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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,

I stumbled across this site while researching bikes and feel like this would be the best place to come and ask for some help. I'm in the market for a new bike but I'm getting decision paralysis and need some guidance.

A little background about me:

- I'm 32, 6'1", 160 lbs, planning on some weight gain as I'm lighter than my average. I rode motocross from age 15-25 on and off. I rode a bike in college as my main transportation. I got into mountain biking last summer and I currently own a 2010 specialized epic (29er) with 100mm travel front and rear. I feel like this is barely enough travel to take the edge off of feeling like I'm riding a hard tail. I know I'm fairly new to the sport but my moto skills have crossed over pretty well and I would say I'm a pretty competent and somewhat aggressive rider. I live in the Tahoe area in California where there are plenty of chunky and gnarly terrain and nearby ski resorts. I'd say my local trails aren't too chunky but I'm feeling bucked around alot on my 100mm bike. I'd like something a bit burlier to grow into and keep for at least the next few years to come.

Bike Interests:

1) My main interest in a bike is full suspension fox with a grip 2 damper - high and low speed control. I've ridden enough with motocross to understand and really want that fine tuning capability. Unless someone can tell me why I wouldn't want that?

2) $5k budget, preferring new, preferring carbon frame, somewhat lightweight, full suspension preferrably in the 130mm-170mm categories. I'm comfortable with the 29er wheels and have been told I should stick to that due to my height and riding style. I know 100mm isn't nearly enough, but how much is enough in Tahoe??

3) Preferred rides are 10-20 mile chunky technical single track with some flow sections, I avoid fire roads as much as possible unless its a means to an end. I like trials style stuff, fast and flowy, rock gardens, drops, jumps are appealing but I don't trust my current rig. I'm an adrenaline junky. I will search out harder terrain if i have more suspension to handle it. Coming from motocross I'm used to plowing through 3 ft boulder fields without much of an issue. I realize this isn't a motorcycle and I need to change expectations here but just saying I like it rough and rowdy so far with the ability to go for long rides and get that summer fitness outdoors.


I've been looking around at bikes and I'm getting decision paralysis. I want something capable but don't want to spend 7k on it. I really like the idea of an enduro bike. I've pedaled a few around shop parking lots and they seem to pedal just fine to me.

I've been looking at:
-yeti sb150 - pricey
-evil following/ wreckoning - pricey no fox
-trek slash - no fox or way too pricey
-orbea rallon
-nukeproof mega/giga - these seem the standout so far
-propain spin drift
-YT capra

I tried to be as thorough as possible but ask any questions you have. This is much appreciated.
Any advice on a bike and pricing would be great. Fox Grip 2 damper, carbon, and under budget is the ideal.
 

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I think you are absolutely on a great track. I agree with the 29" wheels at your size and also with your preference for the Grip2 damper. The Nukeproof is a great selection but you should also consider some other bikes like the Specialized Enduro and possibly the Santa Cruz Megatower. Nothing beats a demo because the way the rear suspension acts is up to rider preference. What works for peter may not work for paul.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I like the Ibis but I get hung up on the price point and component selection. At that price point you get deore components and the nukeproof is setup with SLX. Ibis runs that 5300 versus the mega/giga run 4500-4600 respectively . Will these components even matter to me being new to the industry? I'm not sure still. The way I've been trying to look at these bikes are if I can save a thousand dollars by buying brand x or brand y and get the suspension I want. I can use some extra money from being under budget to customize that bike more to my preferences.

I totally agree some demo's are sorely needed but those are hard to come by due to the covid supply chain issues. Less product available and more people wanting them(sorry guys I'm one of them).

I like specialized, I'm riding that brand now and they have a good rep. The enduro in my budget looks to come with Rockshox suspension or I have to jump up to 6300 to get the fox I want.

Santa cruz seems to have the same thing. Carbon bike under 5k but with Rockshox. Jump up to 6k and you get the Fox.

