YT recently refreshed their 2020 bikes, but noticeably absent was a refreshed Jeffsey aluminium version. Year after year the Jeffsey aluminium has presented a compelling value for the budget conscience trail / enduro bike buyer. Well the Jeffsey aluminum is now back and it has undated geometry, bringing it back in sync with it’s carbon counterpart.
Both 29″ and 27.5″ versions of the bike are available in a single base build. Unlike some other manufacturers that offer higher component specs to those that still want a metal frame, YT has opted to make this a decidedly budget build. That being said, the Jeffsey spec is no slouch and will punch above its price tag in many respects.
In regards to suspension, a RockShox Yari RC is up front in either 160mm (27.5″) or 150mm (29″). The balance of the suspension is handled by a RockShox Deluxe Select rear shock with 160mm (27.5″) or 150mm (29″) of travel. The rear suspension also includes a flip chip that makes the head angle 0.5 degrees steeper and raises the bottom bracket.
YT tends to use branded parts such as a Raceface cockpit and DT Swiss M1900 wheels. However, for the dropper post YT has opted to go with a house branded YT Postman with small and medium bikes receiving 125 mm drop, larges 150 mm drop and XL – XXL getting 170 mm of drop.
Braking and drivetrain are all handled by SRAM. Guide T 4-piston brakes provide the stopping power. The lowest end, SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain is provided. This may be a disappointment to some but you have to remember that we are talking about a $2,299.00 bike and I think YT has placed a priority on suspension and brakes in their spec. Which I think will serve most riders this bike is geared towards well.
As mentioned earlier the geo now matches the carbon version of the Jeffsey. You get a head tube angle of 66 degrees and seat tube angle of 77 degrees. The reach on a medium is 450mm and chainstays are 435 mm. On the XL and XXL an extra 5mm is added to the chainstays in an effort to keep the bike more balanced for larger riders.
The YT Jeffsey aluminum looks to again provide a really great value to bike buyers looking for an affordable full suspension bike. It does however have stiffer competition with other manufacturers such as Ibis with their RIPMO AF throwing their hat in the ring. Find out more at: https://yt-industries.com
Marzocchi has a long history with coil forks and they are bringing back the magic with a new BOMBER Z1 Coil suspension fork. The new fork shares the 36mm chassis and the GRIP damper from the air sprung Z1. But, it swaps out the air spring for a new coil system.
The new coil is an ultra-lightweight tempered silicon-chromium steel spring. Even with this “ultra-lightweight” coil the starting weight is 2,525g which is fair bit heavier than the air sprung equivalent. It is availible in both 29 and 27.5 configurations with travel that can be adjusted in 10mm increments from 150-180mm (depending on wheel size) via included internal spacers.
Beyond your damper settings and your selected spring rate when you purchase the fork, you do get an external preload adjuster to adjust sag and firmness off the top. The spring side also includes an integrated air assist for progressivity and bottom out control. This is pre-configured and not adjustable.
The fork is available in 4 spring rates. Marzocchi provides a guide for choosing the right one.
It is priced at $749.00. There will also be a conversion kit for the air sprung Z1 available for $175.00.
The longer I’ve been riding and the more injuries I have seen on the trail, the more have been convinced that the two most important things to protect are your brain and your neck while mountain biking. Broken collarbones, arms and legs will all heal and usually full function will be restored. But, a traumatic brain injury can change you forever. That’s why I was excited when SixSixOne announced that they were adding MIPS technology to their Reset full face helmet.
The SixSixOne Reset MIPS helmet is not just another full face helmet. I think it’s important to note up front that this helmet retails for only $149. That kind of price-point won’t get you even near a full face MIPS helmet from many other manufactures.
For the uninitiated, MIPS is a rotational force reduction system that is designed to reduce the chances of concussion during a impact. While some may argue that MIPS doesn’t make a big difference, I would argue that any advantage I can get to avoiding a concussion is well worth it and the $149 price tag makes it a no-brainer (pun intended). The Reset helmet is one of the first full face helmets to integrate the new E2 MIPS system, designed specifically for Full-Face helmets.
E2 MIPS liner is a soft, cap-like insert that acts as a low-friction layer between the head and the helmet. The E2 liner is made up of two multi-directional, stretch fabric layers sewn together around a thin, plastic foil. This gives the helmet a soft, padded feel on the inside.
