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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am thinking about trading my heckler in for one of the shorter travel "trail bikes". I recently had a chance to demo a specialized stumpy FSR expert on the trails I normally ride and fell in love with it. Its what made me decide I was riding "too much bike" for my local trails.

The problem is the stumpy is 3700$. I guess I could afford this but I'd rather not blow that much on one bike if I can get simliar performance from a lesser bike. How much of the treks good performance was due to the brain shock? Would I be happy with a FSR without the brain?

How does the Trek EX compare. I dont know much about its suspension design? What about the trance X? Any input would be helpful. Unfortunatly a demo of either the trance or EX is out of the question.
 

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The Trance X and Fuel EX are head and shoulders above the Stumpy. Very little performance is down to the brain rear shock on the Stumpy. You've got a problem if you can't demo the others and you end up with the Stumpy and then try a friends Fuel EX or Trance X and realise what a mistake you made.

Personally I prefer the Trance X which has aspects of its performance which is better than the Trek but the Trek has a little more of the fun factor and if you can't try it first it will be easier to get the sizing right on the Trek but go for the Trance X IMO.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Interesting. I am assuming you've tried all 3. What was wrong with the specialized? I thought it was worlds above my heckler for the local trails and I've heard some great things about it from leelikesbikes.

My only concern with the Trance X is that the steep head angle might be tough to get used to.
 

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Yes I tried all 3 and was on my way to buy the Trek but tried the Trance and bought it five minutes later. The steep head angle never causes any problems for me but the Trek has a much slacker head angle. There are tons of threads comparing these bikes and I don't see the Stumpy getting 2 bike of the year awards like the Trance and the Fuel very nearly got a couple. :thumbsup:

These 2 threads may be interesting for you:

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=424227

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=419648
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
EGF168 said:
Yes I tried all 3 and was on my way to buy the Trek but tried the Trance and bought it five minutes later. The steep head angle never causes any problems for me but the Trek has a much slacker head angle. There are tons of threads comparing these bikes and I don't see the Stumpy getting 2 bike of the year awards like the Trance and the Fuel very nearly got a couple. :thumbsup:



Yeah I understand. I guess I am just amazed that something could be significantly better than the specialized. I was really amazed by it. I guess my bike is just really poorly suited for the trails or something.

I understand that the Trance X has some pedal feedback, but otherwise climbs very well. Did the trek climb as well or better than the specialized with the brain?
 

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You should check out the Santa Cruz Bike website and read what Joe says about suspension design mechanics. He does a pretty good job of describing what most of the core parameters affecting suspension performance are, and what they do to a bike. There are some tradeoffs.

All those bikes are good bikes. They were all designed by engineers and were test ridden and refined before they being sold.

The bikes are all built with the similar goals of having anti-squat and rear braking independence built into the suspension design. The geometry is all pretty close between the bikes. They all happened to come from the same geographic area too. Trek is based in Wisconsin but their suspension designers are in Southern California.

I have 6" travel Giant, and have ridden a couple of the other bikes including a Heckler.

The biggest difference I see between most 5" and 6" bikes on the market is geometry. The 6" bikes are usually slacker and longer. I notice that most when riding through rough stuff at a hundred. It also forces you to ride the bike differently in slower speed areas.

I just got back from a Super-D race in Oregon. A couple buddies had just gotten some new Trance-X bikes, and they all swapped out the stock forks for something bigger 140mm - 160mm. They all liked the bike, they just wanted it to handle differently. All those guys are fast and have good idea of what they want their bike to do as well.
 

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The Brain is obviously an advantage for pedal efficiency but the Trek and particularly the Giant don't need platform shocks as their suspension does the job. Not sure what you mean by pedal feedback on the Trance X because it's the most efficient/fastest climber of the lot, never bobs and there's no pedal feedback I've noticed.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, I've heard that on VPP and Maestro suspension designs there is pedal feedback in certain chainrings. I've read it in many places so I tend to believe its credible. Its possible that its so minor that maybe you haven't noticed yet. Glad to hear they climb very well, thats my problem with the heckler.
 

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I would personally try all the bikes you can and buy the bike that you like the best. Really. Everybody on these boards has a pick, some are rational, and some are personal. The stumpy is a really nice bike, and so is the EX. Make sure you try them out on the trails you ride. I personally find the VPP and dw bikes to be a little dead feeling. But that is my opinion based on the trails I ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I certainly agree with that. The problem is I can't get much more than a parking lot demo with the EX and Trance X. I believe that I would probably like one of them more than the stumpy, but its hard to spend the money when I know how much I loved the ride on the stumpy.
 

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Now I've got what your talking about. DW and Maestro are basically the same design that's why they're having so much trouble with patents on the two, VPP is slightly different and is the one known to have pedal feedback particularly on smaller rings at the front, that's one of the reasons why Santa Cruz and Intense are going to so much trouble to bring out new bikes like the BLT2 and Tracer VP with second generation VPP rear suspension.
 

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dascro said:
I certainly agree with that. The problem is I can't get much more than a parking lot demo with the EX and Trance X. I believe that I would probably like one of them more than the stumpy, but its hard to spend the money when I know how much I loved the ride on the stumpy.
Well, if you really like the stumpy (and have a good dealer) I would suggest the stumpy...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Vespasianus said:
Well, if you really like the stumpy (and have a good dealer) I would suggest the stumpy...
Well, thats part of the problem. The demo ride was put on by a local bike club. There is a dealer here but they are very poor. If i were to buy there I would essentialy use them as a middle man and just order the bike and then pick it up. Even after teh demo I would like to have a dealer that has the bike in stock so I can sit on it and make sure it feels ok right before i drop the money. I would also like to have a good dealer for any warrenty issues that may come up. My favorite local bike shop carries both trek, giant and cannondale. I also understand that some specialized shops have body geometery fit technicians on site. If i'm paying the premium for a specialized, I might as well get that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, I built my heckler about a year ago and since then have always been tweaking the riding position on it. I've never been able to get it just right. I went to the specialized demo day, gave the tech my pedals, he installed them, set the air pressure in shocks and let me head out to the trails. I immediately felt perfectly at home on the bike.

Keep in mind this is for the singletrack of the northeastern US. I feel that the heckler is a great compromise. It was a great "one bike" It feels incredible going down hill and handles stunts and drops pretty well. The problem is that here in the east we rarely have a very long climb followed by a very long descent. So climbs are just as much a part of the ride as the descents. The stumpy felt nearly as good as my hardtail on the climbs and as good as the heckler on the descents. I usually am hating life any time I have to pedal the heckler up any climb. Now, if I was going to do any really gnarly descents like they have out west I can see myself wanting to deal with the worse pedaling heckler to better enjoy the descent. But for the rolling hills here I thought the stumpy was perfect.

I previously used my heckler and my hardtail for everything. But I think I will probably sell the heckler and get a stumpy(or EX or trance) for most of my riding and then buy a true downhill bike for the trip to a ski resort.

The trails I ride are often very tight and full of roots and rocks. The stumpy felt better over the roots and took square edge hits better. The hecklers descending advantage here is minimal because the tight trails limit how much speed you can carry.

Another point to keep in mind is that I am 6'1.5''. I ride a large heckler. I've thought that possibly an XL heckler frame would solve my problems.

Also, I am not 100% set on the idea of selling my heckler. Its served me very well and I do have some kind of sentimental attachment to it. When i got it I had only 1 bike and for that purpose it was perfect. But I now have several and just am starting to see the heckler as a jack of all trades master of none. I'd rephrase that to say that it is really good for everything, just not great at anything. I certainly can't steer you away from it, just be aware what you are getting.
 
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