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  1. #1
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    Santa Cruz Superlight 29 One Month Review

    Frame: Large / Orange
    Rear Shock: Fox Float RL
    Fork: Fox 32 float 29 100 RLC FIT 15QR
    Drivetrain: 2x10 Shimano XT Front Derailleur & Cranks (38-26 / 12/36 Rear Cassette), SRAM X9 Rear Derailleur and Shifters
    Wheels: Easton EA70 XC
    Saddle: WTB Silverado Ti Rails / Thompson Seatpost
    Stem: Thomson 90mm Flat
    Bar: 710mm low-rise carbon Pro Tharsis / ODI lock-on grips
    Brakes: Shimano XT with IceTech Rotors
    Tires: Specialized Captain Front / Maxxis Ikon Rear (Run Tubeless)
    Pedals: XT M780
    Weight: 27.6 lbs

    Just wanted to share some thoughts after my first month or so of riding on the new Superlight 29:

    Quick bit of background….I’ve spent the last few years mainly pedaling on a Yeti 575, with occasional days on a 29 inch steel single speed hard tail. I like the big wheels, but was craving the cushion of a rear shock. I bought this new frame in June and built the Superlight 29 as my all around XC steed. I live and ride in Durango, Colorado….typical high desert and alpine trail riding.

    I’m still adjusting to big wheels once and a while, but I’m very happy so far. This bike is surprisingly snappy and fun…particularly compared to my prior 29er experiences (Jamis Dragon One and Giant XTC). I haven’t noticed any rear flex (I weigh 165 lbs) and overall the bike is quite stiff and very responsive. The bike climbs like a goat. I haven’t had any issues with pedal bob and so far I see no issues at all with the single pivot design. I haven’t pedaled a Tallboy, so I can’t compare, but this thing climbs very well IMHO.

    Important Improvements/Upgrades:
    The Fox Float RL is ok…but I think an upgrade to an RP23 or one of the new 2013 CTD Shocks would be a worthy purchase. I’d like to have a few more options in the platform and not just a full lockout. This is on the short list.
    This is largely personal preference, but I swapped out a pair of 670mm bars to the 710mm Pro Tharsis and what a huge difference! I love the wider bars and won’t consider going back to anything less. I’ll try a shorter (70mm) stem for fun in the next month, but at 90mm, zero rise, the steering is still quick.
    Wheels…I was hoping to get the bike under 27 lbs. New wheels will do this. The Easton EA70 XC’s get the job done, but they are not light. Looking at possibly the new Crossmax SLR. That should also have a pretty significant impact on handling and acceleration.

    Conclusion:
    This bike does exactly what I want. Climbs very, very well, and on the downhill is still fun and lively. I was really looking for this combination....I don’t want a bike that completely mutes the trail through a perfectly efficient suspension design. I still love the experience a 26” bike provides; lots of rider input, quick and agile performance…ear to ear smiles on the downhill! I wanted this in a 29er as well and I think I’ve found it. Just needs a few more tweeks and I should be there.

    I’d highly recommend the Superlight 29 for all around XC use. Will probably be a great rig for endurance races too. In my opinion, I still think the 26er 6 inch trail bike is the way to go for long, epic rides in the Colorado high country. Maybe throw a 120mm fork and dropper seat post on the Superlight 29 and you could prove me wrong….but then the bike starts to get heavy. Whatever….it’s all fun.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Santa Cruz Superlight 29 One Month Review-img_0292.jpg  


  2. #2
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    Sweet ride! Very nice build. I've got a Tallboy but wish I had room for a Superlight as well.....

    How do you find the 100mm fork in your terrian? Do you think the bike would benefit from a TALAS fork (120-95mm)?

    Would be interesting to know how much of a difference an RP23 or Monarch RT3 would make to the rear end....

  3. #3
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    So far the 100mm fork as been plenty. I've mostly been riding pretty smooth, buffed out single track, with the occasional rock garden and ledgy drops (1-2 ft) and I have yet to use all the travel on the front or rear. I've also set both front and rear towards the "plush" side. The recommended psi from Santa Cruz on the Float RL seemed way too stiff for my preference.

    I would love to hear a review of this bike with a higher end platform shock. Anyone?????

  4. #4
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    Nice.

