’s agility and pop will have you grinning from ear to ear. The suspension easily absorbs small and fast consecutive hits. However, it lacks the capability to deal with harsh landings, where it will bottom out. Aggressive riders are advised to increase the progression with the help of volume spacers in the shock. With the Stumpy as your weapon of choice, you can easily take on long and rough alpine descents, or even sign up for the occasional enduro race, as long as you upgrade the brakes first. However, due to its short reach, it isn’t the most composed bike in the test field either.

Less is more! Specialized proves that a bike can be very good even without extreme geometry.

Conclusion

The Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29 convinced our test crew with its high-quality frame as well as the beautifully balanced and fun handling. Besides which, the bike is very comfortable and perfectly suited for long rides. The rear suspension could do with a little more progression for aggressive riding, and the climb switch is a necessity it can’t do without. It’s not a bargain either.

Tops

  • lots of fun
  • easy, intuitive handling
  • aesthetically pleasing
  • highly versatile

Flops

  • pedal

Riding Characteristics

12

Uphill

1

  1. sluggish
  2. efficient

Agility

2

  1. cumbersome
  2. playful

Stability

3

  1. nervous
  2. confident

Handling

4

  1. unbalanced
  2. balanced

Suspension

5

  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

6

  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

7

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Technical Data

Specialized
Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29

Size: S M L XL
Weight: 14,90 kg
Travel (f/r): 150/140 mm
Wheel Size: 29″
Price: € 3,099

Intended Use

XC 8

Trail 9

Enduro 10

Downhill 11


For more info head to: specialized.com

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to The best budget trail bike of 2019 – 11 mountain bikes head to head

All bikes in test: Canyon Spectral CF 7.0 | FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE | Giant Trance 29 2 | MERIDA ONE FORTY 800 | Propain Tyee AM Performance | RADON SLIDE TRAIL 8.0 | ROSE PIKES PEAK AM1 | SCOTT Genius 950 | Trek Remedy 8 | YT JEFFSY 27 AL Base

SCOTT Genius 950 in review

The SCOTT Genius 950 is unstoppable on the climbs compared with the other bikes in the test field. Thanks to its TwinLoc system it sprints up hills like an XC bike! In terms of downhill performance, the bike has some tuning potential – we’ll tell you where.

For an overview of the test fleet head to The best budget trail bike of 2019 – 11 mountain bikes head to head

SCOTT Genius 950 | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 14.50 kg | € 2,999

While you don’t get Nino Schurter’s power with the SCOTT Genius 950, what you do get is one of the most efficient trail bikes in its class. The magic word is TwinLoc: the levers on the handlebar let you simultaneously adjust the shock and the fork between Open, Traction and Lockout mode, making for an enormously efficient bike. While the system does add two additional cables to the cockpit, SCOTT have cleverly bundled them together with spiral bands. The componentry of the € 2,999 bike is low-end but functional, bringing the total weight to 14.50 kg. Although all you’re getting is a SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain and low-end Shimano brakes, both of these components perform well enough without any obvious weak points. The FOX suspension and the Syncros dropper post performed just as well during our tests. However, one criticism we do have, is the narrow 760 mm bar and the shallow tread of the 2.6″ MAXXIS Rekon tires. They offer too little grip in wet conditions and on soft ground and don’t leave enough clearance in the rear triangle – we recommend fitting more aggressively treaded, but narrower tires instead.

The Genius mercilessly converts the rider’s input into propulsion – whether you’re pedalling or pumping!

Helmet iXS Trigger AM | Glasses Oakley Jawbreaker PRIZM Trail | Jersey ROCDAY MANUAL Jersey | Short POC Essential XS Shorts | Knee pads POC Joint VPD System Knee | Backpack USWE AIRBORNE | Shoes O’Neal FLOW SPD

The SCOTT Genius 950 in detail

Fork FOX 34 Performance 150 mm
Shock FOX FLOAT EVOL Performance 150 mm
Brakes Shimano MT500 180/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM NX Eagle
Seatpost Syncros Dropper 2.0 150 mm
Stem Syncros FL2.0 50 mm
Handlebar Syncros FL2.0 760 mm
Wheels Syncros X-30S 29″
Tires MAXXIS Rekon 2.6″

Bundled
Too many cables often clutter the cockpit and cause rattling. SCOTT have cleverly bundled them together.
It takes getting used to
DThe extra levers of the TwinLoc system are ergonomically positioned, but it takes a while to make a habit of actually using them.
No adjustability
Those who like to play with the compression settings on their fork can’t do so on the Genius. Here you can only adjust the air pressure, use tokens to adjust the progression and adjust the rebound.
Very progressive
The rear suspension of the SCOTT Genius 950 is very progressive. This gives the bike a lot of pop and propulsion, but it noticeably stiffens up on repeated big impacts.
High-quality
The aluminium frame of the Genius features high-quality workmanship and very clean lines. At first glance, it is difficult to distinguish from its carbon counterpart.
Size S M L XL
Seat tube 410 mm 440 mm 480 mm 520 mm
Top tube 570 mm 603 mm 633 mm 670 mm
Head tube 95 mm 95 mm 110 mm 125 mm
Head angle 65,0° 65,0° 65,0° 65,0°
Seat angle 74,7° 74,7° 74,8° 74,8°
Chainstays 438 mm 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm
BB Drop 27,4 mm 27,5 mm 27,6 mm 27,8 mm
Wheelbase 1,166 mm 1,199 mm 1,232 mm 1,271 mm
Reach 406 mm 439 mm 466 mm 499 mm
Stack 600 mm 600 mm 614 mm 628 mm

