Which is the best enduro bike of 2022? Several new enduro bikes have been introduced over the past year. Needless to say, we didn’t hold back and tested 11 of the most exciting models for you. Whether it’s high pivot suspension designs, mixed wheel sizes or RockShox’s electronic Flight Attendant suspension system, our big group test features all the latest and hottest tech trends. We’ll tell you which ones are here to stay and which ones you should steer clear of!

Table of content: What is in this test?

  1. What is an enduro bike and what should it be capable of?
  2. The enduro test field
  3. How and where did we test?
  4. The ENDURO test team
  5. What defines a good enduro bike?
  6. Tops and flops of our enduro group test
  7. The best enduro bike of 2022
Which is the best enduro bike of 2022?
To find out, we headed to northern Spain and tested the bikes on some of the best trails of Navarra and the Basque Country!

Enduro’s kicking, booming and rocking! Regardless of the current bottlenecks in the supply chain, the bike industry is rapidly pushing forward, embracing new technologies, replacing old philosophies with new ones and, above all, sweetening our lives with new and “better” bikes. Our big 2021 reader survey with over 21,000 participants from all over the world is loud and clear: enduro is still booming! That’s because enduro bruisers are still the Swiss Army knives amongst mountain bikes, the ultimate gateway for adrenaline junkies in search of fun and airtime! For 2022, several manufacturers are relying on mixed wheel sizes, reinterpreting the concept of high-pivot suspension and taking integration and design language to a whole new level. This was the perfect opportunity for us not only to search for the best enduro bike of 2022, but also to dismantle forum wisdom, dodgy half-truths and overzealous marketing claims. With our big 2022 enduro group test we’ll help you spend your hard-earned cash wisely and avoid the frustration of buying the wrong bike. Moreover, we’ll answer all the most important questions regarding rear suspension designs, wheel sizes and the perfect spec.

Enduro ≠ enduro, rider ≠ rider

While it’s true that we all share the same visceral love for mountain biking, it’s equally true that everyone has their own needs and preferences. “Home trail” is a broad concept: for some it’s a flowing trail in the Bavarian Prealps, for others a gnarly Double Black Diamondin British Columbia, dusty hiking path in the Provence or a sketchy rock trail scattered with cactuses in Sedona. But even if all trails in the world were identical, every mountain biker would ride them in their own way. Simply put, riding style, climate and terrain are decisive factors in the choice of the right bike. As such, our aim isn’t to find out which bike is fastest, smoothest and most playful on a certain trail, but to determine which one suits your needs, preferences and riding style best. This requires a holistic evaluation of the bikes based on varied perspectives rather than a rigid scoring system in which individual parameters are viewed and compared in isolation. Furthermore, it’s not just every rider but also every bike manufacturer that defines and interprets the concept of enduro in their very own way.

Our diverse test field consists of 11 of the most exciting enduro bikes of the year. While all of them pursue the same objective, each one does it in its own way, relying on different technical solutions and retailing at different price points. With a huge price range from € 4,499 to € 14,500, different wheel setups, varies suspension concepts including Horst link and high pivot designs, an eMTB, a bike with RockShox’s electronic Flight Attendant suspension system and much more, not only is our test field extremely diverse and exciting, but it also gives us a unique opportunity to test and assess different systems, allowing us to provide you with valuable advice. Who says that a cheaper bike has to be worse than its expensive high-end counterpart? We can already tell you that overall performance has significantly improved again for the upcoming season. Despite the massive price range and one massive flop, it was a damn close race for the title of “Best enduro bike of 2022”.

What is an enduro bike and what should it be capable of?

In a nutshell, there’s no such thing as a thoroughbred enduro bike. Standard bike categories have gradually blurred into oblivion and classic parameters such as travel, wheel size or geometry are no longer able to serve as a general guide about the intended use of a bike, let alone its character. As demonstrated in our big mountain bike group test with over 20 bikes, which includes anything from lanky downcountry rigs to burly enduro bruisers, limited travel and a steep seat tube angle aren’t necessarily synonymous for climbing efficiency while a super-slack head angle and shedloads of travel alone don’t make you the downhill king. Instead, it’s far more important to blend individual handling characteristics into a coherent overall package to suit the intended application. Unfortunately, some manufacturers still have a lot of work to do in this respect!

