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  1. #1
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    Buying my first mountain bike, help with insight ? :)

    Hello everyone, long story short, tried mountain bike last year, loved it, now investing in a mountain bike for the coming season.
    So after looking at pretty much every single bikes out there, watching 158 videos on YouTube, reading dozens and dozens of different reviews, going to 3 stores, I am still as undecided as ever heh.

    So i'm mostly looking at enduro bikes because I like going uphill as much as I like going downhill. Where I live (montreal) there are not many places who are near by to fully use a crazy 170mm travel bike, but still, I am planning for the future and the trips I will take my bike to.

    As I said, I love going uphill so a bike that climbs as well as it goes down is important for me. I have a 4000$CAN budget and the bikes I've been looking at are :
    Giant reign 2
    Transition patrol nx
    specialized enduro 27.5

    I was just about to order the transition yesterday when someone told me it wasn't a good climber because there was too much travel in the rear and also the new geometry wasn't going to help, even tho I've read reviews who said it was a capable climber despite all that. I was also looking at the transition sentinel or smuggler perhaps ?

    Any input you guys can give is appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    if you want a bike that climbs as good as it goes down, you want a trail bike, around 130mm of travel or so

    enduro bikes have more travel than that and handle the downs better, but dont climb as good

  3. #3
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    a bike that climbs as well as it goes down is important for me.
    Then you want a trail or XC bike. Enduro bikes are made for enduro races where the stages are mostly downhill. You can climb with them but they sacrifice climbing ability for descending ability. I'd recommend a hardtail or a 110-140mm travel full suspension. Unless you're already an experienced bmx rider or something it will probably be a couple years at least before you need more than that (if ever). Are you able to demo/rent bikes for trail rides?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    Then you want a trail or XC bike. Enduro bikes are made for enduro races where the stages are mostly downhill. You can climb with them but they sacrifice climbing ability for descending ability. I'd recommend a hardtail or a 110-140mm travel full suspension. Unless you're already an experienced bmx rider or something it will probably be a couple years at least before you need more than that (if ever). Are you able to demo/rent bikes for trail rides?
    Unfortunately I'm not. The only trail bike I've ever used was the rocky mountain altitude. It was great downhill but I didn't think it was all that good for ascending.

  5. #5
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    Did you ask the shop guys what bikes/trails they prefer to ride? If they ride 'all mountain' type bikes, there's a chance that there are steep/tech descents that might merit the travel, stout built etc.

    Do you forsee seeking out the steep/gnarly terrain (descents)?

    Do you plan on riding MSA etc on this bike?

    My take... I occasionally do 6000' climbs on my 32lb 160/150mm bike. It climbs fine. It won't win any XC races but it is efficient enough for big days. Fitness (and bike fit) is a much larger factor then trail vs enduro efficiency IMO, and I like the confidence to let go on the descents (preferably steep/tech) without worrying if I'm taxing the bike.

    I'd ride a patrol in a heartbeat. YMMV

  6. #6
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    I own a '17 Giant Reign 2...

    The seat angle makes climbs a chore... but, dang! It's a beast on the descents.

    So capable ^^

    Earning your turns ain't so bad ;-)

    'We'll all make it to the top... Some of us, might not make it to the bottom'
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack0000 View Post
    Unfortunately I'm not. The only trail bike I've ever used was the rocky mountain altitude. It was great downhill but I didn't think it was all that good for ascending.
    That bike has a 150mm travel and a 65 degree HTA which probably won't be the best for tight singletrack and technical climbs.

    Quote Originally Posted by EatsDirt View Post
    My take... I occasionally do 6000' climbs on my 32lb 160/150mm bike. It climbs fine.
    But are we talking about smooth fireroads or tight steep technical climbs? In my experience usually the higher the elevation, the better suited an enduro bike is because the climbs tend to be relatively smooth and gradual (certainly not always the case though). An enduro bike with the rear shock flipped to the pedal or lockout position will pedal up fireroads great. It's actually the two way 600' elevation trails where I really want a good climbing and efficient bike because the descents don't warrant an enduro and you're more likely to run into steep switchbacks,roots, and rocks on the climbs. Plus on undulating terrain it's a pain in the ass to keep flipping the climb switch on the shock or fork. With that said, I see plenty of experienced riders in mid TN (undulating hills) riding enduro bikes and I'm the idiot who just ordered a Hightower LT. So ride whatever you want, the real problem is finding out what it is you want.

