The Kona Shred - £500
The GT Ruckus 3.0 - £599
The Specialized Hardrock Pro - £500
The Saracen Zen 2 - £650
Finally, cross country bikes are becoming more abuse friendly and jump bikes are becoming more trail friendly. At least, these four are.
We set out to find four bikes not too far off the half-grand mark that promised what most riders are undoubtedly looking for these days... go anywhere trail worthiness plus the ability to take a bit of punishment, either by default or by design.
The Kona Shred, at £500, and the GT Ruckus 3.0, at £599, looked likely to suit riders biased more towards occassional dirt jump sessions. The Specialized Hardrock Pro, at £500, and the Saracen Zen 2, at £650, looked likely to attract those attracted to riding single track a little bit harder and faster than the average XC racehead.
All of these bikes are symbolic of overlaps in bike design that have started to to pull two distinct disciplines (Cross Country & Jump) closer together than they have ever been. Surely this is a good thing. Let's ride and see.