Five Full-suspension 27.5+ Bikes from Cyclofest

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Over the last year, full-suspension 27.5+ bikes have exploded into the marketplace. At this years Fall Cyclofest demo event, this was especially evident. Here are five we rode that possess some serious backcountry exploration potential…

After a significant amount of time with the Salsa Pony Rustler, it’s clear why the full-suspension 27.5+ platform is taking off. Bigger tires translate to added traction, expanded terrain and elevated confidence. Couple these traits with a lightweight carbon frame and well-engineered suspension, and the result is a backcountry machine tailored for folks who like to push these capabilities, and the level of trails they ride. And since more tires are coming available, such as the wildly popular new Maxxis Recon+ 2.8 — which was specced on every one of the bikes below — more and more bike companies are offering a 27.5+ option. Here are five that we tried at the Fall Cyclofest this past weekend, each with notes and a few specs — listed in order of length of suspension travel. CycloFest is the new East Coast demo event put on by the same folks that organize Interbike; it was held this year at the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC.

Pivot Mach 429 Trail, 27.5+

Ignoring the fact that the Mach 429 is the shortest travel bike in this list — 130mm Front/116mm Rear — it’s appropriate that the Mach 429 Trail appears first. On paper, it is perhaps the most versatile and bikepacking friendly of the five. It features a relatively short travel suspension platform, provided by Dave Weagle’s DW-Link four-bar design — currently only licensed to Pivot, Ibis, Turner, and a couple other companies. DW-Link provides the Mach 429 with a snappy feel for solid climbing and XC speed, but working in tandem with the 2.8″ tires it also can dig deeper at an all-mountain level when needed. In addition, with a large frame triangle and down tube bottle bosses, it makes a good case for a do-all rig with bikepacking potential. We look forward to further testing it with a bag kit.

Pivot Mach 429 Trail, Full-suspension 27.5+

  • Pivot Mach 429 Trail, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Pivot Mach 429 Trail, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Pivot Mach 429 Trail, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Pivot Mach 429 Trail, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Pivot Mach 429 Trail, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Travel 130mm Front/116mm Rear
  • Max tire size 3.25″
  • Under Downtube bottle mount Yes
  • Standout features I9 hubs (with wheel upgrade); DW Link suspension
  • Bikepacking features Large frame pack space; climbs like a goat
  • Intended use Trail riding and singletrack bikepacking
  • Price (minimum complete) $4,199.00

Niner Jet 9 RDO Plus, 27.5+

With RDO Carbon Compaction, BOOST, [R]evolution geometry, and the Constant Varying Arc (CVA) suspension platform, Niner packed a lot of proprietary lingo into its all new Jet 9. But not having paid that any mind before riding the Jet 9, it didn’t really matter. The Jet 9 rides fluidly and confidently on trails. It felt very quick and snappy, but when pushed a little, it didn’t seem to hesitate. Similar to other bikes in this lineup, the Jet 9 comes in 27.5+ or 29er.

Niner Jet 9 RDO PLUS, Full-suspension 27.5+

  • Niner Jet 9 RDO PLUS, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Niner Jet 9 RDO PLUS, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Niner Jet 9 RDO PLUS, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Niner Jet 9 RDO PLUS,, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Niner Jet 9 RDO PLUS,, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Travel 140mm Front/120mm Rear
  • Max tire size 3″
  • Under Downtube bottle mount No
  • Standout features Threaded BB; very lightweight carbon frame
  • Bikepacking features Climbs well; good geometry
  • Intended use Trail riding and XC singletrack bikepacking
  • Price (range complete) $4,800.00

Ibis Mojo 3, 27.5+

Released earlier this year, the Mojo 3 is Ibis’ latest iteration in the Mojo series. Included in the new Mojo 3 is an upgraded swingarm with BOOST rear end and space for 2.8″ tires. The 3 is another DW-Link rig, albeit a tad bit ‘bigger’ bike than the Mach 429 Trail. However, on the flowy root-strewn trails at the Whitewater Center, the Mojo 3 pedaled like a nimble XC trail bike. But make no mistake about it, point it downhill on some technical bits and the Mojo 3 comes to life. And with under down tube bottle bosses and a couple of interesting spaces for custom framebags, this is an intriguing do-all bike.

