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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on a new all-mountain/aggressive xc bike and am stuck between a couple good options: Iron Horse MKIII Expert and the Commencal Meta 5.20. Both are '06 models on closeout and can be had for about $1800.

Today I did the city streets test ride on the Iron Horse, but I haven't tried the Commencal (the only dealer is an hour away and only has a large). For the record, I also tried a Titus Moto-Lite and Santa Cruz Blur LT. I liked the Blur LT more than the Titus (felt more flickable and the pedaling felt more efficient), but I'm having trouble justifying a 2x price difference.

The thoughts racking my brain... I'm 5'9" but w/ a 32" inseam and slightly longer than average arms. I typically fall into the medium category- my FSR and Bianchi SS are both mediums. I assumed the 17" MKIII would be my size, but it felt pretty cramped and the 19" felt much better... and I'm someone who doesn't like a stretched-out cockpit. I fall right into the middle of the size range for the 17" on the Commencal site, but I'm hesitant to order a bike without riding it or getting some great insight from an owner who is similar in size to me (anyone out there in the Bay Area willing to provide a test ride??).

I'm considering the Commencal because they have a great reputation (as do the IH bikes). I've compared all the parts specs and understand that the suspensions are very different... ultimately both seem to be capable going up and down, and for me it's a toss up between a stiffer single-pivot rear and the more active DW.

I can also be convinced to bump up to the MKIII Team or Meta 5.10 as they're still over a grand cheaper than the BLT and Moto-Lite. That's my ramble- my first mtbr post and a big purchase, so thanks if you're still reading. Any insights on the choice are appreciated. And would posting this on the AM forum be better? Thanks much.
 

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Hey JayBeeNewBee, afterall I think you should get the commencal, you know they're not exactly French, they're in Andorra... I'll show you this summer when we take the plane together with our heavy bike boxes :D
 

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[order a bike without riding it or getting some great insight from an owner who is similar in size to me (anyone out there in the Bay Area willing to provide a test ride??).

/QUOTE]

You got one, I have a brand new Meta 5.2 medium. However I just found out the front hub has an issue I need to resolve( it got locked up by the QR compression force). It can still be ridden but not for off-road, You are welcome to try out the size and ride around block. I live close to Concord, Walnut Creek area. work near Oakland. let me know [email protected]
I also had experienced MKIII and Blur on my boddy's bikes that I can share with you.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the insights. BigBull, thanks for the offer. I'll contact you separately to see if there's a time that works for you... time seems to be of the essence given the limited number of '06 closeouts left.

Strafer, if you're still looking for a 19" MKIII (the other bike still in the running for me), try bicycleblowout.com... not quite as cheap as rscycle (about $200 more than rscycle for the expert and team models), but they've got 19's and it still looks like a good deal.
 

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I was in very similar situation as you when picking a new ride. i loved my buddy's Blur but couldn't even think of asking my wife for a $4000 bike. I got Meta 5 because its overwhelming review and nice priced, I intend to keep a short travel XC bike and this 5" slacker for Tahoe and Napa trip.
I also spent some time on another friend's MKiii, like it a lot and if I can only own one bike, with a fork upgrade that will be it! IH doesn't feel as solid and beefy as Commencal but seems lighter on uphill and very plush going down, DW suspension works well. Meta is more downhill oriented and fill in the 'free ride' category for me.

If you are a light weight aggressive XC rider, IH will be a good all around ride. If you are more on the downhill side, you will love the solid Meta frame and geometry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the insights... I went for the Meta 5.20. It was a tough call, but everything points to the bike rating high in terms of fun quotient. Fun is good. And Greenfish threw in a free tshirt. It should arrive next week...
 
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