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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm back into the mountain bike search after maybe 15-20 years on an aluminum Turner Flux 26er. I like this bike cause it's zippy, it can take some bumps and jumps but it isn't super heavy. Something that bunny hops well and is playful if I'm out of the seat alot. My trails in my area are mostly XC orientated if anything something with 4 inches of rear travel will be fine to get over rocks and roots and more technical sections. Lots of rocks and small roots in upstate NY. No major drop offs larger than 1-2 ft. Mostly single track that has some quick steep climbs and some windy stuff too which requires an agile maneuverable bike. Something to climb up a hill which might even have a small long on it that i have to ride over while going up hill.

So I think I'd like a full suspension XC bike. I heard full suspension isn't that much heavier than hardtail so why not get alittle cushion. I was leaning on 27.5 but it looks like there's alot more selection in the 110-130mm travel around 29ers. I'm 5'6, 40yr old, 155lb.

Things that mean alot to me, low weight, good climbing, agility and good handling. I actually don't mind a twitchy bike, I ride a track bike on the road and i don't mind the steering on it. I see that bikes have gotten alot more relaxed headtube angle and it's a bit concerning but I"m sure it's for the best.

Some ideas I'm considering after reading through tons of reviews in order of my current favorites (items 1-4 I have a local dealer for but I don't have a way to demo with coronavirus closures):
1) Ibis Ripley (seems like a super fun bike, and I hear the DWLINK is good except for alittle peddle bob sometimes)
2) Trek Fuel EX 9.8 (seems like a really light bike but worried I'm paying a trek tax for the name)
3) Yeti SB100 (Don't know much bout this but seems really expensive, I'm guessing it's more plush than the IBIS)
4) Scott Spark 900 (seems more racey than the others above, again, don't know much about it)

Other bikes I have heard good things about via online reviews:
5) Rocky Mountain Element
6) Santa Cruz Tallboy
7) Giant Anthem Advanced
8) Pivot Mach 4 SL

Is there any other bikes I should consider? How do I narrow the above list down without being able to ride them? Is it ok to buy a bike without riding it? How would you research in this case?

Lastly, I'd like to be under $5-6K ish

If anyone has ridden these bikes, please let me know how they compare.
 

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Thing with the trek price is you’re getting carbon wheels which most of the others don’t and why they seem cheaper.

Fezzari signal peak, canyon neuron, Orbea oiz, spot ryve 115, specialized epic evo, Kona hei hei, BMC agonist, GG trail pistol, etc. Too many to choose from...

After lots of internet shopping, I’ve decided the trek and spot look like the best bikes while the fezzari, Orbea, and canyon look like the value.
 

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I've ridden 3 of those bikes....Ripley, Mach 4, and Giant Anthem all at separate demos and would happily ride any of them for the xc/trail riding I do. 2018-2019 models

Giants are usually a great value. The Anthem was a great bike with dialed suspension. I liked it a lot more than the 27.5 Trance. I probably would have bought one but they were completely sold out. I think the 29 trance would be even better but it wasn't out yet when I went to the demo.

I have liked every Pivot I have ridden but I just can't justify the price. They are solid. Climb well, descend well, and are a lot of fun.

The Ripley was awesome, but again above my price point for the spec I wanted. The newest Ripley is longer slacker (of course) and supposed to be fantastic.

In the end, I found a new old stock 2017 AL Transition Smuggler for a great price. Bought it online without a demo and absolutely love it. It's not as rowdy as the current model which suits my riding. Another bike in this genre which is a blast is the Devinci Django.
 

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Look at the YT Izzo too. The Pro Race at 5299 it comes with a X01 group, Fox Factory fork, and DT Swiss carbon wheels. The Trek EX 9.8 at 5499 comes with a fork and component group thats one step down. Same with the Ripley...at 5399...you're also getting a GX group and a Performance level Fox fork.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Look at the YT Izzo too. The Pro Race at 5299 it comes with a X01 group, Fox Factory fork, and DT Swiss carbon wheels. The Trek EX 9.8 at 5499 comes with a fork and component group thats one step down. Same with the Ripley...at 5399...you're also getting a GX group and a Performance level Fox fork.

Interesting company, thanks for the tip, looks like a super deal but I know nothing about this frame. Also long lead times on it it seems. I gotta find reviews about it. What's the rear suspension like compared to DWLINK?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've ridden 3 of those bikes....Ripley, Mach 4, and Giant Anthem all at separate demos and would happily ride any of them for the xc/trail riding I do. 2018-2019 models

Giants are usually a great value. The Anthem was a great bike with dialed suspension. I liked it a lot more than the 27.5 Trance. I probably would have bought one but they were completely sold out. I think the 29 trance would be even better but it wasn't out yet when I went to the demo.

I have liked every Pivot I have ridden but I just can't justify the price. They are solid. Climb well, descend well, and are a lot of fun.

The Ripley was awesome, but again above my price point for the spec I wanted. The newest Ripley is longer slacker (of course) and supposed to be fantastic.

In the end, I found a new old stock 2017 AL Transition Smuggler for a great price. Bought it online without a demo and absolutely love it. It's not as rowdy as the current model which suits my riding. Another bike in this genre which is a blast is the Devinci Django.
I'm curious on the 27.5 bikes, I am coming from a 26er and never ridden a 29 being 5'6, worried and wondering if i should go 27.5 to be safer....
 

