Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    160

    Hardtail Suggestions

    Anyone own a 2015 or 2016 Giant Talon 27.5 2, Trek X-Cal 8 or Specialized Pitch Expert 650b? Looking to purchase one of the three, any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    473
    Very similar bikes, though the X-Cal is 29" in all but the 15.5" frame. Geo looks similar. I think X-Cal is 2x whereas the other two are 3x. The Pitch I believe has a Suntour fork whereas the others have Rock Shox. I personally hate the Suntour forks as they're not responsive or tunable and are flexy.

    My son and wife both have a Talon 27.5; while not the 27.5 2 the frame is the same. It's what you'd expect from Giant in this segment. Well-made, rides decent. They love it but for a host of reasons it's not to my liking. The key of course is what you're looking for and how you like a bike to ride.

    As an entry-level bike with XC geo, any of them are good. Test ride all 3 and see which feels the best. If you're looking for more of a trail bike, though, none have that geo or parts spec.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    160
    What about drivetrain? I'm seeing a lot of posts saying to stay away from Sram parts and Suntour forks. Problem is most bikes have a combination of Sram with Rockshox or Shimano with Suntour forks. Are Sram parts as bad as all of the Forums suggest?

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    473
    SRAM is as good as Shimano. You will find people who swear by SRAM derailleurs and shifters, for example, and others who will only use Shimano. You do have to compare similar levels in their product lines. It won't be relevant to these bikes, but SRAM brakes are inferior to Shimano until you spend more money and get Guides. There will always be some who love the other SRAM brakes, but the general concensus is Shimano beats out SRAM until you put Guides in the mix. As I remember the listed bikes had Tektro brakes. They're ok. Very similar in use the Shimano to take mineral oil, rather than DOT fluid. I'd take Shimano over Tektro but I doubt you'd notice much difference at this price point.

    The two biggest things that jumped out at me with these 3 bikes was the Suntour fork on the Specialized and that unless you're taking a 15.5" Trek it's a 29" wheel. Suntour is inferior to Rock Shox (which is owned by SRAM). That's a pretty easy comparison. As I remember between the Giant and the Trek one had an XC30 and the other had Recon, both from Rock Shox. Recon is a much better fork than the XC 30 and both are much better than the Suntour. A suspension fork is also one the most expensive items to upgrade later on. When comparing parts specs I always look at the fork for that reason. Wheels are another such item, but these are all giving you house-branded wheels that are comparable.

    If you want a 27.5" wheel that excludes the Trek unless you get the 15.5" frame. Otherwise test ride it and see how you like the ride of the 29" vs the 27.5".

    Having said this, remember you ultimately buy a bike that feels right and not just based on spec. You picked bikes from the big 3 companies and its hard to go wrong if this is the segment you want. If you're curious, check out Norco, Kona, Jamis, Scott, and Rocky Mountain. They're smaller brands with hardtails at this price point. I think they all offer 27.5, which I'm assuming you want based on what you originally listed. I'm sure there are others.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    160
    Thanks for the input. I test drove a Rocky Mountain Fusion, very nice but not a great color scheme. I'm trying to find a LBS that has a Jamis Nemesis, but have not been able to find one yet. Also looking at Kona, but didn't think I could find one in my price range. What brand do you ride?

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: nauc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    2,948
    whats your max budget?

    ps, id look for something that has Shimano brakes. SRAM/Avid can be hit or miss, as for as reliability goes when it comes to brakes

    anyway, out of those 3, id get the Trek

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    160
    1K, any other suggestions within my budget?

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    473
    Kona Blast and Cinder Cone are 27.5" that are, I believe, in that price range. Also Norco Charger 7.3. What really sets the Kona apart from all the others is the geo; it's slacker than the other bikes in this category and will ride differently. Try it and see if you like it.

    I ride a Surly Instigator frame that I built up as 27.5. I love it.

    Bikes within a particular price point will have roughly the same specs. Kona does things a bit different so the geo is a little different from the others; you'll either like it or you won't. Same goes for the Trek: as a 29" it'll ride differently and you'll either like it or you won't.

