Saturday, 4 February 2023
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Top 6 XC and trail bikes for 2023

First Impressions: Trek aims for "quiver killer" ideal with new Fuel EX

New mountain bikes lately have delivered a wide variety of options, either between bikes or, like the Trek Fuel EX, all kinds of options with the same bike. That mean’s there is a bike, or a few, out there for everyone this year.

The bikes are wildly different, too. Some have less travel, others added more compared to previous models. Some bring value to performance, others elevate manufacturing to new heights. The common thread? They’re all meant to deliver a good time on the trails. Here are six standout bikes that will deliver speed and smiles on singletrack in 2023.

Trek Fuel EX Gen 6

Trek’s sixth-generation Fuel EX makes the Wisconsin brand’s mid-travel trail bike more capable and more tuneable than ever. A wide range of geometry and suspension adjustments make it easy to adapt the EX frame to personal preferences and riding styles. Those tweaks offer improvements from an excellent starting point. The EX is well balanced with a stout frame that, while slightly heavier than years past, feels capable of having fun on smooth flow or brawling through burly terrain.

Norco Fluid FS

Norco’s Fluid FS combines big performance for a little price. That is always a winning combo, and Norco executes it expertly. How? Developing Ride Aligned at the elite level, then applying what the brand learned to the Fluid line. Taking an affordable bike seriously, knowing that people are going to ride the heck out of it, or that it will be their first impression of a trail bike for newer riders. Excellent parts, excellent price, excellent design. We want to see more bikes like this.

Giant Reign

Giant’s enduro and long-travel trail bike was always good, but a bit conservative. For 2023, the Reign adds travel and toughness to take on any trail – or race – you want. Making a good bike great, without completely throwing out what worked with the old version,  is a good idea.

Cervélo ZHT-5

Cervélo finally dips its toes into the world of mountain biking with the ZHT-5. As you might expect from the very race-focused brand, this cross country hardtail aims squarely at the start line. Cervélo’s years of experience pay off in a frame that is light, efficient and surprisingly comfortable to ride. That comes with a hefty price tag, but it sure is fast.

Canyon Spectral 125

Canyon’s short travel shredder impressed us when it landed in early in 2022 and it continues to impress months later. The Spectral 125 borrows heavily from the 150-mm travel version of…

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