While eMTBs conquer the mass market and devour all resources, the development of “non-motorised” mountain bikes has apparently reached its zenith. A few mm of travel here, a slightly longer reach there, and the next successor of a best selling bike is born – is diversity dead?

For many brands, their mountain bike lineup looks as if it’s been designed on the same template: Each model shares the same lines and technology, neatly graded into 20 mm travel steps just to leave no category unoccupied. Boring monotony rather than innovative fireworks is the new fashion, but where is the emotion? Proven platforms promise high margins and low risk, but an individual character is something that many new bikes lack.

But this issue proves that the development of mountain bikes has not reached an end yet! Outside of the mainstream, there’s more variety than ever, hidden between all the copy & paste bikes there are some innovative machines that make every MTB enthusiast’s mouth water. Smaller brands are shaking up the industry with their radical ideas.

But it’s not just the small brands, even the super brands are doing it. The Specialized Stumpjumper has always been considered the definition of a mountain bike and with the latest iteration of the classic, the Californians have revealed a new flair for individuality. With its asymmetrical frame, it stands in contrast to its own siblings, the Epic and the Enduro. Long live the diversity! If you want to know how it performs on the trail, we highly recommend our review.

Then there are bikes like the new Bold Unplugged, whose name is already a celebration of the (non-motorized) mountain bike. Although the idea of hiding the shock inside the frame isn’t new, the Unplugged lifts the concept to a whole new level with its radical geometry. The result is a bike that doesn’t only look individual but also has some very unique riding characteristics.

Whether you love the slender steel silhouette of the Swarf Contour or the complex high-pivot suspension of the Deviate Guide, there are plenty of bikes that stand out from the mainstream, defying model years and throw-away purchasing. Buying such a bike requires a certain amount of courage and self-confidence, but we can assure you: it’s worth it!

Just as the choice of dream bikes is diverse, so too is the choice for the right pedal. In this issue, we’ve tested 15 clipless and flat pedals and collected everything you need to know about the most important contact point between man and machine. In addition, we’ll reveal the favourite tools of our team, take you on a ride to Livigno and clarify the question of whether small riders can handle a long 29er.

You can read all the articles from this issue for free in our app or here on our website.

Enjoy reading!

This article is from ENDURO issue #035

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Words: Photos: Various