GearBiking

Rock Steady

This year’s trail bikes are lighter and more forgiving than ever. We tested the best.

Giant Trance X0 PERFECT FOR: Downhillers searching for a top-tier trail cruiser at a mid-tier price. WHY IT’S COOL: Giant is synonymous with value, and the five-inch-travel Trance X0 reinforces the image, with a complete XT/XTR drivetrain, feathery but tough Mavic CrossMax ST wheels, and a Fox 32 F120 RL fork and Float RP23 shock. Though it’s plenty light for a trail rig, this bike is built for descents, where the snappy aluminum frame and slack geometry make rock gardens feel like nothing. BEFORE YOU BUY: Make sure you like the upright position, which can feel precarious on the climbs. $3,700; 26.8 lbs (18"); giant-bicycles.com

Gary Fisher HiFi Deluxe 29
(Photo: Mark Weins)

Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR PERFECT FOR: Riders with pro-level expectations, on and off the course. WHY IT’S COOL: The trail-versus-cross-country debate is over. The new Stumpjumper delivers the five inches of beefy front and rear travel that defines trail bikes; yet, at a mere 23 pounds, it weighs less than Specialized’s top cross-country racer, the Epic. The swoopy carbon-fiber frame is gorgeous, practical (with plenty of stand-over), and pleasantly stiff and responsive. BEFORE YOU BUY: If you spend most weekends racing, the geometry may feel too slack for you. $7,400; 23.1 lbs (M); specialized.com

Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR
(Photo: Mark Weins)

Gary Fisher HiFi Deluxe 29 PERFECT FOR: Weekend warriors who want a do-everything bike without any pretense. WHY IT’S COOL: The HiFi Deluxe has all the advantages of 29-inch wheels—improved stability and momentum and the ability to roll over the rough—in a package as quick and nimble as a standard ride. And thanks to the stretched-out cockpit, bump-damping carbon seatstays, and efficient four-inch-travel suspension, it’s extremely comfortable during long days in the saddle. BEFORE YOU BUY: Consider your terrain. Though svelte for a full-suspension 29er, it’s no lightweight climber. $2,640; 27.3 lbs (19"); fisherbikes.com

Moots Mooto XZ
(Photo: Mark Weins)

Moots Mooto XZ PERFECT FOR: Devotees who insist on the finest ride, in any terrain and at any cost. WHY IT’S COOL: In the carbon age, Moots proves that metal is no anachronism. The titanium Mooto XZ is light and comfortable yet as crisp as any bike out there. The firm single pivot-point suspension—designed for efficient pedaling and staying active under braking—provides a solid feel that, combined with 29-inch wheels, smothers trail noise. BEFORE YOU BUY: Choose components carefully. The heavy Bontrager Race Lite 29er wheelset didn’t do justice to the frame. $3,075 frame and fork; $5,800 as tested; 28.6 lbs (20"); moots.com

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside
Filed To: Mountain Biking
Lead Photo: Mark Weins
More Gear