Three New Mountain Bikes We Love
Go all in on every ride with one of these capable rigs
Yeti ARC ($3,600)
Best For Soul Riders
Hardtail mountain bikes are having a moment. Maybe it’s a return to the fundamentals of the sport or a desire for a more tactile connection to the trail. Whatever the reason, there’s a spate of these rigs this season, and Yeti’s ARC is one of our favorites. We like the trail-oriented geometry, which is slacker and more reassuring than the twitchy hardtails many of us grew up riding. Unlike the storied ARC from the nineties, this modern reboot wasn’t designed with racing in mind, though it’s certainly constructed to keep up the pace at your weekend cross-country event. This 29er hits the sweet spot between efficiency and fun, with a 130-millimeter fork to absorb impacts, high-volume 2.6-inch tires that provide loads of grip, and a lightweight (2.8 pounds) carbon-fiber frame.
Santa Cruz Bullit ($11,499)
Best For Single-Minded Descenders
Mixed-wheel setups are increasingly common in downhill and enduro. The confident handling and rollover benefits of a 29-inch front wheel paired with the maneuverability of a 27.5-inch rear one make a compelling case. Following this trend, the Bullit is all business up front and a party in back—plus a motor in the middle, letting you skip the lift. We appreciated the nimble smaller wheel when switching lines on this hefty 50-pound machine. Practice breeds mastery, and there’s no substitute for sessioning jumps, drops, and turns that give you pause. This 170-millimeter-travel brawler allows aggressive trail riders to press fast-forward on climbs and spend more time pushing their limits on the descents.
Canyon Spectral 29 ($5,699)
Best For All-Mountain Adventurers
The term all mountain fell out of favor when the cycling industry focused its attention on enduro racing ten years ago. But today there’s a big difference between a modern enduro bike designed to shave seconds off the clock and a well-rounded mountain rig that’s adept at descending but won’t wear you out on the uphill. Enter Canyon’s category-defining Spectral 29, which boasts 160 millimeters of front suspension and 150 millimeters of efficient rear travel in a carbon-frame package. Rider positioning is excellent: the steep seat-tube angle (76.5 degrees) offers a super stance for tackling the hardest climbs. The slack (64.5 degrees) front end makes it easy to point and shoot down white-knuckle plummets. In short, the Spectral 29 felt fast, fun, and capable on every trail we rode.