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  1. #1
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! 2012 Interbike Outdoor Demo!

    I've been going to Interbike a few years now and am still surprised how much I enjoy it. I was only able to make the first day of the Outdoor demo this year due to a planned trip for Whistler in another week, so not quite as many bikes as usual. Yes, it was hot. Yes, the trails were loose and dry. Yes, there were still hoards of seething humanity. Yes, I got up at 3:00 am, traveled 3.5 hours to get there and then after riding bikes for 8 hours traveled back home that night so I could work Tuesday. But there's just something that really makes me happy about being able to ride a bunch of new bikes on fun trails.

    Me enjoying the heck out of one tough day.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001647469/" title="SAM_0069 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8295/8001647469_0bcfc61dc8_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0069"></a>

    Before I get into the reviews I always like to get my disclaimers out there so no one gets too excited about my lack of in-depth details and professional perspective. I'm just a guy who likes to ride mountain bikes...a lot. Over the years I've ridden a bunch of different bikes and spent a lot of time riding a bunch of different trails. I'm not particularly observant to every little nuance and gadget on a new bike.... but I think I know what makes for a good mountain bike and I think I'm reasonably good at getting a sense for how a bike performs as a whole and what its strengths and weaknesses are. But remember, these are just first impressions from limited test rides so take what I say with a grain of salt. I don't work for or get bro deals from any bike company, which is not to say I don't have any biases, just that my biases are hard won through personal experience, friends, and too much time on the boards.


    A couple of main themes from this year's demo:

    -650B! Seems like everyone's got one..... except the big companies. That's 27.5" wheels for those who might not know. Momma Bear half-way between the two current standard wheel sizes..

    -I'm not sure if it's the cost, the timing, or the hassle involved, but I was surprised at how many companies aren't doing the Outdoor Demo. Last year there were 4-5 of my favorites missing. This year there were 8 or 10 that were AWOL including Banshee, Transition, Norco, Trek, Cannondale, Ventana, Canfield Bros., Knolly, Niner, GT, and Ibis.

    -And, as always, thin tubes in Bootleg rocks equals pinch flats. We got two.

    - Wide bars. All the bikes we rode were sportin' the long horns. I didn't notice this immediately until someone mentioned it because both my bikes already have wide bars and I love them.

    -Did I mention it was hot?


    I met up with fellow mtbr member and co-reviewer craigstr Monday morning at 8:30 only to find a pretty long line snaking out of the registration tent. They decided not to mail out badges this year but used e-mail confirmations with bar codes to access and print your badge on site (after you signed the waiver). Sounds easy enough but they had a bit of a computer glitch at first which backed things up, but once moving it went smoothly enough.



    I think we stood in this line about 30 minutes.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001735134/" title="SAM_0038 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8299/8001735134_fa56c170d9_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0038"></a>



    Badges in hand, I made a beeline for the Turner tent way at the back corner of the demo area to check out the new Burner 650B while Craig headed for Giant to pick up the new Trance 29er.


    Turner Burner 650B:

    I have been interested in the 650B thing for a while now and know that Dave Turner has been as well. Now with the major fork and tire manufacturers finally getting on board I was excited to see Turner's new creation, the Burner 650 B. I like the name, but by resurrecting the old Burner moniker he may be inviting some confusion as to what this bike is if you knew the old Burner, but it is clearly in the trail/all-mountain category. Think of it as a 650B 5 Spot and you'll have a clear picture. It has 140mm of dw-linked rear wheel travel and well-sorted numbers all around. The frame is true to the Turner design philosophy with mostly straight tubes, smooth welds, and purpose built looks. The component spec on this prototype were all high end, light, carbon, and swanky. It felt pretty light.

    After chatting with Dave a bit (do you ever just chat with Dave "a bit"?) about bikes, 650B, and the Downieville DH while he set up the bike (yes, DT, Owner and CEO of Turner bikes personally set up the bike) I was ready for my first demo of the day. Pedaling it away from the Turner tent I was impressed how efficient it felt which shouldn't surprise me because I own a dw link 5 Spot....but it seemed to roll easier than my Spot. Maybe it was the Enve 27.5" carbon hoops.

    We decided to climb Girl Scout since it wasn't too hot yet and the trail would be free of downhill traffic. Girl Scout is a fairly smooth, gradual, rolling climb with some rocky chunk mixed in to keep you on your toes and test your tech skills. The Burner rolled nicely and felt efficient while climbing with no noticeable bob. We felt it could have been more active when encountering small to medium sized square edges during the climb though. Instead of easily absorbing these rocks and rolling over smoothly, the rear wheel would stall slightly, then bounce up over them. My 5 Spot displays this tendency some as well but running a bit more sag, bigger, low pressure tubeless tires, and break-in of the bushings has greatly diminished this trait. With the same tweaks and the larger 27.5" hoops I would predict that these kinds of bumps will be mostly erased by the Burner. I'll reserve final judgement for now.

    There's a rocky, loose climb with two switchbacks leading into a three-and-a-half foot, near vertical step-up move, followed by more rocky, ledgy climbing on the connector up to the Caldera loop that always challenges me and gives me a good measure of a bike's technical climbing prowess. The Burner proved itself worthy even though I didn't clean the whole climb, one-dabbing the top of the step-up move and flubbing the first rocky, off-camber switchback but I blame my early morning jitters rather than the bike. It found traction on the loose, washed out stuff, felt balanced and and not reluctant while lifting the front wheel, and agile and un-29er like on the tight switch backs.

    The next section of Caldera is a fast, rolling, flowy, semi-rough descent down into the bowl that is just flat out fun. The Burner really lit up on this section. The rear seemed to float over over stuff, it stuck in corners and had me hooting and hollering. Made me think the Burner would be a great enduro mount.

    The slower, more chunky, unflow of the West Leg descent seemed to expose the hopping/skipping-over feeling in the rear end again but overall I really liked this bike (Craig not as much). It was stiff laterally, steering was accurate and not ponderous and it flicked back and forth 26er-like in the "S" turns. This size large fit my 5' 11.5" inch body pretty well and the whole package felt nicely balanced. The 650B seemed to lean more towards 26" characteristics than 29 but I could feel a little extra momentum carrying into rollers and slightly better rollability over chunk than a 26er but not as much as I thought I would. I'd take the Burner all day long over the Trance X in tighter, steep, slow techy trails.