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I have a trek fuel ex and it’s climbing ability it superb, I’m the same height and weight as yourself and haven’t issues with the 29r , I came from a 26r too, don’t think you an wrong with it mate , descends as well as it climbs too


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Not to be pedantic, but are you talking about the Fuel or Top Fuel?

I’m currently trying to decide between the Top Fuel, new Hei Hei, and Spot’s Ryve 115....there are so many good ones....seems to be the “it” category right now.
 

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I'm curious on the 27.5 bikes, I am coming from a 26er and never ridden a 29 being 5'6, worried and wondering if i should go 27.5 to be safer....
Depends on your current cockpit - if you're not using a low bar height, the higher stack of a 29" might fit you ok. 27.5" generally have lower stack heights which give more low bar height options for shorter riders.
 

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I'm curious on the 27.5 bikes, I am coming from a 26er and never ridden a 29 being 5'6, worried and wondering if i should go 27.5 to be safer....
I'm 5'8" and was worried about the same thing until I road a few 29ers. I ride medium frames and have not had any issues with the fit/standover etc. For an xc leaning trailbike, 29" has worked very well for me. If I were riding super technical, rowdy trails all the time I'd probably get a 27.5. Bikes are pretty dialed and versatile these days regardless of wheelsize. I think it's more down to personal preference than one being specific to a style of riding. You should definitely take a ride on both wheelsizes to make sure though. Even a budget bike is a major purchase these days.
 

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Discussion Starter #12

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Discussion Starter #13
Not to be pedantic, but are you talking about the Fuel EX or Top Fuel?
For me at this point I'm lookin seriously at Ibis Ripley vs Santacruz Tallboy vs Trek Fuel EX 9.8. I like the YT Izzo too but I'm 5'6 and it falls right square in the middle of a Small and medium and I don't want to deal with a sizing issue like that or deal with the crazy lead time.

Also was considering the Banshee which I saw in a youtube review. Also hear Giant is a quality deal as well.
 

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I have a 20 Trek Top Fuel and an 18 Fuel EX. For what you said you will be riding I would suggest that you give the new Top Fuel some consideration also. Between the two, for what I ride the TF just does everything a little better/easier.
 

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I'm curious on the 27.5 bikes, I am coming from a 26er and never ridden a 29 being 5'6, worried and wondering if i should go 27.5 to be safer....
The 27.5 wheel size FS bike is great for our height, i'm 5'3". I rode the medium Ibis Mojo 3 for the pass 3 years and occasionally the SC Bronson. I thought I wont like the 29er bike, but I do. I just built a medium 2020 Ibis Ripley. Took it out last Sunday for the first time and I can tell that the Ripley pedal more efficient and climb better than the Mojo 3 and also handling as good as the Mojo 3.
 

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For me at this point I'm lookin seriously at Ibis Ripley vs Santacruz Tallboy vs Trek Fuel EX 9.8. I like the YT Izzo too but I'm 5'6 and it falls right square in the middle of a Small and medium and I don't want to deal with a sizing issue like that or deal with the crazy lead time.

Also was considering the Banshee which I saw in a youtube review. Also hear Giant is a quality deal as well.
I have a 20 Trek Top Fuel and an 18 Fuel EX. For what you said you will be riding I would suggest that you give the new Top Fuel some consideration also. Between the two, for what I ride the TF just does everything a little better/easier.
That’s why I asked. Bc the TopFuel seems more in line with the XC/DC type bikes like the SB100, Pivot Trail429, and Spark; while the Fuel.....EX :D seems more related to SB130, Revel Rascal, Process 134 type Trail bikes.
 

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I've had 3 of these bikes, the Ripley, Mach 4sl, and SB100. The SB100 is definitely not plusher than the Ripley. I found it kind of harsh, actually. The Pivot is a great bike, more of an XC bike really, no matter what fork you put on it. The Ripley is the best, most fun bike for the most types of trails short of DH-type terrain I've ridden. And at 5'6", you'd fit fine on a medium, don't even worry about the 29'er issue. I'm 5'7" and won't go back to 27.5 except for long-travel, gnarly trails that I don't even ride much anymore. lol
 

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Discussion Starter #18
That’s why I asked. Bc the TopFuel seems more in line with the XC/DC type bikes like the SB100, Pivot Trail429, and Spark; while the Fuel.....EX :D seems more related to SB130, Revel Rascal, Process 134 type Trail bikes.
Yea you guys are completely right. I meant the Top fuel EX 9.8 rather than the Fuel EX 9.8. Trek's naming scheme got me mixed up. I want the 120mm front and 115mm back.

How does it compare to a ripley though or that YT izzo?
 

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Yea you guys are completely right. I meant the Top fuel EX 9.8 rather than the Fuel EX 9.8. Trek's naming scheme got me mixed up. I want the 120mm front and 115mm back.

How does it compare to a ripley though or that YT izzo?
I demo’d the TF 9.9 about a month ago. It’s a rocket ship...fast fast fast. There’s a bunch of reviews in the TF thread, including mine. It is at the top of my list right now, but still want to demo the new Hei Hei.

Tons of people love the Ripley. I haven’t ridden the new one, so I dunno. And I don’t hunk you’ll find too much on the Izzo yet...but you will; they’ll prolly sell a billion of them.

I will say: I’d take the TF over the Pivot every time....but that’s the great thing about all the options: one man picks the TF and another prefers the Pivot.
 
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