Am I being difficult wanting the fox setup so I can tweak the suspension more? Bikes and the components they come with seem to have endlessly complicated options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Also, is getting a bike with 160 or 170mm of rear travel being a little overly zealous in the suspension department? Should I try to back down from those numbers? Throwing 5k at a bike is a big deal for me but I want something that will keep me sane/ fit/ happy for years to come.
 

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I think an enduro bike, or at minimum an all-mountain bike would be what you'd want. Check out the Vitus Escarpe CRX and Sommet CRX. Huge bang for the buck with Fox factory susp and Shimano XT drivetrains for ~$4500 delivered. Currently out of stock, but get on Chain Reaction Cycles email notification for the model and size you want and be ready to pull the trigger quick when you get the early AM stock notification. I got the Escarpe CRX 29er and could not be happier with it. Have put about 700miles on it since June in Mammoth , Big Bear, and San Diego. I'm a pretty aggressive rider, but have to climb alot to access the goods, and the Escarpe has been great. It's a 150/140mm bike. The Sommet is it's big brother at 170/164mm.

 

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Also, is getting a bike with 160 or 170mm of rear travel being a little overly zealous in the suspension department? Should I try to back down from those numbers? Throwing 5k at a bike is a big deal for me but I want something that will keep me sane/ fit/ happy for years to come.
5K is a huge deal for a bike. Unfortunately COVID has added 10-20% to the bike prices in the past year. I'm on a carbon Santa Cruz, but I will tell you that I wouldn't mind having aluminum. I would possibly consider going with something like the Ripmo AF to save a couple bucks, add durability, and possibly get the the suspension that you like. From your description I really do think you need to be on a 29" bike and I do think 150mm rear travel and 160mm front is the minimum you should be seeking for the riding you described and your background. 10-20 miles isn't a very big ride and it sounds like you enjoy the tech and gnar. An aluminum bike won't hold you back with that kind of riding.
 

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If you've ridden motocross possibly you've tuned the valves and shims in your fork and shock. If you have look at a Manitou Mezzer Pro Fork and Mara Pro shock.
 

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If you aren't really 100% certain what you will like, maybe a Canyon Strive CF 8 with Shapeshifter? It has a gizmo that changes the geometry on the fly.

You have the "Brain" suspension on your Specialized, right? That was basically designed to feel like you are riding a hardtail until the "Brain" opened up for bumps. If it needs a rebuild, it will just feel like a hardtail all the time. So I wouldn't judge all 100mm bikes based on how that rides. Even a modern 140mm travel bike will feel like 2x the travel as your current bike. A modern 170mm bike is going to be a very drastic change that may actually feel slow to you in chunky single track rock gardens.
 

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You live in a good riding area and you have a decent budget. Not totally following the super-specific demand for Fox suspension. But, I’d buy the bike you can find in your size. Ripmo is a fantastic all-arounder.
 

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12 speed Deore v SLX? Personally wouldn't be a decision sway-er in my book. The crank is the most significant upgrade in terms of weight (maybe cassette too? Not sure I've seen the weight on an SLX 12 speed cassette) but other than weight, shift performance is pretty much identical and are both great reliable drivetrains. Both brakes are great.
 

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My 5 cents worth. From what you explain look at 160-180mm enduro bikes. Dont piss around with less than 150. You are used to real suspension. Get a grunty enduro bike.

Fox X2 is good for a rear shock, and look at coil too. That will be closer to your moto.
Lyric, 36 are good options. Get the highest spec suspension you can ideally with high/low compression and rebound options.
 

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i like
slash 8, sell the fork and get the one you want. $4200

or

use specialized search and grab a left over stumpy evo expert. $5000. you might find one in a dealer store. i saw an s5 tonight, note: they upped the price 1100 for the 2022 model

the evo is adjustable many ways so you can have it a long time and set it up for diff terrain as needed.

slash is what you get. one setup
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Big Multi quote to address everyone.

