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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
You'd have to be living in a cave to not have heard about the great deals to be had on the Burner frames these days. It just so happens that I'm in the market for a new frame to handle some xc and trail riding duties.

I don't want or need gobs of travel for xc or even aggressive trail riding. I'd like my skill to pull me through and not the travel (wishfull thinking). Actually, I can handle most trails with my HT and 80mm fork. (I've got a Bullit for the big stuff). But, the HT really holds me back when trying to pedal through the rough stuff. I'm basically looking for a tough FS bike that lets me pedal though the rough stuff, but without tons of monkey motion so the bike remains nimble and relatively light. Of couse a Racer-X was in the running but it sure is hard to ignore a Burner can be had for about 1/2 the cost of the X.

Before I make the leap maybe someone can answer some of my questions to help me decide whether or not to take the plunge and get a shinny, new, large Burner.

What was Turner's intended purpose for the Burner? Trail bike? XC racer? A little of both?

Anyone out there competively xc racing a Burner?

With 100mm of travel up front can this bike still climb well?

I'm afraid that a 100mm fork and a 70 HA might make the bike less than nimble in the tight single track.

Can anyone put my fears to rest?

Thanks in advance,

Mike
 

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Do it

I don't have reams of experience w/full suspension bikes - I came from a 2000 Giant NRS to my Burner. Having said that - from my limited experience I would say that it satisfies the criteria you mentioned handily. I use mine for aggressive XC and have also raced it in a local sprint series. It is extremely competent in technical situations including loose climbs, tracks well in the singletrack and descends very well also.

Let me put it to you this way - I have a hardtail and the Burner. My weapon of choice for racing is the Burner unless I know that the course is smooth like my 2yr old's you know what. For anything that verges on epic - it's a no-brainer.
 

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I had a new Burner this spring and it rode very well. I was disappointed with the weight for having air at both ends it came in at 26.5 on the trail. The same build but with coil/oil at both ends on a 5-Spot was 28.5. If you plan on riding any epics, the ride quality of the 5-spot is well worth the extra 2 pounds (which you can barely feel but soon forget). The ride of the Burner is stiffer and you may suffer after 4+ hours of riding (some say you will suffer no matter what bike you have).

If you are looking for a short racer, it will do it but there may be better options. For medium length races, will work better.

If you want a really nice FS bike for low cost, unbeleiveable customer service, almost bomb proof, do primarily shorter rides - you will love the Burner.

Note: Be warned once you ride a Turner for a couple of rides it is very difficult to ride anything else.

Nate
 

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Fo' Bidniz in da haus
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Not to mention....

Paco Finn said:
I had a new Burner this spring and it rode very well. I was disappointed with the weight for having air at both ends it came in at 26.5 on the trail. The same build but with coil/oil at both ends on a 5-Spot was 28.5. If you plan on riding any epics, the ride quality of the 5-spot is well worth the extra 2 pounds (which you can barely feel but soon forget). The ride of the Burner is stiffer and you may suffer after 4+ hours of riding (some say you will suffer no matter what bike you have).

If you are looking for a short racer, it will do it but there may be better options. For medium length races, will work better.

If you want a really nice FS bike for low cost, unbeleiveable customer service, almost bomb proof, do primarily shorter rides - you will love the Burner.

Note: Be warned once you ride a Turner for a couple of rides it is very difficult to ride anything else.

Nate
Not to mention, you gain access to the elite Turner Homer organization :p (I think it may be similar to the Skull & Bones secret club both presidential candidates were part of). As far as I can tell, there is no "Ellsworth Homer", "Titus Homer", or even "Ventana Homer" club. As silly as it sounds I really do think this counts for something. I know of no other discussion board where you can gain so much valuable input (on literally any Turner issue) from folks with the same bike(s).

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks to all....

...who've replied.

It's good to hear the Burner is potentially raceable even though I'd likely stick to the HT for most of those grass side walk xc courses.

