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The 9 Best Trail Bikes of 2022

By: Jon Kennedy: Bike Buyer | June 8, 2022

 

“Trail” might just be the most nebulous category in mountain biking. It means different things to every person and every riding area. So it’s hard to pin down what makes a mountain bike a trail bike over being an XC or Enduro rig. We’ve done our best to narrow it down with this list though. Every bike we feature here is a capable, versatile, efficient, and most importantly, fun machine. Every bike here could handle an XC race or two every summer, along with a bike park or shuttle day here and there as well. Every bike on this list is efficient enough for long, all-day rides, but plush enough for rowdy, technical trails. Every bike on this list makes mountain biking fun, and that’s what trail bikes are about anyway.

New This Year:

Over the years the designers of the best trail bikes have perfected their formula. They’ve figured out the geometry that gives the best compromise between descending stability and playfulness. They’ve designed suspension systems that don’t waste energy on the up but are supple and responsive in chunder. And they’ve worked hard to spec every bike on this list with components that work precisely and reliably. So if you want to choose a trail bike that can handle it all, and will leave you with a grin on your face after every ride, there’s a bike on this list for you.

best trail bikes of 2022

Santa Cruz Bronson C R

Spend your time thinking about something other than whether your bike is right for the day's ride. With the Santa Cruz Bicycles Bronson C R Complete Mountain Bike, it is. 99 times out of 100, a Bronson will fit right in: a competent pedaler and a confident descender for its whole career, the new Bronson gets even more capable with the addition of a mixed wheel setup. Set it up in low mode for max stability, or keep the flip chip in high for general-purpose mountain biking. With a SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain, solid suspension components, and the rip-any-trail pedigree that comes with being Santa Cruz's fan-favorite model, the Bronsons are always on point. The Bronson is a rolling contradiction, it’s stable and capable enough for Enduro racing, but it’s just so dang fun and playful that it’s hard not to bring it along on every trail ride.

DrivetrainRear TravelOriginal Price
SRAM NX Eagle150 mm$5399

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best trail bikes of 2022

Santa Cruz 5010 C S

Santa Cruz's S-builds on their C carbon hit the balance of tech and burl, giving you high-level spec without getting ridiculous. The Santa Cruz Bicycles 5010 C S Complete Mountain Bike takes that philosophy and imbues it into the ripping layout of a 27.5" funbike, ready for trails, jumps, and general shenanigans. There's enough squish from the redesigned lower-link driven layout of the VPP® suspension to straightline some chunder chutes, but not so much that you're riding on a waterbed. For pinpoint trail precision and jib jobs, the 5010 sits alone at the top of the pile - a magic wand for bike wizards. The 5010 is a supremely fun bike, it’s happy to handle any ride you choose and add a little extra dose of playfulness.

DrivetrainRear TravelOriginal Price
SRAM GX Eagle130 mm$6199

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best trail bikes of 2022

Revel Rascal GX

Feel free to check out when everyone starts talking about gear: you're dialed. Your Revel Rascal GX Complete Mountain Bike is unconcerned with trail choice or components upgrades. Beautifully thought out, the Rascal hits every ride- and parts spec decision right on the money. CBF pedals and descends like alien technology, and the angles and travel choices are spot on for the wheel size. This bike renders so many tedious conversations moot! The Rascal just plain gets it done, no matter the trail or rider, this is a fun, capable bike.

DrivetrainRear TravelOriginal Price
SRAM GX Eagle130 mm$5899

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best trail bikes of 2022

Orbea Occam H20 LT

The Orbea Occam H20 LT Complete Mountain Bike is still as sharp as a razor, it's just a bit bigger. This fortified LT version of the trail-slicing Occam has more than just longer travel, it's sporting more aggressive geo, beefier tires, and yes, bigger fork stanchions. This is the aluminum workhorse of these new Occam LTs, and it may be the model that makes the most sense for more riders. A bike that'll gladly rocket back up for another lap, this is a lowercase e enduro bike, a beefy trail bike. A mountain bike! The Occam is a fun, versatile bike, that it’s easy to go seriously hard on.

