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  1. #1
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    Maestro or Smoothlink?

    What do you guys prefer? Giant's Maestro or Rocky Mountain's Smoothlink?

    Seems like both get good reviews for bumb compliance and little pedal bob. Looking at a Giant or a Rocky Mountain for my next bike. Looking for opinions on which people prefer. Is one better than the other? Does one excel in one area over the other? Anyone try both?

    thanks

  2. #2
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    I ride a RM element 950, great bike that is a joy to ride. I like that I am bombing down the hill and see and feel a very active suspension.

    The second I start pedaling and put tension on the chain it is almost that the shock locks up.

    It is an amazing platform.

    Tested a maestro, now you know wich one I liked better.

  3. #3
    Carbon & Ti rule
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    I quite like the Maestro ( I have not tried the RM ) but there is such a huge range of bikes with Giant alone & they don't all pedal the same.

    Even in the 29er range the bikes don't work the same so with out all your info like.

    How tall are you,

    What type of riding are you wanting to do ?

    What weight are you ?

    What were you running & what did you like & not like with it ?

    What is your budget ?
    I have a 6 Berth camper van that I rent out . It is based in Tauranga, New Zealand

  4. #4
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    6'1" 230 lbs.

    I love riding all the trails around here (St. Louis). Most are fast and flowy. There are some rooty ones with several rock gardens. Would like to expand to the trails in southern Missouri and nearby states. Not racing at all, like to go fast but just for fun. I like to ride just to be out on the trails. All the bikes shops push me toward very little travel, but for some reason, I want a lot. Was hoping one of these suspensions would be effecient enough to allow me to have more travel without much panalty.

    I can only afford one bike. Right now I'm looking at the Trance 29er, Rocky Mountain Altitude (might want to try 650b), and maybe the Rocky Mountain Instinct. Like the Element, but really want more than 95mm in the rear. The bike I just sold was a 2010 HiFi Deluxe. I felt the bike was a little too big for me. I don't think it was the wheels necessarily, but you had to buy a bigger size in that model to fit properly.Thats why the short wheel base of the Trance and the 650b Rocky Mountain appeal to me. But I am always open to suggestions.

    And none of my local bike shops have these (or will have them to demo). But they can get them, which is cool if I choose one.

    I think $3000 is my ceiling. I don't get paid a ton, especially for what I do. And I don't see our department getting a raise for quite a while.

  5. #5
    Carbon & Ti rule
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    Ok, IMO for what it is worth ( I like the Anthem X29 ) but At your weight it is out, I feel it flexs lots under my 180 Ib.

    The Trance is stiffer & a good bike.

    Your gut feelings are important so be carefull what the bike shop says.

    At your height & weight bike fit is so important so ride some more bikes even if you are sure you won't like them.

    This will help you make the right choice.

    Make sure one of the bikes you test ride is the Niner Rip9 even if it is out of your budget it will give you a good bench mark to work from.
    I have a 6 Berth camper van that I rent out . It is based in Tauranga, New Zealand

  6. #6
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    I appreciate all the advice.

    No Niner dealers around here, unfortunately. Mainly just the big guys, Trek, Specialized, Giant, Santa Cruz. Big Shark Bikes told me they could get me just about anything though. The LBS's don't have a lot of different FS bikes either. But I see tons of FS when I'm out riding. Lots of hardtails at these shops, which I don't really want. I like the comfort of FS and don't mind the weight penalty.

    Gotta say its rough looking at bikes I won't get to demo. That's why I'm trying to get as many opinions and thoughts as possible. I know no one can tell me what's right for me, but I still want to hear everyone's thoughts.

  7. #7
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    go All Blacks

  8. #8
    Carbon & Ti rule
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    Quote Originally Posted by richulr View Post
    I appreciate all the advice.

    No Niner dealers around here, unfortunately. Mainly just the big guys, Trek, Specialized, Giant, Santa Cruz. Big Shark Bikes told me they could get me just about anything though. The LBS's don't have a lot of different FS bikes either. But I see tons of FS when I'm out riding. Lots of hardtails at these shops, which I don't really want. I like the comfort of FS and don't mind the weight penalty.

    Gotta say its rough looking at bikes I won't get to demo. That's why I'm trying to get as many opinions and thoughts as possible. I know no one can tell me what's right for me, but I still want to hear everyone's thoughts.
    Yes I know what you mean,

    Peoples opinion can be some what missleading thow at times.

    I like my FS bikes, not so keen on HT even though I have had a couple.

    I make sure I never miss a chance to ride someone elses bike to see how it goes.

    I didn't get a chance to test ride any 29er's before I brought my 1st one so did alot of net home work.

    I had lots of Giants & a couple of epic's before I went to 29er's.

