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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2002 Kona Bear D-Lux with a Fox Float RL suspension (100mm) and I am looking to get a new all mountain rig that I can do a little bit of everything ( xc, little bit of dirt jumping, and some trips to Northstar). Any info. on bikes with 5-6 inches of suspension would be great. I like supporting the smaller companies,but I am a school teacher so price is a factor.

Thank You.
 

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Uncle Rico said:
I have a 2002 Kona Bear D-Lux with a Fox Float RL suspension (100mm) and I am looking to get a new all mountain rig that I can do a little bit of everything ( xc, little bit of dirt jumping, and some trips to Northstar). Any info. on bikes with 5-6 inches of suspension would be great. I like supporting the smaller companies,but I am a school teacher so price is a factor.
Thank You.
www.versuscycles.com is out of Fremont Ca. Herb & Vivian are awsome people to deal with. I have last years Blitz, it's a 4/5/6 inch travel frame. I run mine in the 6in mode all the time. Blitz is the only bike i ride so yes it is my all mountain bike. It climbs well a China Camp, rips at Downievill & is great at Northstar. They have a new frame comming out for 2006 that looks very sweet but i will be a living with my 2005 for awhile. Give them a call they are always willing to talk about there bikes or just riding.
http://www.versuscycles.com/
 

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The Versus looks like a nice setup and if you shop you could definately build a nice rig. The downside is the cost in the end. Having no buying power like the OEM's you pay a lot more for each component then you would on a complete build IMO anyway. Uncle Rico, have you looked at the Dawg Primo? Similar to the Bear with 5" front and rear. Nicely spec'd for the dollar too. I guess it would be helpfull to state your budget and if your willing to build something up or want to stay with a factory build.
 

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There are so many good bikes

But I think you should check out a Santa Cruz Nomad or BLT,Devincci Remix (Canadian version with horst link) and definatly take a good look at the Specialized Enduro. All of these bikes perform as good as top level boutique brand bikes at a much lower price. If you are willing to spend more money then you could look at an 06 ETSX 70 (they have beefed it up this year) or an Elsworth Moment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
LeopardDog said:
The Versus looks like a nice setup and if you shop you could definately build a nice rig. The downside is the cost in the end. Having no buying power like the OEM's you pay a lot more for each component then you would on a complete build IMO anyway. Uncle Rico, have you looked at the Dawg Primo? Similar to the Bear with 5" front and rear. Nicely spec'd for the dollar too. I guess it would be helpfull to state your budget and if your willing to build something up or want to stay with a factory build.
Dogonfr, Leopard Dog, thanks for the info. The Blitz looked like a nice bike, as well as the new Kona Bear. I live close to Fremont, so I am going to look those guys up at Versus cycles. As far as price, I was thinking about $3,000, so I know that it would be hard to get a Turner, or Intense, but was looking at a Santa Cruz Heckler or maybe another Kona. I am not against building something up, but it would probably be cheaper to buy a factory build.

thanks again.
 

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there are many

There are a lot of good AM bikes out there my favorite would be the kona dawg series and the Maveric American ML-8. Now i dont own either of these but i have ridden the dawg and have heard great things about the maveric. But one word of caution, do not, do not, by a ellsworth there frames have been known to crack. Now if i was ridding an all mountain rig i would not be so excited if my frame was gonna crack.

Ride long, Ride hard, Just ride
 

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Yeti 575

Have you considered the Yeti 575 at all? I was in this same boat last May, and thats what I wound up getting. So far I really like it alot, although I may get a different fork (TALAS just doesn't have enough travel, but works well otherwise). I was also able to get it for under $2100 with the Enduro parts package, which I think is a good deal for a botique bike brand.

When I was looking for bikes I also considered the Turner 5 spot / 6 pack, Giant Reign, Intense 5.5, and SB Blur LT, which could have all been built for under 3 grand, depending on parts, but in the end decided I liked the Yeti best and it was the best price.
 

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half off frame

Uncle Rico said:
I have a 2002 Kona Bear D-Lux with a Fox Float RL suspension (100mm) and I am looking to get a new all mountain rig that I can do a little bit of everything ( xc, little bit of dirt jumping, and some trips to Northstar). Any info. on bikes with 5-6 inches of suspension would be great. I like supporting the smaller companies,but I am a school teacher so price is a factor.

Thank You.
Blitz at adrenalinebikesdotcom for 700 for the frame- about half off. FYI.
 

