The "do-it-all" trail bike - options and opinions?

I’ve been guilty of hijacking some XC MTB threads to talk about trail bikes, so I’m starting a dedicated thread for trail bikes.

I currently own a 2017 Trek Fuel (130mm F/R, 67.7 HTA), and am starting to look for a replacement bike - although if history is any judge (buying my recent gravel bike), it will take me two years to pull the trigger - but window shopping for bikes is fun!

To me, the ideal trail bike is something that is suited to 90% of everyday riding (I live in Colorado, so needs to have a good blend of uphill and downhill ability), but could also be used for occasional XC races, or trips to Moab for more technical riding. So something similar to my current Fuel, with an average travel in the 120-140mm range.

Here’s a starter list of bikes below. Any experience with these bikes? Other bikes to add to the list?

  • Canyon Neuron
  • Evil Following
  • Fezzari Signal Peak
  • Giant Trance X
  • Ibis Ripley
  • Pivot Trail 429
  • Revel Rascal
  • Salsa Horsethief
  • Santa Cruz Tallboy
  • Specialized Stumpjumper
  • Transition Spur
  • Trek Fuel
  • Yeti SB 115
  • Yeti SB 130
  • YT Izzo

This bike looks very appealing. Good specs. Good price. Sick looking bike. The lockout is intriguing (but the action seems “backwards”).

Anyone got experience with this bike?

I was pretty much sold on the Ripley and had bought most of the parts in anticipation of getting the frame this fall or next year. But I broke my Lux, and while waiting for warranty/crash replacement, which might take a while, I pulled the trigger on a light trail frame.

I went with Fezzari Signal Peak instead. It’s been on my short list, and it was available now (unlike many frames these days), ticks all the boxes, and is a great price ($2200 with factory DPS). It arrives Wednesday, can’t wait to build it up. Going to run my DVO Sapphire 34 fork with all its 140mm travel to start.

Signal Peak


A couple more that are worth a look:


When I get a chance, I’ll create a spreadsheet with stats on the different bikes - geo, sus travel, weight. I’d also like to add suspension stats like anti squat and leverage progression, but that data is much harder to come by.

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As part of my quest to learn more about trail bikes, I’ve begun to dig into the rabbit hole of suspension design and performance.

Some good articles here. If anyone knows the suspension stats/curves for a 2017 Trek Fuel, please share.

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Being that you’re from CO, you’ve probably already considered it, but the GG Trail Pistol could be worth a look. I currently have an aluminum Trail Pistol from before they went with carbon, and it’s a fun bike that I think slots in nicely in this category. It is heavy though, so that does turn some people away. You can run a longer stroke shock on it than what comes stock, so you can choose between 120 or 130 out back, and you can run anywhere from 120-150 up front (I think for this category though, I wouldn’t want to run more than 130 or maybe 140 up front because of the already slack HA). I’m personally looking to upgrade to something lighter but in a similar class travel-wise (the Spur and the Ripley are really the two I’m focusing on), so I’m not considering the carbon Trail Pistol personally (weight is toward the top of my priority list and even the carbon TP is a bit portly), but depending on your priorities, it could be worth a look in this category, for you or others.


Agree. While I’m not overly obsessed with weight, some of the bikes I’ve looked at are pushing 30+lbs - which seems very heavy given some XC bikes are in the low 20s.

These are nice bikes for sure. I’ll probably look for a little bit more travel. The YT Izzo I linked to above with 130mm F/R looks great.

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I can only add two new things, careful how much time you invest in getting all the suspension data - end of the day that’s only a clue as to how the bike will actually ride. Not saying it’s not worth doing but I think reading reviews will get you to the same place, with less work. You know my pick is the Ripley but that’s because I bought one. I’m sure you’ve considered this but this bike in particular really fit my needs. I have it built up with a fairly light 120 fork currently, add some race tires and some other small tweeks and it’s endurance race ready. I’ll add a 130-140 fork soon and couple it with beefier tires, and I’m even considering a DPX2 shock, mini enduro mode.

Happy shopping! I think it will be hard to go wrong now-a-days.

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Yeah, I personally don’t feel like I need more than 120mm of travel for most of the riding I do, but I’m willing to sacrifice a bit on the weight (but not 7-8 lbs) compared to an XC race bike to get a bike that feels more confidence inspiring while descending, as I acknowledge that I am far from the best descender. The YT Izzo does look like a great option if you’re looking for a bike with some extra travel that doesn’t tip the scales at 30+ lbs and is reasonably priced/specced at that weight. A lot of the options with 130mm travel in the rear seem significantly heavier or would cost a fortune and probably some compromises to hit the weight of the Izzo.

i made a wishlist recently that has pretty much all of these, as well as:

  • Cannondale Habit 3
  • Intense Sniper T Expert
  • Norco Revolver FS 2 120
  • BMC Agonist 2
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Intense Primer. I have the last iteration (the one where you can switch rear travel from 115 to 130 mm with a 140mm fork) and it is fantastic. It was a great value because of their direct-to-consumer sales model. Because of their website, and the way they package the bike makes it easy to assemble and tune when it arrived (The bike arrives with a shock pump, torque wrench and fork tokens). I assume the new Primer 29 with 140/140 travel will be even more capable.

That bike will be doing both the EWS 100 Whistler and the Singletrack 6 next year, and while I may be a little undergunned for Whistler, I think it will be ideal for Singletrack 6. I’m just going to swap from Enduro to XC tires between the two events.

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I also came here to recommend Norco. I’m currently on a 150/130 Sight, which might be more bike than you are looking for, but the 2020 Optic (140mm) looks amazing. I’ve been very happy with the geometry of the Norcos compared to the other bikes that I tested.
The Cannondale Habit, in particular, has a wierd cockpit stance that made me feel like I was on an enduro sled.

Agree. This is likely of limited value other that satisfying my curiosity. The best way will be to test ride different bikes.

I’ll be interested to hear the result.

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If you are in CO, you should add Alchemy Arktos ST.

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Check out Pinkbike’s ongoing XC & “Downcountry” bike review series that includes some of the bikes on your list (Revel Rascal, Transition Spur, Yeti SB115).

I have a Yeti SB100 myself. Wanted something that could handle some “intermediate” trails, but won’t feel out of place (read: overbiked) on the fireroads around here.

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Dave - 29” only?

Mojo 4 looks interesting but more of a do everything party bus than a sometimes race bike. Be fun to ride a Ripley v Mojo 4 back to back.

Fun thread, Tnx

‘Recapped: The Complete 2020 Pinkbike Field Test’ :metal: :100:


Prepare for confirmation bias from those who own one of those bikes and uninformed feedback from those who don’t. With not many demos happening during covid, making a bike choice is not easy, especially in the upper range of the price band.

That said my own superficial analysis leads me to believe the Ripley is my top choice.


My 18 fuel is being replaced with the 2020 model under warranty. I’m excited for the new geo, new shock, etc. I’ve been happy with my fuel. It’s definitely no XC rig but very fun and capable. The new one should be more so.

In reviews I’ve watched everyone seems to think it’s kind of the jack of all trades, some have made it seem kind of Vanilla, but this is fine my do it all bike, and I like the warranty. I’ve also smashed a lot of segments on Strava with My 18 when I get into my groove so it’s definitely capable, and the 20 has better geo all around

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