BikingSpring Cycle

Spring Cycle

The trails and gravel roads are calling—so we give you our picks for the bikes you have to try this season and the best cycle gear to help you get out there.

Scalpel Carbon SE 2 -3Q

Cannondale
Scalpel Carbon SE2

Our favorite mountain bike of 2021 checks off all the right boxes. Light and supple—thanks to the carbon frame and Cannondale’s sturdy Horst link pivots that eschew bearings and cut weight—it absolutely engages on the ups, making it ideal for big rides and competition. But this 29er is not just a racer; it can suck up the downhills with 120mm of cushy suspension and geometry meant to bomb technical terrain. A built-in seat dropper and tubeless-ready rims complete the package. Best of all, it rings up at a sane price for this level of performance and a robust SRAM componentry package. $4,000; cannondale.com

Salsa
Timberjack GX Eagle 29

Ignore those who might snub their noses at a hardtail; this bike is damn fun. Its slack geometry and 130mm front fork make it easy to chew up steep, techy stuff, and that stiff back end absolutely tears up the climbs. There’s a beauty to riding a hardtail, and Salsa designed the Timberjack for those who don’t want all the added worries and tech of rear suspension. And the SRAM Eagle componentry gives you a lot of bang for the buck in the factory build at this price. $2,499; salsacycles.com

Liv
Intrigue X E + 1

Women-specific bike brand Liv introduced this electric mountain bike in the fall and it delivers all the performance and fit that has wowed us in its non-electric offerings. As it does with all its bikes, the brand designed the frame using input from a wide range of women riders and did not skimp on the performance aspects, with a 150mm Fox front fork and Shimano Diore componentry. It’s also juiced with an EnergyPak Smart 625wh battery that will run up to 190 kilometers depending on the assist settings. Skeptical about an e-bike? Hop on it and you will want it. $5,850; liv-cycling.com

Reeb
Lickskillet

Meet the stallion that will take you on long, ragged adventures all year long. The Lickskillet is a surprisingly comfortable gravel grinder designed to take on steep, ugly terrain. Built in the U.S.A. (so you won’t encounter the problems foreign-made brands are having with supply chains), it offers enough clearance to run a stout 700c x 45mm tire and a steel frame that will endure the pounding of the worst dirt roads in the South. Want something a little different? Reeb will work with you on custom paint jobs and frame and componentry upgrades. $4,699-$7,699

Osprey
Seral 4L

The fanny pack is back and better than ever for biking. With 4 liters capacity this butt bouncer (well, honestly it’s built not to annoy you by swiveling around mid-ride) can haul all you would stuff in a backpack for a big outing but doesn’t cramp your style on your shoulders and is easy to access mid-ride. Oh, and it houses a water bladder. Bonus: The pack features sustainable, Bluesign-approved nylon. $75; ospreypacks.com

MountainFlow
Eco-Wax All-Weather Bike Lube

MountainFlow made a name for itself (and kicked butt on Shark Tank with its eco-friendly ski waxes. Now, the brand has moved that know-how into bike lubes that don’t leave harmful chemicals wherever you ride (and all over you). The all-weather version is versatile and provides plenty of lubrication even on wet rides. $14; mountainflow.com

Sweet Protection
Traiblazer MIPS

Even if you have been called thickheaded, your noggin deserves the best protection you can give it when you hop on your bike. MIPS is a technology that actually minimizes the chance of concussion by mitigating the way the helmet reacts when your skull hits a hard object. Sweet’s four-piece construction ensures the helmet is stronger in critical spots and lighter in others so that you can count on it—but it won’t cramp your style. $180; sweetprotection.com 

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