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  1. #1
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    Trail bike frame choice...again

    First, I've read through the total holy grail post but looking for a specific recommendation:

    I'm in the market for a bike that I will do stage races (Pisgah, BC, Singletrack 6), some enduro type events and general all around riding. I have a Cannondale Scalpel for true XC racing but am looking for something I can get in the 25 to 26 pound range with 130 or 140mm front and 115 to 130 rear travel - roughly.

    I have a Lenz Behemoth that is aged, heavy and with a very active suspension that is not best for climbing. It also can't fit a rear tire bigger than 2.2.

    I also have a Lefty Supermax 130 fork that I like and would consider transferring to a new bike along with my carbon wheels, XTR brakes, 1x11 set up, etc. Would need a new rear hub that is boost most likely.

    I test rode the new Jet9 RDO and the Intense Primer. Wasn't wowed by the Jet9 and seemed harder to pedal uphill than the Primer. Loved many things about the Primer - pedaled great uphill, very stable downhill, really planted in the turns. My only issue with it was the Large was probably slightly big for me (I'm 5'10") and I had trouble unweighting the front end to pop off of rocks and it didn't feel playful. Maybe the Medium would have been more playful but it did feel better the faster I went.

    I was supposed to test a SC Hightower but backed off because everything I heard was that it was a point and shoot and not playful. I definitely want balance between the playfullness and stability.

    I've considered the Evil Following (low BB scares me a little as does all the suspension points), Pivot 429 Trail, Ibis Ripley LS, Trek Fuel EX 29. The Pivot, Niner and Trek all have local dealers. No local dealers for Intense or Evil.

    I am a weight weenie to some degree so I don't want to end up with a 29 pound sled. I'm willing to spend the money to get it in the 25 to 26 pound range. Most of the holy grail discussion focused more on the Primer, SC, Ibis, etc. and not as much on the Jet9 or Trek which may be telling. Would appreciate thoughts on the frame choices for what I'm trying to accomplish.

  2. #2
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    None of the bikes you named strike me as a bike I'd be interested in using for a MTB stage race.

    I'd take a look at the 2017 Scott Spark 900. Orbea Occam TR. 120/120mm bikes that can take a 130mm fork if you feel you need it. Bikes that were built with racing in mind.

    They use the same platform as their World Cup XC frames, just add 20mm of suspension, and slack things out a bit.
    Death from Below.

  3. #3
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    Le Duke, I have the Scalpel for when I really want to "race". I'm at the point where my goal is to finish and just have a blast on the downhills. It is also why I put in the note about "enduro" type races as well as general ridings (trips to Pisgah, Moab, etc). I'm intentionally trying to avoid making the Scalpel irrelevant and pushing to the more trail/enduro side for this bike. I will take a look at the Spark. I've looked at the Occam before and it came off this list for some reason (don't recall). Thanks

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrashCanipe View Post
    First, I've read through the total holy grail post but looking for a specific recommendation:

    I'm in the market for a bike that I will do stage races (Pisgah, BC, Singletrack 6), some enduro type events and general all around riding. I have a Cannondale Scalpel for true XC racing but am looking for something I can get in the 25 to 26 pound range with 130 or 140mm front and 115 to 130 rear travel - roughly.

    I have a Lenz Behemoth that is aged, heavy and with a very active suspension that is not best for climbing. It also can't fit a rear tire bigger than 2.2.

    I also have a Lefty Supermax 130 fork that I like and would consider transferring to a new bike along with my carbon wheels, XTR brakes, 1x11 set up, etc. Would need a new rear hub that is boost most likely.

    I test rode the new Jet9 RDO and the Intense Primer. Wasn't wowed by the Jet9 and seemed harder to pedal uphill than the Primer. Loved many things about the Primer - pedaled great uphill, very stable downhill, really planted in the turns. My only issue with it was the Large was probably slightly big for me (I'm 5'10") and I had trouble unweighting the front end to pop off of rocks and it didn't feel playful. Maybe the Medium would have been more playful but it did feel better the faster I went.

    I was supposed to test a SC Hightower but backed off because everything I heard was that it was a point and shoot and not playful. I definitely want balance between the playfullness and stability.

