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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi my stepson has the chance to buy a second hand 2002/3 La Bruja or a 06 Slayer both good deals, this will be his only bike so needs to be able to be used for enduros, some team events and 'freeriding'. Weight is not a real issue needs to be in the region of 34lbs.
Any views or thoughts on which one he should go for.

I am tending to suggest the la bruja for better climbing.

:)
 

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Fo' Bidniz in da haus
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hey Hicksville, no offense but honestly, those bikes are not even in the same galaxy. Their specific riding intent is different as well (Slayer more generic All Mountain to be honest) but moreso, the fundamental design/implementation/customer service will have no overlap at all. The Bruja is one of the best bikes that is and will ever be made, period. And I like Rocky Mountain bike too....that is just how much better I think the Bruja is.
 

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la bruja v slayer

taking into consideration the fact that ventana will give you up to around $700 trade-in value for the la bruja even having bought it second hand is a good incentive by itself. never ridden a slayer but being an owner of a la bruja i can definately say that it is an excellent climbing bike. i wouldn't keep it if it wasn't. so, if climbing is important to your son,taking into account all the attributes of the la bruja's , i think you are definately thinking along the right line.
later
 

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I would go with the Rocky

The Rocky is a far more versatile bike in my opinion. The Bruja is a really heavy frame and at the time that frame was built both Sherwood and DT were really overbuilding those bikes. That Bruja is alot like my 02 RFX, a bombproof bike but not exactly what I would call versatile in it's design. Can you climb on that Ventana, absolutely and I'm sure plenty of people here will chime and say "it climbs like my hardtail" but call Sherwood and ask him what that bike was designed to do. Rocky Mountain makes really nice bikes, Ventana makes incredible bikes, but I wouldn't buy a overbuilt freeride bike as my only do all bike just because the manufacturer is one of the best in the biz. The Rocky will give you years of loyal service and frankly was designed to do EXACTLY what you are looking for in a bike. To me it's a no-brainer. Just my 2 cents. For the record I did just purchase a new Ventana and the finish and attention to detail is really remarkable.
 

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la bruja design & use

artsn,
couple of things you mentioned might be worth considering. both the original RFX & the
La Bruja were, like you said, overbuilt at the time if you were buying them w/ trailriding in mind. i myself never gave either serious thought to own. as you know both bikes were eventually dropped from production. as you also know things change w/ rider's wants & skill level,etc. & the RFX came back & is now in it's third form. the La Bruja back in name only but the El Terremoto in it's place, kinda. i'd agree that the Bruja is overbuilt, but where it is aint such a bad thing. the headtube gusset along w/ the downtube is definately overkill for all around biking including a little bit of everything, but it doesn't add so much weight that it puts it into the senseless category. look at what the industry is leaning towards. 1.5 standard. overkill. OS bars & stems. overkill. the rearend again is overkill but yet also is great to be able to adjust the chainstay length even if it's only on that once a year trip to whistler. as far as the rearend being laterally stiff? isn't that a trait that all manufactures strive for? the La Bruja certainly accomplished that w/o stupid overweight. you mentioned that when Sherwood designed the bike it wasn't for that type of riding in mind. right again. not then. but riders now are asking for more travel & burliness not because it's
currently hip but because it's the kind of riding they do that benefits from type of bike. i recently had the chance to ride an '06 RFX for 3 weeks that was surprising close in geometry to my '01. the bikes rode so similar to each other it was impossible to me to give the nod to either one in superior handling characteristics. as far as just plan character. that's easy. Ventana. anyway, i still think that guy wouldn't regret buying his kid the Ventana & i doubt he'd be pissed gettin' it. later
 

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Pissed? Definitely not.

To clarify either bike would be awesome. As far as overbuilt the Teremoto and 06 RFX have over a pound less metal that the 01 RFX or the 02 Bruja. As riding progressed so did the sophistication of the these frames designs. At the time designers were just throwing metal at the problem. But as the years and abuse level moved forward so did these designs. The proof is in the fact that you really couldn't feel much difference between your 01 and the 06 RFX. Granted the tubes on a 06 RFX would fold long before a 02 but is it necessary? I would still go with 06 Slayer, a well thought out bike for todays riding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the comments, my stepson is 20 so he will be contributing for sure...............than ks ajr for the link...................what sort of fork can you run with the la bruja

pikes???
Z1 130 to 150???
Maverick Duc??? for more trail and enduro
Fox 36???