The Resets ABS shell features grated vents in the chin/face guard along with angular venting around the helmet. The visor is pretty large and has a somewhat unique narrower shape. The visor does tilt to allow for goggles to be stowed on the top of the helmet. I found that in the “down” position the visor just barely came into my field of view.
The chin strap is a traditional, d-ring type of attachment. It features some extra padding beyond the strap itself. There is also a small button to retain the excess length.
The weight of the size medium Reset Mips is a respectable 1055g. This is not as feathery as something like a Fox Proframe at a claimed weight of 750g. But, actually comes in lighter than something like the Leatt DBX 3.0 DH helmet at 1160g.
So with all its affordability and great features how is the 661 Reset MIPS to use? In a word, it’s great. The Reset is a true downhill rated full face helmet that is intended for high speed riding. With this requirement it does not vent as well as a non-downhill rated full face, such as the Bell Super 2 which was the last full face I was using. However, you are definitively getting another level of protection with this helmet and the venting has been good enough to not deter me from wearing it even when pedaling hard around dirt jumps. I even took this helmet on a high country adventure in Telluride where I did about 1700 feet of climbing. For that type of a climb, I did remove my helmet for portions of the climbing since it was a boring fire road slog.
The fit of the helmet was true to the sizing guide. The Rest MIPS comes in sizes XXS to XXL so this helmet will work for everyone from small kids to people with very large heads. I’ve liked this helmet so much that I picked up an XS for my five year old. The helmets are scaled down correctly. You don’t end up with and overly elongated chin area or other oddities as you size down.
The chin strap is nicely padded. I have found it comfortable while wearing for long periods. I grew to like the d-ring chin strap even though I was unsure about it at first. D-rings make it easier to cinch down to exactly the right size and after it’s in place it isn’t going anywhere.
It also fits my goggles without issue and provides me with good visibility into my peripheral vision. The only part of my vision that I found obscured at all was a bit of my upper vision by the visor. This however doesn’t seem like a big loss to me as almost everything I need to see is always down or to the sides.
The lining is very comfortable and the cheek pads hold the helmet in position well. On the topic of the lining, I found that when I sweat in this helmet it didn’t get that moist, gross feeling that I’ve had in some helmets. I’ll credit that partially to the venting design, and partially to the fact the much of our testing was in relatively dry mountain conditions in Colorado. The helmets doesn’t have multiple cheek pad sizes or removable cheek pads.
I did find that under very hot/heavy breathing the front venting could be a little bit more open. However this is always a trade-off between greater protection and greater breathability.
I really couldn’t be happier with the SixSixOne Reset MIPS helmet. Using one for this entire past park season has been absolutely great and I have no reason to not use it next season. Thankfully I didn’t drag my head across the ground this past year so it should be ready to run as soon as the lifts start running.
The Mag-Tank™ from Revelate has come up with an ingenious solution to stowing gear securely on your bike while still leaving that gear easily accessible. The solution in this case is magnets. The Mag-Tank’s main selling point is it’s easy open latch and we’ll explore in this review if magnets really can make a top tube feed bag both secure and convenient.
Top tube bags while not always familiar to trail riders have been around for a long time in the bike touring and bike packing scene. As more riders look to get equipment off their backs and onto their bikes the top tube is an obvious location to consider.
The Mag-Tank™ attaches with two Velcro straps. One around the spacers in between the stem and the head tube and the other around the top tube itself. The Velcro straps make for a surprisingly secure fit and once attached, I didn’t run into any issues with the bag moving or sliding around. So far the Velcro has held up well, though I do worry that it may wear out over time. I think it would be nice to see a potentially longer wearing attachment method such as a ratcheting strap.
The base and sides of the bag are heavily reinforced which aids in the bag staying securely in place and holding its shape well. The outer covering fabric comes in multiple colors and it water resistant but not waterproof. Because of the top cover attachment and latching method, full waterproofing is not possible. That being said I’ve never had an issue with water getting into the bag.
Inside the bag the fabric is bright yellow to provide more contrast when hunting for items. Behind that fabric is a bit of padding. It’s not ultra cushy, but I have hauled my camera in this bag without any ill effects.
