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Discussion Starter #1
I've been riding a 2001 Truth for about 3 years now and really like it for the most part but the dang thing keep breaking. I am not into freeriding and I only weigh 165 lbs. It is my only mountain bike so it sees alot of miles (~3,000/yr.) and a fair amount of racing (all XC). I recently moved up to racing expert class and seem to be able to hold mid-pack or slightly better (will definitely be better next year). I will likely build up a light hardtail for the smoother races (Sea Otter, Granite Bay) here in northern CA but still need a bike that is reasonable to race the rest of the courses (Northstar, Downieville, maybe Cool, etc.).

So I need a new bike for general trail riding, epic stuff, and training -- actually probably the vast majority of my off road riding needs. When I purchased my Truth, I also strongly considered the ML7 but it was just too expensive back then and had other issues that have mostly been addressed (except the integrated headset, cable routing, funky front derailleur situation -- I hate Rollamajigs).

My Truth is an honest 22.5 pounds when set up with light race tires and the ML7 can be built the same, so weight really isn't an issue. I will actually probably build it about a half pound heavier to eliminate some weak points in my current build (mainly ISIS BB). Ride quality is an important issue since I do tend to spend too much time out of the saddle (back pain relief). I am also a strong climber. My biggest weakness is probably descending.

Anyway, I will be taking an ML7 out for a long test ride soon but I am looking for some comparisons, hopefully from those who have spent some time on both (or sililar bikes like the Palamino, El Saltamontes, etc.). I'm interested in hearing anything I should be thinking about. I've done about as much research as possible using these boards and the rest of the web so I really mostly need experiences at this point.
 

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B R H said:
I've been riding a 2001 Truth for about 3 years now and really like it for the most part but the dang thing keep breaking. I am not into freeriding and I only weigh 165 lbs. It is my only mountain bike so it sees alot of miles (~3,000/yr.) and a fair amount of racing (all XC). I recently moved up to racing expert class and seem to be able to hold mid-pack or slightly better (will definitely be better next year). I will likely build up a light hardtail for the smoother races (Sea Otter, Granite Bay) here in northern CA but still need a bike that is reasonable to race the rest of the courses (Northstar, Downieville, maybe Cool, etc.).

So I need a new bike for general trail riding, epic stuff, and training -- actually probably the vast majority of my off road riding needs. When I purchased my Truth, I also strongly considered the ML7 but it was just too expensive back then and had other issues that have mostly been addressed (except the integrated headset, cable routing, funky front derailleur situation -- I hate Rollamajigs).

My Truth is an honest 22.5 pounds when set up with light race tires and the ML7 can be built the same, so weight really isn't an issue. I will actually probably build it about a half pound heavier to eliminate some weak points in my current build (mainly ISIS BB). Ride quality is an important issue since I do tend to spend too much time out of the saddle (back pain relief). I am also a strong climber. My biggest weakness is probably descending.

Anyway, I will be taking an ML7 out for a long test ride soon but I am looking for some comparisons, hopefully from those who have spent some time on both (or sililar bikes like the Palamino, El Saltamontes, etc.). I'm interested in hearing anything I should be thinking about. I've done about as much research as possible using these boards and the rest of the web so I really mostly need experiences at this point.
The 2001 Truths had a serious design flaw around the BB / seat tube area -- the two structures were engineered way too stiff for the given aluminum. The result caused the seat tube to tear between the rocker-box structure and above the BB. This has been corrected in the 2002+ line if I remember correctly, though the 2003's have a more relaxed head tube angle for less twitch. The 2004's use a longer shock stroke with a shorter upper rocker, with the IC being much further out in front of the bike for smoother pedal motion.

What part of the frame failed on your 2001 Truth? Was is the area described above? If so, it was a common problem that's since been corrected. It should be covered by the factory warranty, though you'll have to pay extra for a 2" shock =/
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The swingarm cracked in nearly the exact same place both times -- top right just behind the pivot where it is "hollowed out". Neither was due to a crash or abuse. I noticed the crack while doing other maintenance.
 

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B R H said:
The swingarm cracked in nearly the exact same place both times -- top right just behind the pivot where it is "hollowed out". Neither was due to a crash or abuse. I noticed the crack while doing other maintenance.
I weight about 185lbs and ride a 2003 model... no problems yet (*knock on wood*), but I've only had mine a little more than one year. I've been happy with it, but I'm also considering a Moment in the event I bust my current frame.

