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What bike did you get, Curveball? (I think I recall, but unsure.) TIA
=sParty
At the time, it was configured as a Shred Dogg. Since then I've converted it to a Megatrail though. It was really awesome as a Shred Dogg and led me to riding ever more steeper and rougher terrain. So I decided to just Megatrail it. I got a "new" bike for no cost by taking a spacer out of the shock and extending the fork travel! Even being almost four years old, it still feels very contemporary.
 

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I bought my bike at the Duthie demo day in 2017. I rode a bunch of bikes there and my current bike just stood out so much that I couldn't pass on it. After riding it around a few trails, I didn't want to give it back because it fit me so well.
I didn't have quite that level of experience when I was there, but I did have a clear standout.

I rode a Canyon Spectral, Diamondback Mission (the new 180mm one), Pivot mach... 6?, and Transition Smuggler. The Smuggler was far and away my favorite (and fastest). I haven't been able to demo any other bikes since then, but I'm curious to see if I can find out what it was about the Smuggler that I liked so much (was it the short travel? Longer chainstays, but identical reach of my current bike? Was it the higher end suspension? Maybe the short offset fork?).

I'm anxious to get more seat time on a variety of bikes here sometime in the future though, to figure out what it was that I was liking so much.
 

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At the time, it was configured as a Shred Dogg. Since then I've converted it to a Megatrail though. It was really awesome as a Shred Dogg and led me to riding ever more steeper and rougher terrain. So I decided to just Megatrail it. I got a "new" bike for no cost by taking a spacer out of the shock and extending the fork travel! Even being almost four years old, it still feels very contemporary.
That’s what I thought. My GF rides a Shred Dogg, I’m on an XL Smash, both aluminum. We love our bikes, although at my size & weight, the relatively heavy platform doesn’t bother me at all; the same can’t be said for her (5’3”, 106#). So last summer she ordered a V4 Ibis Mojo which is expected to land any minute. Carbon everything, should be about 5# lighter than her GG.

Anyway yeah, GG makes great bicycles. Then & now. (y)
=sParty
 

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I didn't have quite that level of experience when I was there, but I did have a clear standout.

I rode a Canyon Spectral, Diamondback Mission (the new 180mm one), Pivot mach... 6?, and Transition Smuggler. The Smuggler was far and away my favorite (and fastest). I haven't been able to demo any other bikes since then, but I'm curious to see if I can find out what it was about the Smuggler that I liked so much (was it the short travel? Longer chainstays, but identical reach of my current bike? Was it the higher end suspension? Maybe the short offset fork?).

I'm anxious to get more seat time on a variety of bikes here sometime in the future though, to figure out what it was that I was liking so much.
My suspicion is that there's not a single thing you will be able to narrow in on. Rather, the bike is a complete package, and the specific combination of things in THAT particular bike made it more enjoyable to you.

This is why I don't find it terribly useful to hyper-analyze details.
 

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My suspicion is that there's not a single thing you will be able to narrow in on. Rather, the bike is a complete package, and the specific combination of things in THAT particular bike made it more enjoyable to you.

This is why I don't find it terribly useful to hyper-analyze details.
Yeah that's pretty much it. Not only does the sizing need to work, but the suspension kinematics too. It all has to come together to feel just right.
 

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That’s what I thought. My GF rides a Shred Dogg, I’m on an XL Smash, both aluminum. We love our bikes, although at my size & weight, the relatively heavy platform doesn’t bother me at all; the same can’t be said for her (5’3”, 106#). So last summer she ordered a V4 Ibis Mojo which is expected to land any minute. Carbon everything, should be about 5# lighter than her GG.

Anyway yeah, GG makes great bicycles. Then & now. (y)
=sParty
The Smash didn't exist then or I might have gone with one. A Smash would probably work great for me and my local terrain, but I'm having too much fun with my Megatrail for now.
 

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I've had three FS MTB's in the last 7 years. Did not test ride any of them. Loved all three of them. As long as you know the size you need, reach, stack and geo it shouldn't be a problem. It's actually pretty cool once you have it built and get to ride it you start to assess the differences between them. Side note I've built all of my bikes from frames so I guess if you're not able to or don't want to build it yourself a demo might be worthwhile.
 

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Yeah that's pretty much it. Not only does the sizing need to work, but the suspension kinematics too. It all has to come together to feel just right.
Yeah, Santa Cruzes are so common as rental bikes, that's what I've probably rented the most over the years when I've been given the chance. They're nice enough, but they never "wow" me.

