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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after years of riding with more of a XC focus, I'm looking to get my first gravity specific bike. I've narrowed it down to the the following choices. Santa Cruz Driver 8, Commencal Supreme DH, and Canfield Brothers Jedi F1. Unfortunately there are no shops in the area that carry Commencal or Canfield. We do have a SC dealer, but no Driver 8's have come in yet as its a new model in the line. So basically I can't throw a leg over any of them. I have done a ton of research on all three and read as many reviews as I could find, but I'd like to hear from some folks that have had a chance to ride one or more of these frames so that I can get some real world comparisons.

I'd also like to her some feedback on sizing. I'm 6', 155 pounds. I tend to be more of a finesse type of rider rather than a plow rider that just blows through whatever line is in front of them. Like I said, I have been more of an XC/All Mountain rider in the past with a few DH days here and there on my everyday FS bike, so I'm used to being stretched out a bit. I currently ride a large Ellsworth Epiphany. SC recommends a medium in the Driver at my height, while Chris Canfield and the folks at Commencal both recommend large for me. I don't plan on doing a ton of freeride, but who knows. I definitely have been a gram counter in the past, so weight is something I tend to look at, but this bike will be strictly a gravity machine, shuttles and lifts, with hopefully very little climbing.

Let's hear what you guys have to say! Thanks for the input.

p.s. All bikes will be relatively comparable in build and price for the build kits I'm looking at, and I have access to industry deals on all three if that makes a difference in anyone's recommendations.
 

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William42 said:
two of those are downhill race bikes and one of those is a freeride bike. you should open your list up to include 3 wheeler recumbents, road bikes, xc bikes, tri bikes, touring bikes, and fixed gears.
I lol'd:thumbsup:
 

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Commencals are decently heavy, and so are Jedis from what I remember.

The Commencal will probably track the best, the Jedi will take big hits the best, and the Driver 8 will probably pedal the best. I would go for the Commencal, but that's just based on my kind of riding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow! That's super helpful. If you have read anything on the Driver 8, which I assume is the bike you are referring to as the freeride bike, it is more of a do it all gravity bike. The stock complete bike is set up for DH not freeride, with a Boxxer and single ring. If you are just going to mock other people's posts, then why bother.

I realize that the Commencal is more of a pure bread race bike, but with a lot of adjustability. The Jedi is sort of unique in he DH world as it is a true race bike, but with a shorther wheelbase/chainstay length and very capable as a freeride bike, so a little more nimble/playful just like the Driver. Hmm, maybe they aren't so different after all.
 

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Whilst Sir William the Great (#42) is a little bit grumpy today (who knows, it might be that time of the month again), and his post may appear steeped in unwarranted sarcasm, he does have a point in that those bikes are quite different.

I have not ridden any of those 3 bikes. I will however offer an opinion (welcome to the internet - there are lots of people here posting unsubstantiated or completely biased opinions, I don't see why I should not join the fun... :D ) - given that you are coming from an XC/AM background, and with your stated goals in mind, I would recommend the Driver 8 (from your list). It will be a more versatile bike, still capable of being pedalled around or even - gasp - up, and it will also problably be "easier" to ride on a lot of the gravity stuff you will be getting into now. The other 2 are effectively race-oriented rigs, and while they be blindingly fast, they will also lack a bit of "pop" in the suspension, and be generally less suited to tight twisty freeride tracks you might want to have a go at, and will also not be quite so easy to jump (they will absorb a lot of compression forces etc on take-offs and what not...). Note that if you are looking at last year's Supreme DH it is a different animal that could be recommended on the same basis as the Driver 8 (minus the climbing ability), in that it was often quoted as a playful bike as at home on the FR runs as the pure DH aspects. For 2009 however it was redesigned (linkage ratios etc) so now it's a ground-huggin speed machine...

There you go,my opinion, FWIW (not so much). You will undoubtedly get a bunch of other recommendations now, the most useful of which will obviously be the ones that go "get the xyz, I have it and its sick!".... :rolleyes:

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Iceman2058 said:
Whilst Sir William the Great (#42) is a little bit grumpy today (who knows, it might be that time of the month again), and his post may appear steeped in unwarranted sarcasm, he does have a point in that those bikes are quite different.

