The 10 Best Mountain Bikes We’ve Demoed in 2014

The 5th annual Outerbike consumer expo in Moab, Utah was bigger than ever before, with hundreds of riders and dozens of bike brands in attendance. Outerbike’s popularity is spurring rapid growth, and in 2015 this expo will grow from one event to three! Start planning for some sweet bike demo action next year on these dates:

  • Moab: March 13-15
  • Whistler: June 4-7
  • Moab: October 2-4

The Singletracks team had an absolute riot demoing the latest and greatest rigs at Outerbike and Interbike’s Outdoor Demo this year. In alphabetical order, here are our picks for the 10 best mountain bikes that we’ve demoed in the 2014 :

Durango Bike Company Moonshine 650b 

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The Durango Moonshine is a well-balanced, playful 6.5-inch-travel enduro rig that loves to get low in the corners and pummel the rock gardens. Oh, and did I mention that it’s pretty dang light, handmade in Colorado, and features a killer build kit with prices starting at $5,500?

Giant Anthem Advanced SX 27.5


While there may be better choices for people with very specific riding styles, the carbon-framed Anthem SX 27.5 is an excellent choice for all around trail riding with some occasional weekend races thrown in. The respectable $5,575 price tag includes some smart component choices like the included dropper post and carbon wheels, while leaving room for lighter contact bits. -maddslacker

Ibis Mojo HDR 27.5

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The Mojo HDR 27.5 was, quite simply, one of the best bikes I’ve ridden all year. Super lightweight, capable in the burl, and offering mind-blowing traction thanks to the new 41mm-wide 741 carbon rims, this is a bike worth daydreaming about. Frame MSRP: $2,600.

Niner ROS 9 Plus

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I personally think the ROS 9 Plus is all about having fun on the trail, living in the moment, and not taking yourself too seriously–and doing all of that with gobs of traction thanks to the 29+ tires. However, with a bomber steel frame and a dependable parts kit, this rig is more than capable of tackling serious adventures as well. MSRP: $3,000

Pivot Mach 6 Carbon


To be honest, I wasn’t in the market for a trail bike before testing the Mach 6 Carbon, but that all changed after my ride. The Mach 6 Carbon climbs really well and yet offers 6-inches of velvet-smooth travel, effectively trouncing the old idea that there needs to be a tradeoff between climbing and descending efficiency in a trail bike. The Mach 6 Carbon is easily the best trail bike I’ve ridden this year and has me questioning my own identity as an XC-rider. Once you go trail, can you ever go back? MSRP: $6,099, with other build kits available. -Jeff

Salsa Bucksaw


I launched the Bucksaw off rocks and floated over chunder, almost as if I was on a lightweight FS 29er. The Bucksaw honestly rides like a mountain bike with superpowers: it’s great at all the stuff normal mountain bikes can do–climb, descend, corner, etc.–but the fat 4″ tires make sketchy tech sections look and feel easier and smooth out rock gardens like a steamroller. MSRP: $3,499 or $4,999. -Jeff

Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon 27.5


The Nomad climbs relatively easily, the front end is easy to loft over obstacles, and yet it still descends confidently and tracks well. On my test ride, I was impressed at how neutral the Nomad feels and how it allowed me to just ride and mess around. Whether climbing, descending, or pushing through twisty S-turns, the Nomad just handled it. MSRP: $5,899 and up. -maddslacker

Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert Evo Carbon 29er


I instantly felt at home when I got this rig out on the trail! Fast and nimble on the climbs, the big wheels and the 140mm of travel soaked up all kinds of obstacles and gnar. I pinned this bike off ledges and through chundery rock gardens without a care in the world, and it soaked up everything! MSRP: $6,200.

Turner King Khan

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All the rocks and rock gardens started to look and feel smaller as I got a feel for what the King Khan could handle. This full suspension fatty smoothed out everything in sight… honestly, it felt like cheating somehow. I felt a little guilty for how easily and carefree I could tackle trail obstacles. Mountain biking is supposed to be challenging, isn’t it? Well, with the King Khan, you can still be challenged… you’ll just need to find technical rock gardens and massive trail features that you may have never dreamt of riding before! MSRP: TBD.

Yeti SB6c


The Yeti SB6c climbs better than any 160mm-travel bike with a 65.5-degree head tube angle has a right to. Even still, this bike is about the descents, and the SB6c is a bottomless, confident, descender that was proven even before it got to production with multiple enduro race wins below riders much more capable than me. But even I, with my limited skill set, can appreciate the fantastic handling, supple suspension, and sheer awesomeness this rig delivers. The SB6c takes top honors as the best bike I’ve ever ridden and has claimed the throne in my heart reserved for expensive bike lust. MSRP: $7,399 and up.

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