Is the “downhiller’s XC bike” upon us? And is this a good thing for your average rider? It very well could be. It’s 2020, and there are a growing number of short-travel bikes with super slack head angles and steep seat angles that make climbing more of a joy.

We corralled five examples of this new-school ride to be ridden and scrutinized in Phoenix, Arizona. In this video we break down their strengths and weaknesses, what we think of this type of bike, and pick our personal favorites. Welcome to Vital MTB Test Sessions for short-travel 29ers.


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