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  1. #1
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    Pivot Switchblade vs Trek Fuel EX 9.7

    Looking at upgrading and getting a new Mtn bike. I am 60 plus but love riding and wondering if there would be any discernible difference in spendind $1250 +\- more to purchase a Pivot over a Trek Fuel?

    I could pay to demo each bike however I am wondering if an intermediate rider, at best, would even be able to detect the differences.

    Another concern would be the warranty and manufactures support of each brand and the cost to maintain them. Thanks

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    I personally like the Pivot more. There smaller sizes fit smaller riders well. The shock on the Trek is nice, but I prefer the bike not need the shock to help peddle well. Both companies are good to work with, so if I was you. Demo them both with an agreement the money goes twards purchase.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    Looking at upgrading and getting a new Mtn bike. I am 60 plus but love riding and wondering if there would be any discernible difference in spendind $1250 +\- more to purchase a Pivot over a Trek Fuel?

    I could pay to demo each bike however I am wondering if an intermediate rider, at best, would even be able to detect the differences.

    Another concern would be the warranty and manufactures support of each brand and the cost to maintain them. Thanks
    Trek Fuel Lifetime warranty
    Pivot 10 year if new as of July I think it was

    Lot's of people here in AZ had the Pivot and are all up to sale. Not sure why. but the market was flooded with them here.

    I personally Like the Fuel. Owned a 2016, ridden a few 2017 and 2018, super fun in 27.5+ mode.
    Too Many .

  4. #4
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    The Fuel EX and the Switchblade are to very different bikes. The Switchblade is a super rowdy sled that will literally crush everything in its path. Honestly, when I demo'd the bike I thought it was pretty good on the whole. The Fuel EX is more of a standard trail bike. It's going to give you a good ride, but it's not the crusher the Switchblade is. If you want to better understand the differences in these bikes, don't look at the rear end. You won't learn much from the negligible difference in travel there. Look at the front end, where the Fuel EX is spec'd with a 130mm Fox 34 vs the 150mm Fox 36 on the Switchblade. I think for *most* people the Fuel EX will be the more sensible ride, but the Switchblade has its place. In the end, if you really feel conflicted about these two bikes, demo both of them. They are different enough that one will stick out as the more obvious choice to you.

  5. #5
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    You will definitely notice differences in the bikes if you test them, newb or not.

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    I'm 60+ and ride a '16 Fuel EX, which is right for my riding. For something similar, you might look at the Pivot 429 Trail.
    Do the math.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent701 View Post
    Trek Fuel Lifetime warranty
    Pivot 10 year if new as of July I think it was

    Lot's of people here in AZ had the Pivot and are all up to sale. Not sure why. but the market was flooded with them here.

    I personally Like the Fuel. Owned a 2016, ridden a few 2017 and 2018, super fun in 27.5+ mode.
    Interesting your mention of the 27.5 wheels since the owner at the Trek shop thought for my riding style & age that I should try the Fuel with really wide 27.5 Tires. He said the ride and stability is incredible and said I should demo tbe Fuel both ways.

    Trek does really back their products and that has bee all I have owned in the way of Mtn bikes. I'm also thinking about carbon vs aluminum since they are available in either. One pound lighter for the Carbon.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    I personally like the Pivot more. There smaller sizes fit smaller riders well. The shock on the Trek is nice, but I prefer the bike not need the shock to help peddle well. Both companies are good to work with, so if I was you. Demo them both with an agreement the money goes twards purchase.
    Pretty good that you can rate the different shocks? I would have no clue and just expect the Pivot to have a better one since there is a big price difference between the two bikes.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    I'm 60+ and ride a '16 Fuel EX, which is right for my riding. For something similar, you might look at the Pivot 429 Trail.
    It probably is more similar to the Fuel except it has 27.5 wheels. My current bike is a 29er as well as my past ride so what would that change be like ? They do come with 2.8 tires so I would imagine that bike would be extremely sure footed and stable on trails covered with leaves.

    At this point in my life it's all about a more fun ride, not the speed and very fortunate to be 20 minutes from a great Mtn biking area, Carvins Cove.

