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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With my tax return I'm going to treat myself to a new bike.

Here is what I'm looking for:

  1. 4-5" travel FS trail bike - shouldn't be hard to find I don't think
  2. Decent climbing ability - I know it won't climb like a hard tail, but I still want to be able to get up the climbs. I'm slow, so I'll be last no matter what I'm riding
  3. Strong enough for a Clyde, which I am (240 lbs, but working on it)
  4. In the $2000-2500 price range. I can maybe go slightly over that, but staying under would be best.
  5. I do general trail riding. No drops more than a foot or so. I'm in Virginia, so our trails are usually muddy and have a lot of roots/rocks.
  6. I'm not worried about how much the bike weighs. I carry enough extra weight myself that a few extra pounds on the bike aren't a big deal.
  7. I want to buy locally. The brands that are available here are (that make something matching what I want):
    • Specialized
    • Giant
    • Santa Cruz
    • Cannondale
    • Intense
    • Foes
    • Kona
    • Trek
    • Gary Fisher

Just from the specs and what I've read, the ones at the top of my list are (in no particular order):

  1. Santa Cruz Heckler
  2. Specialized Enduro SL Comp (slightly over my price range, but I think I can talk them down)
  3. Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp/Elite (again, depending on price)
  4. Giant Reign 1
  5. Kona Dawg Primo

All the shops around here are fine to deal with, so it's not a question of which shop I prefer. Obviously I'd love to ride all those bikes, but that isn't going to happen. Some of the shops don't have them in stock, and even if I do ride themI've been reading all I can find on them, but I'm still unsure.

I like the Heckler because I can get it with a coil shock, which I like. Also, I've heard that Hecklers are one of the best bikes for a Clyde. I would have to get the shop to build the bike for me, so I could pick my components to an extent (as long as I stayed under my price limit).

I am very intrigued by the Enduro SL's fork/shock, but they haven't been out very long, and I'm worried about durability. Also, there aren't any reviews I can find on this bike.

The Stumpjumper FSR seems like a good bike, but a lot of people claim the angles are too slack, and it wanders while climbing, which is a pet peeve of mine. But, it looks like most all trail bikes are going to slacker angles, so I may just have to suck it up and deal with it.

The Reign gets pretty good reviews, aside from cable rubbing. There have been some complaints about the fork as well. I can't afford to buy a bike and then swap forks.

The Dawg Primo gets pretty good reviews all around, but some claim it requires constant tuning. That's something I can deal with I guess, but, again, with my extra weight, that may require even more tuning.

I'm also open to suggestions from any of the other manufacturers listed...

So, in conclusion, any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm sure they are all fine bikes, but this is probably the last bike I'll buy for a while, so I don't want to regret it.
 

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Most of the bikes you mention seem to have 5-7" of travel and are more of a DH bike. Like the Reign and Enduro

from you original post it seems that an XC/AM bike is a best fit for you. Especially since you do not do drop of more than a foot.

I'd take a look at the giant trance. The kona also looks like a nice bike.

Of the bikes you mention, I like santa cruz the best, but it also depends on that build you are getting. Also, I would not worry about the enduro's durability, I 'm sure it will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I had always heard the Trance was more geared towards XC and lighter riders. That's why I hadn't considered it. Specialized considers the Enduro an "All Mountain" bike. But, again, I know that at 240 lbs, I'm larger than the intended buyer for most bikes.

I've liked the looks of the Trance (what I've read about it) so I'll check into that too. I'll shoot off an e-mail to Giant and see what they say bout weight limits and such.
 

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IAmCosmo said:
I had always heard the Trance was more geared towards XC and lighter riders. That's why I hadn't considered it. Specialized considers the Enduro an "All Mountain" bike. But, again, I know that at 240 lbs, I'm larger than the intended buyer for most bikes.

I've liked the looks of the Trance (what I've read about it) so I'll check into that too. I'll shoot off an e-mail to Giant and see what they say bout weight limits and such.
true, but you are not doing anything super extreme ...If you were doing 2-4' drops I'd skip on the trance. Maybe you should also ask the giant guys what they think.
 

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IAmCosmo said:
I had always heard the Trance was more geared towards XC and lighter riders.
I've read from sev'l sources that the Trance is a very strong frame, and it's head angle is not as slack as the Reign or Heckler. Definitely add it into your mix, although I think the rest of your list is pretty solid.

I see many test rides in your future :thumbsup: .

Ant
 

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Yep..that list looks good.... however in contrast to txjohng, I do consider the Enduro and Reign appropriate AM bikes (far from DH).... the Trance is a fine ride too, just shorter travel than the ones on your list.