If you're looking for an alternative with similar ride characteristics but more durability, you might want to consider the Turner Burner. Not as much travel at 3", but it does implement Ellsworth's ICT through the first 75% of the travel range (not like you'll pedal much with the rear compressed beyond this point). Excellent customer service as well.

The RacerX-100 or Hammerhead is another good alternative.
 

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J.S. said:
I weight about 185lbs and ride a 2003 model... no problems yet (*knock on wood*), but I've only had mine a little more than one year. I've been happy with it, but I'm also considering a Moment in the event I bust my current frame.

If you're looking for an alternative with similar ride characteristics but more durability, you might want to consider the Turner Burner. Not as much travel at 3", but it does implement Ellsworth's ICT through the first 75% of the travel range (not like you'll pedal much with the rear compressed beyond this point). Excellent customer service as well.

The RacerX-100 or Hammerhead is another good alternative.
Been riding my 04 frame for a little under a year without a single problem. Rides like a dream, is durable and the customer service is fine now.

I agree other good contenders are the RacerX 100, Hammerhead (Same thing), Burner etc. In fact for like $200 more you can get a custom made Ti Racer X.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I rode an ML7 yesterday (22 miles x 3155 feet) and like it for the most part. I love the way it feels out of the saddle on any climbs. I don't know if it is any more efficient than my Truth on climbs, but it sure feels like it and that means alot to me. My Truth feels dead by comparison. I don't like the idea of an integrated headset (mostly based on reading article on Chris King website). I also don't like the fact that the bearings are in an area that will see alot of crud. The cockpit is too short (especially with the DUC32 fork). The cable routing is odd and I hate the use of a Rollamajig (front derailleur). These gripes are not show-stoppers for me though.

I did not like the DUC32 fork though. It is just too tall and is a pogo stick out of the saddle regardless of set-up (I tried quite a few settings). I spent most of the day in 4" mode which is way too firm for general riding but OK for climbing (still too tall). Even when descending in normal (6") mode, the height unweights the front wheel enough to allow it to wash out too easily. However, the stiffness of the fork/hub combo is a real eye-opener (just phenomenal). If Maverick American made a DUC32 that was 4" with damping on par with any other high end fork these days, they would have a real winner.

My wife also has a 2003 Truth (6.5 x 1.5 shock) and it has been fine although she ride far fewer miles than I do. Her frame was 7 ounces lighter than mine (same size, 18"). It has also always seemed to be more responsive and just a better overall ride.
 

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B R H said:
...
My wife also has a 2003 Truth (6.5 x 1.5 shock) and it has been fine although she ride far fewer miles than I do. Her frame was 7 ounces lighter than mine (same size, 18"). It has also always seemed to be more responsive and just a better overall ride.
There's a reason for the 2003's reduced weight: Ellsworth removed the seat tube rocker box and BB tri-plate to decrease the stiffness that caused the seat-tube tearing I described previously. They also slacked the head angle a little bit to increase stability.

It's the little things that really make up a ride's quality.

BTW, were you using a Romic or other SPV shock on your 01 frame?
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I realize why the 2003 is lighter, but I was surprised by just how much. 7 ounces (it was actually closer to 8) is quite a bit!

I purchased my Truth with a Float that lasted about 1 year. I replaced it with a Cloud 9 which I have been much happier with.

I have never tried a coil or SPV type shock on this or any frame for that matter.

I have tried the inertial valve Float fork and find it odd but haven't spent enough time on it to decide if it is odd in a good or bad way yet. I personally don't feel the new forks are worth even half of what they go for. I have yet to feel any difference that can justify those prices. I can't feel any difference in stiffness between my $100 Noleen and the Fox although the Fox damping qualities are superior. However, my 02 Marathon S (air) works just as well as the Fox although it is not as stiff. The DUC32 is the only fork I've ridden that feels substantially more stiff than anything else I've tried (not many). Too bad the damping system is so poor and the fork is so tall.
 

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B R H said:
I realize why the 2003 is lighter, but I was surprised by just how much. 7 ounces (it was actually closer to 8) is quite a bit!

I purchased my Truth with a Float that lasted about 1 year. I replaced it with a Cloud 9 which I have been much happier with.

I have never tried a coil or SPV type shock on this or any frame for that matter.

