Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
OK - mixed trail/gravel/tarmac/bike-packing everything-adventure. We live along an epic gravel route, miles of the stuff even just to the mailbox, and past blue/green single track on the way. What would you choose? Fully rigid or hardtail? 27.5+ or 29+? Being a 'small framed' 5'10" at about 145lb, is 29+ going to feel huge?

I really like the on-paper geo of the Fuse 29, and 29x2.6" seems like it would be a great all-rounder size for me.

The Bombtrack would be more biased toward bike-packing with 29x3.0 and fully rigid.

The Esker Japhy seems somewhere in between these, but longer reach and shorter stack than the Fuse.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
958 Posts
Good questions and cool bike choices. Obviously everyone here is going to be completely biased, but I'll give it a shot :)

  • I always opt for steel when it's an option. The ride quality, the repairability, etc. Strike against the fuse.
  • I always opt for a frame that can be run singlespeed (if you haven't tried it you are missing out). Strike against the bombtrack.
  • I always want the ability to run the biggest tires possible with the rear wheel slammed forward while single speeding. Big tires and short chainstays are awesome. I'm amazed the bombtrack can run a 3.0 without a chainstay yoke, but then the wheel is staying back in the fixed drop. I own a Japhy and I know that despite Esker's marketing it won't accommodate a 2.8 slammed, but it has great rocker dropouts. Not sure the biggest rear tire the fuse will run. I guess this is a win for the bombtrack if you're never going to try SS (which would be awful)
  • Geo…. Again, I own a Japhy and I'm running it rigid singlespeed with a 3.25 up front and a 2.6 out back. It's the slackest of the three bikes you mentioned (about 65 deg HTA unsagged) and I don't love it. It's super confidence inspiring on gnarly downhills, but a bit floppy on slow meandering stuff. The Japhy also has the steepest STA of the bikes you're looking at. For what you're talking about riding, the bombtrack geo looks awesome. The fuse looks great for a more technical singletrack bias.
  • Suspension fork? I can't stand them, and run both of my mtbs rigid (and SS). And I ride all the same stuff my squishy friends ride. For a bike you want to spend time on gravel and for bike packing, a rigid fork (with a big tire) is the way to go. Bombtrack for the win here.
  • Bike packing? For having such relatively long/low/slack progressive geo, the Japhy has an incredible number of mounting points for bags. I wouldn't choose this geo for bike packing, but whatever. The bombtrack also is equipped with mounts. Strike against the fuse.
  • 27.5 vs 29? I have both a 27.5x3.8 bike and the Japhy. Rollover from the 29 is amazing. I personally would never run 27.5 unless the tire was at least a 3.8. You're absolutely tall/big enough to handle 29+. Trust me.
  • big bike brands vs the little guys? I avoid the big guys. Japhy and bombtrack tie.

Net/net, I think the bombtrack checks your boxes. I'm not a fan of big sweep bars, but maybe you are, and that's easy to swap. Sorry in advance about the lack of sliding drops :)

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,332 Posts
CCSS, you saved me some keying.

The Bombtrack would be drool-worthy with adjustable dropouts. As is you might as well get a Krampus, which I’d pick before any of these.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CCSS

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks @CCSS for the solid breakdown!
So - your experience with the Japhy is very interesting. Do you think the 'floppy' feeling you describe would feel better on a Hayduke (which can't run 29+, but 27.5+/29 x 2.4).
re:SS - definitely not opposed, sounds fun - just overwhelmed with hobbies, kids, and work, so I am not sure how much bike tinkering I'll be doing.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
958 Posts
thanks @CCSS for the solid breakdown!
So - your experience with the Japhy is very interesting. Do you think the 'floppy' feeling you describe would feel better on a Hayduke (which can't run 29+, but 27.5+/29 x 2.4).
re:SS - definitely not opposed, sounds fun - just overwhelmed with hobbies, kids, and work, so I am not sure how much bike tinkering I'll be doing.

The floppy feeling is due to a relatively slack HTA (probably just under 65 degrees unsagged) and a rigid fork which won't sag :). The Hayduke is listed as 67.6 unsagged, so 1.6 degrees steeper than the Japhy. I think that'd make a huge difference in front end stability on flat/slow terrain. That said, I just ordered a Works Components +/- 2 degree angle adjust headset for the Japhy, so it might do exactly the trick I'm looking for...


