Guy Kesteven

Author: Guy Kesteven

Guy Kesteven has been testing bikes to their limits for 17 years. In the process of testing literally thousands of bikes and components, he’s marathon raced supermarket bikes, podium placed in Enduro downhills, frozen to the marrow on cyclocross sportives and mangled himself at the Mega Avalanche. Whether it's aggro trail bikes, aero time trial weapons or any bike in between, the experience and expertise of Guy and his northern UK test team lets him put every pedal stroke and bar twitch totally in context with a bike’s competitors, its development history and a cerebellum crushing amount of hard earned long term data.

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It's taken Yorkshire suspension and frame fanatics Pace nearly two decades of development to finally get their XC full suspension bike honed to their satisfaction. Yet it seems the best things are worth waiting for.



The unshakeably confident, hard-hitting Shore Two shows Norco's design preference for bikes that can tackle the most extreme riding on an everyday basis.

Rocky Mountain ETS X 50


The fact that Rocky Mountain were the ones to scoop as their company URL shows how quick they are to push new technology. It's the same with their attitude to bikes and new riding styles too, with the ETS (Energy Transfer System) still at the cutting edge four years after its launch.

Nicolai Helius FR


With a website that looks more like the official site for the latest techno geek sci-fi blockbuster than a bike builder, Nicolai take every part of their obsessively detailed operation to the Nth degree.

Kona Coiler Deluxe


Kona's Stinky line is their full-on freeride family, but triple-crown forks limit their versatility. The single-crown Coiler gets an inch less travel, but it's a great bike if there are also pedalling and cross-country style trails on the agenda.

Ram XCII Comp


What better way to welcome Bulgaria into the EU than by getting one of their full sus bikes into this test, courtesy of Ram Bikes?

Scott MC 50


Scott's MC bikes pack in more innovation than almost any others out there. Unique frame design features and homegrown shock and suspension system create a remarkably adaptable multi character ride, though.

Scott Boulder


Scott's Boulder boot family is a long running one, but this evolved version is probably the best trail shoe they've made yet. While the All Mountain is broader than most shoes and the Urban is narrower, the Boulder sits somewhere in the middle.

Scott Shield Windjacket


Scott clothing may not show up on most rider's immediate choice clothing radar, but it makes some really thoughtful, stylish threads that are worth hunting down.

Rocky Mountain ETSX 50


Rocky's ETSX suspension bikes are now in their third year and their combination of hand-built Canadian quality and smooth rolling, widely adjustable suspension makes them a top contender. Frame quality and rarity means you have to

Charge Stove


Removing anything likely to get ruined by winter has always been a great way to build an all-weather bike. Charge has helpfully got rid of everything already, leaving its Stove 'pub bike' ideal for short blasts on hibernating trails.

Crank Brothers Cobalt BB


Crank Brothers' steel and alloy Cobalt crankset looks gorgeous, but its ISIS bottom bracket looked a decidedlydodgy feature of the design. However, that was before we spent months riding it.

Big Earl boasts wide hub flange spacing


The Big Earls are Bonty's heavy duty 32-spoke wheels but they're still light enough for all-day action. The flat, broad 32mm rims are tough and they offer enough girth for any tyre.

The Oro Bianco gives great control in all conditions


The Oro Bianco delivers outstanding control in all conditions. The 180mm rotor power is plentiful and the soft feel is beautifully progressive. It stayed that way right through the dyno cycle, despite some serious smoke and insane temps.

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