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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to the forum and in the market for a FS trail bike and these are the three I've come up with so far based only on what I've read on this forum. I was initially interested in a few XC bikes but I think the "trail bikes" fit my riding style better. Which would you choose and why? I would like to hear from anyone whose has experience with any two or all three of them. Also, are there others that I should consider? Thanks in advance for your input?
 

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pbunt said:
I'm new to the forum and in the market for a FS trail bike and these are the three I've come up with so far based only on what I've read on this forum. I was initially interested in a few XC bikes but I think the "trail bikes" fit my riding style better. Which would you choose and why? I would like to hear from anyone whose has experience with any two or all three of them. Also, are there others that I should consider? Thanks in advance for your input?
You should post this in the Mind Reading Forum.

All kidding aside, help us out a little. Give us as much information as possible....height, weight, where you ride, types of trails, jumps? how big?, drops? how big?, do you pedal out of the saddle much? Have you ridden any FS bikes? Which ones and what were your opinions. The more you tell us, the better we can help.
 

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What is a Switchback?
 

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Guy's.....give the guy a break. he said he is new to the forum and the first thing you do is harass him. I wonder if he will ever come back now? Why not simply help him with his question and hope he enjoys his decision as much as you enjoy yours. Maybe next year we will make a frame called the "HighHorse" and you guys can all climb on top of it!


At Turner we work to make the best riding bikes. Granted the color never seems to be what someone wants and the damn stickers seem to fall off, but if you are after a bike which will give you years of great rides and want service that matches the ride then the 5 Spot would be a great choice. Hopefully you find some helpful information on this site and you are able to make a decision in the end which proves to be the right one for you! Best of luck in your quest.
 

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pbunt said:
I'm new to the forum and in the market for a FS trail bike and these are the three I've come up with so far based only on what I've read on this forum. I was initially interested in a few XC bikes but I think the "trail bikes" fit my riding style better. Which would you choose and why? I would like to hear from anyone whose has experience with any two or all three of them. Also, are there others that I should consider? Thanks in advance for your input?
I know you meant the Switchblade.

I have thousands of miles on a Maverick ML-7, lots of experience on an 02 Switchblade, and most recently about 200 miles on my new 5-Spot. No experience whatsoever with Ventana.

The Switchblade did not really get a fair trial because the frame was too small for me and it was setup as a XC bike. However, we rebuilt it with the longer travel rocker arm and longer stroke rear shock, and a 130mm Marz DJ1 front fork, and my riding buddy for whom it does fit perfectly, thinks it has wonderful balance, is stable on the downhill, and climbs very well.

Before I got the 5-Spot I would have told you the Maverick is the best all round trail bike going, and I still love it. Rode it today after abandoning it for the 5-Spot and remembered how great it is for balance, climbing traction and stable down-hilling. I have it set up with a Minute Three 130mm fork, and it has the 4" rear Fox/Maverick shock. If it has any detraction it may be the limited rear travel.

Finally the 5-Spot has even better balance and traction than the ML-7, really benefits from the extra inch of rear travel (Romic Coil), and is the only bike I have been on that could make me leave the Maverick in the garage.

Personally, I would go for the 5-Spot, but take a close look at the Maverick, and I researched the Ventana X-5 which looks to be the bike that would closest compare to the 5-Spot, so you might also take a look there.

Just my $.02 worth.

John W.
 

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I would hope that PBUNT wouldnt let a few sarcastic off posts stray him away from this forum or any on MTBR. I think the sarcasm started with the lack of initial input on why those 3 would be a good choice.

If I had experience with those other bikes I would have replied in a hopefully helpful manner, but since i havent I kept my trap shut. I can say that I really like the 5spot im riding, but I only have 2 weeks on mine. Not enough time to qualify it as the best bike in the world, although I feel its probably up on that list somewhere.