    Here are Craig's thoughts which he posted on the Turner forum
    Quote Originally Posted by craigstr View Post
    Got to spend some time on a Burner today at Interbike. Felt really good, it was a good build, with carbon enve wheels, didnt weigh it but it was in the 27-28 lb range. Only issue I had with it was that I felt it was a bit firm on square edge bumps both climbing and descending, it didnt feel like it clawed its way up and over, more like it bounced up and over. Could have benefited from a dropper post as well.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001730018/" title="SAM_0040 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8437/8001730018_d5e7bb382a_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0040"></a>

    I really missed my dropper post on the more up and down stuff.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001732718/" title="SAM_0039 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8036/8001732718_97e55796b8_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0039"></a>

    This early production Rock Shox 140 Revelation 27.5 specific fork felt really plush with nice damping characteristics while climbing the rocky squares of Bootleg and descending the tamer Caldera loop but got a little in over its head on some of the more abrupt, steeper chunk elsewhere. I think the production Burners in the demo fleet had a 150mm Rev, but I would kill for a 34-36mm 160 fork on this thing.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001727458/" title="SAM_0041 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8445/8001727458_eecf968229_b.jpg" width="768" height="1024" alt="SAM_0041"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001721938/" title="SAM_0043 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8447/8001721938_32b4064c44_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0043"></a>


    Giant TranceX 29er

    Craig rode this bike on our bigger first loop and then we switched for another climb up then back down Girl Scout. Here's his impressions which he posted in the Giant Forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by craigstr View Post
    Was at the Giant trailer early on Monday and scored a test ride on a large Trance X 29. I was very impressed. I took it up Girlscout, out around the Caldera loop, and down Westleg, it was a good little xc loop. I was really impressed with how the Trance climbed, it just clawed its way up and over all the square edged rock ledges you find in bootleg, it traversed across all the rocky singeltrack with ease, made every switchback like a 26" bike. It was very fun and playful on the downs and was very confidence inspiring. I normally race a Titus Rockstar 29 for xc and a Titus El Guapo for Super D events, I've always been very partial to horst link designs but this really opened my eyes to the Maestro design. I liked the spec, fork felt good and the new giant wheels felt good. It was one of the top bikes I tested.
    My impressions on the Trance parallel Craigs fairly closely but it took me a little longer getting used to the more ponderous turning radius of the bigger hoops. It felt nice and roomy and I'd forgotten how the taller stack of the 29ers gives you a more upright comfy riding position. I too was impressed with its climbing ability and it definitely felt smoother and got hung up less in the chunkier stuff than the burner once I got the suspension readjusted for my weight and preferences (Craig doesn't look it but at 185 he outweighs me by 20 lbs and likes really fast rebound). The five inches of maestro controlled travel and bigger hoops really seemed to eat up the rough descents. Nice.

    The spec was nice and we both agreed that the XT brakes were the best that we tried. The Giant dropper post worked well and was a welcome addtion on Bootleg's varied terrain. Giant is now branding their own wheels which I believe are made by DT-Swiss. These seemed plenty stiff and didn't suffer from any noticeable flex.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001718005/" title="SAM_0044 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8448/8001718005_fa7b700248_b.jpg" width="1024" height="750" alt="SAM_0044"></a>

    We both liked the new understated Fox graphics and the flex free action of this fork. It never felt quite as plush as the Revelation on the Turner but it was stiffer and tracked well. I would say I was mostly ambivalent about the three position CTD adjustment. I can't see a reason for the locked out "Climb" mode and the "Trail" and "Descend" mode didn't seem that different.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001715433/" title="SAM_0045 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8036/8001715433_d7710d7eb6_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0045"></a>

    The actuation lever on the Giant Contact Switch post was a bit awkward to engage for me but maybe if it were rotated back a quater turn towards me it would've been more natural. I didn't know Stan's was selling bars now. This felt nice an wide.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001712677/" title="SAM_0046 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8030/8001712677_100f323c04_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0046"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001711198/" title="SAM_0047 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8311/8001711198_4c6d87825c_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0047"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001708328/" title="SAM_0048 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8305/8001708328_b2e69a0428_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0048"></a>
    Last edited by KRob; 09-24-2012 at 11:27 AM.
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
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  2. #2
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    Devinci Dixon

    Next I went to the Devinci booth to check out either a Dixon or their new Atlas 29er. No Atlas was available so opted for a Dixon. These guys were not interested in getting a lot of bikes out as they were really slow (or thorough depending on how you looked at it) in getting the bike set up (and I even put on my own pedals). Drove me nuts watching the tech check every bolt and micro adjust the position of the brake levers. When I finally got the bike in my hot little hands I met back up with Craig who I was hoping would score a Rocky Mountain Altitude 650B as a nice complement to the Dixon but had to settle for a Element 950 Carbon instead.

    The Dixon is an impressively stout bike for 145mm of travel. In fact I thought it was a 160mm bike and wondered why the Fox 32 was spec'd. Sturdy tubing and stiff looking links, solid axles, and ISCG mountas made it look bomb proof (Devinci's lifetime warranty backs up that look). I was excited to try Dave Weagle's split pivot design the Devinci has adopted and it did not disappoint. Pedaling up the smooth dirt to the shuttle pick up it felt very efficient and dw-like. It might have been a bit more active than the dw-link on smooth climbs but felt plusher and more active under power in rougher, rockier conditions. On the the techy Skyline descent it felt unflapable from the head tube back. No flex. Controlled, plusher-than-you-would-expect travel. I was getting bounced around quite a bit by the fork though. This thing screamed for a plush 160mm fork with some beefier stanchions. The 67deg HA (with 150 fork), the burliness, the freight train tracking all add up to a downhiller's trail bike. It needed a fork to match.

    When I turned it back in I mentioned this to the tech and he said, "Oh you shouldve tried the (??) build." It had the dropper post and 160 fork. That's the way I would go if I were buying this bike. Not sure why they build it any other way.

    Totally forgot to take pictures of this bike and kept meaning to go back over to the booth to shoot a few but never made it.

    Stock photo
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8004612756/" title="2012_dixon_rc by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8039/8004612756_245cd09e28_b.jpg" width="776" height="520" alt="2012_dixon_rc"></a>


    Rocky Mountain Element 950 Carbon

    We were disappointed that they didn't have any of the new Altitude 650B's in when we went by the Rocky Mountain booth but was able to snag this carbon beauty intead. It has 110 mm of travel and was spec'd with a fox 120 fork I believe. I didn't opt to ride this one so I'll defer to Craig to add his impressions. I know it was stupid, stupid light and super efficient for smoother trails but it was the wrong choice for the gnarly route we took off the top this run. Probably would've been well suited for XC racing and Bootleg's Lake Loops. I felt bad for Craig trying to manhandle this thing in the rough.

    Again, didn't take any pictures
    I think this is the one Craig had (I was thinking it was white though). Post up some pics if you got any of this bike, Craig.
    Sorry about the stock photo
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8004694711/" title="Rocky Mountain Element 950 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8449/8004694711_4a41fdcef7_b.jpg" width="670" height="545" alt="Rocky Mountain Element 950"></a>
    Last edited by KRob; 09-24-2012 at 11:31 AM.
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
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  3. #3
    Yes, that's fonetic
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    Thanks for the detailed reviews (Tcheezy reincarnated?), keep 'em coming.