In this group test, we were looking for the perfect all-rounder, a versatile enduro bike that can deliver top riding fun in all situations, from fast and rough trails to narrow and steep technical terrain. Whether you’re on an epic expedition in the Alps or cruising down your home trail after a hard day’s work, spending the weekend in Finale or chasing your mates down A-Line, the best enduro bike of 2022 must be capable of getting your endorphins flowing while handling the most demanding trails in the world! Unlike our enduro race bike group test, or our best bike park bike test we decided to leave our stopwatch and party shirts at the office and focus on the versatility and fun factor of the bikes instead, intentionally swapping fast times for good times!

Our test field: 11 of the most exciting enduro bikes of 2022 at a glance

Bike Price Travel f/r Wheel size
Cannondale Jekyll 1
(Click for review)
€ 6,499 170/165 mm 29″
Canyon Torque CF 8
(Click for review)
€ 4,499 170/175 mm 29″/27.5″
GT Force Carbon PRO LE
(Click for review)
€ 6,099 170/160 mm 29″
Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory
(Click for review)
€ 6,999 180/170 mm 29″
Orbea Rallon M-Team
(Click for review)
€ 6,638 170/160 mm 29″
Pivot Firebird Pro XT/XTR – Air
(Click for review)
€ 9,499 170/165 mm 29″
Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition
(Click for review)
€ 9,900 170/160 mm 29″
Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 AXS
(Click for review)
€ 9,999 160/150 mm 29″/27.5″
SIMPLON Rapcon 170/165
(Click for review)
€ 7,479 170/165 mm 29″
Specialized S-Works Turbo Kenevo SL
(Click for review)
€ 14,500 170/170 mm 29″
(Click for review)
€ 8,999 170/165 mm 29″
Cannondale Jekyll 1
170/165 mm (f/r) |
15.64 kg in size L
€ 6,499 | Click for review
Canyon Torque CF 8
170/175 mm (f/r) | 15.86 kg in size L
€ 4,499 | Click for review
GT Force Carbon PRO LE
170/160 mm (f/r) | 15.82 kg in size L
€ 6,099 | Click for review
Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory
180/170 mm (f/r) | 15.6 kg in size XL
€ 6,999 | Click for review
Orbea Rallon M-Team
170/160 mm (f/r) | 15.6 kg in size L
€ 6,638 | Click for review
Pivot Firebird Pro XT/XTR – Air
170/165 mm (f/r) | 14.45 kg in size L
€ 9,499 | Click for review
Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition
170/160 mm (f/r) | 14.3 kg in size L
€ 9,900 | Click for review
Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 AXS
160/150 mm (f/r) | 13.95 kg in size L
€ 9,999 | Click for review
SIMPLON Rapcon 170/165
170/165 mm (f/r) | 15.58 kg in size L
€ 7,479 | Click for review
Specialized S-Works Turbo Kenevo SL
170/170 mm (f/r) | 18.7 kg in size S4
€ 14,500 | Click for review
170/165 mm (f/r) | 14.86 kg in size XL
€ 8999 | Click for review

”Smoking hot” and ”brand new” were the main prerequisites to enter this year’s enduro group test. Our decision was also made easier by the readers who took part in our annual survey with over 21,000 participants. Thanks to your feedback, we know exactly which brands are most popular. Manufacturers such as YT, Specialized, Canyon and Nukeproof are at the top of the list of brands you’re considering for your next purchase and, quite frankly, we’d be missing the point if we didn’t include them in this test. High pivot suspension designs and mixed wheel sizes are some of the hottest topics of the year and bikes like the Cannondale Jekyll, GT Force and Santa Cruz Bronson gave us the opportunity to delve deeper into the subject and answer the most important questions about the two hottest trends of 2022. As the winner of our 2021 enduro group test, the Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition entered the race as the defending champion, serving as the benchmark for this year’s group test. Needless to say, we also made use of our extensive experience at ENDURO to make sure that an underdog like the SIMPLON Rapcon would get a chance to prove itself against the titans of enduro in our “Best enduro bike of 2022” group test.

