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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
howdy kids.


i'm looking to upgrade from my hardtail to an aggressive trail riding bike. the trails out here are rocky, tight and super tech. lots of climbs and rocky decents. ideally, i want to build up a light bike strong enough to handle this. the four bikes i've been thinking about_:

turner 5 spot
turner 6 pack
santa cruz blur lt
santa cruz heckler


thoughts, anyone? i'm especially focusing on the heckler (primarily due to price and the rave reviews) and the 5 spot (not because of price but also due to the rave reviews)



-joshua...
 

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helenforsdale said:
howdy kids.

i'm looking to upgrade from my hardtail to an aggressive trail riding bike. the trails out here are rocky, tight and super tech. lots of climbs and rocky decents. ideally, i want to build up a light bike strong enough to handle this. the four bikes i've been thinking about_:

turner 5 spot
turner 6 pack
santa cruz blur lt
santa cruz heckler

thoughts, anyone? i'm especially focusing on the heckler (primarily due to price and the rave reviews) and the 5 spot (not because of price but also due to the rave reviews)-joshua...
Sounds Like they are all pretty nice. I have had a Heckler for the past 2-1/2 years and it has been a wonderful bike. It can do many things very well. When I first got it I had it set up rather xc (light xc wheels, TALAS fork, 29 lbs), and it was awesome in that regard. Good as and xc bike I've ridden. Over the past 2 years it has made m\e ride more aggressively and now it is more of a trail bike (heavier wheels and tires, Pike, 8" front rotor, 32-33 lbs) and it excels at this as well. It does not have as sophisticated suspension as the other bikes you are looking at, but the geometry is just soooo dialed that it feels like an xc bike when climbing or pumping through tight singletrack, yet it tears on the DH and just BEGS to be hucked (and it will take it)

That said, the high forward single pivot design has it's quirks. The rear does stiffen up under braking. I think it is not a big deal unless you are used to truely netral braking. Also, it is semi active under chain tension. That's good and bad. It's good when you are climbing or sprinting as it conteracts the tendancy of the bike to squat (bob) under power. On the other hand, since the suspension is less active, it does not react to bumps as well and it is more likely to loose traction on rocky or rooty climbs, and can be a little more work to get the rear end over a big bump on a steep up section (this is known as pedal feedback). On the whole though, I think it is an advantage going uphill. I have ridden a few FSR designs (though not the Turners) and my impression is that they are smoother (and better traction) in braking and don' t stiffen up under pedaling. I think they are better for a technical climb, but on the whole I think they were a little less efficient climbing than my Heckler or Superlight (both forward single pivots). However this was without platform shocks. I have no real trail time on a Blur LT (or any VPP bike) but my understanding is they pedal VERY well and stay more active than a single pivot, but not quite as much as the FSR design.

I do love the Heckler, but I am thinking of trying something new, like the Azonic Saber (similar design to the 6-Pack and old 5-Spot). If I had the money, though I'd go for the VPP design. I would say that if you plan on doing big drops and jumps go for the 6-Pack or Heckler. If not, I think the 5-Spot or Blur LT would be better bikes for tight, twisty singletrack.

If you want to save $700-$1000, you will have no regrets with the Heckler. If you are OK dropping $1600-$2000 on a frame, the other three are more sophisticated designs and make less compromises.

Kapusta
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
kapusta...

that's a great response - very detailed. the reason i'm interested in the heckler and 5 spot is that i'm looking for a bike that can handle both xc and fr type riding. i'd probably set it up as a durable xc bike, but would like the abilty to make it a heavier, sturdier ride. the thing i've noticed about my riding - i need a light bike for the ease on climbs and agility. i rode my friends blur 4x, and it was over 40lbs and i had a hell of a time on it. i'm currently riding a rockhopper comp (which i purchased w/out knowing much about riding or having any experience - and i really regret it now. i figured it was a 'safe' buy). and while my friend's 4x helped me over some stuff, it took a lot more strengh and skill then i currently have to get that bike to move the way i wanted. but the rockhopper is way under my skill level and really not meant for how technical the north eastern trails are (it's all rocks and roots and climbs out here). i'm sure as an xc bike it would be fine.