I have not ridden any of those 3 bikes. I will however offer an opinion (welcome to the internet - there are lots of people here posting unsubstantiated or completely biased opinions, I don't see why I should not join the fun... :D ) - given that you are coming from an XC/AM background, and with your stated goals in mind, I would recommend the Driver 8 (from your list). It will be a more versatile bike, still capable of being pedalled around or even - gasp - up, and it will also problably be "easier" to ride on a lot of the gravity stuff you will be getting into now. The other 2 are effectively race-oriented rigs, and while they be blindingly fast, they will also lack a bit of "pop" in the suspension, and be generally less suited to tight twisty freeride tracks you might want to have a go at, and will also not be quite so easy to jump (they will absorb a lot of compression forces etc on take-offs and what not...). Note that if you are looking at last year's Supreme DH it is a different animal that could be recommended on the same basis as the Driver 8 (minus the climbing ability), in that it was often quoted as a playful bike as at home on the FR runs as the pure DH aspects. For 2009 however it was redesigned (linkage ratios etc) so now it's a ground-huggin speed machine...

There you go,my opinion, FWIW (not so much). You will undoubtedly get a bunch of other recommendations now, the most useful of which will obviously be the ones that go "get the xyz, I have it and its sick!".... :sarcasm:

Good luck!
That's much more effective feedback. I am aware of the changes in the Supreme DH. I also looked at the Supreme 1, being a little shorter and more nimble, but the build on it is a bit on the low-end in my opinion, at least for the money. Everything I have read about the jedi points to it being more playful and flickable than some of the other race rigs out there. I agree that the Driver is probably a more versatile rig, but it's a bit of an unknown right now too as nobody really has one. I could go that route and get a more basic build with a Boxxer Team, Vivid 5.1 and the DH Team kit. In that set-up it would also be a bit less expensive then than the Supreme DH Team, or the Jedi build that I'm looking at. It would be closer in price to the standard Supreme DH. Food for thought

Thanks!
 

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okay this is one of the classic "i havn't ridden any but i think.." responses

but in my opinion from what i have heard is basically, the DH driver 8 should be a great bike, Im thinking it will have a similar feeling to the v10 just a little more tight and flick-able if you know what i mean.

the only things i have heard about the supreme DH have been neutral at best, but have not doing an specific research there.

and for the jedi i love the looks, and have only ever heard very positive things about it

if it were me it would be out of the driver 8 and jedi, but of course feel free to discount my suggestions as have not ridden either, hope it helped any way.
 

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I just pooped my pants earlier. I'm sorry for being a big meany. My depends were undependable and failed me :(

Your mother was very angry with me for doing it on her chest though.

but seriously. The jedi is all about tracking and stability. the commencial is all about tracking and stability. The driver 8 is a play bike meant to hold a line but be jumpy and whippy fun for bike parks.

Go to their websites and read what they're designed for. It doesn't take long to figure out they're a different class of bikes.

And I'm grumpy because its 108 degrees.
 

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Ojai Bicyclist said:
Commencals are decently heavy, and so are Jedis from what I remember.

The Commencal will probably track the best, the Jedi will take big hits the best, and the Driver 8 will probably pedal the best. I would go for the Commencal, but that's just based on my kind of riding.
Commencal is around 5.7kg with shock, while the jedi is around 4.6kg. That's not even close in weight.

From these 3 definately jedi.
1. Commencal is a great design with very nice susp but they are often mediecorly finished and brick heavy

2. Driver 8 is an FR rig as it has FR geo. It' also has VPP suspension which besides pedaling imho feels like poo for dh.

3. Canfield - it's light, the angles are dialed yet not to radical for a beginer in dh, the rear susp should carry speed great and pedal better than commencal for sure. Also the brothers have awesome CS and they produce frames in the same factory as banshee which has a very good quality (the new ones). It's an easy choice for me. If commencal had less isues with finish (loose susp elements) and weighted less it would have been a contender but imho as it stands it isn't.

BTW. You have narrowed it to these 3 bikes? They are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT and you don't look at them because of your local bike shop sells them so I think you are running blind here a bit.
 

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Godfather maybe tell us what are you looking in a bike besides weight and it being dh'ish? As for now the only dh light frame out of that 3 is the jedi but I'm sure there are other options (not that jedi is a bad bike, imo it's a great one ).
 

