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Discussion Starter #1
Riding a DiamondBack Release 3. It's a great bike and with the Manitou Drake shock installed it's been amazing for me as a heavy rider. But after last season I've discovered it's really too much bike for the type of riding I do. I do NOT need a 150/130mm travel bike with a 66 degree HT. I think that for what I ride, a 130mm travel bike would be more than enough. And something slightly steeper and shorter wheelbase. The Release is a bit like a tank honestly and does wonderful when pointed downhill but going up or just hitting tight twisty stuff...it sucks.

So what are some options that might fit my needs? Shorter travel. Slightly steeper HT angle. Shorter wheelbase. Clyde approved. 29" wheels.

Does such a beast exist? Doesn't have to be something on the new market either. In fact I'd prefer something that is a couple years old because I'd be looking to try and buy a used frame and swap over the parts from my Release.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
One option I have found so far is maybe the DiamondBack Catch with 29" wheels. It should check off everything except the shorter wheelbase. It is shorter but by like 2 or 3mm so I don't think that really counts. But same rear travel so I can re-use my Drake. 130mm fork (I'll convert my 150mm Pike down to 130mm), same pivot design as the Release so I know that's clyde approved, 68 degree HT vs. 66 degree.

I'm thinking some of the shorter travel Santa Cruz frames might work too since the Diamondback Level Link suspension system is pretty much a slightly tweaked ripoff of SC's VPP system. Maybe the 5010 if it'll take 29" wheels. It's 27.5+ so I'd assume it will but how well it works is something I'll have to look into. Maybe the older ones came in 29"? I don't know...I just see that the 2020 is 27.5/27.5+ only. No 29" option. The Tallboy looks alright too. 120mm 29" bike. But it is steeper and longer so...I know that doesn't tell the whole story but it's something to consider.

I'm definitely open to other suggestions.
 

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It sounds like you should be looking at the Tallboy (new one) and not the 5010. I run the last version of the Hightower (140/135), but I would have to buy a Tallboy now for the same reason you are looking. I know this is a world of "more is better," but I don't want a longer bike that comes with more travel because the trails where I live are tighter and some have sections of tight switchbacks.
 
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It sounds to me like you already have a decent trail bike and are searching for something that isn't there. Buy another set of tires or something. A 66 degree head angle is no longer slack. The Tallboy the poster above me is recommending is even slacker than that. There's perhaps a modest amount of speed still left in the bike, but it's way, way less than you think.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The Release isn't a trail bike. That's the problem. It's a big heavy downhill machine that handles like a tractor and climbs like ****. It's just a lot more bike than I need since I really don't hammer the downhills and definitely not on the type of terrain this bike was designed for. I'm looking for more of a XC full suspension bike. Something that handles and climbs better and I don't need 150mm of travel up front.
 

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Today's 150mm bikes pedal just as well as a 120-130mm bike. I dont see the need to even go with less travel than 150. Of course, just my opinion. But with the anti squat numbers they use these days, most "trail" bikes in that range pedal damn well!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Maybe because I don't use anywhere near 150mm a travel so it's wasted travel. It handles like ****. I don't like riding it. It sucks on climbs. It sucks on twisties. It pedals fine. But it still climbs poorly and handles poorly. It's a downhill beast. But it's not a nimble bike. Most trails i ride have a lot of uphill and a lot of twists and turns. Two things this bike doesn't do well. It's not about the pedaling. It's about the handling more than anything. I want a smaller more nimble bike. I don't need convinced that a 150mm bike is the bike I need or want because it's neither.
 

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Today's 150mm bikes pedal just as well as a 120-130mm bike. I dont see the need to even go with less travel than 150. Of course, just my opinion. But with the anti squat numbers they use these days, most "trail" bikes in that range pedal damn well!
I can not disagree with this any stronger other than to say: this is absolutely wrong. Take a couple examples: An SB 150 doesn't pedal or handle tight switchbacks nearly as well as an SB130...same with a Megatower vs a Tallboy. Or FB29 vs. T429...The Firebird is one of my all time favorite bikes and I haven't liked the T429...but not b/c the 429 is worse at climbing.

Are they close: maybe. Are you willing to give up that small bit of climbing prowess for the downs? Some people are. But "just as well"...no way.

OP: are you tall or just heavy? If you're talking 120 or 130 rear: Spot has some demo Mayhems bikes on sale and Alchemy has a good deal on their ArktosST. Just some ideas. Both are not necessarily less travel (a bit), but both are noted for their climbing manners.
 