    If you only get 1 shot at a new bike make sure you get it right.
    I have a 6 Berth camper van that I rent out . It is based in Tauranga, New Zealand

  9. #9
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    My advice to you is, you say you see a lot of people out there riding FS bikes at your local trails, if you see any about your size, stop and talk to them, ask them what they like about the current bike they're riding and how they chose the size. Ask them if they would mind if you took a quick tool around on their bike if it looks about your size, even if they won't let you ride it ask if they will let you just sit on it for fit.
    I think you'll garner a lot more info this way and being able to actually sit on a frame and feel if it's right for you instead of guessing, since you're a "tweener" as far as sizing goes at 6'1", you'd prob fit a Large well, but it all depends on the brand.
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  10. #10
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    I can't give you a lot of advice here, only relate my experience. And the first bit is related to what Muzz said - that his Anthem flexes a lot. I weigh 210, and I don't get the sense that my Anthem flexes a lot. I'm not sure this matters though, because it sounds like you're interested in the Trance.

    As far as the Trance goes, if the shop you would buy it from doesn't have one in stock, you do want to be careful about how you go about sizing one. Lynx is spot on - you are in between sizing for the Medium and the Large frame. I would instinctively lean towards Large for you on that, but the Trance tends to feel long. So if you can't find one in a medium or large (preferably one of each) to ride ask the shop if they'll order one of each on the condition you buy one of them - but only ask for this if you narrow the bike you want down to just the Trance.

    I've never ridden a Rocky Mountain, so I don't know how their suspension feels, but I'm not sure I like the idea of it feeling like it "locks up" the minute you start peddling. Personally, I like some traction.

    In short, try to ride as many bikes as you can. Everyone says it in threads like this because....it's true.

  11. #11
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    At 6'1" you're not a medium, and you would definitely flex the Giant quite a bit.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  12. #12
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    I am 6'5 and 230lbs and think the RM is great, the stock wheels are usuable(actually quite good) but will get upgraded over time.

    Overall it handles my weight very well.

    You might not have the flex issues with smaller wheels

  13. #13
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    ^do you mean flexing the Anthem or the Trance? Or both?

  14. #14
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    One of them doesn't have the company name in ~17 places. I know Giant makes good bikes, but I just can't get past that.

    I've ridden an Altitude 650b and a BC Edition Element. I liked them both. The Element is a real rocket, and rewards out of the saddle hammering, but it is a short travel XC race frame. I haven't tried any Giants to compare, but Maestro is pretty well reviewed everywhere I've seen.
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  15. #15
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    Never ridden a RM, bought an Anthem and love it. I'm 6' and a large fits. I thought about a RM as I was searching but you can't, at least at the time, get just a frame. That was huge for me. I had all of my components I wanted to built up. Anyway, the Maestro is a real solid platform. I'm 160, so I can't speak to the flexing issue at your weight.
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

  16. #16
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    The flex I was talking about is in the stock wheels. The frame is very stiff.

    You will see this with a lot of stock wheels at the lower price point.

  17. #17
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    6'3" 235 lb on an aluminum Anthem X29 in XL. I love that bike...it's a rocket. I do feel the rear end flex in certain situations...not a deal breaker for me. I would trade it for the Trance 29 in a heartbeat for a bit more travel. Maestro is an incredible design...always active and transparent.

  18. #18
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    My main concern now is if I'm looking at too much travel. I hope I'm not. Hoping these suspensions will allow the bike to still pedal well.

  19. #19
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    These are two bikes with a fair few differences. Both pedal well, but for me the RM (Element 970) felt more alive - here's a little blurb I posted on the RM.

  20. #20
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    You may also consider a Santacruz Tallboy as they get great reviews and you have a local dealer.
    Oh...at 6.1 you surely wouldn't be a med.

    29ers appear to require less travel....at least that's the trend which is why the 29er HT has gained so much popularity.

  21. #21
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    I'm coming off a hard tail, so I don't have much experience riding full suspensions. I'm currently shopping for my next bike which will be full sus. I have demoed an Element 950, 970 rls, and a Trance X 29er 1 (because the shop didn't have an Anthem). I realize that the Element and the Trance are in different categories, so take my suspension comparison for what it's worth.

    Having more of an xc background, I really wanted to love the Element, but just didn't. I love the steering and the fit, but the rear suspension just never felt right to me. It climbed really well on relatively smooth stuff, but it didn't track well over rocks and kept bucking me out of the seat. I hoped it was just the Monarch shock, but when I tried the 970 rls with Fox, it did the same thing. It was great if I rode it like a hardtail, but to me a full suspension shouldn't work that way.

    Then I demoed the Trance and absolutely loved it. Plush, smooth, but still efficient. It tracked over everything, and I could stay seated on cilmbs that I have always had to stand on before (even on the element). And it climbed just as well standing and hammering. I'm totally sold on the Maestro, and I'm almost certain my next bike will the the Trance X 29er.