what do you mean by the bike being 'semi active under chain tension'...?

but seriously - that was the exact kind of answer i was looking for. cheers!

feel free to pm me.

thanks,

-joshua...

kapusta said:
Sounds Like they are all pretty nice. I have had a Heckler for the past 2-1/2 years and it has been a wonderful bike. It can do many things very well. When I first got it I had it set up rather xc (light xc wheels, TALAS fork, 29 lbs), and it was awesome in that regard. Good as and xc bike I've ridden. Over the past 2 years it has made m\e ride more aggressively and now it is more of a trail bike (heavier wheels and tires, Pike, 8" front rotor, 32-33 lbs) and it excels at this as well. It does not have as sophisticated suspension as the other bikes you are looking at, but the geometry is just soooo dialed that it feels like an xc bike when climbing or pumping through tight singletrack, yet it tears on the DH and just BEGS to be hucked (and it will take it)

That said, the high forward single pivot design has it's quirks. The rear does stiffen up under braking. I think it is not a big deal unless you are used to truely netral braking. Also, it is semi active under chain tension. That's good and bad. It's good when you are climbing or sprinting as it conteracts the tendancy of the bike to squat (bob) under power. On the other hand, since the suspension is less active, it does not react to bumps as well and it is more likely to loose traction on rocky or rooty climbs, and can be a little more work to get the rear end over a big bump on a steep up section (this is known as pedal feedback). On the whole though, I think it is an advantage going uphill. I have ridden a few FSR designs (though not the Turners) and my impression is that they are smoother (and better traction) in braking and don' t stiffen up under pedaling. I think they are better for a technical climb, but on the whole I think they were a little less efficient climbing than my Heckler or Superlight (both forward single pivots). However this was without platform shocks. I have no real trail time on a Blur LT (or any VPP bike) but my understanding is they pedal VERY well and stay more active than a single pivot, but not quite as much as the FSR design.

I do love the Heckler, but I am thinking of trying something new, like the Azonic Saber (similar design to the 6-Pack and old 5-Spot). If I had the money, though I'd go for the VPP design. I would say that if you plan on doing big drops and jumps go for the 6-Pack or Heckler. If not, I think the 5-Spot or Blur LT would be better bikes for tight, twisty singletrack.

If you want to save $700-$1000, you will have no regrets with the Heckler. If you are OK dropping $1600-$2000 on a frame, the other three are more sophisticated designs and make less compromises.

Kapusta
 

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I don't think that you can go wrong with the Heckler. I too had this same decision to make when I bought my new bike. I was riding, although still have, a Superlight. It has the same basic suspension set up as the Heckler and I had few complaints - it was/is a great bike. I also have a 5 Spot and couldnt be happier with it. It has that beefy feel that instills confidence in the downhills yet a light enough weight to ride up that same hill. If money is a major issue, then I wouldnt hesitate to buy the Heckler. If you are looking to really do some freeriding then it probably is your bike. But if you want a sturdy bike that can handle some punishment from aggressive trail riding, then the 5 Spot also deserves a look. Im not sure that I would use the 5 Spot solely for freeride purposes, so if thats you cup of tea then look to the 6 Pack.

Others might flame me after I say this but here it goes. The Blur LT also caught my eye until I read the reviews containing complaints about quick bearing wear. I talked with SC about these concerns and they said that some riding conditions do wear the bearings quicker that others. This seemed like a reasonable assumption and I didnt disagree. But when I heard of not one, but many owners changing their bearings after a few months of use, I began to search elsewhere. Now, that was my decision and am in no way telling you that the VPP setup is an inferior design. All I am trying to let you know is that there have been issues with these bearings.

