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Fast uphill and effective downhill: these bikes transfer your leg power directly into forward propulsion and don’t shy away from high altitude or technical trails. Light, stiff and jerk-free, they make ideal bikes for fast laps or longer distances.

Where and how should these bikes be used?

Looking to get out for an hour and a half after work for some full-throttle action? Or, struggling on the uphill during marathon events? If you’re focused on distance and a light, effective bike is more appealing than one with extra-generous suspension travel, then you’re best off with a modern cross-country or marathon bike.

What should you invest in?

For just short of £1000 you’ll find light hardtails with very good equipment and 29"or 27.5" wheels. Naturally, if you’re looking for excellent quality components, carbon frames and the very lightest weights, then there are no limits for the prices you might expect to pay. Fullys offer a more comfortable alternative for long-distance fans. Marathon Fullys begin from about £1500. If you want to combine hardtail weight and suspension comfort, you should put aside at least £1000 or more for weight-optimised equipment.

What equipment should you expect?

Cross-country and marathon bikes are usually pretty Spartan in their equipment. As a rule, you can expect 100 – 120 mm travel. Many bikes offer you the possibility of blocking the suspension for long climbs. Often in this class 2x10 or even 1x11 gear setups are installed. Carbon is increasingly used as the frame material. However, a good aluminium frame offers hardly any weight disadvantages and will usually save you a lot of money. If you want to save on extra weight, focus on fitting light wheels and tyres. This is where the weight difference will be the most noticeable when riding.

Cross Country / Marathon Hardtails

Cross Country / Marathon Full Suspension Bikes