After we finished picking cactus spikes out of our hands and downing another gallon of horchata, it was time to see which of the five full-suspension trail bikes from this year’s Field Test in Tucson, Arizona, stood out from the rest. The two clear favorites ended up being the Canyon Spectral 125 and the YT Izzo. Both bikes are very well spec’d for the price, and deciding which one to go with really comes down to what type of terrain you prefer: The Izzo does better on rolling terrain, with a light, lively feel that makes it well suited for long trail rides, while the Spectral 125 has the edge at higher speeds and on steeper trails thanks to its longer and slacker geometry.
The Specialized Stumpjumper is also worthy of a mention, thanks to its well-thought-out frame design and geometry. While we weren’t totally impressed with all of the Stumpy’s components, the chassis itself is a great starting point for riders who want a bike that’s worth upgrading as time goes on.
On the topic of components, Fezzari’s Cascade Peak has the best spec for the price—somehow they managed to put a top-of-the-line fork from DVO and a SRAM GX drivetrain on a bike that’s less than $3,000. Once again, it was Shimano’s Deore and SLX drivetrains that won us over—in a head-to-head battle, we’d pick either of those drivetrains over SRAM’s SX and NX options. Brakes were another factor in separating one model from another. The Kona Process 134 with its Alhonga brakes is a prime example of a bike with modern geometry that couldn’t reach its full potential due to lackluster stopping power.
Watch the full roundtable video for more insight into our favorite and least favorite bikes, and stay tuned for an exclusive video here on Beta where we dig even deeper into which frames and components are worth the money.