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Surprisingly inexpensive despite its radical design, the fin-like Zuma cuts through the air but not your budget. rudyprojectusa.com…

A Classic Reinvented In an effort to lower the price of admission, Ellsworth offers up the Glimpse, its first-ever non- commuter bike not entirely made in the USA. The aluminum tubes are still produced here, but the shaping, welding, and assembly happen in Taiwan. (You probably wouldn’t have known had…

Why pack 27 gears when you can crush your friends with just one? The Diesel’s list of features reads like a single-speed mantra: slick Formula Oro Puro disc brakes, dual rear cogs (16 and 18) on back for gearing options if the terrain turns testy, and Paragon’s trick slider…

ALL-MOUNTAIN LIGHTWEIGHT Maverick is to the mountain bike what Apple is to the personal computer: the underdog that insists it knows a better way. And we’re not arguing with a Mac Pro, or the Durance. Designed by Paul Turner, creator of the suspension fork, the Durance combines Maverick’s brilliantly simple…

The Slinger isn’t as breathable as more ventilated, higher-priced lids. But the one-handed dial adjuster in the back gives the helmet a secure, confident fit, making it without a doubt the most comfortable $100 helmet we’ve worn. e-rudy.com…

Flexible Flier With race models like the Orca and Opal, this small Basque company has a well-deserved reputation as a maker of elite-level bikes. In an effort to get similar performance at a more attractive price for everyday riders, Orbea simply laid less-expensive carbon fiber into the same molds it…

Cannondale is now manipulating carbon fiber for high-end race bikes as well as anyone, but the company hasn't completely abandoned its deep aluminum heritage. The Six 5 weds a carbon rear end and fork, which minimize painful road vibrations, to a stiff aluminum front triangle for pedaling efficiency. The frame…

Why It’s Coolhen the Trek engineers responsible for keeping Lance Armstrong in yellow had lightened the man’s frame as much as they could, they turned to aerodynamics. Using a wind tunnel, the team refined the tubing on what would become the Madone to eliminate tiny drag differences that purportedly added…

HEAD FOR THE HILLS In 2007, the mountainous Giro d’Italia and the best-climber’s jersey at the Tour de France were both won on Cannondales. It is with that climbing pedigree in mind that the company launches its new SuperSix. This is the same full-carbon frame Cannondale’s top pros are on…

The fully-custom, carbon-and-titanium XS can save your ass, literally. One tester spent 19 hours on it—in a single weekend—and was still able to walk afterwards. Indy Fab, an employee-owned boutique builder in Somerville, Massachusetts, is known for its artistry (check the laser-cut lugs) and regularly pulls down awards at the…

Mr. Versatility Naming this sly cyclocross beast “Fox” (in Italian) was perfect: Whenever we got in a sticky situation, its big all-terrain rubber, triple chainring, and forgiving steel frame saw us through in style. And if you’re not riding your local trails or CX course on the weekend, you can…

Road This value-priced lid kept testers cool (28 vents!) on even the most sweltering days. www.louisgarneau.com Bummer: Not everyone will love the exposed-foam look.

A RACE-READY BARGAIN Raleigh reclaims some of its Tour de France-winning heritage with its new line of full-carbon, race-specific frames. The Supercourse is the most wallet-friendly of the bunch, but the cost savings come from the components. The frame is the same one Raleigh’s sponsored riders race, and you can…

At just nine ounces, the über-flashy S-Works is the lightest lid on the planet. Deep vents, Kevlar reinforcement, and an ingenious full-head fit system make it as sensible as it is light. specialized.com…

Cross-Country Comfort Though this aluminum cross-country racer doesn’t boast the exotic carbon fiber and secret build techniques of the bikes above it in the Spark line, it does have the same semirelaxed geometry and efficient 4.3-inch-travel design that have made those bikes popular endurance racers. “I know it’s a race…

ONE-GEAR WONDER If you think a four-bar linkage is a night on the town, the Lewis is for you. This aluminum-framed single-speed hardtail is all about simplicity, with one gear, a smooth, quiet trail manner, and no complicated rear suspension to maintain. But it’s not a complete Luddite. You still…

Deep channels and 22 vents keep the air flowing, but the three-way-adjustable retention system sold us on Bell’s top-of-the-line road helmet. Bonus: The included visor means the Volt can double as your mountain-biking lid. bellbikehelmets.com…

Versatile Starter If you’re looking for an affordable bike that can handle commutes and get you going on your first fitness or group rides, the Grand Sport is worth a look. If, like our testers, you’re already accustomed to riding light and stiff (and much pricier) bikes, you won’t be…

