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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I turn 70 on 6/21. I've decided somewhere in the next year, I can buy a new bike just because I want to.

Currently I'm riding a 2015 Santa Cruz 5010 which is a 27.5" for those not familiar with the bike. I just changed the length of the fork from the stock 130 mm to 140 mm. Granted, another 1/3" of travel should not be something I feel but I've tricked my mind into thinking I do feel the difference so now I ride faster on more technical terrain.

Who wants to play the game an suggest a new ride? Keep in mind, I would trade in the 5010 to help pay for it. Any strong thoughts on what an old man who feels about 50 should be riding? Is this new fangled 29" here to stay. Will 26" come out of hiding? Is 27.5" where we will all end up anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks,

I am considering a Highboy, Highboy LT or Tallboy, all of which should be revised in the next month or so which fits my time schedule. I'm a Santa Cruz fan and my local dealer carries them so it works for me.

Any other thoughts? 27.5+?
 

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I’m a 61 year old who has been into two wheel sports since my youth. I had raced motorcycles in the 70”s and began mountain biking in the mid 80”s. My current bike is a Pivot Switchblade and can say that I’m sold on the newer geometry of the current crop of bikes. The handling and stability feels much more like a motorcycle, it plows through the rough and carves turns. The only down side being the lower bottom bracket height. I live in the northeast where trails where the trails are rocky and pedal strikes are an issue.
I originally purchased the bike in 27.5 plus configuration and after almost a year I obtained a set of 29er wheels and fitted 2.6 tires, The larger wheels helped with pedal strike issue with very little downside. I will say I do feel that the bike handling seems slower and requires some more attention when carving turns at speed with the 29er wheels.
For you, the terrain and trails you ride will need to be considered when purchasing a new bike.
 

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Any other thoughts? 27.5+?
Personally, I prefer non plus. For me, plus isn't as crisp feeling, not as playful, and a bit unwieldy for my typical (and preferred) terrain. Also, from a diameter point of view, I like 27.5 over 29, and a 27.5+ is nearly a 29.
 

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I'm 3 years behind you, 67 in August. I've also gone through a similar evolution. I had a Yeti SB5c that I upgraded to a 160 (Vs. stock 150) fork in 2016. At the time that I bought the Yeti, I had looked at and ridden a few 29ers and really didn't care for them. At the end of last summer, I decided to ride a few more and tried the SB100, Giant Trance 29, and Ripley V3. All of the bikes were at least 4 pounds heavier than my Yeti and all climbed faster. The Giant and Ripley also descended faster and with more, "authority"!
I'm at the point that this increase in speed on the 29ers is significant enough that I can ride with my 27 year old son, and still not bore him to death. That's a big deal for me.
Anyway, I got the Trance Pro 29 1 and put some lighter components on it and man, I love that bike! There are numerous options in this category - if you go to a Trance 29, I'd get the DPX2 Vs. DPS shock. Other than that, these shorter travel 29ers are pretty awesome! Oddly, on a short ride, I did try out a Hightower in a 27.5+ and really thought it rode much like my Giant....but I only was on the bike for 10 minutes, and it was a pretty gentle trail. Worth a look, though, I suppose.
 

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I turn 70 on 6/21. I've decided somewhere in the next year, I can buy a new bike just because I want to.

Currently I'm riding a 2015 Santa Cruz 5010 which is a 27.5" for those not familiar with the bike. I just changed the length of the fork from the stock 130 mm to 140 mm. Granted, another 1/3" of travel should not be something I feel but I've tricked my mind into thinking I do feel the difference so now I ride faster on more technical terrain.

Who wants to play the game an suggest a new ride? Keep in mind, I would trade in the 5010 to help pay for it. Any strong thoughts on what an old man who feels about 50 should be riding? Is this new fangled 29" here to stay. Will 26" come out of hiding? Is 27.5" where we will all end up anyway.
Start test rides, go to demos or rentals where you can know the bike on trails. Make sure suspension is set up correctly.

My late model Fuel EX does plus or big 29r tires. We rebuilt the family Honzo with the new class of wider but not plus 29r rims and tires. I've ridden modestly configured and high end versions of my bike, rented $3000 and $9000 bikes. In all that I concluded I like 29r more than plus tires overall. You do need to get used to higher axle height.

Last summer we did an epic east to west trip with family, took some bikes, rented bikes. That was midwest blue groove dirt, serious elevation change mountains, and bench type riding characterized by Fruita area. General purpose knobby 29r always worked well. A speedier setup could feel too squirrelly at times. Plus or our fattie with fast fat tires could be too slow. The Fuel EX reverse mullet (Pike 140 front) was better than my old all mountain 26r for bike park riding and super for XC and long rides.

