For 2017 we've carefully curated a top-class range of full suspension and hardtail mountain bikes with a particular focus on single chainstays, because, you know, 2Xs are just weird. Here are five of the best as picked by Cycle Surgery Bike Buyer, and intrepid MTB rider, Sam Bannister...
Let’s face it, when it comes to bikes, looks are important. And Orbeas top-of-the-range enduro ride, the Rallon X10 2017, sure is handsome. Just look at that Fox 34 Float Factory Fork with golden stanchions. Beautiful.
Cutting edge geometry draws the bike’s centre of gravity down as you corner, ensuring the wheels stay firmly on the trail and you stay in the saddle; Shimano’s new and improved XT M8000 Hydraulic Disc Brakes are on stopping duty and the Orbea Hydroformed triple butted alloy frame with Advanced Dynamics 160mm travel suspension will take knock after knock and still come up swinging.
In line with the current UK trend for single chainrings, the Rallon features a simple and effective 1x11 XT drivetrain for easy climbing and speedy descent. Down tube routing keeps the cables well out of the way as you ride while providing quick and easy access should you need to replace them in a hurry, and asymmetric chips allow for half a degree of adjustment to both the head and seat angle.
Orbea Rallon X10 2017 | Price: £3, 399
With its super slack 65-degree head tube angle and award winning 160mm Maestro rear suspension, the Giant Reign 2 is a specialist enduro rig built for aggressive trail riding.
Featuring Giant’s signature long and low geometry, the stiff and lightweight ALUXX SL aluminium frame is built with shorter chainstays, making for an easy-to-pop front end and better all-round stability. New on the 2017 model is extra wide Boost hub spacing (110 front/148 rear), for stiffer wheels, increased tyre clearance and an improved chainline, and the OverDrive 2 steering system – Giants oversized headset bearing and tapered steerer tube combination for industry leading steering precision - providing up to 30 percent more torsional steering stiffness than its predecessor system at no added weight cost.
Throw in a SRAM NX 1x11 drivetrain, Guide R hydraulic disk brakes and dashing good looks to boot, and what you have is top-class ride at highly competitive price point.
Giant Reign 2 2017 | Price: £2, 499
For 2017, Liv have made the bold move of dropping their bestselling mountain bike worldwide, the Lust, and replacing it with the Pique - so you know it’s got to be something special.
Engineered from the ground up specifically for women, the Pique 2 is endowed with all the features of a world class full suspension mountain bike, including Shimano SLX/XT 1x11-speed drivetrain, M615 hydraulic disc brakes and ALUXX SL-grade aluminium frame.
Liv’s goal with the Pique 2 was to build a bike with a low centre of gravity and an easy to pop front end - the idea being that women tend to have more lower body strength than upper. And they’ve pulled out all the stops, designing a new frame from scratch which repositions the rider with women’s geometry - proportionally shorter arms and longer legs than men - in mind. Were they successful? Well, judging by the feedback from both riders and industry, the answer is a resounding yes.
Liv Pique 2 2017 | Price: £2, 599
Back and even better than before, the Whyte T-130 RS 2017 boasts improvements to both the wheels and suspension, while retaining the killer slack and long geometry, world class drivetrain and eye catching colour scheme that saw it named MBR “2016 Trail Bike of The Year”.
Central to the design is a dedicated SCR specific frame with mega-stiff symmetrical chainstays. Fox’s Boost lowers and all new-new GRIP dampers deliver World cup winning suspension with 130mm of travel, and WTB STs i29 29mm rims with WTB high air volume tyres combine for better grip and more speed.
Whyte are a proudly British company who do their development and testing in the same, grim, riding conditions as the rest of us. That’s why, for instance, their bikes feature a unique, weather proof seat post clamping system, and internal cable routing is carefully sealed to stop water from getting in. They even offer a lifetime warranty for limited rotation high load bearing sets, so in the unlikely event that you manage to wear them out they’ll send you a replacement set as “a prize for your dirt dedication”.
Whyte T-130 RS 2017 | Price: £2, 999
For 2017 Trek have re-worked their already popular Slash bike with fast-rolling 29” wheels and Boost110 and Boost148 hub spacing to create a specialist Enduro racing bike.