One tester spirited away the Apache as soon as it arrived and only returned it a few weeks later, after we threatened to withhold his pay—and even then it took a few days. The Apache is simply one of the most fun cross-country bikes we’ve ridden, especially for the…

STEALTH RACERScott checks in with one of the lightest competition frames on the planet—a blend of custom tubes and carbon welding that weighs a feathery one pound 15 ounces. For a frame this light, it’s surprisingly solid. When it was decked with Campagnolo’s midrange Centaur group, our test bike came…

CHEAP THRILLS With so many astronomically expensive bikes on the market, it’s easy to get the impression that entry-level bikes perform too poorly to warrant consideration. The Xenith Comp proves that’s not the case. The full-carbon frame offers about as stiff a platform as you’ll find at this price, and…

We have to break out the superlatives for this out-of-the-box racer. It's the lightest and stiffest frame that Giant has ever produced—the same one (albeit without the integrated seat mast) that was ridden to more pro wins last year than any other bike. Granted, the SL 2 is hung with…

Easy Rider Using the Ritchey Breakaway system, this chromoly touring bike’s frame splits, and the whole thing packs down beautifully into one checkable suitcase in about ten minutes. Upon reaching your destination, you’ve got a sprightly ride that takes full racks and fenders, comes with fat 35-millimeter Schwalbe rubber…

Road The Haxial’s mesh liner conforms to every head shape, and you get Italian panache to boot. www.trialtir-usa.com Bonus: The aerator plate blows cool air onto your noggin.

BIKE TO WORK Modeled after classic Dutch commuter bikes, the Amsterdam gives you everything you need for jetting around a city—and strips away everything you don’t. Its steel frame can handle the bumps and grinds of crowded bike racks and won’t buck you off when you hit potholes. And its…

The beefy visor and netted vents can handle the worst gunk, while its snug retention system and padded chin strap keep everything in place. uvexsports.com…

Up You Go “Rolled up the hills almost on its own,” wrote one tester. While that’s obviously an exaggeration, everyone agreed that the hardtailed, big-wheeled Stumpy was one of the most efficient climbers this year. But even more impressive was how it handled on the way down. Whereas most hardtails…

Thanks to a supple kangaroo-leather upper and this season’s best application of the wrap-around Boa lacing system, this cleat is comfy as a slipper but still stable and responsive. lakecycling.com…

Though the mechanical buckle on Mavic’s top racing shoe resists big fingers and super-tight ratcheting—we loved the secure fit of the carbon heel cup and the nearly seamless comfort of the bonded upper. mavic.com…

Lively All-Rounder This Massachusetts-based crafter of high-end carbon-fiber frames is renowned for its custom-fit geometry and expertise at mixing comfort, stiffness, and light weight in a single frame. Parlee’s now making more stock-size frames like the Z5—and so far our testers are big fans. “Intensely responsive,” said one. “But in…

ITALIAN FLAIR FOR THE MASSES Before carbon took over cycling, aluminum was the racer’s material of choice. And before Trek took over the Tour de France, Pinarello owned that event. While the Italians’ top offerings can cost more than college, the aluminum FP2—which comes with a vibration-damping carbon fork and…

SPORTS SEDANA champion’s philosophy underscores each LeMond rolling out of the Wisconsin plant: Comfort trumps efficiency. That’s how Greg LeMond won three Tours de France—atop buttery steel frames like this one. And the Buenos Aires offers something extra: carbon fiber. By mating carbon tubes in the top half of…

FORMULA ONE ON TWO WHEELS The purest racer in our lineup, the updated Tarmac shaves ten grams off its predecessor while delivering better drive-train efficiency. The tapered head tube widens at the bottom for increased stiffness. This also allowed designers to move the bearings up so that steering forces are…

From a world championship–winning race bike to a revolutionary all-mountain bomber, dozens of bikes took our abuse for months on trails all over the Southwest. Our verdict: Suspension technology is doing things we couldn't have imagined five years ago, and carbon fiber is changing our expectations of what bikes should…

SCOTT CX TEAM BIKE features a Shimano Ultegra build and ‘cross touches like wide tire clearance and a shaped top tube for easy shouldering. Tread is key, too.

