Trail bikes are changing. They’re getting faster and becoming increasingly more capable and versatile, covering a huge range of applications without compromising on climbing performance. In our big 2022 trail bike group test not only did we have a blast riding 14 of the most exciting bikes of the year but also gained some exciting new insights.

Bikes are constantly evolving and innovative new solutions are becoming standard overnight. With the bikes also change their areas of application. Simply put, modern trail bikes are undergoing a process of permanent evolution, and while their characters and downhill capabilities are moving increasingly towards the extremes, many of their fundamental key data, e.g. suspension travel and wheel size, remain largely unchanged. And you know what’s really crazy about it? The climbing performance doesn’t suffer – at all! Quite the opposite. Despite being extremely capable downhill, the trail bikes in this test are brutally nimble, super-efficient and extremely comfortable on long tours. On the one hand, this ensures riding characteristics that were previously exclusive to enduro bikes, e.g. composure and reserves, and on the other, initiates a change in paradigms in mountain biking while at the same time redefining the capabilities of trail bikes. This group test is more exciting than ever and shakes the foundations of the never-ending suspension travel debate, proving that the character of a modern bike is strongly defined by its geometry, suspension kinematics and spec – and several bikes in this test proved this theory!

What is a trail bike and what should it be capable of?

A fast-paced post-work spin to shake off nasty Monday vibes? A chilled midweek trail centre session with your mates? An epic singletrack weekend in the Alps? Not only does a good trail bike allow you to grind your way up the mountain comfortably and without effort but also lets you shred your way back into the valley while putting a massive grin on your face in the process. No matter whether it’s gnarly tech, flowing trails or tight switchbacks, and no matter how much versatility is required, trail bikes are the perfect all-rounders, dishing out loads of fun on all types of singletracks. The best bikes in this group test will even get you through the occasional bike park session while at the same time providing excellent propulsion for second-shaving KOM hunts on your local mountain.

The test field: Fourteen of the most exciting trail bikes of 2022 at a glance.

Mountain biking is booming and with it the number of bikes that would fit into this test field. In our 2022 trail bike group test, we wanted to make some exciting comparisons, both between bikes from the same manufacturers and with other models from previous group tests. As a result, our 2022 trail bike test field includes everything from exciting newcomer brands and underdogs to new bikes with exciting new technologies as well as a few benchmark bikes for the sake of comparison with previous tests. Moreover, the editorial team at ENDURO spent sleepless nights going through an overwhelming amount of feedback gained from our annual reader’s survey with over 21,000 participants in order to understand which bikes are most popular amongst our readers. The result is a broad test field consisting of 14 super exciting bikes with a crazy price range of € 2,199 to € 13,200. Tons of interesting data, like the biggest weight gap between candidates (3 kg!) as well as a bunch of exotic entries including the only hardtail bike in the entire test field – which actually offered some very positive surprises – provided us with exciting insights and excellent comparison material.

Bike Price Travel Weight kg
Atherton AM.150 € 7,699 160/150 mm 15.5
Bold Linkin 135 Ultimate € 8,499 140/135 mm 14.7
Canyon Spectral 125 CF 9 € 5,799 140/125 mm 13.8
Canyon Spectral CFR € 6,499 160/150 mm 13.5
FOCUS JAM 8.9 € 4,699 150/150 mm 15.8
Mondraker Raze RR SL € 9,999 150/130 mm 12.9
Propain Hugene € 5,429 150/140 mm 13.6
Rocky Mountain Instinct C70 € 7,199 150/140 mm 14.3
ROSE BONERO 3 € 2,199 140 mm 12.8
Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 AXS € 9,999 160/150 mm 14.1
SCOR 4060 ST GX € 6,299 150/140 mm 14
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO S-Works € 13,200 160/150 mm 13.8
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy € 6,300 160/150 mm 15.5
YT JEFFSY UNCAGED 6 € 8,999 150/150 mm 14

