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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Everyone,

I'm in the market for a new bike and have narrowed it down to these two models for two reasons: 1) I live in a small town and there just aren't many bikes to choose from, and 2) these two bikes both appear to be great XC bikes, 99% of my riding.

Oh yeah the bikes are

1) 2004 Giant NRS 2 with Avid mechanical brakes and Skareb 80mm fork 18.5" frame

and

2) 2004 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert non-disk model small or medium frame

I am 5' 8" about 170-175lbs, ride XC almost exclusively. Typical rides usually are 1-1.5 hours hill climbing ( much of it in 22x30 gearing) so some real grinding (for me ;) ) followed thankfully by much downhilling. I would not consider the DH technical, but it is fast and being able to bunny hop helps. Currently ride a Schwinn Moab 1 HT that I feel guilty about abandoning, but it needs a new shock and a bunch of nickel and dime stuff that will add up to a big chunk of change. Plus I've talked myself into buying a new bike.

So it seems to me the differences between these two bikes are slight at best, they even weigh about the same 28 lbs.

Why I like the Giant: Seems like a better hill climber since the shock acts like it's locked out, but still activates for bumps, nice around here with all the divots from horse hooves, I've never had disk brakes before so the Avid mechs seem really great although I don't ride in the wet often.

Why I like the Specialized: has slightly better component list, 100mm travel at both ends, never having had disk brakes, I really like v-brakes and finally the standover height is lower than Giant. Almost identical for small and medium frames (29 inches)

I gotta say, I'm favoring the Giant right now, but the smaller Specialized is really growing on me. Do you all notice the difference in travel? It doesn't seem to be that much. LBS doesn't really do test rides or demo's, all I can really do is sit on them in the showroom and they both feel "right". Since the bikes weigh about the same either braking system will do, but I'm favoring the Gaint here so I guess it's travel vs. brakes.

What would you do?

Thanks for reading this long post and your feedback!

Brent
 

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pathfinder said:
LBS doesn't really do test rides or demo's, all I can really do is sit on them in the showroom and they both feel "right".

<snip>

What would you do?
I would find a new LBS. It just isn't possible to know which full-suspension bike is the one you'll like better by just sitting on them. Seriously, if they won't let you ride them, they can't be a good shop. Take your money elsewhere.

That said, if you insist on buying from them, keep this in mind: you can upgrade to disc brakes pretty easy, and if you don't have them now, you won't miss them. If you don't like the NRS, and many people don't, you're stuck.

But you won't know unless you ride them. That's much more important than some 2-bit opinion on the internet like this one.
 

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I have owned both.

I had a 02 NRS 2 and Currently have a 04 Stumpjumper. Both are excellent bikes. I agree with the above post. You should definatly test ride before you buy, even if it is just around the block. They sould allow you to test ride if they will not go somewhere that will.
Personally I like the Stumpy alot more than I liked the NRS. The NRS is a race bike. The suspension is designed to be efficient, at the cost of plushness. For me if I set the Shock to zero sag like you have too to get the bob-free ride, it is far from plush. If I set-it with a couple mm sag to get a softer ride it bobed like a 3 year old in swimming lessons. The Stumpy, by using the Triad shock, allows you to have a stiff bike while you climb, and a plush ride when you go down. The Stumpjumper excells in a wide range of conditions. It is raceable, has enough travel for technical singletrack, and has a stronger more durable frame(my opinion). While climbing both bikes handle very well. Seated I would say they are about equal. Neither has any noticable bob when set-up correctly. Out of the saddle the NRS really excells. The increased pressure on the pedals tops out the shock and it stays there, just like giant claims no bob. The Stumpy will succumb to some bob while standing.
Downhill is where the Stumpjumper really leaves the NRS behind. With the shock in the open mode Rocks and 1 foot ledges are hardley felt. Where I ride there are alot of washboard type sections. The Stumpjumper handles these without any wheel hop, which allows me to brake while coming into the turns. (People skidding into the turns is what caused the bumps) On the NRS it felt to me like using the brakes inhibits the suspension. I believe it is reffered to as BrakeJack. You may want to ask if others have experienced this. I had to slow down before hitting the bumps while riding the giant, because braking while hitting the bumps always caused skidding. Maybe I am nitpicking, but I love how the Stumpy handles these section, makes me look like a better rider. I also really notice the plusher feel of the Stumpy while doing small drops. 1-2 feet. The NRS felt fragile on these sections like I was not using it as designed. The Specialized begs for more, but i am afraid
My Giant came with a Manitou Black comp 80/100. I believe the Expert comes with a Fox Float right. The Fox is by far a better fork than the Manitou. On of these cost like 500 if you get a good deal. Big Plus for Special. Avid Disks are awsome. Big plus for Giant. Are there no more expert disks avalible?
Well I think I have babbled enough for one post, so I will close with this. The NRS is a race bike. If you are primarly concered about racing it is a good choice. The Stumpy is a much better all conditions bike, and they look sexier too. I am going to go cuddle with mine right now Let me know if I can help ya more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks! Great info

prlundberg

I don't "insist" on buying from LBS, I have no other choice. Next closest bike shops that have these bikes are 500 miles away in Salt Lake City, UT and Seattle, WA. Long way to go for a test ride. I'm gonna keep working on them though. I was mainly trying to get info in lieu of a test ride hence the long post. Thanks for the disk brake advice, I agree with you that you won't miss what you don't have and I think I prefer the lighter weight of V's.

pedalfaraway

Thanks for the detailed reply.

I don't know how to quote sections of your post so bear with me. I am definitely not a racer, but I keep close track of ride times so that's about where the allure of the NRS now ends for me. It sounds like a great bike, but I almost never climb out of the saddle and I think you reminded me that the reason I am looking for a FS ride in the first place is plushness. I kinda got hung up on the novelty of the design and the Avid mech disks.

Your mention of a washboard section as you come into a turn sound exactly like most of the trails I ride here in Missoula, MT. I currently ride a hardtail so those are real ball slapper corners :) . The Specialized, the way you describe it sounds like the perfect bike for me. You ask if there are "Expert Disks" available, well there is one available, but I haven't considered it until I read your post. I Basically now believe I will buy the Specialized, now I have to decide between the two "Expert" models. Thanks for your reply, it was extremely helpful.

Brent
 

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Anytime.

It's too bad you can't test ride anround. Have you checked the Specialized website for another dealer closer to you? I think that you will be happy with a Stumpjumper. I love mine, and I have a couple friends that have bought one after see/riding mine. They are both pleased as well. Just remember that this is just my opinion, and I am just 1 guy. There are alot of happy NRS riders as well. I am sure there are some people who have other opinions. For me the SJ just plain works better, hope it does for you as well. Also it is good to ride a couple diffrent sizes to see which feels best.
 
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