Scott, Specialized, Cannondale, Trek, and Giant have all had a big presence in the off-road triathlon world. These “big” brands have won numerous XTERRA titles and created some truly remarkable machines. However, they’re not the only game in town and some of the “little guys” are putting out some fabulous options. Below are 5 of our favorites. Check back with dirtTRI.com in the coming months for on dirt and long term reviews of these amazing bikes.
Back in the 90’s Yeti created the bikes you wanted to be on. Juliana Furtado, John Tomac, and many of the other top pros in the early days of mountain biking graced the saddles of the venerable Colorado brand. Over the years Yeti transitioned to more of a gravity focus with few to no real cross country options. First introduced in 2001, the ASR stagnated and eventually disappeared completely from the Yeti line.
Now its back and back in a big way. Designed as a XC racer that can hold its own as an Enduro rig, the ASR C is an intriguing mix of style and function. Offered in various builds, offering 120mm front/100mm rear suspension, and splitting wheel size by 27.5 for XS and S izes while M-XL sizes get 29ers. We can’t wait to get on this bike. Seriously, you’ve got to love that Yeti turquoise, it just stirs up all those grunge laden desires you know you too had back in the day.
$4,199 – $9,999
Lapierre is one of those companies that seems to have the unenviable talent of staying just off the radar. They make quality products that do well in their home European market but get lost in the shuffle abroad.
The XR 929 is the bike that will help Lapierre take out the megaphone, step up on the apple box and start screaming “HEY! Look at this freakin bike!”.
The XR 929 is as high tech as it gets. Rocking the new SRAM RS-1 fork, an ultra-light full carbon frame, and most importantly Lapierre’s E:i Shock Auto Technology. Lapierre explains the E:i system as:
“The two accelerometers measure the movements of the fork (speed and intensity of shocks) and the sensor on the bottom bracket measures the pedaling frequency. All this data is transmitted immediately to the computer which evaluates the terrain and the pedaling need. In automatic mode, the computer puts the shock into the correct position to ensure the suspension is in the ideal position for the rider.”
In short, the E:i system frees you up to forget about what you’re suspension is doing and focus on the race course. No matter how you look at it this is a revolutionary bike.
We’re not usually fans of the “do it all” bikes. In general when something tries to be everything to everyone it usually ends up doing nothing well and everything pretty mediocre. Thus, we have to admit we were apprehensive when Pivot pitched the Mach 4 as a XC racer that could please the baggiest of trail riders and bragged of 26″ acceleration with 29er roll.
However, after nothing but positive initial reviews and numerous nods for technical innovation we had to reconsider. Unlike most “do it all” bikes the Mach 4 is light, like a racer should be, coming in at 22lbs. stock which could easily approach 20lbs. with a few tweaks. Also, in the Mach 4 Pivot has created the “first Shimano Di2 compatible frame ever developed, featuring an internal battery mount in the down tube and all the required ports for clean internal routing”. Add to that an efficient suspension design and 27.5″ wheels and we might well be looking at a XC racer that can hang with the full facers on the descents.
Either way we want to get on one as soon as possible.
$4,499 – $8,999
From the stunning sweeping arc design of the frame to the cool little details, like cable routing through the head badge and “Peddle Damn it” emblazoned on the top tube, the Jet 9 positions itself as a bike that’s hard to criticize even before you swing a leg over it. Offering 120mm of travel up front and 100mm at the rear coupled with Niner’s CVA suspension system for superior pedaling efficiency and (obviously) 29er wheels the Jet 9 RDO will easily handle any and all dirtTRI courses and have plenty to offer in any race, XC to marathon. After all that’s what “RDO” stands for, “Race Day Optimized”.
$5,299 – $8,199
We trust you have not heard of Silverback bikes. And that is understandable, they are a young company. But, man are they innovative.
The “SBC” in the title of this bike stands for “super bike concept”. However, this is not a concept bike, it is actually available. While the Sesta is dripping cutting edge tech, the real show stopper on this bike is Silverback’s use of what they call “BURST” technology in the rear suspension. BURST stands for, Branched Unified Rear Suspension Technology. In short:
“The rear triangle is unified and uses a branched linkage to actuate the rear shock, resulting in a rigid lightweight structure. The weight to stiffness ratio was the main aspect of consideration during the design of this system. It is optimized for high performance riders that seek the ultimate lightweight racing solution.”
With an über-light, yet stiff and unified structure sporting 100mm front and 90mm rear travel, and available in both 27.5 and 29″ builds this could be the ultimate dirtTRI race machine.
$8,952 – $9,668
Again, we can’t wait to get on the Silverback, and are doing all we can to get you an on dirt review of this an all the above bikes ASAP.