According to our reader’s survey, Specialized and Canyon are at the top of the list of brands you’re considering for your next purchase, which is why they were allowed to enter our trail bike group test with two entries each. American brand Specialized entered the race with the Stumpjumper EVO Alloy and its high-end carbon counterpart the Stumpjumper EVO S-Works, which brought some interesting surprises despite sharing almost identical key data. German direct-sales brand Canyon entered the race with the Spectral 125 CF 9 and Spectral CFR, which also have very distinct characters despite sharing the same name. Good to know: the Spectral CFR secured victory in last year’s “Best Mountain Bike of 2021” group test, thus entering the race with a huge responsibility on its shoulders. The Rocky Mountain Instinct C70, which we deliberately chose not to test in the top-spec configuration and the Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 AXS are also old acquaintances in our group tests, thus allowing for some very exciting comparisons with other bike categories. The FOCUS JAM 8.9 and ROSE BONERO 3, the latter happening to be the only hardtail bike in the entire test field, mark the entry level in this group test, retailing at € 4,699 and € 2,199, respectively. While the Atherton AM.150 celebrates its world debut in a group test, the YT JEFFSY UNCAGED 6 adds a sprinkle of high-tech bling to our test field with its RockShox electronic Flight Attendant suspension, ensuring plenty of envious looks during test runs. The Propain Hugene, on the other hand, is the only bike in this test to feature RockShox’s freshly announced, brand-new suspension components, while the unique MIND telemetry system of the new Mondraker Raze RR offers interesting features including an airtime tracker. Our test field also includes two brand new bikes from Switzerland: the SCOR 4060 ST GX, which takes on the competition with a flexible frame platform and the Bold Linkin 135 Ultimate with fully-enclosed shock.

Of course, we would have loved to include even more exciting trail bikes in this group test. However, some manufacturers like Trek, Pivot and Orbea didn’t take up our invitation and didn’t send us any of their current bikes for this test while other brands like Transition, Norco and Instinctiv weren’t able to deliver a suitable bike within the deadline indicated.

How and where did we test the bikes?

Needless to say, a range of applications as wide as that of modern trail bikes calls for a diverse test location. The small town of Latsch in South Tyrol offers just that, providing the ideal conditions for this group test, even though it’s far from being the cool mountain biker’s insider tip it used to be. However, this wide and sun-blessed Alpine valley in northern Italy, which is well-known for its fruit orchards and vineyards, offers a diverse range of trails, welcoming mountain bikers of all levels with dry and perfectly manicured trails from as early as spring. With some descents exceeding 1,000 vertical metres and trails constantly alternating between flowing berms, technical rock gardens and tight switchbacks, it offers the ideal conditions for us to get to know our trail bikes – not to mention the epic landscape and a few glasses of South Tyrolean wine we had in the evening!

Given that the editorial team at ENDURO isn’t nearly as fit as people like Nino Schurter and Jolanda Neff and that even the keenest of testers would crumble in attempting to pedal 14 bikes to the top of a mountain solely on the power of their legs, we replaced the odd trailhead climb with a shuttle uplift. If you want to do the same and throw your bike onto a trailer on your next holiday instead of pedalling under the blazing South Tyrolean sun, you should contact Heiko from Freeride Vinschgau. Not only is their office located right at the bottom of the trails, but also right next to a cosy cafè and small supermarket, where you can top up your sugar levels between runs. Of course, Heiko and his team offer several shuttle runs per day.

If you’re planning on visiting for more days, we recommend booking your accommodation at the Lahnhof, which is a two-minute bike ride from the shuttle departure. Here you’ll find a pool, a sauna and secure bike storage as well as a big car park right in front of the house. Breathtaking views included!

