In Issue #113 of Singletrack Magazine, we brought you a group test on three modern geometry full suspension 29ers. Wagon wheels have come a long, long way in recent years, particularly when it comes to frame geometry, wheel stiffness, and suspension performance. They’re getting a whole lot more popular on the trails, and we’ve also witnessed a significant increase in the number of 29ers being raced on the downhill World Cup circuit and Enduro World Series.
To find out just how far the 29in wheel has come, we pulled together three test bikes that are riding this second wave of 29er progress; the Following from Evil, the Stage 5 from Orange, and the Switchblade from Pivot Cycles. You can read the results of the full group test here, though scroll on down to watch our video review of each bike;
Sharing a similar carbon fibre frame as the Calling, Insurgent and Wreckoning, the Following is Evil’s shortest travel trail bike with 120mm of rear travel. It’ll take a 120-140mm travel fork, and features kicked-back geometry with a nice low bottom bracket and a short back end to keep things playful. And playful this bike most certainly is! Check out the full Evil Following review here.
In comparison, the Orange Stage 5 is a much simpler beast, with its burly welded alloy frame and mono pivot suspension design. Essentially representing the 29in version of the venerable Orange Five, the Stage 5 shrinks travel down slightly to 135mm at the back, and 140mm at the front. Geometry pushes longer in both the front and rear centre, affording masses of high-speed stability. Check out the Orange Stage 5 review here.
And last, but certainly not least; the Switchblade from Pivot Cycles. The most expensive bike on test complete with carbon fibre Reynolds wheels and XTR shifting, the Switchblade uses a high-tech carbon fibre frame that can be setup with 1x or 2x drivetrains, features Di2 compatibility, and is the only bike here that’s ready for 27.5+ tyre with clearance for up to 3.25in wide tyres. If you want to know how it all adds up on the trail, check out the full review of the Pivot Switchblade here.