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The Best Do-It-All Trail MTBs Marked Down Now

Mid-travel trail bikes are the best go-anywhere do-anything mountain bikes. These marked-down trail bikes are great options for any rider who need a single MTB to satisfy all their riding needs.

Written by: Bruce Lin

Published on:

Posted in:MTB

Ah yes, the classic trail bike — the most versatile of all mountain bikes. With the right setup and a willing rider, they have the capability to excel at everything from XC to Enduro. That’s why many call bikes in this mid-travel segment quiver-killers. They are true do-it-all machines. If you can only own one mountain bike, a trail bike is probably what you should choose.

I'm defining “trail bikes” as full-suspension mountain bikes that have around 120-140mm of rear travel. These split the difference between climbing-focused XC bikes and downhill-oriented enduro bikes when it comes to suspension travel, geometry, and weight. There are a lot of different bikes in this category, which means there are a ton of great options. Even better, many trail bikes at TPC have been marked down. I’ve been scoping out the latest deals, hunting for the one bike that can rule them all. Here are some of my favorites.

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2022 Specialized Stumpjumper Expert - S3

Specialized Stumpjumper

Price: $5,999.99 3,989.99

When I think of trail bikes, the Stumpjumper is always what comes to mind first. This long-running model always tops best-seller lists and is the benchmark against which all other trail bikes are measured. In 2021, this legend received a full redesign. The traditional FSR (a.k.a. Horst-link) suspension system is gone, replaced with a super-modern linkage-driven flex-stay design. There are fewer moving parts, which means less weight and maintenance. The result is a bike that climbs as well as it descends, a true 50/50 trail bike.

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2021 Marin Rift Zone Carbon 1 - Large

Marin Rift Zone

Price: $3,749.99 2,735.99

I'm not sure why, but this Marin Rift Zone Carbon managed to capture my imagination (maybe because I'm a Matt Jones fan). Marin has had a bit of a modern resurgence thanks to its latest line-up of well-designed frames and budget-friendly builds. The carbon version here keeps costs low by combing a carbon front triangle with a tougher alloy rear swingarm. The stock 130/125mm setup is a great combination of efficiency and capability with the slack 65.5-degree head angle and long reach. Based on the XR build, it's even compatible with a coild shock it you want to get super burly. I actually recommended a Rift Zone to my neighbor, who slapped a bigger 140mm fork on and has been absolutely loving it for Front Range terrain. 

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2022 Forbidden Druid SLX - Large

Forbidden Druid

Price: $5,039.99 3,499.00

I don't want to fully commit to anything yet, but the Druid is my current front-runner for my next bike. Forbidden is a small Canadian brand that's drawn my interest thanks to its high-pivot suspension design. What's unique about the Druid is that it's one of only a few shorter travel trail bikes to use a high-pivot (they're usually only found on long-travel enduro and DH bikes). The high-pivot's rearward axle path should make the Druid's 130mm of travel extra plush and super capable, meaning I would probably have no problems using it to race the occasional enduro. Plus, I think the bike just looks amazing. My co-worker recently put together a Druid dream build, and seeing it in person made me seriously envious. 

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2022 Orbea Occam M30 LT - Large

Orbea Occam LT

Price: $4,999.00 3,749.99

I've always liked the Occam and the latest generation has been one of the best-selling mountain bikes we've carried. To me, it's a bit like the previous generation Stumpjumper, a solid do-it-all rig that leans a bit more into its downhill abilities. The LT version here has its travel boosted from 140mm to 150mm, so it's definitely the most downhill-focused bike on this list. It's almost edging into enduro bike territory, but Orbea makes the Rallon to handle true enduro duties. When it comes to trail bikes, the Occam LT is best suited to trail riders who want more downhill performance, whether that's for gnarlier terrain, downhill Strava PRs, enhancing your confidence while descending. 

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2021 Giant Trance X Advanced Pro 0 - Small

Giant Trance X Advanced

Price: $6,499.99 5,264.99

I was really wanted to include a newer Giant Trance X on this list. The Trance X is legitimately one of the best bikes I've ridden in the last 3 years, and I liked it so much, I bought a 2021 model for my wife. If I picked this one up, we'd have matching bikes! This Trance X is a bit special because it's the Pro 0 build, which uses Fox's high-tech Live Valve system. This controls the suspension electronically. The sensors tell the electronic brain to automatically open up the damping whenever you hit a bump to absorb it. When it's smooth or you're pedaling, it stays closed to maximize efficiency. It's pretty trick, and I see it becoming one of the top tech trends in coming years. 

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2020 Alchemy Arktos ST 29 - Large

Alchemy Arktos ST 29

Price: $5,799.00 4,169.99

TPC actually used to share a warehouse with Alchemy, so we know them well and are intimately familiar with the impressive quality of their bikes and their passion for the sport. The Arktos ST is a short-travel version of the Arktos enduro bike, and it's made to excel at Colorado-style riding, i.e., long sustained climbs at high altitude that are rewarded by epically long and fast singletrack descents. Its secret weapon is Sine suspension, short-link system (like DW-Link or VPP) that transitions smoothly from an initial falling rate to a progressive curve, then finishes with a falling rate at the end-stroke (like a sine-wave). This ensure you utilize every millimeter of the shock's stroke, while feeling supportive in the middle and plush for small bumps and big hits.