  10. #10
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    The trek has a proprietary shock that probably won't have parts available within a few years. Such is the way with proprietary shocks. The fork on the pivot is a higher end one and is made for more "extreme" riding.

    I would highly recommend demoing them and trying out the 2.8-3" wide tires if you have never ridden them. Some people love the wide tires and some people hate them. The wide tires are definitely confidence inspiring if that is what you are looking for.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_joe View Post
    The trek has a proprietary shock that probably won't have parts available within a few years. Such is the way with proprietary shocks. The fork on the pivot is a higher end one and is made for more "extreme" riding.

    I would highly recommend demoing them and trying out the 2.8-3" wide tires if you have never ridden them. Some people love the wide tires and some people hate them. The wide tires are definitely confidence inspiring if that is what you are looking for.
    Whoever I mention safety and stability on a bike the first response is always wide tires. I guess I will have to demo them but not sure what it will be like going from a 29 er to a 27.5. I can't imagine it would be a dramatic difference since the wider tires will be a whole other experience.

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    A couple hours up the road from you in Charlottesville is a shop called Blue Ridge Cyclery. They carry both Pivot and trek and will definitely take the demo fee off of the purchase of a new bike. I think they limit that to like 5 or 6 demos in a year. We have some pretty good riding up here too. I also agree with the statement above that the 429T is a more apples to apples comparison with the FEX.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    Whoever I mention safety and stability on a bike the first response is always wide tires. I guess I will have to demo them but not sure what it will be like going from a 29 er to a 27.5. I can't imagine it would be a dramatic difference since the wider tires will be a whole other experience.
    I would agree with the safety and stability comments. The overall diameter of a 27.5x2.8" tire is about 28" on my bike, so it is comparable to a 29" bike. They are not the same diameter like lots of bike marketing departments will tell you.

    Like the above poster said, i believe your best bet is to find a shop that will let you demo both bikes and apply the demo fee toward the cost of purchasing a bike. You should also try the pivot 429 trail if you can... excellent bike.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    Pretty good that you can rate the different shocks? I would have no clue and just expect the Pivot to have a better one since there is a big price difference between the two bikes.
    The Trek needs a special shock to peddle as efficiently as the Piviot. The suspension design of the Piviot makes it a great peddler. The fork on the Piviot is much better.

    For a Mid Altlantic bike (I'm in Frederick Md) if you pick one of the bikes, you're going to want the other some times. Lol

    I Ride a Canfield Riot. Very similar to the Switchblade. The Trails I like to ride are more chunky and I travel to Western NC twice a year. The Switchback is home in the twisty chunky trails. It can make flow trails a bit boring though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by notso View Post
    A couple hours up the road from you in Charlottesville is a shop called Blue Ridge Cyclery. They carry both Pivot and trek and will definitely take the demo fee off of the purchase of a new bike. I think they limit that to like 5 or 6 demos in a year. We have some pretty good riding up here too. I also agree with the statement above that the 429T is a more apples to apples comparison with the FEX.
    On the way to Carvins Cove, within just a few miles of the parking area is a good bike shop who is a Pivot dealer. They do have demo bikes, Pivot, Kona and Santa Cruz but not sure what they charge, I have not asked yet. The Trek dealer charges $50 that gets deducted from a bike if purchased.

    The main reason ( although a stupid one) for liking the Switchblade is the matte Black paint finish. Guess I sound like a woman now!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    On the way to Carvins Cove, within just a few miles of the parking area is a good bike shop who is a Pivot dealer. They do have demo bikes, Pivot, Kona and Santa Cruz but not sure what they charge, I have not asked yet. The Trek dealer charges $50 that gets deducted from a bike if purchased.

    The main reason ( although a stupid one) for liking the Switchblade is the matte Black paint finish. Guess I sound like a woman now!
    The red on black is very nice.

  17. #17
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    The switchblade has a 157 rear hub spacing. I would think that makes it more difficult to find decent wheel sets.

