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");

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 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");

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");

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Filed To: Mountain Biking
Lead Photo: Mark Weins
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