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Bikes I know/own, like, and/or have ridden. Ibis Ripley, Pivot 429, Transition Smuggler, Kona Process 134. All are sturdy.

Others with 120-130 travel that may fit the bill- Giant Trance, Intense Sniper Trail, SC Tallboy, GG Trail Pistol.
 

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I can not disagree with this any stronger other than to say: this is absolutely wrong. Take a couple examples: An SB 150 doesn't pedal or handle tight switchbacks nearly as well as an SB130...same with a Megatower vs a Tallboy. Or FB29 vs. T429...The Firebird is one of my all time favorite bikes and I haven't liked the T429...but not b/c the 429 is worse at climbing.

Are they close: maybe. Are you willing to give up that small bit of climbing prowess for the downs? Some people are. But "just as well"...no way.

OP: are you tall or just heavy? If you're talking 120 or 130 rear: Spot has some demo Mayhems bikes on sale and Alchemy has a good deal on their ArktosST. Just some ideas. Both are not necessarily less travel (a bit), but both are noted for their climbing manners.
A Yeti SB150 is not a trail bike. It has a 170mm fork. That's strongly in "Enduro" category. Same with the other comparisons you're making. The Megatower and Firebird 29 are not trail bikes, either. The bike he's riding is a lot more like the SB130, Hightower, or Mach 5.5 than it is like the big travel enduro bikes you're entering into the discussion.

The bike he has already has 130mm of frame travel.

If the reason you disagree is that you thought someone was saying that a 170mm Enduro bike pedals just as well as a 140 or 150mm trail bike, then you're arguing with a straw man. While today's enduro bikes pedal great, I don't think anyone was saying that the really big travel bikes are as efficient as middle of the road trail bikes. A 150/130 travel bike can be ridden in an enduro race, but it is strongly in the "trail" category.

The Release isn't a trail bike. That's the problem. It's a big heavy downhill machine that handles like a tractor and climbs like ****. It's just a lot more bike than I need since I really don't hammer the downhills and definitely not on the type of terrain this bike was designed for. I'm looking for more of a XC full suspension bike. Something that handles and climbs better and I don't need 150mm of travel up front.
The Release is absolutely a trail bike and designed to be used as such. Diamondback does not market a downhill bike and their "Enduro" category bike is called the Mission. It sounds to me like you're just confused about what you have.

I highly doubt you're going to notice the difference between your current bike and a "trail" oriented bike with a 130mm fork. If you think you will, though, shortening the travel of your current fork to 130mm will steepen your bike's geometry if you really think that is going to make a huge difference.

It sounds to me like maybe you just need to buy some XC tires. Personally I won't ride trails with XCish tires because where I live, the terrain is loose and I'd be on my face. But if what you really care about is reducing rolling resistance and improving your speed, I'm willing to bet that a more XC oriented set of tires will do more to produce that feeling than any geometry or suspension dynamics changes you can make. It'll also cost you $150 instead of $4000 to buy some tires. You're already on a trail bike.

A slightly twitchier/shorter/steeper bike with less travel might save you a few seconds or a minute per HOUR of climbing in an XC race. That isn't enough to produce $4000 worth of results for me and if it was for you, you'd be at a shop buying a $12,000 XC race machine instead of on here asking for advice.

I have ridden basically every bike discussed in this thread and while the shorter travel 29ers are faster (e.g., the Trail 429 discussed above), the difference between the bike you're riding and that is so modest that if I had one, I wouldn't go buy the other. We discuss these kinds of tiny details as enthusiasts, but we're talking about single digit percentage efficiency differences here, not really anything relevant out there on the trail.
 

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A Yeti SB150 is not a trail bike.
I didn't say it was. He wrote: "Today's 150mm bikes pedal just as well as a 120-130mm bike." I was merely responding to what he wrote.


I highly doubt you're going to notice the difference between your current bike and a "trail" oriented bike with a 130mm fork.
I've never ridden a Diamondback (other than a BMX bike back in the day), but I'd possibly disagree with this as well. For example: Ibis Ripley is a 130/120 bike. A Transition Smuggler is a 140/120 bike. An Evil Following is a 130/120 bike. To me, the Ripley noticeably climbed better and was "quicker" than the Evil or Smuggler climb as well as the Ripley; the Smuggler, on the other hand, was much more stable and confidence-inspiring, to me, than the Ripley. These three bikes all fall within the same genre with (nearly) the same travel, but they have different strengths. And it was definitely noticeable when riding them back-to-back.