Of course the key feature of this bag is the latch. The magnetic buckle uses a combination of magnets to alight the latch and then a mechanical engagement secures the connection and takes the load. In my testing I never had it open on accident and it is truly a one handed operation. I was quite amazed how well it works and I have zero complaints about how it latches and opens.
The only disadvantage really that I can find to this quick opening system is that the bag is not fully sealed when the bag is close. Since the flap is only latched at one location there is a slight bit of room very small objects to to ingress or egress out of the bag. If you goal though is to carry items larger than a peanut though I don’t think you’ll run into trouble.
How Much Does It Hold?
My reason for buying this bag was to carry my Panasonic GX85 camera and camera accessories for taking photos rapidly while riding. The bag works great in that role it fits the camera with a 12-32mm lens with room to spare for other bits and bobs.
In a more traditional scenario this bag combined with a few other on bike attachment points will allow you ditch the pack for more rides. I can easily fit:
The Mag-Tank is not cheap. At $59.00 you are paying a premium for the closing method. However that closing method is pretty clutch. If you need on bike quick access to what’s in your top-tube bag the Mag-Tank is going to be hard to beat.
What to get the shred-head in your life? We’ve got some great gift ideas that the mountain biker in your life will be sure to love. All of these picks are designed to work with a wide variety of bikes and appeal to a wide range of mountain bikers. Without further ado let’s get into our picks!
This affordable kit has saved me on multiple occasions. A tubeless plug can turn a bad day back into a good day very quickly. No mountain biker should be without one. The Genuine Innovations kit comes with plugger tool and 5 “sides of bacon”. It weighs almost nothing and will fit almost anywhere.
These cold weather gloves are the perfect thing to keep the stoke going as the weather gets colder. The HandUp ColDER gloves not only provide great insulation, they also have a fun and playful style. You can check out our full review of these gloves over here: Handup Winter Glove Review.
Every mountain biker needs water. The Camelback podium is out favorite water bottle. These are several models and colors to choose from, but the killer feature (the jet valve) is included on every one. You can read more about what makes these bottles great. These bottles are great stocking stuffers and you can even fill them up with a few Christmas treats!
Instead of buying some goofy holiday themed stocking cap, pick up this highly functional Columbia Beanie that fits perfectly underneath a helmet for cold weather riding. I use this hat on cold weather rides all the time and it provide just the right amount of insulation to keep me comfortable. If I do get too warm, it’s highly packable and slips into a pack or jacket pocket with ease.
The followup to one of our favorite Mutli-Tools that we reviewed here this multitool provides any rider with all the tools needed for basic repairs and adjusts. It include tire levers, a chain tool that actually works, presta core tool, spoke wrenches and all the basic drivers you could need. This tool provides a great bang for your buck.
In the past couple of years Niner has gone through a number of changes. They’ve been bought by the same parent company as Huffy and they’ve opened up their minds to producing bikes that are not 29ers. Their first foray into this market is the Niner Rip 9 which is offered in both 29 and 27.5 wheel sizes.
The Rip 9 is also Niner’s most aggressive bike. It feature 150mm of travel up front and 140mm of travel in the back. The Rip 9 also features a new frame look for Niner while maintaining the same CVA suspension platform. We got a chance to ride the 29er version of this bike and put it through its paces.
The most striking part of the Rip 9 are the Rib Cage struts across the front triangle that encase the shock. This extra bracing is designed to reduce bottom bracket flex while allowing the rest of the front triangle to be more compliant. The tradeoff is that the rear shock is a bit harder to access (as can be noted by the warning stickers) and there’s a little bit more material in that area of the frame. Overall I found that I liked the way the Rip 9 felt under my feet, even if it didn’t feel very different from other bikes.
Components and Build
The Niner RDO Rip 9 Does not come in a budget build. The 2020 builds of this bike are now out (I was riding on a 2019 build). The base build for 2020 has SX Eagle drivetrain, but you won’t find other budget price tag on this $4,400 build. The rear shock is a Fox Fload DPS paired with a Fox 36 Float Rythm fork. The brake are the two piston SRAM Level’s which I think would be a little under-gunned.
Niner has 6 different build with both Shimano based and SRAM based components sets. Honestly, I would expect to spend between $5,000 and $8,000 on this bike for something that you are going to be happy laying out cash for.