    I also run my Tallboy at around 30psi below recommended. I would actually prefer a Monarch RT3 over the RP23 (mine has an RP23 and would like to try a RS).

    Keep rollin'

  5. #5
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    I would consider the Superlight as my first full-suspension bike. You seem satisfied with the bike, but here is the question: After a month riding it, would you buy it again or look at something else?

  6. #6
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    I couldn't be happier...for a full suspension 29er within this price range. Of course, I'd probably love a carbon frame even more, but this is my second full suspension bike and my goal was to keep the build under $3000. Comparable Aluminum frames that I had my eye on were the Jet 9, Tallboy AL (Both much more $$$ and heavier), the Giant Anthem (longer chainstays and possibly not as "flickable/fun"), and the Salsa Spearfish (great bike, but only 80mm). The Superlight 29 really was the right bike at the right price.

  7. #7
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    "Maybe throw a 120mm fork and dropper seat post on the Superlight 29 and you could prove me wrong"

    Strongly considering this option as my weapon to attack the alpine trails of the rocky mountains around Banff....

  8. #8
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    I have a superlight 29er as well. Going from a hard tail 26 to this wasn't life changing as far as lossing the agility of the 26. Mine climbs very nicely also. I have noticed some pedal bob when I'm mashing the pedals to pick up speed. But that's probably a combination of being a big guy and needing to stiffen up the suspension. I felt it more on other bikes I demoed though. Im pretty impressed with the bike so far.
    I don't have many regrets in purchasing it. I would do it again.

  9. #9
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    currently awaiting delivery of my superlight 29er, should be interesting as i rocked a 26er sl for 9 yrs, but the last year has beenon a rigid 29 SS which i love, but some time you want to let loose and PA rocks are tough on a rigid bike, before the SS i also rode a 26" blur lt for 4 yrs, which i also love except for the high maintenance part, looking forward to the simplicity of the superlight

  10. #10
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    for all of you that have bought the Superlight... Did everyone get the "R XC" version? Is anyone riding the "D XC" one?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by XyesterdayX View Post
    for all of you that have bought the Superlight... Did everyone get the "R XC" version? Is anyone riding the "D XC" one?
    I have the D XC version. I got that one over the R XC one because I'm not a very experienced rider and I tend to fall pretty often. Also Im probably not going to maintain all the components properly for lack of knowledge. So to me I figured if Im going to wear things out they might as well be the cheaper options and upgrade them down the road with parts I prefer when I know what I want.

    I did upgrade the fork to a Reba RLT, the white fork on a black bike was pretty off putting to me as well.

    My bike weighs in at about 29 pounds.

  12. #12
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    JasonHH,
    did you just buy the frame? If so, where did you order from? LBS or online?

  13. #13
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    pretty bike, not sure about these 29 in wheels,,,so much has changed since i last sat on my bike lol.

  14. #14
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    got my SL 29 today, i am so excited, LBS worked with me on this one. Background: rode a 26" SL for 9 years and loved it, then bought a blur lt in 2009, rode the balls off that, then happened upon a GT peace9er SS, on a whim, which has now been the only bike i have ridden for the last 12 mos, so i got the 29er bug......anyway lots of parts swapping because i'm a twistie guy, got the build i wanted, now working on getting tubeless set up, unfortunately i gootta work the weekend so i won't be hitting the trails until monday to try it out.... this bike looks sweeet, i wish Santa Cruz would've built this bike 1st..... report will follow
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Santa Cruz Superlight 29 One Month Review-007.jpg  

    Santa Cruz Superlight 29 One Month Review-003.jpg  


  15. #15
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    How well would this bike work with me, a big 6'3" 230# burly man? Would I break it?

  16. #16
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    Lenn7,

    I bought the frame on line and built it up myself. Just ordered the new Mavic Crossmax ST29er wheelset yesterday......anyone interested in a very lightly used set of Easton EA 70 XC's I'll give you good deal......

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonHH View Post
    Lenn7,

    I bought the frame on line and built it up myself. Just ordered the new Mavic Crossmax ST29er wheelset yesterday......anyone interested in a very lightly used set of Easton EA 70 XC's I'll give you good deal......
    Where did you order from? I can't find much, just full bikes.

  18. #18
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    Cambria Bike....looks like they only have Black frames in Medium and Small left in stock. I think these frames are selling like crazy.

