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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The wife has allowed me to run with the checkbook, so I want to make an informed decision. I am 5'10" tall and weigh around 215 pounds. I have only been riding for 2 weeks but have had a chance to ride some nice bikes. Our trails around here are technical with rock gardens, nice uphills and narrow twisting and winding downhills. Basically the trails are a mixed bag, quite a few roots as well. Since I am going to be ordering a frame and doing a complete build and looking at spending around 5-6k I want to get it right.

The frames I am considering are the:

Pivot Mach 429
Turner Sultan
Intense Tracer 29
Niner RIP9 or WFO

are any of these a good choice or is there one that basically stands out above the rest, or is there another one I should consider(I thought about the Yeti SB-95 but its not available yet).

Like I stated I am a newbie so I am wanting a bike that is forgiving for someone with a limited skill set, but would grow with me as my riding improves. I hope I have given enough info. One other note I am not a racer type I just want a great all around trail bike thats gonna help me gain confidence and be a little forgiving and just enjoy riding.
 

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I'm voting WFO, simply because I ride one and love it. I have ridden the Intense, nice bike but for the money I went with the WFO as I felt it pedaled better and was stiffer all the way around. FYI i'm 230 lbs myself and it has held up great so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm voting WFO, simply because I ride one and love it. I have ridden the Intense, nice bike but for the money I went with the WFO as I felt it pedaled better and was stiffer all the way around. FYI i'm 230 lbs myself and it has held up great so far.
The WFO is not too slack, I was concerned it was more of a downhill bike than an all around trail bike
 

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I'm riding a Spearfish now, but if I was looking, Pivot 429 & Santa Cruz Tallboy alum would both get some serious consideration. Always liked the Pivots and this year's bike looks pretty sweet! The Tallboy always intrigued me, but my riding style and carbon frames I fear don't mix. I was happy to see the aluminum version be offered. But, if I did throw caution to the wind and go carbon, I think the Ibis Ripley would be a fun bike!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm riding a Spearfish now, but if I was looking, Pivot 429 & Santa Cruz Tallboy alum would both get some serious consideration. Always liked the Pivots and this year's bike looks pretty sweet! The Tallboy always intrigued me, but my riding style and carbon frames I fear don't mix. I was happy to see the aluminum version be offered. But, if I did throw caution to the wind and go carbon, I think the Ibis Ripley would be a fun bike!
I would love to go for the Ripley but they say it could be March at the earliest when it becomes available
 

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Not my business and I am risking being called a d*ck, but any thoughts on spending less and learning what you do not know first?

You state you have been riding for two weeks. You really do not know what type of rider you and what type of bike fits you. Do you have any past riding experience? Any input from a trusted friend? For 2k you can get an xlnt "starter" bike, ride it for a year or two, gain some skills and learn what bike is going to fit you, your style and desired terrain you enjoy riding. During that time you can learn the sport and infinite variety of choices of frames, parts and styles. Then you can dial in exactly the best choice for you.

If mtb is for you do not be surprised if you develop the same quiver mentality that many here have.

Enjoy your search and choice!
 
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Let me first off say, I am in the exact same boat as you in regards to the bikes I like. I have been riding for about 20 years though, so I know what I do and don't like. I gotta somewhat agree with FR, if you only have 2 weeks of biking, do yourself a favor and rent / demo as many bikes as you can.

I went to Outerbike a couple weeks ago, and rode all those bikes except the Intense. Those are a spread of somewhat different bikes. The 429 is definitely XC, and even though a great pedaler, I don't think it would like what I would do to it, so it was off my list. The feel of the Sultan was amazing in the parking lot. Felt as plush as could be, but on the trails it didn't feel so good (I like a plush trail bike). It was firm, and it seemed to me that it wasn't squishy when I wanted it to be. That bike had an amazing parts package with a Fox 34 and an I9 wheelset, but I think I would want something a little more capable.

