Best For: True 29er believers.
The Test: While other brands have just recently jumped on the big-travel 29er trend, this Murrieta, California, boutique shop has been making the aluminum 4.7-inch Sultan for years. The bike is better than ever for 2012, with an oversize headtube for razor-sharp steering, slacker angles and standard through-axles front and rear for stabler descending, and the burly but plush Fox 34 Float fork. Built around the ultra-efficient DW-Link rear suspension, the bike flew up techy rock gardens—surprising for a ride with this much travel (and heft). Even so, testers liked the substantial feel when scampering over loose ledge drops and down rubble-filled gullies.
The Verdict: There was no terrain the Sultan didn’t rule. 28.7 lbs