The ENDURO test crew

As discreet, quiet and clean as possible! When Peter isn’t busy shredding bike parks, he really loves a chilled and quiet session on his home trails. And quiet is exactly what his trail bike should be, because the rattling noise of loose cables and ear-piercing chainslap will drive him just as nuts as an untidy cockpit or unsightly cable routing. That’s why a clean look and sophisticated detail solutions are an absolute must for Peter.
Not only is he the most stylish cat in town but also a damn fit one that loves to sit on his bike all day long. That’s why his ideal trail bike needs to be extremely comfortable and suitable for long rides and touring. By the way, he really dislikes backpacks and hip packs, making a storage compartment and integrated tools an absolute must.
Katrin is without a doubt the most experienced rider in our test team. While she’s only 26, she’s already been competing in XC, enduro and downhill for 20 years, securing a place on the podium on a regular basis. While studying architecture in Innsbruck, she likes to clock fast lap times in the woods, which is why she’s particularly fond of bikes with lively and direct handling.
Simon (the other one)
Riding, studying, wrenching. When Simon isn’t sitting in a lecture hall at the University of Innsbruck or riding his gearbox bike, he’s spinning wrenches at his local bike shop – and has been for over 10 years. No one knows modern trail bikes as thoroughly as he does and even before the first run, he’s already revising all the bearings and bolts of the bikes. Because great trail bikes shouldn’t be disposable goods and should run perfectly even after several seasons.
Mike aka Honey Hunger is that guy wolfing down a couple of honey-wheat boxes and 3 pints of milk at the breakfast table. Funny thing is, he’s just as big on riding skills as on appetite. At the trail entrance, he draws an imaginary line down the mountainside and sticks to it until he emerges from the forest at the valley bottom. Exactly for this reason his ideal trail bike must be composed and inspire huge amounts of confidence – and of course, have a storage compartment for a mid-ride sugar fix. ;)
Not only is Till the youngest member of the team but also the fastest. As a young boy, he was racing downhill for a World Cup team and travelling all over the world. Needless to say, he’s got a skill set most people can only dream of. When he’s not teaching kids to ride bikes, he’s usually hanging out in the Austrian mountains or enjoying the breathtaking landscapes of South Tyrol from his paraglider. He’s also the only tester who didn’t get to Vinschgau in a car. ;)
While Felix is the newcomer in the ENDURO test team with just two years of riding experience under his belt, he doesn’t waste any more time and rides his bike in every spare second. Hardly a day goes by without Felix jumping on his bike to escape his medical student routine and swap sterile clinic desks for a healthy serving of dirt. For fast-paced evening laps after a long day at work he’s after intuitive handling and a consistent spec that does justice to the character and potential of the bike.

Our big trail bike group test in numbers

Raise the curtain for our numbers!

  • In total, the bikes in this group test cost€ 102.818
  • The average price of the bikes in this group test is € 7.344 €
  • 6 ROSE BONEROs or 1 Specialized Stumpjumper EVO S-Works?
    • At € 2,199, the Rose Bonero 3 is the most affordable bike in the entire test field.
    • At € 13,200, the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO S-Works 2022 is six times as expensive and carries the heaviest price tag in this test.
  • The bike with the most travel combines 160/150 mm (v/h)
  • The bike with the least travel offers 140/125 mm (v/h)
  • Average front travel:152 mm
  • Average rear travel: 143 mm
  • The lightest bike in test weighs 12,8 kg
  • The heaviest competitor tilts the scales at15,8 kg
  • The average weight of the bikes in this test is 14,2 kg
    • Average weight in our latest enduro bike group test: 15.5 kg
    • Average weight in our latest downcountry group test: 11,4 kg
  • 13 bikes roll on two big 29” wheels.
  • 0 bikes rely exclusively on 27,5” wheels.
  • 1 bike employs mixed wheel sizez (mullet).
  • 11 bikes feature a storage compartment or integrated tool.
  • 4 bikes come equipped with RockShox suspension.
  • 9 bikes have FOX suspension.
  • 1 bike relies on a mixed suspension setup, combining RockShox and FOX components.
  • 6 bikes feature SRAM CODE four-piston brakes.
  • 3 bikes rely on Shimano XT four-piston brakes.
  • 1 bike is decelerated by Shimano XTR four-piston brakes.
  • 2 bikes come equipped with Formula Cura four-piston brakes
  • 2 bikes employ SRAM G2 four-piston brakes. Which, unfortunately, aren’t powerful enough for a trail bike.
  • 8 bikes rely on big 200 mm rotors front and rear.
    • None comes with huge 220 mm rotors.
  • 6 bikes use a 180 mm rotor at the rear, which overheats far too easily, resulting in an inconsistent bite point and potentially leading to painful arm pump.
  • Average rotor size in our 2022 trail bike group test: 194 mm
  • Average rotor size in our 2022 enduro bike group test: 202 mm
  • 12 bikes have a carbon main frame.
  • 2 bikes feature an alloy frame.
  • We suffered 9 punctures in total.
  • We crashed 6 times during test runs.
  • 1 wheel didn’t make it to the end of the test in one piece.
  • We enjoyed5 sunny days during our testing sessions in South Tyrol.
  • 2 rainy days tried to spoil the atmosphere during our test session in Vinschgau, albeit in vain. ;)
  • We devoured12 pizzas during our stay in Italy.