I rode the Rip9 the most, probably about 25 miles over the weekend, as that is the bike that I wanted to buy, and wanted to have a good understanding of. It didn't disappoint. I never messed with the pro-pedal, but it seemed to be a fairly good climber, and it was real fun on the downhill. The Niner people were all good people too, and took the time to answer questions and talk about the bikes. It had a 120mm fork on it, but I would have liked to see how a 140mm would have done. The 120mm was good on really steep uphills, but not so sure how the 140mm would have been. I only got a lap on the WFO, but it felt much the same. Fairly good climber, and even more beautiful suspension on the downs.

The bike you didn't include, and if you are honestly looking at the 429, is the Niner RDO. I rode that for a lap too, and was blown away by it. It is only 0.5" less travel than the Rip, but probably 4-5 pounds less (different buildups). If I had unlimited money, I would definitely think about that bike.
 

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Hum, FR Pokey does have a somewhat valid point in you being a n00b and all and maybe not knowing exactly what you might want/like - What bike(s) have you been riding these past 2 weeks, FS, HT, nice and blingy or mid level? I say there's nothing wrong with spending that sort of cash when you know what you like and want, but bit hard and may cause some regret if you don't quite exactly know.

All that being said, I'd definitely rule the WFO off the list, sounds way to much for what you describe and by the time you need a bike like that you'll really know exactly what you like and want. The others in your list are all good frames and would probably all serve you well, but each has it's own particular traits and nuances, so best bet is to try to get a test ride from a shop or off someone locally.

Personally there are actually a lot of options now in the what's called AM/Trail category of about 120-130mm travel, so take a good look around as loads of companies just revealed bikes in this category and some are available fairly soon AFAIK. There's loads of new stuff out (brain's just not remembering crap today), so check out the iBike coverage to get a better idea of what's out there or soon will be. 29er | MTBR Interbike Coverage I'm here now personaly waiting on my Banshee PRIME 130mm travel FS pre-production frame due sometime in Novemeber, but sadly production won't start most likely until sometime early next year on it or I'd tell you give that a go.
 

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Ozark- Hope you are taking the advice as positive. Not meant any other way.

As you can see from the responses, there are so many subtle differences to decide upon. How much suspension fr/back, how plush or firm on downhills/climbs, slack or aggressive angles, frame materials, new vs. older tech, how you pick lines and ride a trail, etc???? It is endless, take your time and enjoy the process. With the budget you state you could even get a custom build, frame and all.

All that being said, if your money is burning a hole in your pocket, then head to the local LBS and pick out your favorite. Have fun with the choice, ride safe and welcome to the family!
 

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Rip9, Tallboy or Pivot429 are all amazing bikes. Rip is a little better all around but climbs a hair less well. Still since you are just starting there are amazing deals on Rip9s and that would be my rec. I have bought 6 29ers (Rumblefish, Jet9, Rip 2010, Rip 2011, Stumpjumper, Lynskey) and demoed 3 (Tallboy 100mm fork, Tallboy 120mm fork, Mach 429) this year alone so I have a decent sampling
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone, I am riding with guys that have all been in the sport for over 8 years. I have rode all of their bikes and they are all high end bikes- Titus, Intense, Gary Fisher, Trek and GT. I found I am an AM type of rider not a XC racer. Most of them are building 29ers right now, they all have their opinions. Im not an aggressive rider but that might weigh heavily on my present skill set.

I realize this was a loaded question with lots of variables and I greatly appreciate the wisdom.
 

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If that's the case, then I highly suggest you listen to their arguments for or against certain brands etc and then if they manage to finish them fast ask for a little test ride.If you know for sure you'll definitely be more to the AM/Trail side of things then narrow your search to the 120-130mm travel range as I previously suggested, there's bound to be something in there that catches your fancy - no matter what people might say, you have to like how a frame/bike looks almost as much as how it rides :D
Good luck with your search, wish I currently had your problem ;)
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Thanks everyone, I am riding with guys that have all been in the sport for over 8 years. I have rode all of their bikes and they are all high end bikes- Titus, Intense, Gary Fisher, Trek and GT. I found I am an AM type of rider not a XC racer. Most of them are building 29ers right now, they all have their opinions. Im not an aggressive rider but that might weigh heavily on my present skill set.

