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My comment is to ride the Maverick a bit before you consider it. I rode the Klein version and did not like the weird geometry, the change in pedal to seat distance when the suspension compressed, and that it stiffened when standing. People either love the feel or hate it. The guys that love them won't ride anything else.
 

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recovering roadie
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I certainly prefer the ML7. FYI, the geometry is different than the Klein.

I do suggest riding one - it's the best way to know. I could spew out a bunch of subjective opinions, but we all know what those are worth.

Phantomtracer said:
I currently own an Intense Tracer and was thinking about a new bike. Anyone have good or bad things to say about the ML7 or Switchblade?
 

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Phantomtracer said:
I currently own an Intense Tracer and was thinking about a new bike. Anyone have good or bad things to say about the ML7 or Switchblade?
Maverick is an interesting semi-active suspension hidden in a complex semi-URT mac-strut. It's probably a good quality ride, but the shock could be a pain to get maintained (send the frame in? well it's got to be easier I'd imagine.).

The Switchblade is a great bike, similar but not as adjustable in handling as the Tracer (except the Talas/Talas version), and a little heavier to support 5+ inch travel, and restricted to air shocks.

If you haven't yet, try a non-platform Vanilla-R and coil 100mm fork on your Tracer, it feels like adding another inch of travel. Propedal shocks feel harsh on the Tracer, a Romic is OK with bob knob all the way out, feels like a Float-R with a little plusher deep travel (probably about the same as a non-Propedal AVA). A Swinger Coil would probably be very good with minimal platform (if they make a 6.5/1.5 size) and with a soft spring. The old Vanilla-R rides best if you like a smoother ride. The Tracer is very stable handling without platform damping compromises. I'm always really happy to get back on my Tracer after test riding something else. I'd want adjustable 4 - 6 inch rear travel with an adjustable travel fork to replace the Tracer. The Switchblade-Talas comes close, but I'd want to be able to use coil. The Marin Wolf Ridge might work with a 5th Element/Swinger coil, if so that would be my next frame of choice available now, I'd suggest you try to get a test ride on the Wolf Ridge, it's very advanced.

- ray
 

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Whatever
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derby said:
Maverick is an interesting semi-active suspension hidden in a complex semi-URT mac-strut. It's probably a good quality ride, but the shock could be a pain to get maintained (send the frame in? well it's got to be easier I'd imagine.).
- ray
derby, please don't comment on things you're unsure about. To service the ML7 shock, you unbolt it from the frame, just like you do any other shock. FYI, it is made by Fox, and Maverick has THE BEST support in the bike industry. I'm sure many others will agree.

I would think the Maverick is probably a better climber, and the Switchblade a little better going down. The ML7 is the best climbing bike I've ever owned.
 

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Maybe a better point would be...

MINImtnbiker said:
derby, please don't comment on things you're unsure about. To service the ML7 shock, you unbolt it from the frame, just like you do any other shock. FYI, it is made by Fox, and Maverick has THE BEST support in the bike industry. I'm sure many others will agree.

I would think the Maverick is probably a better climber, and the Switchblade a little better going down. The ML7 is the best climbing bike I've ever owned.
...that if the Maverick shock needs service, you can't just bolt on another shock in the meantime. The Switchblade (and most other bikes) uses a standard shock that can be found at most shops. Depending on the configuration, it uses a 6.5" x 1.5" or a 7.875" x 2.0", probably the two most common shock sizes.

Both are nice riding bikes. The SB can be set up with more rear travel (up to 5.7") if that's needed. Weights are similar. Titus has excellent customer support as well.

Tommy (rides a SB)
 

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Why the ML7?

Phantomtracer said:
I currently own an Intense Tracer and was thinking about a new bike. Anyone have good or bad things to say about the ML7 or Switchblade?
If you are considering the ML7 you are looking for a "unique" bike which probably means you already like it which in this realm of bikes is usually the best reason to choose between frames.

That said I personally wouldn't consider the ML7 because it's too unique for my tastes. I ride a SB and it climbs well even running an old Fox FloatR. That said I think there are other frames that might be a better choice, but without more details about your likes and dislikes about your Tracer there's no way to give any specifics.

One thing that is true is that the ML7 leaves you with a non-standard shock that you are at the mercy of Fox to continue to support. I don't think the benefits of the ML7 warrant the risk. I think the same applies to the Epic but at least Specialize has some serious pull. Your chances of getting a loaner shock or finding replacement parts are also greatly deminished.

My taste leans toward going with a tried and true design and company.
 

