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  1. #1
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    Somewhat aging XC racer looking for new bike advice

    Hey y'all! I've always gotten great advice on this board, so I thought I'd post this question here.

    I'm a 43-year-old XC racer. Not super fast but not real slow, I'm pretty much a middle-of-the-field expert category racer. I've ridden Specialized Epic bikes for several years and generally been happy with them. But this summer I started to feel like it's not enough bike for the rocky rides that we have in my home town of Breckenridge, Colorado. I'm thinking about trading in my 100mm carbon XC race bike for something a little beefier and more comfortable for long rocky rides.

    Based on reviews that I've read, I'm intrigued by the Yeti SB4.5, but I'm afraid it might be a little too heavy and "downhilly" for my taste. I'm looking for something that's a little plusher than my Epic, but still fast for a 60-minute red-line local XC race. On the other hand, I want to do the Breck Epic this year, so I need something that's tough enough for 6 straight 40-mile rides with 7,000 feet of rocky vertical each day. This summer I'm also hoping to race in the Growler (32 miles), Firecracker 50, and Steamboat Stinger (50 miles). I still want to ride fast uphill and downhill; I just want to be more comfortable doing it on long rides/races.

    Honestly I've been stuck on Specialized bikes for so many years that I don't know what's out there that I might like. I love living in a small town, but unfortunately being in a small town means that there aren't a lot of options for demo-ing bikes to see what's perfect for me.

    Any suggestions on what bikes I should consider, or thoughts on how a guy like me might like the SB4.5? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Try a 120mm fork on the bike you have. Maybe an Angleset to slacken the head angle a degree or so. Just an idea. Cheaper than a new bike.

  3. #3
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    Hey endo_alley, thanks for the response. Actually I'm also planning to go from a large frame to a medium frame, so I've already accepted that I'm buying a new bike.

    Oh, and one more thing - I really want to get something with SRAM Eagle.

  4. #4
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    I got it. Your going BIG. I was thinking small ball. I'm too much of a cheapo. Good luck. Maybe a Pivot 429 trail? Or a YT? I'm sure you would like the Yeti. Everyone seems to. Or hang onto your race bike and buy a dedicated trail bike for bombing down Wheeler pass or Georgia Pass when your not racing.

  5. #5
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    You could look at Ibis Ripley, Pivot 420 Trail, Trek Fuel EX etc... plenty of bikes in the 110-130 travel range that should do the trick.

    I don't care for Specialized, but since you've had them, the Camber fits what you describe as well.
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  6. #6
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    Thanks again, I'll look at the Pivot. I've never heard of YT but I just went to their website, and the Jeffsy looks sweet. I also just stumbled into the Intense Primer, I'm giving that a look too.

    Great idea about the two bikes, but I'm a "one bike" guy. Besides, I have a wife to answer to!

  7. #7
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    Specialized epics are notoriously harsh, with the "brain" to make up for the pedaling inefficiency of the horst-link, which makes the travel harsh. If you went with one of many great bikes these days with 120mm of travel, you'd probably think it's like riding on a pillow comparatively. Lots of good suspension designs, even single pivots, that are better these days.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Hey TwoTone, thanks! I don't see a 420 Trail on Pivot's website, so I'm guessing you mean the 429 Trail. I'll check all those bikes out. I think I'm going to get away from Specialized for once and see what else is out there!

  9. #9
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    Hey Jayem, thanks for your response. I never really noticed that harsh feeling because I had a young body that could handle it! But I noticed it quite a bit this summer; I guess because I'm getting older. I'm just afraid that by getting something "squishy" I'll end up climbing noticeably slower. Is that not the case because of the good suspension designs that are out there? Or do I just have to accept that if I want to be more comfortable, I have to ride slower?

  10. #10
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    Take a look at the Santa Cruz Tallboy. I recently went from an Epic full suspension to the Tallboy and am really liking the Tallboy on rockier AZ trails.

  11. #11
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    Thanks AzFlapjack, I'll give that a look!

  12. #12
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    Good Trek options (both 130mm and SRAM 1x12):
    2018 Fuel EX 9.8 if you want a carbon bike ($5500 msrp).
    Or...
    2018 Fuel EX 8 if you want a similar bike to the 9.8 but with aluminum frame ($3200 msrp).

  13. #13
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    Bikes that immediately come to mind:

    Scott Spark

    Kona Hei Hei

    Rocky Mountain Element

    If you can wait, the Yeti ASRc redesign is coming.

    The new Spec Epic is very much worth considering for anyone that calls themselves a XC racer.

    I've demo'd the SB45 and ASRc and find that the ASRc just requires a bit more muscle/fitness to get through the same rocky sections with similar speed, but easily speeds away in the climbs, actually encouraging me to go faster. In contrast, the SB45 was begging for bigger freeride-style challenges.

  14. #14
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    On paper, Tallboy sounds like it would be a good choice.