  19. #19
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    Did anyone happen to get a frame only weight in M/L?

    Sweet garage BTW, lots of toys!

  20. #20
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    This is a great thread, thanks JasonHH and others. My only remaining concern is perhaps weight, which at a little 30lbs is not bad for a fs 29er, especially at $1850 msrp.

    I am seriously considering buying a SL 29 Dxc this weekend (at least test ride). My lbs has several, the package doesn't match the SC website though. For example the drive train is slx/deore vs x7/x5 which I guess is a mild upgrade. Maybe they ran out of x7 or the bike shop did their own build?

    I am 6' 0.5" with slightly longer upper body vs legs. On Treks i am right between 19" and 21" frames. Any thoughts on how the SC frames size?

    Thanks,

  21. #21
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    C_trail_biker,

    I'm the exact same height....but with long legs and long arms, average torso. The Santa Cruz Large seems perfect. No radical adjments on seat position or stem length needed and my body position is spot on.

  22. #22
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    Ended up getting a large Dxc (black no oranges left)! with the SLX/Deore components!

    btw the new ones being shipped now will have x5/x7 vs. SLX/deore drivetrains, without a price change. Mine has the slx/deore parts.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by c_trail_biker View Post
    Ended up getting a large Dxc (black no oranges left)! with the SLX/Deore components!

    btw the new ones being shipped now will have x5/x7 vs. SLX/deore drivetrains, without a price change. Mine has the slx/deore parts.
    Looking at a DXC as well. Where did you get yours?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sage97 View Post
    Looking at a DXC as well. Where did you get yours?
    I got it at a LBS in the St. Louis area.

  25. #25
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    Nice...those superlights offer a lot of bike for $

  26. #26
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    Anybody offering a "long term report" on their superlights? I'm looking a bit at an RCX29...

  27. #27
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    I've had my 13 rxc for about 3 months and am thrilled with it! I'm an old slow clyde but its a fun bike with good componets at a price you can work with. I upgraded brakes to xt and upgraded the rear wheel to a flow ex on an I9 hub cause i ride a lot of rocks but thats it so far.
    “An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence.” Marco Polo

  28. #28
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    here's mine, so far i love this bike, took a while to dial suspension in now it's sweet, smooths out the PA rocks just fine and just enough squish so i can bomb the downhills (something i missed after riding a rigid SS for a year), it climbs as fast as my legs will push it and is everything i had hoped after riding a 26" SL for 9 yrs, now the down side which i am currently trying to rectify- the wheelset that came on this bike, shimano XT hubs and skinny Mavic 719's absolutely suck flexy and any more than a 2.2 feelslike a wet noodle on there, once i get a set of chris king hubs and Stans flow rims all should be right in this bike world

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkrispies View Post
    Anybody offering a "long term report" on their superlights? I'm looking a bit at an RCX29...
    If you haven't already, look for a thread by ghost_03, he has a good long term review.

  30. #30
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    I've had mine since June and still like it quite a bit. It climbs and descends very well. I considered going with a long travel 29er (Salsa Horsethief), but I liked the handling and the climbing ability of the SL29er much better. I bought it Frame only and transferred parts from my old bike (Voodoo Canzo 29er) except for the fork (added a Reba XX) and threw on a dropper post. I am considering changing the fork out for a 120mm at some point, although I don't know that I really need it. I have ridden the bike on various terrain in Southern California, St. George UT, Fruita CO, Moab UT (slick rock) and Steamboat Springs CO. with no complaints.

  31. #31
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    SL29 vs Voodo Canzo

    Quote Originally Posted by teamshort View Post
    I've had mine since June and still like it quite a bit. It climbs and descends very well. I considered going with a long travel 29er (Salsa Horsethief), but I liked the handling and the climbing ability of the SL29er much better. I bought it Frame only and transferred parts from my old bike (Voodoo Canzo 29er) except for the fork (added a Reba XX) and threw on a dropper post. I am considering changing the fork out for a 120mm at some point, although I don't know that I really need it. I have ridden the bike on various terrain in Southern California, St. George UT, Fruita CO, Moab UT (slick rock) and Steamboat Springs CO. with no complaints.
    How does the SL29 climb and corner when compared to the Canzo?