Why did i choose the 5spot? Previous Turner Customer, Frame Quality, Use of bushings (my last bearing bike lasted a few weeks!!), FSR design, service and support. When i was looking for a replacement frame a month or so back i had a few options in mind. I did some research, read MANY posts, asked a few key Q's and realized the 5spot is what i had been lookign for. So far i have been more than pleased by my decision...only looking back has been to see how far back my other riding buddies are down the trail.......

I dig that "HighHorse" Comment. Very good!!

So, PBUNT, i'd say come back with some more info on yourself and intent, and do some more looking in the forums. Im sure your Questions have been asked/answered many times, and if not, then feel free to ask.
 

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mad aussie
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Titus Switchblade-pro's: more versatile than the 5-spot with linkage and shock options. Can be built lighter. Titus also have great customer service, beautiful welding and anodizing.
cons: interrupted seat tube, especially in small sizes makes it difficult to slam that seat down for the super techy stuff. Bearings may wear out more quickly, depending on your riding conditions.

No experience with the Ventana, I think the El Chamuco was more freeride than the 5-spot, might be a better choice for big drops and jumps

5-spot-well I do own one, so I am probably biased:
pro's-uninterrupted seat tube, greasable bushings, Turner customer service, great geometry, great handling for technical riding
cons: stickers peel off, they changed to anodized finish and I dont have one :( , has made me so much more aggressive with my riding that I want/need a bigger bike :mad:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Just makin' sure you guys on your toes...you passed. Thanks.

Anyway, the SwithBLADE is one of the bikes I am interested in. As for more info, I'm about 6'2" 185 lbs. I do a lot of different ridding, a little bit of everything. Truth be told I think a XC bike might suit may needs 95% of the time but I often find myself seeking out the more technical, challenging terrain that definitely does not fit the XC mold. I've been out of the sport for a while but not long enough to forget that the rider makes the difference, not the bike. In any case, I still would like to have the best tool for the job because the bikes might not make much difference but they sure seem to be pretty different from each other.

Since you guys are obviously more familiar with today’s bikes than I am, what are the limitations of a XC bike compared to a trail bike? Perhaps my problem is I don't have a clear definition of "trail" and "XC"? What's the difference? I grew up on motocross. There were about four different types of bikes but they were all for completely different things. For example, I really like the RacerX but can it take a 4' drop with confidence? It's a XC bike, right? Does that make it unsuitable as a “trail bike”? I know it's a lighter bike but what do you give up? Somebody…please…educate me…
 

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I'll Try

Get the 5-Spot. Can't go wrong. The reality is you will enjoy this bike no matter how you use it unless you plan on racing XC seriously or riding smooth fireroad climbs exclusively. Get the 5-Spot. Switchblade good, 5-Spot better.
 

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On my toes

pbunt said:
Anyway, the SwithBLADE is one of the bikes I am interested in.

I'm not sure if it was intentional but swithblade had me laughing for a few minuets :p

I also have a motorcycle background and I feel much more comfortable just sitting on a 5-Spot than other bikes I have ridden. Now having said that I must say I have only ridden a spot in a parking lot. It feels more like a dirt bike, that make me feel comfortable!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
spelling shmelling...

I figure I should do what I can to keep the grammer Nazi's busy... ;)

I do think I may be leaning towards the 5-Spot or one of the new '05 Turners. Everybody seems to think the Swichblade and the Spot are about equal. The deciding factor for me may be coil or air. Plus, you Turner guys are a lot more responsive than the folks on the Titus forum. At this point I will definitely be waiting for the '05's though.
 

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Tommyrod74 went from an XCE (basically a Burner) to a Switchblade and felt it was an improvement for him. Whatshisface around here went from a Switchblade to an RFX and felt is was an improvement for him. There is no "right" answer. If you are just getting back into the sport and don't come to the table with a lot of preconceived notions or biases, you will most likely be thrilled silly by just about ANY of the top models out there. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view) you landed in the Turner forum where we are well known to pump people full of pro-Turner bias and turn you into one of the zealot minions, aka a Monster Turner Homer.

So let's begin. (Note, some opinion follows...)