What sort of weight can you get the bike down too with sensible kit eg LX/XT???

I had a 02 Turner RFX one of the best bikes I ever owned foolishly sold it so if the La Bruja climbs as well it would be excellent from reading review does the rocky have more 'bob' monkey motion on the way up??
 

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I will get flamed here for this I know........

I would find it pretty hard to believe that a 02 la Bruja climbs as well as a 02 RFX. I would imagine that bike would bob alot more than a RFX. From what I understand and I could be wrong for sure but the pivot placement in general on the Ventana makes it eat everything in sight on the way down but left to it's own devices( ie no platform shock) and it's not exactly the most efficient climbing bike. Guys like Darren over at Push have hooked up the hardware to a few Ventanas and I'm pretty sure that's the jist of it. I guess you could get the Vanilla RC Pushed. Frankly a 02 La Bruja is a outdated bike and people have figured out how to build bikes that can take the same beating without lugging the weight around. If weight isn't really that big of deal, wouldn't you at least want to carry it in a place that matters? Like big dual ply tires or a stouter fork? Once again just my 2 cents. Ventanas are great bikes, I'm staring at my sadly unbuilt El Ciclon as I write this. Hopefully this week.
 

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Hicksville said:
Thanks for the comments, my stepson is 20 so he will be contributing for sure...............than ks ajr for the link...................what sort of fork can you run with the la bruja

pikes???
Z1 130 to 150???
Maverick Duc??? for more trail and enduro
Fox 36???

What sort of weight can you get the bike down too with sensible kit eg LX/XT???

I had a 02 Turner RFX one of the best bikes I ever owned foolishly sold it so if the La Bruja climbs as well it would be excellent from reading review does the rocky have more 'bob' monkey motion on the way up??
No doubt that 02 RFX was and still is a great bike ! I ran a 36 Talas for awhile and now use a 36 VAN RC2 on my 05 Bruja ( yes one of very few built in 05 ) and it matches up well with my Vanilla RC rear shock w PUSH race system performance mods ! IMHO the RS Lyrik or Marzocchi 66 SL would be a good match ! Maybe other Ventana peeps that have actually owned or own a Bruja will chime in as well ! Its a great bike and I've owned a few high end FS frames including two other Ventana's ! Granted the Bruja is a bit heavy , my 19" large frame built up is currently at 36lbs , but I 'm rather big at 6' 3" and 220lbs and didn't buy the frame for xc racing ! Old school design ? So what , its a blast to ride and thats all I care about ! I personally would love to try a new Terremoto ! ;) TIG.
 

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Z1 Works

I run a 2004 Z1 FR on mine (130mil). Frame size small.

My Bruja is my do-it-all dirt bike.

Regarding weight.....I wouldn't consider the term sensible if you want the bike to be light. It will cost you. Mine is about 34 pounds, but it rides like a lighter bike.

I'm not going to try to convince you to get the Bruja for your stepson.

I coveted the Bruja while I had my Marble Peak and when I got the chance to buy Sherwood's personal test Bruja, I went for it. No regrets. And it's cool to know that I have one of about 75 ever made. I never see another rider on a Bruja here in the northeast US except for my pal Kai or my cousin Rob (now in WA).
 

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yes it's me again, the guy that rode the ' 06 RFX for weeks in between riding my La Bruja,
sometimes on the same day. both bikes were outfitted very closely. you're right again on a few points artsn but... have you ever ridden one? regardless of weight & old school this & that you point out, this bike is a wonderful ride. have you ever had the chance to ride any bike you didn't think sounded that good on paper but actually surprised you in how it felt? as far as the Bruja's climbing ability to the RFX , for me it's pretty much a wash, but then i do have a Pushed RC. the RFX had a DHX coil. i'm talking short technical climbing.
don't know about extended fireroad climbs & could give ****. i ride my bikes on trails. my bike w/ 5.1 rims, Hadley rear, Hope Pro II front Kenda Kinetics 2.6 & Motoraptor 2.14 & a
Z1 light weighs just under 34. taint light but it doesn't feel like a pig to me. i love it & feel extremely lucky to have found one. i do plan on buying another Ventana & if it's not to distant in the future it will be the el Ciclon. looking forward to what you've got to say about it mr. artsn.
adios
 

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Nhodge you're got a point.....