Something else I noticed when I was trying so many bikes was suspension characteristics. All the popular makes are good these days. Horst types are still superb for keeping that rear wheel with traction and braking. Bob was never obvious with several bikes. I felt that Trek "Reaktiv" had the best of all the types I tried. It wasn't as on/off stiff or plush as some. It doesn't have that Horst type sink or wallow. I didn't feel the need to reach for the shock lever on climbs like some. The reverse mullet setup with the suspension chip in higher mode is a nice do it all version of slack but not too low.

Friends have the 5010 and the Tall Boy. Both are nice. For years I never thought a Trek would be in the league but with all that test riding I learned it really is. All the test riding really illustrated how you get diminishing returns as you spend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks.
I live in northwest NJ and ride the type of terrain you describe. Lots of short(er) technical climbs and drops. I seldom find a place where I can just pedal fast and straight before rocks, roots, etc. spoil the flow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I mentioned the Hightower for a couple reason. Mostly because when I look back over the past four years, I find that given a choice, I've rented a Hightower directly from Santa Cruz to ride in Santa Cruz and from a shop in Hawaii to ride on the big island where I used it over lava and to ride part way up Mouna Kea on a dirt road. Plus I demo'ed the 29 and 27+ versions on my home trails in NW NJ. I've always liked it. As to why I didn't get it instead of the 5010. That's easy. It didn't exist at that point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you for your input.

When I bought the 5010 in '15, it was the result of lots of demos including Trek, Yeti, Pivot, Giant and Santa Cruz. Frankly, even then, there were no bad bikes, at least in the price category I was interested in.

I was coming from a 26" Giant Trance. I can't say a model because I obtained the frame thanks to a Giant rep who wanted to get me on Giant because of the numerous posts I had on MTBR and the stories I had in Dirt Rag at that time which shows the influence of MTBR if you connect to the right people. That part of my life is long past.

Anyway, the Trance was full custom thanks to a buddy who could build a bike blind folded. I had neither the talent nor, today, the facility. He has since moved to SoCal which is why I am in the market for a full bike.

Getting back to '15, I started my search looking for a 29". I tested many and found I really liked the Tallboy and Giant had decided at that time to concentrate on 27.5" only if you remember that time.

Then, I went to a Santa Cruz demo and was able to ride the new 5010 and Bronson. Hmmm, maybe there was something about that size; like the fact that the park we demo'ed in had a number of sharp turns with a bridge and when I rode the 29's, I would always come out to the right of the bridge and when I tried the 27.5" I came out dead center. Add to that the fact that Santa Cruz took the Tallboy out of their line just when I would have pulled the trigger and the Pivot was a little too expensive to justify. I did two more Santa Cruz demo's and the 5010 was the clear winner over the Bronson so I bought it.

Soon after that, the Tallboy V2 arrived but I had my bike and was happy with it.

Back to the present. I really like the 27.5+ I've ridden but hesitate to make plus size my only bike. I've continued to rent 29's when I'm off riding somewhere far from home and like them.

My options will be to test ride the next versions of the Tallboy, Highboy and Highboy LT when they are introduced in the next few months. In the mean time I've gone to a 140 mm Pike on my 5010 V1 and demoed the new Blur last summer which blew me away but a $10,000 bike should blow me away.

One last option is to stay with my current 5010, upgrade to a 12x1 drivetrain and a 2.5" tire in front which the Pike can handle and buy a new Chameleon 27.5+.

If anyone was around the last time I went through this, you will know I don't just jump into a new bike, tempting as that may be so enjoy the ride.
 

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Thank you for your input.

When I bought the 5010 in '15, it was the result of lots of demos including Trek, Yeti, Pivot, Giant and Santa Cruz. Frankly, even then, there were no bad bikes, at least in the price category I was interested in.

I was coming from a 26" Giant Trance. I can't say a model because I obtained the frame thanks to a Giant rep who wanted to get me on Giant because of the numerous posts I had on MTBR and the stories I had in Dirt Rag at that time which shows the influence of MTBR if you connect to the right people. That part of my life is long past.

Anyway, the Trance was full custom thanks to a buddy who could build a bike blind folded. I had neither the talent nor, today, the facility. He has since moved to SoCal which is why I am in the market for a full bike.

Getting back to '15, I started my search looking for a 29". I tested many and found I really liked the Tallboy and Giant had decided at that time to concentrate on 27.5" only if you remember that time.

Then, I went to a Santa Cruz demo and was able to ride the new 5010 and Bronson. Hmmm, maybe there was something about that size; like the fact that the park we demo'ed in had a number of sharp turns with a bridge and when I rode the 29's, I would always come out to the right of the bridge and when I tried the 27.5" I came out dead center. Add to that the fact that Santa Cruz took the Tallboy out of their line just when I would have pulled the trigger and the Pivot was a little too expensive to justify. I did two more Santa Cruz demo's and the 5010 was the clear winner over the Bronson so I bought it.

