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I've been perusing of the forums for a while and have found lots of good information. Thank you to those who contribute regularly, technical and two cents, I've enjoyed it all. I'm looking to add to my knowledge and hoping those with experience with these bikes will contribute their thoughts and direct comparisons if possible.

For a bit of history, I'm on the East Coast, New England Riding... Not a lot of real big hill pedaling in the immediate area but lots of tight rooty, rocky, short steep ups/downs wooded single track... With a half dozen trips to the lifts and larger hills of VT/NH each year.

Riding style, clean, relatively fast, solid technical skills more often than plowing through. Enjoys a challenge and a good scare.

Rider 185 lbs in gear looking drop/maintain 170/175. A confirmation of fit is scheduled but looking at 29.25" inseam ideal SO of 27" ( prefer it shorter ). A long torso, TT will be in the area of 23" measure.

4"-5" adjustable rocker is very appealing. Not sure if more travel is truly necessary.
Looking for a decent combo of XC/Trail use, dream/ideal weight will be a build of 26.5 - 28lbs The bits and pieces are already in my mind, so frame weight will have a substantial impact on my decision.

Rattling in the back of my mind is getting a dedicated 4" and a Bigger ride, 6" in a yr or so though not sure if it worth the investment beyond having two great bikes.

Lastly any further information on Ventana's suspension would be appreciated.

Additional contenders
X-5
Yeti AS-R SL / 575
Chumba VF1

GG
 

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Ventana's suspension is very versatile. You can run an El Salt anywhere from 3" to 6" with air or coil shocks as you please. So it gives scope to build a race weight short full susser or a long travel trailbike. Many people say the sweetspot for travel is 4" with the El Salt, which is what the frame geometry was originally designed around. Going up to 5" or 6" raises the BB, which some people don't get on with, while others don't mind or even prefer. Regardless of the differences 5/6" El Salts are a popular choice.

If you're thinking of building a 5" or 6" El Salt, then the X5 is definitely worth considering too. The geometry is optimised more specifically around the longer travel and the frame is a little stronger (approx 1 lb heavier). It also offers improved standover height if that matters to you. Going with the X5 you really lose the option of making a true lightweight short travel bike. This is more lightweight trailbike to light freeride territory. Still very versatile and it's what I ride myself :)

I've demoed the Yeti 575 and it's a great bike too, but not as stiff as either of the Ventanas, or as versatile, or as well made. You're basically stuck with an air shock and 5.75" travel. I'd say an El Salt can do the job of both the Yeti AS-R SL and 575 in a single bike (with different builds of course)

Don't know much about the Chumba, although I don't like the look of their rocker designs and their website is full of BS eg. "FORCE CHANNELING CENTRALIZATION TECHNOLOGY". Seem to get good rider reviews though, which is what counts in the end.

Why are you not considering Turner bikes too? I'd throw in the 5-spot too at this level.
 

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All the choices are pretty good. Look at the different linkages and see which you think performs best. I have a motolite and couldn't be happier. The horst link makes a big difference over single pivots (I haven't ridden Ventana, but I have ridden similar bikes).
 

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GuruAtma said:
The horst link makes a big difference over single pivots (I haven't ridden Ventana, but I have ridden similar bikes).
Try pointing that out over on the Turner board at the moment! To say that a Horst Link makes a big difference is a huge sweeping statement. There are many single pivot bikes offering equal or even better overall performance than HL equivalents. Ventana, Turner and Yeti for a start. Of course there are some crap single pivots too and crap HL bikes for that matter.
 

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thats right living legend
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Oh Please!

uktrailmonster said:
Try pointing that out over on the Turner board at the moment! To say that a Horst Link makes a big difference is a huge sweeping statement. There are many single pivot bikes offering equal or even better overall performance than HL equivalents. Ventana, Turner and Yeti for a start. Of course there are some crap single pivots too and crap HL bikes for that matter.
Yea, now that Turner no longer has the HL they will...like parrots! try it three months ago and see what you would of gotten.

Of course "somehow" as soon as Turner drops the HL, it dosen't matter anymore. Wow! imagen?

There are bikes that ride very well without a HL, either you like the way one rides are you don't. I would love a Ventana or a Turner, but IMHO all the diffrent desigs do make diffrence.
 

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Chumba VF1

Hey there,

I owned a VF1 for several years, got it used. I've been friends with Ted (the founder) when they were still doing custom frames for some years now. I must say it was a really nice bike, and I have a good basis of comparison as I've rode a 5 Spot before. First, I want to say that I put that bike through hell and back(weeklong adventure rides backpacking near Fresno, weekends of resort riding for 6 hours straight) and I never did any maintenance on the frame once and it never did so much as give a tiny squeak.