  22. #22
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    I am in St Louis, too. There are lots of demo events in the area, just keep an eye out on the big manufacturers websites and stlbiking.com. Last year I rode Trek, Spec, Giant and Niner bikes out at Castlewood. It's not my favorite trail but demo events are always fun.

    At your size and weight I would look for something strong, like an RIP or Horsethief. The Trance is new and unproven, RM is probably a safe bet but no dealers around here. There are 2 Niner dealers in St Louis and a lot of Giant.

    By a big margin, the most fun demo bike I have ridden was the RIP. Feels like you can roll over anything, great bike. I was quoted $3500 by outside outfitters for an RIP with SLX 3x10, Charger Pro wheels and Tower pro suspension (not a bad price but almost 2x what I paid for my Salsa). I haven't ridden a Trance 29 to compare.

  23. #23
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    I had no idea anyone sold Niners in St. Louis. Huh, the more you know...

  24. #24
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    I can't give any feedback for the RM's but I have been on giants for 4 years now. If you can get past the excessive amount of giant logos on the bike, I think you'll be a believer. Seems like a lot of guys refuse to like the giants because of all the company logos and "different" color choices. I don't blame them because you gotta be happy with the way it looks, but it's never bothered me one bit. I'm 6'1 and would consider that size inbetween a large or xl.....don't even bother with a medium unless that's what works for you...but highly unlikely. I've always fit well on a large and weight 200 lbs.

    Even though I'm a huge fan of the maestro suspension, I still say ride as many different models as possible. Don't choose a bike because someone online told you to like it. Just about every big name company out there makes a very capable bike. As long as your happy with your purchase, that's the most important thing. Keep us updated on your decision.

  25. #25
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    I would go with a RM over Niner or Giant, but that's my preference
    ....but if I were in the market for a new aluminum 29er, I would also consider the DeVinci Atlas 29.
    Its 110mm Split Pivot (a DW design) and that bike rode amazingly. It's just too bad the nearest dealer is Louisville, KT.

    Since I am not in the market and absolutely no buyers remorse with my Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon, that would ultimately be my first choice a solid trailbike that does everything great!
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  26. #26
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    I have recently demoed the element bc version and the anthem x. From my perspective, the maestro suspension has a slight edge over the smoothlink. It is a unique feeling ride that is both firm and smooth at all times. The flex that I experienced on the anthem x was due to the light wheel build and my 215 #'s.

    Both have good pedal platform and minimal bob. The handling was close between the two with the RM feeling a bit more planted. I haven't look at ETT numbers but the x-large RM felt cramped but it could have been the stem.

    I liked both bikes but lean toward the anthem.

  27. #27
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    While like the others, I can’t comment on the Rocky Mountain, other than to say they are great looking bikes for sure. But, I do own a 2011 Giant Anthem X 29er 2 and I love it. I am very impressed with the Maestro Suspension and how it handles anything I can throw at it. It climbs better than I do, and handles the downs like a champ. I researched many different suspension designs looking for the one that seemed to have the best reviews for all around usage, and the Maestro seemed to be at the top with Specialized’s Brain setup. Efficiency in the design is what I was looking for, since my trails all require a good climb before getting to go down. In addition, I have a Giant dealer in my town, and they are great people that take good care of me and my bike. Support after the sale is an important factor for me too, and I like how serious they were about the bike fit, which is a Giant hallmark.

    Now, with all that love of my Anthem, if I was buying a bike right now, I wouldn’t pass on that Trance X 29er! That is a sweet bike with more travel than my Anthem, and the geometry of a true “trail” bike rather than the XC bike. But like others have said, test ride just about anything you can, even if you don’t like it or won’t buy it. The more you ride, the better gauge you will have on which one you like the best. Really, again as others have stated, you are the one that needs to be happy with your bike, not us. Do keep us posted on what you end up with, and have fun on the trails!
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  28. #28
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    I really need to decide if I want to go for another 29er or give 650b a shot

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by richulr View Post
    I really need to decide if I want to go for another 29er or give 650b a shot
    I'm with you on that. If and when the xc 650b's roll out in earnest by the time I'm ready for a new frame, I'll go with the 650 but if I were going to buy a new xc now, 29r.

  30. #30
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    I can't speak too much for the RM suspension because I simply haven't used it too much.

    That said, my wife has a '11 Anthem 2 (29) that simply rocks! Climbs & descends the mountains and handles XC almost effortlessly. I actually think it's smoother than my Nomad by leaps and bounds and really doesn't get upset on gnarly stuff until pushing much higher speeds.

    I can't wait to try a Trance out...

    PS: 5'10" @ 190lbs
    Last edited by F5000sl; 11-16-2012 at 01:58 PM. Reason: PS:
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