Best MTB for technical climbing

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Best MTB for technical climbing


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    • #507022

      I’ve mountain biked casually for over 10 years, going 4-6 times per year.  When COVID hit, I started biking 3-4 times per week for the last 6 months.  My 6 year old Stumpjumper is starting to feel dated and I’m ready to pass it on to my son.  I’ve discovered that I love technical climbing and the mental calculus of attacking a feature or trail and repeating it until I can do it without dipping.

      What are some great recommendations for climbing bikes?  I’m willing to spend up to 7-8k for the right rig.  I live in the Pacific Northwest and we’ve got twisty, rooty, and rocky trails with flow trails being the exception.  I’m open to a shorter travel bike if it does a serviceable job on descent (not going to do huge drops or jumps) but definitely want to stick with full suspension and 29 inch wheels.

      Some bikes I’ve been considering: Yeti SB100, IBS Ripley, and on the beefier side the Fezarri Delano Peak.  Thoughts welcomed!

    • #507135

      In my experience, the lightest bikes with the lightest wheel/tires climb best. Also, bikes with short travel and a good pedalling platform but not locked out climb best. In general, most XC bikes are great climbers. However, XC bikes are poor descenders and are twitchy everywhere else. Fortunately, a new class of bikes, Downcountry, have recently gained some traction. They are light-weight and climb like an XC bike but with the geometry of a modern Trail bike so that they also descend well. Here are five DC bikes that I like.

      Specialized Epic Evo
      Transition Spur
      Ibis Ripley
      Giant Trance 29
      Evil Following

      Here are some DC bikes I like a little less. Not that they are bad. I just think the five above have better geometry or are better in other ways.

      Trek Top Fuel
      Scott Spark
      Revel Ranger
      Kona Hei Hei
      Orbea Oiz TR

      Good luck buying any of these bikes. I have five bike shops in my town and they have almost nothing to sell. Larger shops that would normally have 100+ bikes on the floor now might be lucky to have 10. Some of the smaller bikes shops don’t even have a single new bike to sell. And they all have no idea when they will get more. They are not even sure that they will get any new bikes by next spring. It’s a lousy time to be buying a new bike. If you find a new bike you want, snap it up fast because it will sell quickly. I think bikes will continue to be a hot commodity until the coronavirus pandemic tapers down which likely won’t be for another year at least and only if an effective vaccine is available.

    • #507427

      Curious as to why the Ranger not listed as a top pick. Haven’t rode one. Impossible but seems to be getting a lot of chatter lately.  Just curious.

    • #507453


      I’m interested in buying a DC bike. I wish I could say that I have had a chance to test ride a few of these bikes but given the bike shortage, I’ve been limited to mostly reading reviews and watching Youtube videos. I did get to test ride the Epic Evo which I really liked but they are now all sold out.

      The Ranger has OK but not great geo. Reviewers have given it good but not gushing reviews. They have also indicated some mechanical/design issues. The cheapest Ranger build is $5000. If you’re going to spend $5000, I think the Epic Evo, Spur, and Ripley are better bikes. In addition, the Ripley and Epic Evo have some lower-priced/more-affordable builds. That’s why the Ranger didn’t make my top five.

    • #507454

      Good feedback.  Agree on Ranger.  Somethings up.  I’m riding this out no pun intended.  Zeroing on either ripley or ripmo.  Done.  I can wait.   Ibis fantastic company.  Support lbs and customer service response is amazing.  Thanks

    • #507543

      Get a Forbidden Druid. Thank me later.

    • #507579

      RSD Wildcat…

    • #507693

      I am partial to dw-link suspension and the Ibis Ripley is a great all-around bike.  I would also recommend checking out the Pivot Trail 429.  In my experience riding 7 different models, Pivots are slightly better on technical climbs.

    • #507728

      Here are some more Downcountry bikes to add to the list.

      Spot Ryve 115
      Pivot Trail 429 (mention by dlawson above)
      Yeti SB100 and SB115
      Mondraker F-podium DC
      Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol

    • #507735

      Plus tire modern hardtail, so many dont know where to begin but slacker is not better for climbing. My hardtail has 68.3 headtube angle and trust me it gets the climbing done. Full sus, thinking santa cruz tallboy

    • #518325

      Just saw this feed. New bike shopping as well.  Thoughts on min travel rear and front for optimized climbing but still handle some tough (though not too fast) descents?

    • #518507

      I have the ’21 Spec Epic Evo, had the Brain version previously that I had Evo’d as a custom build.  New Evo is so much better as an all ’rounder.  On single track that you describe I think it climbs as good as my Epic HT (IMO) – maybe a touch better due to a little give over the chatter.  Then when its time to roost unlock one or both ends and let ‘er eat.  And they got rid of the Horst link out back – one less pivot bolt and a little weight loss with those pivots (and the Brain).  Never ridden any of the others but have seen plenty of the Pivots on the stand in my LBS: always the same thing – replacing pivot bearings and bushings (I see several Evils in there on a regular basis as well).  I think simple is better in the long run.  Several buddies have made the switch from Pivot to Spec with the new Epic.  Either of the Yetis is a square deal too!

    • #518945

      Having spent a couple of days on the new 2021 Stumpjumper, I can confidently say that it’s a great climber, much better than the previous stumpies, and descends better too. I was REALLY impressed.

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