Working with a diverse test field not only gave us the opportunity to find the best enduro bike of 2022, but also allowed us to answer the following burning questions:

  • Are mullet bikes the better enduro bikes?
  • Are high pivot bikes just hype or do they really work?
  • How much electronics does an enduro bike really need?
  • Are Light eMTBs the future?

Of course, we would have loved to include even more enduro bikes from popular manufacturers like Norco, Prime, Commencal and Rotwild. However, some brands couldn’t supply us with a test bike due to a lack of availability or simply because they missed our deadline. Others, like Propain, haven’t released a new bike yet and their current model already freatured in last year’s ENDURO group test. Unfortunately, the Trek Slash or Specialized Enduro with Flight Attendant suspension weren’t available at the time of this test either. That’s a real shame, because RockShox’s electronic Flight Attendant suspension system has the potential to significantly improve the performance of “older” bikes. You can read everything about it in our Flight Attendant review!

Please don’t get us wrong: we’re not advocating that manufacturers should release new bikes every year. On the contrary, we’re convinced that longer product cycles would be beneficial for the entire bike industry. However, in this group test, we’ve focused on steaming hot, brand new model, mainly to avoid duplicating reviews on our website and thus prevent you from reading the same bike test for the fifth time in a row.

Where did we test the bikes?

Who doesn’t like to discover new trails? For our latest enduro bike group test, we travelled to the Basque Country and Navarra in the north of Spain, where we found both a bunch of exciting new trails and the perfect test conditions for our search for the hottest enduro bike of 2022. Since we had the pleasure of spending a fortnight in the Basque Country, aka the food mecca of the Spanish peninsula, we treated ourselves to delicious tapas, cool cervezas, endless blue skies, warm sunshine, endless beaches and breath-taking sunsets, all seasoned with a generous pinch of Spanish flair.

To get a holistic understanding of the bikes, each ENDURO test rider completed more than thirty runs on three different trails. From steep chutes, tight switchbacks, blind drops and open corners on the (in)famous “El Cerro” trail, to bone-rattling high-speed sections, off-camber turns and blood-curdling compressions on the old downhill race track (which we’re not allowed to name here), the Basque Country was everything we could have hoped for and more! If that wasn’t good enough, the freshly-built “Ibardin DH” jump trail quenched our thirst for flowing berms and big jumps – awesome! Additionally, we tested the bikes on our home trails around Stuttgart, in the Black Forest and in the Alps to round off the impressions we gathered under the Spanish sun. If you paid attention earlier, you know that trail ≠ trail!

The ENDURO test team

(1 carbon rim = 143 post-ride beers)

I ride bikes almost every day and I’m not exactly known for being kind on my kit. That’s why, in my opinion, robust components and a generous amount of frame protection are a must on any enduro bike. I hate spending my day fixing stuff and prefer to invest my money in post-ride beers rather than new carbon rims.
(race-tape fetishist and ENDURO test boss)

Whether I’m racing enduro at the weekend or cruising my home trails with my better half, I can only really enjoy the ride if the suspension works as it should, providing an ideal mix of traction, support and reserves for fast-paced races, big gaps and the odd botched line. How do I know? My internal Pop-o-meter tells me exactly what’s going on under my feet through every jump and every compression. When you test around 100 bikes per year, you start to develop a sixth sense…
(pull up, not out)

My waving mane and facial expressions are my trademarks, going sideways my passion. That’s why I love a playful and agile bike that gives me enough freedom of movement to pull off wild manoeuvres.
(the old dog)

