Orbea Alma 29 Silver S70 Complete Bike - $2,998.95

There is little about the Orbea Alma platform that isn't compelling -- from its sharp, angular lines, to its nimble visage. But more importantly, with the well conceived build kit found on this Alma Silver S70, there are few who could dispute the Alma's natural ease as perhaps the ideal all-around hardtail. Aside from being the world's first production carbon 29er, the Alma stands as a model of sharp design. We don't just mean those aforementioned sharp angles, though the Alma 29 has a few of those. We mean thoughtful, like a downtube that's oversized for stiffness and shaped to provide some protection for the rider from mud and spray from the front tire, acting like a fender. We also mean well-engineered. Take the 4x4 design; both the front and rear triangles are actually quadrangles, with four corners. The reasons for this are simple -- to increase the comfort for the rider. The 4x4 design is based around the understanding that a triangle is nature's stiffest geometrical design because any forces on its points simply become tension or compression in the members (think chainstays, seatstays, and seat tube in the case of the rear triangle). By adding a short fourth member, which you can see in front of the dropout, Orbea's engineers have designed the rear end of the Alma to deflect some of the harsh input from the trail by way of the joints, or nodes, flexing slightly. The carbon lay-up is designed to allow a small degree of movement here without losing any torsional stiffness. This is the beauty of carbon in comparison to metals; where metals exhibit the same characteristics in all directions, carbon fiber can be tuned for different mechanical properties along different axes. The Alma front triangle is built in the same way to maximize your comfort and efficiency. Orbea does all this with a monocoque molding process. That's to say that they make each Alma 29 frame as a one-piece homogenous structure. - $2,998.95