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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know, this comparison again? But this one is different

I am choosing between two bikes that are 2nd hand

1) Tallboy LTc. Lightly used. R AM (Slx) build, sector fork. 2013 year
or
2). 2012 Stumpjumper FSR 29 custom build. Never ridden. Aluminum frame, full XT drivetrain and brakes. Talas fork, Brain Shock. Mavis SLR wheels.
The Stumpy is about $600 more, but the bikes are close enough in price. I might consider putting a RS Pike fork on the Tallboy if I go that direction.
I have demoed both bikes...sort of. I demoed the Tallboy LTc with the full XT package, Fox 34 fork and Enve wheels. I demoed the SJ Carbon Expert EVO 29 with XX1 drivetrain. I thought both bikes were the best bikes I have ever ridden.

I am 6'4" and 200lbs. Riding a 2011 Trek HiFi 29er which is 32.5 lbs XXL 4" travel. Live in North San Diego, where terrain is rocky and mostly up. And down climbing, not much horizontal, flows stuff.
Lets hear the votes!
 

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For me the LTc is a very nice ride in rocks both up and down. I just added the Pike fork and the bike handles chunk very well. I have had excellent customer service from Santa Cruz in the past[ no issues with either the TBc or TBLTc. I believe the Specialized has a press fit BB which I would avoid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What's wrong with press fit? My HiFi has GXP.
With the SC TBLTc the website says "threaded". So i assume you are saying the bearings are better shielded from dirt/dust with threaded or GXP vs. Press Fit??
 

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At your size, I'd opt for the carbon bike, plus SC has great CS. Package for the LTc is decent enough for you to start riding right out the gate, could do the PIKE upgrade down the road when maybe prices drop a tad on them. Agree with Frank, don't like press fit, much prefer threaded BBs, have had so much trouble (creaks, premature bearing wear) all on Special bikes.
 

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Press fit BB is a reboot of the POS 1994 Klein tech. It sucked then; it sucks now. Trust me, I had one of those Klein Rascals. I won't touch a pressed fit BB even if it may involve sexual favors from a supermodel!
 

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I have a friend who owns a bike shop that sells both the Santa Cruz and a diff. brand with a press fit BB. Off the record he will admit that press fit BB can shift/ squeak and be problematic. I'm sure there are solutions but the LTc rides and pedals reasonably well so why ? Just my opinion so no need for BB war.
 

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IMO, its a no brain (er), pun intended. The brain can be a testy little piece and it needs service attention at least once a year or more. Tallboy, no brain, less trouble to deal with, no proprietary parts. I say go with the carbon LTC. For 90 bucks to service the brain every year that is new set of tires or something. Again, its just my opinion, others may disagree on the brain sentiment but I say that based on what others have told me about their Spec with the brain. Maybe the brain has been improved, who knows.
 

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Never ridden a Specialized bike however I owned a Trek Fuel EX9 for 5 years and recently bought a 2013 Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc. The difference was night and day. The bikes both weighed about the same +/- .5 pound. The LTc I have weighs 28.09 pounds with a more all mountain set up. The LTc climbs better and descends light years better than the Trek could ever dream of. I lived in Orange County for 13 years and have done a lot of riding in Whiting Ranch, The Luge, Aliso Wood Canyon and Laguna Canyon. For me the VPP suspension is amazing in all aspects. I now live in Arizona and the terrain is much more rocky and up and down. Every ride I do on the LTc makes me more certain I made the right choice in building this bike. I also tried the Ibis Ripley and I couldn't get off it fast enough it was that different than the LTc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yesterday I went to LBS to "fit" the different bikes. That means I got on each bike, tooled around the parking lot, hit a couple bumps, jumps and drops in the dirt lot next door, did a few figure 8's, and a short sprint up a paved mild incline.

Tallboy LTc in XL is too small for me. My knee height hits the bar end when making a really tight turn. I could go XXL but that means brand new and +$1,000.

SJ FSR in XL fit was just right. A little more stretched out than Tallboy, but I am slightly Torso biased (in terms of my build at 6'3").

What I took away from this is the ride feel is totally different between these two bikes. The SJ is way more plush at the top end...floats, literally. The Tallboy was much stiffer (though the front shock - Fox 34 - was not adjusted properly and dove on me a bit). The Brain actually worked (kinda surprised I noticed) and gave me a very firm platform when doing the quick acceleration and sprints. So I was impressed. I've demoed both on real trails and felt they both did very well on technical climbs with ledges, rocks, and loose dirt (the SJ I demoed on trails was an Expert Evo carbon without a brain).

So between the two, I am leaning toward the SJ FSR...recall the one I am looking at has custom full XT build including brakes and is 2x10 and also have Mavic SLR wheelset.

However.... there was a Yeti sighting at the LBS. XL all aluminum frame. Even though the sizing on paper is just a hair larger than the Tallboy LT in XL, I fit better (slacker bike). Felt like a BMX bike in a good way, but pedaled like a hardtail. Easiest of the 3 to manual. This was the Enduro build. While I like the SRAM X9-7 build, hate avid brakes and the wheelset is weak. The all aluminum bike is too heavy as well. So trying to see if I can get the Enduro build on the hybrid Alum/Carbon rear frame with an upgraded wheelset (Arch's or similar) for under $4000.

If not the Yeti, then the SJ FSR. Too good a deal at $3500 to pass up.
 

