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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I just came back from a lunch break parking lot test ride of a Salsa Timberjack SLX in 29 and the bike felt really good. I was on my lunch break and previously had been thinking about a Kona Honzo base model but they didn't have a medium so I tried this out. For those of you that have this bike, what are you thoughts on it? Pro's and Con's

My current and only ride is a 2018 Specialized Pitch Expert which got me into riding but I didn't realize I would like going off road so I am looking for an upgrade to something better with an air fork and dropper.

Thanks
 

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I mean, there's a thread in this subforum about the bike with 1700 posts so that should tell you we like it. It's a modern and versatile frame with a good range of builds. Any compromises would be down to your level of tolerance for non-premium components, and if those go out, better ones are justifiable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I saw and read through the large TJ thread but the majority of those post and conversations are based on older models. I was looking for any true experiences and thoughts on the current 2019 version since they have changed throughout the years. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I sold my Pitch this week and now will be trying to take some test rides on a Timberjack. I’m torn between the 27.5+ or the 29’r. I’ve only ridden my previous 27 which was 2.3’s before so either of these bikes will be a new adventure for me. I don’t think my local LBS has any 27+ in stock so I may have to test a different brand to get a feel but I know it won’t be the same as a TJ 27+. Those of you with experience, do you notice any climbing differences with the plus tires vs loss nimbleness by going 29?

Thanks


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I've had my TJ for a couple of months now. I bought the SLX 27.5+, but just for the frame and rebuilt it with 95% of my own parts. For the (current - now $1399) price, the SLX 27.5+ TJ a great bike out of the box. Heavy and slow uphill, but I love the way it handles downhill - it handles effortlessly. Some 27.5+ bikes feel like you're trying to manhandle a dump truck downhill, but the TJ just floats and flies.

I've been mountain biking for 23 years and have owned all sorts of bikes. The TJ handles much like your classic AM hardtail - I'd say it's comparable to a (now long gone) Transition TransAM 29 in weight and handling. My own personal advice would be to score the frame and then do a custom build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the input earthpig. I’m not at the point where a custom build would be something for me to take on. I’m thinking it would be a Bike that would last me several years without needing any upgrades such as fork or drivetrain and my previous one would have over time. I will definitely see if they have a location I can demo with some hills to see how slow and heavy it feels and then make the same ride with the 29 version

Thanks again


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I think the SLX drivetrain on the TJ is just fine. I have the same drivetrain on another bike and it works great. Maybe get an XT shifter for cheap - that does make a difference. The Recon fork is good - should last you a while. One recommendation, however, is to upgrade the brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks @earthpig. I was going by the shop today since I was off but they are closed. Hopefully they will have a plus into demo. I do love that matte green color. They also sell Kona and Santa Cruz. The chameleon is outta my budget though. I’ll update when I get a chance to demo a few of the Salsa’s


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Looks like another shop about 40mins away has the TJ in both the 29'r and the 27.5+ model with Deore build in stock and built up. I will probably go by there Friday to ride each to help me decide which model I like best and to give me a comparison to the Honzo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was able to test ride a few bikes at shop in a neighboring city today. I rode the 27.5 plus and 29r Timberjack both in Deore builds as they don't stock the SLX builds. The bikes did feel big to me but I'm sure that has something to do with the 4 spacers they had on the stems. Shifting was a bit rough on both bikes but that could be due to the build and adjustments from the shop. The lady tried to make some adjustments but it didn't help. The plus bike was easier to wheelie but I'm sure that's due to the wider tire in back. The bikes rode fairly well even though I wish or wonder if the SLX would have made it better but this was mainly a sizing test ride.

The other bike I tried was a Kona Honzo but in a small frame. The bike felt really good and shifting was smooth and precise with the SRAM NX. Small was definitely not for me as I felt like I could go over the bars at any moment but it's all they had. I will say the dropper post on all 3 was definitely a nice touch. Tr TransX on the Honzo felt nicer though. I'm currently leaning towards the Honzo now but my LBS is going to order a medium for me to try out.

Here are a few shots from my test rides today



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I was so focused on getting the orange 27.5+, ALMOST pulled the trigger on it several times, didn’t even think about getting anything else. When the 29er SLX version went on sale a few weeks back, I went to my LBS and got it. Well, ordered it since they didn’t have one in stock. Took about an unbearable week for it to arrive. So first impressions were rough - the wide handlebars would not fit in the back of my Subaru without quite a bit of finagling and the 2.6 tires barely fit on my roof rack. After some work, it eventually fit into that old, outdated rack. (FYI: I rented a Jamis Portal 27.5+ that wouldn’t fit in my roof rack, tires too wide, geo too different for the security bar that attached to the downtube...) I’ve ridden the Timberjack several times and I’m really digging it. Don’t really feel anything is not what I’m wanting on a bike. The brakes are decent stoppers but they are most likely the first thing I’ll upgrade besides things that wear out, such as chain, chain rings or cassette. Haven’t used Shimano mtn shifters on a bike I’ve owned in decades and I was surprised how much better they performed than I remember. The Recon fork performs far better than I expected it would. I’m quite happy with this bike and feel the price/spec was good enough that I won’t feel too bad if I decide on upgrades later. I’m a fan of the 2019 SLX Timberjack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Nice congrats on the purchase. After riding the deore models and seeing how the fit didn't quite work for me, I ended up going back to my LBS and test rode a Medium Honzo a couple of times and they ordered me one which I plan to pick up in a few weeks. I was all for the TJ until the test ride. It rode great but something about it felt huge to me but I am 5'7 160lb and the bike shop had 4 spacers on the stem which probably made a difference. I still think for the money, that bike has a lot to offer with the adjustable rear and SLX comps. Congrats again and throw up some pics of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That's odd @joker357. I would think they would match the website price unless they are asking $1599 for the 2020 version. I ended up picking up the Honzo and have loved it so far on all the rides. My LBS actually had quoted me $1249 for the Salsa TJ SLX when I was looking a couple of months ago so I know they have the ability to work with the prices. They even showed me the distributor list they ordered from when I was still considering the TJ SLX to see if they had a certain color available and their cost on the bike was aroun $900 so they were making roughly $350 off the sale of it which wasn't bad too me.
 
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