    That being said, I rather enjoy my 2016 Fuel EX.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by unrealityshow View Post
    The switchblade has a 157 rear hub spacing. I would think that makes it more difficult to find decent wheel sets.
    It leaves you pretty much stuck with the hubs you get. You can have those laced to just about anything you want. Fortunately, the hubs don't really suck. For that matter, the rims don't either. Pivot usually kits a bike up pretty decently.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    It leaves you pretty much stuck with the hubs you get. You can have those laced to just about anything you want. Fortunately, the hubs don't really suck. For that matter, the rims don't either. Pivot usually kits a bike up pretty decently.
    I'm guessing the hub spacing means the distance between tbe chainstays and that size is engineered based on the cassette size and the tire clearance?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    I'm guessing the hub spacing means the distance between tbe chainstays and that size is engineered based on the cassette size and the tire clearance?
    Well, you got hub spacing right. Otherwise, it's based on what standards manufacturers want to use to accomplish certain objectives. Older bikes used 9x135 QR, then we got 12x142 through axles. So, first number is axle diameter, second is hub spacing. Now we have Boost as a standard, which is 12x148, which allows a shorter chain stay because the chain line is pushed outboard some more, allowing the tire to be tucked in closer to the bottom bracket. Boost also pushed the flanges the spokes tie into out 3mm to provide a wider base, and so stronger structure for the wheel. The Switchblade is the only bike in existence that uses what Pivot calls Super Boost Plus. It's basically a modified 157mm downhill hub which lets them push the spoke flange on the hub even further out, for an even stronger wheel. Modified downhill hub, because downhill bikes use a smaller cassette (they don't need to climb...) to get even wider spoke flanges because ..downhill needs strong wheels. So yes, the Switchblade uses completely proprietary rear hubs.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    It probably is more similar to the Fuel except it has 27.5 wheels. ..
    The 29 in Mach 429 means 29" wheels, though it can run 27.5, as can the Fuel EX.
    Do the math.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    Well, you got hub spacing right. Otherwise, it's based on what standards manufacturers want to use to accomplish certain objectives. Older bikes used 9x135 QR, then we got 12x142 through axles. So, first number is axle diameter, second is hub spacing. Now we have Boost as a standard, which is 12x148, which allows a shorter chain stay because the chain line is pushed outboard some more, allowing the tire to be tucked in closer to the bottom bracket. Boost also pushed the flanges the spokes tie into out 3mm to provide a wider base, and so stronger structure for the wheel. The Switchblade is the only bike in existence that uses what Pivot calls Super Boost Plus. It's basically a modified 157mm downhill hub which lets them push the spoke flange on the hub even further out, for an even stronger wheel. Modified downhill hub, because downhill bikes use a smaller cassette (they don't need to climb...) to get even wider spoke flanges because ..downhill needs strong wheels. So yes, the Switchblade uses completely proprietary rear hubs.
    Ok, I follow your explanation and it sounds logical and gives me insight as to the obvious rear tire clearance on tbe Pivot even with a real chunky tire!

    What about the chainstay width affecting the pedaling??? I have a Kona Private Jake with a single chainring and my heels when pedaling come really close to the chainstay due to the width of the cassette ? How do they compensate for this, wider bottom bracket?

    The more I read and hear from members is just a wake up call to how little I know about bikes.

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    Yes, a slightly wider bottom bracket is used on the Switchblade. It's noticeable going from bike to bike but easy to get used to. Some have complained about their heels hitting the chainstay but this seems to be mostly from people who claim to not like the bike otherwise. Never heard it being a real issue.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by BmanInTheD View Post
    Yes, a slightly wider bottom bracket is used on the Switchblade. It's noticeable going from bike to bike but easy to get used to. Some have complained about their heels hitting the chainstay but this seems to be mostly from people who claim to not like the bike otherwise. Never heard it being a real issue.
    I'm not heavy but have a large frame and would think a wider bottom bracket would be better suited to my size.

    Price not being a consideration, I think I would rather have the Pivot over a Trek Fuel but guess I should demo both bikes. I don't think the LBS has a Switchblade to demo, just the Mach 5.5 but guess that would be close enough. Then the question of a 29 er ( my last two bikes were 29 eras) or go to a 27.5 with wider tires? Lots of considerations here and a new bike will actually. Cost more than my first new car!

