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Learn more about the winning bikes in 2021


Welcome here to a new article for bike enthusiasts. Today we are going to talk about the grades we recommend, especially for mountainous areas

Mondraker CRAFTY R

The needs for an All Mountain eMTB are quite diverse. Climb well, ride downhills safely, tour comfortably and with endurance. And for sure it should be fun to ride. Not an easy task. The Mondraker Crafty R manages this balancing act pretty well. And so hello to the bike check of our test winner. In our EMTB issue 3/2021, we tested eight All Mountains between 5500 and 6000 Euros. The Crafty R from Mondraker stood out in the practical test with its balanced riding characteristics.


But first a look at the key data. The basis is formed by 29-inch wheels and a chassis with 160 millimeters of travel at the front and 150 millimeters at the rear. When it comes to the front suspension, the Spaniards go all out and rely on the robust Fox 38. A finger pointing towards the descent. At the rear, the suspension with a virtual pivot point should ensure similar downhill qualities.


"Zero Suspension" is what Mondraker calls this system, in which the rear end is linked via two separate rockers. The power unit comes from Bosch. With the proven Performance CX you have easily controllable power on board. The range with the 625 Powertube is very good. 


A small specialty is the removal of the battery from the top. This makes handling easier and the battery with its firmly screwed cover is better protected from dirt. However, the bottle cage has to leave its usual place on the down tube. The positioning under the top tube is unusual.


When it comes to the quality of the specs, the Crafty R cannot quite keep up with the aggressively priced competitors. An NX trigger and G2 R brakes from Sram for 5999 Euros – some others in the test can do that much better. But as I said, where it matters, the bike delivers. Especially offroad and on single trails.


The Crafty master's technical uphills in a super uncomplicated way and more confidently than any other test bike. The front-wheel stays on the ground even on steep climbs. That gives a lot of control. This is ensured by the rather long chainstays, the central riding position, and the low cockpit. An absolute plus point on the uphill is the strong rear suspension. It works very sensitively, but only as much as is really necessary. This keeps the rear stable and the shock stays high in the travel. A real character-building feature of the Crafty.


Even downhill, the Mondraker does not lose its sovereignty. The geometry is absolutely balanced, the suspension sensitive and very active at the same time. Whether small bumps or large chunks, the Crafty maintains unimpressed contact with the ground. The massive Fox 38 fork shows its strengths especially on rough courses and inspires with a sovereign smoothness. Fortunately, the rear can also keep up. The bike exudes enduro feelings.


One of the few points of criticism is the poor brakes. The G2 R is undersized for the downhill strength of the bike. But that doesn't change the fact that our test team unanimously voted the Crafty R the best downhill bike in the comparison. At 25 kilos, the bike is unfortunately not one of the light eMTBs. Fortunately, our test bike was still fun even on flat and curvy trails and didn't have the typical tank feeling of some heavy bikes. On the one hand, the relatively light wheels contribute to this, on the other hand, the good rear suspension shines here as well. There is a lot of counter pressure when pedaling, pushing, or pulling to jump. That promotes liveliness.


However, the bike is not a proven agile trail rocket. But it convinces with a lot of security. If you are looking for an eMTB for pretty much every occasion that can keep up even in really difficult terrain, you will find it here. That makes the Crafty a well-deserved test winner in the all-mountain class. A few words about finding the right size. Mondraker is known for its particularly long “Forward Geometry”.


In our test, however, we had a medium size bike, while the other candidates competed in large. With a reach of 462 millimeters, the Crafty in medium lands exactly in the middle of the other candidates in large. Interested parties should consider this when buying. Ideally, if you have the opportunity to simply test ride two different sizes.

source: bike magazin & Mondraker

TRICKSTUFF Piccola HD Carbon


Riding down technical single trails or long alpine descents: unthinkable nowadays without disc brakes! That is why we at BIKE have been pushing disc brakes to their limits for many years - with tough field tests and many hours on test benches. Only the best can really convince. Like the Trick stuff Piccola HD, which is the winner of our comparison test in BIKE 5/2021.


Trick stuff in Freiburg has been working on the perfect disc brake for years. With the Piccola, the guys from Germany have achieved great success. The 2-piston version is one of the lightest disc brakes on the market. The Piccola HD, on the other hand, uses four stainless steel pistons and a two-part saddle made of CNC-milled aluminum.