  15. #15
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    I would add the Pivot Mach 429SL to the list.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 410sprint View Post
    I would add the Pivot Mach 429SL to the list.
    x2.
    Great climbing XC bike that flies on DH segments also.
    Niner Jet 9 RDO, Scalpel 29, XTC 650b, 04 Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Trek Rigid SS - No suspension, no gears....no problem

  17. #17
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    Spark or Top Fuel build. Aimed at low weight.
    Eagle drivetrain. Next SL
    SID Boost fork with Charger damper.
    DT 240 hubs with Sapim Laser spokes and asym 34mm inner carbon rims like CarbonFan, etc. with Bonty XR2 2.35 tires. This combo is high volume and at low pressures adds compliance to your ride. You can also try 2.6" tires.

    Top Fuel is 2090g in Medium(17.5) with the Re:Aktiv shock.
    https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...Code=black_red

    Spark 27.5+ is the 700 Tuned.
    https://www.scott-sports.com/us/en/p...icle=265249007

  18. #18
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    Check out Evil The Following as well.

  19. #19
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    The new Rocky Mountain Element would be a great choice. It's still a rocket ship but more capable on the descents and has adjustable geo as well.

    Also look at the new Cannondale Scalpel. Both bikes have a solid history in XC and have been improved dramatically.

  20. #20
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    If you like Specialized, the new Camber looks like a great Xc ish trail bike.

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    Hey guys, thanks so much for the advice. I just spent most of the day researching online, and I've narrowed it down a bit to the Trek Fuel EX 9.8, YT Jeffsy, Intense Primer, Santa Cruz Tallboy, and the soon-to-be-redesigned Yeti ASR. Right now the Intense Primer leads by a nose, mainly because they have a build that includes SRAM Eagle and carbon wheels at a fair price. Plus, I like that the rear suspension on the Primer can be switched between 110 mm and 130 mm travel.

    Some of the recommended bikes (Pivot Mach 429 SL, Rocky Mountain Element ) don't have as much travel as I'd like. And some (Kona Hei Hei, Scott Spark) just don't have builds that are quite right for the right price for me. I'm passing on the Specialized Camber just because I want to get away from Specialized for once. The Evil Following has a little too much travel for my taste. And the Cannondale Scalpel's head tube is too upright for me.

    Since it's winter here in Breckenridge, I think I might just sit tight and wait to see what Yeti does with the ASR. Rumor has it that it'll have more travel than the old ASR. Besides, YT seems to be pretty much sold out of everything, so if I wait a few months then maybe they'll have the 2018 Jeffsy's in stock.

    Again, thanks for the suggestions. I knew I could rely on the great posters on MTBR!

  22. #22
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    Oversimplified and really depends on your terrain, but here in the NE I'd put the Fuel EX, Jeffsy and Primer in the "I bought the bike to have fun and f I happen to do a XC race it's just for fun, I don't care if I win" category. I'd put the Mach 429 SL, Element and Epic in the "It's not quite enough bike for when I want to get rowdy, but on race day it kicks ass, and that's what counts" category. Bikes like the Tallboy and 429 Trail fall in between. The only one I've never ridden is the Intense, so I might be wrong on that one.

  23. #23
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    I would highly recommend against the YT Jeffsy, most definitely not even in the realm of what you're looking for, would also say the Primer is way overkill for what you're looking for, despite being a good trail bike. The Tallboy and 9.8 to me are the only real candidates that would be suited to what you intend to do with this bike, but I'll still mention the Scott Spark as another viable alternative, exactly what you're looking for.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    I would highly recommend against the YT Jeffsy, most definitely not even in the realm of what you're looking for, would also say the Primer is way overkill for what you're looking for, despite being a good trail bike. The Tallboy and 9.8 to me are the only real candidates that would be suited to what you intend to do with this bike, but I'll still mention the Scott Spark as another viable alternative, exactly what you're looking for.
    +1 for the Tallboy, awesome bike good blend between XC/Trail.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by 410sprint View Post
    I would add the Pivot Mach 429SL to the list.
    I would not.

    It's a kickass bike, I love mine, but it's more on the hardcore-racer side.

    He would be immensely better served by a Mach 429 Trail, which will pedal significantly better than his Specialized (which he is worried about) without harsh aids, and offer a lot more compliance and traction. I'd wager in this situation he's not going to put a 100mm fork on the 429SL like I have, because he's not interested in the most aggressive setup, so with a 120mm fork or more, the 429 Trail is a much better idea, and still very capable of the long epic races/rides, as compared to significantly more sluggish bikes with 140mm of travel.

    The Ibis Ripley is also worth a look. You are going to get a much more direct "pedal stroke, go forward" feeling with these, so you don't have to worry about missing out on efficiency.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  26. #26
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    Hey smithcreek and LyNx, I realized you're right about the Jeffsy. 140mm front and rear, definitely more than I want. So now I'm down to the Trek Fuel EX 9.8, Intense Primer, Santa Cruz Tallboy, and maybe the Yeti ASR if it comes out with more travel.

