It’s 2016 and enduro is hotter than ever. Here we run down what could be the 5 best enduro bikes of 2016.
YT Capra AL
Every so often a bike comes along that makes you stop dead in your tracks, scratch your head and ask the question ‘how on earth do they manage to sell a bike at that price and make any money?’ One such bike is the 165mm travel YT Capra AL, and at €2,299, or £1,600, it’s a stone cold bargain, whatever the currency.
In the case of the base AL model, the Capra’s proven geometry and capable suspension is still backed up by a brilliant spec. It gets the new RockShox Yari fork, which boasts the chassis of the acclaimed Pike, with a simpler damper to reduce costs.
The drivetrain is SRAM’s GX 1×11 mated to a Race Face crank, the wheels are from DT Swiss and you get a Reverb Stealth seatpost, Maxxis High Roller II tyres and a Race Face finishing kit as well.
Like all YT bikes, you buy online, which means test rides are out of the question, and it arrives in a box, so you have to assemble it yourself, but at this price, who’s complaining?
Mondraker Dune Carbon
Mondraker started the whole trend for longer, slacker bikes with its Forward Geometry concept, and while many brands are starting to catch up, if you exclude the Mojo Geometron, the new Dune Carbon remains the most radical production bike on the market.
Moving to carbon has saved nearly 600g from the Dune frame, and upgraded axles and bearings should also bring a big improvement to durability. In addition to representing a jaw-dropping example of modern carbon technology, Mondraker has incorporated a couple of clever geometry adjustment features into the frame.
Dropout inserts let you play with the chainstay length, which gives you control over your riding position and weight distribution, and you can also tinker with the head angle, using offset cups.
Giant Reign 27.5
Normally we’d consider Giant as a conservative brand, that’s reluctant to stick its neck out. But the Reign 27.5 is anything but cautious, with a super-slack 65 head angle and Forward Geometry-aping elongated wheelbase, this is one mainstream enduro bike that doesn’t sit on the fence.
Better still, with its RockShox Debonair shock and full complement of bearings, Giant’s Maestro suspension system has finally come of age, delivering the kind of grip needed to keep pace with the geometry. With a top quality aluminium frame that’s super light, even the entry-level model – at £2,200 – is ready to shred, straight out of the box.
Transiton Patrol Carbon
With a carbon front triangle the Transition Patrol has gone on a diet for 2016. It still has a 160mm fork and 155m at the rear end, 650b wheels and Transition’s proven Giddy Up Link suspension, but the new Carbon model is several hundred grammes lighter.
Transition says the carbon Patrol’s kinematics (suspension mechanics) have been tuned so the bike bobs less on the climbs, but still has loads of grip and shouldn’t bottom too harshly.
UK Importer Windwave is offering the frame only for £2599 and three complete bikes using different builds starting at £4399 and topping out £6199. The full range should be available around Chirstmas. Go to windwave.co.uk for more info
To complement the shorter-travel The Following, Seattle-based outfit Evil has launched a new 650b trail bike called the Insurgent.
It has 151mm of rear travel, a full carbon frameset and the new Delta Link suspension, which is a single pivot design developed by Dave Weagle. The Delta Link has a Flip Chip built into the link, and by simply reversing the chip you can lower the bottom bracket height. The Insurgent also comes with a custom FSA offset headset, allowing you to slacken the head angle by just under a degree.
In the UK the Insurgent is around £2799 for the frame only and there will also be complete bike, but UK prices are still TBC. You can get the Insurgent in this yellow colour or a raw finish called murder black. More info can be found at silverfish-uk.com.