The Scott Scale 730 Plus will instantly win you over as you carve effortlessly through corners, blast down the rowdiest descents and spin up loose technical climbs with aplomb.
The Marin Pine Mopuntain rides more like an adventure bike than a trail hardtail designed to get your pulse racing.
The Cannondale Beast of the East 3 is a lightning-fast bike and a blast to ride.
Long, low and slack, and with a frame that apes the ride of a full-susser, the Stif Morf XT is a blast to ride.
All the attitude of the amazing 901 in a more affordable package
Bold, curvy and built for fun, the Scott’s Contessa Scale 710 is a perfect playmate for newbies and veterans alike.
Good quality components but the ride quality is let down by the details
The Cali’s handling capability and reassuring stability make it a fun bike to ride, with the result being that your skills can develop while you’re having a blast.
With its radically sloping top tube, it has good standover clearance, and a lighter, stiffer frame
GT has gone a long way to recapturing the magic of the old Zaskar
The Trek looks amazing and has a decent spec, it’s just a shame the frame isn’t more trail-focused
Lightweight, excellent wheels, amazing spec
A 29er with a 100mm-travel fork, Maxxis Ikon tyres and an equally cross country/race focus
Quality frame with good length and standover clearance
Stable 29er wheels and great contact points
Hamstrung by its geometry, proportions and small volume tyres
The top-quality Ghost Kato 2 frame never has a chance to shine through
If you want to gallop flat out over big miles the thoroughbred Boardman is first past the post
This is still the bike for fast trail rides and covering distance
Close to crushing the competition, the Norco gives a glimpse at the potential of Plus tyres