Print subscribers should already have this year’s Bible of Bike Tests in their hands, just in time to research what you really wanted this holiday season, which is obviously a new bike, and the accompanying Roundtable Reel videos will launch right here on bikemag.com tomorrow. In the meantime, the video above offers a glimpse into how we ended up with the bikes we tested, and why Park City, Utah, served up prime testing grounds in late September.
And here’s more from Bike’s gear editor Travis Engel, as written in the magazine’s “Start Here” column:
There was a time not too long ago when you didn’t choose your bike. Your terrain, topography, social circles, fitness and body height chose it for you. Circumstance would all but lock you down to the travel, geometry, frame material and wheel size you should have. If the constellation of events between the Big Bang and your discovery of mountain biking happened to put you in the Pacific Northwest at 22 years old in the late 2000s rooming with a house full of snowboarders who were getting restless during the summer, it wouldn’t be hard for us to guess your bike’s fork travel and stanchion diameter.
Those days are quickly dying. Trail, all-mountain and enduro have bled into each other like music genres. Now, nearly every bike you see is a two-wheeled version of “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus. Categories are becoming more and more irrelevant. Your trails no longer decide what you should ride. You do. Can’t nobody tell you nothing.
And that’s why The Bible of Bike Tests is more valuable than ever. Travel, geometry and spec are working together in ways they never have before, so reading those tea leaves isn’t as simple as it used to be. And converting a single tester’s impressions into universal buying advice is just as difficult. In the written tests that fill this volume and the Roundtable videos that accompany them (and can be found on our YouTube channel), our diverse crew works to bring you our equally diverse opinions. Some of us feel most at home north of 160 millimeters of travel, some of us prefer the thrill of pushing more conservative bikes to their limits. We’ve got an XC coach, a BMXer and an industry veteran who started riding before some of us were born. We agree on a lot of things, but we disagree nearly as often. If a bike speaks to one tester but not another, each explanation of why will offer insights no traditional test can.