I am 190# with gear.
80% of the time I sit while pedaling uphill.
I currently own a Bullit, and am using it as my freeride/XC bike but it's just getting a bit SLOW. Dont get me wrong- I can still do most of the hills but I just miss the f"ast single track" feel...plus I hate being the last one at the top of the hill.
I am looking for a frame that is light weight and can handle rocks and roots and 2-3ft.drops - all the fun stuff but still be able to stay together in one piece for some years to come. Am I asking for too much???
Currently these are the frames I am leaning towards, and the best price i can find for a medium:
Intense 5.5 - $1950
ventana X5 or Salt - $1650
5-spot - ?
For some reason I dont feel confident of the VPP design--should I fear? Am I wrong?
I am doing my best in researching and I thank you all for your advice--this is a big purchase for me.
OK. You said that you wanted a great climber. Can you clarify that? Do you want a bike that excels on long, relatively smooth climbs or maybe rocky, rooty, loose, steep climbs?
The reason I ask is because all of the bikes that you mentioned are good bikes.
OK....Here's my generic take on those bikes:
5.5 - It's a light VPP bike. AIr shock only. Sealed Bearings. It excels in reducing bob while pedaling standing. It's pretty plush while coasting, but is not fully active while pedaling. It will be a great smooth to moderately-technical climber. Some degree of pedal feedback while climbing over rough terrain. Moderate degree of brake jack.
X5(I'm not familiar with the Salty) - 4-bar chainstay-pivot linkage - Can use coil or air shock, I believe. Sealed bearings. Beautiful bike (I just like the way it looks). Plush while coasting. Not fully active while pedaling. I don't remember if it had brake jack, but I would assume that since it's basically a single pivot, it probably does.
5 Spot ($1895, btw) - Horst link 4-bar. Bushings with zirc grease fittings. Excellent technical climber. Can use coil or air shock. Not quite as good on smooth climbs as the 5.5. Not as good as VPP for pedaling while standing. Fully active while pedaling and braking. Very little brake jack. The plushest of the group and my choice. I own a Spot so I'm biased.
Hopefully, you'll be able to ride all of these bikes before you make a choice. That's not easy to do with bikes in this price range.