I have tried the inertial valve Float fork and find it odd but haven't spent enough time on it to decide if it is odd in a good or bad way yet. I personally don't feel the new forks are worth even half of what they go for. I have yet to feel any difference that can justify those prices. I can't feel any difference in stiffness between my $100 Noleen and the Fox although the Fox damping qualities are superior. However, my 02 Marathon S (air) works just as well as the Fox although it is not as stiff. The DUC32 is the only fork I've ridden that feels substantially more stiff than anything else I've tried (not many). Too bad the damping system is so poor and the fork is so tall.
I'm not a big fan of SPV forks, though they do a good job at minimizing fork dive under hard front braking. However, I do like what SPV does for the Truth's rear. ICT does a good job at removing chain tension induced bob, but it doesn't address weight-shift-induced bob. This is probably why SPV shocks like Romics work well on Truths, Id's, etc...

Yep, I agree that Marz and Fox dampers are both good, but 32mm stanctions on the Fox Forks definitely boosts lateral stiffness. Fox forks tends to be pretty light as well for their given travel length.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So in reducing brake dive, does SPV give up small bump performance? I don't like brake dive at all and found it to be the hardest thing to get used to when I got my first full suspension bike (I went from full rigid to full suspension).

To keep this sort of on track with the original subject, I should mention that the ML7 actually did a better job making small sharp bumps disappear than my Truth does. It does this only while seated though. As soon as you lift your butt out of the saddle the ML7 becomes much more firm. This concerns me on technical downhill sections -- something I really wasn't able to check out on my test ride the other day. The suspension is still there when you stand. It isn't like a hardtail, but it is jarring in a different sort of way than you might expect if you haven't ridden one. I suppose it's mostly like the travel gets reduced by about half but there is no sensation that you would be kicked up at all -- it just stays planted to the ground in mostly a good way. Definitely not as "cush" as my Truth in that situation, but perhaps more stable and connected to the trail. Personally I think I like it but I would have to adjust my riding style a bit to try to stay seated more than usual, especially on really long rides.
 

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B R H said:
So in reducing brake dive, does SPV give up small bump performance? I don't like brake dive at all and found it to be the hardest thing to get used to when I got my first full suspension bike (I went from full rigid to full suspension).

To keep this sort of on track with the original subject, I should mention that the ML7 actually did a better job making small sharp bumps disappear than my Truth does. It does this only while seated though. As soon as you lift your butt out of the saddle the ML7 becomes much more firm. This concerns me on technical downhill sections -- something I really wasn't able to check out on my test ride the other day. The suspension is still there when you stand. It isn't like a hardtail, but it is jarring in a different sort of way than you might expect if you haven't ridden one. I suppose it's mostly like the travel gets reduced by about half but there is no sensation that you would be kicked up at all -- it just stays planted to the ground in mostly a good way. Definitely not as "cush" as my Truth in that situation, but perhaps more stable and connected to the trail. Personally I think I like it but I would have to adjust my riding style a bit to try to stay seated more than usual, especially on really long rides.
Ouch... the ML7 sounds like it exhibits some of URT's bad traits (having to stay seated to keep the suspension plush/active). I wouldn't encourage adjusting your riding style just to suit a particular frame given how much you will be spending. A fully active suspension will generally keep your wheels on the trail better than a firm one, especially on technical climbs. Stiffening rear suspensions won't inspire confidence on hairy downhills when your tail is hanging off the seat =/
 

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Don't worry about it. It's seamless - and when you're standing up is when you're landing the bigger hits anyway. It makes sense. I came off of a four-bar and did not have to adjust my riding style. I was instantly cleaning loss climbs that I never had before and felt much more solid downhill than what I was on.

I'd buy the same bike again.

J.S. said:
Ouch... the ML7 sounds like it exhibits some of URT's bad traits (having to stay seated to keep the suspension plush/active). I wouldn't encourage adjusting your riding style just to suit a particular frame given how much you will be spending. A fully active suspension will generally keep your wheels on the trail better than a firm one, especially on technical climbs. Stiffening rear suspensions won't inspire confidence on hairy downhills when your tail is hanging off the seat =/
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Not really what I meant. The suspension is still quite active, it just feels like there is less of it. You really need to ride one to understand. I can't compare it to anything else I've ridden. It's unique and good. I have yet to seriously ride any of the VPP stuff.

Regarding climbing, the ML7 climbs better than anything I've ridden without question. This was obvious to me even though the bike I rode had one of those lousy riser bars and no bar ends. Maybe SPV would help a Truth climb in a similar fashion, but I really doubt it. The ML7 is a climbing machine.

I hope to demo an Intense Spider XVP to compare tomorrow. I don't like the idea of all those links though.
 

