Welcome to our second-ever Bike of the Year, which celebrates an incredible 12 months in mountain bike tech. Our finalists are drawn from a year of rigorous head-to-head bike tests. Only the winners of these group tests could make our final list — and, even then, just winning a test was no guarantee of making it to the final eight. The bikes here are the absolute cream of the crop.
From the finalists, we selected our overall winners: one hardtail, one full-sus. Performance, value, ease of set-up and price were all considerations, but fun and versatility also played a major part .
To read about why we chose the bikes we did, and how they’re changing for 2013, pick up the December issue of MBR, on sale 14 November. Save yourself a trip to the shops and subscribe by clicking here. And to check out our original reviews of the very best mountain bikes of 2012, just click on the pictures below.