I may be older than the rest of the crew, but I’m not letting a group of youngsters shake me off on the trail. My experience as a guide and bike mechanic as well as my clean and vigilant riding style help me manage my energy more efficiently on long intensive test days. Therefore, I like bikes with intuitive handling that aren’t as demanding to ride, allowing me to focus on the trail ahead while enjoying the surroundings!
(fitter than you)

The Basque Country is my home and the perfect place for me to ride bikes. I love to push my body to the limit and go to bed knowing that I’ve achieved something great. It gives me peace of mind! Efficient rear suspension that generates lots of traction allows me to power to the trailhead on the nastiest climbs and rip my way back into the valley on the gnarliest trails. When we get to the car park, I love watching the boys wipe dust off their jerseys! :-)
(tool wizard)

As the official ENDURO mechanic, I’m obsessed with clever details, smart solutions and well-thought-out specs. Cool features such as suspension with adjustable progression make it easier to adapt the bike to my riding style, while clever solutions, like an integrated storage compartment, allow me to spend long days in the saddle without having to carry a backpack or hip pack. In future, I’d love to see more bike manufacturers implement clever storage solutions on their bikes.

There’s always a first time! Our Basque Country travel tips

We found out the hard way what it means to ride bikes in the Basque Country. After a zillion scuff marks (no, we don’t eat dirt all the time!), shameless food orgies and plenty of dirty looks, we’re ready (and proud) to present our own guide to the Basque Country:

  • There are thorns EVERYWHERE and the trails aren’t always clean! We recommend wearing long pants, a long-sleeved jersey and gloves to avoid scratches and scrapes on your extremities.
  • While the Hotel Churrut may not be the Mandarin Oriental, this little homely guest house in the heart of Bera (Vera de Bidasoa, Navarra) is a great starting point for exciting cycling adventures. You can keep your bike in a locked storage overnight and some of the coolest trails in the area end right in the heart of Bera.
  • Mountain biking is extremely popular around here and the locals are very welcoming. However, the area surrounding Berra is hardly prepared for international tourism and very few people speak English. Now you’ve got a good excuse to dust off your old school books and refresh your Spanish!
  • Do you want to shuttle, get more information about the trails or find a good bike shop? The lovely people at Basque MTB will answer all your questions and organise the perfect day out on the trails with an excellent atmosphere. They’re also responsible for most of the trails around here.
  • When you come to Spain, you should definitely try a cortado, a Spanish coffee specialty that consists of a 1:1 ratio of hot milk to a double shot of espresso.
  • Just scrap… erm, replace your ritual post-ride pint. The region is well-known for its apple cider and many bars serve their very own, home-made Sagardoa creations.
  • If you get a little overzealous with the “apple juice”, we recommend absorbing the alcohol with a few tapas. These bite-sized appetisers are served for free (in most Spanish regions) with every drink you order. Amongst our favourites are croquetas, which are basically a thick bechamel sauce with Serrano ham, deep-fried to crispy perfection! Delicious, but also heavy as fudge! ;)

Our test criteria for the “Best enduro bike of 2022” group test

What defines a good enduro bike, or, what does it take to be the king of enduro in 2022? Not much has changed in this regard and if you know us, you also know that fun is right at the top of our priority list. After all, that’s why most of us ride a mountain bike in the first place.

But how do you define something as subjective as riding fun? Easy…

Jokes aside, the grin-coefficient of a bike depends on a multitude of factors that must be considered collectively and in their combined interactions in order to define what type of emotions a bike triggers on the trail. What is a bike capable of? Where are its limits? What type of rider, terrain and application is it best suited for and who should look for a different type of bike?. These are the key questions that lie at the heart of all our reviews. To work what makes a bike tick and thus provide you with the best possible advice for your purchasing decisions, we don’t use a rigid scoring system but examine and evaluate the countless factors that define its character and individual features that set it apart from the competition.