Our test criteria – What defines a good trail bike?

The perfect trail bike shines with strong all-round characteristics, uniting supposed opposites without compromising on the virtues of either. It’s a delicate equation that takes into account both the spec and character of the bike. To work out the latter and thus provide you with the best possible advice for your purchasing decisions, we don’t use a rigid scoring system and prefer to provide you with a holistic evaluation of the bike instead. When it comes to the components, it’s not the price tag or bling factor that matters, but rather how the single parts harmonise with each other and perform on the trail. To help you understand our testing process, we’ve summarised all the most important criteria for our 2022 trail bike group test.

What makes a trail bike the best climber?

Without climbing there’s no descending! And since with trail bikes we tend to make our way to the trailhead solely with the power of our legs, climbing performance is paramount. Therefore, the perfect trail bike must offer a comfortable pedalling position without putting too much pressure on your hands, thus enabling long days in the saddle. At the same time, it should have a pedal-neutral rear suspension that generates sufficient traction even in technical sections, preferably without using the climb switch because this robs you of traction and momentum in technical sections, whereas the best suspension systems in this test negotiate obstacles easily and comfortably without wasting precious energy. Just one of our competitors relies on a bar-mounted lockout lever, allowing you to quickly adjust the suspension to the riding situation but also creating a little confusion on the trail with countless levers in the cockpit. Weight and rolling resistance also play a decisive role when riding uphill, especially when accelerating from a standstill. Once the mass is in motion, however, weight only plays a secondary role, while shallow-profiled tires with hard rubber compounds tend to spin out of control all too easily in loose terrain.

Which handling characteristics are typical of trail bikes?

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 on paper, handling differs enormously, with the suspension, the relationship between measurements (i.e. reach to stack ratio) and setup playing a major role. A good trail bike positions its rider centrally, is intuitive and easy to ride and also forgives the odd riding mistake. Regardless of whether you’re inexperienced or just exhausted after an epic day in the mountains, 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, even small distractions can quickly lead to a crash. In a nutshell, the more intuitive the handling, the faster and safer you can ride a trail bike.

Composure vs agility

Although no two riding qualities are as antithetical, the best trail bike manages to combine them. Composure isn’t just about bombing through a rock garden at full pelt but also about having sufficient reserves to swallow big hits and make you feel safe in the process – which is what encourages us to ride fast in the first place!
Agility is the word we use to describe a bike’s ability to move and change direction quickly and efficiently and thus how easy it makes it to snake through a narrow trail.

What should the suspension of the perfect trail bike be capable of?

The performance of a trail bike suspension isn’t determined solely by the quality or characteristics of its components and is heavily influenced by the shock tune and setup. Simply put, there’s only one way to find out how your suspension performs: taking your bike to a 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 riding manoeuvres and good reserves for botched landings. Bikes like the Atherton AM.150 and SCOR 4060 ST GX gobble up nasty impacts with ease and still generate lots of traction, allowing you to focus on the trail ahead. Nonetheless, they don’t swallow up the rider’s input like a sandbag, allowing you to play with the terrain and pop off features on the trail as well.

What does the perfect spec of a trail bike look like?

