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Let's see...

1- No. I currently have my Pistola (mentioned above), and I had a Smash for the first 5+ months of 2020 which I just sold last month. I prefer the Pistola on 99% of the rides. Sure, there are a few times when I wish I had the 170/145mm Smash, but the Pistola holds its own on everything. It just takes a little more work to go as fast, but it can go as fast. With a plush 150mm Lyrik up front, it feels perfect to me.

2- See above. I like putting in long rides, which the Pistola is better for. I also like a more playful bike, which you get in the Pistola vs the Smash. Of course, YMMV and this is only my opinion. I've ridden my Pistola on some pretty hardcore trails and haven't felt out-gunned: Whole Enchilada, everything in St. George/Hurricane, Greens Creek in Salida, Grouse in Steamboat, White Ranch in Golden, and many more.

3- Without getting into too many details, I generally agree with what you've got above. The 150 Lyrik Select is a great "lower level" fork and doesn't need to be upgraded. The coil is a good upgrade if you want to go that route, but the RS Deluxe is a great shock in its own right and is a decent bit lighter. I'd definitely upgrade the NX drivetrain, it's a boat anchor and isn't even in the same league as SLX or XT. Oh, and I don't personally like the DHRII, I'd put the 2.4 WT Dissector on the back. :)
Thanks a bunch, very helpful. Sorry you've probably already answered most of these questions. I think your earlier posts are what got me so intrigued by this bike.

I do wish they offered SLX or XT drivetrain on this bike, not sure why they don't. I just have a hard time justifying +$250 going from NX to GX when the technology/features seem to be the same?

As for the tires, why'd you go w/ the Dissectors? I demo'd a Ripmo AF w/ Assegais and they definitely felt a little overboard for my riding. I think I'd prefer a less chunky/lighter setup on a bike like the Pistola. Are the Dissectors like this?
 

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I'm pretty sure you can ask for Shimano drivetrains, as long as it's available, GG will try to equip your bike the way you want it.

I run XT 12sp on two bikes, previously ran GX 12 sp, and I far prefer Shimano of SRAM for shifting and ease of adjustment/maintenance.

I've been running DHF front and rear on a suggestion from Mike Curiak at Lacemine29, couldn't be happier, good wear, good traction, and plenty fast.

Some other "tweaks" to consider: Get a tall and short lower cup, $75 well spent, great option for changing geo, raising BB, raking out the front end. A tall cup option lets you run a shorter fork and not lose BB height.
 

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I'm pretty sure you can ask for Shimano drivetrains, as long as it's available, GG will try to equip your bike the way you want it.

I run XT 12sp on two bikes, previously ran GX 12 sp, and I far prefer Shimano of SRAM for shifting and ease of adjustment/maintenance.

I've been running DHF front and rear on a suggestion from Mike Curiak at Lacemine29, couldn't be happier, good wear, good traction, and plenty fast.

Some other "tweaks" to consider: Get a tall and short lower cup, $75 well spent, great option for changing geo, raising BB, raking out the front end. A tall cup option lets you run a shorter fork and not lose BB height.
My guess is the availability of Shimano is an issue for them as they aren't offering it as an option on any bikes (that I've checked). But maybe I'll shoot them an email.

Can you elaborate on the tall/short lower cup? Is this related to the headset? I've seen this mentioned a few times but have no idea what you're talking about :)

Thanks!
 

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BTW, where do you live and ride?
I live and ride in Albuquerque. Mostly the foothills that I can access out of my garage. They are not super technical trails but have some challenging and scary features, if you know where to look. There are a number of good technical climbs.

Occasional day trips to other rides in the area, east mountains which tend to be more technical and chunkier, Placitas, Santa Fe, White/Red Mesa.

Annual road trips all over including Phoenix, Moab, St. George, etc.

Thanks again for the input! I think I'm about sold on a Pistola.
 

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So the lower headset cup is available in short (zero mm) and tall (+15mm). The 29" bikes are spec'd with a low cup and the 27.5 bikes are spec'd with a tall cup. So you can tweak your set up by using a tall or shoter cup.