Enduro bikes are the very epitome of compromise, as they have to combine allegedly contradictory handling characteristics. The best enduro bike should be agile, direct and fun but at the same time offer huge reserves at high speeds. Needless to say, the spec, frame features and build quality also play a crucial role. Climbing performance has an impact on the overall rating too, albeit to a lesser extent. Since we all ride our bikes on real trails and not around a lab, it makes sense to test the bikes on real dirt and in real conditions. Instead of rating the bikes based on isolated lab values and using a rigid scoring system for components, we present each bike through an honest and extensive review. For a better overview, we compare the bikes against each other, rating their individual handling characteristics on a scale of 1–10. However, we should make it clear that the rating is meant to serve solely as infomation for comparison within this group test. To help you understand our testing process, we explain the most important factors for our assessments.

What makes an enduro bike a great climber?

As the name of this group test suggests, we’re looking for an enduro bike and not an XC racer. To shine in this test, a bike has to offer a comfortable and balanced riding position that is suitable for long days in the saddle. A good enduro bike should be easy to pedal and get you to the trailhead with as little physical effort as possible. This can only be achieved with suspension that works efficiently on the climbs but still generates sufficient traction downhill – the Pivot Firebird is very good at this! Here, assistive technologies like the electronic RockShox Flight Attendant suspension system of the YT Capra or the 35 Nm motor of the Specialized S-Works Kenevo SL bring huge advantages to the trail.

What handling characteristics should an enduro bike have?

Trying to determine the handling of a bike based on isolated geometry values isn’t just wrong but also risky. Despite some near-identical geometry, handling differs enormously, with the suspension, the relationship between measurements (i.e. reach to stack ratio) and setup playing a major role. A good enduro bike positions its rider centrally, is intuitive and easy to manoeuvre and can forgive small riding mistakes. Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or just very tired after a long day in the saddle, intuitive and predictable handling is a godsend. However, some bikes are the exact opposite, requiring a great deal of concentration, excellent riding skills and forcing you to actively shift your weight around the bike to generate traction. If you’re not 100% in control, the tiniest mistake can quickly lead to a crash.

Composure vs agility

No two riding qualities are as antithetical! However, the best enduro bikes manage to combine them. Composure isn’t just about ploughing through a rock garden at Mach 10, but also about having sufficient reserves to swallow big hits and make you feel safe in the process – which is what makes us ride fast in the first place! Agility is the term we use to describe a bike’s ability to move and change direction quickly and efficiently while remaining in control. The more agile the character, the easier it is for the rider to snake through a narrow trail, lean from one turn into the next and throw the bike from a berm into a switchback.

How should the suspension of an enduro bike perform?

Suspension performance isn’t determined solely by the quality or characteristics of its components but also heavily influenced by the shock tune and setup. In other words, there’s only one way to find out how your suspension performs: taking your bike to the trail! The perfect suspension is a fine compromise that combines a high level of traction and responsiveness with sufficient mid-stroke support, lots of pop for playful manoeuvres and good reserves for botched landings. Bikes like the Orbea Rallon and SIMPLON Rapcon gobble up nasty impacts with ease and still generate lots of traction, allowing you to focus on the trail ahead. Nonetheless, they don’t absorb all the rider’s input, allowing you to play with the terrain and pop off features on the trail as well.

What does the perfect spec of an enduro bike look like?

We all just want to ride our bikes and not spend the entire day fixing stuff on the trailside. That’s why it’s crucial to choose your spec according to the intended use. However, many bike manufacturers still cheat to keep the weight down and make their bikes look better on paper and the shop floor! 7 out of 11 bikes in this group test rely on a lighter but also more puncture-prone tire casing like MAXXIS EXO+ and Schwalbe SuperTrail. Tires with thin casings offer less sidewall support, forcing you to run higher tire pressures to prevent pinch flats and costly breakdowns. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of grip and traction. Needless to say, fitting fragile tires to expensive carbon rims could easily lead to costly and frustrating damage. Small brake rotors, like the ones you get with the Orbea Rallon and Santa Cruz Bronson, tend to overheat quickly, resulting in an inconsistent bite point. Regardless of your riding skills, this can quickly lead to painful arm pump and fatigue, killing all the fun on a perfect day out on the mountain. Fortunately, all manufacturers in this test rely on powerful four-piston brakes. Bikes like the GT Force, come equipped with a high-quality SRAM X01 rear derailleur. However, look close and you’ll notice that GT have combined the bling X01 derailleur with a cheaper GX shifter, cassette and chain. While the fancy rear derailleur might look great on the shop floor, it only weighs marginally less than its cheaper GX counterpart and doesn’t offer any real performance benefits on the trail.

