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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been offered a job that would mean living at the base of Nevada's Bootleg Canyon, home to some pretty gnarly, steep, rocky terrain (like the kind that wheel companies use to advertise durability and Aaron Gwin shows up to race at). The downhill stuff is shuttlable, but I'm more of a pedal up kind of guy for most of my rides, so while I wait for my current job to make a counter offer, I'm daydreaming about what my ideal bike would be if I moved.

A bit of background on me: I'm a fine bit not amazing mountain biker. I currently am on a first gen Santa Cruz Bronson with a DVO Topaz (and soon to have a 1 degree Works Components angleset). I ride everything from trail to park on it in the Northeast. I like it, but definitely feel the lower margin of error vs. a downhill bike when I'm at a bike park and pushing it. I'm 190cm (6'2"-6'3") and probably 195 geared up.

So what are the current champs for pedalable big bikes? Particularly on a 2500-4000 budget (and lower is of course better).

Options I've considered:

1. Used downhill bike, keep the Bronson and ride it for all but the biggest terrain.

2. New big bike that does most things as well as the Bronson. Add a short travel bike down the line.


Big bikes I'm looking at:

Transition Patrol (maybe Sentinel?) in NX builds
Fuji Auric LT 1.3
Guerrilla Gravity Megatrail Ride 2
Canyon Torque AL (maybe Strive?)
YT Capra
Santa Cruz Nomad/Megatower R builds (or even the new, more descent focused Bronson)
Spec Enduro 29 (this is what I rented when I went out to interview, though I didn't ride the really nasty stuff).
Scott Ransom lower end build


Anyone have any thoughts on what would best handle really rough terrain while not being impossible to pedal back up on?
 

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Or option 3. Sell the bronson upgrade to a bigger hitting enduro bike and buy a second hand rig for the shuttle days.

Put Rocky Mountain Slayer on your list. It will do everything the Bronson does, will weight slightly less, pedal uphill as good or better and is a monster on the down. Its insane what the slayer can ride through. I am typically faster on the slayer on my dh tracks that a rig for all but the stupedist gnarly lines. Even then over the hole track the slayer typically kicks arse.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm just not sure I'd need two bikes bigger than that Bronson (though that would be ideal if I only rode Bootleg).

The Slayer does look good. It starts above my price range though so I'd be dependent on finding a sale/used one.
 

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I have only ridden the Enduro, both the cheap Comp model (my '17) and the Coil edition (my new '18). I did a 7000' day on the coil Sunday. Pedals just fine for me. Definitely takes big hits pretty well. The cheap comp did just fine for me too.
 

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I'm just not sure I'd need two bikes bigger than that Bronson (though that would be ideal if I only rode Bootleg).

The Slayer does look good. It starts above my price range though so I'd be dependent on finding a sale/used one.
Find the right bike and you won't lose anything to the Bronson on the up and flat but yourl gain grins on the down. So if you love to smash the down I don't see any issue having a bigger bike for your daily ride plus a cheap s/h rig for shots and giggles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The megatrail is perfect for what you want. Trail mode up, gravity mode down :)
I do like the sound of Guerrilla Gravity in general. "Hey guys, one minute, I just need to change my shock mount"

I have only ridden the Enduro, both the cheap Comp model (my '17) and the Coil edition (my new '18). I did a 7000' day on the coil Sunday. Pedals just fine for me. Definitely takes big hits pretty well. The cheap comp did just fine for me too.
This is what I rode when I was out interviewing and rented a bike. It handled everything I threw at it (though I didn't hit the big stuff). There were a few moments where I wouldn't have minded a bit slacker HTA as things got steep, but all and all a good bike.

Bang for the buck has to be the TY Capra, right?
It sure seems like it (along with the Canyon), but YT's customer service seems to have really gone to seed the last few years in the US.

I'd go used DH bike.
That's one option. Most of the videos of the gnarly stuff features people riding DH bikes. It would just mean limiting my daily rides to the non-hard core stuff (which is probably fine) unless I had the ability to shuttle. It's too bad Bootleg doesn't really have any good beginner stuff or it would be easier to get my wife to drive me over and meet her after one burly descent for some mellower riding.

I pedal up for DH runs on my Remedy about as often as I do anything on it.
I tried out a Remedy a few years ago and really liked it. I was attempting to buy a used Remedy 29 when a new Bronson popped up at a spectacular price and I bought that. The Remedy strikes me as similar to my Bronson: Capable of handling some really rough terrain under a skilled pilot, but less likely than a bigger/slacker bike to bail me out on my mistakes when things are really heavy.
 