Funny things about singlespeed: 1) it's not a hobby, it's a way of life! 2) it's actually way easier when your life is busy because you're not fiddling w/ gear adjustments or breaking derailleurs/hangers or cleaning/lubing all that stuff. (It's also lighter, cheaper, quieter, and makes you smile when you pass folks on their gearies) ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Totally! I'm just learning so it's great to hear all of this. So it sounds like the Hayduke would be more flexible geo-wise than a Japhy if I wanted to use a rigid fork, right?

I wouldn't choose this geo for bike packing, but whatever. ;)
I know it seems weird, but up here it might make sense since some of the routes we might take are in fact just extended single-track. Our friends down the road at Cedaero make the Hayduke frame bag, so I can't be the only one thinking this way. But even just looking between the Eskers it's difficult for me to choose between the 27.5-focused Hayduke and the Japhy. It might be easier to decide if the Japhy could run 29x3.0 on an i40, but I think a more gravel/road-focused 29x2.25 would run better with a nicer BB position on the Hayduke. I am sure I am overthinking it and could be perfectly happy all-around with a 29x2.6.

BTW I haven't looked much at Surly despite the "local" MN QBP connection. I don't really consider them the little guy, and don't feel that they have the same values as a small company like Esker. Also, because I'm looking at complete bikes, the components matter, and Surly seems to aim more for price. I'd bet the frame is not as nice as the Esker, too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,332 Posts
I didn’t make a full-throated pitch for the Krampus because of the non boutique status. But it is smartly designed and comfortable as anything (especially loaded).

I was surprised at the original three bikes. The Fuze in there made it seem like you need to decide whether you want to pursue plus or not. Landing on 2.6 size kind of starts a whole new conversation. Any route to your ideal bike is good. FWIW, I agree that fun trail geo is pretty much useless on dirt auto roads.

Edit: If 29 x 2.6 was it for me I’d have Stooge Mk5 high on the list.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Side note, I am balancing my wife's influence on the color decision and while I love the "Desolation" white Esker Japhy, she wants me to get a dark/woodsy/understated color. If choosing on color alone, the forest green Hudski Doggler, "Tank Green" extinct Surly ECR, or matte black 2022 Fuse Expert would all be top choices.



2020 Surly ECR Now in Tank Green - BIKEPACKING.com


Fuse Expert 29
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,887 Posts
I own the older 27.5+ Beyond+ with the steel fork(carbon fork was only option for the Euro markets on the + ADV gets it standard). My only con with the bike is the geo could be a bit more modern, which is closer on ADV(& 2021+ B+) but they could have made the hta .5* more slacker & reach 10mm longer. The frame from what I remember is a a few grams heavier when compared to a Japhy, but not sure if that matters or not to you..