    I've considered the Evil Following (low BB scares me a little as does all the suspension points), Pivot 429 Trail, Ibis Ripley LS, Trek Fuel EX 29. The Pivot, Niner and Trek all have local dealers. No local dealers for Intense or Evil.

    I am a weight weenie to some degree so I don't want to end up with a 29 pound sled. I'm willing to spend the money to get it in the 25 to 26 pound range. Most of the holy grail discussion focused more on the Primer, SC, Ibis, etc. and not as much on the Jet9 or Trek which may be telling. Would appreciate thoughts on the frame choices for what I'm trying to accomplish.
    Another for consideration is the Devinci Django 29

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrashCanipe View Post
    Le Duke, I have the Scalpel for when I really want to "race". I'm at the point where my goal is to finish and just have a blast on the downhills. It is also why I put in the note about "enduro" type races as well as general ridings (trips to Pisgah, Moab, etc). I'm intentionally trying to avoid making the Scalpel irrelevant and pushing to the more trail/enduro side for this bike. I will take a look at the Spark. I've looked at the Occam before and it came off this list for some reason (don't recall). Thanks
    Well, I think setting a Spark up as a 130mm/120mm bike would be different enough from a Scalpel that it wouldn't make it redundant.

    Also, I'd feel comfortable racing that bike in the Pisgah Stage Race, or Moab Rocks. Unless you're shuttling TWE, there is very little in Moab that would exceed the capabilities of such a bike.
    Death from Below.

  6. #6
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    I will take a harder look at the Spark, initial look at geometry looks good. I think the Django may be too heavy (alloy frame) but will check it out.

  7. #7
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    I think you can ask Brian how light a Tantrum Outcast can be set up. That bike may be worth demoing even if you have to drive a bit for it. He's mentioned good size possible discounts on the top spec bike mow that Kickstarter was successful.

  8. #8
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    You can probably get a good deal on a Rocky Mountain Instinct Frame. It's set for 130/130 and I see some folks using it in endurance events. The RLS frame can be built up light and has adjustable geo so you can fine tune it for whatever event you're going to.
    Don't know if the Instinct is getting an update soon, but I've ridden a friend's RSL and loved it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfisher11 View Post
    You can probably get a good deal on a Rocky Mountain Instinct Frame. It's set for 130/130 and I see some folks using it in endurance events. The RLS frame can be built up light and has adjustable geo so you can fine tune it for whatever event you're going to.
    Don't know if the Instinct is getting an update soon, but I've ridden a friend's RSL and loved it.
    It's the MSL, not RSL. I have a 2015 for sale in the classifieds now. It's an XL, but numbers wise it's like most other manufacturers large frame.
    2015 Rocky Mountain Instinct MSL 999 custom build carbon wheels - Buy and Sell Mountain Bikes and Accessories
    I would like to sell complete, but I will also consider parting out.

  10. #10
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    There are quite a few super fast rippers in my area that run hopped up yeti SB4.5c builds that are super fast going down as well. The bike is right in the goldilocks zone you are looking for as far as travel and weight.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain_America1976 View Post
    It's the MSL, not RSL. I have a 2015 for sale in the classifieds now. It's an XL, but numbers wise it's like most other manufacturers large frame.
    2015 Rocky Mountain Instinct MSL 999 custom build carbon wheels - Buy and Sell Mountain Bikes and Accessories
    I would like to sell complete, but I will also consider parting out.
    Good catch on the MSL.
    They are great bikes, the 2017 version now comes standard with 140 Fox 34 up front. Frame wight is in the ball park of 5.3 pounds, can be built up light and rip.

  12. #12
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    Stage races and enduros are such different disciplines that you'll have a hard time finding a bike that does well at them both. I think you need to go with a bigger enduro type bike that pedals well. Fortunately these days, most do.

    Personally I was very impressed with the Pivot Switchblade in 29er form. It pedaled very well (I'm currently on a lightweight carbon FS 29er for comparison) and it was a smooth descender. The short stays made it playful.

    I'm still test riding other bikes but that was by far my favorite. I've ridden the new Jet 9 RDO, Ripley LS, and Pivot 419 Trail in my search.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in southwest Utah

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Stage races and enduros are such different disciplines that you'll have a hard time finding a bike that does well at them both. I think you need to go with a bigger enduro type bike that pedals well. Fortunately these days, most do.