Transition is one brand I've wanted to get some demo miles on, but as yet have not had a chance. They're different enough that I'd expect to notice those differences and I wonder if I'd like them or not.
 

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I've test ridden a bike once in over 30 years of riding. At 6'7" and 250lbs I have heard nothing but the sound of sucking teeth and "you're special order" from every bike shop ever.
The one test ride required me going to Little Rock AR. I was living in England at the time.
Learn what you want from a bike and what measurements are important to you. If you can get a ride from another rider, yay. If not, learn to do your own research and what is actually important to you and your fit.,
 

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Try being one of us unlucky schmucks who requires that all of our bikes (sans full suspension anyways) have the option to be ran single speed. Everything with sliding dropouts these days only comes in frame form or is direct to consumer, which means every purchase is a roll of the dice. I've learned to embrace it at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
To those saying it's a numbers game it is but that won't tell you much about how the bike actually feels or how it behaves on a climb or a descent. And no amount of youtube will fix that for you since what I am looking for may be different than what the youtuber finds appealing. And you can only watch so many vids of bikes that descent like a bat out of hell but climbs like a goat before they all look the same ;). Fit is one thing but feel is completely different.

Also this lower, longer, slacker has really made it so the numbers of your last bike don't quite match anything else out there so how will the new one feel compared to the old one.

I would never buy a car without driving one 1st so why would you spend money on a bike without riding one 1st.
 

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I would never buy a car without driving one 1st so why would you spend money on a bike without riding one 1st.
Cuz ten-fold price difference? Actually with both cars and bikes I've purchased with minimal testing. You'll never get a full assessment of either purchase with a test ride/drive. A lot of the idiosyncrasies and nuances show up after living with the purchase for awhile. I've never owned a car or a bike that was perfect in every way; there's always been something that I'd improve upon.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
Actually with both cars and bikes I've purchased with minimal testing.
Minimal testing is not zero testing which is my point. You drove it, you sat in it, you fiddled with the dials. Even a lap around a parking lot can tell you a lot about a bike.
 

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Minimal testing is not zero testing which is my point. You drove it, you sat in it, you fiddled with the dials. Even a lap around a parking lot can tell you a lot about a bike.
Mehhh. I've bought bikes without ever throwing a leg over. Not that big of a deal.

Edit: Come to think of it, I once bought a new Audi S4 without ever having sat in that particular model year. Owned it for seven years before I sold it.

I figure that they’re just toys and they’re all temporary, not lifetime commitments.
 

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Experience matters. After thrashing mountain bikes for 35+ years, the geo charts tell me everything I need to know.

That’s not to say that my bike purchasing system will work for everyone. Just that it works for me.
=sParty
 

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How are you guys dealing with this issue of no Demos? Or even worse no bike to even parking lot ride?
Demos are overrated. Of my last 4 bikes I ordered all 4 of them site unseen. It doesn't particularly bother me. I can usually ride two different sizes of bikes and I pick based on the geo chart and what I am after out of the bike [ie. high speed stability or playfulness]. If I have questions I ask the company what they'd recommend.

I was at a demo a few years ago and because my buddy wanted to try the bike I was riding I swapped with him and rode the bike he was demoing. It was the same bike I owned and loved. The demo bike was awful and if that was the only info I had about that particular bike I would have told you it was a poor choice for me. In reality it was a great bike I rode for 4 years. I don't get too worked up about demos.

If you are unsure about bike fit contact the company and give them all your info [measurements, what you are riding now, etc...] and take their recommendation. Firstly they've sized a lot of people on their bikes and secondly if you were to have bike fit issues they'll be more sympathetic to helping you out.
 

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To those saying it's a numbers game it is but that won't tell you much about how the bike actually feels or how it behaves on a climb or a descent. And no amount of youtube will fix that for you since what I am looking for may be different than what the youtuber finds appealing. And you can only watch so many vids of bikes that descent like a bat out of hell but climbs like a goat before they all look the same ;). Fit is one thing but feel is completely different.

Also this lower, longer, slacker has really made it so the numbers of your last bike don't quite match anything else out there so how will the new one feel compared to the old one.

I would never buy a car without driving one 1st so why would you spend money on a bike without riding one 1st.
You are right about the longer geometry (and seatpost angle) being a big change, but I've had one bike I got rid of within 12 months. All the rest have been keepers.
 

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I went to my LBS, tried a few bikes they had in stock, found the one that fitted best and bought an online only bike with similar numbers. Worked out great.
 
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