Unfortunately, for very few bikes in this test does the spec do full justice to the potential of the bike and suit its intended use – only the SIMPLON Rapcon and Nukeproof Giga tick all the boxes in this regard. That’s why we’ve added “Tuning tips” with the most beneficial and cost-effective upgrades at the bottom of each review.

What clever solutions should be standard on all enduro bikes?

Clever and useful frame features can, albeit indirectly, boost the fun factor of an enduro bike enormously. For example, additional storage options such as an integrated storage compartment or tool mount on the frame, let you leave your backpack or hip pack at home and keep your back cool on hot summer days. On the other hand, threaded bottom brackets make it easy to replace knackered bearings, saving you time and shameful swearfests. All bikes in this group have bottle cage bosses and five frames also have a tool mount on the top tube. Moreover, the Orbea Rallon and SIMPLON Rapcon come with an integrated storage compartment in the downtube, which the Spanish manufacturer complements with a clever mini-tool inside the main pivot of the rocker link. In this respect, more is always better and every additional storage option is one less object (or several) you have to carry on your body. This also helps reduce the risk of injuries, because falling on your mini-tool or CO2 cartridge really sucks! Internal cable routing, frame protection, universal spares and additional plastic covers like a mudguard, help reduce wear while increasing the fun factor and improving the look of the bike. Generously-sized protectors on chainstays, seat stays and the down tube ensure a quiet ride and protect the frame from stray rocks. That being said, some of the bikes in this test make a loud rattling noise on the trail, which can be frustrating, especially when you’ve just spent a shedload of money on them – unfortunately, the GT Force is one of them! Most of the bikes in this test feature SRAM’s UDH, aka Universal Derailleur Hanger, which should be easy to find in pretty much all bike shops around the world. By contrast, conventional mech hangers are specific to one frame and have to be sourced directly from the manufacturer or a distributor.

Does the spec of an enduro bike speak for its performance?

In our group tests, price plays a subordinate role. It’s not that we don’t care about money, but we’re deeply convinced that the price of a bike should always be commensurate with its performance. That’s why we refuse to calculate value for money based on the spec sheet of a bike or the amount of bling you get for your money. We’re more concerned with how a bike performs on the trail and how it benefits the rider. What’s the point in rocking the hottest components available on the market if the bike doesn’t perform well on the trail? Even expensive bikes with a lower-end spec can offer good value for money, provided they deliver were it really matters, in the same way that supposedly cheap bikes with good components can get a bad rating if they don’t deliver on the trail. What really matters is the interaction of all elements, from the suspension through to the geometry all the way to the spec.

Tops and flops of our enduro group test


Goodbye backpack!
Bikes like the Orbea Rallon and SIMPLON Rapcon feature an integrated storage compartment in the down tube, which allows you to carry all your trail essentials such as tools, spares, snacks and even a spare inner tube.
There’s something for everyone
Bikes like the Canyon Torque and GT Force come equipped with an adjustable dropper post. This lets you reduce the travel of the dropper by up to 25 mm without tools, allowing you to get the maximum dropper travel that will fit you.
Bomb proof
A bashguard protects the chain and chainring from nasty impacts while a guide prevents the chain from coming off on rough terrain. Unfortunately, only the Nukeproof Giga and Rocky Mountain Altitude are equipped with both as standard.
More grip, more support and better puncture protection
A robust tire casing such as MAXXIS DH or Schwalbe Super Gravity has many advantages. Unfortunately, only a few bikes in this test benefit from these advantages. Both our Best in Test and Best Buy come equipped with robust tire casings.