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CharacterZero said:
Blitz at adrenalinebikesdotcom for 700 for the frame- about half off. FYI.
I was looking at the Giant AC-2, Banshee Chap, Transition DirtBag & Kona Coiler. I ended up buying the Versus Blitz, it is very similar to what i was looking at & after bad dealings with a German manufacture decided to keep it local. Sent Versus emails & Herb said just call me we can talk! Herb & Vivian have always been wonderfull people to deal with. When they updated the chain stays i was informed of this & Vivian sent it out. They have a booth at almost all the local events so you can always drop in & say hi! I think when my build was over & done it was about 3500.00 complete, you dont want to add that stuff up it'll just scare ya.
Yes Adrenlin bikes has them on sale & you can buy a complete bike through them. Since you are local call Versus & see what you can work out.
 

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If price is a factor, consider the Heckler, Azonic X-tension, and Transition Preston. Nice frames that can handle all types of riding, without breaking the bank. Santa Cruz and Transition offer complete build kits for the Heckler and Preston fr. The Preston is a 4-5" bike, but can do it all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Difference in a quality/top level trail bikes/?

Thanks for all the information and input on looking for a 5-6 inch all mountain rig.

Another question I have. I was wondering how big / small is the difference between say a quality bike like a Santa Cruz Heckler/Blur LT, and a Turner 5 sSpot, Intense 5.5, or other top level trail bikes. I know some people say the extra cash is well spent when going with the high end frame.

Any thoughts?

Happy Holidays
 

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Uncle Rico said:
Thanks for all the information and input on looking for a 5-6 inch all mountain rig.

Another question I have. I was wondering how big / small is the difference between say a quality bike like a Santa Cruz Heckler/Blur LT, and a Turner 5 sSpot, Intense 5.5, or other top level trail bikes. I know some people say the extra cash is well spent when going with the high end frame.

Any thoughts?

Happy Holidays
I think one thing to consider when evaluating boutique versus mass market manufacturer is the parts spec that is on the bike. Many times people say that a boutique bike is much better and well worth the extra cash but what they do is compare a boutique frame with top notch parts versus a mass market frame with a parts kit that is not as top notch. Take a frame built by Specialized, Giant, Santa Cruz and mount it with the exact same parts as a similar frame built by Turner, Intense, ... and maybe the difference wont be as much as some say it is. There will still be a difference, but "well worth the extra cash" that is subject to opinions...

Hope this helps.
 

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Uncle Rico said:
Thanks for all the information and input on looking for a 5-6 inch all mountain rig.

Another question I have. I was wondering how big / small is the difference between say a quality bike like a Santa Cruz Heckler/Blur LT, and a Turner 5 sSpot, Intense 5.5, or other top level trail bikes. I know some people say the extra cash is well spent when going with the high end frame.

Any thoughts?

Happy Holidays
In my own experience it's well worth it.
 

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If your on a budget you can't go wrong with a Kona Coiler, or if you like a lighter bike one of the Giant VT close-out bargains.

The top end bikes are worth it if you have long term plans for your new rig. Fatigue resistance and durability of the frame will be worth it. The ones you mention all have differences to cater for your exact preferences, riding style, and terrain you intend on riding. Also look at Titus MotoLite, which is top drawer.

You need to decide if you do reasonable drops (then you will need a beefier frame like the Coiler or Turner 6 Pack), is climbing efficiency important (then get a VPP/DW/Maestro design), are you an All Mountain rider who likes it rough with one bike to do all (get SC Nomad), or like a nimble light bike (5-Spot, Epiphany...). There is a huge amount of info on these boards and very knowledable people. Keep researching what your needs are and find the design that best matches it (at you price point).

Uncle Rico said:
Thanks for all the information and input on looking for a 5-6 inch all mountain rig.

Another question I have. I was wondering how big / small is the difference between say a quality bike like a Santa Cruz Heckler/Blur LT, and a Turner 5 sSpot, Intense 5.5, or other top level trail bikes. I know some people say the extra cash is well spent when going with the high end frame.

Any thoughts?

Happy Holidays
 

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Uncle Rico said:
Thanks for all the information and input on looking for a 5-6 inch all mountain rig.

Another question I have. I was wondering how big / small is the difference between say a quality bike like a Santa Cruz Heckler/Blur LT, and a Turner 5 sSpot, Intense 5.5, or other top level trail bikes. I know some people say the extra cash is well spent when going with the high end frame.