    At the end of the day, get the bike that feels right. The best example I can give you is I recently helped my boss with a bike. He rode a Bianchi on vacation and loved it. I showed him 5 other bikes with essentially the same spec and geo at the same price point. He loved the Bianchi and insisted on buying it. He's thrilled with it. Why? Who knows. There's no objective difference between it and 5 other bikes but he likes that one. Ultimately get the bike you like.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: nauc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    2,948
    what sna said

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    160
    A guy at one of the LBS suggested a Breezer Storm Expert. Know anything about the Brand? They don't seem like a huge company. I didn't see them listed anywhere on the list of top brands.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    153
    I am too looking to buy 27.5 hardtail , I now ride kona unit29er ss and its time
    to get some gears again , Ive looked at big S , Giant , Santa cruz , cannondale
    and Kona those are the brands my local shops deal in......
    My buget is 1000 dollar max and with the specs I am looking for the
    Kona Blast is the best deal I think..shimano brakes..drive train..Rockshox,
    not because I already have a Kona but the best bang for the buck with good
    components.. I would stay away from lesser known brands, at least
    do some good research on them, go with what feels good to you
    and don't let some bike shop guy talk you into something you are
    not sure about.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    160
    Are you looking at the 2016 Blast? Not sure if its orange or red. How long have you had your Unit 29er? How is the sizing for Kona? I'm 5'8", not sure if I'd be a Medium or Large.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    153
    ya I am looking at 2016 Kona Blast and its orange, I have had my Kona for
    4 years, I am 5' 9" and medium is perfect for me...at 5'8" its a medium
    for You ...as far as geometrics between brands for hardtails they are
    pretty close.... really good idea to go try some medium size bikes to
    make sure

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    473
    The Breezer Storm Expert is essentially no different than the bikes you started with as far as spec and geometry. It comes in 27.5 and 29" with a mix of Shimano components and Rock Shox XC 30 fork. The biggest difference, perhaps, is that it has an XT rear derailleur. Do not, however, be swayed by this. Companies will often put a better RD (meaning higher in the product line) on the bike because that is what people see. The XT line is very good. However, the shifter is really the brains of operation, so an XT RD paired with an entry shifter doesn't give you a tremendous upgrade in performance. The XT 10-speed RD are also cheap right now inasmuch as XT has gone 11 speed. That's not to say it won't work nicely. It's just not something that should make you choose that bike over another one.

    Kona's geometry at this price point is what really sets it apart from the other bikes. Kona tends toward a long front end with slack head angle, short chain stay and low bottom bracket. The Blast and Cinder Cone have a slacker head angle than the other bikes mentioned thus far, though not nearly as slack as the higher-priced bikes in Kona's line, or even "trail hardtails" from other companies (but that's a different price point). Kona will ride qualitatively differently than the other bikes mentioned due to the geo difference. The relatively lower bottom bracket (translating to a greater bottom bracket drop) and slacker head angle with long front end will make it more stable at speed and descending. Combined with the shorter chain stay it will be easier to lift the front end. The steeper head angle and longer chain stay of the others will lean toward quicker, sharper handling and better climbing. That is not to say any of these bikes are one-dimensional; it's just a rough comparison. If you like the Kona ride, great, go for it. If you like how the others ride better, great, stick with that steeper geo and choose among those bikes.

