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  1. #1
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    Best AM bike for pedaling

    Curious which bikes with 140-150 mm of travel pedal the best. I ask because I need a multi-purpose. For having fun on more technical trails and to be able to function for the occasional XC race without being a pig.
    I know there are a lot of rear linkages on the market, which is best for pedaling?
    Last edited by GnarBrahWyo; 1 Week Ago at 07:18 AM.

  2. #2
    Perpetual n00b
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    My Remedy pedals great. Bronson pedals good too but you pay a premium for the brand name.
    The leg bone's connected to the Cash Bone!

  3. #3
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    AM 29er ^^

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by targnik View Post
    AM 29er ^^

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    Yea I would say my Remedy pedals better than the Bronson because it's a 29er. It just floats over everything with much less effort.
    The leg bone's connected to the Cash Bone!

  5. #5
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    I'm super happy with the VPP in my Intense Carbine 29. Pedals awesome and climbs like mad. The Spider 29 is similar and a bit less travel that might fit what you are looking for.

  6. #6
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    My DW-link 5spot was great, never needed the climb switch even on the forestry road climbs. The Burner would be a good candidate IMO.

  7. #7
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    You may find some insights from KRob interbike all mountain reviews, although I don't recall climbing emphasis? Still, a nice i tro to different bikes, though 2 years old now.

    KRob’s Outerbike 2013 Bike Demo Reviews – Part 1 - Mtbr.com

    Another soucre for you, could be Bike Magazine Bible of Bike tests. They are all on you tube or go to Bike Magazine web site. For 2015 test, they seemed to love the Remedy 29er for all around riding. There was a Rocky Mountain that they liked too, a BC XC verson, maybe a Thunderbolt?

    Since you may want to race, you may want to focus on the 140 Trail type bike that can also handle gnarlier trails, maybe the Rocky Mountain, or a Turner, either the Burner or that other model, the name escapes me...

  8. #8
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    I should have been more specific, I prefer a 650b. Had 29ers before and I would definitely ride one if I had a dedicated XC bike, but 650b is my wheel choice. I really like the Trance as well but don't know if it has a lot of pedal bob or not.

  9. #9
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    I had a chance to ride the 5010 and Bronson back to back on the same day on the same trail. I have to admit, as much as I loved the Bronson initially, the 5010 did it for me on this particular XC trail.

    The Bronson really wanted to go faster for it to be in the sweet spot. And I just couldn't generate that kind of speed from just pedaling. I needed some help with gravity. The 5010 just felt a lot more playful at XC speeds.

    I've been really impressed with the VPP setup. If I'm out of the saddle, the bike is very responsive. But when I hit stuff, it seems to soak things up so nicely. I think I read some article regarding the shock rates being high, then low mid stroke and then high again toward the end of the travel. This could be what allows it to feel like a HT when I'm out of the saddle, but feels very plush when I'm seated and pedaling and then feels like it can soak a ton of drop for how plush the rest of the ride was.

    I can't afford any of these new bikes. So I found myself a SC Blur LT2 and moved all the parts over from my Dialled Bikes Alpine. And it rides more responsive than the 5010, but still maintains a lot of its accuracy and plushness.
    Just get out and ride!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by traffic002 View Post
    I had a chance to ride the 5010 and Bronson back to back on the same day on the same trail. I have to admit, as much as I loved the Bronson initially, the 5010 did it for me on this particular XC trail.

    The Bronson really wanted to go faster for it to be in the sweet spot. And I just couldn't generate that kind of speed from just pedaling. I needed some help with gravity. The 5010 just felt a lot more playful at XC speeds.

    I've been really impressed with the VPP setup. If I'm out of the saddle, the bike is very responsive. But when I hit stuff, it seems to soak things up so nicely. I think I read some article regarding the shock rates being high, then low mid stroke and then high again toward the end of the travel. This could be what allows it to feel like a HT when I'm out of the saddle, but feels very plush when I'm seated and pedaling and then feels like it can soak a ton of drop for how plush the rest of the ride was.

    I can't afford any of these new bikes. So I found myself a SC Blur LT2 and moved all the parts over from my Dialled Bikes Alpine. And it rides more responsive than the 5010, but still maintains a lot of its accuracy and plushness.
    I currently ride a 5010. Has been a great all around bike. I just want a smidge more rear travel and a smidge more slack geo. I realize every bike (especially a dual purpose bike) will have compromises but looking to minimize those. I can say the 5010 pedals very well.

