With 27.5-inch wheels and 5 inches of travel, the SB75 blends the best traits of its siblings. It has the maneuverability of the 26-inch SB66 plus the SB95 29er’s shorter top tube and wheelbase, plus its rollover ability. As a result, the SB75 might be the most versatile of the three. It has some of the downhill muscle of the 66 and the climbing efficiency of the 95. The unique Switch suspension, which has a pivot that switches the direction it rotates as the bike moves through its travel, provides efficient pedaling and masterful bump absorption. The SB75 is available in five complete builds, ranging from $2,900 to $6,900, or as a frame for $2,000.
Santa Cruz might be better known for its VPP suspension designs, but the company’s original bikes were single-pivot workhorses. They were simple but effective. That legacy lives on in the company’s three current single-pivot machines, including the Bantam. It features 27.5-inch wheels, 125mm of travel, and geometry that is nearly identical to the 5010, Santa Cruz’s VPP-equipped trail bike. Complete builds start at $2,600; frames cost $1,300.
Trek’s venerable Remedy was first developed as a 26-inch trail bike, but now comes in only 29er or 27.5-inch versions. That’s not a bad thing-the increased rollover ability is noticeable, and the 140mm-travel bikes still come with loads of Trek tech: The DRCV shocks have a secondary air chamber to better absorb big hits; the Full Floater suspension design mounts the shock between two moving links to improve its responsiveness; and the Active Braking Pivot, which rotates concentrically around the rear axle, reduces the impact of braking forces on the suspension. Each wheel size has its benefit, but on this bike we prefer the extra maneuverability of the 27.5 option. Prices start at $2,800 for the Remedy 7 and top out at $8,300 for the 9.9.
The Trance SX 27.5 is made for enduro racing. It features the same 5.5-inch-travel Maestro suspension as other Trance models, but comes with a 1×10 drivetrain (with MRP chainguide), heavier-duty Schwalbe Hans Dampf Evo and Razor Rock Evo tires, and a 160mm Fox 34 TALAS CTD fork that gives the bike a 66-degree head-tube angle. As the parts show, the SX is more downhill-oriented than the typical Trance, but you can still pedal it to the top of a hill without dropping a lung. The aluminum SX is available for $4,050; the carbon Advanced SX adds $2,400 to the price.