I realize this was a loaded question with lots of variables and I greatly appreciate the wisdom.
 

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Ozark-"Im not an aggressive rider but that might weigh heavily on my present skill set."

Glad to see you acknowledge you may become a more aggressive rider once you gain more skills. Half the battle of choosing is knowing yourself and your own expectations.

If you are as new to cycling as you state. Get out and ride as many bikes as possible on as much varied terrain as possible and safe for you. See what inspires you the most, slamming the ruts and rocky sections or gracefully carving a trail. Do you enjoy long climbs or shuttling. Are you more comfortable with a plush (in my mind spongy) ride or tight stiffer ride.

All these things go into picking a bike. I would advise you deciding what works best for you, not your buddies. Even among your friends there is probably a big difference of opinion as to what to build up. FS vs HT, short travel XC vs AM. tubes vs tubeless etc.... Keep it simple for now and have some fun!
 

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Ozark- Another thing to consider is your learning curve. Invariably you will dump and crash this first bike. Do you really want it to be learning your skills with the new bling bike you just built up from the frame?

Have you considered finding a reasonable choice from all the advice given. Then buying used from mtbr classifieds, craigslist or friends older bike as they build new dream bike. You might even be able to find a closeout bike at the LBS that fits your needs as you earn your mtb skills.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks a lot hokeypokey, I will look at some closeouts. I noticed a couple websites had some Intense Tracer 29ers on closeout for a very reasonable price. I will check the classifieds as well.

Thanks again for your knowledge, I am trying to soak it all up.
 

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Lots of good advice.

Not to try to make your decision any more difficult, but I want to throw the Rocky Mountain Altitude 29er into the mix. I think it gets overlooked a lot. It fits great into that trail/AM category you seem to be looking for.

I just put a 140mm fork on mine a couple months ago and it rips! Still does very well on the uphill too.

Good luck with your choice.
 

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Buy a RIP 9

get a Niner RIP 9. I demoed, borrowed or owned many bikes on my path to it. It is the best all around bike I have ever tried. I am an all mountain type rider as well. Get a RIP with a 140mm fork, an slx double crankset with bashring, Stans flow wheelset, beefy tires (i run WTB Bronson's or Maxxis Ardents). This bike climbs like a goat, decends well and is all day comfortable. I do 20, 30, 40 mile rides up at Kingdom trails in Vermont on mine, even light downhill duty. Best bike ever!

Tire Wheel Bicycle frame Bicycle tire Bicycle wheel
 

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I would spend $2,700 on a Specialized FSR. Ride it, learn what you like and don't like about it. Upgrade the lower end parts (wheels, brakes, etc) over time as you see fit (sell the old parts on eBay to recoup costs). I bet after 4 months and/or 1,000 miles of riding, you WILL know exactly what you want out of a bike. Once you reach that point, you can order the frame you want, use the parts (both original parts and upgraded parts) from the FSR and build a sweet bike. A few month old FSR frame will catch decent cash on the classfieds here too!

I did this same thing when I bought my first 29er, a Fisher Rig. Even though I had it burning a hole in my wallet, I did not want to spend big bucks on something to only find out it was not exactly what I wanted, have to sell it, lose a ton of money and do it all over again. Long story short, the Rig became a 21lb titanium singlespeed, one part at a time.
 

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Well, I'm a bit biased, but I tested a lot of bikes and bought the 429.

It's the best bike I've ever ridden. Not owned, but ridden and I've demo'd a lot of bikes! This thing climbs like a jet plane... despite my best efforts to hold it back. It descends with confidence, tracking exactly where I point it. It rolls just fine on the flats. Side to side flex wise, it's as stiff as a HT. It's just an amazing bike. The only downside is it is a bit on the heavy side, but I rarely ever feel that extra weight.

All the bikes you listed are very good. I think the best of the bunch is the 429.
 
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