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Discussion Starter #1
Hi!
I'm on the lookout for a new frame and could get a pretty good deal on a 05/06 5.5 EVP. I had'nt considered it earlier because of pricing but this is, like I said, a pretty good deal. I like how the 5.5 looks, it's a sweet frame and build quality is second to none, I'm sure. The frame looks like it can take some beating too.
One thing bothers me though. It has a short wheelbase and a pretty steep head angle. This indicates maybe some sketchiness on steeper descents, no? I've heard it has very sharp handling character but I will not pull the trigger if it's at the expense on downhill stability and balance. And so, I'm asking for your honest opinion. How well does the 5.5 descend on rougher, steeper descents?
 

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6.6 is a lot more plusher than 5.5 for sure. I rode 5.5 for some reasonable amount of time, but never considered taking it to downhilling (since I had a downhill bike).

But now I decided to consolidate all of my rides to 6.6 and for riding around city and playing around, 6.6 is pretty close to 5.5 if you put together lighter components (I put all XTR components with Crossmax SX), AND, it is so much plusher than 5.5. I'm pretty confident that I will be okay to ride downhill with 6.6.

If you are considering downhilling, I would recommend 6.6 instead of 5.5 unless you are okay to do downhilling with hardtail. I you are one of those then, 5.5 can be it.
 

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Bone Collector said:
Hi!
I'm on the lookout for a new frame and could get a pretty good deal on a 05/06 5.5 EVP. I had'nt considered it earlier because of pricing but this is, like I said, a pretty good deal. I like how the 5.5 looks, it's a sweet frame and build quality is second to none, I'm sure. The frame looks like it can take some beating too.
One thing bothers me though. It has a short wheelbase and a pretty steep head angle. This indicates maybe some sketchiness on steeper descents, no? I've heard it has very sharp handling character but I will not pull the trigger if it's at the expense on downhill stability and balance. And so, I'm asking for your honest opinion. How well does the 5.5 descend on rougher, steeper descents?
I have a 5.5 and it does feel sketchy to me if I use a fork with a short a-c height. When I use something longer, an AM1 right now, with an a-c height around 525mm or so it feels very stable on steep descents.
 

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I have the 5.5 with the Pike in addition to a 7mm rise race made by Ventanna, essentially an A to C of 527 mm. This makes the the head angle roughly 69 degrees according the to the measurements I have taken.

I wouldn't consider the 5.5 a great bike for downhilling persay (like Whistler w/ stunts and drops). Although if you are refering to the occasional steep chute you encounter while out xcing or coming downhill after after you have climbed to the top it is extremely capable. It is very flickable and can definetely hold a line. I like the 5.5 the most because it turns like its on rails and is very snappy in corners. When you get to the rough stuff the suspension feels very plush, admitedly not as plush as 6.6 since it has more travel.
 

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Reading between the lines, you may be able to guess from the above responses that the 5.5 is perfectly capable going downhill - but it does depend on what fork you use.

I think A LOT of the downhill 'sketchiness' reports arose as a result of people using 130mm Fox Forks, which actually had a shorter axle to crown height than the 505mm the 5.5 was designed for. This inevitably steepened the head angle to something greater than 70 degrees and (surprise surprise) a lot of people found it a little twitchy going downhill. This is why a lot of people run their 5.5's with Manitou Nixons or RS Pikes - it raises the axle to crown height and slackens the head angle which removes the downhill twitchiness.

IMHO provided that you run the right fork on a 5.5 I struggle to see why you would need a 6.6. Five and a half inches of travel is perfect for the majority of downhills and the 5.5 is a far, far more agile bike than the 6.6. It's also lighter than a 6.6 so is easier on climbs.
 

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A few points from my own experience on a 5.5:

It can decend well, the better the rider the easier it is, however this applies to most bikes.

The Talas fork is a bit short, and can make a playful bike quite twitchy ( this is my current setup). For this reason I am looking at the '07 longer version of this fork, with a 7mm spacer.

