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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ME:
  • 5'8", 178lbs - short legs, long arms (there is a joke there for sure)
  • 44 years old
  • Knees, shoulders and wrists have lots of wear on them :whistle:
  • Riding since late 90's ... but last two years far more serious, disciplined and ambitious/aggressive
  • Miles / wk - urban goon'ing ~ 30 - 35
  • Miles / wk - Trail buffoonery ~ 20 - 25
TRAILS:
  • Blues / Blacks ... occasionally, if feeling spicy, double blks
  • Central Southwest Fla (Tampa)
    • Alafia
    • Balm
    • Carter
    • Santos
  • Weather is gross and unforgiving this time of year: 90+ degrees, 70% + humidity, dew point up over 65
    • Noted because when getting "spicy" fatigue can be instant and brutal - making technical rides even trickier
  • IMPORTANT - would like to start traveling and experiencing greater variety/challenges (Georgia, NC, Tenn), this will impact kind of riding beyond current needs
CURRENT KIT:
  • 2014 Stumpjumper Evo Alloy Hardtail
    • 100mm travel (I service fork regularly, so in decent condition)
    • Cassette upgraded
    • Derailleur upgraded
    • Bars swapped (deity skywire)
    • Stem shortened (110 to 35mm)
    • dropper added (upped my technical game)
    • Chesters and Shimano clips rotated depending on skills vs speed rides - (though have been using the Chesters predominantly recently as they revealed after 20+ years in clips, my skills sucked)

My Stumpy has served me well... and I plan to keep it and ride it as well, but after 8 years of rapid progression in MTB tech... what was once considered an enduro-ish ride, by both geo and travel is now a sluggish pig of an XC bike (the stem at 110 was raking me over top of the bars).

I am looking to push both trail aggressiveness & variety as well as my own skill and limits. Plus my joints would appreciate clocking the spicier bits on full suspension. I can feel the bigger drops and quad tapping climbs (even with good form) for a couple o' days.

I think I am right on the edge of long travel trail... and entry enduro (at least in ambition). I have done my reading on suspension set ups (CBF, Horst, VPP, DW, etc..) and gotten to ride some options: Hightower, 2020 SJ, Izzo, Spur, Ripmo. The problem is... when you have been on a HT with aged geo for almost a decade, EVERY SINGLE one of the aforementioned bikes feels plush, responsive and like a whisper from an angel. So having a suspension preference would be disingenuous.. because they all feel better than what I am accustomed to.

I am looking for a "do it all"... but I know that's like asking to pick your favorite Spice Girl, possible in theory... but rarely executed with precision. So I am looking for a "do it most" with the following priorities:

  • Accommodating more aggressive gravity runs with stability.
  • Tackling bigger drops, gap jumps, riding chunk and churning through big berms
  • Good (not necessarily great) climbing performance - to preserve stamina for technical bits
  • Occasional long rips through good flowy single track over distances, (not necessarily gravity aided) - if you know Southwest FL, think sessioning Ridgeline (Balm) or Rollercoaster / North Creek (Alafia)

WHAT I HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT (the short list):
  • 2022 Stumpjumper
  • 2022 SJ Evo
  • Jeffsy
  • Hightower
  • Offering V2
  • Horsethief
  • Rascal
Any thoughts, opinions or suggestions are welcomed.

Many Mahalos
 

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I think any of those will be a huge difference from what you're used to.
I went with a 2021 SJ however my trails are rowdy but also with climbs and flat XC as well.
The SJ EVO might work as a one-bike-quiver however be sure you'll use/need that much bike as any trail over-biked
makes for a boring ride IMO.
 

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The new Stumpjumper is hard to ignore, it's a very versatile bike. The SJ Evo is nice, but will probably be way overkill for your local trails and really only be useful when traveling. The regular SJ will still handle trails when traveling, but you'll just have to keep your speed in check and pay closer attention to line choices when things get rowdy.

I say buy the bike that's best for 95% of your riding, not the bike that's best for the 5% you might ride.
 

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Epic Evo, Spur , Evil Following are fun choices for your local trails. A new Top Fuel is coming. You can go for light because of your terrain. You'll get better faster riding your home trails when your bike still makes them challenging.
 

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Pulled the trigger on the 2022 stumpy.

Maiden voyage today. Total blast. Need to dial in suspension, and get used to cornering with the sway on the backend.

Also, stock 2.3s not my jam… so need to swap those.

Otherwise, great first crack at the swamp.
Congrats!

If the new Stumpy was released a few months earlier, it would have been a really difficult choice between the SJ and my Ripley.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Congrats!

If the new Stumpy was released a few months earlier, it would have been a really difficult choice between the SJ and my Ripley.
Saw someone session a 6ft drop to towering tabletop on a Ripley today. Just scorching it. Mad skill... sick bike. No matter what, you were going to come out aces with that decision.
 
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