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Big Boy
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Here is a good write up about 5 bikes with similar amount of travel and similar price tags.

http://mbaction.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=6C606132AD374521BC58D4CBDB82F733&nm=Main+All+Modules&type=news&mod=News&mid=9A02E3B96F2A415ABC72CB5F516B4C10&tier=3&nid=63289F179E4146B8A311A0857F9B7444

I used to have a fuel ex 8 and a rize 2 and they were both great bikes. Take this review with a grain of salt because most of their qualms can be fixed with replacing cheap parts. (ie bar, stem, tires)

If i had 2100 to drop on a bike it would be the stumpy or the trance. $.02
 

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I have a 2010 Fuel EX 8, I love it. That MBA review is crap. Not that I'm taking anything away from the other bikes, but the things they complained about about on the Trek were stupid. Stem too long? Every LBS I've ever been to will swap out the stem for free. Don't like the tires? Trek changed them halfway through 2010 to a much better tire.

It's a great bike, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it if I were you.
 

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I bought a 2011 Trek Fuel EX 8 and love it. Handles anything that I've dished at it and I really like the DRCV rear shock - can take big hits and almost no pedal bob. I looked at the Stumpjumper and C'dale RZ, and just felt more comfortable on the Trek (18.5" model for my 5'11" and 175 lb body). I could have bought the C'dale for much cheaper through the military but couldn't resist the Trek.

I don't think you can go wrong with squishies from any of the bike mfrs in this price range. It's a key price point that brings the top of the line technology together with good parts (but not the best like h-bars, tires) to provide "bang for the buck". You can own these bikes for years and are worthy of spending for upgrades later.

For what its worth, What Mountain Bike Magazine (UK) named the Fuel EX8 the best bike of the year in their shoot out. Here's some more reviews:

http://www.bikeradar.com/mtb/gear/category/bikes/mountain/product/fuel-ex-8-10-36868

http://www.imbikemag.com/issue3/?page=131

http://www.muddymoles.org.uk/reviews/2010-trek-fuel-ex-8-review
 
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