  32. #32
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    I climbs about the same, but it corners better and is a more maneuverable, probably due to the shorter chain stays. It's better climbing on tight switchbacks.

  33. #33
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    nice review dude... appreciated

  34. #34
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    Sc sl 29 dxc

    I got the DXC in March 2012, with recon silver, deore crank, avid 1.

    Upgrades....

    Rock Shox Reba 120 155mm thru....great stifness in the front.
    Deus Raceface Crankset ...smooth pedaling
    Frond disc brake to a 203mm.... great response and modulation
    Thomson 100mm stem... I need more space for my arms.
    Deyti Dirty30 Handelbar.... not going back for any shorter...

    I feel some flex in the rear... because the wheelset.. not the frame... it is going to be the next upgrade.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Santa Cruz Superlight 29 One Month Review-03.jpg  


  35. #35
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    Had mine for @ 3 months now



    And have been very pleased. I got mine from competitivecyclist.com, expecting the Deore/ SLX mix however the bike came with SRAM X5/X7 which I was not upset about. Shifting has just started to get a bit fussy requiring some adjustments and today a spoke came loose on the ride, but I consider this normal break in. I swapped out the Race Face Ride stem and post to Stylo T20 stem (wanted a longer one than the 90 it came with) and also added a T30 post. The bike came with a Stylo T20 bar, not the Race Face one I thought would be included. The Maxxis CrossMark tires are ok, but not really made for wet leaves or mud.

    It is my first 29er and I am a relative newbie, but it rides very well, and seems to be a lot of bike for the $1,850 I paid. It is heavy (30.5 lbs) and coming from a 27lb 26er FS, I was concerned that the bike would lose some of the nimble climbing aspects of it's small wheeled predecessor. But I was pleasantly surprised at how the bike feels light while riding. The Elixer brakes have nice stopping power. Some rub here and there, but usually after a good lever pull it goes away.

    I get tons of compliments on it too. She is very pretty. Although I would prefer a little less black. If things break or fail, they will be replaced with X9 stuff in silver. I swapped the rather hard Lizard Skin grips for metallic Blue Oury's. Also put a blue headset cap on. Needed a little color.
    Last edited by PeterF1963; 12-17-2012 at 04:39 AM.

  36. #36
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    Good to see largely positive feedback, still waiting anxiously for mine.

  37. #37
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    I've put about 225 miles on my RXC. Love the bike! Other than changing the front tire and grips, I haven't done anything to it and have no intention of changing anything out. Yes, the "Superlight" is actually a bit heavy, but I ride for exercise and don't see any point in spending a $1000 to drop a couple more pounds... unless it's off my gut, ha! Fyi, I ride mainly in the Mojave Desert, at least 50 miles a week with a 3000-4000 foot cummulative weekly altitude gain. I can say that it climbs great, descends great, and can handle the soft stuff just fine.

    I've read some review complaining about nose dive; I've also read complaints that the single point pivot bobs too much. I haven't felt any of that at all-- in fact, I demo'ed a Giant Anthem 0 for 50 miles and found bob to be very noticeable on that... for $1500 more in cost! Having acknowledged that, I have the RXC version which has the upgraded Foxshox CTD Float front and back which may be a contributing factor. When I test rode the base model in my LBS' parking lot I wasn't impressed with the way they felt and decided to take a gamble on the upgraded model. Between the Fox and Shimano gear, the RXC is an absolutely awesome package.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkrispies View Post
    I've put about 225 miles on my RXC. Love the bike! .

    :
    JKrispies....Let's see that ride....

    Some riding outputs... Don't feel any bob also, actually it climbs really really nice, it depends more of the rider legs and technique than the bike geometry.

    In rocky and sandy sections I dont feel completely smooth im going to try less pressure on the tires or definitively change them...

    Not need to close the shock or the fork for climbing section.... fork and shock are set at +-80 PSI Im in the 140's of weight....my reba is set at 100mm... someday I will try the 120mm just for curiosity... at 100mm and my riding style (XC) is completely fine... I don't apply any kind of abuse..

    Just need to deal with the rear flex in the wheels...not very glad with the WheelsShimano M525 Hubs/WTB Laserdisc Rims Wheelset.. Stock Wheels... please avoid them... really not a positive comment... just the price

    If you'r going for the SCSL'29 better go for the RXC.... definitively avoid the DXC, if its a matter of budget wait a bit until you get the money for the RXC... the $ more definitively worth it...

