Why do beginners crash more often and more severely than pros despite riding slower? Why do bike companies with promising innovations often fail, and what is the problem with many early adopters? Is the future of van life electric? And why is now a good time to buy a new bike?

Producing this issue was lots of fun but also packed with disappointments, efforts, and several constructive insights. It showed us how important it is to have not only big goals but especially a strong foundation. The bike boom of recent years has led increasingly more people to enjoy mountain biking, and it seemed that the industry’s success could not be stopped. However, like Greek hero Icarus, who flew too close to the sun until his wings melted, and ultimately crashed due to his hubris, some players in the bike world are on a dangerous flight path. That’s why this issue is all about new (future) technologies, brands and products that are sometimes more, sometimes less ready for the market or even demand and promote a new understanding.

The discrepancy between exciting innovation and reliable function was also evident in our big Light-eMTB group test with 8 hot representatives of this new bike category that promises more trails, more fun and more equality on two wheels. However, the market readiness for many models is still not there. A 50% failure rate in a test field of bikes that cost an average of € 12,394 is unacceptable and beyond disappointing! Ebikes are extremely complex, especially in terms of compatibility and software, thus requiring a different level of quality management and control. Luckily, there is also some good news and hope in the form of software updates that can provide a remedy. Read our group test – the takeaways are very interesting!

SRAM are taking a different approach with their new Eagle Transmission drivetrain, which sends the good old mech hanger into a well-deserved retirement. Until now, the American component giant has primarily stood for innovation, while their Japanese competitors have consistently had the edge in terms of both reliability and functionality. But with their new groupset, SRAM aim to change that. To achieve this, they’ve reduced adjustability in favour of durability and ease of use, while at the same time enabling new applications. With a lot of confidence, SRAM sent us two test samples that we were able to test and torture all winter long on an eMTB with all the extra oomph, as well as on an analogue bike. Market readiness? Check! The price? Ouch!

Politicians and manufacturers have set ambitious goals with the electrification of automobiles. But what is the reality? With the new fully electric VW ID.Buzz, a Yakima rooftop tent, and three Focus eMTBs on the rear rack, we travelled roughly 4,000 kilometres across Europe. Is this the future of vanlife?

After investing a shedload of money, young Andorran manufacturer Forestal reached for the stars, creating a bike brand from scratch over a few years that impresses with unique technology and development depth. We visited their headquarters in Andorra la Vella to take a look behind the scenes and see what’s going on with the autonomous helicopters and video games, and to understand what the fuss and numerous myths surrounding this bike brand are all about – and what Forestal could still do better.

As you can see, there are lots of exciting things to discover, but also some terrifying ones! Flick through our digital magazine, dig deeper and let us know what you think about it! We look forward to your feedback!

The highlights of this issue

  • The best Light-eMTB of 2023 – the 8 hottest Light-eMTBs of the season in direct comparison
  • Deraill-adieu! – SRAM Eagle Transmission groupset long term review
  • Grip! Don’t slip! – 16 clipless and flat pedals in comparison
  • Is this the future of van life? – On tour with the VW ID.BUZZ and FOCUS Jam² SL
  • Forestal – From niche Brand to innovation leader?

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). 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

FOCUS JAM² SL 9.0 | FOCUS JAM² SL 9.9 | Forestal Siryon Diōde | Haibike LYKE CF SE | Orbea Rise M-LTD | Pivot Shuttle SL Pro X01 | RAAW Yalla! | SCOTT Lumen eRIDE 900 SL | SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ 170/165 | Specialized Turbo Levo | Trek Fuel EXe 9.9 XX1 AXS | Yeti SB160 T3 | YT SZEPTER CORE 4

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

The best Light-eMTB of 2023
Not only does the latest generation of Light-eMTBs take trail performance and riding fun to the next level, but also puts many analogue mountain bikes to shame! That said, Light-eMTB ≠ Light-eMTB. In a nutshell, there are huge differences between models, whether it’s in terms of motor systems, performance or handling. That’s why we want you to know exactly what you’re looking for before spending your money. We’ve tested 8 of the most exciting Light-eMTB of the season, with prices ranging between € 8,499 and € 15,999 – with some highlights, lowlights and countless exciting findings!

SRAM Eagle Transmission groupset long-term review
The bike industry is full of wild new products with no real added value, but the idea of replacing the derailleur hanger with the new SRAM Eagle Transmission groupset while also getting rid of the adjustments has potential. The new hangerless groupset also promises to be more robust while offering improved shifting. But what does this mean for your frame?

The best pedals for mountain bikers
Pedals are the only point of contact with your bike besides the grips, and are essential for control and safety on the trail. While many underestimate them when they get started, they ultimately turn out to be one of the bike’s most important components. We put 16 clipless and flat pedals through the wringer over several months.

On tour with the VW ID. BUZZ and FOCUS JAM² SL
Pushbike aficionados and intolerant future refuseniks take note: It’s getting electric! Ebikes, e-bus, and three e-nthusiastic ENDURO editors. We drove almost 4,000 km with three FOCUS ebikes aboard the brand new VW ID.BUZZ: saw a lot, experienced a lot, and learned a lot. About life, about ourselves, and about the charging infrastructure in southern Europe. And about how little modern ebikes lose out on classic MTBs.

Forestal: from underdog to innovation leader?
Helicopters, supercars and bikes – situated between France and Spain, sits the small bike brand Forestal, who have dedicated themselves to the development of high-tech ebikes. We visited the exotic and extravagant bike brand and had a look behind the scenes for you.

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

Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of ENDURO, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality mountain bike journalism. Click here to learn more.

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!