We are spoiled for choice with the range of fantastic mountain bikes on the market right now. It can be tricky to work out what mountain bike is the best one to buy. Therefore, we thought we would help you out by highlighting what we think are some of the best mountain bikes to buy in 2021. We will go into each bike's details, so you know what to expect from these fantastic rides.
In this blog, we are going to focus on mountain bikes from three of our favourite brands, Nukeproof, Dartmoor and Evil.
Nukeproof make some fantastic mountain bikes. Their bikes are renowned for being extremely reliable and well-priced. Pro riders have been winning top fight races on Nukeproof bikes for a while now, and once you have ridden one, you will see why.
Nukeproof Mega 290 Comp
The Nukeproof Mega’s original purpose was to to win the Megavalanche in Alp D’Huez. If you are not familiar with this race, I suggest you look it up on Youtube. This is an insane race that has a mass start on the Pic Blanc glacier above Alp D’Huez at 3330m. Riders have to race down to 2600m, negotiating snow, ice, rocky terrain and each other.
With all this in mind you won’t be surprised to hear that the Nukeproof Mega 290 Comp is a serious piece of kit.
This bike is for riders that want a bike that is tough enough to take on big technical descents, but is also efficient on the climbs.
The Comp version is the “entry-level” version of the Nukeproof Mega. The fact that it is at the bottom of the price range should not put you off, as it is very well equipped for the price.
The aluminium frame features internal cable routing, and Nukeproof have found a space for mounting a water bottle, which earlier versions didn’t have.
You get 170mm of travel upfront from the RockShox Yari RC fork, and 160mm on the rear wheel, thanks to the RockShox Super Deluxe Select R shock. These suspension options are budget-friendly, but offer good adjustability and a progressive feel.
The Shimano Deore drivetrain components work exceptionally well together, and the brakes are pretty powerful. Fitted with a Brand X Ascend dropper seat post as standard, the Mega is ideal for aggressive riding and efficient climbing.
When climbing the Mega 290 Comp feels nimble and copes well when the uphill gets technical. The Mega 290 Comp instils confidence on the downhills, as it is very composed, thanks to the sack geometry.
If you are looking for a great all-round, long travel mountain bike with excellent value for money, the Nukeproof Mega 290 Comp should be a serious consideration.
Nukeproof Scout Race
Nukeproof designed the Scout to be a very versatile hardtail mountain bike. Whether you are riding trails, exploring off the beaten track, or tackling big descents, the Nukeproof Scout is an excellent choice.
The Nukeproof Scout’s aggressive geometry is inspired by enduro bikes. This means that its long wheelbase and slack head angle give it lots of stability on technical terrain. Nukeproof have developed versions with either 27.5” or 29” wheels. Which one you choose is down to your personal preference of how you like your mountain bike to handle. But, whichever wheel size you prefer, you can be assured to have a bike that is ridiculously fun to ride.
The 275 has a 140mm travel RockShox Recon RL fork, while the 290 has the same, but with 130mm. Fitted with the Shimano Deore 10-Speed groupset, the Scout Race has a wide-range cassette and powerful brakes.
If you are looking for a fun hardtail mountain bike, that is as at home railing berms as it is on XC rides, the Nukeproof Scout Race is an excellent choice. BikeandSpanner.co.uk are the biggest Nukeproof dealer in Scotland – so check them out to see their range.
Dartmoor Bikes is a relatively new company. They build all kinds of bikes from BMX to downhill and prides themselves on being a grassroots company, focussing on the riders above all else. They also have an impressive catalogue of components and clothing.
Dartmoor wanted to build an enduro bike that is ultimate in versatility. Therefore they developed the Blackbird Evo, which is is a full suspension enduro bike. This bike has been designed with simplicity in mind too.
The single pivot used on the rear suspension is no-nonsense but has an exceptional performance level whether you are taking drops, taking on big climbs or technical descents. The pivot’s design reduces the bobbing effect you get when pedalling. This means that climbing on the Blackbird Evo is hugely efficient.
Available in both 27.5” and 29” wheeled variants, the Rock Shox Yari RC fork and Rock Shox Monarch Plus R DebonAir HV shock provide plenty of cushioning for riding exceptionally rough terrain.
The Blackbird Evo’s geometry is in keeping with modern trends, as it is low and slack. This means that it is well planted and stable on steep and technical descents. Its low bottom bracket also means it corners brilliantly.
For an alternative to the regular enduro bikes out there, the Blackbird Evo is one of our favourite options. Its simplicity and capability on a range of terrain types will impress.
The Dartmoor Primal Pro is a first-rate hardtail bike that can be ridden pretty much anywhere. This bike comes with either 27.5” and 29” wheels. Both are very capable but have slightly different riding characteristics. The 27.5” version is best suited to riders that love to ride twisty trails, singletrack, pump tracks and hitting small jumps. The 29er is more suited to day-long rides, thanks to its increased efficiency.
Both versions use the excellent 12-speed SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain, and 140mm Marzocchi Bomber Z2 fork. The brakes are SRAM Level T, which are pretty good, as they have elements found in higher-end SRAM brakes. For example, it has an alloy Direct Link brake lever, an expandable bladder and the timing port closure system, which pressurises the system to improve stopping power.
We like that the Primal Pro comes with an X-Fusion Manic dropper post and wide tubeless-ready Dartmoor Tomcat rims, for extra grip and puncture resistance.
The Dartmoor Primal Pro is a very versatile bike that will keep you entertained all day. All you need to do is decide between which wheel size suits your riding best. Bikeandspanner.co.uk is the UK distributor for Dartmoor.
Evil is known for its high-end mountain bikes. The company is quite unique in that they don’t operate on a model year basis. Instead, they update their bikes as they deem necessary. This means, if you are looking for an excellent bike featuring the latest technology, you need to check out the mountain bikes Evil have to offer.
The Evil Bikes Offering is considered to be a bit of a quiver killer. This bike is only available with 29" wheels, but it is very versatile. If you like to ride a multitude of terrains, love fast and technical descents, the Evil Offering is an excellent choice. It is also very good at riding uphill, thanks to the steeper tube angle and SRAM Eagle drivetrain.
The carbon frame is very light. It is also stiff, so it is super responsive to your inputs. The fork has 150mm of travel, and the rear shock gives you 141mm. Thanks to the progressive characteristics of the RockShox Super Delux UI, RockShox Lyrik Ultimate fork and 29" wheels, the Offering will cope with pretty much anything you throw at it.
This bike is better suited to very technical terrain, but it is also brilliant fun when riding lift-assisted bike parks. The Evil Offering's all-around capability ensures that no matter how technical the trail, you will have ample stability and confidence to charge hard.
The Wreckoning is the longest travel mountain bike in Evil’s range. This bike leans towards downhill capability, so it is ideal for riders that like to ride particularly rough terrain as fast as they can.
The low and slack geometry makes the Wreckoning very forgiving on steep descents. Therefore, if you like to use uplifts or enter enduro races, the Evil Wreckoning is an excellent bike to consider buying.
As a 29” wheeled bike only, Wreckoning riders benefit from the fast rolling characteristics. Even though it has the bigger wheels, it still has a 160mm Rockshox ZEB Ultimate fork and a RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate 161mm shock.
If you are the kind of rider that likes to push their limits on fast downhill trails but likes the ability to pedal back up, you need to check out the Evil Wreckoning.
Obviously, this is not an extensive list. But, we believe that these are some of the best mountain bikes to buy in 2021. Whether you are a hardtail hero or looking for something that will flatter you on big descents and technical climbs, there is something here for you.
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