Top 5 trail and enduro bikes of 2018

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Top 5 trail and enduro bikes 2018

Designed to get you to the top of the hills without too much effort, but then be fully opened up when the trail points back down a hill, trail and enduro bikes are a surefire way to have maximum smiles for your miles.

Orbea Rallon

The latest Orbea Rallon had to make the list
The latest Orbea Rallon had to make the list

This Spanish Stallion was re-engineered in 2017 with one of the most striking framesets around. Smooth on the outside — and reportedly smooth inside thanks to expanded polystyrene being pumped in the tubes during molding — the asymmetric design definitely stands out.

With an offset shock, controls are easier to access during riding, and the frame’s tube profiles can be perfected even further.

The one piece monocoque carbon mainframe supports a suspension linkage providing 150mm of travel to the rear 29-inch wheel, while a 160mm fork is plugged in up front. Orbea reckons the larger wheels roll faster and grip better, making them ideal for its flagship enduro weapon.

Orange Stage 4

The unmistakable looks of the Orange Stage 4
The unmistakable looks of the Orange Stage 4

In direct contrast to the Orbea, the Stage 4 from Orange is a short travel XC trail bike, designed for crossing big chunks of the countryside while still being a hoot on the descents.

The Stage 4 is essentially the next-gen Segment, but enjoys updated geometry having had the de rigeur longer-lower-slacker treatment.

Orange’s trademark hand welded monocoque frame design is seen across the range, but this is their first bike with a metric length shock.

The single pivot suspension design should appeal to those who like a feedback-rich, fun feeling bike, while the diminutive sounding 110mm of suspension should provide just enough cushioning for those big 29-inch wheels when things get really rowdy.

Transition Sentinel

We can't wait to get our hands on Transition's Sentinel
We can't wait to get our hands on Transition's Sentinel

If there’s one bike that the whole BikeRadar test crew are aching to get their hands on it’s the Transition Sentinel. Those crazy folk from Bellingham in Washington have quite the reputation for making hard charging mountain bikes that are as fun as they are capable.

So why does the Sentinel stand out?

This is Transition’s first longer travel 29er, with 140mm travel out back and 160mm up front. The suspension uses its tried and tested Giddy Up linkage — the poppy nature of which belies its true capability when pushed harder. Then there’s the geometry: a long reach, super-slack-for-a-29er head angle of 64 degrees, and a custom offset fork to keep steering responsive despite the slack head and long wheelbase.

We’ve spent a lot of time riding Transition’s shorter travel Scout sibling, and have fallen crazily in love with it, so here’s hoping Transition has sprinkled a little of that Scout magic on the Sentinel.

Specialized Enduro 27.5

2018 Specialized Enduro 27.5
2018 Specialized Enduro 27.5

If a bike’s name can give you any indication of what its focus is the Specialized Enduro shouldn’t leave you scratching your head. Yep, you guessed it, this is Specialized’s enduro bike.

While the new Enduro was only launched a year ago, Specialized has already updated it — and trust us, updating a bike’s geometry, and therefore the molds, is no cheap task.

As with every bike out there, it’s longer and slacker, yet again. But Specialized has also introduced a Flip Chip to the bike to give you 8mm of bottom bracket height adjustability and half a degree of head angle movement. Owners of the 2017 Enduro fear not: this chip can be fitted to your bike too.

The Enduro also uses the new Command Post WU dropper; as the post drops through its travel, the saddle angle slackens by 14 degrees. This ups the effective drop from 115mm to 150mm at the saddle’s rear, and places it at a more comfortable angle for descending.

KTM Prowler Sonic 12

KTM's Prowler Sonic 12 is a great looking bike
KTM's Prowler Sonic 12 is a great looking bike

Now, here’s a name you didn’t expect to see, but neither did we until we trawled the halls of Eurobike scoping out the sexiest looking trail and enduro bikes.

Stored in an awkward-to-photograph Perspex case was this 150mm 29er enduro bike with a swing-link actuated Horst suspension system.

The geometry figures look pretty much on-point, if not radical: a 461mm reach in the 19-inch size, a 66.5-degree head angle, 436mm chainstays and nice and steep 76.5-degree seat angle.

The frame is carbon and the build kit is undoubtedly high-end, but we’ll be totally honest here, what drew us most to the Prowler was its looks.

We’re sure that you’ll let us know in the comments, but this has to be one of the most sorted looking 29er enduro bikes out there on the market. We want one, real, real bad.

Videographer
  • Discipline: mountain/road
  • Preferred Terrain: steep hills/mountains
  • Current Bikes: Bmc team elite, engineered bikes custom.
  • Dream Bike: pretty much have it with my engineered
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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