10 best trail mountain bikes

“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

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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.

10. Niner R.I.P 9: $3,500-$9,800


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.

# Comments

  • bikerboy13

    Thanks a lot for this! Wasn’t too surprised that the Fuel Ex took the cake but: What about it is just soo good?

  • Raymond Epstein

    Yeah, was kind of wondering how exactly these bikes were rated/evaluated? I’ve demoed all of those save the RIP 9, the Camber and the 5010. Personally, I’d nab the Brony (Bronson) or maybe the Stumpy, but the curiously absent SC Hightower or Evil’s The Following would get my votes over any of them.

    • Aaron Chamberlain

      From the article: “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.”

      These were not picked by our staff, they were picked by our readers.

    • Raymond Epstein

      Readers?!? Yeeeesh! I guess as a “reader” I will have to stir things up.

    • Jeff Barber

      I mentioned this bike in the podcast about our favorite bikes of 2016–definitely want to get in a test ride next year!

  • bikerboy13

    What about Evil The Calling that things is seriously sick! And sounds like it can hold it’s own even with 130/140 travel!

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