We all just want to ride our bikes and hate wasting time fixing this or that on the trailside. That’s why it’s crucial to choose your spec according to the intended use. However, many bike manufacturers are still cheating to keep the weight down and make their bikes look better on paper and shop floors! In most cases, they try to shave off grams by using lighter tires. As far as rubber compounds go, it makes sense to combine a softer, grippier tire at the front and a tire with harder compound at the rear, which ensures lower rolling resistance and a longer service life. The tire casing, on the other hand, should be chosen according to the character and intended use of the bike as well as the type of wheelset used. Unlike alloy wheels, carbon rims only know two scenarios with nasty impacts, either getting away unscathed or landing straight in the bin. That’s why carbon rims should always be paired with robust tire casings, not least because they’re significantly more expensive. On the other hand, a dented alloy rim isn’t that big of a deal and won’t necessarily ruin your day. Moreover, a robust casing allows you to run lower tire pressures, ensuring more traction and additional damping, both with smaller vibrations and bigger impacts.

Without a doubt, the brakes are the most important component on a trail bike. Not only are they your guardian angel in hairy situations, but also have a huge influence on arm pump and fatigue, which in turn can be seriously detrimental to your safety. As a logical conclusion, saving weight on the brakes isn’t just thoughtless but also incredibly dangerous! However, our 2022 trail bike group test proves that many manufacturers agree with us and features more powerful brakes and big rotors than any of our previous group tests – keep it up guys!

However, manufacturers also like to skimp on drivetrains, combining high-end rear derailleurs with cheaper shifters. While this might look great on the shop floor, it doesn’t bring any advantages to the trail because the quality of the shifter is key to smooth shifting performance and basic models lack the practical features of their high-end counterparts, thus making a bling rear derailleur totally pointless. The same goes for the cassettes, but this is only a concern in terms of weight and durability and doesn’t compromise the performance on the trail.

Unfortunately – and that’s a big one – with very few bikes in this test does the spec do full justice to the potential of the bike and suit its intended use, which is why at the bottom of each review we’ve added “Tuning tips” with the most beneficial and cost-effective upgrade suggestions.

Which clever features and detail solutions should be standard on every trail bike?

Clever and useful frame features can, albeit indirectly, boost the fun factor of a trail bike enormously. For example, additional storage options such as an integrated storage compartment or tool mount allow you to leave your backpack or hip pack at home. On the other hand, threaded bottom brackets make it easy to replace worn bearings, saving you precious time and embarrassing swearfests. All bikes in this group have a bottle cage mount and integrated storage compartments, while tool mounts seem to be rather the norm than the exception. However, the systems differed greatly in quality and haptic feel, and no one really likes to fiddle around with a finicky storage compartment when a pinch flat has already put you in a foul mood. 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 a mini tool or CO2 cartridge ain’t fun! 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. Moreover, most bikes in this test feature SRAM’s UDH universal mech hanger, which can be found in most bike shops around the world and is easy to replace. 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 list of a trail bike speak for its performance?

In this group test, price only 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 list of a bike or the amount of bling you get for your dosh. 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 rides like an ox-wagon? Even expensive bikes with a lower-end spec can offer good value for money, provided they deliver where 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 counts is the interaction of all elements, from the suspension through the geometry all the way to the spec.
And that’s exactly why the huge price gap of over € 11,000 in this group test is actually irrelevant. On the contrary, it will help you understand what’s important to you and what you actually need!

The tops and flops of our trail bike group test


Got everything?
11 out of the 14 bikes in this test feature an integrated mini tool or storage compartment, sending backpacks and hip packs into a well-deserved retirement.
The bigger, the better!
Both the type of brakes and rotor size have a huge influence on braking performance. Luckily, most bikes in this test come equipped with powerful brakes.
Keep it real
While it’s rare to see a hardtail bike in one of our group tests, the ROSE Bonero has proven its raison d’être, ensuring plenty of fun on the trail.
So simple
A neat cable routing with effective clamping ensures a quiet ride and also makes it easier to work on your bike. At the same time, a clean cable routing prevents scuffs on the frame and ensures a tidy look.
Up, up we go
Many of the bikes in this test convince with a pedal-neutral rear suspension, ensuring excellent propulsion on your way to the trailhead.
Get low
The Linkin combines a short seat tube and damn-long dropper post that can be inserted all the way into the frame, ensuring excellent freedom of movement. Needless to say, this inspires huge amounts of confidence on the trail.


