Finest down nation mountain bikes reviewed and rated by specialists

Quick on journey however huge on geometry, we evaluation one of the best down-country mountain bike rigs that mix the pace of an XC bike with the aptitude of path bike and are on the forefront of the newest wave of all-round mountain bikes.

Quick on journey, gentle on weight, however huge on geometry, one of the best down-country mountain bike rippers offer you all the things you need and nothing you don’t. Quick and enjoyable, in a light-weight, environment friendly bundle, these bikes can cowl floor with minimal fuss and nonetheless be thrashed to inside an inch of their lives on correct trails.

Yeti SB120 T-Series T1 MY 23 mountain bike pack shot

Blends huge bike geometry with small bike journey

Wheel dimension: 29in | Body: Turq carbon, 120mm | Weight: 13.3kg (29.3lb) | Ranking: 9/10

Causes to purchase: All spherical overachiever with superlative suspension

Causes to keep away from: Agile moderately than extremely aggressive

Reasonably than push a selected agenda down your throat, Yeti sells the SB120 with the slogan “definition prepared”. It’s a really apt undersell for a motorbike that’s fairly completely satisfied to take a again seat by way of apparent character traits whereas concurrently being effectively quick, comfortably forgiving, hyper grippy and effortlessly managed. Taking part in with the compression settings proves it’s bought the muscle and assist to be rallied correctly onerous too, whereas a lighter wheelset unlocks its full pace and distance potential. So so long as you don’t insist on inside storage or geometry adjustment, Yeti ticks the entire packing containers by way of experience high quality and all spherical versatility.

Learn our full evaluation of the Yeti SB120

Santa Cruz Tallboy X01 AXS RSV 2023

Blends huge bike geometry with small bike journey

Wheel dimension: 29in | Body: Carbon CC, 120mm | Weight: 13.08kg (28.84lb) | Ranking: 9/10

Causes to purchase: Outstandingly quick and targeted full-send aggression

Causes to keep away from: Wants a fairly expert rider to keep away from prat-falls. Uncomfortably uncooperative on technical off piste trails.

With the Tallboy, Santa Cruz has created a intentionally divisive bike. The bristling in your face aggression of the brutally stiff body, ‘quick or F-off’ suspension and progressive geometry creates an entire new degree of ‘short-travel bike syndrome’ that arduous charging hooligans will love. Nevertheless it’s not as smooth and simple going because the Yeti SB120.

Learn our full evaluation of the Santa Cruz Tallboy

Transition Spur MBR Editors Choice

Transition Spur

Distinctive light-weight path bike

Wheel dimension: 29in | Body:  Carbon, 120mm journey | Weight: 11.25kg (24.8lb) | Ranking: 10/10

Causes to purchase: Good mix of pace and management

Causes to keep away from: Not essentially the most sturdy construct should you’re carrying some timber.

Hubba-hubba. Whit-woo. And so forth. Gosh darn it, the brand new Transition Spur could properly take the crown for one of the best trying down-country mountain bike on sale immediately. Simply have a look at it. However past the sharp however pleasant aesthetics there lies an excellent instance of a contemporary brief journey mountain bike. Transition could be very a lot ‘the little model that may’. The very best-realised ‘down-country’ bike we’ve ever examined and the one all of us covet if we have been spending our personal money.

Learn our full check evaluation of the Transition Spur

Evil Following

Evil Following

Generates extra cornering G-forces and sheer boost-and-pop than every other bike we’ve ridden

Wheel dimension: 29in | Body: Carbon, 120mm journey | Weight: 12.9kg | Ranking: 10/10

Causes to purchase: That complicated-looking linkage array is value it

Causes to keep away from: Enhance 157 again finish limits wheel and hub alternative

Okay, we’re solely into the second bike on the listing and we’re breaking the down-country ‘guidelines’ already. This bike comes with a 130mm journey fork (shock horror) however we’re together with it right here as a result of we really feel Evil deserves muchos kudos for being proper on the entrance of the entire rad brief journey bike phenom. That is nonetheless one of many best examples of the skilled enduro racer’s down-country rig. Agility overload, mixed with float-then-pop suspension.

