The 2016 Summer Buyer's Guide

Axie Navas

Mountain biking in the Southwest is the best. Maybe I’m just a sucker for the Abbey-esque romance of the desert, but I can’t get enough of the loose, rocky trails and dramatic scenery. That’s why I didn’t need any convincing when bike czar Aaron Gulley suggested we once again hold our annual bike test in ­Sedona, Arizona. The town is surrounded by a dense network of trails that move from flowy single­track to wide-open slickrock in mere feet. We tested 75 bikes in the desert, and Specialized’s new Rhyme FSR 6Fattie—one of eight new plus-size rigs we tried, and sister of the Gear of the Year–winning S-Works Stumpjumper—was among our favorites. Turns out mid-fatties, with their wider tires (around three inches), were born to rip down steeps and through sand that would have lesser steeds flailing. Of course, bikes with wider tires are just the start. From maneuverable touring kayaks to the totally wired Big Agnes tent, this issue is filled with gear that makes playing outside a little bit easier and a lot more fun. Because sometimes a clever new design—or a little extra rubber—makes all the difference. 

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