I know Hardtail party on youtube yesterday put out a video where he puts 29x3.0 on his review unit to see how the bike would perform as a bike packing rig. The Japhy is contender if I ever decide to go 29+. That said I love the bike as it feels very well built & even with the WTB Scrapers wheels & 2.8 tires it's pretty comfortable to ride I also have no complaints riding it on road other than I wish it was 30lbs vs 32-33lbs when riding to the trails.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Fuse is the best hardtail I have ever ridden and is a serious contestant for the best bike I have ridden. It just plain rips… not sure if that is enough feedback to help your cause.
Oh and I have been riding Mtn bikes for almost 30 years so I have been on a bunch of different bikes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Fuse is the best hardtail I have ever ridden and is a serious contestant for the best bike I have ridden. It just plain rips… not sure if that is enough feedback to help your cause.
Oh and I have been riding Mtn bikes for almost 30 years so I have been on a bunch of different bikes.
Awesome - am I crazy to be looking at using it for long trips (in addition to ST, imperfect gravel, forest roads, ... tarmac, etc.)? I see Lael Wilcox has made good use of HT's (including the Fuse) on longer rides than I will probably ever do, so there has to be something to this option. I am encouraged by this review 'Josh Mercado, product manager at Specialized, mentioned: "this is the company's go-to bikepacking model so keeping the rack compatibility was important."'
It lacks all of the attachment points of the Bombtrack and the Esker, but I am not sure that will be an issue for me in real world usage. Frame bags can attach with straps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,887 Posts
thanks for your comments @Funoutside ! I think a Beyond+ ADV could be made <30lb without too much trouble, right?
If you go with their carbon fork, which comes on their stock models & lighter rims than the stock Scrapers(i40 on my model) I would think so. Mines has the steel fork, which has a 500mm a-c & 51mm offset fork vs some of the competition which is at 487mm or so at 47mm offset. Carbon fork is the same spec but like 900 grams lighter, which should help, but then you loose the advantage of steel when bikepacking. Speaking of which Bikepacking.com did have a first look on the ADV.
Also a reader rig of the older ADV, which is pretty much the same as the current model(2020+) with the only difference being the lack of mounts on the seat stays & top tube.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If you go with their carbon fork, which comes on their stock models & lighter rims than the stock Scrapers(i40 on my model) I would think so...
Right! And it looks like MyBikeShop has some in stock right now! With the ADV do you think the H-bars would be less useful on single track? Of course they could be switched out, and I bet the Jones bars would be awesome on a long trip. I'd probably add a dropper. Magura Trail Sport brakes and GX drivetrain sound good to me.
I know this is ridiculous, but if the ADV were in a dark green or the original gray color, I would have already ordered one. I'm hesitant about the blue, but it might look awesome in person.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Also a reader rig of the older ADV, which is pretty much the same as the current model(2020+) with the only difference being the lack of mounts on the seat stays & top tube.
I had seen this before, but I love his comment, sounds like me:
My BMX upbringing made me who I am today, the DIY vibe, punk music, strong sense of community, travel, and being a bit of an outcast were all good forerunners to the life I now lead. ... Overall, the ADV feels like a giant BMX, which suits me perfectly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,887 Posts
Since mines was pre-built model Beyond+ 1 it came with bombtrack branded bars. I have no experience with jones bar other than I held one in person when I was buying my Beyond+ at my lbs but decide to wait until they go some Crazy Bars in. This was in Feb of 2020. I liked the stock bars enough that it quelled some of the need to try a different bar. My friend has Jones bar on their HardRock from the early 90s & really likes it. I'd say hold one in person if you can(both the regular & raised model if you can). I think 2021 model might come in gray or at least saw one on their social media.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
958 Posts
Reading the latest back and forth I think the bombtrack or the hayduke are for you. The Jones bar (imho) is wacky. If you want to ride techy singletrack (and you aren’t Jeff Jones) get at regular, 760-ish bar with 9 degree-ish sweep. Opt for the biggest tires you can run. Smile. Shred. Share pics. (And try SS at some point)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I am leaning toward the Hayduke H2 spec (if I manage to get one before they sell out) running 27.5 x 2.6/2.8" on the stock set of wheels and lighter gravel-speed-distance focused 29 x 2.x on maybe some carbon wheels. Thinking of the "Platinum" matte gray/silver color, but nervous with no real photos. I like the idea of supporting a small US product company (as an owner of a small US product company myself).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
160 Posts
thanks for your comments @Funoutside ! I think a Beyond+ ADV could be made <30lb without too much trouble, right?
Her large Beyond+ ADV with the carbon fork is 29 lbs vanilla - that said, the nextie i40 carbon rims, sqlab 30x carbon bars (16 degree backsweep) and 900 gram tyres (XR2, cannoli) save a bit. Will put a Garbaruk cage on it when the current SRAM jobbie wears out - that will save a bit more too. My xl Krampus with a carbon fork, Garbaruk cage, Stooge Moto bars and light bicycle i45 wheels also weighs 29 pounds. Nice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Her large Beyond+ ADV with the carbon fork is 29 lbs vanilla - that said, the nextie i40 carbon rims, sqlab 30x carbon bars (16 degree backsweep) and 900 gram tyres (XR2, cannoli) save a bit. Will put a Garbaruk cage on it when the current SRAM jobbie wears out - that will save a bit more too. My xl Krampus with a Garbaruk cage, Stooge Moto bars and light bicycle i45 wheels also weighs 29 pounds. Nice.
Sounds great! Since you're experienced with both, how do you find the Beyond+ ADV vs. the Krampus? How much single track are you riding vs. mixed road surfaces?

Here is one of the trails I want to ride with my son: https://www.trailforks.com/trails/jackpot-200136/
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top