  11. #11
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    Giant Maestro (DW) fan here. Went from a 110mm 29 FSR to a 140mm 27.5 DW, was immediately faster uphill regardless of terrain.

    Not real sure you'd want a 140mm AM bike for an XC race, but then again, I don't know much about racing.
    2012 Specialized Camber Comp
    2014 Kona Taro
    2014 Giant Trance 27.5 1
    2015 Gravity Monster
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyle242gt View Post
    Giant Maestro (DW) fan here. Went from a 110mm 29 FSR to a 140mm 27.5 DW, was immediately faster uphill regardless of terrain.

    Not real sure you'd want a 140mm AM bike for an XC race, but then again, I don't know much about racing.
    My goal is build up a light carbom AM bike. I race in my local races. I am not a serious XC racer but I do it for fun. I can't afford two sick bikes. I just want an all-around'r.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    I should have been more specific, I prefer a 650b. Had 29ers before and I would definitely ride one if I had a dedicated XC bike, but 650b is my wheel choice. I really like the Trance as well but don't know if it has a lot of pedal bob or not.
    Try one of the new Felt Compulsion bikes. The Equilink suspension really is efficient in climbs while letting the rear suspension remain fully active without pedal bob and power loss. they come with 160mm travel and 650b wheels.

    I had a Felt Redemption Team that used the same Equilink design they have and it climbed like a mountain goat but still let me rip through the downhills.

    This is the Complusion line of AM bikes, check them out.
    All Mountain - Felt Bicycles

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    I should have been more specific, I prefer a 650b. Had 29ers before and I would definitely ride one if I had a dedicated XC bike, but 650b is my wheel choice. I really like the Trance as well but don't know if it has a lot of pedal bob or not.
    I get where you're coming from, and I agree that light weight is right. The Giant Maestro links work great and give a very firm ride, no bob. I rode a SC Blur for years the VPP is awesome and pedaling on rough climbs was cheating, the bike loves to stick the rear tire to the ground. Here is the rub, on flats while accelerating the VPP allows some rider induced energy into the bike, that can be good as it keeps wheels hooked-up but the Giant's firm feeling during these sprints can win a guy over. What some don't like about Giant's links is during high speed rough sections the ride stays firm and you lose some of the 'feel' of the trail.
    This year I bought a bike with simple pivot and a even leverage ratio. That means there's nothing fancy, just some travel and the shocks' tune to supply the bikes' ride characteristics. Todays shocks are way capable (don't need trick links) and I love how this bike responds to the trail. I ride the same trails I did with the SC Blur, but the new 27.5 wheels float over many of the hits that used to shake my old bike. My new bike is a Kona Process, I got the 134 model because I wanted to stay nimble and as light as I could. I also bought the top tier model to get the light rims/cockpit and 1X11 drive. Still no carbon for 2016 so they may not be for you.
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  15. #15
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    I like that the Trance can run a 140,150 or 160 mm fork. Rear travel always stays the same. I don't think much will beat my Solo efficiency, but I am keeping an eye open. I usually get a new bike every three years or so and I got the Solo when it was still called a Solo (now 5010).
    I have my Solo fork out to 140 mm (from 130 mm stock). My only real gripe with the Solo is how dead the travel is in the mid stroke for it. Might be my crappy stock rear shock though. The BB is very low too which has caused me some issues on chunky trails.
    All bikes have compromises, I am just trying to see what compromises I can live with easiest.

  16. #16
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    I suspect I may get a bit bashed with this post, given its 160mm of travel (170mm for 2016) and high anti-squat tendencies, but my 2015 Norco Range C2 climbs like a billy goat and is reasonably fast on the flats. I notice no pedal feedback whatsoever, and I can easily clean things I could not climb last year on my Scott Genius 710. I got my Range down to 27.5 pounds, and could easily get it down to 27 if I swapped my DHF/DHR II combo, my uncut SixC bar, as well as my pedals, grips and numerous other components, for other options a little less burly.

