#32 Trek Superfly 100 Elite SL from Best Mountain Bikes 2013

Best Mountain Bikes 2013

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Trek

#32 Trek Superfly 100 Elite SL

One of the world’s lightest full-suspension bikes got significantly lighter with this year’s trimmed-down Superfly 100. That, despite relatively heavy (albeit perfectly performing) Shimano Deore XT derailleurs and brakes. It’s an airy, fast cross-country bike with a versatile Fox CTD (climb-trail-descend) rear shock, though certain parts—tires, for example—are a touch underwhelming.

Type: Mountain
Frame: Carbon
Weight: 24.03 pounds (17.5”)
$5,570; trekbikes.com
—Peter Koch

Yeti Cycles

#11 Yeti SB66 Race

"SB" stands for "Super Bike," and the SB66—one of the few 26" bikes that made our list—is, indeed, a race-ready super trail bike. Decked out in Shimano XT components and a clever Switch rear linkage that all but eliminates suspension bob while absorbing bumps and reducing harsh pedal feedback. This is, by all counts, a bomber bike that climbs well and loves being ridden aggressively through the most rugged terrain.

Frame: Aluminum
Weight: 29.1 pounds (medium)
$4,800; yeticycles.com
—Peter Koch

Rocky Mountain Bicycles

#29 Rocky Mountain Altitude 750 MSL

As with the other 27.5-inch bikes here, the Altitude has the playfulness of a 26-inch bike with the stability of a 29er. Or, more accurately, it's somewhere in the middle. Of note, too, is the RIDE-9, a shock mount that allows a rider to customize the bike's geometry by raising or lowering the bottom bracket and, therefore, changing the head and seat angles by up to 2 degrees. Its steep seat tube angle means the rider is more upright than on most trail bikes—that makes climbing a peach, but requires more conservative descending.

Type: Mountain
Frame: Carbon
Weight: 28 pounds (medium)
$4,500; bikes.com
—Peter Koch

Specialized

#26 Specialized Epic Comp 29

The Specialized Epic Comp 29 is a fast, efficient bike built with racing in mind. The Epic’s Mini Brain shock eliminates energy-sapping bob when pedaling, allowing you to focus on putting the hammer down. If you’re training for Brazil 2016, or just won the lottery, you can upgrade to the Olympic-level S-Works Epic Carbon 29 for a mere $10,000.

Type: Mountain
Frame: Aluminum Alloy
Weight: 26.9 pounds
$3,300; specialized.com
—Kristin Butcher

Cannondale

#23 Cannondale Trigger 29er 1

The Trigger combines two Cannondale innovations—a variable travel that’s adjusted with the flick of a handlebar-mounted switch and a (much-improved) Lefty fork—in this responsive, roll-over-anything 29-inch trail bike. The Fox DYAD rear suspension switches from a climb-ready 80mm of travel to a flowy, shock-soaking 130mm travel. Also, the big, aggressively treaded tires steamroll obstacles and stay glued to the ground through even the most technical of turns.

Type: Mountain
Frame: Aluminum Alloy
Weight: 29.98 pounds (medium)
$5,000; cannondale.com
—Peter Koch

Jamis

#21 Jamis Dakar XCR 29 Sport

The Jamis Dakar XCR 29 Sport provides a lot of bang for the buck, with Mavic rims, Rockshox suspension and a frame that’s worthy of upgrades down the road. 100mm of smooth travel, 29” wheels and thoughtful touches like the rear thru axle and cartridge bearing pivots make for a bike that feels more expensive than it is.

Type: Mountain
Frame: Kinesium Alloy
Weight: 32.25 pounds (61cm)
$2,100; myjamis.com
—Kristin Butcher

Santa Cruz

#18 Santa Cruz Bronson RAM27

This all-mountain steed is Santa Cruz's first with 27.5-inch wheels, and it melds the handling of a 26-inch ride with the speed and appetite of a 29er. Internal cable routing keeps things neat, and a six-inch travel FOX Float X CTD rear suspension with Climb/Trail/Descend modes delivers goat-like climbing, a buttery soft ride and aggressive, close-to-the-ground descending.

Type: Mountain
Frame: Aluminum
Weight: 31.33 pounds (58cm)
$1,950 for frame + fork (complete kits start at $3,400); santacruzbicycles.com
—Peter Koch

Trek

#15 Trek Lush 29 SL

BEST WOMEN'S MOUNTAIN

The Trek Lush 29 SL is designed to fit women of all sizes, but it’s the Fox suspension front and rear, confidence inspiring 29” wheels, and snappy G2 geometry that make this bike so adept on trails. Trek technology keeps the chassis light but stiff for total control.

Type: Mountain
Frame: Aluminum Alloy
Weight: 28.44 pounds (56cm)
$3,049; trekbikes.com
—Kristin Butcher

Norco

#12 Norco Range Killer B-2

BEST UPGRADE MOUNTAIN

If you want to be able to tackle any trail with one bike, the Norco Range Killer B-2 is a good choice. Its 27.5” wheels combine with 160mm suspension and a nimble chassis to create a bike that can smooth out the roughest backcountry epic, flow through the local downhill park, and even handle a bit of racing in a pinch.

Type: Mountain
Frame: Aluminum
Weight: 31 pounds (60 cm, medium)
$3,800; norco.com
—Kristin Butcher

Scott

#9 Scott Scale Comp 29

BEST ENTRY-LEVEL MOUNTAIN

Scott is a master of the bang-to-buck ratio, especially where entry-level riders are concerned, and this speedy hardtail 29er only serves to further that point. For just over $1,000, it offers a lightweight frame, the same geometry as its pricier carbon cousins, durable Shimano brakes and drivetrain and a hell of a lot of value. A word of warning, though, if you're thinking of chewing up super dicey terrain, you'd be wise to upgrade the overly stiff Suntour fork.

Type: Mountain
Frame: 6061 Aluminum Alloy
Weight: 28.6 pounds (medium)
$1,109; scott-sports.com
—Peter Koch

Surly

#6 Surly Krampus

BEST VALUE MOUNTAIN

What’s the most fun bike you’ve ever ridden? OK, now go ride a Surly Krampus. Its 29+ wheel-and-tire package are beautifully matched with a stiff steel frame and wide bars to create the world’s first mass-production monster bike. The Krampus is so stable that it just urges you to go faster, corner harder and pick the silliest of lines.
Type: Mountain
Frame: 4130 CroMoly Steel
Weight: 26.4 pounds (63cm, large)
$1,950; surlybikes.com
—Kristin Butcher

Niner

#2 Niner Rip 9 RDO

BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE

This slick 29er marks an update—and an upgrade—to a favorite from the only company dedicated to 29-inch wheels. Niner took its old Rip 9, gave it a six-pound carbon frame and high-end components like a front-derailleur-eliminating SRAM XX1 drivetrain (1 cog upfront, 11 in back) and Fox CTD shock for an even faster, smoother ride. Niner's big wheel-specific CVA suspension delivers an ideal balance between speed, stability, power transfer and ride quality on the most rugged of terrains. That, and it has a dead sexy paint job with internal cable routing.

Type: Mountain
Frame: Carbon
Weight: 26.4 pounds (medium)
$6,500; ninerbikes.com
—Peter Koch

Best Mountain Bikes 2013