Hands up – who doesn’t love a damn sexy bike with an enticingly high price tag? But as with all things, we don’t all have those infinite bank balances that allow us to splash out on a Lambo or Ferrari of the bike world. Does it matter, you might wonder? The answer is nope: your fun is not limited by your budget. So imagine you’ve only got a budget of € 2,599 … what’s the most awesome bike you can buy? To help you out, we checked out ten of the best and found out which ones give you the best performance, and which ones aren’t worthy of your cash.


Adverts bombard us every day with status symbols and brands do their absolute utmost to persuade us that we need fast cars, trendy clothes from companies with unpronounceable names, and top-end bikes. But who can seriously afford any of these?

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We’re not advocating a boycott of high-end brands – far from it! We love the first-rate, sexiest, and newest technology-crammed bits and pieces. For us, riding is a passion, and we aren’t ones to let reason or rationale talk us out of a purchase. However, it’s sometimes better to keep grounded and force yourself to buy within your budget. This is our People’s Enduro Group Test, and it flung up some surprising results! Many of the bikes delivered a performance on par with bikes that come with an exclusive price tag of 4,000 € plus. So whether you’re a newbie, a weekend warrior, or a pro, our People’s Enduro Group Test could come in handy!


Versatility: The Trump Card

No two bikers put the same demands on their bike; we all have our own riding style, terrain where you’ll find us most at home, and our own goals. This is why we’ve tested bikes from across (almost) the whole spectrum, but with one uniting factor: they all cost less than 2,599 €. We wanted to find the best all-rounder, a bike that can take on your home trails, the Alps, or an enduro race. After all, no one is ever confined to riding the same trails day-in, day-out (and if you chose to do that, it’s your own fault)!


The Test Fleet: 10 affordable Enduro Bikes

Sad but true: manufacturers frequently don’t even offer their cheapest, entry-level full suspension for under 2,500 € – but fortunately for us, this year is the best year to date if you’re in the market for an affordable bike! A total of ten bike companies submitted bikes (which all retail in the price segment between 2,199 € to 2,599 €) to this group test. Despite the miniscule 400 € difference between some of them, their riding characteristics couldn’t have been more different. Alongside extremely well-balanced bikes where everything just works, we also saw super-outdated components teamed with bikes that visually offer more than they’re able to deliver on the trail. There are two reasons why some of the industry’s big players were missing from this group test: either they don’t offer a bike below our prescribed figure, or they weren’t willing to submit their cheaper model (which perhaps hints at fears of a poor performance).


Buying from dealers versus online or direct

Cutting out the middleman has enabled direct order companies to put together bikes which offer the end consumer industry-leading value-for-money in terms of price and spec. However, we shouldn’t generalize here: in our Group Test we witnessed some pretty poorly specced direct order bikes (such as the COMMENCAL) as well as top-end, superbly specced dealer bikes, such as the GHOST. But spec lists only play a fraction of a role in how the bike handles; suspension has a major impact, while the derailleur only plays an accompanying role. However low the price might be for individual parts, if they’re sensibly chosen, complement the spec, and perform reliably, then there’s no reason for you not to have fun on the bike – as the Giant Trance proved. For those buyers who flinch away from setting up suspension, then we’d recommend buying in person where you can get an expert to take over for you. After all, the best bike will only work at its best for you if it’s tuned for you.


The Test Conditions

To suss out just how versatile the individual bikes were, we set off for Tuscany in mid-December to put the bikes through their paces on the amazing trails around Massa Vecchia. Even in winter, this Mediterranean location keeps a mild climate, rendering it a great winter riding spot with a vast network of trails. From fast, rocky trails to manmade flow and enduro trails with road gaps, there’s literally a bit of everything around here, so the strengths and weaknesses of each bike were destined to come to the fore. Downhilling wasn’t the only decisive factor either, as we looked closely as the bikes’ uphill capabilities.

