As fun as hiking in the backcountry is, sometimes we like to travel a little faster on the trail. A good mountain bike is your ticket to charging down singletrack like a pro. However, if you don’t know where to begin, picking out a bike can be a daunting task. We recently discovered BULLS Bikes, and their direct to consumer model is a convenient way to shop for a bike, and get a good build quality and a lower price.
BULLS got their start as a house brand of massive German bike conglomerate ZEG in the late 1990s. In 2006, they brought in a new design team and the original Copperhead 3 bikes was born. Since then, BULLS bikes have been the most often winners of the famed Cape Epic mountain bike stage race.
Of course, we didn’t set out to win any marathon distance ride – we needed a seriously plush ride on technical Rocky Mountain trails in our home playground in Utah’s Wasatch and Oquirrh mountains. Enter, the BULLS Wild Cup 2 ($1499). Featuring 140mm of front and rear suspension, the Wild Cup is a true all mountain ride. We were a little apprehensive on ordering a bike site unseen for a long term test, but our fears were proven to be unfounded.
The Wild Cup uses an industry standard suspension design called four-bar, split pivot linkage. This allows for excellent small bump management when you’re pedaling uphill. We often found ourselves pleasantly surprised at how well our back tire stayed glued to the dirt, even on chunky, dusty ascents. On the downhill is where the Wild Cup shines though. With split linkage, there can be a little brake jack – premature flexing at the pivots and shock – when really flying down the trail, but we were very impressed with the shock tune on the rear shock; it evened out performance on both small roots and rocks and larger drops on our favorite after work ride.
Weighing in just over thirty pounds, it is not the lightest all-mountain trail bike, but the nimble 27.5-inch wheels combined with a slack 68-degree head tube give it excellent handling. It is not a purpose built cross country race rocket, nor a dedicated downhill sled. Rather, the Wild Cup is a do-anything workhorse that will have you chasing switchbacks and long climbs all day.
The component build – a full Shimano SLX drivetrain really packs in serious reliability – at this price point is what really sells us. Between the Shimano components and the Rockshox Sektor Gold fork up front, a similar bike from your local bike shop or online will easily be hundreds of dollars more. A smooth ride, clean design, and extra cash for a weekend at your favorite mountain getaway? The choice seems pretty easy. All we can say is we’re glad that BULLS is here to stay. If you’re looking for a bike to beat on daily, the Wild Cup 2 is enough bike to charge down any trail.