Seb Rogers

Author: Seb Rogers

Seb has been riding mountain bikes for a bit over 20 years. He started it as a way of escaping university lectures, and has been using it as an excuse to skip off work ever since. With six years in bike retail and another 15 as a freelance bike photographer and writer, Seb's racing career isn't a highlight. His best result was a beer-fuelled fourth in the singlespeed category at the Cheddar Challenge, but that was too long ago to count. He has racked up more miles than he cares to remember on hundreds of test bikes all over the world.

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Good dry condition tyres

Bontrager Jones XR TLR 2.25
£24.99 3.5

These are durable summer all-rounders. They're relatively slow rolling but the 2.25in front, 2.2in rear sizing gives reasonable comfort and float. The multi-block arrow front and paddle rear designs, with stickier Gumbi compound edges, are great in loose conditions.

The saddle s a bit too soft for an all dayer  but newbies will like it

Specialized Rockhopper
£550 3.5

The Rockhopper has long been the workhorse of the Specialized range but that doesn't means it hasn't grown long in the tooth, far from it. FACT box section alloy tubing and a well though out spec means there's still a lot of life left in this old.

The original hard riding hardtail from Canada

Cove Stiffee FR
£1800 4

Conceived on the steep, ultra-technical trails of Vancouver's North Shore, Cove's Stiffee was one of the first hardtails to combine hard-riding potential with a frame light enough to ride all day. Available as a frame only from UK importers Silverfish, we built ours with a selection of trail-ready kit to find out whether the original hardnut is still one of the best.

Light and ultra responsive race bred trail bike

Whyte 19 Trail
£1995 4

Whyte's high-end 19 hardtail has already been a cult success with singletrack aficionados and speed demons, but 2007's line-up has had a complete makeover. The Trail spec takes the tried-and-tested 19 chassis and adds a long travel fork, chunky tyres and a bigger front disc rotor to the mix. It promises pace with a big-hit edge. The question is, does it deliver?

More of a freeride bike than an all day trail machine

Orange Sub Zero S
£1495 4

When Orange set out to build a hardtail capable of taking abuse in its stride, they didn't cut any corners. The Sub Zero S packs a bombproof frame, 150mm (6in) travel fork and hard-riding components into a package that's well priced, even with the optional Hope upgrades on our test machine. But just how versatile is it?

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Kinesis Maxlight Custom
£995 4.5

Most of us have dreamed at one time or another of building a bike to our own spec. Trouble is, the price normally puts it out of reach. But mail order specialists Chain Reaction Cycles have enough buying clout to bring component prices down.

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