The processing is top-notch. There is also a stylish carbon lever on the handlebar, organic hydraulic brake oil, and two in-house developments: the organic Power Plus pads and the Dächle stainless steel discs. In short: a perfectly coordinated system that has been optimized down to the smallest detail. But that has its price: a brake including disc costs 488 Euros. Due to the high demand, however, you have to expect a waiting period of one year. Even on the test bench in the BIKE laboratory, the Trick stuff brake does not show any weaknesses.


It weighs just 345 grams including the 180 mm disc. This makes it significantly lighter than other 4-piston disc brakes from Magura, Shimano, or Sram. The Piccola HD also delivers top values in terms of braking force and our fading test and demonstrates its stability. However high braking forces and maximum stability are only one thing, on the trail must brakes show whether they can also stop heavier riders on steep terrain safely. The Piccola HD does not show any weaknesses there either. The carbon lever lies very well in the hand and can be used to modulate the full power.


In our standardized endurance test, we let the front brake slip first, followed by some powerful intermittent braking and at the end an emergency braking from 60 km/h on the steepest of terrain. That's too much for most disc brakes. Not so for the Trick stuff. The Piccola HD decelerated confidently even with a 100-kilo rider. We at FREERIDE have tested disc brakes. Now I'm here in the bike park because bike park shredding is the biggest challenge for a brake. And where I don't want to worry is whether the brake works or not. Of all the brakes we've tested, Trickstuff's Piccola is the most sturdy brake. It delivers the best performance, even for heavy riders.


Light and sturdy, durable but expensive. The Trick stuff Piccola HD Carbon sets the bar extremely high for 4-piston disc brakes and deserves the test victory in BIKE and FREERIDE.

source: Trickstuff & Bike magazin

Giant TRANCE X Advanced

All-Mountain bikes claim to be true all-rounders. But as our test of eight bikes for 4500 Euros showed, many of them are too downhill-orientated and too heavy. Not so the Giant Trance X Advanced Pro 2, our BIKE tip in issue 6/2021. 


Disassemble, weigh, measure: like every mountain bike that is tested at BIKE, the Trance X also had to go through a comprehensive procedure in our test laboratory. Every bike is completely disassembled by us. We determine all of our data ourselves because we do not rely on any manufacturer information.


On the scales, Giant scores top marks in the comparative test: the 29-inch bike weighs 13.4 kilos without pedals. The carbon frame in size L weighs just 2392 grams, making it the lightest in the test field. The rest of the equipment is rather simple at a price of 4299 Euros.


The Sram NX drivetrain only has a total gear ratio of 454 percent and the group less Shimano brakes are below the average of the test field. The simple Pike Select fork and the Deluxe Select Plus rear shock work very sensitively and actively. 


It is also gratifying that the rear suspension nods only minimally even when pedaling out of the saddle and is pleasant to ride even without a platform mode.


With the light Trance X, extended bike trips with long climbs are also fun. All testers also praised the consistent handling on the trail and the slight position of the rider on the bike. Despite the long reach of 482 millimeters, the Trance X strikes a good compromise between high-speed stability and playfulness.


Hop on it and feel good, in all riding situations. Despite simple gears and brakes, the Trance X left the most coherent impression in our comparative test of eight All Mountains.


Uphill as well as downhill, the light 150 mm full suspension bike is one of the absolute favorites in the test and meets the requirements of an all-rounder with flying colors.

ORBEA Oiz Team


Light, fine, fast, and – in the end – the best overall package: The Orbea Oiz is a top-class race bike with World Cup technology for everyone. And so hello to the check of our test winner from the BIKE issue. Who builds the fastest race fully of the season? To answer this question, we tested ten race bikes with pro bikers on the racetrack. 


Because this is exactly where these bikes with 100 millimeters of travel who are hungry for kilometers and trimmed for efficiency, feel at home. And in the end, the Orbea Oiz M Team narrowly beat the legendary marathon bikes from Specialized, Cannondale, and Merida in our comparative test.


With the new Oiz and its own World Cup team, Orbea wants to build on his glorious racing era with Julien Absalon. With the latest version of the Oiz, the Basques are sending a convincing bike to the starting line. The 1654 gram OMX frame is one of the lightest on the market. 


Even the rocker on the 29-inch bike is made of carbon. The geometry is very consistent. In the end, the Team version with full Shimano XTR spec, Fox Factory suspension, and carbon wheels weights 10,37 kilograms in total and even includes a dropper post.


In the uphills, the lightest bike in the test field is one of the strongest. The grip on the lockout helps against the minimally rocking rear. 


