We’ve tested 66 bikes this year. Which was the best?

best mountain bike

In association with dhb

We’ve tested more than 60 bikes over the last 12 months. Find out which bike impressed us most to take the Best Mountain Bike of the Year 2017.

The finalists

Here are the 2017 Test Winners. In no particular order…

best mountain bike

The Bike of the Year 2017 is…

Trek Fuel EX 7 29

Trek Fuel EX 7 29 £2,200

Highs: Fun, fast and flash
Lows: None come to mind
Read the full review

Verdict: The sheer pace of the Fuel EX 7 29 throws petrol on the heated wheel size debate and then fans the flames. But the Fuel EX 29 isn’t simply a fire starter. There’s a subtlety to the ride quality of the new Fuel EX 29 that lets you dance up or down every trail at a scorching pace. The fact that it looks red hot only boosts it appeal further. Sure, we’ve criticized the Plus version of the Fuel EX for being too expensive compared to the competition, the Fuel EX 7 29 however is right on the money, both in terms of value and performance.

The tale of the test

The past twelve months have flown by. During that time we tested 66 bikes and that’s not including the all of the longtermers or first rides. Only perfect ten rated bikes however, get shortlisted for our annual Bike of the Year award. This year is no different, so what are the very best bikes of 2017?

>>> Click here to read our Hardtail of the Year award

And what a year it turned out to be. After a relatively slow start that produce three 9-rated test winners in a row, the steel framed Ragley Blue Pig was the first bike to win a test with a faultless 10 rating. And it wasn’t the only hardtail of 2017 to attain top honours; the sub £500 Vitus Nucleus 275 VR and Plus-tyred Norco Fluid 7.2 both proved that if you like your thrills pure, you don’t need to rob a bank to get them.

best mountain bike

There was even more competition in the 130-150mm trail bike market, with outstanding models emerging from the direct-sales sector and traditional bricks and mortar brands. In no particular order we loved the pace of the chubby-tyred Scott Spark 710 Plus, superb suspension of the Trek Fuel EX 7 29 and the sheer fun factor of the Commencal Meta TR V4.2 Essential.

Young German upstart YT is the only brand to have two bikes on the shortlist, the Jeffsy 29 and 27 both impressing us with their light weight, inspirational handling and outstanding specification.

And at opposite ends of the price spectrum there was the affordable, yet amazing, Calibre Beastnut and the hilarious handling of the stunning Evil The Calling. Both short travel trail bikes with bigger forks up front, but with the best part of £4k separating them, as there’s no way to compare them directly.

That’s why our Bike of the Year award has never been bill at a test of the best. It’s more a celebration of the standout bikes and a chance to reflect on the year that’s past, before diving headlong into next season.

So 2017 delivered ten bikes in total, all worthy top marks, but only one of them can rise to the top and take the coveted MBR Bike of the Year award. So with out further ado, let’s find out which bike is going to be joining previous winners, the Specialized Stumpy Evo, Voodoo Bizango 29 and Whyte T-130 S in collecting one the most prestigious accolades in mountain biking.

Near misses: the best of the rest

Not all our test winners made it into the Bike of the Year award – let’s take a closer look at the best 9-rated bikes.

best mountain bike

Evil The Wreckoning X1 €5,999.99

Highs: 29er Enduro bike with killer geometry and attitude
Lows: Limited tyre clearance
Read the full review

best mountain bike

Scott Scale 730 Plus £1,279

Highs: Standout ride quality. Great Maxxis Rekon 2.8in tyres
Lows: Not the best value hardtail
Read the full review

best mountain bike

Merida One-Sixty 5000 £3,300

Highs: Silky smooth rear suspension and race winning geometry
Lows: Wheels and drivetrain let the side down
Read the full review

best mountain bike

Whyte 605 £699

Highs: Great all-round ride quality, sorted suspension fork
Lows: Skinny tyres, narrow handlebar and square-taper crankset
Read the full review

What was the best mountain bike last year?

Let’s take a closer look at the standout bikes of last season…

The best mountain bikes 2016 shortlist

Calibre Bossnut, £999
Orange Crush, £1,650
Santa Cruz Bronson, £7,599
Vitus Nucleus 275 VR, £495
Voodoo Bizango 29, £599
Whyte 901, £1,199
YT Capra AL Comp 1, €2,799
Whyte T-130 S, £2,299 BIKE OF THE YEAR 2016 WINNER

And the best mountain bike of 2016 was…

Whyte T 130s featured correct with single ring

Whyte T-130 S

British engineering brilliance with an almost flawless performance makes this short travel ripper our winner.