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Budget Bike Comparison - Four $3,000 Direct-to-Consumer Enduro Bikes 37

YT Capra AL vs. Intense Tracer vs. Commencal Meta AM V4.2 vs. Transition Patrol

Budget Bike Comparison - Four $3,000 Direct-to-Consumer Enduro Bikes

Looking at the stats on paper, there is no doubt that you can have some serious fun on some seriously inexpensive enduro bikes. If you are a mountain biker looking for something in the $3,000 range, you're in heaven right now. Frames, designs and components on many bikes in this range are capable and ready to perform. The devil, however, is in the details if you want to maximize your budget-based purchase.

While there are bikes in this price range that you can get from your local dealer, direct-to-consumer bikes generally offer better bang for your buck. These four bikes can be shipped straight to your door when you buy them online.

2017 YT Capra AL Comp
2018 Intense Tracer Foundation
2018 Commencal Meta v4.2 Essential
2018 Transition Patrol NX

Our comparison is based on the $3,000 price point of 27.5-inch-wheeled mountain bikes with close to 160mm of travel. YT and Commencal have less-expensive builds available while Intense and Transition start their lineups with the models below.

2017 YT Capra
AL Comp

2018 Intense Tracer

2018 Commencal Meta
AM V4.2 Essential

2018 Transition
Patrol NX

Price (USD)






30.6 pounds (13.9kg)

31.3 pounds (14.2kg)

31.5 pounds (14.3kg)

33.2 pounds (15.1kg)






Front / Rear

170mm / 165mm

160mm / 165mm

170mm / 160mm

170mm  / 160mm


Virtual 4-Link
(Horst Link)

(Virtual Pivot Point)

V4 Contact System
(Single Pivot)

GiddyUp 2.Ohh
(Horst Link)

Head Angle





Seat Tube
Angle (Eff)




76.6-deg (L)

Bottom Bracket

4mm drop


12mm drop


(Size Large)










Water Bottle






RockShox Monarch Plus RC3

RockShox Monarch Plus R

FOX Float DPX2 Performance

RockShox Deluxe RT


RockShox Lyrik RC

RockShox Yari RC

FOX 36 Performance Float

RockShox Yari RC


Maxxis High Roller II EXO

Maxxis High Roller II

Maxxis Minion DHF (2.5" WT)
/ DHRII EXO (2.4" WT)

Maxxis Minion DHF /
DHR II EXO (2.35")

Rear Derailleur

SRAM X1 11-speed

SRAM GX 11-speed

SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed

SRAM NX 11-speed


SRAM XG1150 10-42t

SRAM PG1130 11-42t

SRAM XG1275 Eagle 10-50t

SRAM PG1130 11-42t


Race Face Turbine

Race Face Aeffect

Truvativ Descendant Eagle 6k

Race Face Aeffect

Bottom Bracket

Race Face PressFit 30

Race Face PressFit BB92

SRAM PressFit GXP BB92

73mm Threaded


e*thirteen Dropper Post
(S 125mm, M/L/XL 150mm)

Race Face Aeffect Dropper

KS Lev Integra
(S 100mm, M 125mm, L/XL 150mm)

Race Face Aeffect Dropper
(XS/S 125mm, M/L/XL 150mm)


DT Swiss E1900 Spline

Race Face AR30 Rims /
Intense Hubs (Boost)

e*thirteen TRS Rims / Formula Hubs

WTB STP i29 / Novatec Hubs


Race Face Turbine 35 (770mm)

Intense Recon Alloy (780mm)

Ride Alpha Alloy (780mm)

Race Face Chester 35 (780mm)


Race Face Atlas (50mm)

Intense Recon Elite (40mm)

Ride Alpha (40mm)

Race Face Aeffect R (40mm)



Shimano M500

Shimano SLX

SRAM Level T

Frame Warranty

3 years

3 years

5 years

3 years

Vital's Observations

Vital's testers have had ride time on more expensive builds of the bikes above and know the frames and suspension designs are trail-worthy. The difference in what we rode versus what's published here is based on build specifications. Thankfully our testers get around and have had time on many of the key components shown here, giving us the ability to make some solid conclusions about what each brand is offering in their $3,000 builds.


The YT is a nicely spec'd bike with good suspension and decent tires for the price, which is great to see as suspension and tire quality can make a world of difference on the trail. The 1x11 drivetrain is expected at this price range, but the bike is not Boost-ready, meaning upgrades to wheels or a new fork should be thought out. The Spline wheels feature an XD driver, so going to a wider range Eagle drivetrain could be in your future without a freehub swap. The 770mm-wide Race Face bars are the narrowest of the bunch but will suit most riders. We're pumped to see a chainguide/bash on there, saving you dollars after the purchase. Curious how it rides? Vital's testers put a very similar model through the wringer.


Intense pulls in the bling and likely the lightest weight of the bunch with the carbon frame, but to keep the total cost down some lower-end suspension, tires, brakes, and narrower range drivetrain are a bit of a blight on this looker. Expect to do some upgrades along the way, but rest assured that the frame is an excellent one to build around. If you're not a home mechanic and just getting into a full-suspension ride, Intense's included service program with their authorized dealers may be a selling point of interest.


Commencal's proven frame design, 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, and excellent Maxxis Wide Trail tires highlight the build. At $2,999, this is actually a mid-level bike in their incredibly affordable lineup. They're also the only brand offering FOX suspension at this price point, though the squishy bits are of the "Performance" variety. House-brand cockpit parts may not be everyone's cup of tea, but they are capable and to be expected at this build level. Also note the shorter travel dropper posts on smaller frame sizes. We know this bike is a bit portly, so don't put much trust in the claimed weight value.


Transition's most affordable Patrol gets your foot in the door early on an interesting departure from traditional enduro bike geometry. This is the slackest bike of the bunch with the longest reach value and comes paired with a fork featuring a shorter than normal offset, albeit of the lower-end variety. It also has the steepest seat angle. The rear suspension has upper bearing mounts to keep things buttery and RockShox's new Metric-sized Deluxe RT shock, which is light on both adjustments and a piggyback reservoir. There's no XD driver on the rear hub, limiting things to a narrower range drivetrain. SRAM's Level brakes come on fast which may actually pair well with the decent tire selection when slowing this slightly hefty rig down. The threaded bottom bracket and external brake routing will be additional standouts for many.

Notes About the Comparison

  • All information taken from manufacturer websites and based on current public offerings (keep in mind, it's the end of 2017 and we generally see new bikes release between now and the spring).
  • Pricing is listed in U.S. dollars at the original MSRP. There may be sales or discounts on current stock which are not reflected here.
  • Availability of bikes is not considered.
  • Prices are based on purchase in the U.S. and may not include taxes or shipping. Pricing and warranty periods may vary among countries.
  • Items like tools, pumps and accessories included with the bike purchase differ among brands and are not factored in above.

So, which bike is best for you? Each of the models stands out in its own way, so consider your priorities, which specs matter most to you, and the likelihood of needing expensive upgrades. A successful purchase may require more research than just comparing the specs, however, which is why we suggest you read Vital's in-depth reviews linked above.

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