Here the engineers have thought along and built in a medium position before blocking, just like you know from Scott. This middle position calms the suspension. 


But in this setting, we found the fork to be too tight compared to the rear. There is a lot of praise for the balanced position of the rider on the bike.


In addition, the voluminous 2.35 inch wide tires provide a lot of grip and traction. Because the remote control for the dropper post and the suspension are relatively close together, it is possible that the suspension remote below is operated at the same time when lowering the saddle. But that's criticism on a high level. The remote levers sit compactly with one clamp on the handlebar.


Orbea charges 7299 Euros for its luxury race bike. Certainly a lot of money, but a fair price compared to the competition. In addition, at Orbea, you can create your own frame design at no extra charge. The online configurator can also be used to adapt add-on parts such as a dropper post or the length of the stem.


In terms of handling characteristics, only Specialized and Cannondale can stand up to the Oiz. But Orbea delivers the best overall package and deservedly won the race bike test in BIKE.

source: Orbea & Bike Magazin

Stevens E-Inception AM 9.7 GTF


Strong uphill and downhill performance. Neither uneasy nor sedate to handle. Lots of battery range, but not too heavy. The Stevens E-Inception AM is a real all-rounder! And so hello to the bike check of our test winner. This bike didn't win any test. For the EMTB issue 2020, we tested eight absolute high-end e-mountain bikes. Cost: up to 11.500 Euros Admittedly, the test victory of this bike surprised us. As far as e-mountain bikes are concerned, the brand from Hamburg didn't really get going. Their bikes were good, but we haven't really loved them so far. That changed suddenly with the model range 2021 and the E-Inception models. For the first time, the development team is relying on sporty high-end bikes instead of cheap bestsellers.


The solid base of the E-Inception is a noble full carbon frame. There is also a large battery with 726 watt-hours and Shimano's new EP8 drive unit. The battery sits under a special plastic cover that is generously rubberized. The Darfon battery can be removed in a classic way with a key. In addition, there are high-end carbon components, the high-quality Shimano XTR groupset, and very powerful brakes.


And the geometry is also up to date. The reach is long and sportive, the steering angle is flat and the seat angle is very steep. The integrated cable routing through the headset is a perfect rounding off of the modern overall impression. 


The bike is not a cozy SUV tank. Geometry and components are designed for ambitious trail rides. With 150 millimeters of travel, the E-Inception doesn't even shy away from wild enduro trail rides.


High riding safety, active suspension, powerful and robust specs: the Stevens bike feels at home in demanding terrain. Only when riding at the limit with fast strokes and large jumps do the rear shock without a reservoir slows you down. The rear shock also could be more progressive for more demanding trails. In return, the Stevens remains easy to handle even in flowy or flat terrain.

Thanks to the small 27.5-inch rear wheel, it rides nimbly around tight corners and is easy to pull onto the rear wheel. One thing you have to know though: Those who prefer bikes with a deep front might feel more comfortable on other test bikes. 


Because the cockpit of the Stevens is higher than the average. In the downhills, the Stevens e-bike is at the forefront of our test field. It still remains to be clarified how the E-Inception performs on the uphill. Due to the steepest seat angle in our comparison test, you sit far forward on the bike and keep a lot of pressure on the front wheel. 

This allows the rider to tackle even the steepest ramps in a relaxed and controlled position. The rear triangle works very solid in the climbs. And the very grippy tires provide an extra boost.

Schwalbe's Magic Mary, 2.6 inches wide, is a bench on the rear wheel, especially on deep, difficult ground. The bike can also show its strengths on loops with extra length. The large battery in combination with the new Shimano EP8 drive unit provides an excellent range. In our test, none made it further than the Stevens E-Inception. At 22.6 kilos in size L, the weight remains completely within limits despite the large battery.


Finally, take a look at the price tag. At 7999 Euros, the Stevens E-Inception AM 9.7 is of course no longer a real savings tip. However, if you look at the other models in the test, this is put into perspective again. 7.999 Euros is a fair price for such a successful bike with high-end specs. All in all, the Stevens E-Inception AM 9.7 does not have any weaknesses in any category. That makes the bike a worthy test winner!


And now a tip for choosing the right size for the E-Inception AM. Stevens installed a dropper post with 170 millimeters of travel here. This is of course great because you really have a lot of freedom of movement in the downhills. However, this also makes the post quite long and because of the crinkle in the seat tube, you cannot lower it completely.