Santa Cruz Hightower

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Santa Cruz launched the Hightower in early 2016 as a replacement for the Tallboy LT. With 135mm of rear suspension and the ability to run either 27.5+ or 29" wheels, the Hightower has taken the trails by storm.

In 2009, never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined a bike this capable of climbing, descending, pedalling, and ripping it up. Even less so one with 29" wheels. The advent of 1x and later boost has allowed designers to tweak frame design to allow chainstays so short that the rear feels tucked in underneath the seat.

Read the full Santa Cruz Hightower review here.

2018 Giant Anthem 29

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Hugely popular in South Africa, Giant's cross country staple, the Anthem had a much anticipated redesign for 2018. We took the 2018 Anthem 29 2 for a quick spin on the Delvera trails to get a feel for the changes.

Giant have embraced modern design and standard and they have executed it well. If Giant maintain the good value the brand is known for, I have no doubt that this new Anthem 29 will become a firm favourite amongst South African riders.

Read the full First Ride: Giant Anthem 29 here.

Specialized S-Works Tarmac eTap

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The Specialized Tarmac is a bike synonymous with road racing performance. The engineers at Specialized have continually refined the platform, with the input from riders, in the pursuit of the ultimate lightweight, stiff, and responsive road racer. We spent a few weeks on the 2017 Specialized Tarmac and indulged in a little Tarmac nostalgia along the way.

The Specialized S-Works Tarmac eTap is the complete package. If you are shopping for a refined all round race bike, and have the bucks to boot, this bike will be hard to beat.

Read the full 2017 Specialized S-Works Tarmac eTap review here.

Merida Reacto 4000

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The Reacto forms part of Merida's range of aero race road bikes boasting efficient teardrop tube profiles, with direct mount brakes, internal cable routing, and an integrated seatpost which features Merida's S-Flex technology for some added comfort in the saddle.

Merida has shown with the Reacto that an aero bike can be comfortable and doesn't have to weigh a ton. Advances in technology and years of carbon know how has certainly played its part to close the comfort and weight gap between standard and aero frames. With a solid base specification, the Reacto 4000 offers excellent long term upgrade potential.

Read the full Merida Reacto 4000 review here.

SRAM GX Eagle

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The GX Eagle drive system has made the wonders of twelve speed attainable for a larger portion of the market: especially if you forgo the full groupset and upgrade with only the necessary components. We put the system to the test.

With reliable performance and a far more palatable price than SRAM's other 12-speed offerings, the GX Eagle drivetrain makes a strong case for the upgrade to 12-speed. With weight being the only perceivable disadvantage over the more expensive 12-speed drivetrains, it is going to be hard for the average rider to justify looking further than GX Eagle.

Read the full SRAM GX Eagle review here.

Pyga Slakline

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With the Slakline only a few months away from being released, Pyga offered us the opportunity to get a closer look at a prototype of this enduro machine, and we headed off into the mountains to ride everything in sight.

There are few bikes that match the Pyga Slakline’s ability to open up the entire mountain. A confident, composed enduro bike ready for the toughest descents but still an efficient all-day climber on the ascents. The Slakline's all-mountain versatility is rare, putting it right at the top of my enduro bike list. The Slakline's all-round abilities make it the best enduro bike I've ridden.

Read the full Pyga Slakline review here.

2018 Specialized Epic Comp Carbon

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The Epic has undergone a redesign for 2018. In short, the frame has had over 500 grams shaved off it and the geometry has progressed with the longer, slacker trend to be able to deal with the increasing level of gnar seen on the World Cup XC racing circuit. Interestingly, this has gone hand in hand with a reduced fork offset to keep the handling sharp on technical climbs and slow speed corners. We took the Epic Comp Carbon for a spin on the Boschendal Farm Estate trail network.

By improving the handling and keeping the Epic lightweight and stiff, Specialized have managed to address the needs of both their pro racers dealing with World Cup level tracks and weekend warriors looking for a fast competent bike with which to cover ground and race their mates.

Read the full Specialized Epic Comp Carbon first ride review here.

Momsen R355

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With wide open spaces and a vast network of country roads, added to our obsession with covering distance, South Africa is a perfect place for the booming adventure and gravel bike trend. The R355 marks South African owned Momsen Bike’s first play in this maturing category of crossover bikes.

The Momsen R355 is the ideal companion with which to explore the countryside. While it shines on gravel roads, the versatility means that you can get away with using it as a road bike and even on less technical mountain bike excursions. The component selection is spot on, matching the abilities of the light sturdy frame.

Read the full Momsen R355 review here.

YT Jeffsy CF Pro

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Known for providing excellent performance paired with a great value offering, YT's announcement of the Jeffsy set the internet abuzz. The Jeffsy is a 140mm trail bike designed around 29-inch wheels, making it well suited to South African trails. The Jeffsy's grin-inducing prowess both on the climbs and descents set a high standard for review bikes for the remainder of the year.

In my reviews, I try to not get too carried away with emotions but with it being Valentine’s Day, I’m allowed to make an exception. I really love Jeffsy! The bike strikes a remarkable balance between an all day kilometre eater, and big mountain shredder. No matter where you point the Jeffsy, it manages to excite. The Jeffsy has gone straight to the top of my “if you could have only one bike” list.

Read the full YT Jeffsy CF Pro review here.

BMC Fourstroke 02 XT

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Swiss bicycling manufacturer BMC was born out of a passion for racing, first on the road and later moving into mountain bikes. The BMC Fourstroke is their full suspension cross-country/marathon contender which, in the hands of French super-star Julien Absalon, has claimed numerous XCO World Cup titles and XCO World Champs win.

Sharing the same winning platform as its better specced older brother, the BMC Fourstroke 02 is an out and out race bike. While this second tier model could shave off some weight around the edges, the platform delivers an ultra efficient and highly capable ride. In true Swiss style, BMC has most delicately balanced the efficiency and comfort required of a cross-country/marathon race bike. All that attention to detail does all come with a price tag, but with the 2017 spec on the way, there are plenty great deals available on this particular model.

Read the full BMC Fourstroke 02 XT review here.