BMC Agonist ($7,499 as tested)
The 29-inch carbon Agonist yearns to be a new-wave cross–country steed, with sounder trail manners, thanks to a little extra travel (110 millimeters front and rear), a slightly taller headtube, and a slacker head angle. Indeed, we found the rig easier to push around in rock gardens and a bit more relaxed for long-haul riding than a typical racer. But it’s still more European than American in its sensibilities, with narrow 720-millimeter handlebars and fairly skinny DT Swiss XR1501 rims. All that helps account for the bike’s feathery 23.6 pounds. As does the SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain, including a big 34-tooth chainring, which on a heavier bike would feel sluggish but works here given the gossamer build.