Heading to a podium near you.

The 2017 Enduro World Series kicks off this weekend down in Rotorua, New Zealand and the top riders have been Instagramming their weapons of choice.

>>> Seven things we learned from the NZ Enduro

We don’t have a functioning crystal ball here at mbr HQ but it’s safe to say that most of these bikes are going to ridden to EWS podium spots over the next few months. It’ll take a monumental achievement to unseat either Rude or Ravanel but you never know.

There are a few surprises and few sneaky secrets on display here. But perhaps the two most significant mini-trends seem to be coil shocks and 29in wheels. Sometimes on the same bike (just ask Mr Keene).

Without further ado let’s get drooling over the fastest enduro bikes on the planet…

1. Richie Rude’s Yeti SB5

We have to start with the current men’s EWS Champ. Like the man himself, Rude’s Yeti SB5 isn’t overly in-yer-face or loud. It’s purposeful with a hint of cool style. The orange Fox forks really set off the frame beautifully. Psst..! Have you seen Rude’s hideaway multitool from OneUp that pops in and out of his stem like a Thunderbird..?

2. Damien Oton’s Devinci Spartan Carbon

Hot on the heels of Rude this season will be Damien Oton on this strikingly paintjobbed Devinci Spartan Carbon. We don’t see an awful lot of Devinci bikes in the UK but maybe that will change if Oton can claim a couple of EWS wins this year…

3. Cecile Ravanel’s Commençal Meta AM 4.2

The fastest female enduro racer in the world will be running a coil shock (again) this year. The neat thing about this SRAM Blackbox proto coil shock is that it has a lock-out, operated by a modified Gripshift shifter on the handlebar. Yoann Barelli will be running a Commençal Meta AM 4.2 as well by the way, but his isn’t as interesting(!)…

There he is my lovely love 😍#commencalbike

A post shared by Ravanel-MTB (@ravanel_mtb) on

4. Isabeau Courdurier’s Sunn Kern LT

Sunn is another brand that we just don’t see over here in Blighty. Courdurier isn’t the tallest of riders so her bikes always look cool and compact, with radically different tube layouts to her Sunn teammates who ride medium and large models. Although she rides a fairly dinky bike, she does run whopping full-width 785mm handlebars

5. Jerome Clementz’s mystery Cannondale (29er?)

Now then. This is someone who is clearly under orders not to reveal his new bike until the EWS racing begins this weekend. So what can we glean from this short Instavid? Well, for a start the bike isn’t lime green (like JC’s bikes have been for yonks). No Lefty fork. And to our eyes those wheels look bigger than 27.5in…

6. Martin Maes’ GT Sanction

Maes is a lot of folks’ tip to be The Main Man in EWS this year. He’s still only about 12 years old but it feels like he’s been around for ages. He gets better and better every season. His GT Sanction doesn’t contain many surprises but its shiny ball-burnish finish will be much celebrated by GT fans the world over…

7. Casey Brown’s Trek Slash 29

The Trek Slash 29 had a big launch recently and will be the race rig of Casey Brown, Lewis Buchanan and Katy Winton (all pictured below). One of the most ‘right looking’ long travel 29ers to date, Trek will no doubt be hoping that these racers can put together some results to make this bike even more in demand. Not sure about orange forks with that red frame though…

Welcome to the team @lewbuchanan ! @mdelormephoto 📷

A post shared by Casey Brown (@caseybrowntown) on

8. Nico Lau’s Cube Stereo 140 29

Nico Lau and teammate Greg Callaghan have been 29er converts for a fairly long time so the choice of Cube’s big wheel Stereo 140 will come as no surprise to many. Well, perhaps there’s a slight surprise that Cube don’t yet do a longer travel 29er. Maybe we’ll see something mid-season..?

Jungle time with my #stereo140. Thx @fox to provide the new 36/29"/boost/evol it feels amazing.

A post shared by Nicolaumtb (@nicolaumtb) on

9. Josh Carlson’s Giant Reign Trance Advanced

Josh Carlson is opting to run the shorter travel (140mm) Trance instead of the Reign (160mm) he raced on last year. He’s still running 160mm travel RockShox Lyrik fork up front mind, he’s not daft that Carlson chap. Other little titbits: 38T chainring (ouch!) and 200mm disc brake rotors…

10. Curtis Keene’s Specialized Enduro 29

Oh man, how nice does Mr Keene’s bike look? Stealth black everywhere apart from the middle/heart of the machine where the iconic yellow and gold Öhlins shock sits. 170mm Öhlins 36RXF Coil fork up front. Coils everywhere then. Other cool bits: the BikeYoke Revive 160mm dropper post, bars and stem from Stockport (Renthal), Stages Powermeter cranks and ceramic bearings all over the place…