One of my personal hangups with modern full suspension bikes is interrupted seat tubes. I have had a few bikes break at the seat mast and I simply don't trust that frame design, plus I think it looks downright stupid. My opinion, many disagree. If you want to be able to lower your seat for downhills or technical sections, a full length seat tube is nice. No switchblade.

I'm a fairly devout Horst-link 4-bar rider. I had a great experience on a Yeti 575 last winter so I would not rule a single pivot out per se, but if there is a comparable 4-bar available, why not go for the full-time-fully-active design? Braking, accelerating, whatever, the 4-bar suspension just works. There are great single pivot and virtual pivot point bikes out there and they may do one thing or another better, but none surpass a great 4-bar in overall suspension activity for all-around performance. Sorry Chamuco. (On a side note, I demoed another single pivot, a Canondale Gemini, which pedaled like absolute [email protected], so it is all in the execution.)

In the end, one of the big selling points on the Turner is the pivots themselves. Turner uses a... well, look at this picture:



The pivot consits of a hardened aluminum shaft with a helical groove machined in it. This shaft mounts on either end solidly to the suspension arms and these pivot together as a single unit inside Igus "bushings". The bushing provides a huge amount of surface area compared to the tiny contact points of ball-bearing pivots and so distributes stress and load extremely well. Bike pivots go through very low angle rocking motions unike typical applications which call for ball bearings. Most ball bearings were not designed for this back and forth rocking motion and just don't hold up (Ventana and some top builders use super-high quality ball bearings, sometimes 4 at each pivot location which is a big improvement). Also, the inside of ball bearing pivots have corrodeable components (steel). None of the parts in the Turner pivot are subject to corrosion. The zerk fitting allows you to introduce grease into the pivot which gets distributed via the grooves in the shaft. They are stiff, durable, super easy to work on and rebuild, and are inexpensive.

You could buy a Turner because they have full seat tubes, ample standover, are durable, and built to last. You could get one because you would then be able to mount just about any shock, brake, tire, fork (within reason), or other component which grabbed your fancy (Switchblades are air-shock-ONLY). You could choose one because they employ the best suspension system ever developed for a bicycle (Horst link 4-bar). You could choose one because they have incredibly well engineered and unique pivot systems. Or because they are backed by a very solid, reputable, and responsive company. But in the end, you really just want to be known as a Monster Turner Homer. Don't fight it.

Peace on dirt.
 

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mad aussie
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The best reason for buying a Turner, is you can become a Turner Homer and hang out on the Turner board. Then you can abuse new posters for their bad spelling!
 

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Flying Wombat said:
The best reason for buying a Turner, is you can become a Turner Homer and hang out on the Turner board. Then you can abuse new posters for their bad spelling!
The best thing about buying a Turner is that you can proclaim your sexual orientation based on what color you pick.:rolleyes:
 

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Good points.

tscheezy said:
Tommyrod74 went from an XCE (basically a Burner) to a Switchblade and felt it was an improvement for him. Whatshisface around here went from a Switchblade to an RFX and felt is was an improvement for him. There is no "right" answer. If you are just getting back into the sport and don't come to the table with a lot of preconceived notions or biases, you will most likely be thrilled silly by just about ANY of the top models out there.
You can't really go wrong with a well-executed Horst-link 4-bar.

I liked my XCE a lot, I just wanted more travel, a slightly longer top tube, and maybe a little less weight. I looked at the 5-Spot and Switchblade exclusively as I wanted a true Horst 4-bar and was familiar with the excellent work of both companies. Being 5'10" and thus somewhat between a medium and large 5-Spot (or XCE for that matter), I opted for the medium SB with its 1/4" longer top tube. This dimension, along with the slacker seat tube angle, made for a much better fit for me.

I like the ride of a well-tuned air shock (PUSHed AVA, rides like a dream), and I very rarely lower the post when riding, so that wasn't a real concern. I've since ridden a 5-spot (with Romic) and it feels very similar to my SB, no big surprise there. So basically, it came down to fit, and the SB just fit me better. Doesn't hurt that it's a great bike as well (as are Turners).