Though this is may take things a little off topic I'd like to respond the the 5 Spot idea. (BTW thanks for the helpfull input.) I think I'd pass on the 5 spot idea. I've got a Bullit that I can set up for super heavy duty trailriding should I need. I know I'm treading on thin ice here with all the Spot fans but I just don't see the need for a 5" __trail__ bike. The only reason I'd be hauling around the Bullit for a trail ride is so I can hit the 5 foot drops on the trails I ride. My impression is that the Spot is not designed for that. So as long as I'm not hitting any big drops I don't see the need for 5" of monkey motion on a trail bike; at least not for myself. Of course to each his own.

Thanks again,

Mike
 

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I was thinking the exact opposite thing this weekend - I entered the 48 mile "Ore to Shore" race in Marquette, MI and rode my spot - heavier build [romic, marz z1 FR, Tioga platform pedals, RF northshore cranks, michelin hot-s 2.2's, you get the picture]. I used to have a burner, and my spot definitely takes more oomph to get going, but near the end of the race, while bombing down whooped out terrain - I was thinking to myself "man, this sure is nice". Having 5" of travel was pure luxury that far into a race when I was tired. I was actually pulling away from my "insta-buddies" on their hardtails, cuz they couldn't pedal thru the bumps like I could. The spot is certainly no thoroughbred race horse, but it sure is fun to race.

Burner of Spot, both bring their own answer to the fun equation. After all, isn't that what it's all about?
 

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I agree. If you look at your time splits on a 10-20 mile laps, if the course has anything technical, the hardtail guys are slowing significantly (non-elite racers). I once was thinking of an Elsworth because of weight and wanted to race it, but they break and customer care is non existant. I wanted a bike that is almost nuke proof, excellent geometry, and unbeleivable customer service...hence Turner. The Burner was very good but I was planning on doing longer distance events 60-100+ milers and it just didn't have enough cush for my body. Years earlier, 5" was a freeride bike in my mind. That thought has been wiped away with solid design and improved suspension. Yes, you feel a little loss when you mash on the pedals over a HT but that is because you are riding it like a HT! You will learn to pedal differently.

Nate
 

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I've been riding the Burner for 3 months now. I think that since the honeymoon period is probably over, I can give you an honest reaction to the bike...

It really is a nice riding bike. I like the way it climbs, and it does well on tight, rough, fast singletrack. That's where I find my smile growing the faster I go. The suspension seems to work best at speed. The handling is great - I can whip it around and muscle it through fast sections and tight corners. I can see that it would be a great endurance racing bike - I can ride ride farther with less fatigue than on my HT.

The Swinger 3way complements the suspension design well, it feels plush and I notice no bobbing on long, grinding climbs. I do notice the extra weight occasionally - my hardtail was 25#, the Burner 29#. But, bike weight is a matter of money - and it'd be easier, healthier and wiser for me to drop 4# by riding rather than shopping. It's probably on the plump side for a XC race bike.

On rough, technical downhills, I can see the benefit of a longer travel bike. I get tossed about a bit on really rocky and rough descents. I often ask myself "why ride a bike with 4" of travel when there's really no weight penalty for a 5" bike?". From what I understand, the Spot climbs nearly as well as the Burner. So - ask yourself if it's worth the extra cash. This is where I encountered the biggest tradeoff - cost vs. travel. As it stands, I could never have gotten a new FS bike with the ride and build quality of the Burner - and that was, and still is, the bottom line.

Turner has stated on this board that they consider it a trailbike (vs the Truth or Spider, which they consider XC). To be honest, I don't really know what truly differentiates a trail bike from an XC bike - travel? build beefiness? intended use? HT angle? weight? raceability? All of the above? I suppose it's certainly more oriented towards XC than the Spot, but it doesn't behave or tip the scales like a true XC bike...

Going forward, I intend to find a fork that compliments the rear suspension and is stiffer than my current Psylo (which I leave at 105mm nearly all of the time). Otherwise, I plan on riding this bike 'til the wheels fall off. And, more often than not, I'll have a big smile on my face.