Soon after that, the Tallboy V2 arrived but I had my bike and was happy with it.

Back to the present. I really like the 27.5+ I've ridden but hesitate to make plus size my only bike. I've continued to rent 29's when I'm off riding somewhere far from home and like them.

My options will be to test ride the next versions of the Tallboy, Highboy and Highboy LT when they are introduced in the next few months. In the mean time I've gone to a 140 mm Pike on my 5010 V1 and demoed the new Blur last summer which blew me away but a $10,000 bike should blow me away.

One last option is to stay with my current 5010, upgrade to a 12x1 drivetrain and a 2.5" tire in front which the Pike can handle and buy a new Chameleon 27.5+.

If anyone was around the last time I went through this, you will know I don't just jump into a new bike, tempting as that may be so enjoy the ride.
First world problems I understand. You have a great bike now so one that complements it could make sense. It is really nice to have a hard tail and do it all gravel/tour type of bike too. Right now my wife and two teens are sharing several bikes so it is easy for me to love any of them. We like to ride from home and that also influences things. A hard tail is nice for that. At times the gravel/tour bikes are riding single track too.

If you want to keep your 5010 keep in mind there's not much a bike like an AM hard tail can't do. They're slow as road bikes and poor as expert trail bikes but my wife and I love our off road touring bikes too. With a fleet of bikes for all of us, I'd stress over keeping the steel Honzo, Fargo or Kona Sutra Ltd. if you could truly just have one bike. If you could have two it would be the Fuel EX (current generation) and the Sutra Ltd. with slimmer tires.

I made a mistake in my earlier post. It's a Hightower my friend has that I've ridden against my Fuel EX. In some ways they are more alike than the marketing departments or brand fan boys would admit. The "Reaktiv" shock is nice in the comparison because it doesn't stiffen up the way VPP and other modern designs did while testing yet it doesn't bob when you pedal. It's more like a Horst for keeping the tire planted yet suspension still working but unlike Horst type, doesn't sink or feel soft.

Now there appears to be far more options for approx 30 mm bead width rims without breaking the bank. You can buy two bikes for the price of a high end bike and have so much more fun in life.

Good luck solving these first world problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks.

These are absolutely "First World Problems." I would never deny that.

I failed to mention that I own a one year old Cannondale CAAD12 Ultegra road bike I frequently ride and an Independent Fabrication Steel Deluxe HT I seldom ride.

I'm looking for something that will roll over roots and rocks, go fast, handle tight turns etc. The 5010 does meet that criteria but there has been a fairly rapid evolution in bike geometry over the past half decade and I have the money so I also have the interest. Yes, I would like to make riding technical easier since I don't plan to change where I ride.

My wife gave up mountain biking years ago when she became tired of removing pieces of her glasses from her cheek, or so she says. She still rides road with me but not the longer, faster, groups I travel with.

Anyway, the idea of a Chameleon 27.5+ hardtail intrigues me. Maybe because I used to have a 26" Chameleon I built up for downhill at Diablo Bike Park, (now back to the Mountain Creek name). I have fond memories of it. I also no longer ride DH.

I might be looking for one "do all" mountain bike plus my road bike and could be willing to trade in both the 5010 and IF.

Anyway, thanks again for your input. I'm off with the wife for a road ride shortly.
 

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These are absolutely "First World Problems." I would never deny that.

I failed to mention that I own a one year old Cannondale CAAD12 Ultegra road bike I frequently ride and an Independent Fabrication Steel Deluxe HT I seldom ride.

I'm looking for something that will roll over roots and rocks, go fast, handle tight turns etc. The 5010 does meet that criteria but there has been a fairly rapid evolution in bike geometry over the past half decade and I have the money so I also have the interest. Yes, I would like to make riding technical easier since I don't plan to change where I ride.

My wife gave up mountain biking years ago when she became tired of removing pieces of her glasses from her cheek, or so she says. She still rides road with me but not the longer, faster, groups I travel with.

Anyway, the idea of a Chameleon 27.5+ hardtail intrigues me. Maybe because I used to have a 26" Chameleon I built up for downhill at Diablo Bike Park, (now back to the Mountain Creek name). I have fond memories of it. I also no longer ride DH.

I might be looking for one "do all" mountain bike plus my road bike and could be willing to trade in both the 5010 and IF.

Anyway, thanks again for your input. I'm off with the wife for a road ride shortly.
FYI for your wife. Modern trail bike 29r, Salsa Fargo & flat pedals were and are a revolution for my wife. Especially after she rode with a friend who she listened to vs me. She does trail riding again limited to types she enjoys, rides a lot, and the comfy and handles it all nature of the off road tourer has meant she does a lot.
 

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wheel size and HT vs. FS are a couple of things to consider but you should also consider designs that include "new geometry" steep 75+ SA and slack -66 HA is some kinda fun...
 
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