A rider of normalish weight should not be breaking this frame unless they are incredibly unlucky, or brutal on their equipment. I weigh about 200 lbs with the usual pack etc.

Cheers

Rob
 

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Bone Collector said:
Hi!
I'm on the lookout for a new frame and could get a pretty good deal on a 05/06 5.5 EVP. I had'nt considered it earlier because of pricing but this is, like I said, a pretty good deal. I like how the 5.5 looks, it's a sweet frame and build quality is second to none, I'm sure. The frame looks like it can take some beating too.
One thing bothers me though. It has a short wheelbase and a pretty steep head angle. This indicates maybe some sketchiness on steeper descents, no? I've heard it has very sharp handling character but I will not pull the trigger if it's at the expense on downhill stability and balance. And so, I'm asking for your honest opinion. How well does the 5.5 descend on rougher, steeper descents?
Keep in mind that the 5.5 is an XC trailbike. The head angle can be slacked out to a more confortable 69-ish degrees with a mid-travel fork, e.g. 140mm with 510-520 axle-to-crown. I run this setup and am quite happy for most trail riding where I don't use body armor.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Most of my riding is trailsy stuff, some of it XC. But I want a frame that I don't have to think twice about, and one that will make me feel confident enough when coming up to a 5 foot drop or a steeper, rocky descent. By no means am I looking for a downhill or a freeride bike but I also want to be able to take my ONE bike to the bike park every now and then without feeling that it can't take it or make me go superman into that tree ahead... Thanks alot for your input, appreciate all of it!
Ps. Five footers to tranny is probably the biggest huck I've done and will ever do, but I do enjoy playing around a bike park..
 

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To start off I couldn't agree more with Robbieracer and Can'tstop's comments above, they are right on the mark.

Bone Collector, from what I'm gathering from your post I would say your best bet is the 6.6. The 6.6 will serve you well with all of your needs since your looking for one bike to do it all.

ps, you might also want to look into the Foes FXR. let the bike that best suit your needs win.
 

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I went through all of the same consideration and I switched to 6.6 from 5.5. I'm more jumping freak (not that I can go big) but not climbing much, and I wanted a bike that can ride around and play around town. 5.5 was better to do the playing around for sure, but I'm finding that even in the city, I can take advantage of 6.6's feature to do other fun thing. With 5.5, I was able to ride more like a rigid bike, but with 6.6, I can do things bigger with more confidence, but sitll ride-aroundable even for long distance.

I would recommend to look for a deal on 6.6 with light fork like Marzocchi Allmountain SL1 or Manitou Nixon Platinum Intrinsic (160mm travel).

However, it was 5.5 that allowed me to come to this distination. So, I don't see why not own it to make your thought concrete and that experience would lead to some thoughts but I bet it won't be wasting time since 5.5 is a fabulous bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Unfortunately, the 6.6 is not an option. The 5.5 I'm considering is second hand and goes for €900 w/ Swinger 4-way, headset and BB and as good as new. I'm on a strict budget. So like I said, it's a very good deal. After further inspection, the geometry made me reconsider my considerable consideration..
 

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Will the 5.5 work on steep decents? Yes and no.
A couple years ago (when I was more brave and in better shape), I had my 5.5 at the local ski resort (Snow Summit before they closed to DH). My plan was just to do some cross country rides with the girlfriend. Well, it wasn't too long until I found myself running down the DH courses. Even though I've spent a lot of time on the race courses on a DH bike, I was quite surprised how well the 5.5 did, even in the steep sections. Even though it wasn't a race, I'm sure a few DH guys were surprised when some XC geek with no pads and a regular XC helmet passed them in some really steep and loose sections (yeah, good judgement doesn't always prevail when I'm chasin' someone down). And I know I shocked a guy when I passed him in mid-air on a large tabletop, laying it over a bit.