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    i was able to demo the intense carbine (27.5). it had a 50mm stem, which was perfect. i really liked this bike, climbs and descends very well. i also got to appreciate the new trend in wide bars. none of my bikes have bars anywhere near this wide. positive experience with the wide bars.

    i also rode the intense Hard Eddie, the carbon 29er hard tail. very sweet, short wheel base for a 29er, surprised how much fun it was to ride.

    we went out on monday afternoon; pretty hot, but there was plenty of free beer.

    check out the cyclocross race tonight at desert breeze part.

  5. #5
    RideDirt
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    Nice reviews !!

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    Thanks, KRob. I'm looking forward to the rest of the reviews.


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  7. #7
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    Specialized Stumpjumper Expert Carbon EVO 29er

    I stood in line at the Scott tent for like 15-20 minutes waiting to get a shot at the new Genius 700 (650B) or 900 (29er) only to find out the ones sitting there had been reserved ahead of time. Gonna have to look into that for next year. I saw the option on my Interbike iPhone App but didn't take advantage of it.

    Shut out I wandered next door to the Specialized tent which didn't look all that busy for a change. I had the new Enduro Expert on my list but had to settle for this Stumpjumper Expert Carbon 29er. Not a bad "compromise" in the end because it was a pretty cool bike.

    The Stumpy was fairly light for a 29er but not crazy light. Componetry was top shelf as you'd expect with an msrp of $6200. The 135mm-travel Expert Evo 29 features a Fox Float CTD Factory shock with AUTOSAG and Boost Valve, Fox 34 TALAS CTD Performance fork, and Roval Traverse 29 142+ wheelset mounted to Specialized Purgatory and Butcher tires.
    •FACT 9M carbon front triangle with M5 rear and 29er EVO geometry, 135mm of travel, tapered head tube, 142mm dropouts, PF30 BB, and sealed cartridge bearing pivots
    •FOX Float CTD Evolution shock with Specialized proprietary AUTOSAG, Boost Valve, and Kashima coating features 3 compression settings: Climb, Trail and Descend, plus ProPedal
    •FOX 34 TALAS CTD Performance 29 fork features 140-110mm of adjustable travel, settings specifically for climbing and descending, and a 15mm thru-axle
    •Roval Traverse 29 142+ all-mountain wheelset, with DT Swiss internals and spokes, 15mm thru-axle, and a 142+ rear hub spacing
    •All-new 2Bliss ready Specialized Butcher Control 29 2.3" dual-compound front tire
    •All-new 2.3" Purgatory Control rear tire.
    •Custom SRAM S2200 carbon double XC Trail crankset with 33/22 gearing
    •Specialized 720mm-wide, alloy XC Mini-Riser handlebar
    •All-new Sip Grip, a lock-on, Aramid infused, half-waffle MTB grip boosts durability, comfort and control
    •Avid X0 Trail World Cup hydraulic disc brakes .
    •SRAM PG-1050, 10-speed 11-36t cassette compliments the 2x10 XC Trail drivetrain
    •Specialized Command Post BlackLite uses a remote lever to adjust the saddle height on-the-fly

    With the 95 degree heat we were both starting to feel pretty knackered by this time so opted for the more docile Lakes Loops on this test run. The Stumpy probably deserved a good thrashing down Skyline and and East leg but I was pleasantly surprised at how well it did XC too. The Lakes Loops are fun, flowy, mostly smooth up and down trails on the lower benches of Bootleg Canyon with a couple of big G-outs and rocky ridges to traverse, so the test wasn't totally lacking in chunkiness.

    The Stumpy flowed like water on the rolling stuff and I could really feel it carrying speed well through the g-outs and various ups and downs on these loops. One particularly rocky ridge descent got inhaled and spit out by the big, stiff, plush rolling stumpy. In fact I'm surprised I didn't pinch flat here as the bike allowed me to attack it with (semi) reckless abandon. My legs were gassed so climbing was gratefully easier than it should have been albeit quite slow.

    I'd like to take this bike back out on fresh legs with the Giant Trance X 29er and Intense Carbine 275 and repeat the same route we did earlier for a more direct comparison. I'll bet it would've held its own pretty well in that company.

    I'm pretty sure this is an EVO from the paint scheme and spec but not 100% sure.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001705290/" title="SAM_0049 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8036/8001705290_5c404cfaea_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0049"></a>

    Partly internal cable routing for the Command post.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001696592/" title="SAM_0052 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8174/8001696592_b3aa8167b2_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0052"></a>

    Talk about Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close! Whatever you do, keep your thumb away from this lever until your privates are well clear and you're ready for a seat to be launched into your crotch. Wow.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001693528/" title="SAM_0053 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8317/8001693528_906d6ab94c_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0053"></a>

    Sorry about the out-of-focus image but this little red button on the side of the FOX Float CTD Evolution shock is how you activate AUTOSAG feature. Simply pump up the shock to 250-300 lbs then sit on the seat and press this little red button and the shock blows off air pressure until you're sagged the proper amount. Pretty slick.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001689145/" title="SAM_0054 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8037/8001689145_018a7e8a5e_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0054"></a>

    New Purgatory Control 2.3 tires connect you to the contact patch in the rear and the new 29er Butcher Control 2.3 hooked you up in the front. Traction was quite good which is one of the supposed advantages to 29er wheels that I've never really thought about until I rode the Stumpy.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001698181/" title="SAM_0051 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8036/8001698181_2697fc55e7_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0051"></a>

    Very beefy BB area that must add to the lateral stiffness of the frame.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001678859/" title="SAM_0058 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8312/8001678859_d7aab6b6e4_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0058"></a>


    Specialized Camber 29er Comp with Rotor Q-Rings

    This is one of those times when Craig and I should've communicated better. We split to seek the Genius 700 or 900 and the Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc and when we were unable to score the bikes of our dreams ended up opting for essentially the same bike unbeknownst to each other. Oh well, such is life in the hectic free-for-all that is Interbike Outdoor Demo. Sometimes you grab what you can..