For example: I am running a Shout on a Megatrail, the Shout has a relatively tall A-C, so I run a short cup. On my Pistola I run a Message, the Message has a relatively short A-C, so I run a tall cup.

The Geoadjust headset can also be placed in the short or long position, which changes reach by +/- 10mm.

My guess is the availability of Shimano is an issue for them as they aren't offering it as an option on any bikes (that I've checked). But maybe I'll shoot them an email.

Can you elaborate on the tall/short lower cup? Is this related to the headset? I've seen this mentioned a few times but have no idea what you're talking about :)

Thanks!
 

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As for the tires, why'd you go w/ the Dissectors? I demo'd a Ripmo AF w/ Assegais and they definitely felt a little overboard for my riding. I think I'd prefer a less chunky/lighter setup on a bike like the Pistola. Are the Dissectors like this?
I prefer the Aggressor or the Dissector for the reasons you laid out... less chunky and better rolling resistance. They both provide plenty of grip too. It's kind of the "happy medium" of Maxxis rear tires, IMO.
 

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Thanks a bunch, very helpful. Sorry you've probably already answered most of these questions. I think your earlier posts are what got me so intrigued by this bike.

I do wish they offered SLX or XT drivetrain on this bike, not sure why they don't. I just have a hard time justifying +$250 going from NX to GX when the technology/features seem to be the same?

As for the tires, why'd you go w/ the Dissectors? I demo'd a Ripmo AF w/ Assegais and they definitely felt a little overboard for my riding. I think I'd prefer a less chunky/lighter setup on a bike like the Pistola. Are the Dissectors like this?
Just ask. I built/ordered mine with the new XT 1x12 with no problems.
 

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Just put an order in for a Pistola! Thanks everyone for the help.

Got the standard Lyrik Select 150mm, CC DBcoil IL in the back, XT brakes, kept the NX drivetrain, and kept the standard DHR/DHF tire setup.

I was going to go w/ the XT drivetrain but they said they only offer it in the higher build specs. May eventually upgrade, but I'm sure the NX will be fine for the time being.
 

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Here's what you should do.... take the NX drivetrain and sell it on eBay or Pinkbike for about $250. Then buy a new Shimano XT 1x11 drivetrain and use that, since the freehub on the wheels should be the same... you'll be out about $50, but you'll save weight and the XT stuff will far outperform that NX garbage. That will give you a killer bike- nice choices on everything else!
 

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Here's what you should do.... take the NX drivetrain and sell it on eBay or Pinkbike for about $250. Then buy a new Shimano XT 1x11 drivetrain and use that, since the freehub on the wheels should be the same... you'll be out about $50, but you'll save weight and the XT stuff will far outperform that NX garbage. That will give you a killer bike- nice choices on everything else!
Whoa no way, that's a great idea. I thought NX uses a weird hub or something? Or is that GX? Idk, I always thought if I wanted to upgrade I'd have to get a whole new hub setup.

Thanks for the tip though.
 

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Another option would be the XT 1x12 with a Sunrace 11-50 cassette. I ran that on one of my bikes for a year because I didn't want to buy new hubs and it worked well.

Sent from my Pixel C using Tapatalk
 

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Also just placed my order for the Pistola. Size 4 Race build, blue accents. XTR drivetrain and XT 4-pot brakes. Hoping to get the I9's blinged out with blue spokes and hubs.
 

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You can get a Shimano micro driver for most hubs for not much $$, look on eBay. I paid $25 each for three of them.

XT 12sp is the best I’ve used, easy to maintain and function is like 10/11sp SRAM, but more range. Smash it against rocks, kept shifting even I shattered the housing end, bent hanger and kept shifting, under load and keeps shifting, but it out of Asia direct and it’s cheap.

You couldn’t give me a SRAM 12sp, not worth the trouble, it’s hard to maintain, you have to relube during long rides or shifting suffers, backpedaling is nar impossible on largest cog, and it’s just so damn fiddly as it wears.
 

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Another option would be the XT 1x12 with a Sunrace 11-50 cassette. I ran that on one of my bikes for a year because I didn't want to buy new hubs and it worked well.