Learn our full check evaluation of the Evil Following V3 GX Eagle

Scott Spark RC WC

Built-in suspension system conceals the RockShox NUDE 5 shock inside the total carbon body

Ruthless in its effectivity

Wheel dimension: 29in | Body: RC Carbon HMX, 0/80/120mm | Weight: 11.12kg (24.52lb) | Ranking: 9/10

Causes to purchase: Tremendous clear traces mirror the bike’s rapidity. Lower-throat dynamism.

Causes to keep away from: Suspension may very well be a contact extra supple in Descend mode.

Quick, environment friendly and responsive, the brand new Scott Spark RC is an excellent XC race bike. With 120mm of journey, it has the suspension to deal with the hardest programs, however reserves a sharpness to its pedaling response that received’t go away you languishing within the finish-line dash. It’s stiff too, so should you’re not below 65kg dripping moist, you’ll nonetheless have the arrogance to cost onerous. Scott has missed a trick with it’s TwinLoc distant although, as we expect the Spark RC can be even quicker if the suspension was a contact extra energetic within the 120mm Descend mode. Even so, it is a scorchingly quick XC bike with a helluva pedigree that may nonetheless maintain its personal in the correct arms towards most trendy path bikes on gnarlier terrain.

Learn our full check evaluation of the Scott Spark RC WC AXS

Trek's Top Fuel 8 offers a high-octane ride

Trek’s Prime Gas 8 provides a high-octane experience

Explosive path weapon

Wheel dimension: 29in | Body: OCLV Carbon or alloy, 120mm journey | Weight: 14.46kg | Ranking: N/A

Causes to purchase: Elegant suspension, playful dealing with, unbelievable dimension vary, inside storage.

Causes to keep away from: Not significantly gentle for the meant use, inconsistent Shimano brakes on our check bike.

Not as sharp or ruthlessly environment friendly as a YT Izzo, softer and extra approachable than a Transition Spur, this new Trek Prime Gas brings high-octane leisure and understated efficiency to the kind of trails most generally ridden within the UK. Even when the appears may not go away an enduring impression, it’s unforgettable to experience.

Learn our full check evaluation of the Trek Prime Gas 8

YT Izzo Uncaged 7

YT Izzo Uncaged 7

Rapier-sharp pace and agility

Wheel dimension: 29in | Body: Carbon, 120mm journey | Weight: 11.4kg | Ranking: N/A

Causes to purchase: Acutely responsive and ruthlessly environment friendly. Agile and correct. Good spec for the value.

Causes to keep away from: Nowhere to cover. Traction/grip shouldn’t be one of the best. Doesn’t actually need the distant lockout. Entrance tyre may very well be extra aggressive.

A motorbike that’s attempting to cowl a large number of bases means it’ll have made compromises alongside the way in which, and should you’re a racing whippet that wishes to go quick and shred onerous, the Izzo may not be the proper foil alongside bikes just like the softer Spur and lighter Blur. However should you’re not 65kg wringing moist, get pleasure from a little bit of self-flagellation and fancy one thing significantly speedy, then the Izzo would possibly simply be your new dominatrix. Convey out the gimp.

Learn our full check evaluation of the YT Izzo Uncaged 7

orange stage evo

Packs huge bike geometry right into a nimble 120mm bundle

Wheel dimension: 29in | Body: 6061-T6 Aluminium, 120mm journey | Weight: 13.83kg (30.49lb) | Ranking: N/A

Causes to purchase: Extremely well-poised dealing with belies its modest weight

Causes to keep away from: It’s arguably a path bike

The Stage Evo is a scaled-down model of its trail-slaying Stage fashions. As soon as once more the fork journey (130mm) could step over the down-country traces, however seeing as we solely measured the rear journey at 116mm, we’re calling it quits. Regardless of clearly being on the down-country bandwagon, the Stage Evo is unashamedly its personal factor. Like all Oranges, it’ll both enchantment loads, otherwise you received’t see the enchantment in any respect. After day on one, we have been undoubtedly within the former camp.