Any thoughts?

Happy Holidays
There is a big difference in suspension designs with the bikes you mentioned, but almost impossible to say which design is actually better. It comes down to preference and real world riding.

Some of the more expensive boutique brands do make a better performing product. The question is, how much better? Not much if the lower priced frame is designed properly and put together well. With that said, some riders like the extra attention to detail that a custom frame provides, and are willing to shell out for it.

I like being able to customize and prefer versatile frame sets, which sometimes means buying a more expensive frame, so I can get what I want in the end. Sometimes, you can get what you want with a cheaper frame also.

For instance, The Heckler is at the cheaper end of the boutique bike scale, and is as simple as it gets, but regardless of price and design, is one of the best frames around. I look at the big picture, including geometry, fit, comfort, performance, and versatility. Imo, the Heckler has all of these traits and is why I like it. Some may disagree, which is fine.

A quick example:

The rear suspension on the Heckler is not quite as compliant as a good HL, but it is not that bad either. This is when I look at other factors such as handling and flickability, which the Heckler has in spades. There is often a compromise when choosing a bike and while you might be gaining a positive when choosing bike a over bike b, you might get a negative trait in return.

Just my rambling .02
 

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If your budget is a factor then do take a look at the Giant AC and compare price. I rode several before I purchased my AC in July. I was able to get on this ride for just over $800 new.
 

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Educate yourself.

northparkrider said:
There are a lot of good AM bikes out there my favorite would be the kona dawg series and the Maveric American ML-8. Now i dont own either of these but i have ridden the dawg and have heard great things about the maveric. But one word of caution, do not, do not, by a ellsworth there frames have been known to crack. Now if i was ridding an all mountain rig i would not be so excited if my frame was gonna crack.

Ride long, Ride hard, Just ride
I think you are making this assumption based on Ellsworth frames from years past. Ellsworth has improved his entire line up and there are very few reported failures now. At least, no more than is normal when comparing to another company. All frames break.

Have you ever checked out the Moment frame up close? Obviously not. The Moment frame is not exactly light and is built to withstand the rigors of serious all mountain riding.

How many Moment frames have you heard of "cracking"????? I have heard of none and the Moment is not a new frame now. Regardless of the clean record, Ellsworth has gone ahead and improved the design for this year and made it stronger.

I used to own the Joker SL 7" and it never "cracked" on me. I weigh 215lbs also. There are very few reports of the new design Joker breaking. The same can be said of the new Truth model.

I could go ahead and say the same thing as you regarding broken frames from Rocky Mountain, Jamis, Cannondale, and a couple of other brands, but I don't. Check out the track record for the Slayer and Etsx series. You will find out about a whole bunch of cracked frames. Investigate why Cannondale used to be commonly referred to as "Crack n Fail". Look at all of the cracked Jamis frames from the last few years.

Are you going to raise the red flag on these companies because they had some frame failures as well? Just what I thought, so shut up about Ellsworth. Companies can change, and all of the brands I listed have improved, or are working on improving their product.

The fact is, most riders still love their chosen bikes, despite the company track record, and someone like you spouting off is not going to change anyone's mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
more info.= more confused

Once again, I really appreciate all the information and insight. Here is a little bit on the kind of riding I do. I climb like a monkey on crack, actually I take my time as don't want to miss the scenery(i'm slow). Right now I do 3-4 foot drops, but looking to improve. am content on having XT or compatible components, and I think most boutique frames have XTR or equivalent parts. So, right now I have narrowed it down to: another Kona, Versus Blitz, Santa Cruz Heckler or maybe a Blur LT.

Any info. on these rigs or others is always appreciated.
 

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Kona Coiler is for you. Forget the Blur LT - not beefy enough for those drops. Heckler is an option but not designed for anything bigger then you do now.

Uncle Rico said:
Once again, I really appreciate all the information and insight. Here is a little bit on the kind of riding I do. I climb like a monkey on crack, actually I take my time as don't want to miss the scenery(i'm slow). Right now I do 3-4 foot drops, but looking to improve. am content on having XT or compatible components, and I think most boutique frames have XTR or equivalent parts. So, right now I have narrowed it down to: another Kona, Versus Blitz, Santa Cruz Heckler or maybe a Blur LT.

Any info. on these rigs or others is always appreciated.
 
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