    I personally would hesitate before getting the Specialized due to the Suntour fork. As far as the others, you're getting roughly the same package, which is what you'd expect at similarly priced bikes. I'd then decide between Kona and the rest based on which feels better to you. Also, don't over look shop support; if you're really stuck and still can't choose, buy the one from the LBS that gives you the best service.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    160
    Ok, after lots of discussion at LBS, feedback from this thread and a few test rides I have it narrowed down to two bikes in the 27.5 and 29er category. All bikes MSRP at $1000 except the Trek which is $1100. In the 27.5 i'm considering the 2016 Jamis Nemesis Sport and the 2016 Kona Blast. Looks to me like Kona has nicer frame,forks and tires and Jamis has the edge on drive components. In the 29er it's the 2016 Trek X-Caliber 8 and the 2016 Rocky Mountain 940 Fusion. Here Trek has the edge in Forks (probably due to the higher price point) and Rocky Mountain has the edge in Frame,Drivetrain, and tires. Brakes are the same. I rode the Rocky mountain which was very smooth. and the trek X-Cal 8 as well. Will be test driving the others over the next few days and will then make a decision, but wanted to see if anyone had thoughts on theses bikes. Thanks in advance.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    473
    What type of riding are you looking to do and what do you want out of the bike? If you want more of a "trail" bike (geo is slacker, lower and longer) the Kona Blast is the only one here in that direction. If you're looking for more of an XC ride (focus is on pedaling effciency, speed, climbing and quick handling) lean toward the others.

    You really can't compare 27.5 bikes to 29" bikes, so I'd first decide which wheel size you'd rather have. If you want "trail" geo these 29-ers are not it and I can't think of one in this price point (Kona Honzo, Canfield Yelli Screamy, and others are examples of that type).

    Comparing the Blast to the Nemesis, the Blast has a slacker head angle, shorter chain stay, steeper seat tube angle, longer reach and higher stack. The Blast is built for more of a trail as opposed to XC ride. It will descend better, feel more stable at speed and be easier to loft the front end. This bias is highlighted by the 180mm front brake rotor. Nemesis is more of a classic XC ride, with a bias toward pedaling effciency and climbing. This bias is highlighted by the long stem and relatively narrow tires it's spec'd with. As far as components, they're really comparable with 30mm stanchion coil sprung forks, 19mm rims, 3x9 drivetrain with Octalink BB. The minor differences are not consequential. Focus on the bike feel because they do have different geo. I'm not sure whether the Blast head tube can take a tapered steerer tube fork if you upgraded down the line (the tapered steerer tube provides extra stiffness in the front end).

    The X-Cal and Fusion are also very similar in spec, though the fork on the X-Cal is the best of the bunch and the only one with 32mm stanchions. The 30mm stanchions can feel "noodley" when pushed in a corner especially with the bigger 29" wheel. The derailleurs and shifters are comparable. Forks are the same. Both are 2x10. Biggest spec difference is the Fusion has Suntour BB and crankset. I'm not familiar with it but from the pic it looks like it's external bearings. That provides more pedaling stiffness and power. I can't, however, speak to the quality of the Suntour kit. The geo of the X-Cal is longer and lower, when looking at reach and stack, with slightly slacker head angle. The BB is also higher. You'll have more of a sensation of sitting on the Trek rather than sitting in it due to the BB drop difference (because the BB is higher there's less bottom bracket drop - the vertical distance from the center of the BB to the height of the center of the hubs). You'll also be more laid out because of the longer, lower front end on the X-Cal. This can be tweaked with stem and handlebars but that's the geo. This Trek geo is an attempt to mitigate some of the complaints with how 29-ers felt when they were introduced: too high in the front with the feeling of sitting in the bike rather than on it.

    The bikes really are comparably equipped. The difference is going to be in how they ride and what your expectations are.

Similar Threads

  1. Suggestions for new wheelset for my hardtail?
    By Fin55 in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-16-2013, 10:41 AM
  2. From Hardtail to FS - Bike Suggestions for under 2K
    By Braddock54 in forum All Mountain
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-02-2013, 12:04 AM
  3. 29er Hardtail for around $2,000!!! Any suggestions?
    By Bryan1113 in forum 29er Bikes
    Replies: 65
    Last Post: 05-29-2013, 10:32 PM
  4. Suggestions on a new fork for my hardtail
    By JWill in forum Clydesdales/Tall Riders
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 05-16-2011, 08:45 AM
  5. Ti All Mountain Hardtail suggestions?
    By drew502 in forum All Mountain
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: 01-23-2011, 11:53 PM

Members who have read this thread: 2

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

mtbr.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.