The build I tested had an XO1 drivetrain, SRAM G2 RSC brakes and Fox 36 Factor Float Evol Fork and Fox Float DPX2 Shock. Overall a pretty baller build.
Even though I normally ride a bike $4000 less expensive than this bike I felt immediately at home on the Rip Nine. All the dimensions and angles on a size medium felt immediately at home. Likewise the suspension immediately felt controlled and predictable. After setting sag I needed to do nothing more to really rail this bike.
Working the CVA suspension through it’s travel it felt equally at home soaking up big hits and small bumps. I felt as though I could push the bike without having any nasty surprises. Going up, the suspension behaved nicely in the wide open setting and the bike climbed well.
The bike did have a bit longer feel, as it should, as the the most aggressive bike in Niner’s lineup. It definitely did not feel like an XC race machine that Niner is historically known for producing. At the same time the bike felt very accurate. When pointing it through a rock garden, it was easy to get it to go exactly where I wanted.
I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this bike and how much fun it was to ride. I honestly didn’t know quite what to expect from a long travel trail/enduro bike from Niner. That being said, the pricing is problematic for me. At a $4,400 intro price tag, Niner is lining themselves up head to head against other boutique bike brands. For any brand, be it Niner, Santa Cruz, Yeti and so on, I think the law of diminishing returns comes into play. If you want a bike that will ride like a dream and get out of your way, the Niner Rip Nine will deliver that. However, this is a bike that I would definitely demo before laying out cash for it to see if the ride is worth the price tag.
Norco has dropped a new “All Mountain” hardtail in one of the oldest bike manufacture materials, steel. This is not going to be your XC race bike. The builds are equipped with 4-piston disc brakes, long-stroke dropper posts and aggressive Maxxis Assegai 29er tires.
Even though it shares the Torrent name with Norco’s already aggressive 27.5 alloy trail bike, this bike is a different beast. As a 29er with 2.5in tires the Norco Torrent S is not your standard entry level 27.5 plus trail hardtail. Featuring a massive 150mm of travel up front on a slack 64 degree head tube angle, a reach of 450mm on a medium and an effective seat tube angle of 76 degrees, this bike has enduro like numbers without the rear suspension.
The Norco Torrent S comes in two build options and a frame only option. The base build comes in at $2,199. For this, you’ll get a SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain (the lowest Eagle option available from SRAM) combined with TRP G-Spec Trail S 4 piston brakes. The build is rounded out with a RockShox 35 Gold fork and an X Fusion dropper.
The S1 build makes a few key upgrades for $2,999. You get a SRAM GX Eagle drive train mix and matched with NX series cranks. You also get upgraded to SRAM Code R Brakes and the Rockshox 35 Gold is replaces with a RockShox Lyrik Ultimate RC2.
Overall these builds and prices suggest that this is not an entry level bike. Instead, I think this bike caters to the rider who knows that they want a steel hardtail and knows they will be happy with it. At the prices that these builds are coming in at many riders would probably be better served by looking at some of the more affordable full suspension options available.
However, if those clean steel lines and the subtle damping of steel frames are what you are after the Norco Torrent S bikes might just fit your bill. Even if it’s not the bike for you and your budget, almost any rider will admit that it’s a gorgeous bike to look at.
Enduro is becoming a more popular racing format, but more than that we continue to ask our bikes to go faster down more gnarly terrain. Even if you don’t plan on racing, an “enduro” bike may be the right next bike for you. If you visit lift access bike parks, jump lines and like to go on 4-5 hour rides, modern enduro bikes can do it all. Today we’ll be looking at a number of great enduro bike options at the lower end of the price spectrum.
Best Spec 27.5 Option – Canyon Spectral AL 6.0
The Canyon Spectral AL 6.0 is a 160mm by 150mm travel enduro bike. Equipped with a FOX 36 Rhythm fork, Float DPX2 rear shock, SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, SRAM Guide R brakes and DT Swiss M1900 wheels this bike comes with the most complete build in our list. With this great spec though you may not be getting the most progressive geometry. With one of the shortest reaches and slackest seat tubes in our list the Spectral AL 6.0 geo chart is looking a little long in the tooth. In addition it is one of only 2 27.5 bikes on this list. The trend in enduro racing is toward 29ers so if you are looking for all out speed the Canyon may not be the right bike. On the other hand if you find yourself still loving the “little wheels” Canyon provides a ton of bang for your buck.
