For most riders, the best mountain bike is the quiver-killer, a bike that can do a little bit of everything. But if you’re a gear geek like me, a single quiver-killer just won’t cut it. I need the opposite: an array of bikes, each optimized for specific terrain and goals. That way, I’ll always have the perfect bike for a race, a gnarly trail, or an epic riding trip.
To build a dream mountain bike quiver that can cover everything from cross-country racing to downhill bike parks, I figured I’d need at least four different bikes. Here are my picks.
XC bike: Specialized S-Works Epic Evo - $11,999.99
I’m starting off with a wallet-buster. This Epic is more expensive than most cars I’ve owned, but it’s tricked out with an S-Works frame, carbon wheels, a SRAM AXS drivetrain/dropper post, and a SID Ultimate fork and shock. At a touch over 22 pounds, it’s incredibly light for a full-suspension bike. The Evo version removes the BRAIN damper and has more travel so it’s more capable on downhills. It’s perfect for the events I dream about (like BC Bike Race), which require an XC bike that’s a bit more capable.
Trail bike: Forbidden Druid - $5,999.99
With a modest 130mm of rear travel, the Forbidden Druid splits the difference perfectly between my XC and enduro bike picks. How does it handle the rough stuff with so little travel? Enter the high pivot suspension design. I recently took a deep dive into high pivot suspension with a frame engineer, and I’m convinced that I need to try a high-pivot for myself. The Druid should feel efficient enough for all-day adventures, but capable enough to tackle tough and technical trails. I’ll probably ride it the most because it’s so versatile. Plus I won’t be able to resist the exotic suspension and deep purple paint.
Enduro bike: Transition Sentinel - $6,499.99
Nothing matches the adrenaline rush of racing the clock downhill. That’s why I need to include a rowdy bike like the Transition Sentinel V2. It’s been revised for 2021 with 150mm of rear travel and an ultra-slack 63.6° head angle. Combined with the long reach, it should give me extra confidence on the steepest and gnarliest downhill trails. It can be pedaled uphill reasonably well, but it’s probably too burly for everyday riding. It’ll come out when it’s time to race my local enduro series, hit the downhill bike park, or make my yearly trek out to Moab.
Hardtail: Advocate Cycles Hayduke - $2,899.99
A complete MTB quiver must include a classic steel hardtail. I’m not the biggest hardtail fan but I appreciate their simplicity. To make things even simpler I went for this singlespeed Advocate Hayduke. There’s less to maintain, and less to go wrong. It has an older fork and an externally routed dropper, but this isn’t a beauty queen, it’s a piece of utilitarian hardware. I’ll upgrade parts as they wear out. Since it has one gear and 27.5” plus tires, the Hayduke will serve as a snow and mud bike. During the winter I can ride it hard, put it away wet, and sharpen my skills.
Total cost: $27,399.96
The cost of this dream mountain bike quiver is pretty darn hefty, but a lot of that is thanks to the pricey S-Works Epic. If I wanted to lower the cost, I could go for an older or lower spec Epic, but where’s the fun in dreaming about that? I already exercised extreme restraint by picking the Hayduke over a more blingy titanium hardtail.
Also, even though this quiver is perfect for me, it might not be perfect for everyone. Lycra-lovers probably want more race-focused XC weapons. Park rats might prefer a true downhill bike for lift-serve. And maybe there should be an e-bike in the mix (gasp!). Perhaps my dream quiver actually needs seven bikes ...
Did I make good choices? What would you have chosen for your dream MTB quiver? Let me know in the comments!