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Derby

derby said:
The Switchblade-Talas comes close, but I'd want to be able to use coil.

- ray
I wonder if Progressive could do a custom, progressively-wound spring for a 5'th Element Coil to match the falling-rate of the Switchblade. They do that for motorcycles, or at least they used to. Maybe with the greater weight/heavier spring weight associated with motorcycles it's a more reasonable undertaking.
 

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Good idea

CJH said:
I wonder if Progressive could do a custom, progressively-wound spring for a 5'th Element Coil to match the falling-rate of the Switchblade. They do that for motorcycles, or at least they used to. Maybe with the greater weight/heavier spring weight associated with motorcycles it's a more reasonable undertaking.
It's worth asking Progressive. Problem is that Titus would have to bless the application or the warrantee would be void, and a warrantee is worth protecting, because even Titus makes mistakes, although very rarely.

Compared to most air shocks, it's easy to under spring a coil shock and bottom out harshly or coil bind if not expertly applied and then possibly damage the linkage or frame. Most air shocks are very difficult to bottom to metal even when running way under pressurized, they always have a air cushion progressive rate bottom out.

The Titus Quasi-Lite I believe uses the coil compatible shock link geometry of the heavier duty Quasi-Moto (using lighter Switchblade rear and chain-stay links) and weighs only 3/4 lbs. (the weight of a pint of beer - without the glass) more than a Switchblade would with the same shock. That would allow freer options for using coil manufacturers and a little more travel too.

- ray
 

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probably

I thought about the warrantee and suspect Titus would be unlikely to allow it.

The Quasi-Lite is coil-ready but all but unavailable at this point - at least through my LBS/Titus dealer. I really want to use a LBS if at all possible. If I didn't I'd just go ahead and get a 5 Spot.

My local choices for a FS design that will accept coil is limited to Kona or Specialized. Specialized is probably the better climber for the loose, rocky terrain we have around here but the 2005 may not accept coil rear shocks (due to the rumored pierced seat tube for all 2005 models).

derby said:
It's worth asking Progressive. Problem is that Titus would have to bless the application or the warrantee would be void, and a warrantee is worth protecting, because even Titus makes mistakes, although very rarely.

Compared to most air shocks, it's easy to under spring a coil shock and bottom out harshly or coil bind if not expertly applied and then possibly damage the linkage or frame. Most air shocks are very difficult to bottom to metal even when running way under pressurized, they always have a air cushion progressive rate bottom out.

The Titus Quasi-Lite I believe uses the coil compatible shock link geometry of the heavier duty Quasi-Moto (using lighter Switchblade rear and chain-stay links) and weighs only 3/4 lbs. (the weight of a pint of beer - without the glass) more than a Switchblade would with the same shock. That would allow freer options for using coil manufacturers and a little more travel too.

- ray
 

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silly

The maverick is a poor choice unless you are looking for a softtail, straightup climbing bike. The downs are brutal and theres very little flexibility in shock choices. Guys will dispute this and call me a fool but only the few guys dying to be different and think its some stupid status thing to ride one of those bikes. The switchblade is your tracer on steriods. Real nice bike with great company backing.
 

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Why do you feel you need a coil shock?

CJH said:
I thought about the warrantee and suspect Titus would be unlikely to allow it.

The Quasi-Lite is coil-ready but all but unavailable at this point - at least through my LBS/Titus dealer. I really want to use a LBS if at all possible. If I didn't I'd just go ahead and get a 5 Spot.

My local choices for a FS design that will accept coil is limited to Kona or Specialized. Specialized is probably the better climber for the loose, rocky terrain we have around here but the 2005 may not accept coil rear shocks (due to the rumored pierced seat tube for all 2005 models).
I was stuck on coil for a long time, too- my last bike was a Turner XCE with Romic. With the Switchblade I'm running a PUSH-modded Float R AVA (and a Minute 2 up front, an air fork, something else I thought I'd never ride). By going with air I gained easy adjustability of spring rate, and saved considerable weight (my SB is over a pound and a half lighter than my XCE was, with the same components). I weigh 165 and ride very aggressively, and have had zero issues.

I think the days of air shocks being unreliable for hard or heavy riders are past. Many "light freeride" bikes are air-equipped now, and Manitou has an air DH shock on the way.

