Shock Therapy

Klein Palomino Race and Giant VT One

    Photo: Michael Darter

KLEIN PALOMINO RACE cofounder Paul Turner is the godfather of oil and air. His latest bike, the sexy Maverick ML7—featuring Turner's Monolink suspension—is one epic-ready machine, but it's priced like a Porsche. Enter Klein, which licensed the Mav's design and built up a sweet complete bike with a price tag for the rest of us. On climbs, the Monolink takes note of even the smallest jolts without overreacting, and the 27-pound, 13-ounce Palomino Race, with four inches of travel, was one of the most capable descenders we tested. Fox's Float RL100 fork tops the heap for single-crown front suspension, and a smart parts mix (Shimano XT Hollowtech cranks, tubeless-compatible wheels) makes the bike a good buy, if not a bargain. Memo to smaller riders: The sharply angled seat tube could mean fit trouble; raising the saddle scoots it back as well. $2,550. Where to find it: Klein, 920-478-4676, www.kleinbikes.com
GIANT VT ONE

Considering its heft (it's just shy of 31 pounds), the VT One climbs strikingly well. The secret here is Manitou's Swinger rear shock, which offers a new level of rider adjustability: Flip out your 16mm wrench and twiddle the spring-rate progression (how resistant the shock is to bottoming out), or bleed or add air to alter the shock's overall suppleness over smaller bumps. The result is a bike that pedals well enough in the 5.7-inch travel setting, so you end up all but ignoring the five-inch option. RockShox's Psylo Race with remote lockout up front, Hayes disc brakes, and Mavic's excellent CrossMax XL tubeless wheelset round out a juicy parts pick. $3,050. Where to find it: Giant, 805-267-4600, www.giantbikes.com

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