This past few years there have been some serious developments in the world of downhill. With 29” wheels coming in fast, more prototyping than ever and the F1 feel coming back, this does bring a big question. What is the best downhill bike that you see on the circuit at the moment? Time to find out.

The first round of the 2018 Dirt Downhill bike of the year comes to you from Morzine. With a chalet sorted with MTB Beds Morzine for the week and four bikes in the van, the test is now in full flow.

Round one, the bikes

This first round of bikes have come in the way of two 29” builds and two 27.5.

From Germany we have the Canyon Sender and the Propain Rage. These two 27.5 race weapons have really impressed us here over the past few years and have most definitely earned the spot on this test as benchmark bikes. Both bikes are top specification and ready to rock so it will be interesting to see how they weigh up in the grand scheme of things. Both of these bikes are direct sale, carbon main frame and Dirt 100 bikes too.

There are two bikes fighting the corner of the 29ers too. We have one bike from Andorra, the Commencal Supreme 29, if you do not know this bike and what it is capable of then you need to have a catch up on the current World Cup. With the big wheels, Fox damping and a crazy chain setup, this is one of those bikes that simply everyone wants to ride at the moment.

Last but most definitely not least is the Orange 329. Now, this bike may not currently be on the World Cup circuit, but after riding this bike and being blown away by its pick up speed and agility, it had to be here. This may very well be the underdog but never underestimate the guys in that shed in Halifax. With a similar build to the others, Fox dampers and high-end gear it will be a closer test than many may think.

We've already weighed the bikes in. Take a look at the ranking here:

The setting

This is not the first downhill bike test that we have done here at Dirt. The previous champ the Specialized Demo also being among the bikes in a later lineup but these first four will be put through the wringer in Morzine, France. There is more than enough rough testing terrain to see how these top end bikes withstand the abuse of a solid week of laps. Pleney will form the backbone of the test but the MtB Beds crew have also helped us test on some of the steeper, techier trails that only the locals know about.

Each bike will undergo a tough week and build quality, weight, specification, price and overall performance will all be put to the test.

The team

This is a big job, and more than one man can do. So the other two people involved in this test have to be mentioned.

My good friend and more than capable rider Tom Cooper is coming along for his point of view, sick style and photography skills. This will be a name you will all hear more of as the test carries on. The second pair of hands come from Alex Hunter, with the aid of photography and the video work this team has made this trip possible.

Keep an eye on the site all week to follow the ins and outs of this tests and the initial round of the 2018 downhill bike test.

The tests:

Canyon Sender

Propain Rage

Commencal Supreme 29

Orange 329


Check out MTB Beds for the best accommodation in Morzine