The single pivot design of the SC Heckler should be almost maint. free if my experience on the Superlight was any indication (3.5 years with NO problems). It is a very solid design and well proven. The Turners use bushings rather than bearings and also have proven to be very reliable in various riding conditions. The maint. on the Turners are also very user friendly. Just use the Zerks for quick lube jobs and you will be good to go for many, many trouble free months (some have not changed their bushings after several years of use).

In conclusion, I would get either the Heckler or one of the Turners. Get the 5 Spot for aggressive trail use or the 6 Pack for more abuse.
 

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How about a Specialized Enduro pro 32lbs, totally rock solid especially down hill, fox talas 36 fork adjustable to 6" on the go, plus the rear suspension is adjustable for 68 or 69 degree head angle (69 is very nice for tight single track) I've had mine all summer and it climbs well , decends like its on rails and is very responsive. I weigh 220 and the only thing I've broken is the deraillier I'd give it 5stars
 

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How much is $ worth to you?

If I was the one buying I'd get the Blur LT. The other bikes are all great also, but the Blur is a hard to resist package. The Turner 6pack is too heavy duty for me. The Heckler is great, but I wouldn't worry about saving the $ so see no reason to buy it. The 5-spot is very tempting too. But I'd rather have the Blur with its reputation for both efficiency and small bumb compliance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
also, a great response - and that's great to know that you've ridden both the heckler and the 5 spot. i think the main reason i was focusing on the heckler, is that i've heard for the money, the blur lt is on par w/ the intense 5.5, and not quite as nice as the 5spot - it seemed that if i didn't want to spend the big bucks, the heckler is was the way to go. i've also heard the the simplicity of the sp design is pretty nice as well. i'm not a serious free-rider, but i do go out w/ those guys (hence me trying out the blur 4x and other heavier bikes). and while i'd like to be able to keep up with them, i'm definately more of a trail person - but yeah, i'd like to do my share of the wall rides and catch some air. but yr not going to see me hucking anytime soon, for sure. that's why i was thinking something like the 6pack may be more bike then i need.

i was watching the videos that turner provides on their site - and the stuff the dude on the 6 pack is doing is definately more extreme then i ride - my friends are a bit more on par w/ that. even the stuff on the 5spot is more intense then i can ride right now - but that's more the direction i'd probaby be aiming for. that and i hear you can build up the 5spot pretty light for a reasonable price. go-ride has a 5spot for sale right now for 3400 w/ a decent build up (well, it's different then how i'd set it up) - but the trailriding pro build kit they have looks pretty close to what i'd want.

once again, a pretty great response, and i really appreciate it. (everyone on bikeforums is giving me one word responses).

re: the person who mentinoed specialized - i'll admit, i'm pretty disenchanted w/ the company due to the issues w/ my current bike, but that has more to do w/ me being a poor shopper then them - and i'll admit i've checked out the bike you've suggested. the turners and sc's just seem a bit more appealing to me - i can customize them to my riding ability a bit easier - and i'll admit i like the graphics on both those companies a bit more. ;) but i'll admit i love specialized gear - i wear their insane carbon gloves and some other things and seriously dig them.

thanks again,

-joshua...

be350ka said:
I don't think that you can go wrong with the Heckler. I too had this same decision to make when I bought my new bike. I was riding, although still have, a Superlight. It has the same basic suspension set up as the Heckler and I had few complaints - it was/is a great bike. I also have a 5 Spot and couldnt be happier with it. It has that beefy feel that instills confidence in the downhills yet a light enough weight to ride up that same hill. If money is a major issue, then I wouldnt hesitate to buy the Heckler. If you are looking to really do some freeriding then it probably is your bike. But if you want a sturdy bike that can handle some punishment from aggressive trail riding, then the 5 Spot also deserves a look. Im not sure that I would use the 5 Spot solely for freeride purposes, so if thats you cup of tea then look to the 6 Pack.