    I'm not familiar with OP's terrain which is why I agree with you that he should ask the shop guys what they recommend for the area.

  8. #8
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    Thx everyone for your feedbacks. For my area a trail bike would be more appropriate, but like I said I would like to plan for the future and the far away trips I will take where the downhills will be more gnarly.
    Maybe the sentinel 29er with 140/160 would be a better option here ?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    That bike has a 150mm travel and a 65 degree HTA which probably won't be the best for tight singletrack and technical climbs.



    But are we talking about smooth fireroads or tight steep technical climbs? In my experience usually the higher the elevation, the better suited an enduro bike is because the climbs tend to be relatively smooth and gradual (certainly not always the case though). An enduro bike with the rear shock flipped to the pedal or lockout position will pedal up fireroads great. It's actually the two way 600' elevation trails where I really want a good climbing and efficient bike because the descents don't warrant an enduro and you're more likely to run into steep switchbacks,roots, and rocks on the climbs. Plus on undulating terrain it's a pain in the ass to keep flipping the climb switch on the shock or fork. With that said, I see plenty of experienced riders in mid TN (undulating hills) riding enduro bikes and I'm the idiot who just ordered a Hightower LT. So ride whatever you want, the real problem is finding out what it is you want.

    I'm not familiar with OP's terrain which is why I agree with you that he should ask the shop guys what they recommend for the area.
    Were you being sarcastic when you said you're the idiot with Hightower LT ? 'Cause that bike looks like a beast.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack0000 View Post
    Hello everyone, long story short, tried mountain bike last year, loved it, now investing in a mountain bike for the coming season.
    So after looking at pretty much every single bikes out there, watching 158 videos on YouTube, reading dozens and dozens of different reviews, going to 3 stores, I am still as undecided as ever heh.

    So i'm mostly looking at enduro bikes because I like going uphill as much as I like going downhill. Where I live (montreal) there are not many places who are near by to fully use a crazy 170mm travel bike, but still, I am planning for the future and the trips I will take my bike to.

    As I said, I love going uphill so a bike that climbs as well as it goes down is important for me. I have a 4000$CAN budget and the bikes I've been looking at are :
    Giant reign 2
    Transition patrol nx
    specialized enduro 27.5

    I was just about to order the transition yesterday when someone told me it wasn't a good climber because there was too much travel in the rear and also the new geometry wasn't going to help, even tho I've read reviews who said it was a capable climber despite all that. I was also looking at the transition sentinel or smuggler perhaps ?

    Any input you guys can give is appreciated. Thanks!
    All of the bikes you listed are marginal climbers at best. Anyone who says they "climb well" needs to add an asterisk after those statements, as in "well for an Enduro bike" or "well enough for me."

    That's just the truth. Despite all the marketing these days, there is no bike that goes up like an XC bike and down like a DH sled. And while enduro bikes are fun going down, they are miserable going up anything other than a relatively low grade fire road.

    Nauc gave you some good advice below.

    Quote Originally Posted by nauc View Post
    if you want a bike that climbs as good as it goes down, you want a trail bike, around 130mm of travel or so

    enduro bikes have more travel than that and handle the downs better, but dont climb as good
    Death from Below.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack0000 View Post
    Thx everyone for your feedbacks. For my area a trail bike would be more appropriate, but like I said I would like to plan for the future and the far away trips I will take where the downhills will be more gnarly.
    Maybe the sentinel 29er with 140/160 would be a better option here ?
    I personally would not want a bike with a 64 degree HTA (head tube angle) for normal trail riding. I would only buy a bike for the type of riding I'm doing now or in the immediate future. If you really want something that goes up as well as it goes down (or nearly as well) then I'd recommend something with 150mm max rear travel and 66-68* HTA. Something like a Giant Trance will pedal and climb well and also handle gnarly descents, they're even ran in enduro races.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack0000 View Post
    Were you being sarcastic when you said you're the idiot with Hightower LT ? 'Cause that bike looks like a beast.
    I really ordered one and plan to ride it all over the place including actual gravity trails. It is kind of a beast but not a super slack enduro sled either. I also have a XC/trail hardtail too though.