    The Camber Comp 29er we scored was both heavier and had less travel than the SJ 29er but probably cost about a third as much. Was it only a third as good? Of course not but you can certainly appreciated the extra niceness of all that carbon and XO stuff. The trails we rode with these two bikes probably didn't allow us to appreciate the advantage the SJ would have in the rougher stuff, but the Camber comported itself admirably against the SJ. The law of diminishing returns certainly applies here. Pretty nice entry level/intermediate bike that benefits from most of the technology of the higher end Specialized offerings without the stratospheric price.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001683995/" title="SAM_0056 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8034/8001683995_70c452c30b_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0056"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001686609/" title="SAM_0055 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8455/8001686609_45c8ee97e8_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0055"></a>

    The Rotor Q-rings were interesting. They are oval-shaped chain rings that are designed to optimize your pedal stroke. The first thing that you notice about them is that you don't notice anything. There's no funny hitch or uneveness in the stroke as you pedal. In fact it feels very smooth and even all the way around your stroke..... and that is exactly the point. You don't notice anything until you get back on a bike with normal chainrings and you feel the unequal distribution of power that is characteristic of your natural pedal stroke. I thought they had merit and now that you can mount them to any crank/spider they make more sense financially. Not an overwhelming improvement in efficiency but if I were doing long endurance races or just long long bike packing distances where every ounce of conserved energy pays dividends in the end, I'd have to consider them.

    With the bash guard on here and chain wrapped around them it's impossible to appreciate the ovalness of the rings but you can see the rings bounce up and down slightly every stroke as you look down while pedaling.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001682818/" title="SAM_0057 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8172/8001682818_482abd93d9_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0057"></a>
    Last edited by KRob; 09-27-2012 at 10:45 AM.
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
    Isaiah 58:14

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  8. #8
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    Quote:
    -I'm not sure if it's the cost, the timing, or the hassle involved, but I was surprised at how many companies aren't doing the Outdoor Demo. Last year there were 4-5 of my favorites missing. This year there were 8 or 10 that were AWOL including Banshee, Transition, Norco, Trek, Cannondale, Ventana, Canfield Bros., Knolly, Niner, GT, and Ibis.

    So lame, these guys blew it...was hoping to see their new offerings out in the dirt and hear some reviews.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SOCAL_STINKY View Post
    So lame, these guys blew it...was hoping to see their new offerings out in the dirt and hear some reviews.
    I can tell you it is SHOCKING what it costs for a brand to have a booth or presence at interbike..... Do you want to pay extra for your bike, so brand x can can go to Vegas for stripperfest2012?

    Look at what Kona does instead.... Fly all the industry/magazine folks to their home turf where there are awesome trails, and no ridiculous "booth" fees to look at bikes indoors....

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    Thanks Krob!!!! Nicely articulated - much appreciated!

    Disappointing that some of the key companies are missing, but some appear to be going Outerbike, which is probably more enjoyable
    Last edited by Dude!; 09-20-2012 at 12:05 AM.

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    Yea i mean its a shame they didnt show up and those are some BIG names too.. I mean cmon on , you have people that drop well over 6-8k on your bikes and you cant show up for a demo ? You gotta spend money to make money , thats my motto for the big companies that didnt make it out .

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    Pivot Firebird


    Nothing new about the Firebird. It's been a top contender in the best 6" AM category for a few years now. I reviewed the FB when it debuted at I-bike four years ago. I really wanted to like this bike and if you read my review there was a lot I did like.... it just wasn't very plush.

    So four years later and I've never had the chance to ride the Firebird again. So this year, after reading many reports of folks loving their FBs I figured I should give it another chance to redeem itself.

    I picked up a medium with an RP23 shock (just as I did in 2008) to try and keep things as equal as possible and headed for the shuttle. We did the technical chunkfest of Skyline to East Leg on this run to get a good feel for descending ability and its ability to take squared off and consecutive hits (same run we took on the original test run 4 years ago). Some things did not change. The bike is still beautifully built, laterally stiff, still climbs and pedals with the efficiency that escapes most bikes with this much travel and burliness, and it still has some noisy chain rattle issues going on around the front derailleur in the rough. I love, LOVE, a solid, quiet bike. I want to hear the thump thump beat of big tires pounding out a raucous drum riff off the rocks when I'm descending through this kind of gnarl. And that's all. It also had a creak in the headset area that was distracting. I know it may not effect the performance of the bike.... but it effects my overall experience while riding. Points deducted for noisiness.

    So the big question. Was it plush? The simple answer is yes, it was much more plush than the first FB I rode back in '08. Was it as plush as my coil sprung Delirium T? No, but few things short of a full on downhill bike are. One of the things contributing to the overall improvement this time was the 180 Float fork (I was told later at the booth that it was lowered to 170mm). The Fox handled the oncoming chunder and junk with confidence and authority. While not as plush as a 180 coil fork it did not wag its head, flex, or transmit excessive harshness back into the handle bars. It tracked true and the rear end followed suit only feeling a little overwhelmed on the roughest of hits and fast consecutive shots.

    I was reminded why I like 26 inch tires in this kind of riding. The whole package just felt so compact and responsive. In fact I liked the Pivot quite a bit (other than the noise) and really doubted when craigstr kept hollering up at me how much fun the Carbine 275 was and how much I was going to enjoy it. Could a Carbon bike based off the same Carbine 26er we rode last year come anywhere close to exceeding what I was feeling on the Pivot?

    Stay tuned.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001663054/" title="SAM_0064 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8171/8001663054_563b8689a4_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0064"></a>

    Foat 180 lowered to 170mm was a good match for the rear end.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001657508/" title="SAM_0066 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8311/8001657508_0f4bd190da_b.jpg" width="768" height="1024" alt="SAM_0066"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001654244/" title="SAM_0067 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8174/8001654244_5957bbaa2b_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0067"></a>


    Intense Carbine 275

    As was the theme of the day, this was a bike we settled for when the bike we wanted was out. Craig had gone to the Intense booth hoping to get a Tracer 275 but they were all out. As luck would have it, someone turned in this beautiful Carbine 275 right when he got to the front of the line. Thanks. I'll take that!

    Our experience last year with the new Cabine 26 set up in 5.5" trail mode was positive but certainly not for the route we intended. The Carbine we rode last year was a super light XC/Endurance/Smooth Enduro mount....It felt somewhat skittish in the Bootleg chop, both up and down.

    Wow. What a transformation! With the bigger 27.5" hoops and longer,slacker geometry this thing really came alive. I don't know what else they changed from last year, but this felt like a totally different bike. Descending through the rudely abrupt g-out/grade reversals of Skyline was a lark. This is the only bike I cleaned all these steep, shattered, on-the-edge-of-a-cliff little climbs all day. It just felt so well-balanced and confidence inspiring, the standing attack position just so natural and one-with-the-body. The light weight did not make the bike feel unsettled and out of place but the Carbine felt laterally stiff, efficient, and plush despite its supermodel looks and lack of heft. It tracked straight, lifted its head effortlessly, displayed no flex........ and was quiet. Score.

    Quite a combination of looks, efficiency, light weight, plushness, and flat out solidness all wrapped up into one package. Like I've said before, there's always one bike that really surprises us and this year the Carbine 275 was it.


