Best MTB Bikes 2019
Want to see the bikes we’ve highlighted in the past? Here you go: Our picks for the best mountain bikes of 2019.
With a solid all-mountain background, the Santa Cruz 5010 has always been a great bike, but the latest changes to its geometry make it even better. A slacker head tube and steeper seat tube mean you’ll be able to crush descents and generate more power on climbs, making this a great bike to take anywhere on the mountain. With more rear travel (130mm) and a redesigned suspension system, the new 5010 is absolutely unstoppable.
As you’d expect, the top-of-the-line carbon frame is feather-light making it one of the lightest full suspension mountain bikes for 2020. for a full-suspension rig, and the XTR and ENVE build kit is a dream. Included Race Face Cranks, RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post, and Industry Nine hubs paired with 27.5″ ENVE rims make this just about the nicest bike you can buy. One of the best full suspension mountain bikes on the market.
The SB6 is a reincarnation of the venerable SB66, and it packs some impressive new improvements. Central to the bike’s appeal is the Switch Infinity rear pivot, designed specifically to create linear rear-wheel travel so you can take the biggest hits out there without dropping your chain or losing power. And six inches of travel means you’ll have enough suspension to ride A full-carbon frame and handlebar make the SB6 much lighter than its aluminum-framed brothers, and the inclusion of Sram X01 on this model makes for a very smooth ride with reliable shifting and impressive durability.
The Santa Cruz Hightower has always been a phenomenal bike. But with its recent conversion to a very enduro-focused rig, it’s become a different sort of beast. And this build is stunning. It foregoes the trendy 27.5″/29″ dual compatibility and opts for the now-proven 29″ wheels. It also gets 150mm geometry befitting its enduro style. This is a bike meant to win races down the hill—but not suffer too much riding back up.
SRAM Eagle XX1 graces the Hightower LT, giving you a full 12 gears with no front derailleur. Santa Cruz packs their own carbon rims in combination with awesome Industry Nine hubs. Every other part of this build is what you’d expect for a top-of-the-line bike: Reverb seatpost, carbon Santa Cruz handlebar, Fox Kashima rear shock, and SRAM Guide Ultimate brakes. It’s really hard to top this bike—which is why it costs as much as a small car.
Everyone is jumping on the enduro bandwagon, and this Ibis mtb bike may be just the perfect bike for mere mortals in the Ibis Mojo 3. 130mm of rear travel make it capable without being overly burly, and the geometry focuses less on massive hits and searing descents. It’s more about getting you through every ride in comfort and style. And the fact that it can accommodate tires up to 2.8″ makes it comfortable on any terrain you’ll find.
The Ibis Mojo 3 build is a marvel: SRAM Eagle X01 leads the pack with a 1×12 drivetrain, Ibis carbon rims on Industry Nine hubs add speed without weight, and you get a carbon crankset to top it off. Putting all of that on Ibis’s carbon frame makes for a stellar ride. And while it’s near the top end of anyone’s price range, it’s one of the best carbon mountain bikes for 2019.
27.5+ is here to stay. It offers huge amounts of traction while still giving you the nimble feel of smaller wheels. Plus-sized tires are often found on trail bikes, where they get to show off their traction chops, but the Pony Rustler is a more XC-oriented bike. With 140mm of travel, a carbon front triangle and seatstays to keep things light, and the venerable Rock Shox Pike fork, it’ll see you setting new personal bests on all of your local trails.
Salsa wasn’t content to limit the Rustler to a single wheel size, though: you can replace the included 27.5 hoops with 29ers. Which means you’re basically getting two bikes for the price of one Sala Pony Rustler: a versatile bike ready for anything, and a cross-country scorcher. All you need to do is change out the wheels. When you think about it that way, the price tag is actually pretty reasonable. Another one of our picks for the best cross country mountain bikes.
With a scant 90mm of rear travel, the RKT 9 RDO is made for one thing: blazing through XC trails. There’s no doubt that this bike is all about speed. A full XTR build punctuated with Niner carbon components (even the saddle has Ni-Cro Ti rails), a carbon XC wheelset, and RockShox suspension on the front and back show that the RKT 9 means business. It even has titanium chain protectors. Seriously.
Updated geometry makes the RKT 9 a bit more capable on gnarlier trails, and shortened chainstays help you stay nimble through even the tightest turns. Despite being a 29er, this frame has a claimed lowest weight of 4.5 lbs., making it a featherweight in the category. But Niner didn’t compromise on durability, either, meaning the RKT 9 can be your XC race rig and your weekend trail bomber. One of the great new trail bikes 2020.
The Race-Day-Optimized (RDO) Jet from Niner is made for one purpose: to go fast. Of course, being comfortable is an important part of speed, so 4 inches of travel, a carbon frame and handlebar, and 29er-specific design make sure you’re in the right position and that you can stay there when you need to put power to the pedals. Niner’s carbon layup process makes for laterally rigid frames that don’t beat you up over the rough stuff.
The inclusion of SRAM’s X1 groupset on this bike is one of the reasons it made it to this list; with many of the technological advances of the top-of-the-line XX1 set, but without the exorbitant price tag, it provides race-worthy performance when you’re gunning for the finish line or just out tooling on your local trails. Shimano, RockShox, and Fox parts also make it into this build, giving the Jet top marks in the XC mountain bikes category.
135mm of travel puts the Switchblade on the XC side of full suspension mountain bikes, but it has chops for rougher riding, too. It’s capable enough for technical trail riding but quick and nimble enough for cross-country speed fests. And the fact that it comes ready for either 29″ or 27.5+” means you can take full advantage of both. Both versions come with Reynolds carbon enduro wheels, light and strong enough for absolutely anything. Despite being very capable of climbing, the geometry of the 2020 Pivot Switchblade favors gnarly descents. It’s pretty much a perfect do-everything bike.
The XTR complete bike comes packed with Shimano’s best: XTR shifter, derailleur, and brakes complement the KS dropper and Race Face crank. The fact that both the front and rear shocks have Fox’s Kashima coating just adds a cherry on top. This bike’s build really shines with the wheels, though. Reynolds’ carbon wheels are legendary, and you don’t see them on many pre-built mountain bikes.
Not everyone needs a huge amount of suspension when they hit the trails. If you don’t, the Pivot LES 27.5 will suit your needs and let you rip any trails you come across. The carbon frame and 27.5-inch wheels are perfectly suited to cross-country riding—Pivot has taken extra time to make their carbon lighter and stronger than ever, turning the LES into a rocket of an XC machine. This 2020 Pivot is one of the best cross country mountain bikes of 2020
The X01 groupset gives you smooth shifting and durability, FSA and DT Swiss components add to the package, and 100mm of travel on the front gives you the cushion you need to take some hits on the cross-country trails. Hardtails are a lot simpler than full-suspension bikes, but that doesn’t mean they have to be any less impressive. The price is right for one of the best hardtail MTB Bikes of 2020.
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