We put these new rides to the test on trail, dirt and pavement to come up with our list of the best bikes for 2018.
Giant | Anthem Advanced Pro 29 0
The Dirty Lowdown: If you are going to spend this much lucre on a goddamn mountain bike it better be worth it. Rest assured, this steed simply sucks up the trail. With a responsive composite frame, 90mm of travel in the back and 100mm up front, it’s the machine to put you out in front of the pack in big competitions or just out with the bros.
A Few More Thoughts: We rode the fully spec-ed out “0” version, but Giant also offers a lower priced ($5,000) “1” alternative with slightly less jazzed-up componentry. $8,670; giant-bicycles.com
Trek | Fuel EX 9.8
The Dirty Lowdown: This is the bike for women who want to get serious about their time on the trail. The lighweight carbon frame means it will climb those rocky steeps with aplomb, but still react when you bomb the downs. And women’s geometry offers a better fit than a unisex bike for many female riders.
A Few More Thoughts: There’s a nice spec package here, too, featuring a 1×12 SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain and FOX Performance suspension. $5,000; trekbikes.com
Look | 785 Huez
The Dirty Lowdown: This European, essentially pro-level carbon road bike, will make you look like a champ while conquering your local rides at your own speed—all at a very nice price.
A Few More Thoughts: While a one-quiver bike is impossible in mountain biking, it’s not impossible for road cyclists. This is that bike. You don’t need the most hunched-over racing geometry and snappiest turning to win hill climbs, or to ride all day comfortably. And, it’s competition-ready right out of the box. $2,500; lookcycles.com
LIV | Langma Advanced Pro Disc
The Dirty Lowdown: Here’s a bike with women’s geometry and the guts to keep at the front of the peloton—or just cruise out on training rides. The light, stable Langma will please most riders, since it’s not so high-end that you only want to take it out on race day, but still has the spec package and DNA to push it when you want to get competitive.
A Few More Thoughts: As the name implies, the Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes impart confidence when you are bombing down big mountain passes. $3,250; liv-cycling.com
Transition | Sentinel
The Dirty Lowdown: The Transition folks up in Bellingham built this crusher with the intent purpose of converting 29er naysayers. Count us in with the believers. This is a serious steed that can handle jumps and features at high speed but won’t bog you down on big climbs. In other words, it’s the ideal bike if you want to hit enduro races this summer—or just pump some adrenaline with your posse.
A Few More Thoughts: The key to the fun you can have on the Sentinel rests in the brand’s SGB (or Speed Balanced Geometry) rear suspension—to sum up the tech speak, it works in direct conjunction with the geometry of the bike to keep the front wheel down and your weight balanced, no matter if you are racing down or suffering through the long grind up. $5,999; transitionbikes.com
Priority | Classic Plus NeverFlat
The Dirty Lowdown: The perfect commuter bike needs to be reliable—no one wants to deal with a mechanical on the way to work, or home. Priority’s classic model was originally designed to be low-maintenance thanks to a Gates Carbon Drive Belt drive and simple, strong frame. NeverFlat takes that a step further with airless tires that can stand up to some serious abuse.
A Few More Thoughts: That belt drive works in smooth conjunction with three-speed Shimano Nexus shifting that can handle hills but still keeps things fairly minimalist. $524; prioritybicycles.com
Riese and Mueller | Load
The Dirty Lowdown: Just look at this monster! The price tag may be high but this workhorse of an e-bike will carry your kids, groceries, climbing gear… Honestly, this is exactly why you want an e-bike: It makes hauling big loads to work or the store on the bike path easy thanks to multiple power settings. It’s simple to adjust the handlebars and seats for quick parent switch offs and it handles surprisingly well at speeds of up to 20 m.p.h. (the legal limit for an e-bike).
A Few More Thoughts: Full suspension keeps this leviathan surprisingly smooth out in the bumps and potholes of the real world. Plus, a dual-battery Bosch drive sytem provides plenty of power and the abilty to travel farther between charges. Add in a built in light and you have a winner. $7,219; r-m.de
The Dirty Lowdown: This proved the ideal mountain bike for those of us who spend a ton of time traveling and like to sneak in a ride. It’s not your usual dorky folding bike: Montague actually built this sleek machine for paratroopers to drop into combat zones with it ready to deploy when they hit the ground.
A Few More Thoughts: While it may not be your choice for a daily ride, this 24-speed hardtail can take on most trails and it’s simple to fold up and down thanks to a smart one-pin system. $895; montaguebikes.com