Others might flame me after I say this but here it goes. The Blur LT also caught my eye until I read the reviews containing complaints about quick bearing wear. I talked with SC about these concerns and they said that some riding conditions do wear the bearings quicker that others. This seemed like a reasonable assumption and I didnt disagree. But when I heard of not one, but many owners changing their bearings after a few months of use, I began to search elsewhere. Now, that was my decision and am in no way telling you that the VPP setup is an inferior design. All I am trying to let you know is that there have been issues with these bearings.

The single pivot design of the SC Heckler should be almost maint. free if my experience on the Superlight was any indication (3.5 years with NO problems). It is a very solid design and well proven. The Turners use bushings rather than bearings and also have proven to be very reliable in various riding conditions. The maint. on the Turners are also very user friendly. Just use the Zerks for quick lube jobs and you will be good to go for many, many trouble free months (some have not changed their bushings after several years of use).

In conclusion, I would get either the Heckler or one of the Turners. Get the 5 Spot for aggressive trail use or the 6 Pack for more abuse.
 

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I would like to offer you some advice. Do not be swayed by suspension design dynamics, as most of it is marketing hype b.s. anyways. Check out the Turner forum for proof. Not too long ago, the HL was the best thing since sliced bread in Turner land, and now the Faux bar is just as good since Turner gave up the HL. It is quite ironic actually and funny if you know the history of Dave Turner. Not to slight DT either, because Turners are excellent bikes. It is the dollars and cents part of the issue that is the real story, and not the suspension design imo.

On paper, a bike like the Heckler should be inferior to other designs. It is afterall, a lowely sp with inherent design drawbacks. On the trail, nothing could be further from the truth. I have tested many designs and the Heckler is a great bike period. Not because it is cheaper than other bikes, but because it does everything well, regardless of suspension design.

The other bikes on your list are good bikes also. Try to base your decision on how the bike fits, feels, and performs. This is probably how you will come to your conclusion regardless, but I just wanted to point these things out.
 

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turner 5 spot turner 6 pack...good bikes but a little heavy
santa cruz blur lt...a little too light
santa cruz heckler...I think the best choice by far for you

Buy a used one and learn on that while you are destoying it....then buy the bike you want when your skils match your riding style
 

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Another vote for the Enduro, but I'm biased. :) I got mine for the same reasons as you, as a heavy duty XC rig that can take any drop or jump I throw at it too. Working great so far, big difference in quality compared to a Hardrock or Rockhopper!
 

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Oh, Northeast.

helenforsdale said:
kapusta...

that's a great response - very detailed. the reason i'm interested in the heckler and 5 spot is that i'm looking for a bike that can handle both xc and fr type riding. i'd probably set it up as a durable xc bike, but would like the abilty to make it a heavier, sturdier ride. the thing i've noticed about my riding - i need a light bike for the ease on climbs and agility. i rode my friends blur 4x, and it was over 40lbs and i had a hell of a time on it. i'm currently riding a rockhopper comp (which i purchased w/out knowing much about riding or having any experience - and i really regret it now. i figured it was a 'safe' buy). and while my friend's 4x helped me over some stuff, it took a lot more strengh and skill then i currently have to get that bike to move the way i wanted. but the rockhopper is way under my skill level and really not meant for how technical the north eastern trails are (it's all rocks and roots and climbs out here). i'm sure as an xc bike it would be fine.

what do you mean by the bike being 'semi active under chain tension'...?

but seriously - that was the exact kind of answer i was looking for. cheers!

feel free to pm me.

thanks,

-joshua...
I've been thinking about this, and I should clarify my answer a little bit more in comparing the Heckler to the 5-spot and 6-pack. Keep in mind that I am really just comparing the Heckler to a Horst Link design, the Turners being examples (except for the new 5-spots), and not the VPP designs as I hav no real experience with them.

