Trek Liquid 55, $2,970
THE PITCH » A take-it-anywhere bike for smooth singletrack, five-foot drops, and everything in between
YOUR MONEY BUYS... A two-wheeled deluxe SUV. With five inches of you-can-land-that travel front and back, the Liquid sits dead center in the sweet spot of trail bikes. The suspension gobbles up rocks, roots, and jumps but provides a stable pedaling platform for all-day cross-country fun. A redesigned frame with a new rear pivot, Bontrager Race Lite Disc Tubeless wheels, an adjustable-travel Manitou Minute 2:00 fork, SRAM's rock-solid X.9 rear derailleur, and Shimano's stiff XT cranks round out the abuse-loving package.
THE RIGHT BIKE FOR YOU? It is if you like to whomp your friends on swoopy singletrack but also love airing it out on jumps and gnarly mountain descents. The 27.5-pound Liquid's relaxed geometry makes steering a bit sluggish compared to a pure cross-country bike, but the laid-back cockpit, combined with incredibly lush suspension and wide riser bars, gives you the confidence to maneuver aroundor overjust about anything. 920-478-4678, www.trekbikes.com