Maverick is to the mountain bike what Apple is to the personal computer: the underdog that insists it knows a better way. And we're not arguing with a Mac Pro, or the Durance. Designed by Paul Turner, creator of the suspension fork, the Durance combines Maverick's brilliantly simple MonoLink Suspension with a six-inch-travel forkyet somehow it still weighs a few spokes under 27 pounds. On paper, that means the Durance erases the line between a cross-country and an all-mountain ride. On the trail, it whips uphill much faster than you'd expect, and tackles downhills like a pared-down motocross bike. 26.8 lbs; maverickbike.com
Bonus: Switch saddle positions on the flyhigh for climbing, low for the descentswith the bar-mounted joystick control that operates the hydraulic seatpost.
Bummer: The proprietary front fork is plenty lightsix inches of travel in a sub-four-pound package!but some riders will still find the dual-crown design too burly.