    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001670267/" title="SAM_0061 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8444/8001670267_de595e843c_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0061"></a>

    Here are Craig's impressions of the Carbine that he posted in the Intense forum earlier.
    Quote Originally Posted by craigstr View Post
    Got lucky and caught a large at the end of the day today at the outdoor demo. What a bike! Plows over chunder like a 29er but has the maneuverability of a 26. It was comfortable (Im 6' with a 34" inseam), to climb on, just all around fun with ZERO hiccups. KROB enjoyed the hell out of it too! Was by far the best bike I rode today which included a Trance X 29, Stumpjumper EVO 29, Turner Burner, Pivot FB, & RM Element 29 RSL.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001674526/" title="SAM_0060 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8322/8001674526_b5190596ca_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0060"></a>

    Special thanks to craigstr for hooking up with me for this Demo. We were a pretty good match in size and ability and were only slowed down while switching bikes by having different pedal preferences. He's a great rider and has a good feel for what's right and wrong with a bike.

    Ready to attack our final descents of the day.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001675929/" title="SAM_0059 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8176/8001675929_363b4ef2f5_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0059"></a>

    Here he is attacking one of the exposed turns on Skyline.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/19516547@N04/8001650177/" title="SAM_0068 by kentsaundra, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8447/8001650177_800dfdf5c6_b.jpg" width="1024" height="768" alt="SAM_0068"></a>


    All in all a good day eventhough I didn't get to most of the bikes on my list. We still rode some great bikes on some great trails and had a good time doing it. Hard to beat that.
    I've got a chance to test a few more bikes while I'm in BC in a couple of weeks so look for some more reviews next month. Hopefully I can get to a few of the bikes that escaped us down here in the other BC (Boulder City/Bootleg Canyon).
    Last edited by KRob; 09-21-2012 at 02:16 AM.
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  13. #13
    74 & 29 pilot
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Sorry guys. Holding this space for the last two reviews which I'll try and get up tomorrow.
    OOOH MAAAAAN! I can't wait to read your Carbine 275 experience. I'm pretty close to squeezing the trigger.
    MTBP
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    I understand it would be very expensive but a great way to get people amped about your bikes. Trust me they are not giving the bikes away to us when we buy a bike or frame. They are making plenty of money to have some bikes out at the outdoor demo. I too like the outbike that some companies do or dealer days that SRAM does. I think you should at least have some sort of bike demo around the interbike time. Like it was said you need to spend money to make money.

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    The reviews are the best coverage I've seen so far. It doesn't seem like there's an many photos being posted on mtb sites as there were last year. I'm hoping someone rides or, at least, takes photos of the new Black Market Roam.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SOCAL_STINKY View Post
    I understand it would be very expensive but a great way to get people amped about your bikes.
    At some point it's still too expensive and clearly we're past that point, otherwise we wouldn't see so many brands (both large and small) dropping out.

    If you were brand X and you had to choose how to spend your promo budget:
    A) Attend interbike/outerbike and have a booth with your product
    B) Hire 3-4 riders, buy a nice van,stock with bikes, tour the US all season doing race support, local events, demo days, shop support, etc.

    From what I have heard, the cost is roughkly equvilent...and it's not financially an option to do both for most brands, and I think most of us would prefer option A. I know I would!

    Nonetheless, thanks KRob for the great coverage.

  17. #17
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    The master has returned with the telling reviews.... I always wait for this every year knowing me next to impossible attending the event 8000 miles from home.
    Thanks for spending your time to ride and write the great reviews like this.
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  18. #18
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    Good job! Thanks!

    Hey KRob,

    Thanks for doing this for us!

    These reviews are the best coverage I've seen so far!!

    Very detailed and well written!!!

    Take care and I hope you enjoy your Whistler trip,

    Michael
    If you can't keep the rubber side down......at least smile for the camera!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTB Pilot View Post
    OOOH MAAAAAN! I can't wait to read your Carbine 275 experience. I'm pretty close to squeezing the trigger.
    The wait is over. I just posted the last reviews.
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
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    Thanks for the props Krob. It was great to finally meet and ride with you after all these years. Sorry my reviews aren't as detailed as yours but I'm a kind of a cut and dry kinda guy, it either works or it doesn't for me. Speaking of which, the RM 29 I rode was the flagship SSL, the $9K unforgiving full carbon race sled, it felt like a sled too. I think the "Stans" sticker on the Trance X 29's bars was an advertisement, the tech made sure to tell me the tires were tubeless sealed with Stans. Look forward to coming out to your race next year.

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    Thanks so much for the great reviews! I know it takes a lot of time to put this together.

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    Thanks Krob and craigstr!

    Looking forward to hearing about the Whistler riding too, K

  23. #23
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    Sweet reviews

    Looks like there's still an inch of room for some bigger tires on that 650b fork too, nice

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    The wait is over. I just posted the last reviews.
    Great reviews as usual. Glad you decided to split the difference between I-bike and Whistle!

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    Quote Originally Posted by craigstr View Post
    Thanks for the props Krob. It was great to finally meet and ride with you after all these years. Sorry my reviews aren't as detailed as yours but I'm a kind of a cut and dry kinda guy, it either works or it doesn't for me. Speaking of which, the RM 29 I rode was the flagship SSL, the $9K unforgiving full carbon race sled, it felt like a sled too. I think the "Stans" sticker on the Trance X 29's bars was an advertisement, the tech made sure to tell me the tires were tubeless sealed with Stans. Look forward to coming out to your race next year.
    Yeah I thought that was the RSL full carbon flagship just that the stock picture of the RSL was black instead of white like ours.

    Nice meeting you too, Craig. You are welcome to grab some floor space at the Casa del KRob for the Fears Tears and Beer next year when you come. It's a great time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by string View Post
    Great reviews as usual. Glad you decided to split the difference between I-bike and Whistle!
    Thanks string. I'm really looking forward to Whistler. I'm hoping to get a chance to ride the new Endorphin, The Chilcotin, Norco Range, and a few more Giants (TranceX, Glory).
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeerhillJ View Post
    Sweet reviews
    Quote Originally Posted by whodaphuck View Post
    Thanks for the detailed reviews (Tcheezy reincarnated?), keep 'em coming.
    Quote Originally Posted by aedubber View Post
    Nice reviews !!
    Quote Originally Posted by michaelsnead View Post
    Hey KRob,
    Thanks for doing this for us! These reviews are the best coverage I've seen so far!! Very detailed and well written!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by bitewerks View Post
    The reviews are the best coverage I've seen so far.
    Quote Originally Posted by Raja View Post
    Thanks so much for the great reviews! I know it takes a lot of time to put this together.
    Quote Originally Posted by derby View Post
    Thanks Krob and craigstr!