What I'm getting at (and the reason I suggested what I did) was: maybe he doesn't need a different "genre" of bike, but one that has better climbing mannerisms.

Note: Reviews on the Release seem pretty positive, so maybe it's the set up???
 

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You guys are going way off topic. Obviously not all 130 travel bikes pedal the same, not even close, we can all agree on that.

Now, just let the OP have his thread and knock off the bickering. If you feel the need to hash it out take it to PM or just start a new thread.

Back to your regularly scheduled programing...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
A Yeti SB150 is not a trail bike. It has a 170mm fork. That's strongly in "Enduro" category. Same with the other comparisons you're making. The Megatower and Firebird 29 are not trail bikes, either. The bike he's riding is a lot more like the SB130, Hightower, or Mach 5.5 than it is like the big travel enduro bikes you're entering into the discussion.

The bike he has already has 130mm of frame travel.

If the reason you disagree is that you thought someone was saying that a 170mm Enduro bike pedals just as well as a 140 or 150mm trail bike, then you're arguing with a straw man. While today's enduro bikes pedal great, I don't think anyone was saying that the really big travel bikes are as efficient as middle of the road trail bikes. A 150/130 travel bike can be ridden in an enduro race, but it is strongly in the "trail" category.



The Release is absolutely a trail bike and designed to be used as such. Diamondback does not market a downhill bike and their "Enduro" category bike is called the Mission. It sounds to me like you're just confused about what you have.

I highly doubt you're going to notice the difference between your current bike and a "trail" oriented bike with a 130mm fork. If you think you will, though, shortening the travel of your current fork to 130mm will steepen your bike's geometry if you really think that is going to make a huge difference.

It sounds to me like maybe you just need to buy some XC tires. Personally I won't ride trails with XCish tires because where I live, the terrain is loose and I'd be on my face. But if what you really care about is reducing rolling resistance and improving your speed, I'm willing to bet that a more XC oriented set of tires will do more to produce that feeling than any geometry or suspension dynamics changes you can make. It'll also cost you $150 instead of $4000 to buy some tires. You're already on a trail bike.

A slightly twitchier/shorter/steeper bike with less travel might save you a few seconds or a minute per HOUR of climbing in an XC race. That isn't enough to produce $4000 worth of results for me and if it was for you, you'd be at a shop buying a $12,000 XC race machine instead of on here asking for advice.

I have ridden basically every bike discussed in this thread and while the shorter travel 29ers are faster (e.g., the Trail 429 discussed above), the difference between the bike you're riding and that is so modest that if I had one, I wouldn't go buy the other. We discuss these kinds of tiny details as enthusiasts, but we're talking about single digit percentage efficiency differences here, not really anything relevant out there on the trail.
I really don't care what you want to call the bike. I don't like riding it no matter the category it fits it. That's a completely irrelevant point. Trial bike. Enduro. Downhill. Who cares. It handles like ass and I don't want to ride it.

I have more XC oriented tires on the bike. That doesn't change the handling characteristics. Still handles and steers like a big rig.

Don't care about shaving seconds or even minutes off a time. I don't race. I care about enjoying my ride, having fun, and liking the bike i'm on. It's difficult to enjoy a ride when you're fighting the bike and not liking the way it rides.
 

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I didn't say it was. He wrote: "Today's 150mm bikes pedal just as well as a 120-130mm bike." I was merely responding to what he wrote.
A Yeti SB 130 is not a "150mm bike." It's a 170mm bike. Nobody was saying that enduro and trail bikes pedal the same, although new suspension designs are pretty impressive. But within a category, the difference between "trail" bikes, which generally have 120-130mm of frame travel and 130-150mm of fork travel, there isn't a lot of difference. That's the point. Bringing a 170mm bike into the discussion is a straw man.

I've never ridden a Diamondback (other than a BMX bike back in the day), but I'd possibly disagree with this as well. For example: Ibis Ripley is a 130/120 bike. A Transition Smuggler is a 140/120 bike. An Evil Following is a 130/120 bike. To me, the Ripley noticeably climbed better and was "quicker" than the Evil or Smuggler climb as well as the Ripley; the Smuggler, on the other hand, was much more stable and confidence-inspiring, to me, than the Ripley. These three bikes all fall within the same genre with (nearly) the same travel, but they have different strengths. And it was definitely noticeable when riding them back-to-back.

