This is the yr of the long-journey 29er. While massive wheels have long ruled the XC and trail categories (the 29er was the pinnacle-promoting motorcycle last 12 months), they’ve had a more difficult time catching on with downhillers due to the brought weight and the venture of constructing a body that doesn’t feel cumbersome. Brands nailed the equation this year with tighter geometries and lighter components. In our test, it became the main long-journey 29ers that took the honors.
Factor case: the Ibis Ritmo, a carbon all-mountain 29er with a hundred forty-five millimeters of the rear journey and a stout a hundred and sixty-millimeter Fox 36 fork. Despite its competitive stance and slack on the front end, this ride is dumbfoundingly brief and agile. It’s also fairly light at 28.6 pounds. The outstanding-steep seat angle made techy uphills a cinch, as did the smooth track at the DW-Link suspension. The grip was given even better on downhills, courtesy of Ibis’s wide 942 carbon rims and the meaty Maxxis tire combistate—a 2. Five-inch Minion DHF and a 2.5-inch Aggressor. The low-slung seat tube allows for the longest-viable dropper post, letting us convey our center of gravity down for higher guyeuverability. We threw ourselves at the steepest rock- and ledge-littered trails and were surprised at how calm the Ritmo felt. “Like pedaling a cloud,” one tester commented. Labeling the Ritmo a path trip and an enduro sled wrapped in a single is tempting, but to us, it’s surely the all-around mountain motorcycle we continually wanted.
The sister bike to the Santa Cruz 5010, the Furtado, is a carbon trail steed with milder suspension and gets in touch with points tweaked for women (suppose shaped saddle and narrower 760-millimeter bars). Time and once more, testers said the motorbike felt supple and smooth to move. The Furtado has an easygoing 66.5-degree head attitude, 130 millimeters of travel front and rear, and 27.5-inch hoops. (Smaller wheels appear to be the norm on women’s fashions, though 1/2 of our riders stated they’d decide upon this motorcycle with 29s.) Juliana felt mainly springy. Reserve carbon wheels upload stiffness for guidance self-belief and help unfold the two.3-inch Maxxis Minion tires for seizing. It’s a properly-mannered bike that, at 27.6 pounds, is light sufficient to trip all day. We weren’t really into the shade, even though.
Smaller wheels (27. Five, and even 26 inches) have long dominated enduro racers, running timed segments down breakneck descents. But the carbon Scott Ransom 900 and bikes find it irresistible are converting that. It’s as light as a trail machine, at 29.2 pounds, however nearly as slack (sixty-four. 5 stages) and lengthy (170 millimeters) as a full-on downhiller. Thanks to Scott’s TwinLoc, which has one lever to set front and rear surprise volume and sag (choose from 3 modes: Lockout, Traction Control, and Descend), the motorcycle climbs astonishingly properly for such a competitive machine. Still, when you factor this rig down, the easygoing angles and beefy 2.6-inch Maxxis Minion tires gobble up drops and jumps. And sure, the 29-inch Ransom was verifiably quicker and easier to handle than similarly appointed 27.5s within the test.
This Colorado-based brand had performed what no agency could before p.C. 29-plus wheels into a lightweight (28.2 kilos), short-managing, full-suspension bundle. The trick is the geometry, with road-bike-brief 424-millimeter chainstays, a moderate sixty-eight-diploma head perspective, and a short reach for XC-whip-level dealing. The Behemoth’s lightweight is astounding, given that the body is alloy. Yet the combination of large hoops and mid-tour suspension (a hundred-and-forty-millimeter fork, 125-millimeter frame) makes for exceptional rollover on free rock and second-to-none mountaineering on step-ups. The whole bundle made for a squishy, forgiving all-mountain crusher. But unlike many 29-plus fashions, which plow over boundaries, the Behemoth glances over them like a rock skipping on water.