  13. #13
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    Unless you plan on taking it to the DH parks, I would dial back a bit on the enduro scale. The LBS guys at my LBS are riding Sentinels but they do ride real DH trails, and everything else. Bikes like the Trance, Stumpjumper, Scout, and Smuggler are very capable these days, and are better all round bikes. Check what the locals are riding.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  14. #14
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    I agree with the above that you probably need more of a trail bike than enduro bike. I'd probably go for the shorter travel offerings like the Smuggler if you're concerned about climbs. Have you looked at the Transition Scout? It's a trail bike version of the Patrol that looks plenty capable for the descents. And it's a Transition, which you seem to dig.

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  15. #15
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    I've checked yet again many bikes since yesterday heh. I am now looking at 150mm bikes. The YT jeffsy is interesting, there is also the yeti 5.5 who's 140mm who look really good. So much choices.

  16. #16
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    What you need is N+1 nice HT for XC stuff, and a DH bike for your park days.
    just get a bike and ride!

  17. #17
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    Heh yeah sure but $$$.

  18. #18
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    I've been a New England rider for 30 years...if you are in Montreal you have similar terrain (lots of up/down, technical narrow singletrack with many obstacles). If that's where you will be doing most of your riding, I would not pursue a bike that is better suited for an occasional bike trip to an area that is more enduro/downhill oriented. I would stay focused on the bike that best fits the trails I usually ride.

    The good news is there are many great bikes that fit the 'Trail' or 'All Mountain' category (good at everything) and many of them do fine for the occasional trip to enduro/downhill specific trails. The opposite is NOT true...an enduro/downhill geo bike will be a struggle on your normal trails. Once the honeymoon is over you will realize you are 'overbiked' for your terrain.

    My Kona Process 153 is one example...I'm only a couple months into it but this thing is a BEAST (160mm front/153mm rear) compared to anything I've had but it's a very capable trail bike. My Heckler was 150mm travel front and rear and it has been awesome so I wanted similar travel and all mountain capabilities. I was concerned about how well the Kona would climb (for our terrain) but it's a winner. If I take an occasional road trip to VT or NH for some lift accessed terrain, it's going to be more than adequate for the few trips I will take there.

    I was looking at SC Bronson and Fezzari Nebo Peak as well. Either would be great for our terrain. Kona was best deal so that's what I got. There's many others in this category.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sturge View Post
    I've been a New England rider for 30 years...if you are in Montreal you have similar terrain (lots of up/down, technical narrow singletrack with many obstacles). If that's where you will be doing most of your riding, I would not pursue a bike that is better suited for an occasional bike trip to an area that is more enduro/downhill oriented. I would stay focused on the bike that best fits the trails I usually ride.

    The good news is there are many great bikes that fit the 'Trail' or 'All Mountain' category (good at everything) and many of them do fine for the occasional trip to enduro/downhill specific trails. The opposite is NOT true...an enduro/downhill geo bike will be a struggle on your normal trails. Once the honeymoon is over you will realize you are 'overbiked' for your terrain.

    My Kona Process 153 is one example...I'm only a couple months into it but this thing is a BEAST (160mm front/153mm rear) compared to anything I've had but it's a very capable trail bike. My Heckler was 150mm travel front and rear and it has been awesome so I wanted similar travel and all mountain capabilities. I was concerned about how well the Kona would climb (for our terrain) but it's a winner. If I take an occasional road trip to VT or NH for some lift accessed terrain, it's going to be more than adequate for the few trips I will take there.

    I was looking at SC Bronson and Fezzari Nebo Peak as well. Either would be great for our terrain. Kona was best deal so that's what I got. There's many others in this category.
    Thanks man, i'm taking all this into consideration, I am now looking at trail/agressive trail bikes instead of enduro with max 150mm rear travel.

  20. #20
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    I've been caught in this trap before. Instead of buying the bike I need for my local riding I'm buying one for "what if". What if I went to Whistler? What if I went to BC?

    So where are you going to do 90% of your riding? But the bike for that. If the bike you get will work when you actually take these trips, even if it is a compromise, then use it. If it won't work, rent or borrow one that will.

    I'm sure there are other ways to look at it. Like, If I had a 160mm bike, I'd be motivated to take trips where one is used. Based on your post though, you'd be better off following the advice given and buy a bike better suited to what you claim you want to do. Not what you might do someday.

    Good luck on the new bike purchase.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    But are we talking about smooth fireroads or tight steep technical climbs?
    A bit of both, but definitely not 6k of straight tech climbs...

