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  1. #1
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    "trail" 650B bikes

    Lets get this out of the way first. I've decided to replace my 2000 trek 820 thats been a great bike, but its hammered and way out of it's element for where we ride. I want to go to a FS do it all bike. I ride the northeast, rocky, rooty, uphills and fast downhills. I need a bike thats a good climber. I'm a heavy rider at 240#, and not afraid to hit obstacles hard or fast. I was really looking at 29er's, but at 5'11" I just don't feel comfortable with the standover heights on them. I have put 18 miles on my brothers 13 Kona Satori, and while it was a blast and I really enjoyed it, if I have to bail quick I'll be in trouble. So I've decided to start looking at the 650b bikes. I have to keep the budget around $3500.

    I've been searching around and there's enough out there to make my head hurt. Local dealer has Santa Cruz, Pivot, and Giant. I think the Trance 1 or 5010 would be enough bike for what we need around here, but both use 32mm forks, and I'm not sold on that. I'd like to be at a 34mm. That moves me toward the Bronson or Trance SX. I've looked at the Kona process line also. Basically I'm trying to get the best components I can at the $3500 price point, in a bike that climbs well. Am I missing any other good options?

    LBS has a Giant Trance 3 demo bike that I'm trying to get my hands on. Just to get a feel for the 27.5 and slack head angle.

  2. #2
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    From what I've seen, standover varies by brand and model, as much as wheel size. For example, the Trance X 29-er Large, has 27" standover, according to the Geo chart:
    Trance X 29er 0 (2013) - Bikes | Giant Bicycles | United States
    The Trance 275 Large has just under 30" standover, which isn't too bad anyway.

    As far as forks, yeah at your weight, larger stanchions would be nice. Trance SX comes with a Fox34, but single-ring up front, so that may or may not work for your trails.

  3. #3
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    If standover is key for you, the Kona Process models are way ahead there. I demoed a 134 and the top tube never gets in your way. The 29er model is also really good in that regard, though it only comes as a single ring up front. Good luck!

  4. #4
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    I'm not so certain the Trance 275 will meet your climbing needs as well as you'd like. I liked the Trance 3 I rode, but I can't bring myself to pull the trigger on it because of it's climbing. It wasn't horrible, it just wasn't as good as I want. Keep in mind that if you get the SX, then the Trance 3's HTA is as good as it will get climbing, while if you get the Trance 1, you can drop the nose a bit with the Talas fork and it should climb a little better. That said, I haven't been able to ride anything but a 3 and the SX, and I wonder if the BB height isn't going to be way too low with the travel decreased on the Trance 1.

    Just some musings from someone who wants a bike to beat on, that will also "do it all".

  5. #5
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    I live in the northeast am 6' 230 lbs and am loving my solo think its a step above my sl 29 and don't think i could have gotten a better riding custom build. Am not much of a flyer but also not afraid to cruise down at a good clip. While the 32 fox fork may not be the best it is not the worst either and does a decent job.
    “An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence.” Marco Polo

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the input so far guys. I definatly want to demo that trance to see for myself how it will climb. Far as cranks and chainrings go, I think I'm going to modify almost anything I get, as my ideal setup would be 2x10. While 2 of my buddies do get away with single rings, they run a much smaller front ring than the SX (30's I think).

    I'm also don't need a super low standover, I do know the Kona Process line is very low, just that ideal would be 27-30 to give me some "space". I'm also not sold on the trance SX specs either, seems like they cut corners on the brakes and shifter/derailleur. Don't know why they couldn't have at least run SLX stuff. I'm off to go reconsider the Banshee spitfire....................

  7. #7
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    If you have a norco dealer, you may want to look into the fluid 7.1. Around 2k gets you 120mm front and rear fox suspension, shimano deore brakes, xt shifters, rear derail, .....very nice bike if you can get away with 120mm travel.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptkevin View Post
    If you have a norco dealer, you may want to look into the fluid 7.1. Around 2k gets you 120mm front and rear fox suspension, shimano deore brakes, xt shifters, rear derail, .....very nice bike if you can get away with 120mm travel.
    and if 120mm isn't enough, the Norco Sight is a great trail slayer, too. The aluminum frame is within your budget.

  9. #9
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    have you considered a Rocky Altitude?? I have a 2013 730 which is awesome in climbing and descending as well. I'm 6'2" 235 lbs before gear and the thing rocks.