Road Here’s a top-shelf road helmet masquerading behind a midlevel cost. The removable mesh interior, one-handed twist-lock adjustment, and scant weight (11.2 ounces) are the types of features normally found on models twice the price. www.rudyprojectusa.com…

The super-svelte, 8.8-ounce Actyum has two interchang-eable pads, one with a mesh protective net that aligns with the front vents to keep bugs from splattering your noggin. rudyprojectusa.com…

Heat the race-worthy, carbon-soled R220 in an oven at an authorized shop and a special vacuum will mold the shoe to your foot for a stable, slipper-like fit. bike.shimano.com…

Downhill Dream Trek’s redesigned aluminum Remedy pedals surprisingly well for an all-mountain, 5.9-inch-travel bike—especially with the Fox Float Rp2 rear shock in its firm Pro Pedal setting. And while it’s a decent climber, the point here is rolling past big obstacles on the climb and then flying over them on…

With a buckle closure and carbon sole, these have all the features of a top-end cleat—except the staggering price tag. bike.shimano.com…

To create our new favorite road shoe, Sidi took the slipperlike synthetic upper, full-carbon sole, and adjustable heel retention of its top-of-the-line (and rather narrow) Ergo 2, then reassembled it all for those of us with wider feet. sidiusa.com…

Climb Any Mountain The only difference between this frame and the one Cannondale’s pros are racing in Europe is the carbon fiber. The SuperSix 3, built up with Shimano Ultegra components, uses a less expensive weave, but the molds are the same. Given that, we were expecting it to handle…

BEAT THE CLOCK With a one-inch-wide head tube and bladed fork, the full-carbon B2 enters the wind like a dart. A multi-position stem adjusts for the sweet spot between aerodynamic crouch and lower-back comfort. Shaped tubes keep everything hidden behind the front end to minimize drag, and even the rear…

DISCOUNT TICKETThink of the Competition as a two-wheeled iMac: Pros may want more, but if you’re looking for a worry-free performance machine, clip on in. Raleigh is coming on strong for ’05 by combining cutting-edge frames with styling that harks back to the brand’s late-seventies/early-eighties heyday. Carbon tubing, aluminum lugs,…

CROSS-COUNTRY REVELATION The Mach 4 is the first cross-country offering from MTB-design legend Chris Cocalis’s newly launched Pivot brand. It’s built around the same dw-link platform as the Gear of the Year–winning Ibis but tuned a bit firmer to stay active while eliminating energy-sapping pedal bob. The bike blasted up…

Though built for aggressive trail riding, this bike dished up so much speed, we had to double-check its specs. The aluminum Trailfox definitely uses all 5.5 inches of its travel, but the general consensus was that it often pedaled as well as a short-travel racer. “One of the fastest rides…

CHALLENGE‘s handmade and all-conditions GRIFO OPEN TUBULAR TIRES offer tubular-like suppleness but mount like a clincher.

Mountain Scraping the bottom of your bike budget? The Slant blends surprising performance (21 vents and the secure ErgoDial fit) with sleek good looks in a killer value. www.bellbikehelmets.com…

With a thermo-regulating Outlast liner, this futuristic Italian helmet is a Renaissance performer: great in any weather. trialtir-usa.com…

Suffer from hot feet? Then the superior ventilation of the P.R.O. may be just what you’re looking for. And when the pace quickens, the anti-slip heel and carbon sole get the power to the pedals. pearlizumi.com…

Mountain Moto Style The Cyphon was a surprise hit. Testers initially thought this hard-shelled hybrid would be heavy and not very ventilated, but it’s lighter and cooler than it looks. Riders in hot climates might want a helmet with more vents, but for everyone else, it’s airy enough.

Why It’s CoolFive inches of cush out back and four up front let riders blaze down fire roads yet float above the fray. » The Cake’s steering feels assuredly stable, instilling confidence when the scenery starts to blur. » Stability credit also goes to Fisher’s Genesis Geometry, which uses a…

If you log big mileage, buy this bargain shoe. The thin carbon sole is stiff, but it never put our feet to sleep—even after six hours in the saddle. cannondale.com…

The Body Geometry fit counters the natural cant of most people’s feet to correct knee-alignment issues (read: less pain), while Specialized’s stiffest carbon weave delivers a race-ready sole. specialized.com…

The Perfect Blend The Infinito reminds us what the “comfort-performance” designation is about. Its geometry puts the rider in a more upright, spine-friendly position, but its high-end materials and components are all about speed. And of all the bikes in this category, none blends race-day efficiency and all-day comfort as…

Keep It Simple Live in a flattish city and looking for a stylish, affordable everyday bike? That’s the whole point of this durable steel single-speed, which takes racks and sports a SRAM Torpedo rear hub that easily switches from freewheel to fixed with a screwdriver—no wheel flipping necessary. Tiny gripe:…

