I am fortunate enough to have come into some $ and am starting to explore my first (and probably last) high end steed. As a reference I am a high-end inermediate/low-end advanced rider. I weigh 160# and am 5'9" with a relatively long reach. I live in New England, and we tend to ride very technical stuff here. I like climbing almost as much as going down, and walk my bike only when absolutely necessary. My max air might be a 3 foot drop, but only with a perfect lead-in and landing. I'm currently riding an 08 Spec FSR Expert, which I've always been happy with, for lack of comparison.
I am exploring some 650B stuff, and am currently looking at 2 bikes. I would really appreciate hearing from people that have ridden these, and not just opinions based upon forum chatter and numbers. I've already read that stuff ad nauseum.
What I know is these are 2 bikes that are trying to do things in very different ways. I will list the concerns, both of what I've read and what I would imagine.
BIKE #1: Ibis HDR 650B with an XT build. I would really like to go X01 here but don't want to drop $400 every time my cassette needs to be changed or $300 if I break a RD.
1. HDR frame being forced into a 650 build. Some are questioning this frame with a 130mm shock and 140 mm fork. There are very few reviews of this setup. The two I've found seem to like it, but I'm questioning their bias. One follows an interview with Scot Nichols, the owner of Ibis.
2. Clearance for rear tire. This is all over the forums, and is definitely an issue. I'm guessing as more 650B tires become available this will be less of an issue.
3. i don't know much about geo, but the 67 HA and 71SA seem somewhat sketchy for decent climbing, especially considering the bike will weigh almost 30# with XT and pedals.
All that said, the DW link and suspension on this bike are spot-on, and I've always believed Ibis makes great bikes. I'm just not sure if this is a holdover until a dedicated 650b is made.
Bike #2: Rocky Mountain Altitude MSL 770. Pretty good reviews across the board with some nice innovation. The top tier 970 went from X0 drivetrain to XX1, taking it out of the running until my Powerball numbers match. The 770 runs XT and changed the rear triangle to carbon, making it an all carbon build.
I really like this bike but have questions for those who have ridden it.
1. The straight-up geometry: Nice idea, but I wonder if RM has gotten a bit over the edge with a 76 degree ST angle. I have no doubts it's great for climbing and conquering techy stuff. I do wonder how it translates to descents. Is it a non-issue since you're out of the saddle? Many reviewers set the geometry to the slackest HTA probably to compensate, but I'm guessing that would drop the BB too low for technical riding.
2. I've heard the suspension is a mixed bag. Reviews are all over the place on this.
I love the innovation, the Ride-9 suspension seems like a great idea. Internal routing makes me slobber. Overall seems like a sweet bike. If I can get past concern #1 this will probably be my choice.
Looking forward to responses from people who have spent time with these bikes. Peace!
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