    Personally I was very impressed with the Pivot Switchblade in 29er form. It pedaled very well (I'm currently on a lightweight carbon FS 29er for comparison) and it was a smooth descender. The short stays made it playful.

    I'm still test riding other bikes but that was by far my favorite. I've ridden the new Jet 9 RDO, Ripley LS, and Pivot 419 Trail in my search.
    Thanks Silentfoe. I realize I won't have a bike that is excellent at both enduro & stage races but want something "good enough" at both. Would be curious as to your thoughts on the Jet9 and the Ripley compared to the Switchblade. With the exception of the Primer and Trek Fuel EX, you've ridden all the ones I'm looking at.

  14. #14
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    Jet 9 was not a pedaler. Very little anti-squat and it just felt out classed.

    I liked the Ripley LS. Wish it would have had better tires but I can look past that. The rear bobbed a bit too much for me on climbing and I had a lot of pedal strikes while pedaling...on flat ground. See bob comment.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in southwest Utah

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Jet 9 was not a pedaler. Very little anti-squat and it just felt out classed.

    I liked the Ripley LS. Wish it would have had better tires but I can look past that. The rear bobbed a bit too much for me on climbing and I had a lot of pedal strikes while pedaling...on flat ground. See bob comment.
    My thoughts exactly on the Jet9 and I've heard the same thing about the Ripley with the low bottom bracket. I haven't heard real world results on the Trek Fuel EX and am curious about the Reactiv shock. I will also check out the switchblade - I like the short chainstay and steep seat angle; just not sure if it is too much bike and if I could get the build under 27 pounds.

  16. #16
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    I ride in Phoenix and I'm much more interested in getting down the mountain fast vs climbing. However, I do earn my turns, so climbing performance is important. Just a caveat, as my riding goals may be far different than yours.

    I had a Fuel EX29, though it was the 2016 version. Not a bike for me. Spindly, weird shock performance (almost unrideable in open mode). I just did not like it.

    Had an Evil Following when first released. Probably buildable to your weight goal, particularly if you're a smaller dude. The slack seat angle didn't place nice with my knees personally and it's not a bike I'd want to climb all day.

    Demo'd the Mach 429T on local trails at South Mountain. I really liked it. Pedaled well, nice bike, probably could hit your weight goal or come close. Confident descender.

    Owned a Pivot Switchblade for a bit. Probably an outlier for your stated goals and I doubt you'd hit your weight goal. For me, OK pedaler, very good descender. It is a lot of bike, though.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    I ride in Phoenix and I'm much more interested in getting down the mountain fast vs climbing. However, I do earn my turns, so climbing performance is important. Just a caveat, as my riding goals may be far different than yours.

    I had a Fuel EX29, though it was the 2016 version. Not a bike for me. Spindly, weird shock performance (almost unrideable in open mode). I just did not like it.

    Had an Evil Following when first released. Probably buildable to your weight goal, particularly if you're a smaller dude. The slack seat angle didn't place nice with my knees personally and it's not a bike I'd want to climb all day.

    Demo'd the Mach 429T on local trails at South Mountain. I really liked it. Pedaled well, nice bike, probably could hit your weight goal or come close. Confident descender.

    Owned a Pivot Switchblade for a bit. Probably an outlier for your stated goals and I doubt you'd hit your weight goal. For me, OK pedaler, very good descender. It is a lot of bike, though.
    Thanks for the feedback. You should check out the Intense Primer. Seems like it may hit the spot for you since your preferences sound like mine. May have to take a harder look at the 429T and Switchblade. But I am concerned the 429T would be too much for what I'm looking for.

    Truth be told, my gut has been leading me to the Intense Primer but I don't have a local dealer and it is not an inexpensive frame. I can get the Pivot locally though. Hmm....

  18. #18
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    Heard nothing but great things about the Primer. I am in the market for a mid-travel 29er to accompany my Nomad.

    I doubt the 429T would be outside your markers, but if you think it might be, the Blade would be way way out of the park.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  19. #19
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    Only 120mm of travel but I absolutely love my Carbon camber. I have it weighing at 26lbs.

    It's fast and handles amazingly.

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