In some ways, I think the Heckler covers as much ground on the xc-fr spectrum as the two turners put together. It is very snappy when you lay on the gas, and it feels very nimble in singletrack. I am guessing as much so as the 5-spot. On the other hand, I'm willing to bet it will be just as capable a fr bike as the six pack.

However, what is sacrificed throughout the whole xc-fr spectrum is in how compliant it is over rocks and roots that you are pedaling hard over. I live in CA and the trails are pretty smooth. Not much in the way of roots and rocks that you HAVE to muscle over. There is, however, swooping, fast single track AND wide open fast DH, AND lots of big hits and things to launch. Perfect terrain for the Heckler.

But you live in the northeast (as did I for a while). Your terrain is very different. Much tighter, MUCH MUCH more rooty and rocky, and because of this less high speed riding. I did not see much in the way of big hits unless it was a place that someone intentionally made them. What you want is a bike that is nimble on singletrack, and very compliant when pedaling hard over roots and rocks (this is different than how it takes big hits). This being the case, I would look at the something like the older 5-spot or some other FSR/Horst Link design. It will definitly feel better up in the NE. If I move back east I will probably get some linkage design, whether it be a Horst Link or VPP design. Last summer when I went back east with my Heckler I often felt like it was beefier than it needed to be, yet not quite as compliant as I wanted.

Kapusta
 

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helenforsdale said:
what do you mean by the bike being 'semi active under chain tension'...?
Sorry, this was central to what I was talking about and I did not explain it. Due to the pivot placement, the chain is shortest when the suspension it fully extended. This is more so in the small ring, and barely so in the big ring. In any event, this means that when the chain is under a lot of tension the suspension wants to extend to aleviate that tension. This can be good in that it conteracts the tendency of the suspension to compress (bob) when you accelerate or climb. However this also means that in order for the suspension to compress, the chain needs to get a little longer. Lets's say you are pushing hard on the pedal, and you hit a big root. In order for the suspension to compress, the chain between you ring and cog needs to be longer. Either the rear cog (and thus the wheel) needs to turn more forward (speed up...unlikely) or the chainring (and the pedals) need to slow down. You can actually feel the pedal kick back a little when this happens. The kick back itself is , IMO a non-issue, but what this also means is that as you push through this, you are working against the suspention. Thus it is semi-active. Coast over the same root and it will feel differntly (fully active)

Hope this helps. Keep in mind these are small differences, and coming from a hardtail you will most likely not even notice them as much as things like geometry and fit.
 

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kapusta said:
I've been thinking about this, and I should clarify my answer a little bit more in comparing the Heckler to the 5-spot and 6-pack. Keep in mind that I am really just comparing the Heckler to a Horst Link design, the Turners being examples (except for the new 5-spots), and not the VPP designs as I hav no real experience with them.

In some ways, I think the Heckler covers as much ground on the xc-fr spectrum as the two turners put together. It is very snappy when you lay on the gas, and it feels very nimble in singletrack. I am guessing as much so as the 5-spot. On the other hand, I'm willing to bet it will be just as capable a fr bike as the six pack.

However, what is sacrificed throughout the whole xc-fr spectrum is in how compliant it is over rocks and roots that you are pedaling hard over. I live in CA and the trails are pretty smooth. Not much in the way of roots and rocks that you HAVE to muscle over. There is, however, swooping, fast single track AND wide open fast DH, AND lots of big hits and things to launch. Perfect terrain for the Heckler.

But you live in the northeast (as did I for a while). Your terrain is very different. Much tighter, MUCH MUCH more rooty and rocky, and because of this less high speed riding. I did not see much in the way of big hits unless it was a place that someone intentionally made them. What you want is a bike that is nimble on singletrack, and very compliant when pedaling hard over roots and rocks (this is different than how it takes big hits). This being the case, I would look at the something like the older 5-spot or some other FSR/Horst Link design. It will definitly feel better up in the NE. If I move back east I will probably get some linkage design, whether it be a Horst Link or VPP design. Last summer when I went back east with my Heckler I often felt like it was beefier than it needed to be, yet not quite as compliant as I wanted.