Ibis, which has long been outside of the financial reach of many, just dropped a new version of the Ripmo 29er in aluminum for $3k. Not only has this been a much buzzed frame design but Ibis has worked to outfit the Ripmo AF with DVO’s top of the line suspension with a Diamond D1 fork. This gives you additional controls such independent high and low speed compression not usually found in this price point. In other areas of the bike the spec if a bit more modest, but still respectable featuring NX Eagle drivetrain and SRAM Guide T 4 piston brakes.
Available in both 29 and 27.5 versions, the YT Capra AL Base features a beefy 160mm by 160mm suspension that is supplied by a Rockshox Lyric RC and Rockshox Super Deluxe. This is one of the nicest suspension specs in this list. It also comes equipped with SRAM Code R brakes paired with 200mm rotors front and rear which you would not be surprised to find on a full downhill bike. If you’re a bigger individual the YT Capra should be able to keep your speed in check with ease. The drivetrain is also a decent spec with the SRAM NX Eagle setup.
If you are looking for the cheapest way to get into a ridable Enduro bike the Commencel Clash Origin 27.5 bike may be your ticket. At $2,299.00 it’s a good $700 less than many of the other bikes on this list. What do you give up for that price? First, there’s no dropper so you’ll either be supplying your own or going without. In addition, your looking at SRAM SX Eagle as apposed to GX or NX that you find on most builds. You also will find a Rockshox Deluxe shock out back so no piggy back for this budget pick.
27.5 Bike You Can Find at Your Local Shop – Rocky Mountain Altitude Alloy 30
If you want to be able to buy a sub $3000 enduro bike from your local shop, Rocky Mountain may have an answer. The Altitude Alloy 30 is a 160mm x 150mm 27.5 enduro bike. You’ll get an SX Eagle Drivetrain and a Rockshox Yari and Rockshox Deluxe suspension setup. The stopping power however diverges from SRAM with a Shimano MT420 4 Piston spec. The dropper is a house branded Rocky Mountain Toonie Drop. Overall is a good starter spec and you’ll be able to try this bike out at a local shop or demo.
29er You Can Buy At Your Local Shop – Kona Process 153 29
Kona wrote the book on new school geometry and the Kona Process 153 is still a solid contender. This 160mm x 153mm design is a battle tested formula. You’ll find the familiar Rockshox Yari and Deluxe shock surrounded by a mix of NX and SX level 12 speed drivetrain components. Also you’ll get the common Guide T brakes paired up with 200mm and 180mm rotors.
Ibis has released a new Ripmo 29er enduro bike, this time in Aluminum. This is the only Aluminum bike in the Ibis lineup and the material change isn’t the only trick it has up its sleeve.
The new Ibis Ripmo AF has slackened the headtube angle when compared with the carbon Ripmo from 65.9° to 64.9°. The wheelbase has also in turn increased and the reach has as well. What results is an even more aggressive bike on paper. The travel has been kept the same at 160mm up front and 147mm in the rear.
To go along with these geo tweaks, the Ripmo AF is compatible with both coil and air shocks due to a more progressive leverage rate on the DW-Link™ suspension. All of the builds come stock with a DVO Topaz T3 Air, 210 x 55 and are up-gradable for $100 DVO JadeX coil shock. As someone who writes about writes about and rides more “budget” oriented bikes having the same shock spec across all builds is really exciting. Often finding a build with a lower end drivetrain (that works perfectly fine) combined with a decent suspension is just about impossible.
The Ibis Ripmo AF has a base spec complete build starting at $2999. When you consider that the base build of the carbon Ripmo is $4399 the Ripmo AF offers some significant savings while being perhaps a better bike for some people.
The $2999 build gets you a pretty complete spec. A DVO Diamond D1 160mm fork up front and the aforementioned DVO Topaz T3 Air provide the springy bits. These are DVO’s top of the line shocks and forks, so you aren’t making any compromises by buying the cheapest build available.
4 piston SRAM Guide T brakes paired with 200mm and 180mm rotors are a fitting choice for this bike. The SRAM brakes are matched up with a SRAM NX 12 speed drivetrain. A KS Rage-i Dropper dropper is included and the cockpit and wheels are rounded out with mostly house-branded components.
