How We Tested Them
Over the course of nine days in Tucson, Arizona, our 23-person test crew hammered more than 40 bikesfrom $10,000 pro-level Tour de France machines to $900 starter bikes, from 29-inch-wheel trail bikes to hardtail racers. Each one was ridden by several testers, then scored in a variety of categories, including pedaling performance, handling, comfort, components, and aesthetics.
The Mission 3 was the ATV of our lineup. This six-inch-travel, butted-aluminum rig is designed for big hits, and it comes with a parts spec that can survive abuse. Take the crankset, Truvativ's all-mountain-specific HammerSchmidt system, which, because it's essentially a two-ring crank crammed into a single internal gear, means no dropped chains or broken chainrings. But all of that comes with added heft that, for some of our testers, was a bit too much. "It handled surprisingly well at low speeds and took every rock I steered it toward," said one tester, "but it's a tank." An internal mechanism in the Diamondback's crankset delivers the benefits of two chainringsa wide range between easy and hard gearsin a more durable and tidy package. It's heavy, but a boon in all-mountain and freeride applications, where dropped chains and broken parts are common.33.6 lbs (medium); diamondback.com
CLIMBING: 2.9/5 DESCENDING: 4.2/5 (ALL SCORES ARE OUT OF FIVE)