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VPP thoughts

BRH,
I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have a few thoughts on the VPP design and some comments in relation to FSR (horst-link) bikes. I own both a Blur and a 2004 StumpJumper Expert (with Fox ProPedal 3-way shock). Recently, the Blur was in the shop for a much-needed overhaul after tons of wet, nasty Spring riding. I was on the Stumpy, my backup, for a few weeks. Don't get me wrong, the Stumpy is a great bike with the Fox Float up front and that ProPedal shock in the rear. But it's no Blur.
When I got back on the Blur I immediately noticed how much better it climbed (and descended, too). The ProPedal does help the climbing by firming up the first 1/3 of the shock stroke, but at the loss of small bump compliance. I've always felt that the FSR designs tend to squat a little first when you start to hammer. The VPP on my Blur just really seems to launch me forward when I get on the pedals. The Stumpy has 4" of rear travel to the Blur's 4.5" and both bikes have the same Fox Float RL up front (I do love the Float up front on both). It's weird, but the Blur's rear suspension feels almost bottomless while not feeling too spongey during normal pedaling. The FSR can feel firm, with ProPedal engaged, or soft without the ProPedal on. But neither setting feels as good as the VPP either up or down hill.
I've never had any braking issues due to suspension action with either bike, but I have on rare occasion noticed a little bit of pedal kickback on the Blur. Not enough to be annoying, however. Yeah, the many linkages are a concern, but I didn't think it was any worse than the FSR design. In over a year's worth of riding, I did have one seized bearing in one of the lower pivots on the Blur, but I did start riding in late February this Spring up in the Inland Northwest. It's really hard to keep the dirt, sand and water out of nearly any suspension design.
Good luck on your search. Let us know how that Spider rides. I just wish they made a VPP design for shorter riders. My wife is just a hair over 5'. I'd love to have her try a VPP bike (she's on a Juliana/Superlight now).

Take care,

MTBmoose

B R H said:
Not really what I meant. The suspension is still quite active, it just feels like there is less of it. You really need to ride one to understand. I can't compare it to anything else I've ridden. It's unique and good. I have yet to seriously ride any of the VPP stuff.

Regarding climbing, the ML7 climbs better than anything I've ridden without question. This was obvious to me even though the bike I rode had one of those lousy riser bars and no bar ends. Maybe SPV would help a Truth climb in a similar fashion, but I really doubt it. The ML7 is a climbing machine.

I hope to demo an Intense Spider XVP to compare tomorrow. I don't like the idea of all those links though.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Thanks for your thoughts. I pedaled a Spider XVP around on some pavement the other day, but not anywhere near enough to learn much about it. It had platform pedals, a Manitou shock, and F100X fork. I have no idea if the pressures were set even remotely close for my weight. It felt responsive, but not nearly as quick as the ML7. I wish I could take one for a real ride, but I can't find a place that will do that and don't know anyone that has one. I also need to take the ML7 out again to be sure a medium with a "normal" fork will work (I tested a large w/DUC 32 last time) and to see how it feels on slow technical downhill stuff. This is where I was thinking the XVP may offer an advantage (more travel in that situation but maybe not as durable overall?).

In any event, I'm pretty sure I'll get the ML7 and swap as much as I can from my Truth, including the Noleen MegaAir for now. I guess I really value the climbing traits of the ML7. It just really stands out in this respect. I used to think my Truth was a climbing machine. I'm still going to try to get some time on these new-fangled inertial valve & SPV forks too. I like the idea of less brake dive, but not at the expense of ride quality. Maybe one of those PUSH-modified Fox 100 RLT's will be just the ticket. A little heavy and too expensive though.

I think I did notice some pedal feedback on the ML7, but if that's what it was, it was so minor that it didn't bother me (at the time at least). Also, when I pulled the swingarm off my Truth, I noticed lots of seized bearings (this after one winter of riding). This is one reason fewer pivots interest me.

Bike fit is definitely the most important thing and at 5', I bet finding anything that fits is difficult. My only complaint is that I'm usually dead center in-between most medium and large frames. Mediums fit my wife perfectly. Get yours on a small and if she likes it, see if Intense will do a custom for her!
 

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I have an ML7 with a DUC32, and agree with you that it's a climbing machine. They claim it's because the suspension travels slightly backward under travel. I'm no physicist but I do agree that it's by far the best climber I've ridden. As far as going down, I would say it's about equal to my old Rocky Mtn Instinct, which was pretty active but could've benefitted from an SPV shock. Remember Maverick folks designed the ML7 to suit their riding style here in Colorado -- long rides with lots of up and down, and very technical. More plush would be nice, but if at the expense of worse climbing, then I don't want it. I can't afford to have a separate race bike, so this meets my needs.