    A few people have recommended Pivot 429 Trail, but I ruled that out because it appears that they don't make it with SRAM Eagle with 29" wheels. If I want SRAM Eagle I have to go with 27.5" wheels. Could I be wrong about that?

    So here's what I'm seeing in those 3 bikes that I'm down to (not including the new ASR because it's not out yet):
    Trek Fuel EX 9.8: 28.4 lbs, eagle, 130mm front & rear, aluminum wheels, $5,000
    Intense Primer: 27 lbs, eagle, 130mm front, 110/130mm rear (switchable), carbon wheels, $6,000
    Santa Cruz Tallboy: weight unknown, 120mm front & 110mm rear, aluminum wheels, $6,799

    I can't find a weight for the Tallboy, but I found a review from 2016 that listed the Tallboy weight as 26.4 pounds with XX1. Put Eagle on there and we're probably getting fairly close to the 27 pounds of the Intense.

    So that's why I'm leaning toward the Intense Primer. The Trek looks good and the price is good, but since the wheels are aluminum I'll need a new wheelset in a few months, at which time I'll end up spending another $1,500 or so for carbon wheels. The Santa Cruz is the most expensive of the three, but again, I'll end up needing a new wheelset in a few months. I used to go through 2 pairs of aluminum wheels per summer, but I bought carbon wheels 2 years ago and they're just now starting to show their age.

    Based on the above stats, I'm not sure why some people are basically saying "the Primer is too much bike, you're better off with a Fuel EX 9.8." The Primer is lighter with less travel (if it's set to 110mm) and cheaper than the Fuel EX 9.8 (when factoring the cost of new carbon wheels), so at least on paper the Primer seems like a no-brainer.

  27. #27
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    Maybe the tallboy with the SC reserve wheels? Might be pricier but with a lifetime warranty on frame and wheels you really can't go wrong.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by gobbledegoo View Post
    Thanks again, I'll look at the Pivot. I've never heard of YT but I just went to their website, and the Jeffsy looks sweet. I also just stumbled into the Intense Primer, I'm giving that a look too.

    Great idea about the two bikes, but I'm a "one bike" guy. Besides, I have a wife to answer to!
    +1 for YT and Evil.

    Note: if you go with YT, stay away from Ethirteen tires... massive rolling drag compared to other tires out there!
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  29. #29
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    Sorry OP, thought you were refering to the Top Fuel 9.8, that has carbon wheels and a bit steep HTA of 70 degrees, but you could easily sell the 100 mm F32 and replace it with a 120mm something or other or even see if you cold extend travel on the F32 to slacken out the HTA a bit to make it more confidence inspiring on the downs. Top Fuel 9.8 has a claimed weight of 24.10lbs (not sure if that's 24.1lbs or 24lbs 10 oz), it comes with Eagle.
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  30. #30
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    Why did you exclude the Ripley LS GX Eagle for $3600?

    For 7k you can Carbon wheels and XO1 eagle over the GX eagle.

    https://www.competitivecyclist.com/c...%3ARipley&nf=1
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    Norco optic

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by gobbledegoo View Post
    Hey smithcreek and LyNx, I realized you're right about the Jeffsy. 140mm front and rear, definitely more than I want. So now I'm down to the Trek Fuel EX 9.8, Intense Primer, Santa Cruz Tallboy, and maybe the Yeti ASR if it comes out with more travel.

    A few people have recommended Pivot 429 Trail, but I ruled that out because it appears that they don't make it with SRAM Eagle with 29" wheels. If I want SRAM Eagle I have to go with 27.5" wheels. Could I be wrong about that?

    So here's what I'm seeing in those 3 bikes that I'm down to (not including the new ASR because it's not out yet):
    Trek Fuel EX 9.8: 28.4 lbs, eagle, 130mm front & rear, aluminum wheels, $5,000
    Intense Primer: 27 lbs, eagle, 130mm front, 110/130mm rear (switchable), carbon wheels, $6,000
    Santa Cruz Tallboy: weight unknown, 120mm front & 110mm rear, aluminum wheels, $6,799

    I can't find a weight for the Tallboy, but I found a review from 2016 that listed the Tallboy weight as 26.4 pounds with XX1. Put Eagle on there and we're probably getting fairly close to the 27 pounds of the Intense.

    So that's why I'm leaning toward the Intense Primer. The Trek looks good and the price is good, but since the wheels are aluminum I'll need a new wheelset in a few months, at which time I'll end up spending another $1,500 or so for carbon wheels. The Santa Cruz is the most expensive of the three, but again, I'll end up needing a new wheelset in a few months. I used to go through 2 pairs of aluminum wheels per summer, but I bought carbon wheels 2 years ago and they're just now starting to show their age.

