See The Bikes - 2017 Vital MTB Test Sessions 19

Vital MTB recently took seven bike testers into the mountains surrounding Tucson, Arizona to test a whopping 18 trail, all-mountain, and enduro bikes. Get the skinny on each of the new rides.

See The Bikes - 2017 Vital MTB Test Sessions

We pulled in several bikes that are sure to catch your eye for this year's Test Sessions roundup. The batch featured five 29ers and thirteen 27.5 steeds, three made from aluminum and 15 from carbon, with bikes ranging from an affordable build at $3,200 to a taste of luxury at $8,050. The rides weighed anywhere from 26.5 to 32.3 pounds while boasting 110 to 170mm of travel for the men and 125 to 160mm for the ladies.


Model
Price
(USD)
Rear Travel
(mm)
Front Travel
(mm)
Wheels
(in)
Weight
(lbs)
Weight
(kg)
Frame
Material
Size
Tested
Norco Optic Carbon $5,199 110 120 29 29.1 13.2 Carbon XL
Devinci Django Carbon $5,129 120 130 29 28.5 12.9 Carbon XL
Transition Scout Carbon $5,099 125 140 27.5 28.8 13.1 Carbon Small
Yeti SB5 Carbon $4,699 127 150 27.5 27.6 12.5 Carbon Medium
Yeti Beti SB5 Carbon $4,699 127 150 27.5 28.2 12.8 Carbon Medium
Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol $5,160 130 140 29 30.8 14.0 Aluminum Medium
Evil The Calling $6,899 131 140 27.5 29.7 13.5 Carbon Medium
Santa Cruz Hightower C $4,599 135 140 29 29.9 13.6 Carbon Medium
YT Jeffsy CF $3,999 140 140 29 28.4 12.9 Carbon Large
Giant Trance Advanced $8,050 140 150 27.5 26.5 12.0 Carbon Medium
Intense Recluse $7,899 140 150 27.5 28.4 12.9 Carbon Large
Trek Remedy 9.9 $7,999 150 160 27.5 28.3 12.8 Carbon 18.5
Ellsworth Rogue 60 $6,495 160 160 27.5 29.7 13.5 Carbon XL
Liv Hail Advanced $5,350 160 160 27.5 29.9 13.6 Carbon Small
Commencal Meta AM V4.2 $4,449 160 170 27.5 32.0 14.5 Aluminum XL
Rocky Mountain Slayer $5,799 165 170 27.5 29.4 13.3 Carbon Medium
Specialized Enduro 650b $3,200 170 170 27.5 32.3 14.7 Aluminum XL
Pivot Firebird Carbon $6,099 170 170 27.5 30.0 13.6 Carbon XL

On the component side, wider tires and rim widths continue to become commonplace with Maxxis tires leading the charge. We've been barking up the proper cockpit tree since forever, and companies finally have it down with an average bar width of 770mm and 50mm stem length. Every bike came spec'd with a dropper seatpost - many with RockShox Reverbs - with more than half making the step up to 150mm travel versions. SRAM also laid claim to the majority of the drivetrains, with many bikes making use of the new 1x12 Eagle system. Only one bike showed up with a front derailleur.

We thought it would be neat to see all the suspension designs cycled back-to-back for a fun comparison. Watching link rotation, chain growth, brake movement and the like is very interesting:

Ready to see the bikes? Here's the full breakdown from shortest to longest travel. Reviews start dropping February 23 and can be accessed in our Product Guide.

Norco Optic Carbon 9.2

Read the review

  • Travel: 110mm (4.3-inches) rear // 120mm (4.7-inches) front
  • Wheels : 29-inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Size Tested: XL
  • Measured Weight: 29.1-pounds (13.22kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $5,199 USD
  • More Info: www.norco.com // Complete Specs // First Ride

Devinci Django Carbon SLX / XT 29

Read the review

  • Travel: 120mm (4.7-inches) rear // 130mm (5.1-inches) front
  • Wheels: 29-inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Size Tested: XL
  • Measured Weight: 28.5-pounds (12.94kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $5,129 USD
  • More Info: www.devinci.com // Complete Specs // First Ride

Transition Scout Carbon 3

Read the review

  • Travel: 125mm (4.9-inches) rear // 140mm (5.5-inches) front
  • Wheels: 27.5-inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Size Tested: Small
  • Measured Weight: 28.8-pounds (13.05, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $5,099 USD
  • More Info: www.transitionbikes.com // Complete Specs // First Look

