Your questions answered
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I’m looking to get a new ride and have a budget of £2,000. Problem is, I can’t choose between a YT Capra [the German brand’s 650b-wheeled, heavy-hitter enduro bike] and a Jeffsy [their 650b and 29er trail bikes]. I ride local trails but also get to BikePark Wales regularly, so want something that’ll do me for both. Which would you recommend – or is there an alternative I should be considering? Neil Davies, South Wales You need to get to grips with exactly what you want out of the bike. If you’re going to be throwing it down the red and black runs at BPW or slipping and sliding down some of the more treacherous trails in South Wales, then the Capra will be better suited. Both Jeffsys are capable of handling this sort of terrain too, but the slacker angles and extra travel of the Capra make it the smarter choice for getting wild. It pedals pretty well for such a long-travel bike too, so you’ll still be able to put the miles in if you’re keen. At £1,899 (plus P&P) the AL model is within your budget. You’ll need to be mindful of sizing though, because the Capra isn’t exactly massive in terms of reach.
If your main focus is going to be on all-day missions into the hills, then the Jeffsy makes more sense, especially the 29er version. It’s still loads of fun, but the bigger-diameter wheels mean it carries speed incredibly well, which makes a difference when it comes to racking up the trail miles. We’d recommend upping your budget a bit and going for the £2,199 (plus P&P) Jeffsy AL One 29, because it’s the cheapest to feature 1x gearing.
Aside from those two options, and assuming you’re happy to stick with buying online, Canyon’s Spectral has always scored well with us. The AL 5.0 EX model is well within your budget at £1,799 (plus P&P), although its Fox 34 fork is marginally flexier than the 35mm-legged RockShox Lyrik and Pike on the YTs.
I’m looking to buy a comfortable 29er that’ll take something in the region of a 3in tyre. I’d prefer lighter tyres and a light build but don’t want to spend a fortune. Ideally I’d go for steel, but this seems to add weight and cost. Andreas Deufel, via email The choice of ‘29+’ bikes – which use 2.8 to 3in tyres on wide 29in rims – is really quite limited. If you’re on somewhat of a tight budget, the most obvious choice would be the Trek Stache. The Stache 5 is the cheapest model, at £1,300, and has an aluminium frame, a 120mm-travel Manitou Machete fork and 29x3in Bontrager Chupacabra tyres. The four-bike line-up tops out with the £3,500 Stache 9.8. This gets a carbon fibre frame, 11-speed SRAM X01/ X1 gearing, a RockShox Pike RC fork and Bontrager dropper post.
If you want something a little different and made from steel, there’s the Surly Krampus. The £1,800 full build gets you a SRAM NX 1x11 transmission (but with a SunRace cassette) and 29x3in Surly Dirt Wizard tyres. There’s no dropper post or suspension fork in sight though, so you’ll need to weigh up exactly what you want and what sort of riding you’ll be doing before emptying your pockets.
Another option is to go for a ‘650b+’ bike instead. These also use 2.8 to 3in tyres, but on smaller-diameter 650b (aka ‘27.5in’) rims. The overall wheel diameter isn’t far off that of a 29in rim fitted with a non-plus tyre, so some bikes accept both wheel sizes (650+ and 29in, but not 29+). There are plenty of steel, aluminium and carbon options in this category.
The YT Je sy 29 is a great all-rounder and its 29in wheels mean it carries speed really well