As Ant implied, try to test ride at least some of them..so that you get the feeling of what you would like in your trail bike :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, the Heckler I know I can test ride on the trails. A friend has one that fits me nicely. I haven't had a chance to do anthing but ride it on the street in front of his house, but he has offered to let me take it on the trails.

The problem with riding the others is that it's just a test ride around the parking lot. Not a lot to know about a bike just riding it on asphalt. I mean, I know the guys at the bike shops well enough, and I don't think they'd just tell me something to get me to buy a bike if they thought it wouldn't work for me, but they do get their paychecks from selling bikes, so I'm always a little leary of taking the word of a bike shop employee as gospel.

So I guess now I have to see if I can find any of the respective bikes to ride in real world conditions. I think all of them are good quality, so that's not an issue. I just want one that works for ME. I'm still sort of leaning towards the Heckler because of the coil spring option, but I'm not 100% set on that.
 

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I'd have to put in a vote for the Trance also. I;m no Clyde, but there are so many of them in the GIANT forums who are riding Trance's that I think they're Clyde worthy and more along the lines of what you're looking for. Go browse around the GIANT forums and I bet you'll be surprised at how many heavier riders are riding the Trance. FYI I'm about 185-190lbs geared on the bike and ride a Trance.
 

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giant value

here, and i believe in most of the world, giant have some of the best equipment for the price.I am not sure that I would be too concerned about air versus coil as the improvements in air shocks have narrowed the gap esp. for XC riding. Also air gives you many more tuning options ,so as you loose weight you can adjust the susp. to suit.I have a Reign but don't believe 6 inches is necessary for what you want to do.4 inches of great suspension is better than 6 of average susp. I believe all the Giants work very well .If you can buy the best you can afford you won't regret it as the gear will be more durable and better functioning.Also it is important to buy suspension that has been proven ie frames and forks not necessarily the latest gismo as you may end up being the Guinea pig for some manufacturer......good luck P.S. I have had a few expensive bikes before but am now of the opinion that the gap between the boutique brands and the larger manufacturers has narrowed a lot.
 

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1. Santa Cruz Heckler
2. Specialized Enduro SL Comp (slightly over my price range, but I think I can talk them down)
3. Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp/Elite (again, depending on price)
4. Giant Reign 1
5. Kona Dawg Primo

All good bikes, you should really ride them.

Edit: overview of suspension designs - http://www.titusti.com/fs_tech.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I wish I could ride all of them. But, like I said earlier, that won't be possible. Even if I do ride them, it will only be around a parking lot (aside from the Heckler, which a friend owns).

I would love for the shops here in town to do an actual trail-test program. One is talking about it, but hasn't done anything yet that I know of. The others don't offer any kind of real test rides.
 

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IAmCosmo said:
I wish I could ride all of them. But, like I said earlier, that won't be possible. Even if I do ride them, it will only be around a parking lot (aside from the Heckler, which a friend owns).

I would love for the shops here in town to do an actual trail-test program. One is talking about it, but hasn't done anything yet that I know of. The others don't offer any kind of real test rides.
Which one looks the best? You should read up on the suspension designs, that might help narrow it down for you. I posted a link form Titus, but they might be a little biased. Try googling: "single pivot design", "Horst Link", "VPP Suspension Design"....

Suspension Design:
http://alamedabicycle.com/page.cfm?PageID=74
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've long been a fan of single pivot designs for their simplicity and stiffness. So, normally I would just go that route and not think twice about it. But, I have seen a lot of good reviews about the Maestro suspension that Giant uses, which is why I thought about one of them. Also, I have heard good reviews about the Specialized and Kona. I guess I should probably stop reading and just go buy something. The more I read, the more confused I get. Just when I think "okay, I'm going to buy a ________" I read something about another bike that makes me think I should buy that one.
 

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Try the Trek Ex8 or EX9, they fall within your pricerange and have a pretty good spec for the price. I bought a EX8 a few months ago to replace my old specialized ground control and have been really pleased with it.
 

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Which FS bike?

I'd go to the Titus board and check with BikerBob. He can probably set you up with a Moto-lite for that kind of money. I know it is not on your list but it fits everything else you indicated. I am a 275lb clyde (used to be a lot heavier) and I can't kill mine. It takes anything that I have nerve to do and climbs like a goat. Your lbs would still be able to take care of it because maintenance is their bread and butter so that would be no problem.:thumbsup:
 

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I think the best bike I've been on that seems to fit the "Big Guy needs a tough, xc oriented bike with some trail chops" is the Iron Horse MK111 Expert--great spec-ride wonderfully (the dw link is very very effective). Worth trying. Trance is great too--I would also look at a Marin Wolf Ridge.

Truthfully every bike so far listed is great-you'd love anyone of them-at around 2000-2500 it's hard to miss with the big manufacturers these days.
 
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