    Looking forward to hearing about the Whistler riding too, K
    Thanks for all the kind words everyone. I really do enjoy doing this and really don't do it for the kudos but they are nice and well appreciated all the same.
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    KRob.. Great reviews.. First off-- thanks for your time you put into these revies(though im sure its a labor of love)... Question.. Im running a MojoHD 140 650b right now.. Im really happy with it but im getting new bikeitis... Im thinking about trying out the carbine 275.. Im sure youve ridden a mojoHD-- so my question is --How do they compare? I find the mojo nice and stiff-- tracks well-- works well.. But something just keeps telling me that carbine is that bike ive been looking for that does all the ibis does-- even better.. I really like the way the mojohd climbs but find it a bit harsher on the decent then id like--- is there any chance the carbine can climb as well as the mojo yet give a bit more cush on the decent?? Look forward to your thoughts..

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    ...
    Intense Carbine 275

    As was the theme of the day, this was a bike we settled for when the bike we wanted was out. Craig had gone to the Intense booth hoping to get a Tracer 275 but they were all out. As luck would have it, someone turned in this beautiful Carbine 275 right when he got to the front of the line. Thanks. I'll take that!

    Our experience last year with the new Cabine 26 set up in 5.5" trail mode was positive but certainly not for the route we intended. The Carbine we rode last year was a super light XC/Endurance/Smooth Enduro mount....It felt somewhat skittish in the Bootleg chop, both up and down.

    Wow. What a transformation! With the bigger 27.5" hoops and longer,slacker geometry this thing really came alive. I don't know what else they changed from last year, but this felt like a totally different bike. Descending through the rudely abrupt g-out/grade reversals of Skyline was a lark. This is the only bike I cleaned all these steep, shattered, on-the-edge-of-a-cliff little climbs all day. It just felt so well-balanced and confidence inspiring, the standing attack position just so natural and one-with-the-body. The light weight did not make the bike feel unsettled and out of place but the Carbine felt laterally stiff, efficient, and plush despite its supermodel looks and lack of heft. It tracked straight, lifted its head effortlessly, displayed no flex........ and was quiet. Score.

    Quite a combination of looks, efficiency, light weight, plushness, and flat out solidness all wrapped up into one package. Like I've said before, there's always one bike that really surprises us and this year the Carbine 275 was it.
    Thanks for all your work with these reviews; Your helping out all of us that can't get to these things.

    So you've left me wondering a few things... I am on a '12 Firebird now with the RP23 and previously an '11 FB with the DHX; The RP is not as plush on the small chatter. I LOVE the Firebird, but want a 27.5 bike. I am running XTR/ X.0 build with carbon havens, dropper post, Fox 36 160 and 2.4/2.3 Specialized tires, all coming in at about 30.5 lbs. I don't think it feels like a 30+ lbs bike, especially with carbon wheels. I love the quickness, playfulness and solid feel of the bike. I ran a 650b Flow with a Kenda 2.35 on the front for a while and thought it had a lot of great advantages to it. Someone on the 650b forum claims the FB can be set up as a full 650 bike, but I don't want to have to shim the rear shock or have any other problems. I climb the bike on 7-9% grades for 3-5 miles to come bombing down later, but I can tell that I'm riding a 30+ lbs AM rig by the time I get to the top. I like the way you can sit and spin on the FB, but do wish it was easier like it used to be on my carbon Remedy.

    I'm planning on buying a Carbine 26 frame and the 650b G1 drop outs. I'm going to run it as a 26 for a bit while I build a set of carbon 650 wheels. I'm aggressive AM riding trying to hit everything, fast lines and chunky ones, with lots of quick transitions from down to up here in AZ. I have a Session 88 for the really fun stuff that is shuttled or lift assisted. I've learned to accept the noise that the FB makes, but I really want to go back to a sub 30 lbs carbon bike. Am I going to dislike this bike as a 26er in comparison to my FB? I'm buying this frame because I'm wanting a legit 650b do it all bike. I like the versatility of using either wheel size on one frame legitimately, but I'm planning on riding it mostly as 27.5.

    I've never used or experienced VPP suspension and don't know what to expect compared to DW Link, single pivot, Full floater and any of the other suspensions I've ridden. Will I notice a positive change in climbing this bike compared to the FB using both 26 and 27.5? Can you give a little more detail on the way this thing climbs as a 27.5 and if you can remember as a 26? Also, do you think running a Talas is advantageous on this frame or a 160 float will work fine?

    Sorry for all the extra questions and thanks again for you work!!
    MTBP
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    MTB Pilot pretty much covers some of my questions as well but I'm interested to know out of ALL the bikes you tested which one do you think will climb the best in slow, ugly, very technical, rocky and rooty conditions (New England). A bike that just digs in and can claw it's way up terrain like that. With 140-160mm of travel I'm not worried about the descending part.

    I'm mostly interested in 650B as well and hopefully you will get to try out the new Rocky Altitude, Norco Sight and Range, and the Scott's when you hit BC.

    Great reviews and thanks for the hard work.....um fun I mean
    2013 Banshee Spitfire V2 650b

  31. #31
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    Thought Fox's new marketing of the different shock settings for climb, decent and trail was clever with the trailside signs. I probably could have used these explanations 10 years ago!
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTB Pilot View Post
    .... Someone on the 650b forum claims the FB can be set up as a full 650 bike, but I don't want to have to shim the rear shock or have any other problems. ....
    Yes, 3 years ago the Firebird easily cleared my 650b x 2.3 Neo-moto tire and wheel. Unless the frame has been changed since 2009, the seat tube clears bottom travel too with room to spare when I tested with the shock deflated. So no shock shim or any mods are needed for 650b x 2.3 or near with the FB. Be careful, always check bottom out clearance when doing any conversion of a 26" designed fork or frame to use a 650b wheel .

    The problem I see converting the FB is the BB is raised higher, up to 1/2 inch higher depending on what 26" size tire was used before converting. The FB's BB height with 26" wheels is already near 14". Aftermarket, offset shock mount bushings could lower the BB 1/4".

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTB Pilot View Post
    Am I going to dislike this bike as a 26er in comparison to my FB?
    No, especially if you run it in 6" mode with your 160. Most of the reason the 26" Carbine we rode last year felt a bit overwhelmed in the Bootleg chunk was that it was set up in a more trail bike mode (5.5" travel) and Fox 32 140mm fork. It was a very light, efficient climbing set up, still very solid feeling..... just not as comfortable in the rough.

    Quote Originally Posted by MTB Pilot
    Will I notice a positive change in climbing this bike compared to the FB using both 26 and 27.5? Can you give a little more detail on the way this thing climbs as a 27.5 and if you can remember as a 26? Also, do you think running a Talas is advantageous on this frame or a 160 float will work fine?