Ibis Mojo 3, Full-suspension 27.5+

  • Ibis Mojo 3, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Ibis Mojo 3, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Ibis Mojo 3, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Ibis Mojo 3, Full-suspension 27.5+
  • Ibis Mojo 3, Full-suspension 27.5+
  • Travel 140mm Front/130mm Rear
  • Max tire size 2.8″
  • Under Downtube bottle mount Yes
  • Standout features DW Link suspension
  • Bikepacking features Interesting frame bag potential; DW-Link; under downtube bottle mounts
  • Intended use Big trail riding and backcountry singletrack exploration
  • Price (minimum complete) $3,999.00

Rocky Mountain Pipeline, 27.5+

Rocky didn’t re-release the Sherpa — their purpose-built bikepacking-specific full-suspension 27.5+ bike — in their 2017 lineup. So the newly minted Pipeline started looking awfully tempting to folks who had their eye on the sold-out limited release Sherpa. After all, it’s a bike with similar bones, although it has a bit more travel than the Sherpa. The Pipeline felt really good on descents, however it did seem like a bit much for the rather mellow trails at the US National Whitewater Center. But if your domain is steep and rough, it might be worth a look.

Rocky Mountain Pipeline, Full-suspension 27.5+

  • Rocky Mountain Pipeline, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Rocky Mountain Pipeline, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Rocky Mountain Pipeline, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Rocky Mountain Pipeline, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Rocky Mountain Pipeline, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • Travel 150mm Front/130mm Rear
  • Max tire size 3.25″
  • Standout features 1x specific
  • Bikepacking features Straight frame design for frame pack; under downtube bottle mounts
  • Intended use Big descents and backcountry singletrack
  • Price (range complete) $4,799.00

Pivot Switchblade, 27.5+

Pivot claims the all-new Switchblade as “Purpose-built to meet the demands of enduro and aggressive trail riding.” With super short chainstays and slack lines, combined with DW-Link suspension and 27.5×2.8″ Maxxis Recon+ tires, the Switchblade 27.5+ is set up to combine fun with all-terrain exploration. Although on paper the Switchblade is far too big a bike for the rooty and generally non-technical flowy trails of the Whitewater Center, during our test ride the Switchblade never really felt like it was too much. Granted I’d love to try this bike on the steeper and gnarlier trails up the road in Pisgah, it was overall a very impressive bike.

Pivot  Switchblade, Full-suspension 27.5+

  • Pivot Mach 429 Trail, 27.5+ Full-suspension
  • pivot-switchblade__2235
  • pivot-switchblade__2258
  • pivot-switchblade__2232
  • pivot-switchblade_2224
  • Travel 150mm Front/135mm Rear
  • Max tire size 3.25″
  • Standout features DW-Link suspension; great medium travel backcountry bike
  • Bikepacking features Good frame pack space; under downtube bottle mounts
  • Intended use Big trail riding and backcountry singletrack bikepacking
  • Price (range complete) $5,199.00

Tags

  • DT TD

    As an Ibisian, That’s a Mojo 3…130-140 front / 130 rear. Wouldn’t want Ibis to be sad with you guys ;)

  • http://www.bikepacking.com/ BIKEPACKING.com (Logan)

    Oh man; great catch… thanks. I wrote that one first thing this morning and definitely mis-noted it in my iPhone notes.

  • stopperwind

    Next to my Marin Pine Mountain 2 I enjoy the Cube Stereo 150 HPA
    27,5+ with 150mm of travel, 1×11, easy tubeless setup and affordable price in Europe (€2600)
    https://www.cube.eu/en/2017/fullsuspension/stereo/cube-stereo-150-hpa-race-275-greynflashred-2017/

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