Dirt 100

Dirt 100 2017 – the best enduro bikes

This is Dirt's pick of thirteen of the hottest enduro bikes of the year, selected from the Dirt 100 2017

Enduro bikes have taken the mountain bike world by storm. These are bikes designed to hit the descents alongside their downhill bike siblings, only to be pedalled back to the top. None of that pushing up lark. More runs, more fun.

> Dirt 100 2017 – the best downhill bikes
> Dirt 100 2017 – the best trail bikes

The rise of the enduro bike is down to the format of its namesake, the racing itself. A race format that is essentially like being out with your mates, it is all about competing on the down, not too worried about heading back up. This is an ethos that most mountain bikers can get along with, racing or not. These modern enduro bikes are really going everywhere with us now. From hacking it about your local woods to big alpine days out, they are seriously versatile bikes.

If you looked at them as a sum of their parts, enduro bikes would look very similar. Sporting on average 150mm to 180mm travel, with wide bars, dropper seat posts and running 1x drivetrains, you could say they were all one species. Characteristically however, these are all different animals. Each has a mind of its own, some bulldozing through the descents like a bull elephants on heat, while some climb like supple leopard eager for the big days out. Companies are really pushing the boundaries of geometry too, all in the quest of making these bikes as capable as ever. They come in a range of materials, with many companies exploring the world of carbon whilst some delve deeper into aluminium. Proving that neither material is superior.

We put the bikes through some serious testing to come out with this years Dirt 100. So without further ado, here they are, the cream of the crop…

vitus sommet

This is a bike that has come into the fiercely competitive ‘enduro’ scene with intentions to rival not only the capability, but to also challenge the ‘direct-sales’ brands on the continent in terms of value. Despite it being the standard model this is by no means an incapable bike. Far from it in fact, with a spec list that hosts a custom tuned Monarch Plus coming as standard, a Manitou Mattoc Pro fork and a stealth dropper post, this is a serious competitor.

We really like its more trail orientated Escarpe too. These are both bikes with up to date geometry, real solid rides that definitely provide a real bang for your buck package. If you’re just getting into enduro, this bike is sure to take you above and beyond, with a spec list that won’t need upgrading straight off the bat and at this price, there is so little to go wrong.

Price: £1799


Read the full review here

radon swoop 170

A bike that rolled into the office and subsequently blew us away, the Radon Swoop is the lightest 170mm traveled trail bike we have tested, a fact that grows more impressive as this is another full aluminium bike. This is a very fast bike with bang up to date geometry and sizing, all leading to a ride quality that is a sure class leader.

If everyone is aiming for long, low and slack, this is the bike that has it. Rarely seen on UK trails, it’s not only its looks that’ll be turning heads. With adjustable geometry and a killer component list this new kid on the block really shines, definitely giving its closest competitors a run for their money.

Price: €2399 – €4899


Read the full review here

yt capra al comp

This bike just keeps showing its face, doesn’t it? It now has close competition but that doesn’t mean that the mountain goat inspired Capra isn’t still on top of the game. The XL came in this year too, first found on the aluminium bike that we have chose too. With a well thought out suspension package, components and very mean looks the Capra is built to win.

Direct sales also means that this bike comes in at a very respectable price, with performance that should cost twice as much. It really turned heads when it first entered the show and so it carries on. Whether carbon or aluminium this is a real trail slayer, ready for runs at the bike park or a full day of racing enduro. A bike that lives up to YT’s ethos of ‘good times’.

Price: £2399


Read the full review here

arbr saker

This is a bike that will certainly turn heads and divide opinions in the looks department. The Saker is a bike that you can’t deny is a true product of research and engineering though. Straight out of Surrey, the ARBR Saker is a bike formed through the collaborative minds of mountain bikers. These mountain bikers however, happen to have 25 years of automotive and aerospace engineering experience behind them. With production being small batch and based in the UK, this is not a cheap bike. Though what you do get is all that exclusivity and a level of quality assurance you can’t achieve with big manufacture abroad.

How does such a bike ride though? This a bike that really does show its cards when driven into the rough, with superb balance to it, this bike has a genuine pace. Even without a lock out switch on the damper, this bike climbs well too. This bike really does show that all the research they put into our bikes nowadays really does pay off, a true product of genius engineering.

Price: £4390 (frame only)


Read the full review here

nukeproof mega 290 comp

The Mega is a bike built for enduro. It was originally conceived as Nukeproof’s bike to specifically tackle the legendary Megavalanche, this then, is a bike that has always lived by the namesake of its creators. The Mega’s versatility has translated over to the needs of mountain bikers looking for aggressive bikes that can be ridden all day. As the needs have developed the bike, the Mega has grown more refined. Early moves to 27.5″ wheels, the Mega now comes in strong as a leader of the aggressive, long-travel 29er pack. This is a bike at the forefront of the enduro scene.

With sorted components coming from Nukeproof what better to spec on this bike but their own. The geometry and sizing is modern too, even if the bars come in a little narrow for some. This 29er is built for all out speed, with a balanced suspension tune that can carry that aggression with ease through the roughest trails.

Price: £2799


Read the full review here

specialized s-works enduro 29

Another bike at the forefront of the long-travel 29er pack, the Enduro 29 is a bike birthed through Specialized’s desire to keep pushing what a bike can do. With updates in geometry and a boost in its travel, the Enduro has become one of the biggest hitting 29ers around. It really does destroy the box that you’ll inevitable try to put it in, a real bike that blurs the trail-downhill lines.

