As winter sets in, and memories of carefree summer riding become increasingly distant, our thoughts are drawn toward the best new mountain bikes of 2013 and dreams of an upgrade. And boy have we got some hotties to show you.
So, take five minutes to remove that last bit of singletrack dust from your lungs, put 2012 to the back of your shed with the dry lube and summer tyres, and prepare for the new year. And to offset the alpine flashbacks and trail cold-turkey, look for a little inspiration and retail fantasy.
Best new mountain bikes of 2013
This year expect new bling, fresh trail centres and even fresher rides. And what better way to celebrate it than by checking out 5 of the best new mountain bikes of 2013?
First off, I introduce to you the latest offering from cult heroes Ragley: The Marley.
The replacement for the much-loved mmmBop, the Marley sticks firmly to Ragley’s ethos of producing, “simple hardcore hardtails with well thought-out trail geometry built for maximum fun”.
Based on another firm favourite, the Piglet, this alloy-framed hardcore hardtail comes with the sort of attitude its namesake would be proud of.
Ragley’s exclusive ‘Three Finger’ chainstay bridge and ISCG 05 tabs allow for a frame-mounted chain guide and a hefty 2.5in rear tyre. The ‘new for 2013’ trail geometry boasts a 67 deg head angle and lower than ever BB height.
Couple this with the same 44mm headset standard that Nukeproof run on their trail slaying ‘Mega’, (which will accommodate all steerer tube configurations when combined with the correct headset) and the Marley’s innate desire to descend becomes apparent.
The complete build comes equipped with a RockShox Sektor 140mm travel fork, SRAM X7 shifters and derailleurs, Avid Elixir 1 brakes, and Maxxis High Roller tyres.
Easily one of the best new mountain bikes of 2013 and yours for under £1300. What’s not to like?
Whilst on the topic of aggressively minded hardtails, I give you the Honzo 29er.
The latest incarnation of Kona’s chromoly big-wheeler doesn’t hint so much as, yell in your face that it wants to play – and preferably whilst heading downwards.
A 68 deg head angle and low BB height have been carried forwards from the 2012 model, as has the curved seat tube, something that allows for its super-short chainstays.
For 2013, Kona has introduced a 12mm rear axle to help stiffen up an already snappy back end and lowered the top tube for increased standover height.
Keeping the wagon-wheels rolling is a simple 1×10 setup, complete with E*13 chainguide and SRAM X7 shifter/derailleur combo. The cockpit is completed by a pair of Avid Elixir 5 brakes, attached firmly to Kona’s own 760mm-wide bars. Taming the ground beneath you is left in the capable hands of the well-rounded Maxxis Ardent tyres, and 120mm travel RockShox Revelation fork.
Whilst most bike companies are producing trail-taming 29ers built for efficiency, Kona is out to prove that it can still be ballsy, and let’s face it, a little ridiculous too! But the result id one of the best new mountain bikes of 2013.
If you were lucky enough to get a mountain biking holiday to one of mainland Europe’s many alpine resorts this summer, you may well have noticed a sudden surge of the charcoal and orange adorned weapons from Austrian firm KTM.
With a long history in the motorcycle industry, the Mattighofen-based company is serious about becoming a real big player in the MTB world too.Up for show here we have the top-of-the-tree 650b Lycan 651.
Billed as “KTM’s most important full suspension MTB”, the Lycan comes with an XTR groupset, XT brakes, Fox Float CTD shock, RockShox Revelation RCT3 fork and DT Swiss wheels. All good kit then.
The main point of focus though is the wheel size. KTM claim the new wheels are only 3% heavier than their 26in counterpart, compared to the 11% of their 29in big brother.
Stack those figures up with the benefits of having a wheel that accelerates and handles similarly to a 26in, but rolls and provides traction like a 29er, suddenly you’re left with one efficient machine that is one of the best new mountain bikes of 2013…and a looker to boot!
Lapierre Zesty 914 E.I.
OK, so let’s not mess about; the Zesty has been around for a little while now, and this is a 5k bike…so it best be good!
The simple truth is Lapierre has got it right. Over the last few years it has gone from strength-to-strength, rejuvenating an American-led market en-route. With its development team including the legendary Nico Vouilloz, you can hardly argue with the pedigree.
A brief glance over the spec helps lessen the blow of the wallet-disintegrating price-tag: A full carbon frame littered with SRAM X0 and X9; 150mm Kashima coated Fox 32 Float CTD forks and 140mm Float CTD LV shock; Formula R1S brakes; RockShox Reverb dropper; and Crossmax wheels and parts from both Thomson and Easton, this puppy is spec’d!
The real treat however comes from the on-board electronically-powered suspension adjustment system, or E.I., which can adjust the rear shock up to 200 times a minute whilst on the trail! It’s proving extremely difficult to fault, and will only feature on the Lapierre range, plus selected Ghost and Haibike models.
Exciting stuff indeed.
As the popularity of MTBing has increased, more people have become exposed to the energy drink-fuelled and Troy Lee-clad world of downhill. With this extra influx of would-be Gwinners has come a desperate need for reasonably priced, race-ready, off-the-peg DH rigs.
In recent years Saracen’s Myst, Kona’s Operator and Nukeproof”s Scalp have all stood proud in this field. Now enter the Pulse one of the best new mountain bikes of 2013.
Nukeproof, with the help of the CRC World Team, has spent the last two seasons developing and tweaking their latest ballistic missile, and their targets are firmly set on gold.
Stronger and lighter than the Scalp, the Pulse has been engineered to maximise its potential for the privateer racer.
Adjustable chainstay lengths give you the opportunity to lengthen or shorten the wheelbase by 10mm, whilst being designed specifically to be easily serviceable.
The starter ‘Comp’ model comes ready to roll with a Boxxer RC fork, Vivid RC2 shock, X7 mech and shifter, and Elixir 5 brakes.
Stealth looks, a name which screams ‘indestructible’, and competition-grade builds starting at a shade under 3k; weekend warriors, meet your new weapon. Sweet dreams are made of these; who am I to disagree?
A new year is here, and if the best new mountain bikes of 2013 are anything to go by (or go buy!) it’s going to be a beaut!