While some lucky riders never had to garage their bikes, a new season has dawned for restless-legged rippers on the East Coast and Midwest. Spring has also ushered in the latest-and-greatest crop of bike models and accessories, each designed to make this season your most memorable on two wheels.
Steve Mokan is a veteran rider, adventure sports photographer, and owner of Chasing Epic—a company that provides guided mountain biking tours of some of America’s most killer trails. He offers his picks for the best new gear for 2016.
IBIS “MOJO 3”
From $2,999 for a complete bike, ibiscycles.com
Mokan says Ibis “sets the standard” with their ascent-attacking DW-Link suspension and “incredibly beautiful frame design.” He calls this bike “playful” thanks to its 130mm of travel. But don’t let that fool you. “This bike is as capable going down as it is climbing,” he adds.
SANTA CRUZ “HIGHTOWER”
From $4,599 for a complete bike, santacruzbicycles.com
This model replaces the discontinued “and uber-popular” tallboy LT, Mokan says. “The bike can be ridden with either 29-inch or 27.5-inch-plus wheels, giving it versatility for any trail condition,” he says.
EVIL “THE FOLLOWING”
From $4,999 for a complete bike, evil-bikes.com
“Evil has a pedigree in downhill-oriented bikes, and they bring that expertise to a new breed of 29er,” Mokan says. With 120mm of travel, he says The Following doesn’t ride like a cross-country bike. “It uses the 120mm of travel more efficiently to handle the ups and downs with ease,” he adds.
TRANSITION “PATROL CARBON”
From $5,199 for a complete bike, transitionbikes.com
“If you’re looking for a bike that can handle anything you throw at it, the Patrol is it,” Mokan says. It’s 27.5-inch wheels, 155mm of travel, and efficient pedaling platform make it “clearly one of this year’s favorites by enduro and casual riders alike,” he says.
IBIS “741” CARBON WHEEL SET
Ibis has changed the game when it comes to “wider is better,” Mokan says. Light and indestructible, he says these wheels are “changing the way riders think about traction and tires.”
STAN’S NO TUBES “ZTR FLOW EX”
“The definition of tried and true,” Mokan says. He calls these wheels “the perfect mix of durability, weight, and budget,” and says the included NEO hubs are a huge upgrade over the old 3.30s.
BELL “SUPER 2”
A “must-have” for any rider, Mokan says the Super 2’s visor, ventilation, casual fit, and removable full-face chin bar give it the versatility to suit enduro racing or “riding your local after-work loop.”
One of the most reasonably priced helmets on the market, the Giro Feature “has easy adjustability, a great visor, and is relatively light for most riding circumstances,” Mokan says.
DEUTER “COMPACT AIR EXP 10”
“The Air EXP 10 is a perfect size for most rides, with enough room for your gear, a light jacket, and two to three liters of water,” Mokan says. The packs proprietary “air” system balances excellent ventilation and comfort. And in Mokan’s estimation, the new papaya shade is “dead sexy.”
OSPREY “RAPTOR 10”
“Osprey is known for their quality and slick design, and the Raptor 10 is right up there with their best,” Mokan says. He says this pack is light and functional with great storage. “Unless you’re doing an all-day epic, there’s no reason for anything more,” he adds.