As dirt riders and dirt writers, we at Singletracks get to research and test a lot of mountain bikes each year. We travel to trade shows, demos, and media events to experience the latest machines the industry has to offer so we can share with our readers. Annual shifts in wheel size popularity, geometry, components, and the occasional new technology add up to a fresh fleet of bikes to choose from each year.
Here are our favorite 2019 enduro mountain bikes.
|Front travel||Rear travel||Priced from||Wheel size|
|Devinci Spartan||170mm||165mm||$3,300||27.5 or 29er|
|Orange Stage 6||160mm||150mm||$5,875||29er|
|Pivot Firebird||170mm||162mm||$5,099||27.5+ and 29er|
|Scott Ransom||170mm||170mm||$3,000||27.5 and 29er|
|YT Capra||180mm*||180mm*||$2,499||27.5 or 29er|
* 27.5-inch-model travel measurements. The 29er version is 160mm/160mm front/rear.
The Canadian brand’s beloved enduro sled gained a second wheel size this season, and Devinci’s pro riders couldn’t be more pleased with it. The 170/165mm Spartan has a flip-chip adjustable geometry to take the bike from slack to slacker. Using the new “super-boost” rear hub standard, Devinci was able to keep the chain stays nice and trim on this bike, with only 432mm from bottom bracket to rear hub.
Singletracks staff writer Matt Miller had a chance to ride the Spartan 29 for a few days while at Crankworks Whistler this year and came away stoked to descend on the big bike. “The Split-Pivot design kept the suspension active when braking down rocky, chattery trails. While a lot of suspension designs make the rear wheel kick up on small bumps when the brakes are on, the Spartan’s rear wheel noticeably contours to bumps to help you slow down.” Matt mentioned that while the bike will not win any uphill races, it does also climb reasonably well.
Matt says, “Devinci delivered an enduro-ready, long-travel 29er that’s ready to brawl. The Spartan is an improved climber from the previous generation. It may still take a bit to get to the summit with this 29er, but it’ll be worth it on the way down.”
The moto-inspired, single-pivot Stage 6 is a big, burly bike. It’s designed, hand-built, and tested in ever-rainy England, so you can be confident that this bike will withstand a beating.
The Stage 6 is a 29er alloy bike, with long 450mm chainstays and moderate reach numbers at 444mm for a size medium. The leggy chainstays are said to add a great deal of stability to the bike at speed, and with a proper slack headtube angle of 65.5°, we believe it. The bike’s wheelbase is the second longest in the geometry analysis we conducted, measuring just two millimeters shorter than the Transition Sentinel.
Customers can order the Stage 6 in a wide variety of colors, and similar to the Rallon most of the components can be selected prior to purchase. While the bike may be on the more expensive side of alloy frame offerings, they are quite reasonably priced when compared to other handmade bikes coming from EU countries.
I tested this bike briefly, and was immediately surprised by how well it pedals. I expected a single-pivot whip to bob and bounce like an old Lincoln Towncar, but with a proper shock set-up, the Stage 6 provides a solid platform to push against. It also descends like a beast. Additionally, I love bikes that are handmade in the same place they are sold. If I have an issue with an Orange bike I can call support and know that the person I am talking with has the ear of someone who constructed my frame.
The Rallon stretches out with proper reach measurements of 455mm for the size large, coupled with 435mm chainstays. This bike is designed to rip!
Customers can choose from 22 primary frame colors, color options for numerous other elements of the bike, carbon Enve rims or DT Swiss alloy hoops, several brake options, and a host of other component selections that allow for out-of-the-box customization. This is a sweet option for anyone who prefers buying a frame and building up the bike themselves.
The Rallon was part of our analysis of modern long-travel 29ers from earlier this year. Many of its geometry numbers sit in the median of the bikes we looked at, with the exception of the headtube angle matching the top three slackest bikes analyzed. The size range is rather limited, with small-medium, large, and extra-large offerings, but Orbea claims the bikes will fit riders from 5’3″ to 6’6″ (160-198cm).