Hope this helps you - but it's only one man's opinion.
 

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It is possible to get the Burner to a decent XC weight

I've only got about $2200 into my Burner and it has an "on-paper" weight of 25.6lbs. I have yet to take it to my LBS for the acid test.

I know I could get it lower but at the expense of durability. I plan on getting it down to 25lbs by the 2005 season (pedals/brakes) which to me is a reasonable race-weight (I'm 158lbs). You would have to make some serious sacrifices to get the Spot close to that weight and at that point you would have a bike that could only do a 1/4 of what it was designed for.
 

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I don't understand why people think the Burner is so heavy.

A small Burner is <6 pounds, probably up to 6.3 or so for an x-large. I looked at the listings on the weight-weenie site, and I see the following:

Intense Spider XVP (Large) - 6.06 pounds
Turner Burner (Large) - 6.21 pounds
SC Blur (Large) - 6.01 pounds
Titus Racer-X (Large) - 6.13 pounds
Ellsworth Truth (Medium) - 5.65 pounds.

Other than the Ellsworth (which is a size medium) all the rest of the frames are within a quarter pound. In terms of building up a decently light XC bike, 1/4 of a pound on the frame is really nothing. I'd also guess that the Titus and the Turner are going to be absolutely tough as nails.

I think you should do what I see everybody else doing; build your bike, give it a quick lift and then tell everybody it weighs 24-25 pounds :)

Dave
 

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The Burner is, without a doubt, the best deal on the market right now. It will make you happy and satisfy all of your needs, unless you intend to win the XC Olympics. Get the Burner and don't look back.
 

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The burner is not heavy but nor is it a SL machine, nor was it supposed to be. The point that was well put is the costs. The 5-spot with air is less than .1#'s more than the Burner but offers much more. As far as climbing goes, the burner is better except for very tech. climbs when the added travel is needed. Look at where you ride and decide what you need and then decide on what you want to spend. If you need a 5-spot but get a Burner you will not be happy, if you don't need 5" why spend the extra money when a burner will rock!

Don't be a weight weenie if you don't have to. Weight may be a concern but it is very far down the list once you start riding these bikes. Besides, if you make the bike too light, the bike does not always handle the way you like (wheels and fork flex, too small tires, doesn't stop as well as disk, etc.) Is this not why we build custom bikes? to get them exactly to our individual needs?

Nate
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks again to all....

...good stuff.

Just for the sake of discussion here's a problem I have with longer travel "trailbikes". Say you've got a Spot, or any 5" rear suspension trail bike. Of course then you'll want to put on a long travel fork to keep the bike balanced. Bikes like this are tough to climb. Going up a very steep climb weight is shifted backward which not only compresses the rear but also unweights the fork so it lengthens. All this makes a bike a bear to climb. Sure you can get a fork that you can drop the travel on like Zoke's ETA but often there is not enough time to do that on a fast paced ride.

Here's something else I've learned. Last year I moved to a Heckler then moved to a Bullit (with a 5th) that I've primarily used for a mix of freeride-trail riding. These bigger bikes have pused me to try stuff I would not have on a xc bike. What a blast. However, after becoming more comfortable (ie building up the balls) with the really tough trails I thought, "Hey, let's give this a shot on my xc bike." You know, aside from the higher drops-to-flat, I'm now doing just about everything on my xc bike. It's kind of a rush to know that maybe "it's the rider, not the bike."

As I said before to each his own. I can appreciate the rush of a good downhill on a bike that lets you enjoy the trail instead of just survive it. Heck, after doing well at NORBA's Mt. Snow Super D race this summer I'm hooked.

