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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
tl:dr - Need bike. Trails. 29er. Firm but plush suspension. Pedals well on flats.

I currently ride a 2015 Santa Cruz Heckler. 150mm travel; 27.5 wheels. It's been a good bike. But, I have moved and my new local trails are 29er territory. My old trails were tight, narrow, and twisty, which were great for 27.5 wheels. But, now my local trails are straight, fast, and, important to note, very rocky! I typically use all of my Heckler's travel once or twice a ride. This is either off an occasional jump, or from hitting a rock garden at high speed.

I am a dirt biker first, and a mountain biker second. This means that I read a trail with dirt biker eyes first. When I see rocks, roots, whoops, etc. on a trail, my first reaction is to hit the gas, lighten the front end, and hammer through. If you are familiar with dirt bikes, I ride a Yamaha YZ250FX. Yamahas are known for their excellent suspension, that is both firm and plush. I'd like my mountain bike to be the same; firm, but plush.

My new local trails have a lot of flat ground and a lot of pedaling. I did a typical ride a couple days ago where I covered 13.5 miles and only gained 650ft of elevation. Tho, there are a few short, steep hills and ridges to get up.

I think all this describes a "trail" bike. An "enduro" bike seems like it would not be all that much fun pedaling on the flats for extended periods of time. And there are no long, sustained downhills where an "enduro" bike would really shine.

I haven't paid much attention to new bikes and the trends since I bought my Hecker 6.5 years ago. I find reading about new bikes just makes me want new bikes, lol. So, I come here looking for advice from those much more aware of what's been going on since 2015.

I am leaning towards/hoping to find a bike that is only a year or two old. I am ready and willing to wait, and know I need to given the COVID bike shortage. I want to have a handful of bikes on my list, so when the right one comes available, I am ready to go.

1) Your budget. How much do you have to spend on the bicycle (not including accessories such as helmet, gloves and other accessories).
Thinking $4k-ish.

2) What bikes, if any, are you already considering? (Please try to limit the selection to a handful if at all possible, and provide links to those bikes. Remember, we don't always know the exact specs of all the bikes out there!)
Fuel EX, Stumpjumper, Ripmo AF, Sentinel, Genius.

3) What type of riding do you intend to do? (e.g. Cross Country, Freeride, Downhill, paved paths)
Trails. Occasional jumps and drops. I don't race.

4) Do you have a preference over a hardtail or full suspension?
Full suspension

5) Age, weight and height. (In many instances very important for a variety of reasons).
Late 30s. 150lbs. 5-11. Yes, I am skinny.

6) What sources will you consider buying from? (e.g. Your Local Bike Shop, online vendors, or used bike sources such as mtbr classifieds, craigslist, ebay and others)
LBS, Pros Closet, local classifieds.

7) Do you want people to offer you alternative suggestions to issues such as budget, bikes already considered, and sources?
Yes
 

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Because of your elevation change I think you could go with a light shorter travel 29 with a suspension setup for a hover affect over rocks. Like a Ripley or Following. Watch reviews here. Link.
Manitou uses a shim stack for tunable damping like on dirt bike forks if you want to do a build.
 

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Fuel EX with a coil fork (or coil conversion). For sharp rocks, nothing improves front end suppleness better than going coil.

Like the difference between an AER and Kayaba SSS fork! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Because of your elevation change I think you could go with a light shorter travel 29 with a suspension setup for a hover affect over rocks. Like a Ripley or Following. Watch reviews here. Link.
Manitou uses a shim stack for tunable damping like on dirt bike forks if you want to do a build.
I love my tallboy c r
$4600
My concern with a ~120mm bike is that I am using all 150mm of travel today. I wouldn't think switching to 29in wheels would compensate for a 30mm decrease in travel when landing off jumps and drops. Am I confused here?

Fuel EX with a coil fork (or coil conversion). For sharp rocks, nothing improves front end suppleness better than going coil.

Like the difference between an AER and Kayaba SSS fork! ;)
Yah, no AERs for me ?. I'll have to Google coil conversions. Didn't know that was a thing.

ibis ripmo. Climbs as good or better than the others and descends like and enduro bike. Best of both worlds.
Ripmo AF.

DW link and it comes with outstanding DVO suspension.
I am intrigued by a Ripmo AF with a coil shock......Not sure I want to go carbon, both for the expense and risk of crash damage.

How doe the Ripmo AF pedal on the flats?

Dirt Biker first… get an Evil! All of them are rad
I took a look at the Evil website. I don't care for their branding.

Firm but also plush? You've got a potentially great career making ads for the cycling industry.
Well, I do working in marketing.

Having suspension with a solid, supportive platform that can also be viewed as plush is not a fairy tail. Unless that suspension happens to be Fox…
Yeah, that is what I am looking for. Supportive, doesn't blow through the travel, yet sucks up the smaller stuff without transmitting the shock to my hands and butt.

Trail pic:
Plant Tree Natural landscape Bedrock Grass
 

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Yeah, that is what I am looking for. Supportive, doesn't blow through the travel, yet sucks up the smaller stuff without transmitting the shock to my hands and butt.
Big part of the reason I suggest something like the Ripmo AF. Pedals well and can get plenty rowdy.