I would possibly consider going with something like the Ripmo AF to save a couple bucks, add durability, and possibly get the the suspension that you like. From your description I really do think you need to be on a 29" bike and I do think 150mm rear travel and 160mm front is the minimum you should be seeking for the riding you described and your background. 10-20 miles isn't a very big ride and it sounds like you enjoy the tech and gnar. An aluminum bike won't hold you back with that kind of riding.
At the moment my standard loop ride is about 15 miles and 1500 feet of climbing give a take a little. I do some rides in the low 20s and would like to graduate to bigger rides with 30-40 miles and 3-4k of climbing in the future. That will actually be next season's goals. I was thinking aluminum would be fine but with the gain in mileage and climbing I want to achieve I was thinking spending a little extra up front might help with what I'm trying to acheive. I realize I forgot to say what my future goals were intending. Do you think the carbon would be worth that or still aluminum would be good? That would definitely save me some money.

Check out the Vitus Escarpe CRX and Sommet CRX. Huge bang for the buck with Fox factory susp and Shimano XT drivetrains for ~$4500 delivered. I got the Escarpe CRX 29er and could not be happier with it. Have put about 700miles on it since June in Mammoth , Big Bear, and San Diego. I'm a pretty aggressive rider, but have to climb alot to access the goods, and the Escarpe has been great. It's a 150/140mm bike. The Sommet is it's big brother at 170/164mm.

Fox factory with carbon at 4300-4500 sounds like a killer deal! I'm actually fascinated with those bike options I really appreciate you adding your experience with that bike. Mammoth is very similar to Tahoe, do you feel like the 140/150 is great for everything in those areas? Or do you wish you went with the bigger Sommet?


If you've ridden motocross possibly you've tuned the valves and shims in your fork and shock. If you have look at a Manitou Mezzer Pro Fork and Mara Pro shock.
I've ripped apart and rebuilt my inverted Kayaba forks on my YZF dirt bike. I'm comfortable digging in to forks. The reviews look good but it seems I'd have to buy a bike that I don't like the fork on and buy this fork / shock setup which would add alot of coin to the mix. I'm thinking it might be safer to stick to a more popular fork in case I need any help with tuning?
If you aren't really 100% certain what you will like, maybe a Canyon Strive CF 8 with Shapeshifter?

You have the "Brain" suspension on your Specialized, right? That was basically designed to feel like you are riding a hardtail until the "Brain" opened up for bumps. If it needs a rebuild, it will just feel like a hardtail all the time. So I wouldn't judge all 100mm bikes based on how that rides. Even a modern 140mm travel bike will feel like 2x the travel as your current bike. A modern 170mm bike is going to be a very drastic change that may actually feel slow to you in chunky single track rock gardens.
I do have the brain on my bike. It seems to work pretty well as the climbing feels like a hardtail, no complaints there. Unfortunately, I'm either maxing out the suspension or I have it setup so stiff it doesn't work. There's no inbetween. I played with the tuning a bunch and basically decided I have it working as best as possible for me, I just need more suspension. It's difficult coming from a motorcycle with a foot of suspension and realizing i can't do that on a mountain bike. I feel like with more suspension to play with i can setup the first half of the stroke for most of the small bump trail stuff and the second half for big bumps / drops / jumps and be pretty happy.

slash 8, sell the fork and get the one you want. $4200

grab a left over stumpy evo expert. $5000. you might find one in a dealer store.

the evo is adjustable many ways so you can have it a long time and set it up for diff terrain as needed.
The slash seems like a great bike. That is a tempting avenue.
Whats the new stumpjumper like? I rode a buddy's that was 4-5 years old and was not impressed in the slightest. His was pretty beat up and sloppy though by the time I got to swing a leg over it though which doesn't give me an accurate opinion of them.
 

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Anything you get will be a world away from what you're riding now. Suspension tech, geometry, components have all improved a LOT.
Alu is a great material for FS bikes. If it wasn't, we would all be on carbon or steel and we're not. I'm riding a 2018 GG Trail Pistol which is alu and still a better bike than I am a rider.
 