The Rallon is a well-balanced bike, using all of the right elements of modern big-bike geo to create a bike that will do most things well, and descend amazingly. I love the look of the bike, its customizability, there are affordable options and bling options, great build kits, and it has an external BB. I am a sucker for bikes I can work on with the tools I have in my basement.
Shifting to 29″ wheels for 2019, the Firebird is as ready for modern enduro racing as any bike on the market. With 170mm up front and 162mm on the tail, Pivot has created a single-crown DH bike that is said to climb like a champ.
Like the Devinci Spartan above, the rear end of the Firebird 29 is widened to the SuperBoost Plus standard, allowing Pivot to maintain short 431mm chainstays, heaps of tire clearance, and the stiffness racers need to rip the bike up to speed. Coupled with long reach measurements (475mm size L), the Firebird is said to be one of the most playful, leggy 29ers to date. These playful characteristics are undoubtedly helped by Pivot’s focus on keeping the bike as light as possible, at 29.7lbs (13.5kg) for the large.
If the lightweight construction has you concerned for the bike’s longevity, Pivot has your back with a 10-year warranty on the frame.
Jeff says, “bigger wheels for 2019, and a lower standover height? Clearly someone at Pivot is in tune with the dark arts. The Firebird has always been a standout among enduro bikes, and it just keeps getting more capable.”
Matt has good things to say as well. “Pivot has been pushing further and further towards an extremely capable enduro bike, previously with the Switchblade. By using SuperBoost Plus and enhanced geometry, they’ve put together a serious bike.”
Sitting atop the most travel of all the enduro rides we liked, the Ransom is a technology-packed race weapon. Scott has developed a new set of saddles for their 2019 bikes, top builds come with the Hixon IC 1.0 Rise cockpit, Twinlock dual suspension lockout, and a rear shock that you can adjust on a linear to progressive curve.
Did we forget anything? Ahh, right. The Ransom also has heaps of integrated frame protection, noise-silencing seatstay and chainstay protectors, and it can roll on tires from 27.5×2.6″ to 29×2.6″ tires. With all this variability, maybe Scott should have named the bike “the supermarket” as you can choose the ride characteristics of nearly every element throughout.
Like all of the bikes we chose, the Ransom is appropriately long and slack. With a 64.5° headtube angle in the “low” chip setting, and a 1225mm wheelbase (size L), this bike is built to rip the park in half.
Scott is building the new Ransom in carbon and alloy versions, and with the price range starting off at $3,000, this is the second most affordable bike that made our list.
Jeff says, “not only is the updated Scott Ransom lighter than previous versions, The Scott Fox Nude TR shock can be tuned to offer a more linear or progressive feel at the twist of a knob. Add in the ability to run 29er or 27.5 wheels and it’s like getting two — or four — bikes in one.”
Rounding out our pile of long-travel party machines is the Capra from YT Industries. It’s no secret that YT’s direct-sales model allows them to sell bikes at almost half the price their competitors fetch for similar setups. The bling-build with XTR drivetrain, E*Thirteen carbon rims, Fox Factory squish and dropper, and a Renthal cockpit comes in at an even 29lbs, with a €5,100 ($5,199 USD) price tag.
Fortunately, it’s not all about the cost. YT Industries employs some legit engineers to design these bikes, and some of the best mountain bikers in the world to test them.
The Capra does lean appropriately slack at 65°, while the rest of the geo measurements are relatively neutral on the enduro bike spectrum. A size large 29er version of the bike has a 465mm reach, 435mm chainstays, and a 28mm BB drop in the “low” position. With no extreme elements across the platform, the Capra should offer a balanced finish similar to the Orbea Rallon.
If you are looking for a bike that you will likely not want to upgrade while you own it, the Capra is one to slide toward the top of your list.
Matt says, “YT have piqued interest for the past few years, but the new release of the updated Capra has gathered attention like no other. YT is still sold out of most sizes of its new Capra model, which is a sign that the brand has done something right, not to mention you can get a Capra in the wheel size of your preference”.
Your turn: Which 2019 enduro bike are you most stoked about?