    Based on the above stats, I'm not sure why some people are basically saying "the Primer is too much bike, you're better off with a Fuel EX 9.8." The Primer is lighter with less travel (if it's set to 110mm) and cheaper than the Fuel EX 9.8 (when factoring the cost of new carbon wheels), so at least on paper the Primer seems like a no-brainer.
    I narrowed my choices down to the Ripley, Tallboy, and Primer and took all 3 bikes out for a demo ride. All great bikes, but went with the Primer. It rides like it has more travel than it does, is a great climber, and moves easily through switchbacks. I've only had it for a couple months but no regrets. Intense is also starting to sell direct, so you may find a better deal online.

  33. #33
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    I ride a Ripley and love it. Right now I would be pouncing on a Primer with the discounted prices

    https://intensecycles.com/collection...imer-pro-build

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by edubfromktown View Post
    +1 for YT and Evil.

    Note: if you go with YT, stay away from Ethirteen tires... massive rolling drag compared to other tires out there!
    Nice bikes, but not in this category, regardless of the travel.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by gobbledegoo View Post

    A few people have recommended Pivot 429 Trail, but I ruled that out because it appears that they don't make it with SRAM Eagle with 29" wheels. If I want SRAM Eagle I have to go with 27.5" wheels. Could I be wrong about that?
    I would absolutely call up Pivot and inquire about this. Who can keep up with and list all the possible combinations of components that are available these days? I only buy frames so I can build my bike the way I want, but they'd be pretty dumb not to be allowing customers to spec eagle on the builds, so I'd call them up and see if it's a semi-custom option that they can substitute.

    But anyway, yes, a lot of these bikes (not all though) will pedal great and give you a world more compliance.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdrunk View Post
    I ride a Ripley and love it. Right now I would be pouncing on a Primer with the discounted prices

    https://intensecycles.com/collection...imer-pro-build
    Still $300 more than a similar Ripley.
    OG Ripley v2
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by gobbledegoo View Post
    A few people have recommended Pivot 429 Trail, but I ruled that out because it appears that they don't make it with SRAM Eagle with 29" wheels. If I want SRAM Eagle I have to go with 27.5" wheels. Could I be wrong about that?
    There are 2 Eagle builds listed on the site with 29'' wheels, not sure where you got the impression it's not offered.
    OG Ripley v2
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  38. #38
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  39. #39
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    I still say have one bike dedicated to racing and one dedicated to having fun. ( For example, keep the race bike and buy a Hightower long travel for fun.) I wish I could reduce my bicycle stable to just two bikes. Instead, a new bike seems to find it's way into my garage every year or two. And the old ones don't seem to want to leave. My back wall looks like a bicycle museum. And behind my shed looks like a vintage kayak museum. But that is another story.
    Last edited by endo_alley; 12-07-2017 at 08:31 AM.

  40. #40
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    I see what you are talking about @ CC. I change my vote. Too bad they donít allow Active Junky on Ibis any longer. With Active Junky it would be $300-$400 additional off.


    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Still $300 more than a similar Ripley.

  41. #41
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    I had the original ripley sold it to get a 429 trail and sold that to get a Primer. After riding all three the Primer is hand downs the best bike for me. The Ripley I had was the OG version, nice but old school geometry (remember they told us that it was designed around a 90-100mm stem!) and very noisy, that bike creaked more than any other bike I have ever had. The 429 trail was nice but boring in hindsight. I had been test riding bikes and one bike that really blew me away was the Santa Cruz 5010. In comparison to my Pivot it had a longer top tube and a steaper STA. It was so poppy and fun to ride I was really blown away. I did a couple more test rides of that bike but missed the larger wheel-size. I took some time was checking ebay for frames and a primer popped up. I checked the geometry and it looked pretty like it was going to be pretty close to the 5010 so I took a chance and bought the frame, transferred everything over from the 429 trail and have been happy ever since.
    One nice thing about the primer is that you can go from 115-to 130mm of travel and if you want even more you can get the link from the recluse , add a longer shock and you have a 140mm rear travel bike.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Somewhat aging XC racer looking for new bike advice-img_6233.jpg  

    Somewhat aging XC racer looking for new bike advice-pivot-cronan.jpg  

    Somewhat aging XC racer looking for new bike advice-img_20170506_211856_801.jpg  

    Somewhat aging XC racer looking for new bike advice-img_20170505_194328.jpg  


  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Nice bikes, but not in this category, regardless of the travel.
    I hear ya- however: some of my XC racer buddies (who make podiums) are on board with this level of upgrade-itis/craziness. 120mm of travel works for me.
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    Wow, I've missed so many replies since I last logged in. Since you've all been so incredibly helpful, I'll see if I can reply to everyone.

    Slimphatty, the Tallboy does look sweet, but the lifetime warranty isn't worth an additional $2k to me because I typically have a bike for about 4 years before selling it. And while I ride hard and I go through my share of parts, I have never broken a frame and I've never ruined a carbon wheel. Besides, I've had a lot of friends who have had warranty claims on wheels denied because they only covered "materials & workmanship", not mountain bikers who ride like maniacs.

