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Pedaling response: 13.5/15
What happens when you give a cross-country bike a dropper post and short stem? You get something like the Habit — a fun bike for trails, but not a trail bike in the truest sense of the term.
The 120-millimeter-travel, single-pivot, carbon fiber frame is light and handles nimbly, but the front end feels nervous at speed, especially with 27.5-inch wheels. The Lefty 2.0 fork, which isn’t quite supple enough for our taste, exaggerates that twitchy personality. Interestingly, the bike’s 68-degree head tube angle isn’t overly steep compared to other bikes of this ilk, but the 1,161-millimeter wheelbase is certainly shorter than that of the Transition Scout and the Santa Cruz 5010.
Though RockShox’s double-barreled bar-mounted Xloc conveniently handles the Lefty and Monarch DebonAir’s compression damping, it clutters the cockpit and seems unnecessary. Some prefer the double-chainring Shimano XT/XTR drivetrain’s wide gear range, but nowadays, we almost always pick single-ring gearing for simplicity.
If you only suffer the climbs to savor the downhills, the Habit may not be, well, habit-forming. But if you’re a recovering XC nerd, this is a nice option that isn’t too big and clumsy, and offers that familiar front shifting.
Component highlights: Shimano XT and XTR drivetrain; Shimano XT brakes; Stan’s Arch Ex 32H tubeless-ready wheels; RockShox Monarch DebonAir XX 120mm shock; Lefty 2.0 Alloy OPI 120mm fork
Weight: 27.04 pounds (size L)