If you’re hoping to spend more time riding trails this year, there’s a good chance a new mountain bike might be on your shopping list. If this is indeed the case, we’ve got you covered with this list of top recommendations in a variety of categories.
Top All-around Pick—Santa Cruz Hightower C R 2018
If you’re an aggressive rider who takes on flow trails and enduro-light terrain equally during the course of a season, the Santa Cruz Hightower is a great choice. The pedal platform is nice and smooth, so climbing is a cinch, although it can feel a bit cumbersome when traveling at low speeds and negotiating turns uphill. Heading downhill is a different story altogether—the Hightower is downright ornery! It’s a great choice for both the aggressive trail rider and easier going enduro rider.
Top Light Trail Bike—Santa Cruz Tallboy D 29 2017
The Tallboy is a great choice for someone looking to do a lot with a lighter-weight bike. It does a great job on both the climb and descent, and it has tremendous feel when turning. It does well for its size on rougher terrain, but the shorter travel on this bike will put more impact stress on your body than a larger bike, but the price point of the Tallboy could make taking a beating worth it for some riders.
Top Hardtail Pick—Specialized Fuse Expert 6Fattie 2017
The Fuse is a good choice for less experienced riders because it forces you to choose smoother lines when riding and it teaches you to properly absorb hits. Otherwise, you’re going to take a beating! The Fuse comes with oversized tires, so you’ll get a ton of traction for handling almost any terrain. The resulting ride is playful, stable and confidence-building. It’s fairly low-maintenance, making it a great choice for the rider who like to get a few miles in on the way home from work.
Top Women’s Pick—Juliana Furtado R 2018
The Furtado is fantastic on the downhill. It can handle high speeds and a bumpy ride with no issues, and it’s very comfortable on uphill climbs, albeit with some stiff gears. This is a great choice for you ladies that spend a lot of time on moderately technical hills.