One 150mm bike to do-it-all? Here’s five for starters…
In our last “Top Five” roundup we took a look at 120-140mm trail bikes, for those whose ratio of climbing and descending preference if 50:50. Today it’s the turn 150mm all-mountain bikes for tackling rougher trails, going off the beaten path, taking the hard rather than easy line choice.
If you see the climbs just as a way to get to the top of the next fun-filled descents, these following five bikes are what you want to consider. They all feature 150mm of travel front and rear, but there the similarities end.
Specialized has constantly updated the Enduro keeping it on trend with riding stylesas they’ve changed over the year, and for 2011 the FSR suspension platform dishes out 150mm of travel in the best looking bike we’ve seen in a while from the Big S.
The Expert model here gets a Fox 36 Float up front, 160mm of travel on tap with a 20mm thru-axle and tapered steerer. Fox produce a custom tuned RP23 for the Enduro and features position-sensitive Boost Valve damping and low-speed compression damping with 3-way adjustable settings.
Dropper posts are becoming more widespread the Expert comes ready fitted with a Specialized Command Post. It’s a three-position adjustable height post with 125mm travel with a remote lever for slamming the saddle without having to stop and get off.
The current Trek Remedy is the best it has ever been in the models short history, with the new, unique to Trek, Fox DRCV (Dual Rate Control Valve) shock giving the 150mm Full Floater suspension a long-stroke feeling but with positive pedalling characteristics.
It’s all wrapped up in smooth flowing frame that looks equally as good in the cheaper aluminium versions as it does in carbon. There’s details abound; Active Braking Pivot, one-piece magnesium linkage, Full Floater, bolt-through axle forks, and a well sorted specification that is trail ready.
The Remedy has been contanstly prooving itself as one of the best all-mountain bikes in recent years.
Read our first look of the carbon Trek Remedy 9.7 here.
While some bike engineers design their long travel bikes to be as good at climbing as they are at descending, there’s always a compromise somewhere. Where that compromise occurs varies from bike to bike.
Scott however has attempted something different with its Genius. First introduced in 2003, the model heralded a new approach to the perfect do-it-all all-mountain bike. The unique feature was Scott’s own three-position pull-shock that facilitated three suspension modes at the flick of a handlebar mounted lever.
The Genius uses the company’s own Equalizer2 shock, a pull shock that sits behind the seat tube and, via a handlebar mounted Twinloc lever, allows the rider to choose either a 90mm climbing or traction setting, or the full fat 150mm mode for everywhere else. The shock has two positive air chambers, from which oil from the main chamber is forced into when the shock is activated, and it is these that allow the shock to offer two travel settings and a locked out mode.
Some consider it the ultimate do-it-all bike, and it shares much with in essence with the Cannondale Jekyll, which also uses a pull shock with two travel settings.
For the new Jekyll, which we exclusively first rode last year in Utah, Cannondale went all-out to design a bike that could be a true all-rounder. One that would climb like a cross-country bike yet descends like a longer travel rig.
To do that the Jekyll uses a Fox Dyad RT2 pull-shock that offers two modes, ‘Elevate’ and ‘Flow’ , with travel 90mm and 150mm respectively. It’s available with aluminium or, if your wallet can stretch to it, a carbon fibre frames.
The Jekyll Hi-Mod 2 here is the entry-level carbon version. It’s specced with a Fox 32 Talas fork with a 1.5in steerer and 15mm thru-axle. Groupset is a mix of Shimano’s XT and SLX, with an FSA Afterburner triple chainset using the fatter BB30 standard. Elsewhere it’s DT Swiss for the hoops, Cannondale branded bars, stem, post and saddle, Schwalbe 2.4in Nobby Nic tyres and Avid Elixir CR brakes.
Giant’s Maestro suspension is uprated to deliver 152mm of travel at the rear wheel, and around that is a hydroformed AluxX SL aluminium frame. Fresh decals adorn the frame and, like the Enduro a dropper seatpost is standard, in this case a Crank Brothers Joplin.
This model, the Reign 0, wears a Shimano XT 30-speed groupset, Alic Elixir CR discs, DT Swiss M1700 Tricon wheels, and a Fox FIT RL-11 TALAS with travel adjustable between 120mm and 150mm. Providing stacks of grip with the trail are the Kenda Nevegal 26×2.35″ Stick E/DTC tyres.