Tommy
 

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Most people are absolutely fine on air shocks. They require a tiny bit more maintenance with lubing the air sleeve and maintaining pressure. They are almost equally as reliable though since they use the exact same damping units. There can be some trouble with air shocks on bikes with high leverage ratios and heavier rides. For example, the standard SB with 3:1 ratio would require too high of an air pressure (300psi) for someone over about 225 lbs. The longer travel shock with the 5" rockers would be much better for larger riders. For most people, this isn't a problem though. The PUSH modified air shocks use ultra slick urthane seals for minimal stiction and the AVA sleeve adds progressive adjustment for more linear spring rates that feels much better than the standard Float on a lot of bike including the Tracer and the SB.
 

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Coil better for smoother condtions

Homebrew said:
Most people are absolutely fine on air shocks. They require a tiny bit more maintenance with lubing the air sleeve and maintaining pressure. They are almost equally as reliable though since they use the exact same damping units. There can be some trouble with air shocks on bikes with high leverage ratios and heavier rides. For example, the standard SB with 3:1 ratio would require too high of an air pressure (300psi) for someone over about 225 lbs. The longer travel shock with the 5" rockers would be much better for larger riders. For most people, this isn't a problem though. The PUSH modified air shocks use ultra slick urthane seals for minimal stiction and the AVA sleeve adds progressive adjustment for more linear spring rates that feels much better than the standard Float on a lot of bike including the Tracer and the SB.
I think that in desert and other constantly rocky and sandy condtions air is plenty smooth. Air's quick adjustment is pretty nice too. But in smoother condtions like loose dirt and gravel over hardpack coil is very noticably more buttery and probably higher traction for steep loose condition climbing and braking. And once a coil suspension is dialed in there's nearly no maintenance.

- ray
 

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derby said:
I think that in desert and other constantly rocky and sandy condtions air is plenty smooth. Air's quick adjustment is pretty nice too. But in smoother condtions like loose dirt and gravel over hardpack coil is very noticably more buttery and probably higher traction for steep loose condition climbing and braking. And once a coil suspension is dialed in there's nearly no maintenance.

- ray
As TOMMYROD74 says above, the difference between good air shocks and coil is blurring. The attitude of air = XC/race and coil = freeride will eventually die, what with Manitou releasing an air DH shock. And take the time to go ride an air shock equipped bike like Maverick, you'll be suprised how "buttery" it really is. Also I don't have much maintenance on my ML7, only a pump or two of air every 3 weeks or so. And that's probably only because checking it lowers the psi a bit.
 

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Sorry for the threadjack...

Sorry to have changed the flow of this thread. I do appreciate everyone's input.

My interest in coil is primarily due to a back injury I'm getting over. I live in an area with extremely rocky, loose terrain and my perception is that a coil shock will be more supple in the first part of it's stroke. At least when used in conjunction with the appropriate rear suspension design.

The bike I most commonly see on the local trails is the Kona Dawg. Many of these have had their air shocks replaced with coils. And no, they weren't Kona Coilers, although I do see those as well.

Derby, the climbing conditions around here are exactly as you described... steep and loose.

derby said:
I think that in desert and other constantly rocky and sandy condtions air is plenty smooth. Air's quick adjustment is pretty nice too. But in smoother condtions like loose dirt and gravel over hardpack coil is very noticably more buttery and probably higher traction for steep loose condition climbing and braking. And once a coil suspension is dialed in there's nearly no maintenance.

- ray
 

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artsn said:
The maverick is a poor choice unless you are looking for a softtail, straightup climbing bike. The downs are brutal and theres very little flexibility in shock choices. Guys will dispute this and call me a fool but only the few guys dying to be different and think its some stupid status thing to ride one of those bikes. The switchblade is your tracer on steriods. Real nice bike with great company backing.
Have you ridden a Maverick?
 

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artsn said:
The maverick is a poor choice unless you are looking for a softtail, straightup climbing bike. The downs are brutal and theres very little flexibility in shock choices. Guys will dispute this and call me a fool but only the few guys dying to be different and think its some stupid status thing to ride one of those bikes. The switchblade is your tracer on steriods. Real nice bike with great company backing.
I test rode a fairly similar Klein and it felt great up and down. I imagine that the Maverick feels similar but different (geometry and shock). I want to try a switchblade, but I can't afford one anyway so I guess it doesnt matter.
 

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ML7 == softail? TOTALLY NOT TRUE!

It is MORE plush than my Truth or my wife's Enduro (or any other bike I've pedaled for that matter). The rearward wheel path of the ML7, just like a fork, makes bumps just disappear. Yes, it is a climbing machine, but it goes down better than most at the same time!

I don't understand the "status thing" comment either. The frame is the same cost as other high end frames.

The ML7 is definitely different -- it performs exceptionally well.
 
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