Running out of space
The dropper posts of the Specialized Kenevo SL and Rocky Mountain Altitude can’t be inserted completely into the frame. As a result, riders with shorter legs won’t be able to use all of the dropper post’s available travel.
Recipe for disaster
Pivot, YT, Santa Cruz and Specialized combine a puncture-prone tire casing with carbon wheels. A nasty pinch flat could easily destroy the expensive carbon rim and leave a massive hole in your bank account!
While the cables of the GT Force are all routed internally, they aren’t clamped sufficiently at the ports, causing a loud and annoying rattling noise on rough terrain.
Hard rubber compound
Many manufacturers use the harder MaxxTerra compound on the front wheel of their bikes. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of grip and traction, requiring you to actively shift your weight forward to keep the front wheel tracking.
The rear brake rotors of the Santa Cruz Bronson and Orbea Rallon are far too small for the intended use, overheating quickly and leading to painful arm pump on long descents.

Which is the best enduro bike of 2022? Winners, losers and other recommendations

You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, or, there are no winners without losers! The “Best enduro bike of 2022” group test was a hard-fought race, but after countless debates and sleepless nights, we’ve crowned an undisputed winner and a Best Buy – and unfortunately we’ve also spotted a massive lemon!

How did the individual competitors fare in our group test? For a better overview, we’ll introduce each bike with its respective tops and flops. Retailing at € 4,499, the sleek Canyon Torque CF8 2022 marks the lower-end of the pricing in our test field. Its spec embodies Canyon’s performance over bling approach but the unbalanced suspension leads to vague handling, making the Torque a handful on the trail. Only on very fast trails did the Canyon become great fun to ride. In theory, you could expect the the Cannondale Jekyll 1 2022 and GT Force Carbon PRO LE 2022, to exhibit similar handling. While both bikes rely on a high pivot suspension design, they’re as different as day and night on the trail. The GT lacks composure in all situations and requires you to remain vigilant at all times. Together with the inconsistent spec, this makes it the biggest disappointment in the entire group test – we’re very sorry for the GT Force! On the other hand, the Cannondale particularly convinced us on fast and rough descents, where its plush yet efficient suspension inspires huge amounts of confidence and at the same time generates excellent traction. To keep up with the Jekyll, you’ll need a rowdy bruiser like the Nukeproof Giga 290C Factory, which has the perfect spec for this test as well as excellent suspension and a very composed character. Unfortunately, it lacks agility and thus the all-round qualities needed to be the ultimate enduro rig.

The electronic RockShox Flight Attendant suspension of the YT CAPRA UNCAGED 6 2022 brings , particularly when it comes to climbing. On top of that, the Capra is incredibly playful and eager to get air. The Pivot Firebird XT/XTR 2022 offers almost as good uphill performance, albeit without the aid of electronics. Downhill, it impresses with its super-progressive suspension and nearly bottomless reserves. That being said, you’ll need good riding skills and spotless technique to unlock the full potential of the Firebird and prevent it from bucking you off the saddle. Conversely, the Specialized S-Works Turbo Kenevo SL 2022 is super intuitive. With its 35 Nm motor, it pulls past the competition on its way to the trailhead and shines with great composure when making its way back down into the valley. Unfortunately, here it lacks some agility and nimbleness and the spec leaves much to be desired, particularly given its eye-watering price. On the other hand, the Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 AXS 2022 is super agile and easy to manoeuvre. With its mullet setup and the least amount of travel in the entire test field, it’s the undisputed king of corners yet still inspires confidence on very steep descents. However, the Bronson doesn’t like to go fast, which is a key prerequisite for the ultimate all-rounder of 2022: to come out on top of the competition, the best enduro bike of the year needs to perform well in all situations, even on fast trails.