11. Sam Hill’s Nukeproof Mega

You can never rule out Sam Hill. He made the transition to enduro racing proper last season and got the results to get him seeded in the top twenty for this season. Respect. We’re particularly loving the blue signature Sam Hill flat pedals and the AVS hand guards…

12. Alexandre Cure’s BH Lynx 6

A whole bunch of stuff that you may not have heard of: Alexandre Cure, BH bikes and Extreme Racing Shox rear shock. This bike is a BH Lynx 6 with 150mm rear travel delivered by the Dave Weagle-designed Split Pivot system…

@bh_bikes LYNX 6 plus rear @extremeshox is the best combo… So much fun on my bike ! Pics : @photos_cr

A post shared by Alexandre Cure (@curealexandre) on

13. Remy Absalon’s Scott Genius 29

We can’t wait to see how bona fide enduro legend Remy Absalon gets on in the EWS this year. He’s a tall chap with a long history in all sorts of racing so the appearance of 29in wheels in his Scott Genius is not a huge surprise…

First day in New Zealand with the new 2017 Team kit 👌🏻#scottsrsuntourenduroteam

A post shared by Rémy Absalon (@remyabsalon) on

14. Joe Barnes’ Canyon Spectral

Will Mr Top Chief get on a few more podiums this year? Let’s hope so. As for his race bike, it’s his usual Mavic-equipped Canyon Spectral. Okay yes, we are mainly featuring this in the list because of this awesome photograph…

Dragging back wheel from Scottish ruts to Kiwi berms🎳 #howdidigethere #daytwo @canyon_factoryracing

A post shared by Joe Barnes (@top_chief) on

15. Iago Garay’s Santa Cruz Hightower

Iago Garay’s first ever custom bike from Santa Cruz and what a way to start. Garay’s previous Hightower enduro race bikes have featured custom machined top links that are rumoured to do many things (different travel, different geometry, different suspension curve, magic voodoo hoodoo)…

16. Bryan Regnier’s YT Industries Capra

The surprising thing about Regnier’s YT Capra is the lack of surprises. As the man himself answers when asked about the spec – particularly the non-Kashima coated forks – explains: “a lot people ask me about this, I have no idea, ask @fox for that !! I mean , #ytindustries is my only bike sponsor this year , I ride exactly the same set up you can buy in the web site !!!” Fair dos lad…

Bike is ready … @yt_industries

A post shared by bryanregnier (@bryanregnier) on

17. Jared Graves’ Specialized Stumpjumper 29

Was Josh Carlson inspired to go for the sub-enduro Giant Trance after witnessing how Graves got on with his sub-Enduro Stumpjumper? Maybe baby. Anyway, what of Graves’ Stumpy build? It’s pretty fly that’s for sure. Gold bits on a bike can often stray into the Nescafé naffness spectrum but we reckon Graves has it just about right. Coil front and rear like his buddy Curtis Keene too…

18. Matt Stuttard’s Hope HB.211

Mo’ Öhlins (Möhlins?) to be seen here on Brit privateer Matt Stuttard‘s Hope HB.211. Unsurprisingly Stuttard’s rig is stuffed with top drawer Hope kit. Check out that whopping hope rear cassette. Nice…

19. Joe Smith’s Norco Range

While all the current noise about Norco is their new idler-equipped prototype downhill bike it’s all too easy to overlook their new Range enduro machine. It’s rare for an off-the-peg complete bike at a reasonable price point to look as dialled as the Range does…

20. Josh Bryceland’s Bronson and Hightower

Who knows what Ratboy is going to do in this year’s EWS? Will he compete in all the rounds? Will he go for podium or just have a blast? What bike will he be riding? Two bikes pictured here narrow things down slightly: his tie-dye 5010 and what appears to be a Hightower 29er (we briefly thought it was a less-than-standard Nomad for awhile but we were sadly mistaken)…

2 bad rigz! lucky rat…

A post shared by josh bryceland (@ratboy_bryce) on

21. Carolin Gehrig’s Ibis Mojo HD 3

Ibis Cycles are heavily into the EWS, running a full team and getting some consistent points across all categories. The Ibis Mojo HD 3 is the bike used by their EWS athletes like Carolin Gehrig here, her sister Anita and highly-ranked male Francois Bailly-Maitre…

22. Bex Baraona’s Transition Patrol Carbon

Another UK privateer racer who did great things last year and fingers crossed she can go even better this year. Baraona’s bike is certainly very much on-trend and full of neat enduro knowhow; during her race days her bike is covered in time-saving tools and ingeniously stashed away spares. Less concerned with aesthetics and all about the time-saving. A racer through and through…

The opening round of the 2017 Enduro World Series starts this weekend down in Rotorua, New Zealand. Stayed tuned to mbr for updates. Good luck to all the racers featured above!