We've never been massive fans of cricket style pads, but these offer a better fit and protection than most. There's a hard plastic knee piece for patella protection, as well as multi piece panelling.
Ridgeback was one of the first brands to launch a UK mountain bike brand 25 years ago, but over time they've gradually shifted to more urban-based bikes. That's all changing now though, as they've launched an entirely new premium bike brand: Genesis.
Brian Lopes is the smoothest and most dominant 4X racer ever. Now, together with GT, he's pumped his expertise into his own signature 4X weapon.
Grips are a very personal choice and picking ones that feel right for you is important. These lock-on grips from Kona come in a nice length (110mm) and thickness, so trail feel is maintained. Grub screws fasten them at each end and
Roach - now RaceFace - pads are some of the original super protective pads, and they still work well. The Rally pads are about as proven as you'll get, with big wraparound plastic knee and shin pieces.
There are lots of articulated pads around but these are about the best we've tried. They're great to pedal in, with no chafe as long as they're kept clean and dry.
The Five is the basic brake in the Avid family, without the Speed Dial bite point adjustment of the Seven and its friends, but it's still a great XC anchor.The unique steep angled Power Reserve Geometry lever gives a consistent pull
The ace in the Avid pack, the Ultimate goes all out to drop weight without losing Juicy's proven tangy performance.
Bavarian bike maker Cube has had an on/off presence in Britain for a few years now. This time it's hoping to make it stick with aggressive pricing and some very polished hardware in the Cube XMS 100.
Diamondback make a broad range of suspension bikes ranging from a couple of hundred quid up to a grand and a half. The XSL sits at the bottom of their mid-travel all-mountain range, but it's still really well equipped for the money.
DMR Bikes have two new frames for the start of 2007: the all-new Transition 26in and the updated Transition 24in street/ dirt frames. Both have new BMX-inspired graphics and there are new colour options.
The all-mountain Holy Grail of adjustable geometry and suspension at the touch of a button? That'll be a Bionicon then...All-mountain bikes are meant to be adjustable enough to tackle any terrain, but most still exhibit compromises.
Bike superstore Halfords, has always had a lot of pulling power when it comes to suppliers, simply because of the amount they can sell. This GT comes factory direct for spectacular discount without any obvious downsides.
Iron Horse has an enviable DH/ Freeride pedigree for both their big Sunday linkage bikes and the simpler Yakuza swingarm bikes on which the Sachem is based. DH style mass mean that it's definitely more freeride than allmountain
Norco is a household name among Canadian mountain bikers, with a reputation for bombproof strength and proven performance even in the sickest riding situations. Being big over there makes their impressively well-sorted Six Three great value over here, too.
Saracen's Ariel bikes are bred in the UK for exactly the sort of big day riding most of our readers love. The result is a well balanced and characterful bike that grew on us more each time we rode it.
The THE bike stand is designed to hold the back wheel of your bike between its two upright plates while you park or work on your rig. Most stands of this nature come unstuck when larger width tyres are used, but THE have bypassed this