You'll have seen our off-road.cc Best Bike Awards published recently, awarding worthy winners a number of prizes to round out the year. But we also thought we'd take a look at the 'most read' bike review articles to see exactly what you liked reading about this year. It's an interesting read, these bikes aren't the ones you might expect! Read on for the top 6 mountain bikes that received the highest reading figures throughout 2018.
6. Trek Roscoe 9
Trek's Roscoe 9 marries an aluminium frame with trail riding orientated geometry to chubby 2.8" Plus tyres on 27.5" rims. While it doesn't jam in as much value as direct sales rivals, it more than makes up for that with a fun, refined ride and coherent kit list.
Trek has done a very good job with the Roscoe 9. The geometry strikes a good balance between traditional and twitchy cross-country machines and more aggressively angled trail bikes that'll suit people that don't just want to slog out the miles or chuck themselves down the silliest stuff they can find. If that sounds like it's a bit of a Jack of all trades, then yes it is, but that'll suit a lot of people.
When it comes to the kit bolted to it, even a massive company like Trek struggles to match the value direct sales brands can offer, but it's a credit to them that there are very few missteps and everything works coherently. Having a dropper post, smooth drivetrain, decent rims and a well-controlled if hefty fork on a quality frame means it works well out of the box as well as being a good place to start upgrading affordably as needed. If you want a fun, all-round trail hardtail without breaking the bank, the Roscoe 9 hits the spot.
5. Canyon Grand Canyon AL SL 7.0
The Canyon Grand Canyon AL SL 7.0 is a cross-country racer with winning intentions that will be easier on your wallet than its competitors and can provide you with just as much speed. If you are set on pushing your limits on the cross country course then the Grand Canyon will be a good partner. It’s not radically different from other XC bikes on the market and it doesn’t break the mould in terms of geometry, but with the help of the 110mm fork on the Grand Canyon, its slacker than other XC hardtails which I think can only be a good thing and with the release of the Canyon Lux it appears the brand is thinking in terms of more progressive geometry. As ever with Canyon, though, the spec list and price is the thing that will make it stand out from the crowd.
4. Trek 1120
Trek's 1120 is an off-road touring machine quite unlike anything else out there. Thanks to fat 3" tyres on broad rimmed 29er wheels, it's comfortable and surprisingly capable even on pretty techy terrain, while the neat racking system allows you to take everything up to and including the kitchen sink. It's quirky, hugely fun and extremely practical all at the same time. Yes, if you fancy doing a huge off-road tour somewhere then it'll do that extremely well, but I found that it was using it in much more workaday settings where the sheer goofy charm of the thing won me over. It's a hugely practical impractical thing, and that's quite an entertaining combination.
3. Cube Reaction TM
Cube's Reaction TM is a harder hitting version of their high-value aluminium Reaction hardtail range, pairing a sturdy 130mm fork up front with fat 2.6" tyres on 27.5" wheels. It's cracking value and much more capable in the rough than the rest of the range if you like hacking about in the woods, but there are harder edged weapons out there if you want to go full gonzo.
If you want a bike that offers really good value paired up with shop support and just want something a little more relaxed to ride than a full-on cross-country hardtail with going fully hardcore, then it'll be right up your street.
2. Trek X-Caliber 9
If you're looking for a rapid handling cross-country hardtail then the X-Caliber delivers in spades, but it's a bit of a handful when the trail turns downhill thanks to steep geometry and a dated cockpit. the X-Caliber 9 has a lot of potential. If you're willing to make it – and yourself – work very hard, then it'll reward with a responsive, sharp and precise ride character that won't beat you up like cheap aluminium frames often can. On flat, flowing singletrack, it's precise and lively, while covering ground will come with ease. It's a real shame as it could do all this and much more if Trek had calmed down those race roots, relaxed the geometry and butched up the cockpit. With a mild tweak, this could be a seriously rapid hardtail; not just up up and along, but also down.
1. Boardman MTR 8.9 - the 'most read' review
Boardman's new MTR 8.9 manages to deliver the amazing value their full suspension range has always offered, but performance is now a step up thanks to revised geometry and suspension. It's not just a good bike for the money; it's a bike that's more than capable of shaming machines double or triple the price.
It's hard to find fault with this bike, it's an absolutely cracking mid-travel trail bike that'll flatter beginners and advanced alike and it's superb value for money, even by the standards of direct-sales bikes. To be honest, the only thing I felt was even slightly lacking compared to many bikes that have cost much, much more than the MTR 8.9 was the lack of a dropper post, but you could still spend a couple of hundred quid on one and still be laughing all the way to the bank - and all the way around the trails. Quite simply, this is a superb bike by any standard and at this money, it's an absolute steal.
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