Learn our first experience evaluation of Orange Stage Evo

Specialized Epic Evo

Specialised Epic Evo

Dialled possibility from the Huge ‘S’

Body: FACT 11m Carbon | Weight: 10.70g (23.59lb) | Ranking: 8/10

Causes to purchase: Ditching the chainstay pivot has solely improved its pace. No extra Mind makes suspension set-up simpler.

Causes to keep away from: Seat tube lengths are nonetheless extra in tune with highway bikes than trendy path bikes

The Epic Evo takes the quintessential XC bike and places it by means of boot camp to emerge quicker and extra succesful than ever. There’s an additional 20mm journey up entrance in comparison with the Epic, which helps slacken the razor-sharp steering to make it much less twitchy at excessive speeds. On the again there’s 10mm extra journey, which helps with consolation and traction. The carbon body is glossy with a traditional form and a very good alternative of sizes, so you’ll be able to be sure you get the correct match. You’ll want tighter reins in comparison with a real down-country bike, however the Epic Evo is greater than able to successful on Sunday, shredding on Monday.

Learn our full check evaluation of the Specialised Epic Comp Evo

Transition Spur

As quickly as you launch the reins, the Spur begins to gallop

What’s a down-country mountain bike?

A number of guidelines to assist categorise a down-country bike. The primary rule is that these guidelines are made to be damaged!

Nothing over 120mm

Not more than 120mm of suspension journey at both finish. The archetypal down-country bike ought to have nearer to 100mm of rear journey. And if there’s a 130mm journey fork up entrance, it’s dominated out. Normally. There are some outliers than we enable into the down-country fold. In any other case the entire thing simply will get far too near a daily path bike. So, no Norco Optic or Nukeproof Reactor 290c ST. Too trail-bikey.

Having mentioned that, neither rear journey nor fork journey ought to have lower than 100mm. Save that for XC race bikes.

Nothing steeper than 67°

We’re speaking head angles right here. Non-XC geometry is the important thing factor that should be included if a motorbike is to be classed as down-country. And although we are saying ‘geometry’ we actually imply head angle. There’s at present not a lot consensus concerning the different angles and measurements on down-country mountain bikes; they don’t all have longer attain numbers, nor steeper seat angles, nor tremendous low BBs.

However the head angle on all down-country bikes can’t be steeper than 67°. 66° is arguably essentially the most generally seen quantity.

Huge wheels solely

You’ll not discover any 27.5in wheels right here. Nope, not even simply on the rear as a contemporary mullet setup. 29in wheels rule the down-country roost.

What’s the distinction between an XC bike and a down-country bike?

That’s a contentious one, and largely a matter of opinion. However in our view, a down-country bike is a path bike with the load and journey of an XC bike, whereas an XC bike usually has steeper geometry, a decrease entrance finish and a stronger bias in the direction of effectivity. Utilizing, as an example, distant lockouts to maximise energy switch on easy surfaces. The traces are blurred, nonetheless, and a few XC bikes are nearer to down-country bikes than others. And the elements used additionally make defining bikes tougher. Some down-country forks have all-out XC race forks. Some have middling 34-35mm stanchions. Some have four-pot brakes and big rotors. Others simply have 180/160 twin-pot combos. Some have dinky stems. Some nonetheless sport stems over 50mm lengthy.

It’s the ending equipment that’s maybe key to the down-country expertise. And expectation. Some down-country bikes seem like aimed toward ex-XC lycra-heads on the lookout for extra enjoyable and fewer sketch of their rides. Different down-country bikes are aimed on the all-out aggro brigade who’ve bored with their super-capable enduro bikes and want to inject a degree of restrict to their Sunday shredding.

In our opinion, it’s the latter sort of down-country bike that’s most attention-grabbing and thrilling. However extra succesful XC bikes additionally present distinctive thrills, and that injection of easy tempo by no means will get boring.

Slacker, longer, decrease… shorter. Convey it on.