    Sorry for all the extra questions and thanks again for you work!!
    No worries. I'll give you some answers but remember, I've only ridden the Carbine 26 once, the Carbine 275 once and the FB twice....so take it for what it's worth..

    The positive about the Carbine compared to the FB when climbing will mostly be in the lighter weight. Should be around 26-27lbs with a similar build as your FB. The FB is a very good climber as you know. My old Intense 6.6 suffered from some pedal kick back in the granny gear while climbing steep, chunky, square edged stuff but I haven't noticed it on the newer VPP 2 designs. Overall, I think the new VPP designs climb very well, especially in less chunky stuff.

    We didn't climb up on the 275 so will reserve judgement on that but I can't imagine it climbing any worse than the 26" Carbine we rode last year. Should be better.

    I can't see any need for the TALAS unless you're really wanting to optimize it for 5.5" trail mode occasionally for a particular race or something. I'm not a big fan of adjustable travel forks.

    That sounds like a great bike you're planning. Very versatile, light, stiff, bomber.
    Last edited by KRob; 09-25-2012 at 05:20 PM.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidad View Post
    I'm interested to know out of ALL the bikes you tested which one do you think will climb the best in slow, ugly, very technical, rocky and rooty conditions (New England).
    I don't think I rode that one yet. I think it's going to be the Chilcotin 650B or Norco Range 650.

    Not sure which of the bikes I did ride would be best for that kind of riding. The only one I did anything similar to that on was the Burner and it performer really well. If it's not too tight I'd think the Giant TranceX 29er or Stumpjumper 29er would be really good too. The 29ers seem to find traction where others don't... but will have some disadvantages in the tight, ledgy stuff I'd think.
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    Thanks a TON KRob! I'm definitely going to go through with purchasing a Carbine frame, run it as a 26" and then a 27.5", before I sell my Firebird frame.

    I have a 36 160 Talas that I've had on my Carbon Remedy and 2 Firebird frames, but it is to dramatic of a change, 40mm, to the Firebird's geo to use; The FB feels so wrong even climbing with a 650b wheel in front in the 120mm mode.

    I'm excited to go back to a carbon bike that can do it all, besides lift assisted DH, and I can build up under 30lbs. I've been saying that a carbon Firebird 650b or Mach 5.7c 650b would be the perfect bike, but the Carbine sounds like a good alternative.
    MTBP
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    Krob-- how would you compare the stiffness of the carbine 275 vs a mojoHD.. Im on a mojo right now and like the way it rides-- but sure would like a bit more of a plush decent.. Also thoughts on climbing on a carbine vs a mojo.. I know you tried the mojo last year so youll just be going off memory-- but any thoughts would be good.. Thinking a carbine 275 and a xfusion slant would be a nice combo..

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    Quote Originally Posted by SB Trails View Post
    Question.. Im running a MojoHD 140 650b right now. Im thinking about trying out the carbine 275.. Im sure youve ridden a mojoHD-- so my question is --How do they compare? I find the mojo nice and stiff-- tracks well-- works well.. But something just keeps telling me that carbine is that bike ive been looking for that does all the ibis does-- even better.. I really like the way the mojohd climbs but find it a bit harsher on the decent then id like--- is there any chance the carbine can climb as well as the mojo yet give a bit more cush on the decent?? Look forward to your thoughts..
    Quote Originally Posted by SB Trails View Post
    Krob-- how would you compare the stiffness of the carbine 275 vs a mojoHD....

    Tough question not being able to compare them back-to-back but as you may know I like Mojo HD a lot. In fact, now that you mention it, the Carbine 275 felt quite a bit like the Mojo HD.... "nice and stiff--tracks well--...climbs well... works well".

    The Carbine felt plenty stiff while riding it although I didn't really test it for stiffness otherwise.

    It would be nice to compare them back-to-back but I suspect the Carbine climbs at least as well as the Mojo and may even be a bit plusher on the descents.

    If the Mojo came in a 650B iteration I'd bet it would rule.
    Last edited by KRob; 09-24-2012 at 10:36 AM.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    ....If the Mojo came in a 650B iteration I'd bet it would rule.
    Ibis publicly sanctioned 650b use for the Mojo HD140 last winter in a Mountain Bike Magazine newsletter. But 650b is not an OEM option yet.

    Fox, RockShox, DT-Swiss, Schwalbe and Others Develop 650b gear | The Straight Dirt | MountainBike.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dude! View Post
    Thanks Krob!!!! Nicely articulated - much appreciated!

    Disappointing that some of the key companies are missing, but some appear to be going Outerbike, which is probably more enjoyable

    Thanks Dude.

    I was debating doing Outerbike instead of Interbike this year but some of the reports from last year made it sound like it was really tough to get the bikes you wanted. People would get there early, then there'd be a mad dash and if your weren't lucky you could be left out.
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by derby View Post
    Ibis publicly sanctioned 650b use for the Mojo HD140 last winter in a Mountain Bike Magazine newsletter. But 650b is not an OEM option yet.

    Fox, RockShox, DT-Swiss, Schwalbe and Others Develop 650b gear | The Straight Dirt | MountainBike.com
    Interesting article and on target as to what's happened with 650b in the past 6 months since it was written. Seems like the bigger companies are holding back but most of the smaller/midsize companies are jumping on board.

    The problem in my mind with just sanctioning the use of 650 with a 26 specific frame is that tire clearance is going to be tight and bb height will be high.
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Interesting article and on target as to what's happened with 650b in the past 6 months since it was written. Seems like the bigger companies are holding back but most of the smaller/midsize companies are jumping on board.

    The problem in my mind with just sanctioning the use of 650 with a 26 specific frame is that tire clearance is going to be tight and bb height will be high.
    IMO the big 4 almost had to wait and see how the 650B thing panned out (except for CD who seems more willing to take risks but no 650B yet) You know they aren't gonna just roll out some closely converted 26' bike but a soundly designed around 650B model. 2014 we will see 650B bikes from most if not all the big 4 makers. How they walk the tightrope in the model line(s) is what's gonna be interesting and the most difficult for them. Informed and knowledgeable riders will want the size....dealers perhaps not so much.
    2013 Banshee Spitfire V2 650b

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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    ......
    The problem in my mind with just sanctioning the use of 650 with a 26 specific frame is that tire clearance is going to be tight and bb height will be high.
    The HD140 with 650b geometry is nearly identical to the Intense Carbine 650b option, BB height and all. The HD140 with 650b wheels and 2.3 tires raises the unweighted BB height up to 13.7".

    Yes 650b tire clearance could be a little bit better in the HD, the paint in the chain-stay yoke area does show cosmetic wear a little faster than with 26" wheels with same size tires from mud and small rocks caught in the tire tread. The same stay paint wear occurrs with 26 inch wheels in my experience. Someday there may be extra-large volume 650b tires that don't clear the HD sufficiently.

