Chapter 1 Bentonville

Chapter 2 Inside The Test

Chapter 3 Relationships

Chapter 4 Winter

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  • manufacturer Canyon
  • model Strive CF 8.0
  • wheelsize 27.5
  • travel 170mm
  • frame Canyon Strive CF with Shapeshifter 160mm rear travel
  • fork Fox Factory Float 36 170 mm
  • shock Fox Factory Float DPX2
  • brakes SRAM Code RSC
  • seatpost Rockshox Reverb Stealth
  • drivetrain SRAM XO1 Eagle
  • handlebar Renthal Fatbar Lite Alloy 760mm
  • stem Renthal Apex 40 mm
  • saddle Ergon SME30
  • wheels DT Swiss EX1501 spline
  • tires Maxxis Minion DHRII 27.5x2.4/Minion SS 2.75x2.3
  • buy buy

Canyon Strive CF 8.0

Canyon, a small brand from Koblenz, Germany, has been making waves in the international mountain bike world for several years with their affordably-priced and extremely high-performance bikes. After years of waiting, their bikes are finally available in the US, and man, are we in for a good time. The Strive CF 8.0, their 160mm 27.5”-wheeled carbon enduro race weapon with on-the-fly geometry adjust, blew away our testers by its stability and composure on rough terrain, and overall versatility on the trails around Bentonville.

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  • manufacturer Diamondback
  • model Release 5C
  • wheelsize 27.5
  • travel 130mm
  • frame Diamondback Carbon Release 130mm rear travel
  • fork Fox Performance Elite Float 36 FIT4 150mm
  • shock Fox Performance Elite Float DPX2
  • brakes SRAM Guide RS
  • seatpost KS LEV Integra
  • drivetrain SRAM XO1 Eagle 12-speed
  • handlebar Raceface Aeffect R 780mm
  • stem Raceface Aeffect R 40mm
  • saddle WTB Volt Race
  • wheels Raceface Arc 30
  • tires Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR 27.5x2.5
  • buy buy

Diamondback Release 5C

When Diamondback first released their Release series of 27.5”-wheeled trailbikes in 2016, the brand ushered in a new era of performance at a price more in the realm of the affordable. Now, DB has pushed that idea even further with their first-ever carbon mountain bike, the Release 5C. With super-clean lines on the stiff carbon frame, high-end components, and a suspension design that makes mincemeat of singletrack, the 150mm-front/ 130mm-rear Release 5C blew away testers by its performance.

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  • manufacturer Giant
  • model Reign 2
  • wheelsize 27.5
  • travel 160mm
  • frame Giant Reign alloy 160mm rear travel
  • fork RockShox Yari RC 160mm travel
  • shock RockShox Deluxe RT Trunnion mount
  • brakes Shimano Deore
  • seatpost Giant Contact Switch
  • drivetrain Shimano Deore 10-speed
  • handlebar Giant Contact SL DH 800mm
  • stem Truvativ Descendant
  • saddle Giant Contact
  • wheels Giant P-AM2 Disc
  • tires Maxxis Shorty/High Roller II 27.5x2.5
  • buy buy

Giant Reign 2

As the most value-oriented bike in this year’s lineup, Giant’s aluminum 27.5”-wheeled Reign 2 surprised our testers with performance that rivaled bikes with twice the asking price. Sharing the same frame and geometry with the SX, the Reign 2 is a downhill brawler, but thanks to an air shock and some clever componentry served as an agile climber. A common takeaway from testers after riding was “wow, I did not think this thing would be so inexpensive!”

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  • manufacturer Giant
  • model Reign SX
  • wheelsize 27.5
  • travel 170mm
  • frame Giant Reign Alloy 160mm rear travel
  • fork RockShox Lyric RCT3 170mm travel
  • shock RockShox Super Deluxe Coil RT Remote, Trunnion mount
  • brakes SRAM Guide RS
  • seatpost Giant Contact Switch
  • drivetrain Shimano SLX 11-speed
  • handlebar Giant Contact SL DH 800mm
  • stem Truvativ Descendant
  • saddle Giant Contact
  • wheels Giant P-AM2 Disc
  • tires Maxxis Shorty/High Roller II 27.5x2.5
  • buy buy

Giant Reign SX

Giant’s Reign SX certainly turned some heads among testers thanks to the coil shock gracing its rear end. The aluminum-framed 160mm 27.5”-wheeled bike just begs to be pointed downhill, and, once facing that way, does not disappoint with very supple suspension and aggressive geometry that makes rough terrain feel easy.

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  • manufacturer Ibis
  • model Mojo HD4
  • wheelsize 27.5
  • travel 160mm
  • frame Ibis Mojo HD4 Carbon 153mm rear travel
  • fork Fox Float Performance 36 160mm
  • shock Fox Float Performance DPX2
  • brakes Shimano Deore M615
  • seatpost KS LEV-Si Dropper
  • drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle 12-Speed
  • handlebar Ibis 780mm Alloy
  • stem Ibis 50mm
  • saddle Ibis Custom
  • wheels Ibis 738 Alloy, Ibis Hubs
  • tires Maxxis Minion DHF 27.5x2.6
  • buy buy

Ibis Mojo HD4

Ibis has seemingly had a Mojo in their lineup since the dawn of time, but each bike has been a distinctly different animal. The latest iteration, the 153mm-travel HD4, has been redesigned with a focus on stability and handling at high speeds, and has graced EWS podiums all over the world. Our testers called it “fast,” a “nimble charger,” and “confidence-inspiring at speed,” and were clearly impressed how well it handled when hitting jumps and maching down through rough, steep trails around Bentonville. In other words, the 27.5”-wheeled Ibis Mojo HD4 is a purpose-built enduro race bike, and a phenomenal one at that.