    I counter much of the advice here is because after a long hiatus, I bought a trail bike only to find the terrain/speed I prefered riding merited a bigger burlier bike... and it climbs punchy tech well enough.

    If I was the OP I would be surveying the local hard core riders to see what geo/travel they ride. That and demo as many bikes as possible.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by EatsDirt View Post
    I counter much of the advice here is because after a long hiatus, I bought a trail bike only to find the terrain/speed I prefered riding merited a bigger burlier bike... and it climbs punchy tech well enough.
    I'm with you for the most part. What bike are you riding? I'd have no problem pedaling many 150mm AM bikes (ex. Remedy) around regular singletrack. But OP is looking at full enduro race bikes for his first mtb. Given the number of posts I see about people who have been riding for years and still can't jump, bunnyhop, hit drops, or some other basic skill, I don't think an enduro bike would be the best choice for a first bike.

  23. #23
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    To echo much of what has been said, I'd stay away from the very long travel enduro bikes and stick with a trail bike... you can always rent a DH bike if you decide to take a trip to Whistler. My HD3 is 160mm in the front and 150mm in the rear and can cope with some pretty gnarly terrain whilst still letting me pedal it uphill. You're dropping some serious money on your first bike, so make sure you pick the right one! If you have an opportunity to test ride some shorter travel bikes on your local terrain that would be ideal.

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    I'd have no problem pedaling many 150mm AM bikes (ex. Remedy) around regular singletrack. But OP is looking at full enduro race bikes for his first mtb.
    Open ended question - What exactly is a full enduro race bike? Both the HD3 and Remedy are generally considered viable race bikes, no? The Slash is under the traill category on Trek's site. I'd consider the HT LT a fully capable race bike... and Graves primarily races a 'trail' frame.

    I don't really care for the labels but perhaps the conversation will help the OP.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by EatsDirt View Post
    Open ended question - What exactly is a full enduro race bike?
    The Reign and Enduro that OP listed.

    Trek on the Slash: "Slash 9.8 is our best enduro race bike. "

    Trek on the Remedy: "Remedy 9.8 is our top-end long travel trail bike."

    Forget semantics, my personal recommendation for OP is max 150mm rear travel and 66-68* HTA.

  26. #26
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    That Yeti 5.5 is a big feeling bike..btw, that's not out of the budget? Don't know much about the Jeffsey but it gets good reviews and you get a lot of bike for the money.

  27. #27
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    I grew up just south of montreal (on the US side in the ADK's) and personally I would look for something with 130-140mm or less (look into the Guerrilla gravity shred dog). If I was riding back there again I would probably purchase a all mountain hard tail with 130-140 fork (GG pedalhead).

    also renting at bike at DH parks are real nice since you will not be beating up your bike.

    happy bike hunting

  28. #28
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    To me the best climbing bike is the lightest bike. I dont give a damn about geometry on a climb, the front end may be a little unwieldy but it doesnt bother me, if anything it spices up an otherwise boring period of the ride. Downhill is a different story, geometry is everything and determines how much fun the bike is. What I look for is getting the most aggressive bike at a weight I can deal with.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack0000 View Post
    Thanks man, i'm taking all this into consideration, I am now looking at trail/agressive trail bikes instead of enduro with max 150mm rear travel.
    Giant Trance 1, 1.5 or 2 (pick alu or carbon model according to your budget) with properly setup suspension and Minion tires will be more than enough for your current skill set (which i assume is basic as you are only getting into MTB) and terrain. You can get them quite easily everywhere and they have good price/performance ratio. As you will progress in years, you will know better what to expect from bike. Until then imo you cannot go wrong with Trance.

  30. #30
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    Yea I've been suggested the trance a couple of times too

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    Hey guys, just wanted to thank you all again for your tips, experiences, etc.. I finally made up my mind and went with the Trance 2. No it's not the one I wanted, but at the end of the day, you gotta look at your budget, and I think it will be good enough for a first MTB and the trails around here and i'll be able to make a better decision for my next, probably more expensive bike
    Can't wait to go for a ride!
    Happy trails!!

  32. #32
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    Sounds like you made a wise choice! That extra money you didnít spend also allows for more fun/adventure as well.

    I have a buddy who spent way more than he could afford on a new bike. Now, he gets to stare at it in the garage while everybody else is out riding...


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