  10. #10
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    I wound up taking my buddies Banshee Rune out for a mile or so yesterday, at the end of a 12 mile ride, just to get a feel for how banshee's suspension pedalled, and how a slack bike would feel (he's got it set at 65.5 HTA). He's a bit taller than me but around the same weight. I was overall very impressed with it and decided to pull the trigger on the Banshee Spitfire, as I found Richards bikes had them 15% off this weekend. I'm happy to retire my old hardtail, but it's going to feel like a long wait til the Banshee gets here!

  11. #11
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    I second the Rocky Mountain Altitude. I demo'd nearly everything and it out performed the rest. You'll get the 34 and the price point you want.

  12. #12
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    +1 on the Santa Cruz 5010 (formally Solo). Built from the ground up as a "trail" bike. Made for long rides but can also handle the gnar.

  13. #13
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    I'm looking as well for a trail bike when and if I get this new job I have applied for. I am from Maine, and know of which you speak. I rode the same bike Cotharyus did, and can't recommend a Trance, but other say it climbs well. Beyond that I am no fan of the riding position or the slack HT angle. I am looking at bike with no more than 130mm of travel and no less than a 68 degree HT angle as I place a premium on climbing ability, quick handling, and the want for something I can take off the 2 3ft drops in the area. Other wise I'd get and Anthem 27.5. GT Sensor, Jamis Dakar XCT, and SC Bronson or Bantom. To be honest a 2013 Trance 26" or Sensor 26" with 27.5" wheels would do me perfect. I suspect the GT is going to be a better climber than the SC bikes, but I have yet to ride either of them, so that is pure speculation. Even though the Dakar has a 69 degree HT hinting at good climbing manners, a review I read said that the way the riding position was setup it wasn't all that fun to climb on. Suspension didn't play along as well as hoped either. But that was one review. On the other hand the new Ibis HDR 650B and Yeti SB75 that are 130 travel bikes with slacker geo that might suit you. Then there is also the new Brezzer Repack, which is the only long travel 27.5 I'd consider owning. But these are just my thoughts.

  14. #14
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    Oh, I just found the Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt to add to my personal list.

  15. #15
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    Take a look at the Turner Burner 'Trail' build. This is actually a pretty amazing deal for a hand-made in the USA Turner complete. These bikes rip.

    Turner Bikes - Turner Bikes - Turner Burner Exp

  16. #16
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    2012 Turner DHR
    2013 Turner Burner

  17. #17
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    Would the Turner Flux be better in the tight stuff? Call me old school, I just have issues with calling any 150mm slack HTA bike a "trail" bike. Semantics I guess.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazclrint View Post
    Would the Turner Flux be better in the tight stuff? Call me old school, I just have issues with calling any 150mm slack HTA bike a "trail" bike. Semantics I guess.
    I agree. At least where I live, 150 mm isn't really in the trailbke category. I ordered a flux, which I think should be perfect at 120mm.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazclrint View Post
    Would the Turner Flux be better in the tight stuff? Call me old school, I just have issues with calling any 150mm slack HTA bike a "trail" bike. Semantics I guess.
    It's all in what you're looking for. The new 27.5" 120mm Flux leans more toward trail riding, and feels a fair amount more nimble than the burner. Over on the Turner thread, there is a sweet build on a new Flux that might suit your interests.

  20. #20
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    I decided on the Banshee Spitfire with a custom build. Got it monday and took it out for 7 miles yesterday in some gnarly trails and awful conditions. Still fooling with shock pressures, but the bike impressed me. I was able to push much harder than before. I went Banshee for all bearings, the bushings on the Rocky's don't impress me. Also for the interchangable/ adjustable dropouts. Currently have it setup at neutral (66.5) HTA. But it can go to 67 where all the fixed geo bikes are, or 66 on the slack side. In very technical rocky areas I had no issues with maneuverability, but I didn't find my brothers 29er (Kona Satori) to be noticably less maneuverable than my 26 so...........

    I'm very happy with the bike so far and while we had limited downhill stuff yesterday, and what there was is gnarly, this thing inspired confidence. Hell, I even made one climb my brother has taken numerous runs at on the Satori and finally made it yesterday. I made it too, but thats the first time I tried it. I'm happy, but I'll be happier the next time I get out!


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