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Bikes in This Grouptest

Bike Travel Weight Price
BERGAMONT TRAILSTER 6.0 150/140mm 13.88 kg 2,299 €
CANYON SPECTRAL EX 150/140mm 12.84 kg 2,499 €
COMMENCAL META AM V4 160/150mm 14.09 kg 2,269 €
FOCUS SAM LTD. 160/160mm 13.55 kg 2,599 €
GHOST SL AMR 5 130/130mm 13.67 kg 2,499 €
GIANT TRANCE 2 LTD 140/140mm 13.51 kg 2,299 €
PROPAIN TYEE COMP 160/160mm 14.31 kg 2,304 €
RADON SLIDE 150 160/150mm 13.94 kg 2,199 €
ROSE UNCLE JIMBO 1 160/165mm 14.45 kg 2,332 €
SOLID MAGIX COMP 160/175mm 14.87 KG 2,499 €
Klicke hier um den Bergamont Trailster 6.0 2016 Test zu lesen.
Click here to read the Bergamont Trailster 6.0 2016 Review.

Click here to read the Canyon Spectral EX 2016 Review


Click here to read the Commencal Meta AM V4 2016 Review


Click here to read the Focus Sam LTD. 6.0 2016 Review


Click here to read the Ghost SL AMR 5 2016 Review


Click here to read the Giant Trance 2 LTD 2016 Review


Click here to read the Propain Tyee Comp 2016 Review


Click here to read the Radon Slide 150 2016 Review


Click here to read the Rose Uncle Jimbo 1 2016 Review


Click here to read the Solid Magix Comp 2016 Review



It just works: Designed and made by Canyon, the cockpit is perfectly sized and ergonomically sound, with a 780 mm bar width teaming perfectly with the 50 mm stem. The Reverb lever on the left side of the bars is ergonomically easy to use.


An anchor: The MAGURA MT5 brakes on the Radon work as a serious anchor, making sure that you’ll come defiantly to a halt whatever the situation. Possessing great modulation to boot, there’s a reason these are considered the best brakes on the market.


Learned from their mistakes: ROSE took heed to criticism, and their pesky rattling cables are no more! Their 2016 models now come with cable entry and exit fixings so they won’t be banging against the frame any longer.



Outdated: Like a relic from the past, the 3×10 drivetrain on the Bergamont gives an unnecessarily wide gear ratio, imprecise shifting, and a clattering chain. This has no place in 2016.


Mandatory: A dropper post is basically mandatory for a bike that is designed for the trails. Not only do they make the ride more fun, but they also make it safer – so they shouldn’t be reserved exclusively for the top-of-the-range models.


Can’t take the heat: The shock on the COMMENCAL META overheated on our initial short descents, which meant we had to keep resetting the rebound damping.


Too narrow: At 2.25″, the stock Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres on the Giant Trance are not only too narrow, but they’re also the cheapest, having fitting the significantly less grippy Performance model. An upgrade is recommended before you head out on your first ride!

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So what shone as the best People’s Enduro bike? What should we be buying for under 2,599 €? And which ones should we steer well clear of? For starters, thanks to its balanced, smooth handling, stylish design, and brilliant riding position, the GHOST SL AMR is the best bet for those into mountains and long rides. The FOCUS SAM is one for chasing seconds and seizing victory, as its aggressive geometry tailors it more towards racers and experienced riders. At the other end of the spectrum: steer clear of the Bergamont, whose badly chosen, below-par components and floundering suspension unfortunately leave it lagging behind its peers. A shame really, as its aggressive geometry initially took our fancy!


But moving on to the champions of this group test: the ROSE UNCLE JIMBO 1 doesn’t just feature balanced geometry, but also plush and smooth suspension. You can also customise it entirely to your wants using ROSE’s online configurator, making it deservedly our Best Value choice. However, the Best in Test is simply so good that it won’t require any configuring: enter the perfectly specced Canyon Spectral AL 7.0 EX. Straight out of the box from the Koblenz-based direct order company, the Spectral boasts perfect handling, a low weight, and Canyon’s typically top-end design. In terms of riding performance, this Canyon could rival any bike at the 4,000 € mark. So for exactly 2,499 €, you’re unlikely to get any better than this! Chapeau!


All bikes tested: Bergamont Trailster 6.0 | Canyon Spectral AL 7.0 EX | COMMENCAL Meta AM V4 | Focus SAM Ltd. | Ghost SL AMR 5 | GIANT Trance 2 Ltd | Propain Tyee Comp | Radon Slide 150 8.0 HD | Rose Uncle Jimbo 1 | Solid Magix Comp

For more information on the trails we have ridden visit the Massa Vecchia website.

Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer

This content is from ENDURO Issue #020

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