Bike Hub's Top Ten gear reviews for 2016

With the year drawing rapidly to a close, we take a look at our ten most popular gear review articles published in 2016.

1. Scott Spark 940


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The launch of the new Scott Spark range generated much excitement in the office. The Spark 940 features completely redesigned geometry, and suspension for a more aggressive riding style, making it a super capable all-rounder. It's no surprise then, that the Scott Spark 940 tops our list of most popular reviews for 2016.

The Scott Spark is easily the most well-rounded bike I have ridden. It's capable on the ups and generates huge grins on the downs. The Spark is as fun as many bikes with much more travel but retains the efficiency of a short travel bike. The Spark is a great example of just how good the combination of modern mountain bike suspension and geometry is today.

Read the full Scott Spark review here.

2. Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie


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2016 has seen a huge rise in the popularity of E-bikes (or electric pedal-assist bikes), as users have become aware of the incredible scope offered by the technology. The Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo FSR 6Fattie is a full suspension 27.5-plus pedal assist trail bike which lets riders have their cake, eat it, and shred all the trails too.

In the Levo, Specialized have not only built an e-bike. They have taken their time to re-think and develop the platform to deliver a product that takes full advantage of available technology. Mountain biking has just been catapulted into the digital age.

Read the full Turbo Levo review here.

3. Silverback Sesta Pro


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The Sesta Pro is the long-awaited carbon dual suspension XC marathon race crusader from Silverback. Given Silverback's reputation for producing quality bikes at a good price point, it is not surprising that the release of the Sesta Pro generated waves, and we were impressed by our experiences on it.

The long wait for the Sesta has been worth it. Silverback have created a polished dual suspension carbon race bike. The geometry and suspension work together to create a bike that begs to be ridden fast.

Read the full Silverback Sesta review here.

4. Specialized Power Pro Saddle


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The Specialized Power saddle is an updated saddle design, created for aggressive riding, both on and off road. Designed for comfort and efficiency, it features a shorter nose than traditional saddles, as well as a longer, wider cutout for increasing blood flow to sensitive soft tissue, and a broad, slightly flared tail end to keep your ass planted while producing power. In the quest for the holy grail of saddle comfort, this seems to be a leap in the right direction.

With its tail-up design, the saddle gives an in-the-saddle feel rather than a sitting-on-top feel common with other saddles. The tail also lends greater support when hammering away at the pedals stopping any possibility of unwanted movement.

Read the full Power saddle review here.

5. Pyga Stage Max


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The Pyga Stage Max is a carbon 29er, dual suspension machine, designed as a "marathon bike on steroids, for trail riders that want to ride marathons". With 140mm up front, and 126mm rear travel, Pyga's +FIVE chain line concept, and space for two water bottles inside the front triangle, the Stage Max really hits the nail on the head for riders that want to go big and still have it all.

The Stage Max rides like a live-wire and does not mind quick direction changes and being wrestled around. Thankfully the fork and rear suspension keep up through the rough stuff, adding to the bike's playful nature.

Read the full Stage Max review here.

6. Cube AMS 100 C:62 Race 29


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The Cube AMS 100 is a German engineered dual suspension cross country race bike. With 100mm of travel front and rear and full XT components throughout, it offers a fast and efficient ride at a very good price point. An exceptional offering for anyone whose priorities are race oriented.

The Cube is aggressively oriented with a relatively steep head angle compared to others in the 100mm class, yet it is still comfortable and capable when heading downhill. It provides a very stable and assured feel which gives the confidence to have a bit of fun.

Read the full AMS 100 review here.

7. 2017 Specialized Roubaix Expert UDI2


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The Specialized Roubaix Expert UDI2 draws it's name and inspiration from the cobbled streets of the infamous Paris Roubaix, the "Hell of the North". It is at heart an endurance road race bike, and the 2017 model has changed the game with a new Future Shock vibration damping system. This makes it ideal for our rough South African roads, where smoother means faster.

Overall the combination of added compliance in the seatpost, the 26C wide tyres and “suspension” cockpit take most, if not all, of the harsh jarring out of the ride. You still feel the road surface, but there is a smoothness to the ride and with it more confidence and speed across uneven surfaces. The micro-adjustments available through the Future Shock offer an incredible sense of control in all modes. When climbing on uneven surfaces you feel less clumsy and awkward. Similarly when descending the reduction in bar rattle makes for better control - you feel more in touch with the brakes when you need them and more secure on the bars. It is not that you couldn't do it on any normal bike, it's just that the Roubaix really does feel smoother, more controlled and, yes, faster.

Read the Roubaix first ride here.

8. Pyga Stage


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The Pyga Stage is a 29er, dual suspension, XC marathon bike featuring progressive geometry with a long reach and slacker head angle, designed to give more control and stability on technical descents, while still providing a solid pedalling platform. Like it's big brother the Stage Max, it features Pyga's +FIVE chain line concept, and space for two water bottles inside the front triangle, but with 120mm of travel up front and 95mm on the rear, it ticks all the boxes as a versatile and capable race bike.

Leading the charge into an era of ultra capable cross country and marathon bikes, PYGA have proven with the Stage just how firmly their finger is on the pulse of modern mountain bike design. The Pyga Stage offers a delicate balance of race focussed performance and more progressive trail capabilities.

Read the full Stage review here.

9. YT Capra CF Comp


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The YT Capra CF Comp is a monster all-mountain bike, with 170mm of travel on the front, 165mm on the rear, 650b wheels and long slack geometry, designed to chew up trails and spit them out. While some might call it too much bike for South African trails, we call it fun, and if pedalling up slowly and bombing down fast are your thing, then the Capra is worth a look.

Heading down the trails is a completely different experience. The bike is a no excuses trail brawler that thrives at ridiculous speeds on steep trails. I have never ridden a bike that compels you to continually go faster and push boundaries quite like the Capra does.

Read the full Capra review here.

10. Evil Bikes The Following


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The Following is a short(er) and slack offering from boutique brand Evil Bikes. Available as a frameset with the Monarch RT3 Debonair rear shock, it is designed for 120mm travel front and back, with adjustable geometry which allows the rider to tweak head angle and BB height. Agile and playful, this is a bike which cannot be easily be boxed into a category, all that needs to be said is that it is a blast to ride.

I got the feeling that the design brief was not a long list of tick boxes, but rather a one-liner that read "the best damn trail bike out there. I would happily dive in head first and say that as far as Trail / All Mountain bikes go, this is one of the best I've slung a leg over and one of the most well-rounded 29er bikes I've ridden yet.

Read the full The Following review here.




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