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  1. #1
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    Top 27.5 FS Trail Bikes?

    Seems like there is a dearth of info about 29ers on this subject but not so on the 27.5 Trail bikes despite there being some great bikes out there. I'm a taller guy (6-4) and on the fence regarding 29ers...seems like i'm a prime candidate but not sure I want to give up the nimbleness/playfulness of the 27.5. Nevertheless, these seem to be the really nice 27.5 bikes, wondering what I'm missing in my quest for a nice new bike.

    Pivot Mach 5.5 (really like the geo, reach, weight, 2.6 tires, DWLink)
    Santa Cruz Bronson (nice bike, I'm not a VPP fan tho)
    Santa Cruz 5010
    Yeti SB5 and Lunch Ride (cool bike, worry a little about rear travel)
    Whyte 130
    Transition Patrol (I don't like the pedal inefficiency with transition)
    Ibis Mojo (love this bike but its freaky short in reach- DWLink so nice)
    Devinici Troy - super underrated bike. Love the DWLink style split pivot
    Intense Spider
    Rocky Mountain Altitude

    I've been kind of leaning towards the bikes with a highend suspension, probably DWLink. Mach 5.5 and Yeti SB5 are tops on my list at the moment because they pedal so well, but I haven't fully demo'd them yet either(others from those companies). What else should I really be looking hard at?
    Last edited by svinyard; 1 Week Ago at 11:43 AM.

  2. #2
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    I just built up a Spider...which of course triggered monsoon-like rains in the SE. Hopefully it lives up to the hype.

  3. #3
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    Sounds like you have it figured out to me.

  4. #4
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    I'm only 5-8 but also prefer the "playfulness" of 27.5 bikes, even though I've been riding my Primer in places I never thought I would and it kills it. That being said, you'll probably be fine with all those bikes on your list. I have a 5010 now and previously had the SB5 (not Lunch Ride) and thought the SB5 was more twitchy/playful. It's the only bike I ever regret selling and the rear travel issue is a non-issue.

    With Intense's new buyer direct sales model, I'd look hard at Intense's Recluse and Spider. I had the Pivot 5.5 last year and I may be in the minority but while it had traction for days, playful it was NOT!! I sold that thing as fast as I could.

    I also thought I preferred the DW Link but maybe it depends on the bike. I had the original Mach 6 which I loved but I cracked the frame and that it how I ended up with the 5.5 from Pivot. I sold that and I've been demo'ing bikes to replace the Mach 6. It came down to the new Intense Tracer vs the updated Mach 6. The Mach 6 with the DW Link climbed smoother on the long grinds but nothing earth shattering and the Tracer was better everywhere else, especially playfulness at high speeds. Point being...you never know until you ride the bikes.
    2018 Intense Tracer
    2017 Intense Primer
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    I'm only 5-8 but also prefer the "playfulness" of 27.5 bikes, even though I've been riding my Primer in places I never thought I would and it kills it. That being said, you'll probably be fine with all those bikes on your list. I have a 5010 now and previously had the SB5 (not Lunch Ride) and thought the SB5 was more twitchy/playful. It's the only bike I ever regret selling and the rear travel issue is a non-issue.

    With Intense's new buyer direct sales model, I'd look hard at Intense's Recluse and Spider. I had the Pivot 5.5 last year and I may be in the minority but while it had traction for days, playful it was NOT!! I sold that thing as fast as I could.

    I also thought I preferred the DW Link but maybe it depends on the bike. I had the original Mach 6 which I loved but I cracked the frame and that it how I ended up with the 5.5 from Pivot. I sold that and I've been demo'ing bikes to replace the Mach 6. It came down to the new Intense Tracer vs the updated Mach 6. The Mach 6 with the DW Link climbed smoother on the long grinds but nothing earth shattering and the Tracer was better everywhere else, especially playfulness at high speeds. Point being...you never know until you ride the bikes.
    Well said and I'll def be demo'ing bikes but wanted some additional clarity and help in building out my demo list. Your insight was helpful.

    Intense is interesting, I haven't given them a ton of look lately but need too. The guys at Outdoorgearlabs.com did completely shred the Recluse and not in a good way. I hate to rely on reviews etc but those guys are so dang trustworthy for everything else, I'm inclined to really value their opinion (best MTB shootout of all time right there).

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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    Well said and I'll def be demo'ing bikes but wanted some additional clarity and help in building out my demo list. Your insight was helpful.