Only the three top dogs in this test managed to unite the proverbial ”supposed opposites” of agility and composure. Amongst them is last year’s test winner, the Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition 2021, which showed once again what it’s made of and why it deserved to win last year’s group test. However, it wasn’t quite good enough to secure victory for the second time in a row and the Altitude had to make do with a third place this year, placing right behind our Best Buy, the Orbea Rallon M-Team 2022 and our Best in Test, the SIMPLON Rapcon 170/165 2022. No other bike in this test strikes as good a balance between composure and smoothness as the SIMPLON and Orbea. Moreover, our Best in Test and Best Buy set themselves apart from the competition with several clever frame features, smart storage solutions and consistent specs, delivering exactly what we were looking for in our “Best enduro bike of 2022” group test: a brilliant riding experience and bags of fun on all sorts of terrain. Welcome to enduro Valhalla!

The best enduro bike of 2022: SIMPLON Rapcon 170/165 2022

SIMPLON Rapcon 170/165 2022 (Click for review)
170/165 mm travel (f/r) | 15.5 kg in size L | € 7,479

An underdog outclasses the world’s biggest bike manufacturers? Why not? In our “Best enduro bike of 2022” group test, the SIMPLON Rapcon 170/165 2022 delivered an exceptional performance, achieving more than any of us thought possible and securing a well-deserved Best in Test – albeit by a very narrow margin! It managed to unite supposed opposites, combining excellent composure, outstanding agility and super intuitive handling into a harmonious overall package like no other bike on test. Alongside the excellent custom spec, which can be adapted to your needs and preferences using SIMPLON’s online configurator, the Rapcon provides plenty of freedom of movement thank to its short seat tube and generous seat post insertion depth, inspiring huge amounts of confidence. Add a tidy look, clever frame details and smart storage solutions into the mix, and the SIMPLON Rapcon becomes the ultimate endorphin slingshot on all types of trails and undisputed all-round king of our “Best enduro bike of 2022” group test.

Our Best Buy: Orbea Rallon M-Team 2022

Orbea Rallon M-Team 2022 (Click for review)
170/160 mm travel (f/r) | 15.6 kg in size L | € 6,638

Yes, Orbea dropped a clanger by speccing a small rear rotor on their Rallon M-Team 2022. However, upgrading a rotor is fairly cheap and isn’t exactly rocket science. On top of that, the Spaniards have promised us they’ll add a bigger rotor to the MyO configurator. When it comes to aesthetics, the configurator also lets you customise the look of your new Rallon in detail. The LockR storage compartment and integrated mini-tool in the main pivot are the cherry on top of a delicious overall package. Together with the awesome suspension and high fun factor, this makes the Basque enduro bruiser a superb all-rounder. As a result, the € 6,638 Rallon M-Team 2022 secures our coveted Best Buy!

More exciting enduro bike recommendations: Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition 2021

Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition 2021 (Click for review)
170/160 mm travel (f/r) | 14.3 kg in size L | € 9,900

In our “Best enduro bike of 2022” group test, the Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition 2021 entered the race as the defending champion, proving once again what it’s made of and convincing our test crew with its adjustable geometry, tunable kinematics and coherent spec. On the trail, it impressed with excellent all-round qualities and super intuitive handling in all situations. However, both our Best in Test and Best Buy delivered an even more impressive overall performance. On top of that, the Altitude doesn’t feature any storage solutions and only offers limited freedom of movement, narrowly missing victory in this year’s group test as a result. Nevertheless, it’s still an awesome bike that delivers excellent performance, which is why it still comes highly recommended!

The big lemon: GT Force Carbon Pro LE 2022

GT Force Carbon PRO LE 2022 (Click for review)
170/160 mm travel (f/r) | 15.8 kg in size L | € 6,099

The GT Force Carbon PRO LE 2022 requires a careful and vigilant riding style and its linear suspension reaches its limits quickly and without much warning. Moreover, a significant lack of composure and strong brake judder spoil the fun factor enormously while the frame details and spec still need improvement. Unfortunately, all of the above make the GT the clear loser in our 2022 enduro group test!

You can read the 10 most important findings from our big enduro bike group test 2022 in this separate article.

Are enduro bikes not rowdy enough for you or are you looking for a bike for smoother trails?
If that’s the case, you should check out the other group tests we’ve published this year:

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Words: Peter Walker Photos: Peter Walker

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!