Yeti SB5 Carbon XT/SLX

​Read the review

  • Travel: 127mm (5.0-inches) rear // 150mm (5.9-inches) front
  • Wheels: 27.5-inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Size Tested: Medium
  • Measured Weight: 27.6-pounds (12.52kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $4,699 USD
  • More Info: www.yeticycles.com // Complete Specs // Eurobike Coverage

Yeti Beti SB5 Carbon XT/SLX

​Read the review

  • Travel: 127mm (5.0-inches) rear // 150mm (5.9-inches) front
  • Wheels: 27.5-inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Size Tested: Medium
  • Measured Weight: 28.2-pounds (12.81kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $4,699 USD
  • More Info: www.yeticycles.com // Complete Specs // Eurobike Coverage

Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol Race Build with Pistola Setup

​Read the review

  • Travel: 130mm (5.1-inches) rear // 140mm (5.5-inches) front
  • Wheels: 29-inches
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Size Tested: Medium
  • Measured Weight: 30.8-pounds (13.98kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $5,160 USD as shown
  • More Info: www.ridegg.com // Complete Specs // First Look

Evil The Calling Eagle X0

Read the review

  • Travel: 131mm (5.1-inches) rear // 140mm (5.5-inches) front
  • Wheels: 27.5-inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Size Tested: Medium
  • Measured Weight: 29.7-pounds (13.45kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $6,899 USD
  • More Info: www.evil-bikes.com // Complete Specs // Intro Video

Santa Cruz Hightower C S

Read the review

  • Travel: 135mm (5.3-inches) rear // 140mm (5.5-inches) front
  • Wheels: 29-inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Size Tested: Medium
  • Measured Weight: 29.9-pounds (13.57kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $4,599 USD
  • More Info: www.santacruzbicycles.com // Complete Specs // First Ride

YT Jeffsy CF Comp 29 (2016)

​Read the review

  • Travel: 140mm (5.5-inches) rear // 140mm (5.5-inches) front
  • Wheels: 29-inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Size Tested: Large
  • Measured Weight: 28.4-pounds (12.87kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $4,499 USD ($3,999 for 2017 model)
  • More Info: www.yt-industries.com // Complete Specs // First Look

Giant Trance Advanced 0

​Read the review

  • Travel: 140mm (5.5-inches) rear // 150mm (5.9-inches) front
  • Wheels: 27.5-inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Size Tested: Medium
  • Measured Weight: 26.5-pounds (12.01kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $8,050 USD
  • More Info: www.giant-bicycles.com // Complete Specs // Eurobike Coverage

Intense Recluse Elite

​Read the review

  • Travel: 140mm (5.5-inches) rear // 150mm (5.9-inches) front
  • Wheels: 27.5-inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Size Tested: Large
  • Measured Weight: 28.4-pounds (12.87kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $7,899 USD
  • More Info: www.intensecycles.com // Complete Specs // First Look

Trek Remedy 9.9 Race Shop Limited

​Read the review

  • Travel: 150mm (5.9-inches) rear // 160mm (6.3-inches) front
  • Wheels: 27.5-inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Size Tested: 18.5
  • Measured Weight: 28.3-pounds (12.85kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $7,999 USD
  • More Info: www.trekbikes.com // Complete Specs // First Look

Ellsworth Rogue 60 XT 1X

​Read the review

  • Travel: 160mm (6.3-inches) rear // 160mm (6.3-inches) front
  • Wheels: 27.5-inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Size Tested: XL
  • Measured Weight: 29.7-pounds (13.48kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $6,495 USD
  • More Info: www.ellsworthbikes.com // Complete Specs

Liv Hail Advanced 1

Read the review


Commencal Meta AM V4.2 Race Eagle 650B

​Read the review

  • Travel: 160mm (6.3-inches) rear // 170mm (6.7-inches) front
  • Wheels: 27.5-inches
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Size Tested: XL
  • Measured Weight: 32.0-pounds (14.53kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $4,449 USD
  • More Info: www.commencal.com // Complete Specs // First Ride

Rocky Mountain Slayer 770 MSL

Read the review

  • Travel: 165mm (6.5-inches) rear // 170mm (6.7-inches) front
  • Wheels: 27.5-inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Size Tested: Medium
  • Measured Weight: 29.4-pounds (13.33kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $5,799 USD
  • More Info: www.bikes.com // Complete Specs // First Look

