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I apologize for another opinion/comparison thread but I'm looking to dive into a new bike genre with a mid-travel 650B for "aggressive trail riding". My 2 front runners for now are the SC Heckler R build and the Kona Process 134 DL, both 2015 models. Only issue is I have to drive considerable distances to see either bike first hand and demos are not available until next spring, so any input or advice would be appreciated.

Both bikes are very comparably equipped, the Heckler comes with a 150mm Pike paired to a Fox Float CTD Evo shock; the Process 135 DL comes with a 140mm Revelation RL paired to a Monarch RT shock. The only other notable componentry difference is the Heckler's Deore brakes vs. the Process' SLX brakes and a KS Super dropper post. The Heckler also comes with 2.3 High Roller II tires and the Process comes with a 2.4/2.25 Ardent combo. Otherwise they are equipped almost the same. One thing I favor slightly about the Heckler is the threaded BB vs the Pressfit 92 on the Process. The R build Heckler is just over $3k and the Process 134 DL is $3600.

I'm intrigued with the "modern geometry" of the Process, short 425 chainstays and longer TT but everyone seems to comment about this bike mainly for how it shines in the downhills. Everyone equally praises the Heckler/Bronson geo for it's "AM" friendlisness, although it is fairly different from the Kona so I'm not sure how to compare the 2 without actually getting to ride them.

The trails I ride are very tight and twisty singletrack, lots of short and steep ups and downs with very rocky/rooty climbs and descents. There are some very sharp/steep/techy switchbacks and sections I have trouble clearing on my current bike. I haven't done any dedicated DH/park riding and avoid larger jumps/drops mainly due to the limitations of my current short travel 29er setup. I don't have any plans to focus mainly on DH runs but I like knowing it would be an option with a longer travel setup like on the 2 bikes mentioned.

Of these two bikes, would one be a better fit for my riding than the other? Which would handle the techy climbs and low speed handling/cornering better?
 

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Are you sure the Kona has a Revelation? I thought the $3600 Process came with a Pike? Maybe one of the other Process models? Heckler has a better fork, Kona has a dropper, but you could easily get a dropper for the Heckler and still pay less than the Kona.

I have only ridden the Heckler but am impressed with its technical climbing, but my trails don't sound nearly as challenging as yours. I notice on tight uphill switchbacks my He kler has an easier time if lower my dropper and keep my weight lower.
 

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Are you sure the Kona has a Revelation? I thought the $3600 Process came with a Pike? Maybe one of the other Process models? Heckler has a better fork, Kona has a dropper, but you could easily get a dropper for the Heckler and still pay less than the Kona.

I have only ridden the Heckler but am impressed with its technical climbing, but my trails don't sound nearly as challenging as yours. I notice on tight uphill switchbacks my He kler has an easier time if lower my dropper and keep my weight lower.

I think you are thinking of the Kona Process 153 DL, it comes with a pike and then the process 134 dl comes with the revelation.

As for the op my recommendation is go for the extra travel, as you won't regret it. And it might be worth looking into the Bronson C as that can be had for around 3600 i believe.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Correct, the Process 111 (29er) also comes with a pike. The bronson is now a little over $4k for the cheaper carbon model and over $6k for the higher level carbon c models. If I could find a 2014 bronson or 5010 in carbon with the lower build kits for around $3600 I'd probably go that route.

I guess my biggest question, having not ridden a geometry like the Process, is about cornering ability on tight trails with the longer front center and wheelbase.
 

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Even if it requires some driving, I would suggest at least doing a parking lot test of these bikes. If you go Santa Cruz, you may want to size up as they are significantly shorter by size, relatively speaking. I am on an XL 5010 at 6' tall and feel like it's a good fit.
 

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I met our local Kona rep on the trail the other day and he had the new carbon Process 134 with a Fox 36 150mm fork on it. I think he had swapped it but it's a big improvement stiffness wise over any 32mm stanchioned fork.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I met our local Kona rep on the trail the other day and he had the new carbon Process 134 with a Fox 36 150mm fork on it. I think he had swapped it but it's a big improvement stiffness wise over any 32mm stanchioned fork.
Did he give you an idea on price? You should have made him let you take a picture lol.
 

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I have not ridden the heckler yet but I have a 14' process 134 dl and I love it.
It is not a bike to win races, it's a bike to have fun on !!
The short chainstay and HA keeps you very alert bc everything happens fast being on the edge.
I personally may be selling mine b/c im want to try out others and see the difference but don't let that mean that it is not a great bike, that's just me being curious.

It's not light, but feels light when riding. The components are very durable but not the lightest (most expensive). The process does it's job and that job is to put a smile on your face. For more info on how I feel about this bike I put a review up on here. LINK

I have the same type of terrain here in NH so with that in mind. I think you would love the 134dl.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have not ridden the heckler yet but I have a 14' process 134 dl and I love it.
It is not a bike to win races, it's a bike to have fun on !!
The short chainstay and HA keeps you very alert bc everything happens fast being on the edge.
I personally may be selling mine b/c im want to try out others and see the difference but don't let that mean that it is not a great bike, that's just me being curious.

It's not light, but feels light when riding. The components are very durable but not the lightest (most expensive). The process does it's job and that job is to put a smile on your face. For more info on how I feel about this bike I put a review up on here. LINK

I have the same type of terrain here in NH so with that in mind. I think you would love the 134dl.
Thanks, I had already read your review and am surprised you are selling it. I'm definitely not looking for a race bike, I know something in this category fitted for "AM" is going to start out around 30 lbs so that is to be expected. I'm currently on a 26.5-27 lb short travel FS XC style bike. I know I'll feel the extra weight but it won't make the ride any less fun. I have a few extra carbon parts to play with the cockpit and down the road I'd likely pick up a set of carbon cranks and lighter wheels to get the weight down a bit.

I'm also looking at the SC Bantam which is the 130mm version of the Heckler, 68 deg HTA and slightly shorter chainstays and wheelbase. My one concern with the Process is the longer wheelbase and longer front center than the SC models, which on paper seems would be less suited for tight slow cornering but with all the rave about its geometry I may have a bad impression of its handling.
 

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Yea, or I'm buying carbon parts then buying the carbon 134 when out and I am swapping the parts over.
I would rather demo bikes to see but you can't demo a nice rig unless they know you are going to buy a bike. I love my bike, don't get me wrong. I just want to see what else is out there. And if there is nothing else, I can just buy a used one for the same price I sell mine at. :)

The tight corners you will not have a problem with because of the head angle.
 
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