If you want to bump up the specs out of the box you can also purchase a SLX 12 speed or GX Eagle build. In my estimation, since the base build presents so much value, most buyers will be best off saving their pennies and replacing components as they wear out.
The other upgrade option provided is the $100 bump up to the DVO JadeX coil shock. For those who are coil curious this seems like a very tempting option.
Overall, the new Ripmo AF looks to be an pretty awesome deal for those looking for a rowdy, tough, alloy enduro bike. You can find out more over at the Ibis website or Jenson USA.
That frame features Fezarri’s “Tetra Link” suspension that at its core is a Horst Link. The suspension layout itself is quite simple and you’ll find the minimum number of pivots needed for this type of system. The Tetralink is tuned to have a progressive leverage ratio so it can be paired with a coil shock if desired.
The frame will also clear a 29×2.6in tire and features CleanCatch™ rattle-proof internal cable routing. In addition, 2 water bottles will fit in the front triangle which is an achievement few bike makers can tout in this travel range. The frameset does have some odd angles and it is in the eye of the beholder whether the “chin” on the toptube is pleasing to the eye.
Components and Build
The build I rode was the La Sal Peak Comp. This is the base spec version. It features a RockShox Lyrik RCT3 with 42mm offset in front and a RockShox Super Deluxe RC3 in the back. This suspension setup worked just fine for me after a bit of tweaking of rebound and air pressures.
The drivetrain was a full NX Eagle build and it gave me no trouble. Even down to the NX level I have found SRAM’s 11 and 12 speed offerings to be trouble free. Those concerned about bottom bracket specs will be happy to see a SRAM English Threaded BB.
Braking power was provided by SRAM Guide T brakes. While not the fanciest brakes on the market, they provided consistent stopping power in the gravity focused bike park setting where I was testing this bike.
The rims provided were WTB STP i29 rims which are common on base builds. These were laced to Bear Pawls hubs with a Shimano freehub body to accommodate that NX cassette. These wheels were wrapped in a Maxxis 2.5 WT DHF up front and a 2.5WT Aggressor in the back. The dropper was a X-Fusion Manic that performed just fine.
Initially this bike did not stand out to me in either a good way or a bad way. It just felt like a trail bike. Not much more, not much less. That was a good initial sign.
As I rode a bit more I found that I needed to add a bit of pressure to the fork to keep it from feeling like it was diving. In retrospect I believe the reason the bike was feeling this way was because it was equipped with a longer stem and has a bit shorter reach than some other bikes in this category. This combination meant that I was over the front end a bit more that I should have been. The shorter reach and steep seat tube angle combination made the bike feel a bit too cramped for my liking.
I also found that I needed to slow down the rebound a bit to keep from being a little nose heavy off jumps. After doing this I found that I was bottoming out the rear suspension so I needed to add a bit of pressure. I felt like this got the Tetra Link running pretty well.
The Tetra Link overall didn’t fare as well in fast and rough sections of trail with repeated hits. It felt a bit harsh and didn’t have that bottomless feel. While on climbing and pedally sections however, the suspension felt very supportive with little pedal-bob. I also found the suspension did respond well to pumping sections of trail and seemed to preserve energy well and allow me to build speed with the bike.
The steep seat tube angle meant that seated climbing was enjoyable without any front wheel wandering. When thinking about the climbing and fast downhill sections found in Crested Butte, the La Sal Peak struck me as a bike and suspension platform that would be best suited to someone who is looking for a longer travel trail bike that they’ll be pedaling up hill a lot of the time. I wouldn’t characterize the La Sal Peak as in any way not capable on fast downhill sections, but it seems to be biased more to turning the cranks while riding.
All of the components on the bike worked together well. The brakes held up in the park and the NX Eagle drivetrain was flawless. The X-Fusion Manic dropper performed well and I honestly didn’t even need to think about it.
As mentioned above overall the La Sal Peak struck me as a pedalers enduro bike. While not a standout in any particular segment of trail the La Sal Peak did well across the board. The shorter reach and a bit finicky suspension were my two main complaints. As an all round, one-bike-quiver, type trail bike, the Fezarri La Sal Peak performed very well.