    LyNx, the 70 degree head angle on the Top Fuel is what I'm trying to get away from (my Epic is 71 degrees and it's terrifying on rocky descents, which are super common where I live). 100mm travel front & rear is the same as my Epic, so that bike just seems too much like my existing bike. I'm looking for a beefier bike with more travel.

    TwoTone, I did look into the Ibis Ripley, and I also found that closeout on Competitive Cyclist yesterday. Watched a lot of videos on it and started to get fired up about it. They even had a medium on closeout, so I started thinking that the orange Ibis Ripley might be the one. But then I went to Ibis' website and found that the recommended rider height for the medium Ripley only goes to 5'8". I'm 5'10", which in a lot of bike brands puts me firmly between a medium and a large, but on the Ripley seems to say I'm too tall for a medium. Competitive Cyclist has a large Ripley on sale for $7,100, but I don't know man, that amount is just kind of over the top for me.

    Rushman3, thanks for recommending the Norco Optic. Honestly I wasn't very interested in researching yet another bike, but I've got to say that it looks sweet. The $5,000 for a carbon frame with aluminum wheels and Eagle doesn't seem too bad. I'm a little concerned about the GX components (instead of X01) but that's not necessarily a deal breaker. I'm going to read/watch some reviews and give it a hard look.

    Drich, thanks for the feedback on your test rides. Glad to hear some good feedback on the Primer vs. the Tallboy and Ripley. A friend of mine rides a Primer, and he's one of the fastest XC riders I know. But like me, he's starting to get older and was looking for something a little plusher than what he had been riding. He loves it, but I find that asking someone if they like their bike is often unreliable because people rarely want to say they regret spending that kind of money. So it's cool to hear that you compared it directly to a couple awesome bikes before buying. I am definitely a fan of their direct pricing. $6,000 for a bike that checks all the boxes is appealing.

    Bigdrunk, see above (comments to drich and TwoTone) regarding Primer vs. Ripley.

    Jayem and TwoTone, it turns out you are right. Competitive Cyclist doesn't sell a Pivot 429 Trail 29er with Eagle, but Pivot does indeed make it. I didn't see the pulldown on Pivot's website that shows all their different builds. I will give the 429 Trail another hard look.

    TwoTone, I don't think you're right about the Primer being $300 more than a similar Ripley. The $3,600 Ripley that's on Competitive Cyclist is for a medium. Ibis' bikes seem to be sized differently from other makers; it looks like I'd have to go with large if I go with a Ripley. The large is not on closeout, so it would cost $2,500 more.

    endo_alley, there's actually a little more to the story. Several years ago I had a hardtail race bike and a trail bike for one summer. I found that it was a constant battle trying to get the two bikes to brake as similarly to each other as possible because when I had to brake hard I didn't want to have to think about which bike I was on. Unfortunately I just couldn't get them just right. On October 2, 2012, I was on my race bike and I had to brake hard, but I think I miscalculated and squeezed as if I was on my trail bike. I flew over the handlebars and destroyed my right shoulder. My shoulder has never been the same. At that point I decided that I'm a "one mountain bike" guy for safety reasons. Now don't get me wrong, I also have a road bike, fat bike, cruiser bike, and bmx bike. When I say "one bike", I mean one of each kind!

    I think that's everyone. Again, a sincere thank you to everyone who has offered thoughts.

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    Wow, two more responses since I started writing that last post!

    Rollinrob, thanks for the feedback about the Primer. I couldn't agree more, I like the idea of being able to switch the rear between 110mm and 130mm. I don't think I'd be into going to 140mm, but it's an interesting option.

    Jayem and edubfromktown, I have to admit that I'm a little bit intrigued by those 140mm bikes, but I decided to draw the line at 130mm. Maybe that's because I don't personally know any XC racers who ride 140mm and are faster than I am.

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    The Epic is a 100mm bike setup at the XC race end of the spectrum. Almost all other 100mm bikes are more trail oriented or can easily be tuned that way. A Top Fuel or Spark can be built up to be very light, quick and much more capable as a trail bike than the Epic you rode. For the rides/races you listed you should be faster on either of those than many of the other bikes listed. A large Ripley would be next on the XC->Trail graph for me. Building these bikes with wide carbon rim wheels and 2.35-2.6 tires adds compliance and traction cornering and climbing at lower pressures. There are many tuning options to add trail capabilities. Another may be a dropper, Or the right width bars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gobbledegoo View Post
    TwoTone, I did look into the Ibis Ripley, and I also found that closeout on Competitive Cyclist yesterday. Watched a lot of videos on it and started to get fired up about it. They even had a medium on closeout, so I started thinking that the orange Ibis Ripley might be the one. But then I went to Ibis' website and found that the recommended rider height for the medium Ripley only goes to 5'8". I'm 5'10", which in a lot of bike brands puts me firmly between a medium and a large, but on the Ripley seems to say I'm too tall for a medium. Competitive Cyclist has a large Ripley on sale for $7,100, but I don't know man, that amount is just kind of over the top for me.