Sent from my Pixel C using Tapatalk
Just an FYI. I tried the CS-MZ90 11-50 cassette with XT 12 speed set-up and couldn't get it to shift well across the cassette. It would skip in some gears and if I got it to shift well in the top of the cassette, it would skip in the bottom and vice versa. I did some research and found the Sunrace CS-MZ903 11-51 12 Speed Cassette. Apparently 12 speed SRAM and Shimano derailleurs and cassettes don't play well together. Some people have had success supposedly, but it was poor shifting IMO. I think the 11-50 was intended for SRAM derailleurs (and of course shifter).
Seems to shift just fine now with the 11-51.
 

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Sharing my recent TP build, first GG, so I'm stoked to see how this goes. Started as a Frame only, took about 3 1/2 weeks to get. Built with components from my previous bike, which unfortunately came out heavy, as in 31.5lbs heavy. I'm a bit disappointed in the weight, but I think it makes sense.

2019 Fox 36 Performance Fit4 140mm
2019 Fox DPX2
Nukeproof Carbon Horizon Bar / Answer ATAC 40mm stem
Carbon Light Bicycle rims with DT 350 Hubs
All 2020 XT build 10-51T except SRAM Stylo Carbon crank / X-Sync 2 32T chainring
Brand-x 170mm Dropper
Maxxis Recon 2.6F 2.4R
3M frame protection

The hardtail it came from was 28.5lbs, with a 5.1lb frame. That adds about 2 lbs right there with shock, and the 1/2lb from the Fox36. I was hope for less, but oh well, its a fun bike and I'm enjoying it.

Only one beef, the rivnut in the bottom of the frame for the cable cover spun when installing the cover the first time. I cross threaded the screw trying to install the hatch, which I will be honest, is a PITA to install when you have never done it before. More traditional external would be better IMO or internal.

 

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Yeah, seems a bit heavy given the wheels and tire choice. Do yourself a favor and sacrifice a bit more weight and get rid of those Rekons; they're garbage unless you ride perfectly tacky and non-rocky dirt every time out.

You'll absolutely love the bike, FWIW. I have a full set of demo bikes for our Chasing Epic trips, and every single client we've had this year is blown away by the Pistola.
 

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Yeah, seems a bit heavy given the wheels and tire choice. Do yourself a favor and sacrifice a bit more weight and get rid of those Rekons; they're garbage unless you ride perfectly tacky and non-rocky dirt every time out.

You'll absolutely love the bike, FWIW. I have a full set of demo bikes for our Chasing Epic trips, and every single client we've had this year is blown away by the Pistola.
Not sure where GG put the lead bars in my frame, I'll keep looking. I was expecting 30-31 lbs, but I'm not gonna sweat it.

I've been riding the Recons for a year and have few issues with them. They are not as fast in the downs but are great in the ups. I'm in socal, steep climbs with loose over hard. They perform as I need them as I do 30+ mile rides with 3K+ climbing most weekends. Trick with them is to lean the bike over hard in the turns to bite into the side knobs. They have a nasty dead spot if you turn and you aren't on the knobs. I run DHF / Aggressor combo for gravity days.

I went back and forth about the Pistol or Pistola for weeks before I bought my rear shock. I ended up with the Pistol as I also picked up the seat stay kit, shock and air shaft for the Smash setup.
 

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The Pistol/Pistola, despite it's lower travel numbers is not a particularly light bike.

The problem is the frame is overbuilt for it's longer travel applications. I don't know why people don't get this. I think there is a lot of oldschool thinking out there that says "120mm travel bike in carbon so must be lightweight" but no other 120mm frame can also be built into a 160/180mm 29er like the Gnarvana.

120mm Pistol SL Frame weight (no shock) 6.5lbs.
130mm Pistola 6.5lbs
145mm Smash 6.5lbs
160mm Gnarvana 6.6lbs (due to slightly longer chainstays).

The Gnarvana is relatively lightweight for it's travel and intented use, the TPSL is a pig.
 
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