Best gravel bikes, mountain bikes and off-road cruisers of 2022
Cycling was booming during the pandemic. More and more people were using the roads and trails for safe outdoor fun and this influx of cyclists, combined with the impact of COVID-19 on the bicycle industry, made cycling very difficult to obtain. But now, as supply chains normalize and manufacturers catch up on pandemic backorders, bike makers are announcing their latest and greatest releases for 2022. For riders looking for their next set of wheels, the choices have never been better, especially when it comes to off-road bikes.
New technologies and advanced designs have made dirt-loving off-road bikes, from gravel grinders to electric mountain bikes, lighter, more capable and overall more fun than ever. You no longer have to suffer with obscenely heavy e-bikes while riding twisty trails or wobbly frame geometry that made the gravel bike feel jittery and loose over varying terrain. And the suspensions of mountain bikes are more and more adjustable and with more autonomy. So if you’re looking for an all-terrain bike machine (we’ve even added a lightweight beach cruiser), there’s a bike for you.
1. Rotate Shadowcat
If you’re ready to experience the most fun on two wheels, get on the carbon fiber Shadowcat from Pivot. The 150mm front travel and 140mm rear travel make this bike energetic, playful and agile. It’s also delightfully light for travel – 28 pounds, 6 ounces – on our scales for size medium in the Pro XT/XTR version. Shadowcat’s 27.5-inch wheels make any trail fun. When the going gets tough, there are plenty of trips to help you navigate through. Other lightweight bikes can feel tossed around on big trails. This stays planted until you’re ready to get the wheels off the ground. On flowing trails, the Shadowcat comes to life, encouraging shenanigans rather than speed. It’s fast around the corners and great fun to jump, drop and jump. To save ounces, the Shadowcat uses a 148mm boost rear end, not Pivot’s Super Boost Plus. But it uses the Pivot DW Link, which feels sporty with a magic-carpet smooth ride that’s still peppy. The bike is tuned to allow you to turn the power down and pump on the trail without sacrificing climbing efficiency. The balance is intuitive on the descents, and it blasted through corners, landed drops and hammered everything it pointed down.
[From $6,199, pivotcycles.com]
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