After experiencing a boom through the 2021, and 2022 model years, the mountain bike sector of the bike industry is showing no signs of slowing down in the coming year. With more travel, lighter frame materials and added stiffness where it counts, join us as we take you through our picks of the best new Mountain Bikes for the coming year.
Norco Fluid FS 2023
Type: Dual-Suspension Trail Bike
Purpose: Trail, All-Mountain Riding
Sitting as the entry point to the Norco trail bike line-up, the all-new Fluid is the perfect platform for ambitious riders looking to hone their skills or riders that want a great value mountain bike that is a true jack of all trades. With 140mm of travel at the fork and 130mm at the frame, the high-performing tunable suspension was designed using the same process as the brand's top-tier offerings, ensuring a quality ride experience that punches above its price point. At the heart of the Fluid is a durable 6061 aluminium frame, which on top of the longer travel, features a size-specific dropper post as standard, perfect for letting you confidently roll through challenging terrain.
The range-topping Fluid FS A1 listed above may be one of the best-value 2023 trail bikes. Priced at $5,199, the FS AI features Fox FLOAT Factory 34 forks paired with a Fox FLOAT X Performance Elite shock; Shimano provides its XT 1x 12-speed groupset paired with a Praxis g2 Cadet crank. TRP provides its 4-piston Trail EVO brakes gripping 203mm (f) and 180mm (rear) rotors in the stopping department. On the rolling stock, Bear Pawls boost hubs are laced to 29” Stans Flow rims, while Vittoria Mazza 2.4” (front) and 2.35”(rear) rubber provide the trail grip.
Trek Fuel EX 2023
Type: Dual Suspension Trail Bike
Purpose: Trail / All-Mountain riding
In what is proving to be a big year in trail mountain bikes, the industry juggernauts at Trek have updated their incredibly popular Fuel EX range of dual-suspension trail bikes for the coming year. In keeping with its trail-taming predecessor, the key updates to the Fuel EX platform are long travel 150mm forks and 140mm shock as standard, while its Mino Link adjustable leverage rate and headset angle adjustments see an update. The local range starts off at $4,999 for the aluminium framed EX 7 and raises to $8,999 for the range-topping carbon framed EX 9.8. All bikes in the range feature 27.5” wheels in smaller sizes (XS), while bigger sizes make do with 29” hoops. A dropper seatpost is included as standard across the range, as is guided internal routing, dropper seatposts, a universal derailleur hanger, more durable hardware, and a threaded bottom bracket for easier maintenance.
Giant Reign 2023
Type: Dual Suspension Enduro Bike
Purpose: All-Mountain, Enduro and Freeriding
Updated towards the back end of 2022, the all-new Giant Reign is purpose-built for Enduro riding and racing. With a host of updates, including longer travel, in-frame storage options, the option to run either 29er or 29/27.5” wheel setups, and an all-new three-position flip chip, it's clear that the 2023 Reign is much more versatile and well-rounded than its predecessor. Making use of a 170mm travel fork, with 160mm of travel found at the frame, bringing it in line with its key competitors, such as the Trek Slash and the aptly named Specialized Enduro. Also available is the rowdy, coil-sprung Reign SX, which dials up the fun factor to 11 with its 190mm fork, 165mm of rear travel and downhill-ready stability and speed.
The 2023 Reign is available down under both an aluminium frame and with Giant’s advanced pro carbon frame. Pricing is sharp across the board, with entry-level options starting at $4,399, while the range-topping Reign Advanced Pro 1 will set buyers back $8,999. For those looking to get rowdy, the Reign SX is offered in a single specification option complete with a Fox 40 front shock, Fox DHX2 Performance Elite shock, Shimano Deore drive train and 2.5” Tubeless Maxxis Rubber
Scott Spark 2023
Type: Dual-Suspension XC Bike
After receiving a comprehensive update in 2021, the Scott Spark short travel trail / XC race machine looks to be the ideal ride for those after the occasional race bike that also excels on “down country” terrain or trails with less technical features. The most startling element of the spark is despite being a dual-suspension bike, the shock is integrated into the frame. Scott says that integrating the shock inside the frame helps protect it from mud, rain and dust. The cover is also said to aid in rigidity, which is ideal for a bike ridden by the world’s best XC racers. The Scott Spark is available in a range of builds ranging from mild to wild. Towards the upper end of the spectrum is the Spark 910 as pictured above. It features Scott HMF carbon fibre lay-up, a FOX 34 FLOAT Performance fork, FOX Nude EVOL shock, a Shimano XT 12-speed drive train, a Fox Transfer dropper post, and a smattering of Syncros touch points.
Santa Cruz Tallboy 2023
Type: Trailbike, XC-Bike
Purpose: Trail, Cross-Country
With 120mm of travel on offer at the rear, the new Santa Cruz Tallboy 2023 wants to be the perfect cross-country trail bike for downhill riders and vice versa. Featuring a storage compartment within the down tube, stiffness optimisations on the frame, revised kinematics and slightly modified geometry - there’s no shortage of updates for the coming year. The Tallboy will be available locally in 6 different versions: The four C variants tip the scale from 13.99kg down to a competitive 13.32kg and are priced from AU$8,899. Two lighter CC variants are also offered and start from AU$11,899. All versions are equipped with carbon frames, Fox Performance DPS shocks and high-performance Fox Float DPS shocks. At the front, a RockShox Pike suspension fork appears on five of the six builds, with the entry-level offering featuring a Fox 34 Float Performance fork. For the gears, Santa Cruz relies on the expertise of the Californians from SRAM, and for the tyres, the fast-rolling combination of 2.4” wide Maxxis Dissector and Recon rubber appears on all models.
Merida ONE SIXTY
Purpose: Free ride, Downhill, Aggressive Enduro.
Making use of the same frame as its shorter travelled sibling, the ONE FORTY comes the all-new Merida ONE SIXTY. Featuring a similarly aggressive enduro geometry, the longer travelled variant features the same focus on stability and efficiency on the trail albeit being longer, lower and slacker. Regarding equipment, the suspension travel leans more towards the aggressive enduro end of the spectrum with a 170mm fork upfront with a variable 162mm (29”) or 171mm (27.5”) of travel found at the frame. This means the ONE SIXTY can be run either as a full 29er or in party spec 29 up front with a 27.5” hoop at the rear. Merida itself describes the ONE SIXTY as a hardcore long-travel enduro bike.
The range-topping ONE SIXTY 10k is claimed to weigh a smidge over 15kg, with the other models increasing in weight as the price drops; however, this weight adds to the downhill flow, offering stability in spades on everything from fast-flowing single track to technical downhill runs. Locally available in three carbon variants, with two aluminium options also available. Expect to pay between $3,999 for the entry-level aluminium variant with its Shimano Deore 1x 11-speed drive train up to $13,499 for the range-topping ONE SIXTY 10k, which features a SRAM Eagle X01 AXS groupset, and a host of flagship touch points.
Marin El Roy 2023
Purpose: Enduro, All Mountain
Californian outfit Marin describes the El Roy 2023 as an aggressive hardtail, which shines with a progressive enduro geometry and a stable steel frame. The model was developed by top riders and is equipped with 29-inch tires (Maxxis-Assegai). Also on board is a Shimano Deore M6100 with 12-speed technology. The Marzocchi Z1 offers 140 mm travel and is well suited to a wide range of trails on the trails. Aimed at rowdy riders tackling technical terrain, the 2023 El Roy is available in two different frame sizes, Regular & Grande and is available right now at an RRP of $3,699.