Top 5 XC trail bikes and short trips for 2022

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There are a ton of exciting new cross country bikes coming out in 2022, and most of them are on trend. More travel, more relaxed geometry and more fun mixed with traditional lightness and efficiency. As XC bikes gain traction and follow the general trend of progressive geometry, they come closer and closer to the traditional territory of track bikes. The lines might be blurry, but one thing is clear: all of these bikes are having a good time.

What separates a short trail bike from a cross-country bike today? Travel numbers mean less than intention these days. Honestly, most of these bikes would be happy to pull double duty. Want to race one weekend and hit the trails or an epic big hike the next day? No problem. All of these bikes are efficient enough to ride with intention, but still solidly built to slow down, navigate corners, and seek out fun side hits instead of always sticking to the race line.

Top five short-trip mountain bikes 2022

Giant Trance 2022 in Victoria, BC on November 26, 2021 (Photo by Nick Iwanyshyn)

Giant Trance Advanced Pro 29

Giant is clear that the Trance is not an XC racing bike, but its travel values, 120mm at the rear and 130mm at the front, put it in the short-trip category. Instead, it’s all about maximizing fun on the ascent and descent. Paired with Fox’s Live Valve electronic suspension technology, it’s a fast, responsive ride that makes even the smoothest trails thrilling while staying calm when conditions get tough.

RELATED: First Look: 2022 Giant Trance Advanced Pro 29

Canyon Lux Trail

Canyon takes its Lux World Cup pedigree and adds a little more forgiveness and a little more fun and calls it the Lux Trail. It is still as fast as ever and performs very well as a cross country racing bike, especially for marathons or stage races. But, with a slightly more relaxed geometry and an additional 10mm geometry, it’s more fun to ride on days when you’re not racing or when venturing onto more difficult trails. The Lux Trail doesn’t shine any less than the pure racing Lux SL, it just shines with a little different light.

RELATED: Canyon Lux Trail Adds Travel Without Losing Running Pedigree

2022 Rocky Mountain Element
2022 Element of the Rocky Mountains. Photo: Margus Riga

Rocky mountain element

Traditionally Rocky Mountain’s cross-country racing bike, the Element is getting a major reinvention for 2022. It’s still a cross-country racing bike, if your idea of ​​cross-country includes roughest tracks and noisiest stage races. With 120mm rear travel and 130mm front travel, this lightweight XC whip is ready to take on any trail you throw at it. With space for two bottle cages in the front triangle and a longer dropper post, the Element is ready to take you on big adventures or short track races.

RELATED: Rocky Mountain Deploys a Sleeker, More Powerful Element

2022 Trek Top Fuel. Photo: M.McIntire

Trek Top Fuel

With the racing-focused Supercaliber laser, Trek unleashes the Top Fuel to venture further. The bike’s cross-country heritage still shines through in efficient pedaling and precise handling, but, with balanced 120mm travel and more progressive geometry, Top Fuel is more comfortable and efficient than in the past.

RELATED: Trek Trail Adjusts Top Fuel

Scott Spark 2022
2022 Scott Spark RC

Scott Spark 120

Scott’s world championship-winning cross-country racing bike is a little different than most. Cleaner, even when covered in mud. That’s because Scott has gone all out on engineering, creating a sleek frame that hides cables, hoses, and even the rear shock out of sight. It is also part of the new generation of XC bikes reaching the 120mm travel range, front and rear, to keep pace on the tracks of the new World Cup school. It’s pretty. Go fast (or at least Nino Schurter does). It might not be the easiest to pull off at home, but it doesn’t matter when you win races, does it?


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