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Preview Group Test: 8 Entry level Trail Bikes

Let’s be honest: We love riding and testing top-notch bikes, these bikes are the industry’s avant-garde showing off the latest and most innovative technology and components. These bikes pioneer development and shape our sport by pushing new boundaries. But in our modern world even the things we love sometimes have to be a compromise, and for many of our readers, these dream bikes will remain just that, a dream! However, as every new exotic model hits the market in a fanfare of media and acronyms, last years technology filters another step down the ladder, making the more affordable offerings more competent than ever before.

Bikes that are now considered “entry level” bring technology and design that would have been ground breaking just a few years ago, designed for fun and aimed at riders like you! This is why we organised a group test in the Alps, testing eight of the most interesting and popular trail bikes for the upcoming issue #009. In this article you’ll find a sneak preview of the testing process, and discover some interesting impressions from our testing days in the Garmisch Partenkirchen mountains .

Vor dem Vergnügen steht die Arbeit! Robin montiert die Testräder

Before heading out to the trails we meticulously prepared the bikes in the workshop.

"Schrauben drehn, Muttern drehn mit Öl verschmierten Fingern in der Werkstatt stehn!" - Werner beinhart

Fine tuning on the 2 x 10 setup!

Die top ausgestattete Werkstatt von meiksbikes diente als Basislager um die Räder zu montieren und einzustellen.

The workshop of meiksbikes was to be our base, the perfect location for preparing the test bikes. Thanks for this!

Below you’ll find five out of the eight test bikes; to discover which other three hot bikes made the test, you will have to check out the next issue!

Das Cube Stereo 140 HPC Pro ist eines von 29er Bikes im Test

The Cube Stereo 140 HPC Pro is one out of two 29inch bikes of this group test.

Race Ready - diesen Eindruck vermittelt das Focus Sam 3.0 bereits nachdem wir es aus dem Karton gepackt haben.

Race Ready – this was the first impression of the Focus Sam 3.0, after pulling it out of its box. How does it perform on the trail? Stay tuned for issue #009!

Fesche Farbe! Das Alutech Teibun weiß auf Anhieb zu gefallen!

Fancy color! The German Alutech Teibun immediately impressed with its vivid paint job!

Black Beauty! Das Rose Granite Chief ist der Stealth Bomber im Test.

Black Beauty! The Rose Granite Chief with 27.5″ wheels is the stealth bomber of this test. And the price is super hot!

Das leichteste Bike im Testfeld ist das Canyon Spectral, das genaue Gewicht erfahrt ihr in der nächsten Ausgabe des Enduro Mag!

One of the lightest bikes of this group test is the Canyon Spectral.

Traum Kulisse! Die Feinabstimmung geschieht mit Blick auf die Zugspitze.

Living the dream: The bike setup was carried out in front of the amazing Alpine backdrop. Our mobile workshop was a Mercedes Sprinter.

Entweder einer der Testfahrer hatte gerade sein Coming-Out oder es war tatsächlich ein Mädel mit von der Partie.

Yes: Lady power to support the male test team, complementing the reviews with some fresh and different angles on how a bike has to perform on the trail for different kinds of riders!

Teamwork beim Bike-Setting, erst wenn Sag und Zugstufe bei allen passen geht es ab in den Wald.

Sandra and Florian adjust the bike’s suspension.

Pump it up! Manche brauchens härter!

Pump it up! The FOX air pump has a digital display to measure and document exactly the air pressure in the fork and the rear shock!

Auf den Trails rund um Garmisch Partenkirchen wurden die Räder auf die Probe gestellt.

On the trails around Garmisch Partenkirchen we tested all the bikes – full throttle of course!

Durch das verschlafene Dörfchen rollten wir zum nächsten Trail

The test crew rolls through a Bavarian village to ride another trail. While the first one was super flowy, the next would be steep and gnarly!

Quasselstunde! Niemand konnte es erwarten seine ersten Eindrücke mitzuteilen!

Talk show: The first riding impressions of the bikes are exchanged.

typisch bayrische Architektur

What a scenery: Three days in the middle of snow-covered mountains and traditional architecture. It’s easy to forget that this is work.

Sehen und staunen, Enduro-Profi Markus Reiser zeigt die perfekte Linie!

Keep your eyes on the track: German Enduro Pro Markus Reiser makes an interesting line choice at high speed!

Flori ist der Mann fürs Grobe -  er brügelt das Focus Sam über den Trail.

Florian is the man for the rough stuff and rockets down the trail at full pace. The Focus Sam 3.0 is his first choice for this.

Auch Kollateralschäden blieben nicht aus, konnten aber direkt am Trail wieder behoben werden.

Fine adjustments are made on the trail after a basic setup in the car park.

Puh ist das anstrengend! Auch der Fotograf musste sich  vor der Kamera beweisen und wurde gleich mehrfach den Berg hinauf geschickt.

ENDURO editor & photographer Christoph Bayer and the Cube Stereo 140 HPC Pro.

Nach jeder Testrunde galt es, die Eindrücke und Erfahrungen in umfassendem Maße auf Papier zu bringen.

After each loop the test riders had to write a report, including impressions about the bike’s performance on the trail, components and their conclusions.

Welches der Bikes die Tester wohl am meisten überzeugt hat? Die ausgefüllten Testbögen sind prall gefüllt mit Informationen ... Stay tuned!

Which bike impressed our test riders the most? This sheet might reveal all… You’ll find out soon!

You can read an in-depth feature about the group test and our conclusions in the upcoming ENDURO issue #009, being released in mid-February (German) and shortly after in English. In the meantime check out the current issue – as usual it’s free & only digital: Issue #008.

Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer

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