The SCOTT Genius 950 in test

The seated riding position on the SCOTT Genius 950 is compact and upright, yet very comfortable. If the bike does bob in the Open mode, you can put an end to that by shifting the suspension into Traction mode. By closing off a part of the air chamber, the suspension hardens noticeably and sags less. This also makes the seat tube angle significantly steeper. The Genius is a fleet-footed and willing climber, efficiently transferring the power from your legs to the rear wheel – excellent! We recommend using Lockout mode only on very smooth, paved roads. We found Traction mode to be ideal for technical climbs, seeing as it’s capable of generating sufficient traction on loose ground.

Tuning tip: higher quality, and larger brake rotors | tires | wider handlebar

The Genius is quick out of the gate and generates a lot of speed if you pump it, thanks to the progressive suspension. On flowing trails, the bike goes like a rocket, with the compact frame and the agile handling making it a lot of fun to ride. Jumping, the bike has a lot of pop and it easily soaks up hard landings too. The low bottom bracket ensures that the rider feels very integrated with the bike. Cornering, the SCOTT is balanced and direct, ducking and weaving through tight trails with ease. However, when the trails become rougher and steeper, the Genius lacks the necessary composure due to the compact dimensions of the frame and the firm suspension. The suspension can’t keep up in demanding terrain, transferring fast, hard hits to the rider. Besides, the MAXXIS Rekon tires don’t hold their line well enough – they are definitely worth an upgrade.

Efficiency has its price. In the case of the tires, it reads: lacking grip.

Conclusion

The SCOTT Genius 950 is a good all-rounder, showing its strengths particularly on the climbs and on fast, flowing trails. The firm suspension combined with the TwinLoc system makes for an extremely efficient and fun bike. On more demanding terrain, the bike lacks the necessary composure.

Tops

  • efficient climber
  • unstoppable on flowing trails
  • agile and good-natured handling

Flops

  • iout of its depth on rough terrain
  • tires limit the bike
  • crowded cockpit requires getting used to

Riding Characteristics

12

Uphill

1

  1. sluggish
  2. efficient

Agility

2

  1. cumbersome
  2. playful

Stability

3

  1. nervous
  2. confident

Handling

4

  1. unbalanced
  2. balanced

Suspension

5

  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

6

  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

7

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Technical Data

SCOTT
Genius 950

Size: S M L XL
Weight: 14,50 kg
Travel (f/r): 150/150 mm
Wheel Size: 29″
Price: € 2,999

Intended Use

XC 8

Trail 9

Enduro 10

Downhill 11


For more info head to: scott-sports.com

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to The best budget trail bike of 2019 – 11 mountain bikes head to head

All bikes in test: Canyon Spectral CF 7.0 | FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE | Giant Trance 29 2 | MERIDA ONE FORTY 800 | Propain Tyee AM Performance | RADON SLIDE TRAIL 8.0 | ROSE PIKES PEAK AM1 | Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29 | Trek Remedy 8 | YT JEFFSY 27 AL Base

ROSE PIKES PEAK AM1 in review

Along with the Enduro version that we’ve already reviewed, the ROSE PIKES PEAK is also available as a 150 mm travel trail bike. The frame might be the same, but can the concept convince on the trail?

For an overview of the test fleet head to The best budget trail bike of 2019 – 11 mountain bikes head to head

ROSE PIKES PEAK AM 1 | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 12.98 kg | € 2,999

If Batman had a bike, he would ride the jet black ROSE PIKES PEAK AM1. The componentry fitted to the German direct-to-consumer brand bike can be customised in the online configurator to suit your needs. Our 27.5″ wheeled, 150 mm travel test bike weighed only 12.9 kg. This is certainly due to the very light frame, but the Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires probably also contribute to the weight saving. If you like to push hard on rough descents, we recommend swapping these for a more robust option. The remaining componentry of the PIKES PEAK AM1 has been cleverly specced. A Shimano SLX drivetrain and brakes, DT Swiss M1900 wheels and a RockShox PIKE fork complete the package. The 170 mm RockShox Reverb dropper post is a definite highlight, giving you plenty of freedom of movement on the bike. When configuring the cockpit, we recommend choosing a 50 mm stem and making sure to include enough spacers (yes, even this can be customised). The stock 800 mm SPANK handlebar is wide for a trail bike, but can easily be trimmed to size. A unique feature of the frame is the PROGEO system, allowing you to adjust the geometry and suspension progression within seconds, without the risk of losing any parts.

If you want to ride like Batman in his Batmobile, the ROSE PIKES PEAK is the bike for you.