Also, mine has lasted very well through a Colorado winter, with lots of snow rides...and wet spring rides. Bearings are fine. Also the DUC32 fork has held up well too.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I agree there is something to the URP (upwardly rearward path) the rear wheel takes. The hard edges of rocks disappear better than on my Truth. I think one penalty is a slightly longer chainstay, but I still found lofting the front wheel up onto obstacles when climbing easier than with my Truth so this was not an issue for me at all. I suppose this should add stability on the downhills too but I didn't really get to push the bike on my test ride in this respect.

I don't understand how SPV would help the frame or are you referring to the fork? I think anything would be better than the DUC32 for everything but the most extreme technical downhill stuff. The stiffness and build quality was phenomenal, but the damping just plain didn't work worth a darn (pogo stick).and the fork made the bike too tall and cockpit too short in my opinion. I doubt it was a problem with the fork because I've pedaled 3 around and they were all like this (for the most part). Now that I think about it though, the first one I pedaled (when they were first available) didn't pogo nearly as bad. Hmmm... Still too tall for me though.

I purchased my Truth with the one bike mindset, but after 3 years and lots of improvement on my part, I realize that I really need a lighter and more efficient bike for some races (smooth, fast stuff like Sea Otter for example). Hopefully I will be able to build up a light hardtail before that time of year rolls around again. Full suspension is definitely a good thing to have for other races around here (especially Northstar at Tahoe).

We spent a few days riding around Fort Collins (Lory & Horsetooth State Parks) this spring and there are definitely some great trails around there. On average I agree they were more technical than most of what we have here (northern CA/Tahoe area) mostly due to the addition of roots. There is plenty of technical stuff around here though and even longer relentless technical climbs. I'm sure we only scratched the surface in CO though. We like it there and would move to the area if land and housing were more affordable. Lots of jobs for me there and cooler weather! The heat in CA just kills us.

Glad to hear yours has done well thru wet riding because I will put lots of miles on the bike. Apparently earlier versions of the Maverick came with nice little owner's manuals in a nice case, including a maintenance journal... just like a car! Hopefully it is easy to check & replace those bearings if they do fail. I prefer to do all my own maintenance.

I appreciate your thoughts!
 

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BRH, I was talking about the Rocky Mtn Instinct would've benefitted from SPV. The Maverick doesn't need it -- you already know. I like the DUC32 and have not problems with damping, but now that I think about it, I run it 1-2 clicks from full open (very fast rebound) out of I think 16 clicks. I like the fast rebound for the rocky terrain here. Fort Collins has similar riding to Boulder, but there is a big difference between "park" rides like Horsetooth/Lory and finding endless trails in the Nat'l Forest west of town. If you ever come back, go to Nederland and visit the Happy Trails bike shop in the caboose in the center of town. They'll show you the way.

I think the Mavericks still come with the owner's manual. Mine did, in Oct 2003. It's basically a day timer with cool logos, extra derailleur hangers, extra bolts, maintenance logs, etc. Maverick treats its customers the same way luxury car companies treat their customers.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for tips on where to ride! We'll definitely check those places out next time... maybe this fall!

Here is the route we took when we visited Ft. Collins. I think this is correct. Lory Park Visitor Center, East Valley Trail, up Towers Road to radio towers (then down to Mill Creek Trail and back up to radio towers twice while waiting), down Towers Road, down Spring Creek Trail, down Soderberg Trail to Horsetooth Trailhead Parking Area, back up Soderberg Trail, up Spring Creek Trail to crossover to Stout Trail, Towers Road, West Valley Trail, Lory Park Visitor Center. Spring Creek Trail had a couple of technical sections, but was by far the most fun.

I got my Maverick all built up but I haven't taken it for it's maiden voyage yet. Hopefully tomorrow. The rear shock is acting funny (rebound control not doing anything) and so is my fork (Fox Float 100 RLT, about half travel and very progressive... maybe too much oil?). I'm also having problems setting up an E-type XTR to work with a 34 tooth middle chainring. I had to try E-type after seeing how much improved the newest version was. It works great except that it is only meant for 32 tooth middles so the inner cage plate slightly contacts the middle ring when in the big ring. I can't adjust it out so I'll have to grind the inner cage to provide the necessary clearance. There's no way I'm giving up my 34 tooth ring. MA also needs to note that there is a height adjustment that has to be made on the E-types or they will contact the frame and scratch it! After realizing this (scraping sound) and flipping the little nut around, it fits perfectly.

Didn't get the neat little owner's manual but I did get the extra derailleur hanger (good thing because they are thin).

 
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