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definitely don't get hung up on components, particularly drivetrain, unless ALL other factors are equal. Deore vs. SLX is not noticeable and weight savings is nearly nil. XT starts to have some nicer features, but you could also easily sell the takeoffs and upgrade immediately if you really liked everything else about the bike. Fork, wheels, these are much bigger ticket items that I would focus on, again, if the frame geo is exactly what you want.
 

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The slash is a beast of a bike and i like the high stack for taller people. great rear shock. just swap the front fork and bang your rocking something amazing. glad to see the frame storage on the alum frame. i would just go buy it! work a deal on a fork at the dealer. then you can cut the steerer tube a little long to start to see if you like riding it with a bit more bar height. it will take a bit of learning to get the most out of the bike. fitness etc. post a pic when you get it!

i ride a 2018 stumpy with dvo topaz, my own designed flip chip and offset bushing, swapped fork to yari ultimate.

its a good trail bike, but no longer has the capability that is needed for rowdy stuff.

i like the alum frame and it was in fact stiffer than the carbon ones from that age.

i sampled a evo in the showroom riding area and was stunned at the diff. they are not the same at all!!!

couldnt believe how much the rear chainstay and low bb made it much harder to lift the front wheel.

floppy feeling head tube angle which i could imagine felt pretty good going straight down the mtn.

but the stack is way too low on an evo for my body type. I would never enjoy the bike on the other 98% of the riding i do.

would be good to rent for lift access rides.

havent ridden the trek as i havent seen one in person yet. rare bird!
 

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Fox factory with carbon at 4300-4500 sounds like a killer deal! I'm actually fascinated with those bike options I really appreciate you adding your experience with that bike. Mammoth is very similar to Tahoe, do you feel like the 140/150 is great for everything in those areas? Or do you wish you went with the bigger Sommet?
I live in San Diego, and the 140/150mm suits the majority of my riding pretty perfectly. Also, most of the pedal-access riding I do in Mammoth and Big Bear is pretty well suited to the 140/150mm travel as well. There are some points where, yes, a bit more travel may be nicer, but I'm not sure how much sacrifice there would be on the climbing efficiency going to the bigger bike. The place where I do sometimes want more travel is in the bike parks, where climbing is a non issue (or at least a more minor one). Currently I average around 6-8 bike park days per year, and tend to seek out more fast, rocky natural terrain than built jump features. If I lived in Mammoth, I probably would have gone for the Sommet as the best compromise because I'd be riding alot more park than I do currently. Hope this helps.
 

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For what you are doing, the Ripmo V2 is as good as it gets. Part of that is Ibis's implementation of DWLink. The more aggressive geometry and the tuned up rear end (better kinematics than the v1) make it the ultimate aggro-trail bike that climbs like black magic. I'd try the large as the V2 is a bit longer than the v1 and I'm not convinced super long bikes are faster or more fun (neither actually I think). Its likely more than your budget, but hell you are spending 5k$ on one bike, make it the EXACT one you want. You'll only cry on day one...tears of joy.

The grip2 damper stuff is interesting but also perhaps not THAT big of a deal. Maybe if you are racing and chasing seconds in DH laps or Enduro but I'm not sure the average rider would notice it that much over Fox's Fit4 etc. You can also just install one yourself aftermarket too. I have a grip2 and its nice and all but I wonder if I'd notice it that much without it. I'd likely notice nice wheels and brakes more than the difference between Fit4 and Grip2.

Just buy the Ripmo. Its the way (and I don't have one but my buddy does).

A Pivot switchblade is also a badass bike but I don't like the steeper HTA at 66d. I think it'd have been better served with more capability with a 65d like the Ripmo V2.

Also Manitou/Hayes's stuff is SUPER rad these days. Their brakes are the best outside of Trickstuff and that Mezzer and Mara Pro are pretty awesome.
 

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I'd be looking at the alloy Sentinel GX build. Versatile bike with the right travel numbers and a GRIP2 for 5k even. Great to have Transition's reputable customer support behind it as well.
 
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