Thanks again,

Mike
 

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I will not speak of "other" 5" bikes but this is what I found between the Burner and 5-Spot both with Fox forx (Float 100 and Van. 125). Both where tested with various pressures/springs on same trail. On tech. climbs the 4" would sometimes "stall" on the deep rocks while the 5" would continue to roll. Both bikes are set-up for XC and therefore not too much sag up front and therefore very little rise in the nose and the same for the drop in the rear. I actually need the rear to drop slightly because if it gets really steep and rocky I am out of the saddle and more forward. If the bike did not squat the balance would not shift and therefore I would be too far forward at that point and loose traction in the back. GRanted with either bike set-up soft, on smooth steeper climbs when I do not get out of the saddle I can feel the nose get light (seat fully back) but Turners have a more vertical seat tube than most which counteracts this, until I got used to this I always had my seat all the back to feel like my other bikes. Like I said, I did not just "love" Turners until I got off one and onto something else for a test ride, then I realized how well it was designed. Maybe I would have known sooner but I switched during the off-season.

Regardless, like someone told me when I was looking at both, "you are getting a Turner, you will not go wrong with either choice!" I was torn between both bikes, no doubt. If I lived back in the midwest (I am from there), the Burner would be in my garage. But for the trails I ride out here, it was close, but just not enough for what I wanted to do.

Nate
 

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It's heavy compared to most xc racers...

MightySchmoePong said:
Other than the Ellsworth (which is a size medium) all the rest of the frames are within a quarter pound. In terms of building up a decently light XC bike, 1/4 of a pound on the frame is really nothing. I'd also guess that the Titus and the Turner are going to be absolutely tough as nails.
I think the weight/durability mix of the Burner is just about spot on for a lightweight trailbike, but it is a bit heavy for a xc racer. Your list is a bit misleading, because it includes some of the heaviest xc racers (and the Burner is still the heaviest on the list). Although the Truth is a Medium as you say, it has a 23.5" top tube, so it's large for a Medium, and the Racer-X is available with a ti bolt kit and lighter swingarm that will bring the weight down to 5.75

If you compare the Burner to some other xc racers, it doesn't fair so well (from weight weenies):

Sugar (L) - 5.57
NRS Air (20.5) - 5.66
Adept (L) - 5.72
Element Team SC (19) - 5.14
Superlight (L) - 5.47
S-Works FSR (L) - 5.51
Fuel (L) - 5.55
ASR SL (L) - 5.70
Kona The King (18") - 5.22

That's an average of 5.5 lb., so that puts the Burner almost 3/4 of a pound heavier than the typical xc racer (and the list doesn't include any of the really light bikes like those from Extralight, Scott, FRM, or even the Nitrous which are all well under 5 lbs.). 3/4 lb. doesn't seem like that much, but if your trying to build a truly light bike, it all adds up.

I think another reason the Burner got labeled as "heavy", is that prior to the release of the Burner the "target" weight was stated to be around 5.5-5.75 lbs (I can't remember exactly), so anything over that ended up being a disappointment.
 

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Good points.

I was trying to compare against bikes that I consider "similar". I.e. raceable trail bikes as you mentioned. Wasn't trying to be intentionally misleading. Compared to pure XC race bikes (which most of your list is in my mind) it's somewhat heavy. Of course, my previous Fuel frame @ 5.6 pounds also broke twice :)

Personally I think statement: "I'm basically looking for a tough FS bike that lets me pedal though the rough stuff, but without tons of monkey motion so the bike remains nimble and relatively light."

Rules out several of the bikes you mentioned. I'd be hard pressed to lable an FSR/Fuel/Superlight etc as "tough", and you can definitely build up a "relatively light" bike from a 6 or so pound frame.

If I had my druthers I think I'd have a Ti hardtail, a really light 3" travel XC racer and a 5+" travel all-mountain bike.

Dave
 

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MightySchmoePong said:
I'm basically looking for a tough FS bike that lets me pedal though the rough stuff, but without tons of monkey motion so the bike remains nimble and relatively light.
Yeah, in that context, the Burner is probably tough to beat. Plus, if you factor in the current sale price, you can afford to buy a few more light weight parts to keep the overall weight even with (if not lighter than) the others.

MightySchmoePong said:
If I had my druthers I think I'd have a Ti hardtail, a really light 3" travel XC racer and a 5+" travel all-mountain bike.
I hear you there!
 
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