Specialized Enduro Comp 650b

​Read the review

  • Travel: 170mm (6.7-inches) rear // 170mm (6.7-inches) front
  • Wheels: 27.5-inches
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Size Tested: XL
  • Measured Weight: 32.3-pounds (14.67kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $3,200 USD
  • More Info: www.specialized.com // Complete Specs // First Look

Pivot Firebird Pro Carbon XT/XTR

​Read the review

  • Travel: 170mm (6.7-inches) rear // 170mm (6.7-inches) front
  • Wheels: 27.5-inches
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • Size Tested: XL
  • Measured Weight: 30.0-pounds (13.62kg, without pedals)
  • MSRP: $6,099 USD
  • More Info: www.pivotcycles.com // Complete Specs // First Look

Don't miss the intro feature for complete details. Test Sessions was made possible with the help of Arizona Cyclist. All photos by Lear Miller.

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19 comments
  • Bermsmasher

    4/5/2017 1:30 PM

    Ok Lets get the rest of these reviews rolling out...maybe the Transition Scout Carbon next please!
    You guys kill it with these reviews and we're all just excited to see the rest.
    Thanks

  • rrolly2020

    3/30/2017 10:03 AM

    If there's the possibility to do next year's test in two locations where the bikes can be tested on two different types of trails, that would be fantastic. It would help us narrow down our purchasing decisions much better.

  • K_C_J_199

    3/14/2017 7:44 AM

    Release more reviews!! Please!

  • bturman

    3/14/2017 3:25 PM

    In good time! Each of these reviews require a good deal of time and effort to craft, so we appreciate your patience. Is there a particular bike you're interested in?

  • Roots_rider

    2/23/2017 4:18 PM

    Curious to see your thoughts on the Firebird. Was a good bike, but didn't feel like it fell into that true 170mm category when I rode it. Felt more like a long travel trail bike to me personally. The Recluse on the other hand....

  • Stu Travis

    2/23/2017 7:45 AM

    Poor Niner, never any love. The 2017 Rip 9 RDO is a trail shredding badass.....just sayin : )

  • JDendy

    2/22/2017 7:04 PM

    Why am I not surprised in the video the Giant's Nobby Nic is off the rim. lol.

  • TheRage43

    2/22/2017 8:08 AM

    All these great bikes but you left the best out? No Canfield Bros? Where's the love? I know they're not a large manufacturer, but they typically make designs a few years ahead of the pack that the big guys usually catch up to a few years later. Case in point, the CB Riot. Super progressive design from 2015 that these 2017 bikes are just beginning to adopt.

  • sspomer

    2/22/2017 8:22 AM

    This was answered in our intro article. Here's what Brandon replied to a similar comment --- We did back in 2015 but are definitely due to ride another one of those beauties. You'll be pleased to hear that we've got a Canfield Riot under our Squamish, BC tester right now.

  • tantrumcycles

    2/22/2017 7:05 AM

    what a tease!!! I clicked thinking I would see actual tests. This is my favorite time of year and I'm hoping to see a Tantrum in there next year.

  • bturman

    2/22/2017 11:16 PM

    Voilà! It's February 23rd and an actual test is posted. I'm glad you look forward to these, Brian. We'll see about next year...

  • tylerb

    2/21/2017 4:26 PM

    OE pricing must be great on Race Face cranks.

  • peter.rozsavolgyi.12

    2/21/2017 11:34 AM

    No Mondraker, no party!

  • LLLLL

    2/21/2017 7:58 AM

    The only bike cheaper than the Santacruz is a Specialize...
    And what's the story with the Yeti's shock stroke use are they not using the full Stroke?

  • bturman

    2/21/2017 9:45 AM

    The Yeti bikes use the new metric shock sizing, which is longer eye-to-eye relative to shock stroke than the traditional sizing. FOX adapted their shocks to the new sizes by simply increasing the length of their damper body/shock shafts, hence the appearance that it isn't using full travel. It is though.

  • russthedog

    2/21/2017 2:13 PM

    And the commencal is cheaper too

  • bturman

    3/10/2017 10:22 AM

    And the YT!

  • pyjamas

    2/20/2017 6:16 AM

    Too bad you didn't get the 2017 Banshee Bikes in this test, I'm super curious how much of a difference there is in their latest update. All the reviews online are from their last update in 2013.

  • bturman

    2/20/2017 8:02 AM

    We hear ya! The new updates do look rad. They're on the list of rides to test in the future.