Rolling Wonders

From sleek and sexy road machines to mountain-taming single-speeds, the big news about this year's best bikes is trickle-down technology that makes cutting-edge performance accessible for every rider and any budget

    Photo: Mark Weiss

BIKES, LIKE CELL-PHONE PLANS, should come tailored to your needs. That's what you finally get in 2006: a slew of highly refined models suited to your riding preferences. Want a road ride? Now there are pure racers, comfort bikes built for speed, and everything in between. Mountain bikes, you say? You'll choose between single-speeds and 29ers and all-mountain machines.

Don't panic. We've done all the hard work for you. We loaded up 26 bikes and headed to Tucson, Arizona, where we logged laps in sandy arroyos, on jangling singletrack, and along ribbons of desert pavement until we settled on the finest rigs in each category. In the pages ahead you'll find two picks in each class: the rigs you lust after—decked-out dream rides for cash-flush connoisseurs—and value-laden alternatives that are a must for anyone on a modest budget. And unlike with cell-phone plans, you'll never have to ration your time on these rides.

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