Of course I would have preferred a longer-travel bike or one with a slacker head angle, but I guess the point I'm trying to make is that your skill and your sack are what limits the 5.5.

BTW, I was using the Swinger 4-way and an older Manitou Minute 2.
 

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Blaster1200 said:
Will the 5.5 work on steep decents? Yes and no.
A couple years ago (when I was more brave and in better shape), I had my 5.5 at the local ski resort (Snow Summit before they closed to DH). My plan was just to do some cross country rides with the girlfriend. Well, it wasn't too long until I found myself running down the DH courses. Even though I've spent a lot of time on the race courses on a DH bike, I was quite surprised how well the 5.5 did, even in the steep sections. Even though it wasn't a race, I'm sure a few DH guys were surprised when some XC geek with no pads and a regular XC helmet passed them in some really steep and loose sections (yeah, good judgement doesn't always prevail when I'm chasin' someone down). And I know I shocked a guy when I passed him in mid-air on a large tabletop, laying it over a bit.

Of course I would have preferred a longer-travel bike or one with a slacker head angle, but I guess the point I'm trying to make is that your skill and your sack are what limits the 5.5.

BTW, I was using the Swinger 4-way and an older Manitou Minute 2.
Couldn't you say that about any bike? At some point on a descent, a bike will feel more sketchy or more stable depending on the fork length for all skill levels.
 

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Brihombre said:
Couldn't you say that about any bike? At some point on a descent, a bike will feel more sketchy or more stable depending on the fork length for all skill levels.
Absolutely! It's all about compromise.
Even if I'm riding a DH bike in steep sections, it's still going to be sketchy, because I will crank up the speed a bit, so the sketchy feeling will always be there. How much sketchiness and speed do you want?

It's somewhat similar when people say, "It's safer riding with more suspension."
That couldn't be further from the truth! With more suspension, we tend to either ride more technical stuff or crank up the speed.
 

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[QUOTE One thing bothers me though. It has a short wheelbase and a pretty steep head angle. This indicates maybe some sketchiness on steeper descents, no? I've heard it has very sharp handling character but I will not pull the trigger if it's at the expense on downhill stability and balance. And so, I'm asking for your honest opinion. How well does the 5.5 descend on rougher, steeper descents?[/QUOTE]

Your gut instinct is correct. Its a great cross country bike because it sacrifices steep descent stability for XC efficiency. Its a very plush XC bike but designed for forks in the 130 range. Alonger travel fork will help with the head angle but will raise the BB up substantially.
A friend went through all of the above trying to get his 5.5 to a place where he felt comfortable on the steeps- he never got there. Its a great bike untill you get to the steeps. Of cource any great rider can make any bike work but a 5.5 wont inspire confidence on the steeps.
I rode a 5.5 before I bought my 6.6 and they are two very different bikes. The 6.6 is a much better AM/ steep capable bike
 

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matthew said:
Your gut instinct is correct. Its a great cross country bike because it sacrifices steep descent stability for XC efficiency. Its a very plush XC bike but designed for forks in the 130 range. Alonger travel fork will help with the head angle but will raise the BB up substantially.
A friend went through all of the above trying to get his 5.5 to a place where he felt comfortable on the steeps- he never got there. Its a great bike untill you get to the steeps. Of cource any great rider can make any bike work but a 5.5 wont inspire confidence on the steeps.
I rode a 5.5 before I bought my 6.6 and they are two very different bikes. The 6.6 is a much better AM/ steep capable bike
Good summary.
 

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Bone Collector -
If you like really steep stuff, you won't like the 5.5. If you insist on getting the bike, a minimum 140mm fork will be a must. The first time I hit some near vert on my 5.5 the front end was so twitchy I couldn't even steer straight. I got used to it over time, but the bike always felt sketchy in the flumes. If proficiency in the steeps is a prerequisite, get a used Heckler. I opted for a 6.6. Good luck with whatever you end up with.
 
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