  25. #25
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    You can use any 157 hub in the switchblade, it doesnt need to be super boost plus
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  26. #26
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    I have also been reading up on the Pivot Firebird and perhaps should consider that model as well.

    Just not sure what a 27.5 would feel like after rider 29 eras for the last 10 years or so.
    Obviously older now so a 27.5 wheel with a wide tire might allow me more stability and fun to ride at my slower speeds.

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    a choice between 2 awesome bikes, you can't go wrong. the different forks tell the story though. if you want maximum descending prowess clearly the SB is optimized for that with a 150 travel Fox 36. essentially they've put their foot in the enduro camp with that choice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cunningstunts View Post
    a choice between 2 awesome bikes, you can't go wrong. the different forks tell the story though. if you want maximum descending prowess clearly the SB is optimized for that with a 150 travel Fox 36. essentially they've put their foot in the enduro camp with that choice.
    I think Roth bike will suit me just fine but need to decide, probably by riding both, if I should go with a 29 er or a 27.5 with wider tires. The Trek dealer wants me to demo the Fuel with the 29 wheels and will swap them to wider 27.5's so I could demo with the different shells as well. He believes I will like the ride better with the wider tires.

    Also, the Pivot is about $1K more than tbe Fuel, not exactly chump change.

  29. #29
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    Having ridden 29" wheels for years, I also have a Pivot Les that can run 27.5+ or 29. I've been running the 27.5 + for a few months and, for me anyway, I don't care for the 27.5 wheel size. I'll be building a 29" wheel set to use on the bike. Here in Phx the extra traction of the + tires is nice, just don't like the smaller diameter wheel.

    Also, the switchblade is a nice bike, but its a lot of bike. If you mostly trail ride with
    Small to medium drops, the 429 trail or 429SL should be considered. You'll also save some weight.
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    Iíve owned both the SB and a Fuel EX. I didnít personally care for either, but theyíre radically different bikes. Not sure why youíre comparing the two. And the Firebird? Thatís out of left field unless Iíve misinterpreted your riding.

    The Pivot equivalent of the Fuel would be the Mach 429 Trail.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

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    I'm sure the SB is really overkill for my riding but I did favor that model over the others due to the wider tires, which I definitely want a 2.4 at a minimum and figured since I'm getting a new bike I should have a dropper post.
    Also, the SB is not more expensive than the other Pivot models and I do love the Matte Black finish.

    Even the Trek Fuel would be overkill for me but would give me more fun on the trails.

  32. #32
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    The 150mm front end on the Pivot is going to be a lot to handle on some of the steeper climbs at Carvins.

    Hope you have good walking shoes.

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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    The 150mm front end on the Pivot is going to be a lot to handle on some of the steeper climbs at Carvins.

    Hope you have good walking shoes.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
    So even more money for the Pivot since I need hiking shoes as well!

    Yes, way more travel than I need so what would you recommend ?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    So even more money for the Pivot since I need hiking shoes as well!

    Yes, way more travel than I need so what would you recommend ?
    The Fuel EX would be the tool for the job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    I'm sure the SB is really overkill for my riding but I did favor that model over the others due to the wider tires, which I definitely want a 2.4 at a minimum and figured since I'm getting a new bike I should have a dropper post.
    Also, the SB is not more expensive than the other Pivot models and I do love the Matte Black finish.

    Even the Trek Fuel would be overkill for me but would give me more fun on the trails.
    Will you be traveling to other trail systems? Or do you just ride the one close to your house?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    The Fuel EX would be the tool for the job.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
    I agree with you! What are your thoughts about trying a 27.5 wheelset with wider tires?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickcin View Post
    I agree with you! What are your thoughts about trying a 27.5 wheelset with wider tires?
    I think the 27+ would be a good option.



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    A good part of performance from wider tires is a wide enough rim. Go wider than you think and you can go with lower pressure.

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    I would stay away from anything with proprietary (trek) or non standard tech (Switchblade 157 rear).

    Pivot Mach 6 or 429 trail, maybe something like a Yt Jeffsy (great component spec) but not sure about their rear tire clearance and no test ride on that. look into other available choices from Santa Cruz, etc.