    Bigdrunk, see above (comments to drich and TwoTone) regarding Primer vs. Ripley.

    Jayem and TwoTone, it turns out you are right. Competitive Cyclist doesn't sell a Pivot 429 Trail 29er with Eagle, but Pivot does indeed make it. I didn't see the pulldown on Pivot's website that shows all their different builds. I will give the 429 Trail another hard look.

    TwoTone, I don't think you're right about the Primer being $300 more than a similar Ripley. The $3,600 Ripley that's on Competitive Cyclist is for a medium. Ibis' bikes seem to be sized differently from other makers; it looks like I'd have to go with large if I go with a Ripley. The large is not on closeout, so it would cost $2,500 more.
    One thing to keep in mind is the prices you listed were for GX Eagle and you mentioned throwing out about $1500 for carbon wheels.
    The 7k Ripley is XO1 Eagle and it has Ibis carbon wheelset. Ibis rims with I9 Hubs. So not too bad.
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    eb1888, thanks for your post. I'm ruling out the Ripley due to price. Admittedly there's maybe not a huge difference between $6k and $7k, but $7k just crosses a psychological barrier for me. The same really goes for the Scott Spark. They have a million build options, but the one that checks all the boxes for me is the 920. My LBS quoted that at around $7k, and I just can't spend that; certainly not for a bike with SLX and GX components.

    eb1888, I don't want dismiss your input as you make some valid points. But there are tons of great options and I need to be super picky so I can narrow down my choices by eliminating some truly good options. You make a good point about what bike will bring me across the finish line fastest, but I'm also thinking that on longer races I'll be able to finish stronger if I'm riding a longer-travel bike that doesn't beat me up.

    TwoTone, no doubt the Ibis Ripley looks sweet and I'm sure I'd be happy with it. I just can't spend that kind of money. Just can't do it. On the other hand, I make most of my money in the winter here in Breckenridge, so maybe come springtime I'll feel so flush with cash that I'll want to splurge. However, I've got to answer to my wife and I'm trying to save money to put 2 kids through college, so it's hard to imagine that'll happen!

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    Bike prices are negotiable depending on which manager only you talk price with. A cash offer is always a good opening position. And 60% no refund down is a standard offer for a bike a manager has to order. You may need to talk to half a dozen managers to find one or two who are willing to work with you to get a deal done.
    https://www.jejamescycles.com/scott-...iABEgIgAfD_BwE
    This is the price for a 2017 Spark 900. $5346. Good negotiating info.
    I gotta say that with your $6k budget most here would be doing a build. Which I'm sure you could get lots of help with if you went that way.

  49. #49
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    Bike prices are negotiable depending on which manager only you talk price with. A cash offer is always a good opening position. And 60% no refund down is a standard offer for a bike a manager has to order. You may need to talk to half a dozen managers to find one or two who are willing to work with you to get a deal done.
    https://www.jejamescycles.com/scott-...iABEgIgAfD_BwE
    This is the price for a 2017 Spark 900. $5346. Good negotiating info.
    I gotta say that with your $6k budget most here would be doing a build. Which I'm sure you could get lots of help with if you went that way.

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    1+ for the Mach 429 Trail. Climbs well, descends well, handles well. Can be built pretty light too. Just an all-around good bike. However, I think that it would be hard to go wrong with any mid travel DW-link bike.

    I would also suggest doing a custom build. You might be able to get an eagle build for less than Pivot's list price by getting some used or on sale parts.

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    I'm going to put in another vote for the Turner Czar. An X01 Eagle build is about $4,500. Don't be misled in that it "only" has 100mm of travel. It's very capable.

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    Czar=DW link. DW link FTW. And don't get tooooooo hung up on just HTA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by savechief View Post
    I'm going to put in another vote for the Turner Czar. An X01 Eagle build is about $4,500. Don't be misled in that it "only" has 100mm of travel. It's very capable.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
    From what I have seen on Turner's site, the Czar is not Boost. Personally, I would not buy a new bike that was not Boost in 2017. Also, the X01 build I see listed costs $5440, not $4500.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix864 View Post
    From what I have seen on Turner's site, the Czar is not Boost. Personally, I would not buy a new bike that was not Boost in 2017. Also, the X01 build I see listed costs $5440, not $4500.
    Why? Plenty of new hubs available, they aren't going anywhere. The wheels don't end up appreciably stronger, it's such a marginal improvement that is easily made up somewhere else. Technically, it's stronger, but so is an asymmetrical rim, carbon rim or high quality spokes. Differences in hub shells, spoke counts and other variations will also have an impact. Personally, it's something I wouldn't seek out at all for a new bike. The super-boost on the Pivot is kind of nice, that gives you some real flexibility if you are into the super-wide-but-not-fatbike kind of thing, but just boost? That falls squarely into my category of components that you can sped a lot of money on that do not function any better than others. Sometimes there are reasons people want these, but they aren't due to function.