    Intense is interesting, I haven't given them a ton of look lately but need too. The guys at Outdoorgearlabs.com did completely shred the Recluse and not in a good way. I hate to rely on reviews etc but those guys are so dang trustworthy for everything else, I'm inclined to really value their opinion (best MTB shootout of all time right there).
    The Tracer didn't "climb well" according to reviews on PB and Vital. Luckily I live 30 miles from Intense and they let me take a out whatever bike I want and have great trails nearby. All I have to say is "different strokes for different folks" because I was faster on the climbs on the demo Tracer than on my 3 lb lighter 5010. I thought I was just spinning along (my climbing style at this stage). Bottom line was that for ME and the way I ride, those reviews were completely wrong.
    2018 Intense Tracer
    2017 Intense Primer
    2016 Santa Cruz 5010

  7. #7
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    Hmmm, not knocking them too badly, but any list of best hardtails that doesn't include a Pivot Les loses all credibility with me

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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneStar View Post
    Hmmm, not knocking them too badly, but any list of best hardtails that doesn't include a Pivot Les loses all credibility with me
    No hardtails on here. I updated the title tho to avoid confusion .

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    Have you ridden a Patrol?

    I demoed one last year and was extremely impressed with the climbing effiency.

    You might want to add the Guerrilla Gravity Shred Dogg to your list too. It's a pretty amazing and versatile bike with excellent climbing manners.

    Guerrilla Gravity | Shred Dogg | Info, Geometry, and Specs
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    No hardtails on here. I updated the title tho to avoid confusion .
    It was one of their other lists on the bike section of their site.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    Have you ridden a Patrol?

    I demoed one last year and was extremely impressed with the climbing effiency.

    You might want to add the Guerrilla Gravity Shred Dogg to your list too. It's a pretty amazing and versatile bike with excellent climbing manners.

    Guerrilla Gravity | Shred Dogg | Info, Geometry, and Specs
    I haven't demo'd one but I'll have to take another look apparently. I actually meant to put the Scout up there instead of Patrol but yea, glad to hear they climb well. Wish they made a carbon scout, their geo/fitment seems to DEF fit a tall guy in XL. I think their owner may be a tall dude iirc.

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    Spot Rollik

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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    I haven't demo'd one but I'll have to take another look apparently. I actually meant to put the Scout up there instead of Patrol but yea, glad to hear they climb well. Wish they made a carbon scout, their geo/fitment seems to DEF fit a tall guy in XL. I think their owner may be a tall dude iirc.
    Odd, Transition used to make a carbon Scout. I really dug the Scout at a demo event and it climbed really well.

    Once I tried the Shred Dogg though, I was so blown away that I had to order one.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    Odd, Transition used to make a carbon Scout. I really dug the Scout at a demo event and it climbed really well.

    Once I tried the Shred Dogg though, I was so blown away that I had to order one.

    Transition changed all their geos this year so probabaly wont get the carbon scout until next year (small company). They slackened it out more and added a little rear travel. I have the 2015 scout and it climbs pretty good for the punchy east coast stuff around me. It feels really similar climbing to a 2016 stumpjumper 27.5 comp i demo’ed. Going down it really rips, feels like way more travel than it has. Its not the lightest bike though and if you are really concerned with climbing its not really what transition is about. The new ones are heavier and in my opinion maybe a bit over built for a small travel bike but I have not ridden one. The 2017s (including carbon) can be found at a good discount right now and is the geo and weight I think I would prefer on paper on a trail bike (once again havent ridden new ones tho). I dont really like big brand bikes for some reason but the fuel ex was a really good trail bike and definitely climbed better than my scout but Im all about going down. Ymmv

  15. #15
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  16. #16
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    2018 Kona Process 153 (Gen 2)- Mtbr.com

    Not sure if this fits into your wheelhouse but I'm also a clyde (6'4" / 220) and always had XL frames. Ride New England singletrack which demands a bit more maneuverability so I went 27.5 over 29. Plus...coming from 26" Heckler, the longer slacker geo of the Kona combined with an XL frame and 27.5" wheels would be plenty.

    Impressed with climbing ability of this beast despite it's size. Also comes in carbon frame but added cost and minimal weight difference from alu frame has never been worth it to me. I am looking into bars with a bit more rise as well.
    07 Kona Dawg Supreme
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    I'm also 6'4" and went with an Intense Spider 275c Expert. I had a 29er before (Niner Rip). I know the industry is pushing 29ers again but I missed the dexterous feel of a 27.5.

    The OutdoorGear Lab review is interesting. They seem to hate the Fox Performance fork on the Recluse but don't mind that fork on some of the other bikes. They also reviewed five Santa Cruz bikes?! And only a single bike model from a lot of other bike manufacturers? They reviewed one aluminum YT, what about the rest? And some good contenders left out like Transition, Canyon, and Evil. Does that seem like a bias when they have five Santa Cruz bikes on the review?

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    I have the Mojo3 and therefore bias. I'm also 5'5" and ride size medium. Hopefully an XL is a good fit for you. Otherwise you can look to the burlier HD4 which has a longer reach.

