‘Step away from your comfort zone. The best things in life happen outside your comfort zone. There’s no value in staying in your comfort zone. Real life doesn’t happen in your comfort zone.’ We’ve heard it all before. We bet you have too. But is there any truth in what’s being said? And why is comfort so important?

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Back at the start of autumn when the colours were turning, we had the opportunity to try out a ton of new tech, innovations and alleged revolutionary products as part of the Design & Innovation Award 2023. Surrounded by the rugged Dolomite peaks that look down on San Vigilio, we were amongst the first to try out and test tons of brand-new products, many of them hadn’t been launched at that point and some still haven’t been brought to market, giving us insights into what the future holds. We saw tech that proclaims it can shave off fractions of a second and improve our performance by about 1.768%, as well as pseudo-innovations that mean a company can shout louder than their competition or claim said launch as ‘innovative’. The best tech, we’ve learned over years, is only as good as the broad consumer base can understand and use. If a brand can make steps forward in safety and comfort, that’s what’s going to bring about the most noticeable and impactful improvements to performance and, above all, fun.

Over the course of this year, we’ve already taken an in-depth look at some of the most exciting bits of gear and tech, including the Bosch ABS system, and we couldn’t help noticing how the lean towards full-suspension step-through ebikes has seriously caught hold. That’s why we’ve got four exciting models on test within this issue. With big differences between the bikes, there’s no sign of a bandwagon here.

The best tech is only as good as the broad consumer base can understand and use. If a brand can make steps forward in safety and comfort, that’s what’s going to bring about the most noticeable and impactful improvements to performance and, above all, fun.

The highlights of this issue

  • OFFROAD ALL THE ROAD – The best full-suspension off-road step-through bike 2023
  • 12,338 READERS SPOKE – The most exciting insights of the E-MOUNTAINBIKE reader survey 2022
  • NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER – The ultimate winter guide for eMTBers
  • AUTO SHIFT – Shimano DEORE XT Di2 with automatic mode in review
  • REALITY CHECK – Are light eMTBs the better mountain bikes?
  • THE LAB – We tested the latest and most exciting products for you

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All the bikes in this issue

BULLS Sonic EVO AM Team Carbon | CONWAY Cairon SUV FS 5.7 | FOCUS JAM² SL 9.9 | IBIS OSO | MALAGUTI Collina FW6.0 | ORBEA Wild M-Team LTD | PIVOT Shuttle SL | SCOTT Lumen 900 eRide SL | SIMPLON Rapcon PMAX TQ 170/165 | THÖMUS Lightrider E Ultimate | VICTORIA Parcours 5 | ZEMO SU-E FS 11

What to expect in this issue:

A picnic in the mountains, a trip to the beer garden or exploring glacial lakes on a summer’s day? It has never been easier to go on an adventure – all thanks to the growing sector of full-suspension off-road step-through bikes. Superior to trekking bikes in many ways, they promise more comfort, safety and fun. We’ve tested four bikes for you!

What’s hot, and what’s not? Which topics and trends are on your minds? Which brand has taken the lead in your garages in 2022? We’ve evaluated more than 12,000 responses and now we’d like to share the most interesting insights and answers with you.

As the elements scratch your face and the darkness feels oppressive, you know deep down that it’s prime time for a ride despite the conditions. Instead of picking the sofa, we say go and find a line. Here’s our guide to getting out and staying out in the mud, slop, snow and slush.

While the whole ebike segment seems to be developing at breakneck speed, most bikes still rely on conventional drivetrains. With their new electronic DEORE XT Di2 drivetrain with automatic mode, Shimano want to fill the technological gap for high-tech eMTBs and provide new functions for both beginners and experienced riders.

This season, bikes like the new FOCUS Jam² SL herald the next generation of light eMTBs. They promise better, more agile handling and thus wow trail junkies and analogue bike fans far more than conventional eMTBs. Together with FOCUS Bikes we took a reality check: Are light eMTBs the better mountain bikes?

Excited? These (and many more) stories are just a few clicks away. If you’ve already installed our free app, simply open it and download the latest issue right now. If not, first download the free app from the App Store (iPhone / iPad) or the Play Store (Android smartphones & tablets) and then download the latest issue in the app. All you’ve got to do then is sit back and enjoy (ideally with a cold beer or a delicious cup of coffee)! #qualitytime

Have fun reading!

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Words: Robin Schmitt Photos: Various

About the author

Robin Schmitt

Robin is one of the two founders of 41 Publishing, a visionary and go-getter. While he now enjoys every second on the bike – whenever his busy schedule allows – he used to race against the clock at enduro events and a few Downhill World Cups. Besides that, Robin practises kung fu and Zen meditation, plays the cello or with his dog (which actually belongs to his girlfriend), travels abroad and still reviews numerous bikes himself. Progressive ideas, new projects and major challenges – Robin loves exploring undiscovered potential and getting to the bottom of new trends.