The Ripley could be another great bike, but it only comes stock with garbage Fox suspension that really hold the bike back. The Ripmo AF comes with DVO squish that is substantially better. The Off The Top adjustment is sweet for small bump sensitivity, the damper is really good and has a lot of meaningful adjustments.

I removed all the Fox stuff from my Ripley V4 and put a DVO Sapphire D1 and Topaz T3 on it. Using less travel all while having a far more controlled and plush ride. They both ride much higher in their travel and feel much more supportive.

The Ripley is a better pedaling bike than the Ripmo, but you would have to buy a Ripley and then buy all new suspension(IMO). Not the most cost effective way of doing it, trust me. But I do think the Ripley is a better bike for the trails I ride. Tight twisty and often chunky North Eastern trails. The Ripmo is awesome, but it can get a bit much in tight technical trails where the Ripley can snake through them easier.

The Ripmo can handle jumps, drops and chunky high speed stuff better. The Ripley requires more finesse and smarter line choices, but is better in tight technical trails.
 

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Yeah, that is what I am looking for. Supportive, doesn't blow through the travel, yet sucks up the smaller stuff without transmitting the shock to my hands and butt.

Trail pic:
View attachment 1941357
That trail I'd ride off the saddle pedaling or using my legs to help absorb the terrain. No butt. You bounce but the right damper makes it controlled and fun. I wouldn't need much travel with a Manitou setup. If your view says you want smooth then more travel will do that. Manitou Mezzer Pro and Mara can do that. Look at their threads in Suspension.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Big part of the reason I suggest something like the Ripmo AF. Pedals well and can get plenty rowdy.

The Ripley could be another great bike, but it only comes stock with garbage Fox suspension that really hold the bike back. The Ripmo AF comes with DVO squish that is substantially better. The Off The Top adjustment is sweet for small bump sensitivity, the damper is really good and has a lot of meaningful adjustments.

....

The Ripmo can handle jumps, drops and chunky high speed stuff better. The Ripley requires more finesse and smarter line choices, but is better in tight technical trails.
I did some reading on the DVO OTT tuning and am intrigued. I also realized the Ripmo AF is 35lbs. I've never been a weight weenie, but eesh! I'm only 150lbs, and don't have any fat to lose......

I wouldn't need much travel with a Manitou setup. If your view says you want smooth then more travel will do that. Manitou Mezzer Pro and Mara can do that. Look at their threads in Suspension.
I'll read up on the Manitou offerings.

I may be coming to a situation where I would be better served having a frame built up to my specifications and with the components I want. But I suspect that would be much more expensive than buying an already built bike.

I also need to look into the coil conversion options mentioned above. Something like a Fuel EX with a coil conversion fork may be my best bet......
 

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Per his own description, he tends to smash through objects and wants to do jumps and drops...

Ripmo pedals really well and will handling smashing/jumping/drops style riding better than an XC bike.
With 600ft of climbing/descending in his 13 mile loop, I'm sure his trails are chock full of big drops.



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Yes, you're 100% correct. You can only have chunky trails, drops and jumps on trails that descend 1,000's of feet at once...

:rolleyes:
The trail shown is not chunky, either.

Perhaps we should entertain the possibility that his bike, if blowing through 150mm of travel on a relatively flat, smooth trail system, is simply not set up well.

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The trail shown is not chunky, either.

Perhaps we should entertain the possibility that his bike, if blowing through 150mm of travel on a relatively flat, smooth trail system, is simply not set up well.

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Never said that snap shot of a trail was chunky. But my point remains, you don't need 1000's of feet of descending to get jumps, drops and chunky trails.

I ride with plenty of people that ride Ripmo's or other long travel trail rigs while I ride a Ripley. We all enjoy the hell out of our bikes. The Ripmo guys like to smash and go fast over chunky stuff. I don't mind keeping my speed in check and keeping an eye on line choices. In tight twisty stuff, I can weave in and out quicker...

The point is, there is a lot more to what bike is going to work best for an individual than how much elevation gain a trail has.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
I do appreciate the different opinions, thus why I started the thread.

The Ripmo AF (or Fuel EX, or Genius, or Sentinel, or insert any 140mm - 160mm bike) may be too much bike, but I personally prefer to be over biked rather than under biked. Some like to dance through the trails, I like to smash through. Some say too much bike dumbs down the trail, but I am not one of them. Also, the photo above isn't to show the chunky stuff, but rather the small annoying stuff I want 29er wheels for better roll over.

The comments around the coil conversion options, Manitou, and DVO suspension have been very helpful, and something I need to look more into. I also am going to look into what it would take to build a frame. Options are good.

Perhaps we should entertain the possibility that his bike, if blowing through 150mm of travel on a relatively flat, smooth trail system, is simply not set up well.
The terrain in the photo isn't the terrain I am bottoming on. But, I do agree that my setup isn't great, because my current bike's suspension doesn't have the adjustability/performance I am looking for. The shock is a Fox Float CTD Evolution. I can either tune it for good support and bottoming resistance, or I can tune it to be supple and soak up the trail trash. It won't do both.
 
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