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boba fett on a bike
405 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So...I already have too many bikes. Yet I find myself continuing to test out new bikes almost every year. Sometimes I think I go to check out the always evolving technology that goes into bikes. Other times I just lust for something new. Maybe that's why I'm still not married. :D I've already made the decision to sell 1-2 bikes this spring.

So the past two weeks I've been doing some test rides. I went shopping with the intention of buying a better beater/spare bike. Something under $1k. I found a '10 GF Mamba on closeout at one LBS. Then I found a leftover '10 Cobia at another LBS. I ended up test riding the following bikes (along with a few others over the past 6 months):

'10 GF Cobia
'11 X-Cal
'11 Paragon
'11 Scott Scale 29er Team

I knew the '10 Mamba would feel similar to the '10 Cobia so I went to the first LBS and test rode the '10 Cobia back to back with the '11 X-Cal. The '11 X-Cal blew me away with how it felt in comparison. It felt much more stable, solid and confidence inspiring...keeping in mind I was just riding around a parking lot and hopping curbs.

The next LBS sets sag on all three bikes...the '11 Paragon, '11 X-Cal and '11 Scott in that order. The Paragon felt downright amazing. For some reason they couldn't set the sag right in the X-Cal for me. After riding the X-Cal it gave me the impression there was something was wrong with the Reba. The salesman brings the bike back to the service area and comes back and says nothing is wrong with the Reba. They say it's just the Fox on the Paragon feels THAT much better than the Reba. WTF?! Don't get me wrong I have a Fox FIT RLC on my other 29er and it does feel amazing, but I don't remember the other X-Cal's Reba feeling like that at all. The Scott felt good, but I just liked the Paragon better. I found myself very disappointed in my comparison of the Paragon and X-Cal after the experience with the Reba on that bike. I noticed a slight difference in weight between the two which translated to a little faster acceleration.

So I go back to the other LBS and decide to try the '11 X-Cal and '10 Cobia again. I have them set sag and immediately knew the OTHER X-Cal I tested didn't feel right. The Reba felt amazing. I had the shop do a few more adjustments on the rebound and it made it feel even better to me. It's not quite as responsive as the Paragon's Fox, but I found it to feel a bit more plush. I tried the '10 Cobia again and went back to the '11 X-Cal and the X-Cal just felt so much better to me. My decision was made. I'm a proud new owner of an '11 X-Cal.

I decided I didn't want to spend the extra $500-$600 for the Paragon since I'm still trying to build up a higher end 29er HT (I have a bike already built up, but I'm looking to improve it with a different frame and wheelset). I think if you're shopping between an X-Cal and Paragon you really can't go wrong with either. I really didn't see myself going back to Gary Fisher...err...Trek Gary Fisher Collection or whatever, but I'm really impressed with the new ride/geo.

Now for some low quality cellphone pics. :D

Not exactly a lightweight at 27.57 lbs, but it feels like it rides lighter (weight was with reflectors, but no pedals :D ). I want to say the Paragon I tested weighed in at 1 lb less.

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