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Decide what class of bike you want, then expand your search and demo! IMHO, you must demo to find the bike that suits you if you are unsure of the type. It's really a pointless to debate until you know your class, budget, and how long you are willing to wait.

For DH you cannot go wrong with:
Jedi
Revolt
DHR
V10
M6
 

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Your never see a driver 8. Its just like when the v10 came out and no one could get one becuse they way Santa Cruz builds frames. I have a Jedi and have two days on it so far. Its the funnest DH bike so far. Had a old F1 from the Canfields a Mongoose BD Tripple. Ridden a Spec Big Hit a Turner DHR.
Chris and Lance are the best to deal and I use to work at shops.
Thats my 2 cents
VM
 

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Jedi Fun

norbar said:
Can you elaborate on the fun part of the jedi? Fun because of what? Agile in corners? How it behaves in air?
Just easy to ride. Pop off little stumps or go fast and rip turns. Its just fun. The old f1 was a point and shoot bike where the new Jedi is a jump this run that over kind of bike. All I can say is its fun.
VM
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
norbar said:
Godfather maybe tell us what are you looking in a bike besides weight and it being dh'ish? As for now the only dh light frame out of that 3 is the jedi but I'm sure there are other options (not that jedi is a bad bike, imo it's a great one ).
So the big things I'm looking for in a "gravity" bike are:

#1 I would like something that doesn't take days of riding shuttles for me to get comfortable on. I realize that everyone has a bike that they feal most at home on, but there are just some bikes that are comfortable instantly for almost anyone. Several forum posts have included such comments about the Jedi. The Driver is an unknown although they bill it as the pedalling position of a Nomad with the saddle up and the cockpit of a V10 with the saddle down (geo is closer to the Nomad just looking at the numbers), and the Supreme DH is perhaps a bit more at home once you get it up to speed, at least that's the feedback I've gotten.

#2 I want something that I won't get bored with in a season. I am pretty athletic and when I focus on a sport or activity I pick things up very quickly. I don't plan to race DH necessarily, but I plan on trail riding the heck out of whatever bike I get, almost entirely on lift accessed terrain or shuttle runs. I live in Eastern Washington and am surrounded by multiple ski resorts that offer biking trails in the summer. Some of the trails I ride do have some tighter sections with switchbacks and such, so the bike needs to be at least somewhat capable of negotiating tighter singletrack at slower or more moderate speeds. A bike that is only good going blazing fast just won't have the versatility I need. Currently I don't really do much freeride/stunts/drops etc.. I'm more of a keep it on the ground rider, but an occasional jump, bridge, ladder, etc. could find it's way into my riding.

#3 I have a 5" travel bike that I use for XC or any riding that requires much pedaling or climbing, so that is not an issue for the bike I choose.

#4 The biggest reason I have put these three on my short list is that I have access to industry deals on these brands. There are a couple of other brands I can get as well, but availability or the lack of a complete bike option or build kit would make it more difficult to get something. I could go with an Evil Revolt (frame only), Transition whatever (tend to be heavy although nice bikes and cool company), Tomac (DH bike out of stock and no real freeride bike)... The Jedi, Supreme DH, Supreme DH Team, Supreme 1, and Driver 8 are all available as complete bikes or with build kits and in stock now. The Driver is only available as a medium frame right now, but that's what they are pushing for my size anyway. The others are available in multiple sizes at the moment.

Does this additional info help in giving feedback? Please let me know if there is something else you would like to know that would help.
 

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Jedi & Supreme are pretty much strictly go fast downhill race bikes. really only meant for one purpose. Driver8 is more versatile supposedly with the geometry it has.

as far as your #1 stipulation...you have to get on those bikes to make that decision for yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
brillantesdv said:
Jedi & Supreme are pretty much strictly go fast downhill race bikes. really only meant for one purpose. Driver8 is more versatile supposedly with the geometry it has.

as far as your #1 stipulation...you have to get on those bikes to make that decision for yourself.
I would really like to hear from anyone who has ridden one or more of these bikes. Tell me your thoughts on whether you think they are one trick ponies, i.e. only good going fast on open courses, or not fun at slower speeds in tighter twisty trails. Also curious how you would compare them to other freeride or DH bikes you've been on.
 
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