Generally speaking, these bikes are best described as specifically designed 'for high mountains and steep trails'. All-mountain bikes are efficient touring machines with sacks full of reserves – as much at home on the Alps as they are on the technical trails of your local route. Modern enduro bikes are their slightly wilder cousins. They climb almost as well, but their true strength lies in their descending abilities.
Where and how should these bikes be used?
Bikers who seek out technically challenging trails and aren't deterred by long climbs, will be happy with an all-mountain model with up to 160 mm suspension travel. Riders looking to attack more aggressively on the descent and happy to accept slight losses uphill should take a closer look at a new enduro fully model. With up to 170 mm suspension travel and slack geometry, these bikes can rip through terrain so hard that they can even handle whatever the Bike Park throws their way.
What should you invest in?
The heart of these bikes is a stable frame with a good suspension system. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just rely on this knowledge. Many manufacturers offer different equipment variants on the basis of a frame. Solid basic models start from around £1500 and up. But of course, there’s no limit on the top prices you could expect to shell out if you had unlimited funds. Our tip: budgeting somewhere between £2000-3000 for an all-mountain/enduro bike will usually ensure a model that offers the best price/performance ratio for most riders’ needs.
What equipment should you expect?
Modern models typically feature 27.5” wheels, kitted out with wider rims and tyres. The usual pre-requisites for fun on rough and rocky terrain are biting disc brakes with at least 180 mm rotors and high-quality adjustable suspension elements from RockShox or Fox. Just as important: look for handlebar widths starting from 740 mm. Bear in mind, once you hit the £2000 mark you should also expect a dropper seatpost supplied as standard. But it’s also worthwhile considering retrofitting your own onto a cheaper bike.