The Marlin crams hydraulic discs and a branded fork into a package well under £500, but it's the eager, well balanced handling that really makes it stand out from the crowd.
GT's i-Drive floating suspension is one of the longest serving systems still in use. Add some crackling kit for the cash and you've got a very capable and enjoyable technical trail bike.
As our 06 Bike Of The Year, Giant's Anthem has got a lot to live up to in 2007. A carbon composite frame comes in for the top level Anthem Advanced but otherwise the basics are unchanged throughout the alloy range.
This little light is typical of the large number of small LED torch style lights available now, but it's one of the nicest made we've seen.
"Thank you for choosing to fly Gore Bike Air first class. Please pay attention to our jacket crew for a moment, because this garment does have some unique features."
Another three-lamp header, this is as good as LED units get. The beam is fairly focused but has enough spread to weave through trees, outshining the Solidlight.
Genesis is a new brand from the same UK designers who've been producing the excellent Ridgeback Urban MTB range for years. Their experience shows in some neat features and ride characteristics.
The smallest light on test, the Lithium Ultra still pumps out just enough power for proper off-roading. Dinotte gives plenty of light options: 3W and 5W singles, doubles (triples due soon) plus a choice of Li-Ion or AA battery packs.
Endura's Humvee shorts and three-quarter length pants are some of our favourite baggies, so our rickety knees creaked excitedly at the idea of full trousers.
Our reigning über light, the Edison's performance is boosted even further for 2007. The neat, cool-running unit uses a standard 10W Welch Allyn head with smart circuitry boosting output to a whopping 65W halogen equivalent.
Only Light & Motion wrap their own reflector around a Welch Allyn HID bulb, rather than using the complete head unit. The result is a far-reaching central spot and a wide but dim halo which L&M say reduces contrast and eye fatigue.
Avid's Ultimate brake has always been exactly what it says on the tin - the ultimate in materials and performance. Avid have only ever put the Ultimate tag on a V-brake before, so the Juicy Ultimate hydraulic disc brake has been on our most wanted list for a long time.
If there was a prize for indulgent design Blackburn would win by a finned, fancy plastic mile. The twin 5W LED system comes with a spot and flood head to give a reasonable depth and breadth of illumination with both LEDs running, and a long reach for road or a short spread for slow singletrack.
Specialized's Rockhopper range takes you from 'all you need' stalwart to this impressively specced speed machine. Does getting the top model of the tree makes sense though?
You might guess from the 4X name that this burly Blur is designed for 4X and Dual Slalom race domination. It's also a great choice for hardcore riders who want strength and stability without excess weight and travel.
Orange's Gringo 2 or G2 has been the baseline of the Halifax firm's MTB range for several years and is available with the option of a rigid fork. Is the idea of 'no suspension' extinct or does it make an excellent no-suss no-fuss winter workhorse?
Torch-style like the Electron, but with a more powerful LED. The beam is far too focused for off-road handlebar use on its own because the illuminated pool is tiny.
Lumicycle's twin HID range-topper offers a 12-degree flood beam and a 6-degree spot, giving masses of breadth and depth in typically blue white, high definition halide colour.
Norco are a fairly new name in the UK, but their dominant status in Canada means serious buying power. They have a bias towards the mental end of riding, as the Bigfoot's build betrays.
This outdoor jacket (not riding specific but great for riding) is made from Paclite, Gore-Tex's lightest waterproof fabric, with impressive breathability characteristics.Wide-mouth, velcro-closure sleeves provide good ventilation for your arms.
This looks basic, but has neat practical features. The centre-pointed three-LED output gives decent coverage for middle ring single-tracking, although it lacks depth compared to HID lamps.
Niterider have revamped their lights, boosting performance and prices to the top level. This Flight unit uses the standard 10W Welch Allyn head for ample bluey white lighting, while three different diminishing outputs eke out energy.
The Rockhopper is one of Specialized's longest running models, but the 2007 bike is all-new with clean lines, an impressive spec and a sharp and rapid ride. The chassis. The new M4 frame looks as good as any top-line race bike.
Looking at the 'new' TARA Rage bikes you'd easily be forgiven for thinking not much had changed on Marin's long travel all rounders. Detailed suspension and geometry changes for 07 make a massive difference, however,