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So basically you went into a local shop knowing full well you had no intention of buying a bike from them, but had no issue putting miles/wear and tear on their bikes :-\ Why didn't you go ride the used bikes you're looking at instead?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So basically you went into a local shop knowing full well you had no intention of buying a bike from them, but had no issue putting miles/wear and tear on their bikes :-\ Why didn't you go ride the used bikes you're looking at instead?
LyNx - I called the LBS and told them I was considering a used bike but would prefer new if they could give me a comparable price. They offered me a decent price on an XL Tallboy LTc R AM kit. They also carried Yeti and happened to carry the S-Works version of the Stumpy (I am not buying an SWorks but geo is the same). Where else would I compare all three bikes side to side?? Anyway, when I got there, he didn't have the Tallboy LTc in XL, only the Aluminum (same geometry). So I was mislead in order to get me in the store. I rode it and it didn't fit. Yes, he'd give me the same price on R AM kit if I ordered it, but to make it what I want is another $1-1.5k in upgrades. (thus my comment +$1000). If I rode it and the fit was right and I felt it was superior to the Stumpy, I would have bought it.

I respect that the guy is running a business and wouldn't waste his time. I have spent a few hundred dollars on upgrades and the like in the past with him. I told him what I was planning to do and gave him a shot at earning my business with a reasonable price. You'll note from my comment that we are trying to work out a deal on the Yeti...but truly I would be surprised if he can get me a great price on a 2014.

I didn't put any "miles" or "wear and tear" on the bikes. I rode each one for less than 10 minutes. In fact his own shop tech took one of the bikes after I returned and played around on it for 10 minutes before I left. So I don't think I impaired the value of those bikes in any way.
 
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OK, sorry, what I described seems to happen regularly and people don't see a problem with it, that's above board and not the norm, speaks volumes about you. Wish you luck in working with them, if you can't, at least you were upfront and honest with them and gave them a shot.

LyNx - I called the LBS and told them I was considering a used bike but would prefer new if they could give me a comparable price. They offered me a decent price on an XL Tallboy LTc R AM kit. They also carried Yeti and happened to carry the S-Works version of the Stumpy (I am not buying an SWorks but geo is the same). Where else would I compare all three bikes side to side?? Anyway, when I got there, he didn't have the Tallboy LTc in XL, only the Aluminum (same geometry). So I was mislead in order to get me in the store. I rode it and it didn't fit. Yes, he'd give me the same price on R AM kit if I ordered it, but to make it what I want is another $1-1.5k in upgrades. (thus my comment +$1000). If I rode it and the fit was right and I felt it was superior to the Stumpy, I would have bought it.

I respect that the guy is running a business and wouldn't waste his time. I have spent a few hundred dollars on upgrades and the like in the past with him. I told him what I was planning to do and gave him a shot at earning my business with a reasonable price. You'll note from my comment that we are trying to work out a deal on the Yeti...but truly I would be surprised if he can get me a great price on a 2014.

I didn't put any "miles" or "wear and tear" on the bikes. I rode each one for less than 10 minutes. In fact his own shop tech took one of the bikes after I returned and played around on it for 10 minutes before I left. So I don't think I impaired the value of those bikes in any way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So I made up my mind.... ultimately it was
1) Tallboy LTc R AM build with Fox 34 $3900 OTD
2) Yeti SB-95 Enduro build with Fox 34 $4000 OTD
3) 2012 stumpjumper FSR (never ridden) $3500 OTD...which is what I chose and what you see below...

Stumpjumper.jpg

Aluminum frame, dropper (but I will use my KS LEV), Xt brakes, XT Drivetrain, Mavic SLR wheels, Talas 34, Brain Shock, Spec Tires set up tubeless. Size XL 30lbs.
 

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Good deal on a nicely speced bike. I've worked on a few in M and L and the L do tend to feel big, I could ride one and I normally tend to prefer XL in most brands. Let us know how you like it after a few weeks.

So I made up my mind.... ultimately it was
1) Tallboy LTc R AM build with Fox 34 $3900 OTD
2) Yeti SB-95 Enduro build with Fox 34 $4000 OTD
3) 2012 stumpjumper FSR (never ridden) $3500 OTD...which is what I chose and what you see below...

Aluminum frame, dropper (but I will use my KS LEV), Xt brakes, XT Drivetrain, Mavic SLR wheels, Talas 34, Brain Shock, Spec Tires set up tubeless. Size XL 30lbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
First Ride Notes:

Brain works and is noticeable (I thought it might be less apparent) Real advantage climbing, even in slow tech stuff, over my old Trek HiFi. I don't get pedal feedback/resistance on the tech/ledgey stuff.
2x10 kicks ass over 3x10
Bike climbs really well for a 5" travel XL 29er that weighs 30.5lbs.
A little bit of an "on" vs. "in" the bike feel.
The 200mm front rotor's extra stopping power is apparent (I have the same brakes with a 180 front on old bike)
Mavic SLR wheel set is probably the most noticeable thing other than the 5" travel and Brain shock. Acceleration is much quicker (faster engagement, less rotating weight) and the bike maintains speed very well once you are moving (and I already am coming from 29er, so this isn't a big wheel thing).
So far, super stoked on this bike. There is a lot of technology going on here and it all seems to be noticeable and effective improvements.

New vs. Old, then the New Stumpjumper at the top of LaCosta
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Nice looking rig.

I have to ask, what trail is that last pic taken from??? Calavera Lake?
That is the top of La Costa Preserve (Switchbacks or Horned Lizard lead to the top). Looking west. If you don't know where in La Costa, it's east of Rancho Santa Fe Road off Camino Junipero.

Here's a pic on the Whiptail Loop trail which is on the east side. This is looking souteast. I took this way down. It's in great shape right now with recent trail work and small bit of rain last week.
IMG_1975.jpg
 
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