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2019 Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol - Size 3

Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol

Price: $4,499.99 3,549.99

Guerrilla Gravity is another local Colorado brand, but it's doing things a bit differently by manufacturing carbon in house and using Revved Carbon with is more durable, impact-resistant, and environmentally friendly. There aren't that many brands building carbon frames in the US, and I always love supporting domestic manufacturing, especially when it's high quality. What's also super cool about all of Guerrilla Gravity's models is that they're super adjustable and modular. This Trail Pistol has a flip chip and an adjustable headset, but if you get the hunger for more travel, swapping out the rear triangle, shock, and fork lets you convert the frame into any of Guerilla Gravity's other big hitting bike models. 

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2020 Kona Process 134 CR 29 - Large

Kona Process 134

Price: $4,899.99 3,275.99

Kona changed the game a decade ago with its Process line-up of bikes. They showed that progressive geo and 29er wheels were the way forward for trail riding. Since then, the Process has been improved with each successive generation. This generation Process 134 CR uses a carbon frame and was named as one of MBR Magazine’s best trail bikes for 2020. I like this particular one because the previous owner upgraded it for some serious downhill work with a DVO Diamond fork and Jade coil shock.

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2020 Santa Cruz Hightower CC - Large

Santa Cruz Hightower

Price: $7,999.99 6,379.99

I’m a massive Hightower fan and have actually owned two myself. To me, it is the first trail bike that really proved that 29” wheels are capable downhill. Way back in 2017, Santa Cruz’s factory enduro team chose the original Hightower over the longer-travel Nomad because the big wheels helped them maintain more speed when racing on rough tracks. Since then, the mid-travel Hightower has been refined with slacker geo, more travel (145mm), and a lower-link VPP suspension design that lets it take bigger hits. What might be divisive for some is how this Hightower goes for the ‘Murica theme with the factory red RockShox Lyrik and a stars and stripes saddle.

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2021 Yeti SB130 Turq Lunch Ride - Medium

Yeti SB130 LR

Price: $8,499.99 6,074.99

Yeti recently released the new 29” SB140, which means this might be the best time to snag the outgoing SB130 at a great price. This is a “Lunch Ride” model, which means it’s been set up how Yeti’s own employees like to set up their bikes to suit the gnarly terrain they ride on the Colorado Front Range. It has a bigger 160mm fork and a longer stroke shock that boosts travel to 137mm. In this case, the previous owner went all out with a Push Elevensix, the crème de la crème of coil shocks. The valving has been tuned by Push to perfectly match the SB130’s suspension kinematics. It also has some Revel RW30 wheels, which I ride myself. They provide great damping and they are made of Fusion Fiber carbon which is recyclable. 

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2020 Banshee Prime V3 - Medium

Banshee Prime

Price: $5,199.99 3,419.99

I consider Banshee to be one of the most underrated brands in mountain biking. They’re built by a super small team in British Columbia, and they’re designed to survive the burly trails found on Vancouver’s North Shore and Whistler Bike Park. Several TPC employees have raved about Banshee’s bikes over the years, and this one actually used to belong to our Production Manager. I can personally attest that this bike is fast AF. The KS2 suspension system provide great chassis stiffness and traction for blasting out of turns, and swappable dropouts allow riders to easily run different wheel sizes and alter geometry.

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2020 Cannondale Habit Carbon 2 - Medium

Cannondale Habit

Price: $3,799.99 3,419.99

I’ve always respected Cannondale’s willingness to try crazy and unique stuff with their mountain bikes, but I haven’t always wanted to ride them. The Habit is the one exception. This trail bike does everything right in terms of travel, geo, and looks. The only bit of Cannondale goofiness is the Ai-offset rear wheel, but that only matters if you’re buying/building new wheels. After riding an F-Si and SuperX, I do think Ai-offset makes an appreciable difference in wheel stiffness and durability for heavy riders (like me) or riders like Ratboy who love to boost big jumps and ooze style (if you don’t know him, just look up Josh Bryceland).

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2020 Pivot Switchblade - Medium 

Pivot Switchblade

Price: $6,599.99 5,224.99

The original Pivot Switchblade was my 2016 dream bike. It had everything I wanted: a lightweight carbon frame, just enough rear suspension to take off the edge without sacrificing efficiency, and a big fork to charge down steep descents. Since then it’s only gotten better. The proven DW-Link rear suspension uses dual-link wizardry to blend big-hit absorption with a solid pedaling platform. With their sharp, angular lines, I think Pivot’s latest generation frames are some of the best-looking on the market. The green colorway with the Fox factory suspension is on point, and seriously tempting me.

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2020 Revel Rascal - X-Large

Revel Rascal

Price: $6,499.99 4,939.99

Revel is a newer brand based in Carbondale, CO, who are building beautiful carbon frames. I’ll let you in on a little insider secret. While talking to some carbon fiber experts a couple of years ago, Revel was pointed out as a brand whose carbon frames match the best in the business in terms of quality and construction. One carbon engineer I know, who had been a lifelong Santa Cruz rider, switched to Revel. That’s all I needed to hear to become interested. This Revel Rascal also uses Canfield’s super smooth and efficient CBF suspension system, which I loved on my old Balance enduro bike. It seems to me like it has all the right ingredients to be one of the best trail bikes around.

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2021 Evil Offering V2 - Large

Evil Offering

Price: $7,899.99 7,109.99

While Yeti and Santa Cruz are still holding strong at the top of the mountain bike pyramid, I think Evil might be my favorite upstart contender. Their history goes all the way back to the iconic championship-winning Iron Horse downhill bikes. The man who transformed Iron Horse, Dave Weagle (of DW-Link fame), also designed Evil’s unique DELTA suspension. It’s an acronym for “Dave’s Extra Legitimate Travel Apparatus,” a name befitting the brand’s playful attitude. With a RockShox Lyrik Ultimate, SRAM Code brakes, and I9 wheels, this 141mm-travel Offering has been on my watch list for a long time.

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