    Honestly, there are so many good bikes out there it's just best to do as many demo test rides as possible. There is lots of hype around mid and long travel 29ers right now, but that doesn't mean there's not a great selection of 27.5 bikes.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by manpurse View Post
    I'm also 6'4" and went with an Intense Spider 275c Expert. I had a 29er before (Niner Rip). I know the industry is pushing 29ers again but I missed the dexterous feel of a 27.5.

    The OutdoorGear Lab review is interesting. They seem to hate the Fox Performance fork on the Recluse but don't mind that fork on some of the other bikes. They also reviewed five Santa Cruz bikes?! And only a single bike model from a lot of other bike manufacturers? They reviewed one aluminum YT, what about the rest? And some good contenders left out like Transition, Canyon, and Evil. Does that seem like a bias when they have five Santa Cruz bikes on the review?
    This is a good review & comparison from across the pond:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uw9GHy_Wbm0

    cool video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux7FLeZdsY0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiZSqtsqgcY

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7FaKbjxT-U
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyLight350z View Post
    It feels really similar climbing to a 2016 stumpjumper 27.5 comp i demo’ed
    Not to derail thread but on topic with the Scout. I'm curious how you thought of the SJ overall? I have a newer carbon sj29 ht but the last fs I had from them was a '00 SJ XC FSR! Asking because I patronize an lbs that I've got a couple Giant xc bikes from over the years who also have Transitions and would like to see me move up to a Scout it's just not in the budget. I could look into settling on the base model Trace 3 but I've come across a new alloy '17 SJ Comp which felt better and has better spec at a different shop at a pretty good discount within my budget and a few hundred dollars below the T3.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

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    Honestly, the Bird Aeris gets rave reviews too. I've not actually swung my leg over one yet but apparently they're super sweet to ride. Bronson here and really pleased with that (which probably explains why I haven't ridden an Aeris yet).
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    I have a 2016 devinci troy carbon rs a in XL and love it. Ultra-confident on descent, and pretty efficient uphill IMO. I mostly ride socal trails that range from aggressive XC to rocky downhill mixed throughout a ride. It's been a great one-bike-quiver for me.

    I'm 6'2", 240lb with long arms and I replaced the stock 35mm stem on my XL frame with a 70mm to achieve a comfortable reach (780mm bars). FWIW.

  23. #23
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    My Knolly Endorphin is a couple of years old but in terms of geo and ride quality/handling/performance I'd probably still pick it over the bikes you've listed. It really does cover a huge range and can be built burly or light depending on what you want to do with it.

    If Transition made [make] a carbon version of the new Scout then that would be my pick for a mid-travel 27.5" wheeled bike.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    Not to derail thread but on topic with the Scout. I'm curious how you thought of the SJ overall? I have a newer carbon sj29 ht but the last fs I had from them was a '00 SJ XC FSR! Asking because I patronize an lbs that I've got a couple Giant xc bikes from over the years who also have Transitions and would like to see me move up to a Scout it's just not in the budget. I could look into settling on the base model Trace 3 but I've come across a new alloy '17 SJ Comp which felt better and has better spec at a different shop at a pretty good discount within my budget and a few hundred dollars below the T3.
    To be honest, its a really good bike. It was so good I almost bought it instead of building up a scout. With the extra rear travel I'd say its apples to oranges. If I had to nitpick one over the other I'd say the scout was a little more confidence inspiring on the way down. But I live on the east coast with no crazy elevation change so I'm talking 10% of my ride. Other than that they were virtually identical. The scout feels like it has more rear travel than it does, but the stumpy feels like what it should for the travel, and they end up about the same. Pedaled pretty much the same, If you can get a deal on the SJ I say do it.

  25. #25
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    Turner Flux.
    LOVE THE RIDE!

  26. #26
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    Thanks for feedback. Only thing now is all the guilt trip I'll get from the Giant shop when I come in for post ride beers....😬
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  27. #27
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    Best bike on that list regarding everything taken into account....Performance, Durability, Cost and Playfulness is the Devinci Troy hands down. You can find yourself a new or used 2016-2017 Carbon frame for $1,100 and build a dream bike that can handle anything for 3k.

    You get a stiff and durable main Triangle and aluminum Chainstay

    Good reach numbers and a low seat tube length.

    2 Geo positions with the adjustable flip chip....I run a 160mm Lyrik on mine and have a 66.5 HA

    425mm chain stays for that ultra playfull rear end

    A fantastic progressive suspension feel and the split pivot rear suspension is a dream.
    Colombia Stable:
    18' Orbea Rallon
    16' Devinci Troy

    USA Stable:
    16' Yeti SB6
    16' Yeti SB5.5
    16' Yeti SB4.5c

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinnybex View Post
    Best bike on that list regarding everything taken into account....Performance, Durability, Cost and Playfulness is the Devinci Troy hands down. You can find yourself a new or used 2016-2017 Carbon frame for $1,100 and build a dream bike that can handle anything for 3k.