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    Looks like folks were throwing the Specialized Stumpjumper Expert Carbon EVO 29er off of cliffs. That frame is beat up.

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    Great reviews! Thank you for taking the time for us all!

    I just picked up the Stumpy EVO Expert 29er and I must say it's an amazing bike! I finally got to put it to the test yesterday and it performs better than expected- very surprised how well it climbed (I was expecting the worst). Of course the bike bombs down!

    First time I ever had tried a drop seat post... At first I was lowering it to make everyone laugh as I lowridered around but then I actually used it on some downhill. I get it! It really helped me decent with confidence, I'm used to XC and Hardtails so DH bikes are foreign to me.

    Couple changes I plan to make to the bike are carbon bars, Formula brakes (not a fan of the Avid XO Trail) and XO shifters. I've been debating whether I should try a different fork...

    I normally ride hardtails and XC bikes; therefore, the Stumpy was a change for me. A Good Change!

    Keep up the good work and thanks again for the reviews!

    poser photo for everyone...
    Last edited by jay29er; 09-26-2012 at 08:32 AM.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by PB Matrix View Post
    Looks like folks were throwing the Specialized Stumpjumper Expert Carbon EVO 29er off of cliffs. That frame is beat up.
    Yeah, Jay29er's Stumpy pictured here looks way better than the one we rode. I wonder if the carbon has more electrostatic charge to it that attracts more dust or something.
    Last edited by KRob; 09-27-2012 at 12:15 AM.
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    KRob - totally appreciate you taking time to write these reviews. Definitely nice to hear first hand from one of "us."

    Maybe I missed it, but going back to the Burner...what were your impressions of the 2013 Monarch RT3? I realize it's a 650B vs. your current 5.Spot, but curious to hear how you feel about that shock vs how your personal Turner rig is set up. For 2013, RS claims a broader range of damping and a "more open open setting", so I'm wondering how that translates on the trail when mounted to a DW Turner. Appreciate any insight...even if it's just a 'meh' :-)

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by trojan08 View Post
    KRob - totally appreciate you taking time to write these reviews. Definitely nice to hear first hand from one of "us."

    Maybe I missed it, but going back to the Burner...what were your impressions of the 2013 Monarch RT3? I realize it's a 650B vs. your current 5.Spot, but curious to hear how you feel about that shock vs how your personal Turner rig is set up. For 2013, RS claims a broader range of damping and a "more open open setting", so I'm wondering how that translates on the trail when mounted to a DW Turner. Appreciate any insight...even if it's just a 'meh' :-)
    You know I've been tempted to switch to a Monarch RT3 shock for my 5 Spot based on reviews here and on the Turner board so was interested to see how this one felt.

    I didn't notice any improvement over my DGC-modified RP23. In fact some of the stalling over square edged rocks we experienced may have been due to the shock. After a while I actually switched the lockout lever to make sure it wasn't in the climbing/locked out mode (it wasn't).

    I still would like to try the Pushed Plus RC3 as that seems to be the cat's pajamas according to those who have it (or maybe the CCDB Air) but my current set up is working well enough that I can't justify the extra cost.

    So, yeah, "meh" seems to fit.
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
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    Interesting. Not gonna lie - I was hoping for better news! haha. Maybe some of that was due to the bushings not being fully bedded in. Descending felt the same as your modified RP23?

  49. #49
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    I also rode some of these bikes at I-bike. My first time at the dirt demo and I left stoked for next years bikes as most everything rides really well.

    One note: 99% sure that Stumpy Evo 29er only has 135mm of travel out back and 140mm up front. 150mm would have been front page bikerumor worthy Unfortunately, I did find that the autosag feature is not for me. It set the rear end too stiff for my tastes and made it so I couldn't force the bike to get full travel on the worst landings. Of course you can always tune the shock the old fashion way which is what I did. I loved all the matte finishes on the bikes inside the Expo center, but I'm not so sure I like them on the bikes in real use on the trail. From pretty much all the manufacturers, they just looked extra dirty and dingy looking. Purely cosmetic though and everyone likes something different. I'm sure they clean up pretty nice, but I hate cleaning a bike

    Shout out to Specialized for making more 29er tires and using a fully legit tread such as the 2.3 Butcher. Hand's down the best tire I rode for a 29er that is going to be ridden hard.

    Since I failed to get on the 650b bikes due to crowds, some vendors saving those for VIP's, and me being just an engineer, my goal for the demo was to form an opinion on where I believe the current 29" wheel fits in my world. This included using them all in the mini BMX track they built by the demo. Sorry about the bent rims, and returning all the bikes with the seat slammed, my bad. For me, it will be a long time till I buy a long travel 29er. Not that they are bad bikes, I just felt like they gave up a lot of the fun of extra travel and also lacked a lot of the quick acceleration of the HT or short travel 29er. Maybe if I was a bigger dude or downsized the frame, but there was limited time. That said, I really do now believe I have a max chainstay length that I like. As that goes over ~17.5", I just don't enjoy jumping or playing on the bikes anymore, they become point and shoot which isn't my thing. This was even true of short travel bikes as I pulled up all the geo #'s when I got back to my hotel. I was surprised to find HA wasn't something that bothered me as much, but I don't have an issue climbing on even my 65 deg DH bike. I feel like some of the trends toward pedaling efficiency are not my cup of tea, as the theory that the suspension opens up when needed only sometimes works IMO. 3-4" 29er's would be my weapon of choice for XC racing or long epic rides over 30 miles, but since I don't do that stuff all that often these days, I'm gonna buy a 29er HT to add to my stable as fast as possible. I found it to be a really fun change of pace. I wish I could afford one of the well engineered carbon frames with a bit of vertical compliance, but a new age geo aluminum model is the plan. Near road bike acceleration and still fun to whip around in the air and lift the front end.

    I will say I was disappointed to see so many bikes without dropper seatposts...most of those didn't even have QR's, so I had to whip out the allen wrench often or use poor body position, lame!! That and they are missing an opportunity to showcase a product that many of the dealer people still haven't used enough to sell well.

    For reference, my current bikes are Mojo HD, Glory, and soon to be back on my trusty ReignX.

    BTW - if you ever get a chance to take a Moonlander or other megafat bike into a jump track....dooo it, it's a blast, and way easier to whip around than I would have thought. I could have drank beer and just kept lapping on that thing.

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    I still would like to try the Pushed Plus RC3 as that seems to be the cat's pajamas according to those who have it (or maybe the CCDB Air) but my current set up is working well enough that I can't justify the extra cost.
    Is Push Industries even selling/servicing the RS shocks anymore? You can Google it and 2012 RS shocks do come up on their web site but if you go to their home page nothing is listed except the Vivid coil.
    2013 Banshee Spitfire V2 650b

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