I have had a few buddies who rode Brujas when I lived in the NW. But granted MY ride time on them was very limited. To clarify I'm not trying to to diss your ride and I hope I didn't come across that way. But when he said enduro style riding that to me means lots of climbing and descending, which is what I ride as well. The way up is a mixed bag of singletrack and fireroads and the descent makes it all worth it. Either bike is going to be killer, I just think it's tougher to find that sweet spot between weight and durability when you are starting out with a frame like a 02 Bruja. If he's just doing short climbs and mostly descending then the Bruja will be a tough bike to beat, stiff as hell and pretty indestructible. Whatever your kid gets post some picks of it for sure.
 

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Hicksville said:
Thanks for all the comments the debate is raging here as well,
There are so many things to consider when choosing a frame , I actually own two Ventanas and the Bruja is my heavy bike ! In all honesty when I go for long trail rides I usually choose my lighter FS bike with 4" travel which is a Capitan built around 30lbs ! I use the Bruja as a playbike and hitting resort hills and such, although I do go on some lengthy rides with it on occasion ! I'm one of those types ( not as bad as Foshizzle ) that just can't have one bike to do it all ! :D In fact I've noticed alot of other Ventana owners that feel the need to buy more than one at some point of time ! TIG.
 

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I owned a LaBruja and couldn't get rid of it fast enough. For me, it was a waste of money. Let me explain a little before I get flamed. Back in 2002/2003, there really weren't many long travel single crown forks. There was the Manitou Sherman 1.5, but obviously the LaBruja has a standard head tube. In any case, the head angle on the LaBruja is really steep for a 6 inch bike. I ran a Fox Vanilla 125 and with that fork the head angle was over 70 degrees. I took the bike on a couple of local rides that are pretty steep and knarly and I felt like I was going over the handlebars all the time.

Maybe it's just me, but a six inch bike should be pretty relaxed because of its intended purpose. I just couldn't come to grips with the steepness of the bike. For grins I put a double crown on the bike (a Super T) and it immediately felt better, but I wanted an aggressive trail bike, not a mini-downhill bike. I ended up selling the bike to a friend.

Fast forward to today. With today's variety of long travel, relatively light weight single crowns, the LaBruja would be a much nicer ride. The problem however, is that the design of the bike limits your shock selection. The original bike came with a Fox Vanilla RC, which is a seriously outdated shock. Yes, you can have PUSH Industries do their thing, but it is still an old design. None of the newer shocks will fit. The DHX, the Manitou, the Roco, none will fit. The canister is too long and will hit the fat down tube. I tried a Romic and the coils are too fat and therefore they hit the seat tube. So what this means is that you can cure the steepness problem with a Fox 36 or a Zoke 66, you can't do much for the rear end.

I haven't ridden the Rocky, so I can't comment, but be very careful about the Ventana. It's a beautiful bike with great welding and tubing, but there's a reason it's not made any longer.

Just my 2 cents worth.
 

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I've been reading this post with some interest, given that I ride one of the old Brujas. I'd agree with most of the comments, even those with divergent conclusions about which bike to buy. I'd say you won't really go wrong with either, but there is a significant difference in the build quality of the two. Also, the two companies' customer service, as others have mentioned, can't even be compared. I love the Bruja because the stiffness of the frame is on par with a full-on DH bike, and it's not all that heavy at nine pounds (w/ coil shock). The Bruja even puts other Ventanas to shame in the stiffness department (the stellar rear triangle is not the least bit outdated, and it's too bad that it's vanished from the Ventana lineup).

WaState's comments about the head-tube angle and shock-choice limitations are worth consideration, though. You could, for example, build the bike up to be reasonably light, but using a relatively short travel "trail" fork makes the bike unreasonably steep for the frame's intended use/speed. If you think you'd prefer a five-inch fork, I'd advise steering clear of the Bruja. Mine handles perfectly for me with a 170mm Marzocchi 66, but it's still not super slack, as many other FR bikes are. Also, the Vanilla RC isn't great, though it can be magicified by Push. There are a couple of other shock options if you decide you need something else, though they'd likely be spendy (Pushed DHX w/o cap, Avalanche Chubie, Romic (fit my 17" Bruja with a 400 spring), or maybe even an air shock. Granted Ventana has moved on from this frame (though not with the rear end!), but you might also wonder how long the current iteration of the Slayer will last.
 
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