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  • frame Niner RIP 9 RDO carbon 150mm rear travel
  • manufacturer Niner
  • model RIP 9 RDO
  • wheelsize 29
  • travel 160mm
  • fork Fox Factory 36 Float Fit HSC/LSC 160mm
  • shock Fox Factory Float X DPS Evol
  • brakes SRAM Guide RSC
  • seatpost KS LEV Integra
  • drivetrain SRAM XO1 Eagle 12-Speed
  • handlebar Raceface NEXT Carbon 760mm
  • stem Raceface Aeffect 35mm
  • saddle Niner Custom
  • wheels ENVE M70 with DT Swiss 350s Hubs
  • tires Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR 29x2.4WT
  • buy buy

Niner RIP 9 RDO

In keeping with the modern trend, where bikes above all have to be FUN, Niner has come up with their solution to the enduro 29er dilemma. The RIP 9 RDO (RDO stands for Race Day Optimized, aka their carbon frame) comes in swinging with 150mm of travel and an aggressive attitude toward descending. That being said, testers loved how composed it felt on the flatter trails we found around Bentonville, praising its ability to accelerate out of nowhere to shoot up short climbs and gain speed for hitting jumps thanks to its efficient suspension and light weight.

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  • manufacturer Pivot
  • model Mach 6 Carbon
  • wheelsize 27.5
  • travel 160mm
  • frame Pivot Mach 6 Carbon 155mm rear travel
  • fork Fox Factory Float 36 FIT4 160mm
  • shock Fox Factory Float DPX2
  • brakes Shimano XT M8000
  • seatpost Fox Transfer
  • drivetrain SRAM XO1 Eagle 12-Speed
  • handlebar Pivot Phoenix Team Carbon 800mm
  • stem Pivot Phoenix Team 45mm
  • saddle Pivot WTB Vigo Pro
  • wheels DT Swiss M1700
  • tires Maxxis High Roller II 27.5x2.5
  • buy buy

Pivot Mach 6 Carbon

Since the brands inception in 2007, Pivot Cycles has been known for making bikes that think outside the box. Using carefully thought out geometry and harnessing one of the most efficient suspension designs ever made, their bikes are incredibly easy to just hop on and ride. The new Mach 6 is no different, a 27.5-wheeled 150mm travel ripper that inspires confidence on technical descents without going too far into the realm of a downhill-only bike. This isn’t your typical endur-bro thrasher, but rather a highly engineered trail-devouring machine.

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  • manufacturer Rocky Mountain
  • model Pipeline
  • wheelsize 27.5+
  • travel 140mm
  • frame Rocky Mountain Pipeline Carbon 140mm rear travel with RIDE9 adjust
  • fork Fox 34 Float Performance Elite 140mm
  • shock Fox Float DPS EVOL Performance Elite
  • brakes Shimano XT
  • seatpost Fox Transfer
  • drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle 12-Speed
  • handlebar Race Face Turbine R 780mm
  • stem Rocky Mountain 35mm
  • saddle WTB Silverado Race
  • wheels Stans Baron S1
  • tires Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR II 27.5x2.8
  • buy buy

Rocky Mountain Pipeline

As one of the few plus-tired bikes we tested in Bentonville, Rocky Mountain’s Pipeline certainly stood out in the crowd. The 140mm 27.5”+ carbon bike screams versatility for all types of trails, especially the kind of pedal-y singletrack found around Arkansas. Plus-sized bikes are nothing new, but the Pipeline finally gets it right. Testers were blown away by the bike’s capability both climbing and descending, likening it to a “BMX bike for the trails.” In other words, a goat on the way up, but playful and poppy on the way down. An added bonus lies in the fact that the frame also accommodates 29” wheels, turning the bike into Rocky Mountain’s Instinct.

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  • manufacturer Salsa
  • model Redpoint
  • wheelsize 27.5
  • travel 150mm
  • frame Salsa Redpoint Carbon 150mm rear travel
  • fork Rockshox Pike RC 160mm
  • shock Rockshox Monarch RT DebonAir
  • brakes SRAM Guide R
  • seatpost Rockshox Reverb Stealth
  • drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle 12-Speed
  • handlebar Salsa Rustler 800mm
  • stem Salsa Guide Trail 50mm
  • saddle WTB Volt Race
  • wheels DT Swiss 1900 Spline 30
  • tires Maxxis Minion DHF 27.5x2.5
  • buy buy

Salsa Redpoint

Salsa, the self-proclaimed adventure biking company, broke into the world of long-travel trail bikes a few years ago with the release of their 150mm Redpoint. The bike, designed with long backcountry singletrack rides in mind, falls squarely into the do-it-all category, and testers loved how nimble it felt both climbing and descending. For a company known for its gravel grinders and XC-style bikes, Salsa’s Redpoint is an impressively well-rounded trailbike.