“Trail bike” is an admittedly broad term. But, then again, the spectrum of trails is equally as broad. After all, 52% of our audience identifies themselves as “trail riders,” as opposed to XC (26%), enduro (19%), gravity (1.5%), or other (1.4%). But what makes a trail bike? Depending on where a rider lives and what they like to ride, what they need out of a trail bike will vary. In general though, a trail bike is a well-balanced, full suspension mountain bike: a moderate amount of travel, moderately slack geometry, weighing in the 25-30lb range.
Using the averages from the bikes on the list below, here are some numbers that might be helpful:
- Front travel: 142mm
- Rear travel: 134mm
- Head tube angle: 67 degrees
- Reach (size large): 449mm
- Chainstay length: 433mm
- Least expensive model: $2,819
- Most expensive model: $8,275
Trail bikes have a demanding job–they need to be capable in challenging terrain, but they also need to be efficient enough to be ridden all day long. In our 2016 gear survey this summer, we asked our audience to tell us what they thought were the best trail bikes of the year.
Here’s how you answered.
Niner seriously overhauled their line this year, including the R.I.P. 9. Among the biggest changes were an increase in rear travel from 125mm to 150mm, totally new geometry, and the addition of plus-tire compatibility. The new bike seems to lean more towards the all-mountain/enduro end of the spectrum, so it will be interesting to see if it shows up on this list in 2017. Niner offers the R.I.P. with either an aluminum or carbon frame, and numerous complete builds.