Helmet iXS Trigger AM | Glasse Oakley Jawbreaker PRIZM Trail | Jersey ROCDAY ELEMENT Jersey | Shorts Fox Defend Short | HipBack SOURCE Hipster | Shoes O’Neal FLOW SPD

The ROSE PIKES PEAK AM 1 im Detail

Fork RockShox PIKE RC 150 mm
Shock RockShox Deluxe RT3 150 mm
Brakes Shimano SLX 200/180 mm
Drivetrain Shimano SLX
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth 170 mm
Stem SPANK SPIKE 50 mm
Handlebar SPANK SPIKE 800 mm
Wheels DT Swiss M1900 SPLINE 27,5″
Tires Schwalbe Nobby Nic SS SpeedGrip 2.35″

Genius
As with the Enduro version, the geometry and suspension progression of the PIKES PEAK AM can be adjusted via a flip chip within seconds, without the risk of losing parts – an ingenious system.
Rattling
Unfortunately, the cables are not secured in the frame and rattled during testing.
Super variable
The PIKES PEAK AM and the PIKES PEAK EN share the same lightweight carbon frame. The different models simply have different length shocks.
Freedom of movement
Thanks to the 170 mm dropper post and the low top tube, the rider has lots of freedom of movement on the bike. That will give you the confidence to tackle steep terrain – brilliant!
Overwhelmed
The Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires with their hard rubber compound don’t do the bike justice. We recommend upgrading these in the configurator.
Size S M L
Seat tube 420 mm 440 mm 455 mm
Top tube 590/592 mm 615/617 mm 645/647 mm
Head tube 100 mm 115 mm 125 mm
Head angle 67°/66° 66,5°/65,6° 67°/66°
Seat angle 75,5°/74,5° 75,5°/74,5° 75,5°/74,5°
Chainstays 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm
BB Drop 5/17 mm 5/17 mm 5/17 mm
Wheelbase 1,162/1,164 mm 1,188/1,190 mm 1,218/1,220 mm
Reach 487/477 mm 460/450 mm 487/477 mm
Stack 591/598 mm 596/603 mm 605/612 mm

The ROSE PIKES PEAK AM 1 in test

Since the majority of our testers are all about 180 cm tall, we chose the largest of the three available sizes, frame size L. This provides a central and slightly stretched position, ideal for tackling longer rides. Together with its low weight, the bike feels spritely, quickly picking up speed when you get on the pedals. No matter how steep the climb, the ROSE marches onwards efficiently.

Tuning tip: select more robust tires in the configurator (free) | go for a 50 mm stem and include enough spacers (at least 2 cm) | secure the internally routed cables

On the descents, the ROSE shows what it’s really capable of. The combination of a long front triangle with a short rear end makes the PIKES PEAK feel super lively, though it requires an active riding style. Its high-speed stability in steep terrain instils the rider with confidence, but you will have to actively weight the front wheel to avoid understeering in the corners. If you can do that and remain alert, then you’ll have a lot of fun on the PIKES PEAK. Drifting through corners or shooting out of berms into a manual – no problem with the PIKES PEAK! The suspension is plush yet nicely defined. Nevertheless, the capabilities of this bike means it quickly gets bored in more even terrain. Due to its extreme geometry, it requires a lot of rider input, even in the steeper PROGEO setting. Riders with less experience should definitely choose the smaller frame if they’re between two sizes, otherwise, the bike will quickly leave them feeling overwhelmed.

Only those with an active riding style can unleashthe ROSE’s full potential.

Conclusion

The ROSE PIKES PEAK AM1 cannot deny its kinship with the capable Enduro model. Thanks to its radical geometry and defined 150 mm travel suspension, it feels most at home on demanding trails, requiring an active riding style. Are you looking for a fun bike to get rowdy on? Then go ahead and give Batman a run for his money. The PIKES PEAK is made for you.

Tops

  • capable in demanding terrain
  • efficient climber
  • PROGEO adjustment works well
  • excellent value for money

Flops

  • requires an active riding style
  • overkill on easy trails
  • cables rattle in the frame

Riding Characteristics

12

Uphill

1

  1. sluggish
  2. efficient

Agility

2

  1. cumbersome
  2. playful

Stability

3

  1. nervous
  2. confident

Handling

4

  1. unbalanced
  2. balanced

Suspension

5

  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

6

  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

7

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Technical Data

ROSE
PIKES PEAK AM 1

Size: S M L
Weight: 12,98 kg
Travel (f/r): 150/150 mm
Wheel Size: 27,5″
Price: € 2,999

Intended Use

XC 8

Trail 9

Enduro 10

Downhill 11


For more info head to: rosebikes.de

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to The best budget trail bike of 2019 – 11 mountain bikes head to head

All bikes in test: Canyon Spectral CF 7.0 | FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE | Giant Trance 29 2 | MERIDA ONE FORTY 800 | Propain Tyee AM Performance | RADON SLIDE TRAIL 8.0 | SCOTT Genius 950 | Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29 | Trek Remedy 8 | YT JEFFSY 27 AL Base