Jackal K9 29er

How’d we pick 'em? Our primary evaluation process took place over seven days in January on the trails and back roads outside Tucson, Arizona. We spent three days on mountain bikes on the rugged and rocky singletrack at

Jackal K9 29er

Best For: Racers without sponsors. 

The Test: The hardtail K9 delivers the same speed and agility of big-brand cross-country race bikes for decidedly less cash. Jackal, a tiny company out of Santa Fe, does it by sourcing its carbon frames straight from Asia and keeping overhead low with Web-only sales and made-to-spec bikes. Even with the value build, which included an all-business SRAM X9 drivetrain, a hardworking Fox Float 29 fork, and Stan’s feathery but robust new Arch EX wheelset, our K9 weighed a svelte 22.5 pounds. That made for explosive climbing and giant slalom-like carving power on buffed-out trail, though the build quality (loose bottom bracket, badly adjusted shifting) tripped us up a bit.

The Verdict: A true speed machine. 22.5 lbs

Brand: Jackal Cycling $3,000
From Outside Magazine, May 2012 Get the Latest Issue