Kapusta
That is really interesting discussion Kapusta. I'm from the NorthEast and you really hit the nail spot on saying the terrain is different because that is exactly how I felt when going on a vacation in CO and UT this autumn.

I currently ride a Devinci Banzai, which is basicaly a hybrid 5-spot, 6-pack or Moment. It is a nice bike and rides great in the NE but I don't find its rear suspension plush enough on the downhill side. Going uphill in technical rocky/rooty, it is just GREAT, superb traction over bumps. I think the main problem for this lack of plushness on the downhill is my air shock but that remains to be seen.

Now, I've been checking out the new Nomad but it's expensive. The Heckler on the other hand is dirt cheap for such great comments it always gets. However, your comments about suspension compliance in rocky/rooty terrain is really interesting and maybe why we often read "conflicting" opinions. Sometimes people write comments on their own experiments with bikes but we don't take all the variables into consideration, specially where they ride!

The other variable that is often overlooked with these AllMountain bikes is the fork that is installed on it. For example, several people commented the Nomad feeling slack/sloppy compared to the Heckler but the question is which fork was installed on each when they tested them, sure a 150mm fork on Nomad versus a 130mm fork on Heckler will feel different. Just like a 150mm fork on a 6pack will feel different then a 130mm fork on a 5spot. With the same fork both bikes, the Heckler and Nomad have almost the exact same geometry, it's just the chainstay that is a bit different...

So when you came to the NE, did you feel you were "spinning out" often in our rock/root infested trails?
 

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BanzaiRider said:
That is really interesting discussion Kapusta. I'm from the NorthEast and you really hit the nail spot on saying the terrain is different because that is exactly how I felt when going on a vacation in CO and UT this autumn.

I currently ride a Devinci Banzai, which is basicaly a hybrid 5-spot, 6-pack or Moment. It is a nice bike and rides great in the NE but I don't find its rear suspension plush enough on the downhill side. Going uphill in technical rocky/rooty, it is just GREAT, superb traction over bumps. I think the main problem for this lack of plushness on the downhill is my air shock but that remains to be seen.

Now, I've been checking out the new Nomad but it's expensive. The Heckler on the other hand is dirt cheap for such great comments it always gets. However, your comments about suspension compliance in rocky/rooty terrain is really interesting and maybe why we often read "conflicting" opinions. Sometimes people write comments on their own experiments with bikes but we don't take all the variables into consideration, specially where they ride!

The other variable that is often overlooked with these AllMountain bikes is the fork that is installed on it. For example, several people commented the Nomad feeling slack/sloppy compared to the Heckler but the question is which fork was installed on each when they tested them, sure a 150mm fork on Nomad versus a 130mm fork on Heckler will feel different. Just like a 150mm fork on a 6pack will feel different then a 130mm fork on a 5spot. With the same fork both bikes, the Heckler and Nomad have almost the exact same geometry, it's just the chainstay that is a bit different...

So when you came to the NE, did you feel you were "spinning out" often in our rock/root infested trails?
I would not say "spinning out", but it just seems that in the east (especially in the NE) you are constantly sprinting. A lot of slow-down, speed up, slow down...... I did not notice this untill I lived in CA for a while. I felt like the roots were really slowing me down and I had to finese over them of loose speed. That's a little hard to do when pedaling. Of course, I never thought this was a big deal all the years I lived in VA and CT and I was on a Superlight and the Heckler, so it could just be that my technique was out of step with the terrain. It could also have been my settup. I could probably have run the shock more compliant an worry less about bottoming on drops, and it is probably built heavier than it needs to be for that sort of riding.

I agree about the fork. I think for any do-it-all bike you want an adjustable travel. On twisty smooth single track I run my Pike around 118, general trail riding at 125mm and technical or DH at 140mm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
ah...