    The Czar is a great bike, but I too wouldn't be looking too hard at it, it's again in the category that if you are going to buy a 100mm bike and put a 120mm fork or more on the front, just get the 115-120mm bike like the Ripley, 429 Trail, Yeti etc.

    There are some good single-pivot bikes these days too with flat anti-squat curves that do not dip down as they go through the travel like your specialized, these include bikes from Devinci and others, even Trek and others are maintaining pretty high levels of AS compared to the past where they will pedal better. Many of the parallel link bikes do this a bit better, but some are actually significantly worse (niner), so it's no guarantee of anything.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Why? Plenty of new hubs available, they aren't going anywhere. The wheels don't end up appreciably stronger, it's such a marginal improvement that is easily made up somewhere else. Technically, it's stronger, but so is an asymmetrical rim, carbon rim or high quality spokes. Differences in hub shells, spoke counts and other variations will also have an impact. Personally, it's something I wouldn't seek out at all for a new bike. The super-boost on the Pivot is kind of nice, that gives you some real flexibility if you are into the super-wide-but-not-fatbike kind of thing, but just boost? That falls squarely into my category of components that you can sped a lot of money on that do not function any better than others. Sometimes there are reasons people want these, but they aren't due to function.

    The Czar is a great bike, but I too wouldn't be looking too hard at it, it's again in the category that if you are going to buy a 100mm bike and put a 120mm fork or more on the front, just get the 115-120mm bike like the Ripley, 429 Trail, Yeti etc.

    There are some good single-pivot bikes these days too with flat anti-squat curves that do not dip down as they go through the travel like your specialized, these include bikes from Devinci and others, even Trek and others are maintaining pretty high levels of AS compared to the past where they will pedal better. Many of the parallel link bikes do this a bit better, but some are actually significantly worse (niner), so it's no guarantee of anything.
    In a hypothetical reality where Boost has no performance impact, I would still suggest getting Boost over 12x142. I would think that it would be easier to sell a Boost bike faster and for a higher price than a non-Boost. They say they keep their bikes for about 4 years before selling. While I may be entirely wrong, I would also think that in 4 years the Boost used market would be better than the 12x142.

    As there are so many good Boost bikes that cost no more than their non-Boost counterparts, I feel that there is little point in getting a new non-Boost bike. However, that is just my opinion.
    Last edited by Phoenix864; 12-09-2017 at 04:20 PM.

  56. #56
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    I'm in the same boat as the OP. I've upgraded my 2013 Giant Anthem X Adv 29 from 100 to 120mm travel and a 150mm dropper. Climbs fine, can get down the majority of trails in UCSC, and bomb down Babyheads at Downieville. I'm just riding the bike at it's limits compared to my skill. It's not forgiving and you have to be on your game.

    I really liked the Ripley v2, so much easier to ride in UC and I didn't feel slow on the climbs. It's like going from a wood to an oversized tennis racket. Low BB and subject to crank arm strikes. Also rode a Pivot Mach 4. Similar to my Anthem, low BB issue as well. I prefer 29 vs 27.5 wheels.

    I still have a Niner Air 9 RDO HT for smoother courses.
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    I'm not going to bash any other bikes but will say that I bought the Primer and couldn't be happier with my decision. This bike does everything well. I wouldn't do 30 foot gap jumps but I've done pretty much everything else on it. It climbs well, goes down they gnarly terrain with no limit other than your confidence. I frequently ride it on trails that most people are riding on 6" travel bikes and hold my own just fine. With Intense's price drop this week with going consumer direct, I don't see ever buying another brand unless they come down in pricing.
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    Yea, that Intense Primer hits a classic well rounded feel pretty well. I suppose if you swap out the build, it can become fairly XC race fast, or in the opposite direction and become more Enduro. Same can be said for some more XC race-intentioned bikes though, just slightly less as far in the Enduro direction. Don't see skilled riders holding back on those, besides the worries they have about the replacement of expensive parts.

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    i rode an epic for a few years - tried putting 120mm fork and wider bars on which definitely made it more secure going downhill but last spring i switched to the camber evo and it is just WAY more fun. still a pretty good climber and the suspension is pretty solid with seated pedaling, going downhill is a total blast compared to the epic. much more secure feeling and i feel much more confident on it than the epic..... /two cents

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    Ibis Ripley LS with either the XT or XO1 Eagle builds. Great pedal platform, nimble and descends extremely well. You will not regret it.

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    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/buildi...est-29ers.html
    This shows a very lightweight Spark build.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schril View Post
    Ibis Ripley LS with either the XT or XO1 Eagle builds. Great pedal platform, nimble and descends extremely well. You will not regret it.
    This seems to be the best answer for the poster IMO.

