Dream Bike: Scott Spark 900 RC $7,850
Best for: All-out racing
The race-proven Scott Spark line has helped its share of riders to the top of a podium, and the 900 RC is everything a race bike should be. The frame is incredibly quick and agile without feeling too twitchy. With a simple adjustment to the rear linkage you can shift the frame’s orientation for an even more aggressive geometry. Ultra-responsive Fox front and rear suspension features three settings and a convenient single-lever remote lockout—a quick remedy when power climbs turn into steep rocky descents or flowy, rolling singletrack. XTR brakes combined with SRAM XX and XO components means an ideal balance of weight and performance without sacrificing durability. The only drawback is a slightly sluggish Syncros wheelset.
Runner up: Niner Jet 9 RDO 5 Star XTR, $8,700