    Look for demo days though you most likely have to wait for springtime for them.
    Last edited by HenryK; 11-24-2017 at 04:30 PM. Reason: typo

  40. #40
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    I have done some relatively steep, narrow, tight climbs on the Switchblade. When I demo'd the bike, that was a big question mark for me - I knew the bike would go down, the question was, could I ride it up as well? It actually climbs surprisingly well and stable for such a burly bike. But I'm actually kind of in agreement with HenryK on this - I dislike proprietary and non-standard tech. Have you considered a Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol? Or a Smash?

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    I have done some relatively steep, narrow, tight climbs on the Switchblade. When I demo'd the bike, that was a big question mark for me - I knew the bike would go down, the question was, could I ride it up as well? It actually climbs surprisingly well and stable for such a burly bike. But I'm actually kind of in agreement with HenryK on this - I dislike proprietary and non-standard tech. Have you considered a Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol? Or a Smash?
    As Le Duke has graciously pointed out, the Pivot is serious overkill for me at this age and skill set. I love the way it looks and the wide tires it will accommodate however a Trek Fuel 9.7, which is still more bike than I need, should suit me fine and be more than $1K less than the Pivot.

    I will first demo the bike with a 275 wheelset to see how that compares to my 29 er.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    The 150mm front end on the Pivot is going to be a lot to handle on some of the steeper climbs at Carvins.

    Hope you have good walking shoes.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

    He's right, and as alluded to farther up, the Pivot is way more bike. Based on your questions I get the clear feeling your style of riding is not requiring nearly that much bike. Despite what many will post, lugging around more bike than you need is way less fun than using the right tool for the job. Also, modern day trail bikes like the Trek as very capable bikes in terms of hitting bigger stuff in the hands of a skilled rider.

    Don't make the mistake way too many riders make. Don't over-bike.


    As much as I like Pivot as a company, and I almost bought a Switchblade, I'd say you should get the Trek. If you are hooked on Pivot look at their other options, but definitely not the Firebird.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    He's right, and as alluded to farther up, the Pivot is way more bike. Based on your questions I get the clear feeling your style of riding is not requiring nearly that much bike. Despite what many will post, lugging around more bike than you need is way less fun than using the right tool for the job. Also, modern day trail bikes like the Trek as very capable bikes in terms of hitting bigger stuff in the hands of a skilled rider.

    Don't make the mistake way too many riders make. Don't over-bike.


    As much as I like Pivot as a company, and I almost bought a Switchblade, I'd say you should get the Trek. If you are hooked on Pivot look at their other options, but definitely not the Firebird.
    I totally agree and my initial interest in the Pivot was based on its appearance in the bike shop. Just a great looking ride but then I started reading posts about the particulars like the functionality and obviously I am not a canadate for such a bike.

    Definitely going for the Trek and my last decision will be to decide between a 29 er or a 275. Thanks for your response!

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    29! Okay, I'm biased, since I own one! What did you decide?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bjeast View Post
    29! Okay, I'm biased, since I own one! What did you decide?
    No decision yet, waiting to demo a Trek Fuel with 27.5 wheels with wide tires.

    I love the Pivot but it's probably way too much for my riding abilities.

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    Ah - well, I'm sure you'll like the Trek (and would probably like the Pivot).

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    Pivot hands down.

    I have a Switchblade. So does my 66 year old boss. Best bike we've both ever ridden and we both get new bikes every year or so.
    It's so good that I might get a 2nd one for my wife and have one in 29" and one in 27.5+.

    If you want something a little more comparable to the Trek look at the 429 Trail or the Mach 5.5.

  48. #48
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    I would 2nd that you should also test ride the 429T. I have a couple friends that recently bought them with 27.5+ wheels/tires. They both love them.

  49. #49
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    The Mach 429 trail sounds like a great pick for you. They climb really well and descend as well as any bike in that travel range. Make sure you demo as sizing is very short in reach compared to top tube. The Switchblade is overkill for you. I own one and they are beefy. The trek is pretty good but that reactive shock is well, sometimes not reactive..and proprietary.

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