Slip n’slide
The hard rubber compound on the front tire of the SCOR 4060 comes at the expense of traction and doesn’t bring any advantages uphill.
Pfffffff …
Many manufacturers save weight (and money) by speccing their bikes with thin, puncture-prone tire casings, which require higher air pressures and pose a constant threat to your rims.
Poking the rump!
Short-travel dropper posts unnecessarily restrict freedom of movement on the bike, causing the saddle to get in your way on steep trail sections.
Like in the olden days…
Without additional storage options such as integrated minitools or storage compartments you’ll have to carry your trail essentials in a backpack or hip pack.
Undersized brake rotors overheat quickly on descents, resulting in an inconsistent bite point and potentially leading to painful arm pump.
Cast from one mould
Some manufacturers rely on one-piece handlebar/stem units, which ensure a clean look but don’t allow for fine-tuning, except for the stem height.

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

Not only did our 2022 trail bike group test exposed many weaknesses and some half-baked solutions, but also demonstrated that trail bikes are indeed undergoing a process of permanent evolution, with features once highly polarising becoming standard over the years. Furthermore, lots has changed as regards to safety and trail performance, both up- and downhill. By the time we packed up our van, we had a clear winner, a well-deserved Best Buy tip, more cool bike recommendations, a clear overview of the test field and the individual characters of the bikes.

The rest of the test field in our 2022 trail bike group test.

Although only a few bikes rolled out of the big 2022 trail group test with a champagne flute and laurel wreath on their head tube, most participants passed our tests with flying colours, impressing our test crew with countless cool features and unique characters. Last year’s test winner, the Canyon Spectral CFR , proved once again to be a strong all-rounder and still manages to keep up with its opponents on the trail. However, in terms of geometry and frame features it’s a little outdated, thus struggling to keep up with a zealous competition that has worked hard to keep up with the current standards. Its smaller brother, the Canyon Spectral 125 CF 9 , relies on similar detail solutions but employs a more contemporary geometry and modern features, like the twin-boss tool mount, thus allowing for better compatibility. The Spectral 125 feels as if it had more travel and at the same time delivers an excellent climbing performance. The Propain Hugene is just as eager a climber and also the only bike in this test to feature RockShox’s brand-new suspension components. Furthermore, it’s pleasantly nimble and agile, allowing you to rip your way down into the valley with a huge smile on your face and also allows you to customise the spec and look of your bike down to the smallest detail using Propain’s extensive online configurator.

The YT JEFFSY UNCAGED 6 enters the race with the latest high-tech bling, taking on the competition with a RockShox’s Flight Attendant system. However, the electronic suspension doesn’t bring the YT any clear advantages in this specific test field simply because many of its competitors deliver outstanding climbing performance even without an intelligent suspension system. Downhill, it’s stiff and direct but also requires a vigilant riding style while the undersized brake rotors limit its potential significantly. The latter also applies to the Rocky Mountain Instinct C70 , which could do with some bigger brake discs too. On the other hand, the Instinct impresses with its super-variable RIDE-9 geometry system and outstanding all-round qualities, which, together with the touring-friendly pedalling position and efficient suspension system, make it extremely versatile and fun to ride. Conversely, the suspension of the FOCUS JAM 8.9 is super linear and plush, effectively filtering out bumps and imperfections on the trail but unfortunately also swallowing up the rider’s input like a sandbag. Considering the price point, however, it has a very cool spec and some exciting features you wouldn’t even get with some high-end bikes. As the most expensive bike in the entire test field, the SpecializedStumpjumper EVO S-Works stands up against the competition with a super-clean look and many cool features like the integrated storage compartment and a mini-tool hidden in the steerer tube. Downhill, it’s intuitive to ride and easy to throw from one berm into the next, which is partly due to the low system weight. Its aluminium counterpart, the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy , shares many of the practical frame features with its flagship sibling but is significantly plusher and more composed on the trail. The Bold Linkin 135 Ultimate is a real head turner, sporting a unique look with its fully enclosed shock. This can be locked out using Bold’s proprietary TracLoc system, allowing you to adjust the rear suspension to the riding situation using the bar-mounted remote. Unfortunately, the latter makes for a rather crowded cockpit and takes some time to get used to. On the trail, the Bold is intuitive and predictable, and inspires huge amounts of confidence.