SPECIALIZATIONA cousin to the bike that won a Gear of the Year award in ’03, the Epic is the best full-suspension climber on the market. True, this bike’s design isn’t quite as buttery as some others’, and its twitchy steering has scared off more than a few riders. But the…

ALL-AROUND PERFORMER After each ride, we had to check the price tag—could a bike this good cost this little? Not only did Mongoose equip this four-inch ride with a plush Fox RP2 rear shock and smooth RockShox Recon Race fork; they also threw in a complete Shimano XT group, a…

Like the Epic, the brand-new, full-carbon Blur XC is scary light—one tester pulled it right off the ground while navigating a short, punchy climb. And while its rear shock doesn't boast the same techy approach the Epic's does, the Blur flat-out rips on fast singletrack. Credit Santa Cruz's proven Virtual…

The nylon soles on SIDI‘s new SPIDER SRS SHOES are firm enough for pedaling but just forgiving enough for muddy sprints.

Mountain Benefit from trickle-down technology with the Hex. It has chunky mountain styling, a removable visor, and the same superior fit (courtesy of the Roc Loc 4 system) featured on Giro’s top-end lids. www.giro.com…

This lid ups the ante on air conditioning, squeezing in 29 vents with the help of an exoskeleton that protects your skull with minimum bulk. louisgarneau.com…

Beyond the bling, the Limited is one serious shoe. The stiff carbon-fiber outsole wraps the heel to stabilize the foot, and a complete pair weighs about as much as the magazine in your hands. scottusa.com…

Utility Single Player If you’re just looking for one generalist and well-priced helmet, the Align’s your lid. It’s not as light, ventilated, or loaded with cool little features as helmets three or more times the price, but it’s easy to adjust, comes with a removable visor, and fit every…

This cleat stays cool on the hottest days. It has all the performance features you’d expect—rigid carbon midsole, removable mud cleats—combined with an upper that’s supercooled with swaths of mesh venting. northwave.it…

Heat-moldable sections in the upper give the M230 a custom-fit feel, while the carbon-reinforced nylon soles nail the balance between efficient pedaling stiffness and hike-a-bike walkability. shimano.com…

Utility Multi-Purpose Marvel A water-resistant, breathable, seamless soft-shell upper, rubberized toe box, and an aggressive ride/hike sole made this a favorite multi-condition shoe, and testers loved that its runner-like profile meant it was inconspicuous and comfortable for walking around (quietly) off the bike. 15.4 oz; pearlizumi.com…

We expected the Epic to be fast—it's the same full-carbon bike that Swiss Christoph Sauser rode to the 2008 XC world championship—but not this fast. The Shimano XTR components and carbon cranks certainly help, but really it's all about the gray matter. The front and rear shocks feature Specialized's Brain…

SWITCH-HITTEROne of the best longer-travel climbing bikes I’ve ridden, Cannondale’s new Prophet is stiffer, lighter, and simpler than the company’s popular JeKyll. With five and a half inches of suspension at each end, this one’s perfect for all-mountain hammering. That said, the Prophet is happiest on technical trails, where its…

BIG-WHEELED HARDTAIL In the age of compression rates and leverage ratios, Bianchi continues to produce refreshingly simple bikes. This aluminum hardtail is tough enough for the roughest trails but doesn’t need the constant tweaking of a full-suspension rig. The 29-inch wheels roll so smoothly, you can forget you don’t have…

Kudos to Diamondback for producing an affordable five-inch trail bike. “One of the better balanced rides of the day,” said one tester. “It corners smoothly, it's a nimble climber, and it descends like a free-ride bike.” Granted, you have to lock out the rear shock to hang with lighter bikes…

SHIMANO‘s redesigned XTR PD-M980 RACE PEDAL is lighter than its predecessor yet has three times the platform area.

Mountain Anticipating a trip to Moab in July? The Instinct’s cooling system has gaping channels that funnel air through like a fan. www.specialized.com Bonus: The on-off mountain visor is fast and easy.

A fit system perfectly adjusts the Boss to your head—up, down, and around. And the smart closure on the strap is easy to manage even while you’re bouncing about on the trail. Bummer: Why no visor? uvexsports.com…

Most people’s feet tilt down and out when they dangle. As with all Specialized Body Geometry shoes, the carbon-soled S-Works are designed around this natural cant, to reduce knee and foot strain. specialized.com…

Utility City, Smarter Our favorite commuter helmet, the Section is the lightest in its class and sports eight vents. Too few? If you ever yard-sale in this hard hat, you’ll appreciate its tougher shell and rounded profile—which won’t twist your neck like a more aerodynamically shaped helmet can when…