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I tried out a Remedy a few years ago and really liked it. I was attempting to buy a used Remedy 29 when a new Bronson popped up at a spectacular price and I bought that. The Remedy strikes me as similar to my Bronson: Capable of handling some really rough terrain under a skilled pilot, but less likely than a bigger/slacker bike to bail me out on my mistakes when things are really heavy.
The Remedy has changed quite a bit since they had a 29 version - longer travel, stiffer, more progressive geo... But I'd still say your analysis is pretty accurate. It's capable of literally anything in my opinion, but the margin for error leaves a little to be desired on the truly big hits. I ride it pretty damn hard (shuttle days, drops over my head to flattish, **** technique on gap jumps, etc) and have no need for more, but I can totally understand if someone felt more comfortable doing that stuff on a 170 bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I pedal up for DH runs on my Remedy about as often as I do anything on it.
The Remedy has changed quite a bit since they had a 29 version - longer travel, stiffer, more progressive geo... But I'd still say your analysis is pretty accurate. It's capable of literally anything in my opinion, but the margin for error leaves a little to be desired on the truly big hits. I ride it pretty damn hard (shuttle days, drops over my head to flattish, **** technique on gap jumps, etc) and have no need for more, but I can totally understand if someone felt more comfortable doing that stuff on a 170 bike.
I love the Remedy and the new version looks great. The ground is just a lot harder and sharper where I'm moving to than it is in the NE, so I'll take all the help I can get in avoiding encountering it. ha
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Nothing at bootleg requires a real DH bike and you wouldn't want to pedal one anyways. Any enduro bike will work.
That's good info. Thanks!

I certainly wouldn't want to pedal a dh bike. If I went that route, it would be to shuttle the DH runs and ride my Bronson everywhere else. Most of the stuff I saw looked like a big enduro bike would be ideal, so I was looking for suggestions as to which ones were best for tough chunky stuff.
 

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Here's something to consider, custom tuned suspension, get a 2nd hand coil shock like a small-shaft RC4 or Van and send it to Avalanche. Pick up an Avalanche cart for an older 40/Boxxer/Lyrik/Yari and run that. I swear it "bumps" my 6" bike a few classes up in terms of ability to handle gnar terrain and it saves my a$$ regularly when I land on my nose and the anti-bottoming cone kicks in to not cause an endo or when I land off-course and ride out through some unplanned rough stuff. It's hard to describe, it obviously doesn't make my bike feel like a DH bike completely, but it makes it feel like I'm giving up a lot less as far as the difference. Quality of travel always eclipses quantity of travel. This isn't radically expensive compared to the cost of a bike/frame, but it does make a pretty radical difference compared to OEM shock tunes, especially for achieving what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Stumpy Evo is more enduro than the Enduro and crushes climbs. Unfortunately sizing is limited for now so if you're over 6'2"-ish you may be out of luck.
i am 6'2-6'3". I actually rented the Enduro over the Stumpy Evo when I went out to ride Bootleg as I wasn't sure if the Evo sizing would work. I talked to the shop guy about the Evo and he really liked it. Largely for it being fast. I asked if he the low bottom bracket was an issue in the really chunk stuff. He said "Not if you don't suck at mountain biking." I said "Hmmm, so where are the bikes for those people, just - you know - out of curiosity." ;)

Here's something to consider, custom tuned suspension, get a 2nd hand coil shock like a small-shaft RC4 or Van and send it to Avalanche. Pick up an Avalanche cart for an older 40/Boxxer/Lyrik/Yari and run that. I swear it "bumps" my 6" bike a few classes up in terms of ability to handle gnar terrain and it saves my a$$ regularly when I land on my nose and the anti-bottoming cone kicks in to not cause an endo or when I land off-course and ride out through some unplanned rough stuff. It's hard to describe, it obviously doesn't make my bike feel like a DH bike completely, but it makes it feel like I'm giving up a lot less as far as the difference. Quality of travel always eclipses quantity of travel. This isn't radically expensive compared to the cost of a bike/frame, but it does make a pretty radical difference compared to OEM shock tunes, especially for achieving what you want.
The gen Bronson I have has a leverage ratio that seems a bit less tailored to a coil than the later gen versions. Some people talk about trying it online, but I can't find the after comments. Right now I have a DVO Topaz on it and have really liked it, but I could fine a used coil and try it.

Take my advice and ease into Bootleg.
Ha, oh I plan too. On my visit, I rode Lower Lake View (from the bike path to where Upper Lake View starts), Upper Lake View (both ways), Girl Scout (both ways), Inner Caldera (loop), a navigational cluster**** of Par None Connector, Par None? Dessert Cruise, and maybe something else on my way out attempting (first) ensure I got a little more riding in then (second) hoping to end this ride as soon as possible.

My only crash was on literally one of the absolute easiest sections of Inner Caldera when crossing a little wash, I mistook bunched up sand for a berm and sent the front wheel right through it. It was about the least consequential fall you could possibly take at Bootleg and the top of my calf/shin was still pretty scraped up.

Anyway, I appreciate all the advice. I'm waiting today for my potential employers response to my counter-offer. Due to my current work place trying to retain me, it was somewhat aggressive. Which means that if they go for it, I'll have bike money. :D
 

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I would personally go with the Ransom. Remote lockouts for climbing and is a definite big boy bike. Although, I think your bike can handle it all with some cushcore and dialed setup.

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