The geometry is real dialed in for aggressive riding, but climbs excellent too. The suspension feels super supple. As for UKTrail's comment about the BS, I think he should throw a leg over the Chumba first. IMHO, the FCC design really works, i feel like the shock activation leads to forward momentum. Just my 2 cents though, they're all great bikes and you probably wouldn't regret getting any of them - I just think the Chumba's are a little more fun.
 

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I've been beating the snot our of a Ventana El Saltamontes for over 3 years now and with the exception of the dings and scratches the paint still looks great and the ride is solid. The Salty is a great all round bike but is not my first choice when the trails get steep, rocky, and technical. (I have a couple of 6 inch FR pigs for that.) My Salty is set up with a 125 mm Talus up front and the 5inch setting in the rear. Changed up from 4 inches about 2 years ago and have never looked back. This suits my riding conditions perfectly: loose rocky tight twisty up down and all around. I ran a 130 '04 Zoch Z1 SL for the first year or so but that fork was way too tall so the handling was sluggish. Point: don't get a Salty and think you can go putting a fork with much more travel than 125mm on it. I think 110-120 is the optimal choice. (The A-C measurement is what really matters here as each fork is different.) Having an adjustable travel fork is a great asset on the Satly, or any bike for that matter.

In trying to convince a friend of mine to get a Salty I made her ride mine for 3 days in Moab. She loved the bike but in the end she couldn't stomach the price and she ended up with a Cove Hustler (which she got a sweet deal on). I got to ride her Hustler over the 4th of July weekend. Sweet bike. Plush. Climbs impressively for a nearly 6" travel bike, thanks to the RP3 shock out back. But the Hustler truly shines when you point it downhill and I belive this is due to the Canadian style super slack front end. She is running a RS Revelation fork on the Hustler. Nice match. Her build is right around 27 pounds. The bike felt stiff enough although I did not get to ride it in Moab where a bike's flex, or lack there of, will really shine through.

I have another friend who had a Hustler for about a month. Didn't like it so he sold it and bought a 6-pack. He then decided the 6-pack was too heavy for general use so he bought a Flux too.

Guess you will be needing one of each. Hope this helped somehow.
 

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The Dude Abides
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If you're looking for a bike that light, I think the 575 is out, and it's more travel than you said you were into.
The Santa Cruz Blur sounds like it might fit your bill...it's light and a great trail bike.
 

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carnetorta said:
Hey there,

The geometry is real dialed in for aggressive riding, but climbs excellent too. The suspension feels super supple. As for UKTrail's comment about the BS, I think he should throw a leg over the Chumba first. IMHO, the FCC design really works, i feel like the shock activation leads to forward momentum. Just my 2 cents though, they're all great bikes and you probably wouldn't regret getting any of them - I just think the Chumba's are a little more fun.
As I said in my earlier post, rider comments seem positive for this bike. The BS about "FCCT" is just err.. BS. I don't see why they feel the need to make up crap like that when the actual bike seems really good. Anyway, that's just marketing speak so not really important. Just makes me a bit sceptical that's all.
 

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theeric said:
If you're looking for a bike that light, I think the 575 is out, and it's more travel than you said you were into.
The Santa Cruz Blur sounds like it might fit your bill...it's light and a great trail bike.
575 is a light frame. its not any heavyer then the rest of the frames mentioned. yeti claims 6 pounds. that is smoking lite for a trail frame.

IMHO the 3 hottest bang for the buck trail bikes out now are the motolite, Blur and 575. they all are very light, well made frames and are all about $1400.
 

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..

uktrailmonster said:
As I said in my earlier post, rider comments seem positive for this bike. The BS about "FCCT" is just err.. BS. I don't see why they feel the need to make up crap like that when the actual bike seems really good. Anyway, that's just marketing speak so not really important. Just makes me a bit sceptical that's all.
UKtrail,

Like I said, having spent a few years of hard riding on my Chumba FCC design, i really do think it leads to more forward momentum than traditional walking beam type designs like turners and konas. I can understand that your skeptical though, there are a lot of shams out there, i would just give it a chance though - is all im saying. :thumbsup:
 

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Another New Englander here, and I ride an X-5. Mine is built up to about 32 lbs -- personally I think if you want a build as light as you say, the X-5 is probably overkill as a frame. Of course you know best what you want for your local trails and style of riding, but over the past few years I've seen most of my riding group gravitate towards 5 or 6 inch travel bikes in the low to mid 30 lb range, for an all-around New England trail bike.
 
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