    I currently race a Czar, but grab my Flux v4 for just about every other ride. The Flux is almost as fast, but way more comfortable and stable at speed. I think a 29er with the same numbers and suspension design as the Flux would probably be a replacement for both bikes and the Ripley LS looks like it may fit that bill.

    I'd run a set of XC wheels with race tires for those activities and have a set of wider wheels and tires for more fun days and prob even some light enduro (I say light due to my skills not the bike).
    Last edited by wfl3; 12-09-2017 at 08:51 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix864 View Post
    I would mainly get it for resale value. They say they keep their bikes for about 4 years before selling.
    I think a lot more people convince themselves that resale value will be a "thing" in 4 years than what is realistic. In 4 years, the resale is going to be crap, even if the bike is still shiny with no wear, but the bike is going to be pretty well beat up, pivots well used and possibly blown out to some extent. scratches, abrasion, chips, etc. Ride the hell out of the bike, THAT is getting your money's worth. If you can get any money out of it after 4 years, that's a bonus, but I would never recommend someone buy a bike with this mentality.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Agree^^^^^^^^^

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I think a lot more people convince themselves that resale value will be a "thing" in 4 years than what is realistic. In 4 years, the resale is going to be crap, even if the bike is still shiny with no wear, but the bike is going to be pretty well beat up, pivots well used and possibly blown out to some extent. scratches, abrasion, chips, etc. Ride the hell out of the bike, THAT is getting your money's worth. If you can get any money out of it after 4 years, that's a bonus, but I would never recommend someone buy a bike with this mentality.
    I don't think you quite understand my point. I am not saying that Boost is amazing or hugely impactful on ride, nor am I saying that you should buy a bike based on resale value. My point is that they should not buy a non-Boost bike (such as the Czar) because you loose nothing by going boost. You can find other excellent bikes with similar specs for a similar price to the X01 Czar that are Boost (such as the Intense Primer).

    Even in a hypothetical reality where Boost has no performance impact, you will still gain some resale value just because your bike has newer tech. The Boost used market will possibly also be bigger then the 12x142 in 4 years, making well priced spare parts easier to find. I have slightly edited my previous responses to make this clearer.

    Hopefully this clears up any misconceptions.
    Last edited by Phoenix864; 12-09-2017 at 04:15 PM.

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    I'm in a similar boat as OP. I'm a recovering XC racer looking for a more capable bike but still want to be able to pin it occasionally though. Essentially, I'd like a bike that I can ride all day in New England, be relatively comfortable on, but still cover a lot of ground and not hate riding up on the climbs. I think I'm looking for something slightly more racey than OP though and I've got it down to a Rocky Mountain Element and Trek Top Fuel. I've demoed the rocky and it really hit all the aspects I'd want in a new bike with the longer fork and slacker angles (also comes with dropper).

    What are your thoughts on the capabilities of the Top Fuel? I'm trying to find a demo to ride but have had no luck and it's looking like I might not be able to get on one for a while. Everything I hear suggests it's an out and out race bike, which I'm trying to get away from but I'm still considering it because I have a great relationship with a Trek only bike shop and could get a pretty good deal on one. Could I put a longer fork on the top fuel/bigger tires/dropper to get it more in line with what I'm looking for? I hear conflicting info about putting on a bigger fork voiding the warranty (which I'd like to avoid).

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    "Could I put a longer fork on the top fuel/bigger tires/dropper to get it more in line with what I'm looking for? I hear conflicting info about putting on a bigger fork voiding the warranty (which I'd like to avoid). "
    Hmm ... Don't tell anyone you put a bigger fork on the bike. I always go at least 10mm long on my forks. Sometimes an angleset too. Nothing ever breaks. At least no head tube, down tube, or top tube. What matters more is that you like the feel of the bike.

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    Resale certainly matters to a point. There's a large group of people who specifically seek to pick up used bikes from people who buy the latest and greatest every year, who pay pretty good money. There are auctions that hit at least employee pricing on bikes, such as the Specialized Enduro 29 or whatever. Riding buddies who work at bike shops have mentioned such on occasion. The market for really dated stuff is a lot smaller, and you're more likely to be undercut by impatient sellers than you are going to get a crowd of interested people.

    Too bad Canyon doesn't have their Lux available in the US, for those considering the Top Fuel and are interested in cutting their monetary losses up front. Their XC HT is top notch though.

  69. #69
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    Another +1 for the Pivot 429 Trail

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    Quote Originally Posted by dv8zen View Post
    There are auctions that hit at least employee pricing on bikes, such as the Specialized Enduro 29 or whatever. Riding buddies who work at bike shops have mentioned such on occasion. The market for really dated stuff is a lot smaller, and you're more likely to be undercut by impatient sellers than you are going to get a crowd of interested people.
    I worked at shops and I have no idea what you are talking about.
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    Might just be for hot models from Specialized... did some searches on 2017 bikes in general, and they're half off, even when it's hardly been a year.

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