    I bought that bike for the downs, but it has been the ups and flats with which I am most impressed. I never touch the shock or the fork. My Pike has 2 tokens and zero LSC, and I leave my Monarch Plus wide open 100% of the time. It really does climb incredibly well.

    All that said, a Norco Sight would almost certainly be the better bet for you. 140mm of travel (150mm for 2016), and easily capable of 26ish pounds, without anything swapped that would be stupidly weak or expensive.

    I have owned Horst link bikes in the past, but this suspension linkage is world's apart given its rearward axle path travel - in my view, world's apart in a very good way.


    PS - I am generally a seated climber. Unless you throw a 36 tooth ring on the front (aaarrggghhh), the rear suspension may extend for you under significant load (including climbing while standing). Not an issue for me, but I understand it may be for some.

  17. #17
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    My Kona Process 134 (650b) is great at clawing up technical terrain, a bit of a grind on long/flat-inclines...

    Maybe a Transition 27.5?

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    I currently ride a 5010. Has been a great all around bike. I just want a smidge more rear travel and a smidge more slack geo. I realize every bike (especially a dual purpose bike) will have compromises but looking to minimize those. I can say the 5010 pedals very well.
    HD3.

    HD3. Wow.

    /thread

    EDIT: or SB5c (it rides like it has more rear travel than it does)

    More discussion on these two here:
    Yeti sb5c or ibis hd3
    '15 Ibis HD3
    {insert N+1 here}
    '13 SC Juliana 650b'd (wife's)

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    ...I have my Solo fork out to 140 mm (from 130 mm stock). My only real gripe with the Solo is how dead the travel is in the mid stroke for it. Might be my crappy stock rear shock though.
    I've got a Solo as well, still at 130, but interested in moving to 140 mm if possible with my fork (2014 32 with upgraded 2015 damper). Can you explain "how dead the travel is in the mid-stroke"? This is my first FS bike, so I don't have a comparison to understand of what that means. TIA

  20. #20
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    There are a bunch of folks pimping the Evil Following but I have not been able to ride one yet. Ibis is another brand I would look at.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by russinthecascades View Post
    I've got a Solo as well, still at 130, but interested in moving to 140 mm if possible with my fork (2014 32 with upgraded 2015 damper). Can you explain "how dead the travel is in the mid-stroke"? This is my first FS bike, so I don't have a comparison to understand of what that means. TIA
    To me it seems like the bike either soaks up really small bumps well and bigger hits (going off of 2 foot drops and the like). I don't have the "floating" sensation I get from other bikes when going through chunky rock gardens at speed.
    I put a 150 mm Pike lowered to 140 mm on my Solo. The climbing punishment is minimal but feels lots better on descents. The Solo/5010 is designed to run 120-140 mm forks so it is fine to do that and it will not void any warranty.

  22. #22
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    I can tell you personally that a Transition Smuggler pedals really well and climbs fantastic. I did over 5000' of elevation on it last weekend! It is really good at the downs too!!
    '08 Stumpjumper FSR Comp
    '15 Transition Smuggler

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarBrahWyo View Post
    To me it seems like the bike either soaks up really small bumps well and bigger hits (going off of 2 foot drops and the like). I don't have the "floating" sensation I get from other bikes when going through chunky rock gardens at speed.
    I put a 150 mm Pike lowered to 140 mm on my Solo. The climbing punishment is minimal but feels lots better on descents. The Solo/5010 is designed to run 120-140 mm forks so it is fine to do that and it will not void any warranty.
    Take a look at the Corset air can, claimed to improve the midstroke on VPP bikes. Depending on your shock, the new Fox air can may work also.

  24. #24
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    I have to say my bronson is a little mountain goat! Great for climbing and descending The VPP works best when you sit on the saddle and pedal. I have yet to find a reason to switch the shock to climb mode.
    Santa Cruz Bronson Alu
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  25. #25
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    Get a push tune for your Solo. It will alleviate the dead feeling in the middle of the stroke. I did for my VPP Carbine and it made a world of difference. I would get the Carbon Tracer over the Bronson as it has more modern geometry. In addition to my VPP Carbine, I have a Giant Anthem Advanced and the Maestro works great. Reminds me of the DW-Link on the Turners I owned.
    Intense Carbine 275
    Giant Anthem Advanced
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