    The wheelset with better hubs and fork with thru axle makes a huge difference in handling and riding, stiffness and control...

    Both... shimano and sram are no brainers...not a single difference on them... just if you can get the top of the line gears the better it brakes and the smoothness in shift...

    Wish you nice rides in this 2013....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Santa Cruz Superlight 29 One Month Review-12.jpg  


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    I'll try to get a photo or two up. Not sure what kind of land you're riding on (looks similar to my area from your photos), but I've kept the stock Maxxis on the rear and have a Specialized Captain on the front. I couldn't ask for a better tire so far, and I have to say that it's surprisingly stable when it gets soft. I just did a 10 mile ride in the DESERT where sections of it had my rear tire squirreling around at about a 20 degree offset to where I was steering while climbing uphill. I was riding motorcycle trails that were relatively tore up and/or just soft regardless. The Captain worked perfectly. I kept the front Maxxis and hung it on the wall to remount when the rear wears out, but once those two Maxxis are used up, I'll probably go Captain's front and back.

    EDIT TO ADD: regarding the 120mm forks, I got them because they were cheaper than the 100mm forks (don't ask me to explain why) and I'll testify that 100mm forks are perfectly fine for anybody who rides XC like me. I might change my mind after hitting Mammoth this summer, but I'm doubting it...
    Last edited by jkrispies; 01-07-2013 at 12:04 PM.

  40. #40
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    Here's a photo of the RXC29. Would have a gotten it up sooner but the early sunsets and freezing temperatures haven't been too conducive to riding.


    Okay nevermind... it's right side up on everything I own except this post with no way to rotate...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Santa Cruz Superlight 29 One Month Review-photo-58.jpg  


  41. #41
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    I've had my SL (medium D-kit 2013) for a little over a month and I love it! I do plan on upgrading a bit, but for now I'm just riding when ever possible. Had a great ride this afternoon. I took this pic post ride. Gotta love Texas in January!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

  42. #42
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    Trying again on the pic...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Santa Cruz Superlight 29 One Month Review-photo-60.jpg  

    Last edited by jkrispies; 01-29-2013 at 06:25 PM.

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    hey guys i got a sizing question for you. i'm 5 ft 6.5 inches, with a 32.5 inseam...i have a long legs/short torso thing going on. I'm looking into getting a SL29er and am thinking based on the geometry charts the small might be too small. i currently ride a small specialized rockhopper and it feels pretty good with the 60mm stem it has.

    anyone around 5'6-5'7 have any input?

  44. #44
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    I would test a medium and a small if possible. I'm 5'10 with 34" inseam 173# and went with a medium. The bike fits me fine.

  45. #45
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    Best idea is to test ride, even if it's just around the parking lot. I'm almost identical in size to nelson73 and ride a large. I could probably pop down to a medium, though.

    Finally got a pic to load above...

  46. #46
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    Get the biggest you can fit on. Im 5 10 32" and originally had a medium, then switched out to large SL29. The medium had a 130mm stem and i was still cramped. On the large, I was able to drop down to a 70MM stem and some wider bars which really livened up the bike.

    Either way, the RXC 29er is a great bike and does 75% of the trails around here just fine.



    14 Process 111DL
    15 Process 134DL
    16 Process 153DL
    16 Honzo DL

  47. #47
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    Yeah that's basically along the line of thinking I was on. Probably better off on a medium with a short stem

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    Quote Originally Posted by vegan_warrior View Post
    Yeah that's basically along the line of thinking I was on. Probably better off on a medium with a short stem
    +1. Sometimes I feel like my large is a hair too long, but the legs are always just right. I think if I shortened the stem, and maybe angled it up a smidge, it would be perfect.

  49. #49
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    i'm 5'7" and ride a medium, i actually had to put a longer stem on mine, to stretch out the cockpit a bit( maybe i got ape arms?)replaced the crappy cane creek headset with a king and should be getting the C.K. wheelset soon, the all will be right in this world

  50. #50
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    Curious. What issues were you having with factory headset?
    14 Process 111DL
    15 Process 134DL
    16 Process 153DL
    16 Honzo DL

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