The bike world is full of colourful idealists, individualists and adrenaline junkies who try to be “real”. People who want to belong, are on fire about the scene and the sport and have certain ideas and beliefs. That’s great, but it can be a slippery slope. The bike industry is constantly evolving with new hypes, trends, categories, labels and products that riders must follow, celebrate, consume and have!

Case in point: downcountry bikes. In addition to high-pivot suspension, you’ll be hard-pushed to find a hotter bike trend right now. But, what’s it really all about and what are current downcountry bikes capable of? Is it just a short-lived hype or a lasting and sensible trend? To answer these and many other questions, we put 6 of the most exciting models to the test in the roadie stronghold of Girona. Spoiler alert: we held our first downcountry group test in California as far back as 2015, and while a lot has changed since, we’re surprised at how much has stayed the same.

Sustainability is another hot trend and one of the most exciting and important topics of the 21st century. However, you won’t find this level of hypocrisy anywhere else, and we should be a lot more critical of the greenwashing that gets propagated by so many marketing departments and accepted by consumers willing to buy themselves a clear conscience. In our Design & Innovation Award trend article, we explore the most common sustainability myths, highlight risks and potentials and offer concrete solutions.

On a much less serious note, check out our light-hearted style guide for solutions of a different kind. Fashion shows are no longer just held in Paris, Milan or New York, but now also in bike parks or on the trails in your local woods, and very much on Instagram, of course! The line between style and fiasco can be very thin, but that’s what makes it so entertaining! We poke fun at the bike world’s most popular styles and stereotypes.

So, have fun reading this issue, browse the digital pages, have a close look and tell us what you see! We appreciate your feedback and love hearing from you!

The highlights of this issue

  • The best downcountry bike of 2022 – 6 of the hottest rigs in comparison
  • Fashion fiasco or trail hero? – The styles and stereotypes of the bike world
  • RockShox Flight Attendant – A game changer for bike categories? YT Izzo vs Capra
  • Survival of the fittest – Here’s how to get pumped for your greatest season ever
  • The Lab – We fell our verdict on 3 products after months of abuse
  • Design & Innovation Award – The biggest bike and industry trends of 2022

You can download the new issue in our magazine app now – free of charge as always! If you don’t yet have the app, you can find it in the App Store (iPhone/iPad) or in the Play Store (Android smartphones & tablets) or on Amazon (Kindle). The free, digital magazine is at the heart of what we do and undoubtedly the best way to experience our content. It comes with lots of interactive features, high-resolution images and videos and a unique design. We’re confident that if you like our website, you’ll love the app. By the way, you can also access all previous issues of ENDURO in the app – reading material for days!

All the bikes in this issue

BMC Fourstroke 01 LT 2022 | SCOTT Spark 900 Tuned AXS 2022 | Simplon Cirex SL 120 2022 | Specialized Epic EVO Expert 2021 | Trek Top Fuel 9.9 XX1 AXS 2022 | YT IZZO Uncaged 7 2022 | YT CAPRA UNCAGED 6 2022

Below, we’ve put together a small selection of articles that you’ll find in the current issue.

The best downcountry bike of 2022

Hype, trend or matured technology and the best thing since sliced bread? These are the questions currently being asked about downcountry bikes. But what does a downcountry bike have to be capable of and who should buy one? We put six of the hottest examples to the test and tell you what is hype, what is real, what matters and which model is the best.

Fashion fiasco or trail hero?

Paris, Milan, New York? Passé! Now you can get a fashion show in the bike park or trails right on your doorstep – and Instagram, of course! Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to look cool on the bike? We’ve made a list of the most popular styles and stereotypes, taking a look at each to see what they’re all about. No jokes!

With or without Flight Attendant

The new RockShox Flight Attendant suspension promises to make enduro bikes as efficient as XC bikes. So, how much more efficient can Flight Attendant make an enduro bike on the climbs and does this technology make short-travel bikes redundant? To find out, we let the YT CAPRA UNCAGED 6 face off against the YT IZZO UNCAGED 7.

Survival of the fittest
Ah, bliss. Springtime. Time to get back on the bike and shed your waterproofs, but now there’s something else holding you back like quicksand on the climb… could it be – no, surely not… fitness? Ouch! While the biggest part of our sport is embracing gravity, it still pays to have the legs and lungs for the uphills as well as the general body strength to cope with the physical demands of riding. Could more fitness mean more fun on the bike?

As always, pseudo-sustainability, aka greenwashing, isn’t going to right the world of its wrongs. In the Design & Innovation Award trend article on this very topic, we pinpoint potential within the cycling and outdoor industry and tap into topics like greenwashing, 100% ocean plastic swag and new technology. But it isn’t all words: we also put forward our actionable insight into how we can make the world a better place together. Yep, there are sustainable solutions out there, and yes, we can – and should – act now.

Excited? These (and many more) stories are just a few clicks away. If you’ve already installed our free app, simply open it and download the latest issue right now. If not, first download the free app from the App Store (iPhone / iPad) or the Play Store (Android smartphones & tablets) and then download the latest issue in the app. All you’ve got to do then is sit back and enjoy (ideally with a cold beer or a delicious cup of coffee)! #qualitytime

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Words: Peter Walker Photos: Various

About the author

Peter Walker

As editor-in-chief, Peter is as much a man of action as he is of words. This expert, screw-driver-flexing two wheeled-whizz has many envy-inducing characteristics, including a background in motocross, several EWS race plates to his name, and more than 150 recorded days at Whistler Bike Park. However complex the bike and however steep the trail, he’s probably already nailed it, twice. Oh, and he can do it all on skinny tyres too. When it comes to guiding consumers, Peter cut his teeth at Vancouver’s oldest bike shop and now puts pen to paper on the daily translating this know-how into our editorial plan. When not tearing up Stuttgart’s local trails while testing bikes, he loves nothing more than loading up his self-renovated VW T5 and hitting the road. The fact that he’s a trained paramedic gives his colleagues reassurance out on the trails. So far we haven’t had to call him by his alias ‘Sani Peter’, so here’s hoping he keeps it right side up for the rest of his time here!