The best trail bike of 2022 – The Atherton AM.150

Best in test – Atherton AM.150 (Click for review)

With its unique manufacturing process and (so far) limited availability, the Atherton AM.150 is the most exotic competitor in our trail bike group test. Although the lack of frame features makes it look a little outdated, the Atherton blows the competition out of the water on the trail, thus securing Best in Test in our 2022 trail bike group test. In a nutshell, no other bike manages to unite apparent opposites like composure and nimbleness as skillfully as the Atherton. Uphill, it grinds its way up the mountain with its pedal-neutral rear suspension and ploughs its way back down into the valley with stoic composure, inspiring huge amounts of confidence thanks to its intuitive and predictable handling. Huge congratulations to the fastest siblings in Britain and their team!

Our Best Buy tip – The SCOR 4060 ST GX

Our Best Buy tip – SCOR 4060 ST GX (Click for review)

Despite making its debut in the mountain biking world only recently, Swiss newcomer brand SCOR already secure a well-deserved Best Buy tip in our 2022 trail bike group test. Although it has to give way to the Atherton on the trail, the SCOR GX 4060 shines with excellent handling characteristics and great all-round capabilities while at the same time offering cool individualization options, clever storage solutions and a solid spec.

More exciting trail bike recommendations.


Whether you’re a beginner, a pro or simply looking for a cheap N +1, the ROSE BONERO 3 offers a great spec at a very reasonable price, thus serving as an ideal workout tool or winter trainer. While its hardtail frame calls for a slightly different riding style, the Bonero is still tons of fun on the trail, opening up a whole new world of possibilities on familiar trails.

The Mondraker Raze RR

Going uphill, the Mondraker Raze RR leaves the competition behind in a cloud of dust, with the light, fast-rolling tires and pedal-neutral rear suspension ensuring excellent propulsion. Moreover, the frame and cockpit of the Raze RR are extremely tidy while the unique design language sets it clearly apart from the competition. Downhill, however, it passes on feedback directly to the rider, requiring a vigilant riding style.

Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01

Not only is the Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 the only mullet bike in the entire test field but also the only one that was featured in our latest enduro group test. On both occasions, the Bronson impressed our test crew with excellent all-round qualities and delivered a crazy amount of riding fun, combining playful and agile handling with plenty of reserves. Unfortunately, the Santa Cruz doesn’t have a tool mount or storage compartment integrated in the frame.

Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Alloy

Regrettably, alloy bikes with high-end spec are as rare as they’re sublime. However, the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Alloy is just that, combining an aluminium frame with all the clever features of carbon bikes, like the storage compartment integrated into the down tube. On the trail, it shines with excellent composure and also forgives the odd riding mistake, inspiring huge amounts of confidence in all situations.

You will find the biggest surprises and most important findings from our 2022 trail bike test as well as an outlook on the future of trail bikes in this separate article.

All bikes in test: Atherton AM.150 (Click for review) | Bold Linkin 135 Ultimate (Click for review) | Canyon Spectral 125 CF 9 (Click for review) | Canyon Spectral CFR (Click for review) | FOCUS JAM 8.9 (Click for review) | Mondraker Raze RR SL (Click for review) | Propain Hugene (Click for review) | Rocky Mountain Instinct C70 (Click for review) | ROSE BONERO 3 (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 AXS (Click for review) | SCOR 4060 ST GX (Click for review) | Specialized Stumpjumper EVO S-Works (Click for review) | Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy (Click for review) | YT JEFFSY UNCAGED 6 (Click for review)

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Words: Peter Walker Photos: Peter Walker, Mike Hunger

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!