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I spent the day test riding these bikes. I enjoyed each one in its own way. I liked the 08 Stumpy Comp, but it seemed to flex laterally and it felt slow during turns and climbs. I was a fan of the 07 Stumpy, but the 08's seemed to have lost something. I really liked the 07 Epic. I could throw it around and carve turns like nobody's business, but I know I will not always be on smooth XC trails. I rode a large Fuel EX8 last. The large is too small for me, I need an extra large, but it felt more XC than the Stumpy and the rear suspension felt wonderful. It felt almost bottomless. I am hesitant to buy an EX8 since it is a new design and I know Trek will probably make minor modifications.

What has been your experience with the 08 Stumpy Comp or EX8?
 

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Just got my Stumpy Comp 08 last week and rode it for 3 hours this weekend and I loved every minute. I didn't test the EX8 or Epic as the price was a little high. I have a Lg and had no problem climbing with it as all. I moved the saddle back a little bit and kept the weight on the rear tire and flew up some pretty technical steep climbs. But this is just my opinion.
 

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I bought the SJ

I had an 04 Epic and recently upgraded to the SJ expert. I liked the Epic - but wanted more of a trail bike.

I demoed the Trek Fuel ex8 for a day and did not like it very much which surprised me because i have heard nothing but great things about this bike from people on the trail. It just was not right for me. I felt that the bottom bracket was too high for the riding I do and that the overall center of gravity was much higher than on the SJ. It did not climb well for me (despite a lot of tweaking) and it felt a little sketchy on the downhill compared to the SJ.

When I demoed the SJ - it felt like a part of my body when riding. I do agree that it feels a little more laterally flexy. However - this may be a function of the softer sidewalls on the tires. I pumped up the rear to about 40 psi and the flexy feeling went away.

The SJ has made me a much better rider over the past month. I am climbing things that I could never clear on my Epic and the downhills are much more fun on the longer travel bike.

All I can really say is that you have three very good choices there. Go for the one that puts the smile on your face and forget about what other people tell you you should like.
 

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I had an 04 Epic too, and I just got an SJ Comp, I think it is a great bike. Going up is always hard no matter what bike you have, but the SJ feels, going down this bike is great fun! I love it, The suspension works better than the Epic it is smooth, plus I think is cheaper than the Epic.
Good luck and have fun!

Zor
 
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