    You get a stiff and durable main Triangle and aluminum Chainstay

    Good reach numbers and a low seat tube length.

    2 Geo positions with the adjustable flip chip....I run a 160mm Lyrik on mine and have a 66.5 HA

    425mm chain stays for that ultra playfull rear end

    A fantastic progressive suspension feel and the split pivot rear suspension is a dream.
    Bex, thanks for the comment (you the man). I'm definitely interested in the Troy. Many people say what you just did it seems (past posts etc). Cost isn't a big issue, I just want the best I can get for.

    That being said, one thing in the back of my mind is the 27.5 for a tall guy. Can anyone articulate the issues I might run into because I'm tall on this wheel size? I do want to get off the ground and want a bike that makes that a bit easier.

    Bex, I demoed a Hightower LT and it was just cumbersome and not agile despite fitting relatively well. I'm sure some is the 29er adjustment and maybe I just need to suck it up. I'm definitely interested in more nimble bikes after that. Thinking about Switchblade, the following and then some of these potential 27.5 bikes here.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    Bex, thanks for the comment (you the man). I'm definitely interested in the Troy. Many people say what you just did it seems (past posts etc). Cost isn't a big issue, I just want the best I can get for.

    That being said, one thing in the back of my mind is the 27.5 for a tall guy. Can anyone articulate the issues I might run into because I'm tall on this wheel size? I do want to get off the ground and want a bike that makes that a bit easier.

    Bex, I demoed a Hightower LT and it was just cumbersome and not agile despite fitting relatively well. I'm sure some is the 29er adjustment and maybe I just need to suck it up. I'm definitely interested in more nimble bikes after that. Thinking about Switchblade, the following and then some of these potential 27.5 bikes here.
    I'm 5'10" with a 32.5" cycling inseam so I'm okay and comfy on either wheel size. I've either demo'ed or owned many of the bikes you listed.

    The XL Troy would work for you with a 50mm Stem and 170mm Dropper assuming your 6'4" frame is proportionate.

    The one bike I owned and didn't like at all was the Following....Slack STA and unbalanced rear end was a big put off to me for what is supposed to be a trail bike through and through but terribly unbalance. The troy doesn't suffer from these issues even though it has short chain stays. Top Tube and WB length make the bike balanced to the rear really well.

    I'm guessing the Switch Blade would be a great choice. I rode the 2018 Altitude and it was a fun bike but didn't climb as well as the others. I owned the Yeti SB5 V1 and it's such a great bike through and through and the new version is even better.

    I still go back to the Troy for it being so much damn fun it just makes you wanna ride even when your body and mind might be exhausted.
    Colombia Stable:
    18' Orbea Rallon
    16' Devinci Troy

    USA Stable:
    16' Yeti SB6
    16' Yeti SB5.5
    16' Yeti SB4.5c

  30. #30
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    +1 on the Turner Flux. The best trail bike I've ever had.

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    I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Trek Remedy. It's 150 rear/160 front but from all accounts it pedals and rides much more efficiently than it's travel would suggest. I think the two models that stand out are the 9.8 if your budget allows, it's a pretty dialed spec with a carbon frame, and the Remedy 8 aluminum, which is a lot of bike for around three thousand bucks.

    For what it's worth I'm 5-10 and have been riding a 29er but really miss my old 27.5 bike so I'm buying a remedy. The smaller wheels just really suit my riding style.

  32. #32
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    The Knolly carbon warden on paper looks like a good all arounder. Two geos, decent weight (6.3 lbs) all the reviews I have seen on it put it around quiver killer range.

    Honestly the most fun bike I have ridden is the Canfield Riot, Does pretty much everything pretty well. The downside is it is a bit of a heavy bike. My large frame and shock was 8.8lbs but pedals like a dream and rides like a long legged 4x bike on the way down.

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    How big of a deal is it that some if these frames are a lb heavier than some others? Example, the SB5 is 1lb lighter than Troy.

    Also Bex, how does the SB5 jump? I'm poor at jumping but would like to get a bike that makes it easier (also looking for a DJ bike for BMX park). Also does the SB5.5 jump well? The switchblade is on my list due to it supposedly being pretty nimble...but I definitely like the weight of those Yeti's. (I'm trying to find a Troy to demo).
    Last edited by svinyard; 2 Days Ago at 11:08 PM.

  34. #34
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    Knolly Endo, by far.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Knolly Endo, by far.
    x1000

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