-kapusta...

very valid points. i'm starting to get jealous of you west coasters. my friend that i ride with is always waxing nostalgic on his home turf - and when we rode w/ his friend who still lives out there, the fellow was seriously bummed on the east coast riding - and yeah - it's definately frustrating terrain - i sort of feel it's a training course or something - it's all seriously tech w/ very little flow - all i hear about the west coast is what a pleasure it is to ride out there. i'm hoping to make a trip out to to ut and az this spring so see of this myself. i used to bmx race and miss the terrain of that - but i'm also not really interested in doing straight up xc out here.

but you brought up some interesting things - it's strange - i've noticed that the majority of the riders out here are doing it on either a) light xc bikes (which i kind of don't get - this isn't xc territory at all) - or b) heavy fr bikes (makes more sense) i really haven't seen anyone on what i'm looking for.

and re: forks - i was thinking the vanilla.

thanks again for the input - it's seriously helping. i'm starting to lean a little more towards the turner - but ideally, i'd like to test ride them. i don't really know how, as i live in nyc - so it's not like i can just hop on a trail out here.

-joshua...

kapusta said:
I've been thinking about this, and I should clarify my answer a little bit more in comparing the Heckler to the 5-spot and 6-pack. Keep in mind that I am really just comparing the Heckler to a Horst Link design, the Turners being examples (except for the new 5-spots), and not the VPP designs as I hav no real experience with them.

In some ways, I think the Heckler covers as much ground on the xc-fr spectrum as the two turners put together. It is very snappy when you lay on the gas, and it feels very nimble in singletrack. I am guessing as much so as the 5-spot. On the other hand, I'm willing to bet it will be just as capable a fr bike as the six pack.

However, what is sacrificed throughout the whole xc-fr spectrum is in how compliant it is over rocks and roots that you are pedaling hard over. I live in CA and the trails are pretty smooth. Not much in the way of roots and rocks that you HAVE to muscle over. There is, however, swooping, fast single track AND wide open fast DH, AND lots of big hits and things to launch. Perfect terrain for the Heckler.

But you live in the northeast (as did I for a while). Your terrain is very different. Much tighter, MUCH MUCH more rooty and rocky, and because of this less high speed riding. I did not see much in the way of big hits unless it was a place that someone intentionally made them. What you want is a bike that is nimble on singletrack, and very compliant when pedaling hard over roots and rocks (this is different than how it takes big hits). This being the case, I would look at the something like the older 5-spot or some other FSR/Horst Link design. It will definitly feel better up in the NE. If I move back east I will probably get some linkage design, whether it be a Horst Link or VPP design. Last summer when I went back east with my Heckler I often felt like it was beefier than it needed to be, yet not quite as compliant as I wanted.

Kapusta
 

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helenforsdale said:
howdy kids.

i'm looking to upgrade from my hardtail to an aggressive trail riding bike. the trails out here are rocky, tight and super tech. lots of climbs and rocky decents. ideally, i want to build up a light bike strong enough to handle this. the four bikes i've been thinking about_:

turner 5 spot
turner 6 pack
santa cruz blur lt
santa cruz heckler

thoughts, anyone? i'm especially focusing on the heckler (primarily due to price and the rave reviews) and the 5 spot (not because of price but also due to the rave reviews)

-joshua...
im surprised nobody mentioned the 575. light, nearly 6" travel, climbs outtathisworld....$1400.
 

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I fully agree with Ronny -- things that would seem to be true in theory really make very little difference on the trail.

I'd add the Giant VT to your list. They've been discontinued, and supplanted by the Maestro series, but you can still pick up a frame for less than $500. In my experience, the performance is very similar to the Heckler.
 

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The 575 is very nice trail bike, but helenforsdale said he wanted to do some freeriding on the side with his buddies and the Heckler can handle freeriding. The 575 is not a xc racer, but is not as burly as the Heckler either.

The Heckler and 6 pack are the best choices for what he intends to do.
 
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