2021 Mid-Travel Mashup

This summer Singletracks staff and contributors have been testing 8 of the best trail bikes we could get our hands on, and along the way we’ve learned what makes for a great mid-travel mountain bike in 2021. We’ll be sharing in-depth reviews of each bike we tested over the next two weeks on Singletracks and YouTube, so be sure to subscribe to keep up with the latest.

What is a mid-travel bike exactly? For our mashup, we’ve defined it to be a full suspension trail bike with up to 140mm of rear travel, designed with fun in mind.

The ‘trail bike’ category tends to be one of the widest in the mountain bike world, and also one of the most popular among core riders. At one end of the spectrum, there are trail bikes that have no problem keeping up with friends riding cross-country bikes; at the other end, many of the bikes are suitable for racing enduro. In between, buyers will find some of the most capable and versatile mountain bikes for tackling diverse terrain.

The bikes

Canfield Tilt140mm138mm65°77°$4,900
Ibis Ripley AF130mm120mm65.5°76°$4,100
Norco Optic140mm125mm65°76°$5,000
Pivot Trail 429130mm120mm66.5°75.5°$9,799
Privateer 141150mm141mm64.5°78.8°$3,949
Specialized Stumpjumper140mm130mm65°76°$10,500
Starling Murmur160mm140mm64.6°76.6°$2,570**
Vitus Escarpe150mm140mm65°77°$3,299
* Price as tested. ** Frame only.

Test riders

Chris Schieffer. Photo@bentonvillemtb.

Chris is based in Golden, Colorado and has spent much of the summer traveling to ride mountain bike hot spots including Northwest Arkansas, Copper Harbor Michigan, Moab, Santa Cruz, Tucson & Sedona. She tested the Norco Optic, Ibis Ripley AF, and the Canfield Tilt. Chris likes riding aggressively, preferring chunky trails that showcase technical ability and allow for maximum playfulness and fun.

Gerow. Photo: Enduro2.

Gerow lives in Turin, Italy and has been testing bikes on his local trails and also on high alpine singletrack in the surrounding region. His test bikes include the Specialized Stumpjumper, Starling Murmur Enduro, and the Vitus Escarpe. Gerow regularly rides longer travel bikes and his favorite trails are on the steep and natural side, so he’s been putting these three bikes through their paces.


Matt Miller. Photo: Hannah Morvay.

And finally Matt is based in Golden, Colorado and this summer he’s been testing bikes high in the Rockies and also on some of the best Front Range singletrack for trail riding. He’s ridden everything from gravel bikes to hardtails, but especially digs bikes in the 120-140mm travel range. Matt tested the Canfield Tilt, Norco Optic, Ibis Ripley AF, Pivot Trail 429, and the Privateer 141.

We’re stoked to share what our testers found out about this excellent crop of progressive and modern trail bikes. Check out our Mid Travel Mashup playlist on YouTube for video reviews of each bike.

Half of the reviews and videos will drop on September 27, and the other half will premiere one week later on October 4, 2021.

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