The Enduro 29 comes draped in solid components. With Sram’s Eagle drivetrain pulling you up the hills, damping supplied by Ohlins and the Specialized’s SWAT system too, this bike is well prepared for big mountains and bigger days out.

Price: £7400


Read the full review here

Evil insurgent

The shape, the colourway, the integrated chain guide and that streamlined DELTA suspension system. Just look at it, the Evil Insurgent is beautiful. If looks could kill, the Insurgent wouldn’t even need to use them, because this bike has other weapons at its disposal. With its adjustable geometry this bike defines long, low and slack. The two geometry settings being low and extra-low can get the bike down to a 64.8° head angle. Seriously slack.

Despite its low weight, the Insurgent still handles the big stuff with ease and with the right amount of flex this bike has serious character all in a seriously stealthy package. This bike is ready to hack out the big climbs with you, but is all party on the way down.

Price: £2699 (frame only)


Read the full review here

trek slash 9.9 race shop limited

Coming in the factory red and decked in wishlist components straight from the EWS, comes the Trek Slash. This is another bike that has turned to 29er wheels in an effort to eek out the highest performance for the highest level of racing. Before you say it, the similarity between it and the the Session is definitely intentional, this is a bike designed to hammer descents just like its beefier sibling.

It is definitely one of the more expensive bikes in this list, but that should not subtract from the fact that this is a true race bike. They really put a lot of research into the Slash, it is super stiff but not harsh and its low setting pulls that head angle down to a very slack 65.1°. It may not give you the skills to land an EWS podium, but it definitely feels at home there.

Price: £6000


Read the full review here

giant reign advanced 0

Giant have released this new and improved Reign into the wilderness and it is ready for your burliest trails. Despite more trail orientated wheels, this bike really stands up to punishment. With wide bars and a beefy Lyrik sitting up front, the Reign comes with a Monarch Plus in the rear. The monarch is very well set up, leading to us believing its the best use of one that we’ve found on a bike.

Giant’s Maestro suspension system provides the Reign with a feel we found lively and supportive. This is a bike that you’re for sure going to want to dive into heavy descents, pedal back to the top, and then dive again.

Price: £5775


read the full review here

mojo/nicolai geometron g16

Everyone seems to be pushing their boundaries in terms of bike geometry, but it appears someone is already there. Mojo Suspension in collaboration with Nicolai bikes have created this, the Geometron G16. This bike defines “long, low and slack” with geometry that even the most up to date enduro bikes can’t keep up with. With 155/175mm of rear wheel travel (depending on rear shock) all custom tuned by Mojo themselves this is a seriously capable bike.

As we well know, a bike pushing these numbers is sure to descend well, but this is a bike that climbs like a goat too, with a steep seat tube and forward centre of gravity giving you traction all the way to the top of those heavy suffer fests. With five sizes available, three being bigger than an XL Mondraker Dune, and a full package of fitting and tuning by Mojo themselves, you will have a bike which is all for you, no sharing.

Price: £2600 (frame and shock)


Read the full review here

Commencal meta am v4.2

A firm favourite here at Dirt, the Meta is a bike steeped in wins over its 12 year life. Now on the fourth generation, the fully aluminium bike is bigger and better than ever. The extra ‘.2’ is the most recent rendition of this classic bike, so what has changed? Well in the words of Max Commencal himself “the only thing that’s changed is everything!”. The travel is upped by 10mm for this year with the bike running 160mm rear and 170mm on the front. The angles and sizes have also been revised with a slacker head angle and longer wheelbase, placing this bike firmly in the ‘enduro’ catergory of bikes.

In testing, to get the reach numbers we wanted meant upsizing leading to issues with seat tube length. Not much of an issue in the grand scheme, but one nonetheless. However, with Commencal as a brand that have embraced the direct sales model, you really get a lot of bang for your buck. This is a bike that keeps showing its face in our Dirt 100, and i’m sure that spree shall continue.

Price: €4,599


Read the full review here

transition patrol carbon 2

Transition produce bikes with fun in mind, this bike is no different. The Patrol is a very versatile bike, with some very capable kit and with a move to carbon for this year it has only got better. At the core of the bike is the GiddyUp suspension system, built to party on the trails whether going up or blasting back down. The mid spec Patrol we tested came laced with components from ANVL and Raceface, solid components that will definitely handle a thrashing.

The bike is roomy too, with the guys at Transition being tall, the sizing is on point. It may not be the longest bike but the low centre of gravity really gives you the confidence to hit the corners full gas. Overall this bike has impressed a lot of people, including us, giving it a well deserved spot in our Dirt 100.

Price: £2999.95 (frameset only)


Read the full review here

orange alpine six factory

The hand-built Alpine from Halifax is back and it isn’t just the name that has changed. No, the change from 160 to 6 isn’t the only thing, the new Alpine has emerged updated, lighter and more refined. With revisions to shock placement, chainstay length, a move to ‘Boost’ spacing and more travel up front, the Orange is more capable than ever. This is a bike whose spec list is superb, with components that just feel right straight out of the box is. Plus, with added customisation from Orange, you can really make this bike your own.

Its more climb orientated siblings, the Stage 5 and 6 may climb faster than their beefy cousin, but this is a bike that gets up the hills with one thing on its mind, to get right back down to the bottom as fast as possible. Handling everything from bike park laps to big mountain days out. It is one of our favourites here at Dirt, this is a bike that can handle some serious abuse.

Price: £5500


Read the full review here


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