DrivetrainRear TravelOriginal Price
Shimano SLX150 mm$3999

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best trail bikes of 2022

Evil Following GX

The Evil Following GX Complete Mountain Bike is always leading. As an XC rocketship with the soul of a DH sled and the chops of a dialed dirt jumper, the Following is actually not too extreme, geo-wise. It's not super long, super slack, or super squishy. What it is is a surprisingly agile, capable, and fast trail bike that positively rips everywhere. This bike excels at the riding you already do and is ready for the riding you dream about. The Following was one of the original bikes that proved that a short travel bike could be more capable than its numbers suggested, and this new version does that better than ever before.

DrivetrainRear TravelOriginal Price
SRAM GX Eagle120 mm$7299

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best trail bikes of 2022

Transition Scout Carbon GX

Whether you're deep behind enemy lines, poking around for who knows what, or charging down a familiar jump line, the Transition Scout Carbon GX Complete Mountain Bike is the one to ride when you expect to be out front. With a perfect amount of do-anything travel, this is a bike that'll take anything in stride. The GX drivetrain is solid, to be sure, but there's no better suspension setup on a mid-travel bike in the market. With proven progressive geo and a carbon frame built for speed and durability, this Scout is ready for duty.

DrivetrainRear TravelOriginal Price
SRAM GX Eagle140 mm$5899

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best trail bikes of 2022

Evil Offering GX

Do you know those edits where riders are flicking their bikes around, keeping their front tire off the ground half the time, and pretty much making it impossible for you to think about anything other than getting out on your bike as soon as possible? The Evil Offering GX Complete Mountain Bike embodies that vibe in bike form. With solid componentry to back up its ripping design, this is a bike that takes fun very seriously. The low center of gravity and short rear end means you'll be whapping, slapping, and brapping every contour on the trail. The Offering makes every trail your playground, so there’s only one question: are you ready to play?

DrivetrainRear TravelOriginal Price
SRAM GX Eagle140 mm$7299

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best trail bikes of 2022

Santa Cruz Tallboy C S

Your Santa Cruz Bicycles Tallboy C S Complete Mountain Bike will leave them questioning their bike purchase, whether that was too far XC or DH. You're roasting up climbs like a 120mm XC bike, but your tire tracks match those of a full-on enduro sled. This is a bike that will go as far as you push it, with geometry and suspension that leave classic XC bikes quivering at the top of rocky chutes and far in the rear view mirror by the halfway point. It's a short travel bike with the heart of a DH racer and it's an absolute blast to ride. This model is built up with a SRAM GX drivetrain and solid Fox suspension. The Tallboy has been called a “downhiller’s XC bike” and that really sums it up. It’s a quick, efficient bike that absolutely destroys the descents.

DrivetrainRear TravelOriginal Price
SRAM GX Eagle120 mm$6099

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best trail bikes of 2022

Devinci Troy A 29 Deore 12s

The Devinci Troy A 29 Deore 12s Complete Mountain Bike is a robust, resilient, quiver-killer of a dirt pony. Hop on this noble steed and trudge up mountainsides, slay dragons, and save princesses. That's right, with 29" wheels, improved clearance, and 140mm rear travel, the Troy rolls over anything in its path AND climbs like a pack mule. Once you've reached the top, the Troy busts out the gates like a thoroughbred and tramples roots and rocks like a wild mustang. If you're looking for a do-it-all, no questions asked kind of bike, look no further than the Devinci Troy A 29 Deore 12s Complete Mountain Bike. Devinci’s Troy is just ready, ready for anything you could throw at it.

DrivetrainRear TravelOriginal Price
Shimano Deore140 mm$3799

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The Selection Process:

Our bike buyer has an endless amount of knowledge on all things bike stemming from years of experience in the bike industry in tandem with their countless hours out on the dirt, gravel, and tarmac. evo's buyers assess all products coming to market, lean into this knowledge, and put together this selection of the best products. They have a unique perspective as they truly see everything offered across the category.

Jon Kennedy

Jon is a Bike Buyer and joined evo in 2015 to help launch the category. He has a long tenure in the bike industry bringing over 20 years of experience.

Jon was formerly the Marketing Manager for Diamondback bikes and was the Executive Director for the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance prior to that. His broad experience in the bike industry from the brand, advocacy and retail side has contributed to a well-rounded understanding of trends, needs and opportunities.

Jon grew up in the Seattle area and currently resides there with his wife Ilana, kids Erez and Lilah, and his Boston Terrier Marley. He is a daily rider packing countless miles in every year, loves all disciplines, and simply considers himself a cyclist… a title he embraces with great passion.