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Three big bikes that don’t fit under any label. So we made one up.

Once upon a not very distant time ago, mountain bikes were easily recognisable and labelled. If they were cars, then short travel hardtail bikes were for the Lycra clad whippets racing cross-country, lightweight and fast, similar to your classic softtop roadster. Meanwhile, youngsters rolled around in skinny jeans and T shirts on tiny hardtail frames with the one brake and a sole purpose to hit tombstones of dirt. I liken these bikes to the impracticable beach buggy.

Of course we had ‘BIG’ bikes for the speedsters, the monster trucks of mountain bikes, built for racing downhill over any obstacle. With adaptations, downhill race bikes could be tweaked into cliff-dropping freeride weapons capable of jumps that would scare Evel Knievel.

Then along came the trail bike, the everyday hatchback, for the most part full suspension and extremely capable of all day epics and weekend blitzes around trail centres in relative ease and comfort, a happy medium for the masses. But, with the addition of key items such as dropper posts and 1x drivetrains the frames and components morphed again into what some people might call ‘enduro’ bikes. To the untrained eye, the same outline as a trail bike/hatchback but some what beefed up for stage racing to create a rally car.

They had bigger travel and tweaked geometry, diTherentiating them from their trail bike cousins and yet they were still lighter than the brutish, burly, park and freeride bikes of yesteryear. Capable of everything from lung-busting alpine transition climbs to ten-minute downhill stages and everything in between.

Now the lines really start to blur. Finally, every mountain bike manufacturer the world over had its own take on the trail, all-mountain and enduro wave of bikes. The end.

Not so fast. So what’s next? Do we really need clearly defined ideas of what we should be riding and on what machinery? I think not. After all, free time is precious, money is tight, and all we really want or need is to ride when we can on what we have. No? Well, kind of, but that isn’t what makes the world go round for everyone. But I believe that being able to pedal around having fun is most important.

That is where these bikes come in. Some may say this type of bike has been around before. But only now can we truly exploit them. All three bikes are from very popular brands in the UK at three diTherent price points. They all boast ample travel, 27.5in wheels, up-to-date sizing and geometry and dropper seatposts meaning they scream ‘fun’, among the world of the, now clichéd, ‘jump further, ride faster and for longer’.

Arguably, on paper, these three bikes may seem ‘too much bike’ for UK enduro racing and far more capable than the old skool freeride, bike park sledges. They are slightly lacking in head angle and travel to be labelled as true downhill race bikes – meaning they are in a kind of uncategorised zone we’ll coin ‘Beyonduro’.

So what sort of a tool are they and if you felt the need, how can you pigeonhole them into a genre of mountain biking? Think of them as Sunday-best bikes, like Sunday cars.

These are bikes for that holiday in the mountains, designs that shout ‘bike park shuttling’ and can yet still plod to the top as long as you’re not in a hurry. They’re a special occasion bike you own for the pure fun of using it, and when you own a ‘daily driver’ for vast majority of your local riding, these bikes should bring a smile in every mile, every time they come out.


Price: £2,399.00 (as tested) / From: Nukeproof,

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About Singletrack

Editorial: Chipps is in an upbeat mood and thinks that things have never been better. UK Adventure: Land of the Midnight Sun: Pete Scullion heads to the northern tip of Scotland in search of midnight sunlight and spectacular trails. Column: Don't Call It A Heatwave, Just Call It Summer: Fearing the weather will turn, Chipps is worn out from riding day after day after… International Adventure: Uncharted British Columbia: e organisers of the BC Bike Race lay on this increasingly spicy taster menu of Canada’s finest trails. Classic Ride: North York Moors: Where better place to start a ride than Fryup? Olly Townsend takes us on a tour of technical trails that he can’t quite believe are legal. Bike Test: Beyonduro: To infinity and beyond… well, maybe just 170mm. Dean Hersey tests out three huge travel bikes from Nukeproof, Santa Cruz and Whyte that are not just for riding downhill. Trail Hunter: Quantock Hills: James Vincent revisits old friends on new trails in the Quantocks and remembers how much fun it is to ride without having to carry your bike. International Adventure: Trans Angeles: Hans Rey, Missy Giove, and Timmy C. from Rage Against e Machine go on an all-star ride across Los Angeles, from the mountains to the ocean. UK Adventure: Tyke Packing: Barney defeats the lightweight, solitary, point of bikepacking by taking his young children with him. We’ll let you decide if this is a how-to guide, or a list of reasons not to. UK Adventure: Back to the Future Sanny goes on a trip down memory lane, and his body reminds him why modern bikes are a good thing. Last Word: The Same Sort of Different. Hannah thinks that the world can be a more interesting place if you ride a bike. We Just Work Here: Who we are, what we do and who we would trust to build us a bike from scratch.