What I'm getting at (and the reason I suggested what I did) was: maybe he doesn't need a different "genre" of bike, but one that has better climbing mannerisms.

Note: Reviews on the Release seem pretty positive, so maybe it's the set up???
There are minor differences within a category, but not enough to make the bike behave like something totally different. A trail bike is a trail bike. We have our preferences, sure, but there isn't some drastic difference in efficiency. All modern bikes are pretty good.
 

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I really don't care what you want to call the bike. I don't like riding it no matter the category it fits it. That's a completely irrelevant point. Trial bike. Enduro. Downhill. Who cares. It handles like ass and I don't want to ride it.

I have more XC oriented tires on the bike. That doesn't change the handling characteristics. Still handles and steers like a big rig.

Don't care about shaving seconds or even minutes off a time. I don't race. I care about enjoying my ride, having fun, and liking the bike i'm on. It's difficult to enjoy a ride when you're fighting the bike and not liking the way it rides.
Change your tires. They will make more difference than buying another trail bike.
 

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Change your tires. They will make more difference than buying another trail bike.
He already said he's using XC tires. Also he doesn't sound like he needs another person telling him what he wants.

The OP is simply trying to get recommendations for a 'better' bike to suite his needs. Repeatedly telling him his current bike is just fine isn't accomplishing anything.

If you don't have anything useful to add, move on to another thread. It's frustrating just reading these replies.
 

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He already said he's using XC tires. Also he doesn't sound like he needs another person telling him what he wants.

The OP is simply trying to get recommendations for a 'better' bike to suite his needs. Repeatedly telling him his current bike is just fine isn't accomplishing anything.

If you don't have anything useful to add, move on to another thread. It's frustrating just reading these replies.
If none of the available options are "better," then how is that not useful to tell him?

Which of the ones you've mentioned is "better" for his use? I've ridden several of the ones you have and some that you haven't. Which one of them has a steeper head angle than 66 degrees? Which bike, especially the 29ers you've suggested, have a shorter wheelbase? I'm not saying they're bad suggestions, because of all the bikes you posted about, I'd happily ride any one of them. But they're not fast handling, super light weight, twitchy, XC type bikes. All of them are different flavors of trail bikes, which are longer and slacker than XC bikes.

If what he really wants is an XC bike, we should be talking about the Specialized Epic (68.5/73.8), Santa Cruz Blur (69/74), Trek Top Fuel (68.5/75.5), Pivot Mach 4 (67.5-68.5/75.5), etc. All of these bikes have shorter top tubes and put that length into the stem for proper rider fit, and so they will have shorter wheelbases not only from the front centers but also from the frame reach as well. If you want faster handling, less weight, and more maneuverability, these are the bikes for you--not a trail bike that seeks to split the difference between a rowdier machine and an XC bike and the resulting compromise.
 

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The Ripley in particular is decidedly modern XC with a touch more travel. It's a quick bike. Mostly the DW link suspension will be much more efficient and it will give a much snappier ride overall.

It's almost as quick as my Kona Hei Hei CR/DL, which is probably a bit shorter travel than what the OP is looking for, but tough enough to do the job. I'm 215lbs and have pushed that bike as far as I'm willing to and never had an issue. (Adirondacks, Pisgah for example)

The Transition and Kona Process are more towards the Trail side of things, mostly due to the suspension platform, but great all rounders.
 

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If none of the available options are "better," then how is that not useful to tell him?
What you're saying then is the Diamondback Release 3 is the best bike on the market and there is no 'better' option available for the OP? There's no other bikes that would suite his needs?

If that's the case, and there isn't a better bike, why are there so many different bikes available? Shouldn't we all be riding a Release? It's the best for everything?
 

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Santa Cruz Tallboy 4. Its already been mentioned and its fits the OP's spec perfectly. Life time warranty. I know a 330lb+ rider who's been riding a 2013(?) TB without any issues. I picked up a TB4 in December (2020). I'm 6', 250lbs and the TB4 is the best bike I've ever owned.

Contact SC and find out when there will be a demo in your area. I demo'ed the MegaTower, HighTower and lastly the Tallboy on local trails. I ended up purchasing the Tallboy. My previous bike had 5"-6" front/rear travel. The stock Tallboy felt way more plush, smooth, and stiff than anything I've ridden. The demo crew set it up for my weight. I was and remain very pleased with the TB's performance.
 
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