If our Top Ten Beautiful Bicycles list serves as an indicator of your interests, our Top Ten Review Bikes speak to the readership’s curiosities and potential next bike buys. This year’s Top Ten Review Bikes ran the gamut from carbon gravel bikes with proprietary passive suspension to actual full suspension bikes and everything in between.
Let’s check out what review bikes pushed the needle for you this year!
If anyone can put a bike through the wringer and find its faults, it’s Ryan Wilson. When his Tumbleweed Prospector was stuck in Nepal due to Covid, he had to pick up an alternate bike, ultimately landing on the Surly Bridge Club. After two years touring around the world on the Bridge Club, he found its strengths and shortcomings…
Remember when gravity-focused short-travel 29ers were edgy? When a brand would give one to their most decorated downhiller and it would break YouTube? By now this subcategory has become a staple. Every brand has one. Except for Canyon—they have three. And the black sheep among them is the Spectral 125. Find out why Travis Engel still doesn’t want to send his test bike back in his detailed review…
Hailey, like many of our readers, relies on her gravel bike for a variety of activities, from fast rides, ultra races, touring, and everything in between. Yet, this year she observed more people opting out of their drop-bar rigid bikes in favor of flat-bar hardtail mountain bikes. During her test period, the Neuhaus Hummingbird became a vessel for Hailey’s mtb progression, which she covers in the review along with what she describes as the current “hardtail moment.”
Before the REEB SST, full suspension steel MTBs felt very handmade, relying on laser-cut steel, and brazed or welded connections. Then REEB worked tirelessly on the SST and a new direction opened up for makers of production bikes: 3D-sintered components, offered in a mass-produced package. John put the SST through its paces during shoulder season in the Southern Rockies.
In what was perhaps our most controversial review, Spencer took off his Topo Designs shirt, Bedrock sandals, Ripton jorts, and slid into some lycra to find out what makes the Diverge STR so unique (and divisive). Survey says: this bike rules.
Touching back on our thoughts above regarding the Neuhaus Hummingbird review, Hailey took one of The Radavist Edition Sklar SuperSomething completes out for an entire summer of long rides, extended tours, and everything in between, noting that the SuperSomething is something familiar…
Something we didn’t disclose in our Top Ten Beautiful Bicycles list: Ronnie’s and Watson’s 2022 Philly Bike Expo Alumalith gallery got more traffic in 2023 than any other bike due to the sheer volume of Google queries. Wow. That goes to show one thing: people are into these bikes! Case in point, Josh’s build and review really drew people into the vintage restomod-inspired build.
The Starling Murmur made waves when John first reviewed it in 2019 and he’s now ridden every version of these handmade steel full-suspension bikes, with the V3 representing the pinnacle of the Murmur’s capabilities. After a full year of riding this beaut, he’s still hooked.
John has reviewed every version of the “modern” carbon Stigmata but the latest permutation is hands down the most capable, with a RockShox Rudy fork and wide bars. Pushing this bike on fast-paced, mixed-terrain rides, John was able to pen a review that really resonated with the readership. Those words, paired with Kyle Klain’s photos, eked this one into the top ten!
Titanium, ultralight, wide bars, big tires. What’s not to like? Singular Cycles are one of the originators of fat-tire drop-bar MTBs and the Ti Gryphon is the most capable bike in the brand’s current lineup, full-stop. Loaded down for an overnighter, this bike barely tipped the scales at 33 lb. Wow.
Let’s just say we were really surprised at this list, with 3/10 being carbon, 3/10 being full suspension MTBs, 6/10 having suspension, and 7/10 being mountain bikes! (We’ve omitted our staff’s picks for the Bikes of the Year from yesterday’s list.)