March 2017 Update
What are these enduro bikes up to for 2017? They're beefing up and offsetting the extra weight, travel and tire tread by jumping in on the drivetrain arms race with the 12-speed SRAM Eagle. Our editors' choice winners, the Yeti SB5.5 and Santa Cruz Nomad, are no exception. We've updated both reviews to let you know what's new.
Best All-Mountain Enduro Bike
Yeti SB5.5C 2016
at Competitive Cyclist
Fastest enduro bike uphill and down
Rolls over everything
Unmatched all-mountain performance
Not our favorite for big technical descents
Not very flickable
The Yeti SB5.5c
delivers extraordinary performance, creating its own speed category on both the up and downhill benchmark time trial courses — sonic. It won the bike-against-bike races by a wide margin. As such it was a shoo-in for our Editors' Choice Award. Cornering competently and rolling over anything in its way to the finish line, the SB5.5
makes every ride feel like a race that you're winning. It's as much of a blast as it is fast, but it's not quite playful, even at speed. The bike sends jumps though, maintaining trajectory like an arrow. The perfect machine to rip down your local trails or across entire mountain ranges, the Yeti SB5.5
is that elusive quiver-of-one
. We stand by this statement now more than ever as the 2017 version came out on top of our 2017 Trail Bike Review. It got a TURQ carbon upgrade and a 12-speed X01 Eagle drivetrain. Find out more in the full review.
Read full review: Yeti SB5.5c 2016
Best Downhill Enduro Bike
Santa Cruz Nomad 2016
A super stable descender
Playful at speed handling
Best rear suspension in the test
The fork is more adequate than amazing
The Santa Cruz Nomad
is proof that the right bike can step up your singletrack game. The Nomad's
stable handling and smooth suspension hand over so much descending confidence it might as well come with a cape. While it didn't win the race, it won hearts, minds and swagger rights with its laidback offering of harder lines and higher flying hits. And it goes plenty fast, getting extra playful at high speeds. Its inherent stability shows in the corners too though, making it a harder to whip around. You've got to be aggressive, or slow it down. Same thing goes for techy climbs, it smashes through if you're willing to work for it. But, despite a nice pedaling feel, climbing it can feel like a slog compared to some of the other test bikes. It's low bottom bracket also results in a lot of pedal smashes. The 2017 version gets 10mm more travel in its fork, which might alleviate this issue and will definitely up the cush factor. Read our take on the 2017 Santa Cruz Nomad
's additions — a burlier fork, wider tires and easier spinning SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain.
Read full review: Santa Cruz Nomad
The Santa Cruz Nomad, Pivot Mach 6, Ibis Mojo HD3, Yeti SB 5.5c and Specialized Enduro Expert are five top enduro mountain bikes in the world. We put them through the most extensive testing and rating process ever completed to find out which are the best of the best.
Analysis and Test Results
We invested nearly two years, engaged a team of 20, rode thousands of trail miles, and bought 16 cutting edge enduro bikes — all to create the most exhaustive enduro mountain bike review process ever. We spent a year in R&D to work out our testing process, starting in April, of 2015, with 11 of the most highly regarded enduro mountain bikes in the world. A team of consultants rallied them across the Sierra Nevada for a year while working to dial in specific testing and analysis procedures. In April of 2016, we put the resulting test plan to work with four testers and five brand new 2016 model bikes: the Yeti SB5.5c
, Santa Cruz Nomad
, Ibis Mojo HD3
, Specialized Enduro Expert
and the Pivot Mach 6
. We summarize results in the table below.