Pics of me on the SB, and the XCE. Notice me having lots of fun in both pictures.

Tommy
 

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Hey sheeezzay

"whatshisface" here! Sorry, couldn't resist. :D

Yes I went from a switchblade to an RFX. In my group of riding buddies we also have a 5-spot, several hecklers, and a talus switchblade... mine was equipped with the 5.7" set-up and a Z1 fork, although I also rode it with a 4" marzocchi and 4.5" in back for a while.
Thoughts:
Overall I thought the switchblade was a great bike, but a few things bugged me:
-with 5.7" linkage, there's only about 2" room to lower the seat. This was just plain unnacceptable for me since I ride super-steep FR descents in BC lots, where I like to put the seat down all the way.
-rear end squatted badly with 5.7" linkage, on steep technical climbs. A push'd shock or ava air sleeve probably would have fixed this.
-inability to run a coil-over shock.
-frequent 4'+ drops and trips to BC had me thinking a beefier bike was a good idea. My first trip to the north shore was when I decided it was time to move on. The RFX has obviously been a huge improvement for these types of trails.

Basically I think the switchblade is a great frame, but it wasn't right for me. The switchblade was at it's best in 4.5" mode and a 4" fork imho. My two biggest complaints could have been fixed with a telescoping seatpost and pushed shock / air sleeve, but as always, I want bicycle perfection.

The RFX is probably overkill for me, and a 5-spot would have been perfect... but there have been many times where I was glad to have the extra travel and weight. When I get tired of the weight, I ride my 30lb, 5" steel hardtail for a few rides. Keeps me honest.


tscheezy said:
Tommyrod74 went from an XCE (basically a Burner) to a Switchblade and felt it was an improvement for him. Whatshisface around here went from a Switchblade to an RFX and felt is was an improvement for him.
Peace on dirt.
 

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pbunt said:
For example, I really like the RacerX but can it take a 4' drop with confidence? It's a XC bike, right? Does that make it unsuitable as a ?trail bike?? I know it's a lighter bike but what do you give up?
The lines between trail and XC are fuzzy and open to interpreation. Travel and handling are probably the key differences. Despite what the Homers have to say, the 5 Spot is not perfect for everyone. You're just not going to find a bike that is light weight, climbs and handles as well as XC bike but is beefy and stable enough for the harshest downhill and hucks. You really need to find something that fits what you plan on doing MOST of the time and just deal with the rest.

If you like the Racer-X but are concerned with what it can take, look at the Hammerhead 100X. It's the same design and built by Titus but with a beefier build including all straight gauge tubing (even the 5 Spot has butted tubing) and extra gussetting. It has 3.8" of rear travel and setup for a 4"-5" fork. The rear travel is enough to smooth out the trail but not so much that you can't hammer the climbs. You'll have no trouble whatsoever with 4 footers.

I have a Minute 1 on mine that's adjustable 100mm-130mm. I typically keep it around 105mm around my local trails but use up to 130mm for dawn to dusk epic rides in the mountains. Also, the handling is adjustable via the fork for quicker slice and dice through the tight tree-lined singletrack at 4" to very stable for faster decents at 5". The SB, 5 Spot and other 5" bikes are slower handling and a bit too slow for my tastes.

(sorry I don't have any action shots handy)
 

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tommyrod74 said:
Pics of me on the SB, and the XCE. Notice me having lots of fun in both pictures.
Cool pics- way to fly the lyrca flag!

I was seriously looking at the Switchblade a couple years ago, but the air shock only thing and interrupted seat tube did it in for me. It seems the latter unnecessarily exposes the shock to all the gunk being thrown off the rear wheel. Turners generally have plenty of standover anyway, so I don't think you stand to gain anything with the interrupted seat tube anyway. Turner's FSR linkage (pretty much exclusive to Specialized, Titus, and Turner these days) and bushing system are enough to keep me from thinking about looking anywhere else, except for the fact that Titus offers a 29"er...
 
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