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Seven 26 inch downhill mountain bikes you can still buy

Unfortunately, if 26 ain’t dead then it’s certainly looking up a one-way ticket to Switzerland. There are now only a handful of new bikes still running the nearly obsolete standard and most are merely “26 compatible”, meaning that although you should be running the 27.5 wheel, the option is there if you still have a load of 26 inch components kicking around.

Of course, you could just bung 26 inch wheels in any bike, but you risk cocking up the geometry and ending up in a right pickle. So, here are the best options for those of you still keeping it real on the smaller wheel:

Rose The Unchained

Rose the Unchained 26 inch

Rose’s The Unchained is the bike of choice for British World Cup rider Katy Curd. The former 4X World Champion piloted it to fourth at Fort William this year but a nasty concussion disrupted the rest of her season.

Come on Katy (Curd), hang on in there. Style for miles.
The bike is available in two build options, one at £2,250 with Rockshox and one at £4,000 with Fox, but Rose also offer a customisation service where you can build nearly limitless number of kit combinations to find a ride that suits you best.

Commencal Supreme Park (2015)

Commencal Supreme Park 26 inch

Designed with the help of Red Bull Rampage competitor Pierre-Edouard Ferry, the Commencal Supreme Park is designed for jumping and turn slapping as opposed to outright speed. It boasts shorter chainstays and a slacker head angle than the Supreme Comp and, of course, 26 inch wheels.

The bike is the 2015 model, but Commencal is still selling it and with a hefty discount of 20% meaning you’re looking at €2,200 (£1,850) for the whole thing.

Kona Stinky 26

stinky_26
Much like the 26” wheel, the iconic Kona Stinky is staying alive by the skin of its teeth. There’s only one model available in 2017 and that’s this 26 inch model aimed at riders who want “all the big bike performance of a larger downhill bike but aren’t on a Pro race-team budget.”

It’s worth noting that it only comes in Small and Medium sizing but it does offer great value for someone looking to get into downhill for the first time coming in at around £2,500.

Rocky Mountain Maiden

morgan-taylor-2016-rocky-mountain-maiden-11
Released around this time last year, the Rocky Mountain Maiden is the most recently designed bike that still embraces 26 inch wheels. As a park focussed bike, the 26 inch wheels really make sense on the Maiden as they are less of a sail in the air and can be tossed around more easily – similarly to Brandon Semenuk’s Trek Session Park.

Flip Chip geometry and a frame spacer is what’s needed to convert this to smaller wheels, although even the Park spec build comes with 27.5.

Bergamont Straitline Team

Screen Shot 2016-09-15 at 14.48.23
Piloted by Eddie Masters, Morgane Charre and Rupert Chapman, the Bergamont Straitline Team is a wild bike for some wild riders. With 15 years experience Bergamont clearly know how to make a capable ride as Eddie proved with his second placed qualifier in Fort William.

Again a flip chip converts this to 26 inch wheels, just make sure they match with the awesome decals on the Manitou Dorado fork and frame.

Transition TR 500

Here's one we missed yesterday - Tahnee's glittery TR500
If their marketing is anyway to judge, the guys at Transition sure know how to have fun and that may be why they’ve not left the 26 inch crew behind. Their flag ship TR 500 frame has adjustable BB height, head angle, chainstay length and even travel meaning it’s a doddle to fit smaller wheels.

Scott Voltage FR 720

Screen Shot 2016-09-15 at 14.50.48

Technically this is a freeride bike but we’re sure it could comfortably handle most UK downhill tracks too. The Voltage made it into the Dirt 100 in 2014 as a great bike for beginners and young ‘uns, and it’s a statement we stand by today as, to be honest, it hasn’t changed much. Adjustable geometry allows for installation of 26 inch wheels and makes an already fun bike even more so.

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