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  1. #1
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    Which frame better suited for AZ trails - the two

    I've been considering are 5" travel Ibis Mojo and Ellsworth Epiphany.
    Since there's no way to try one first, I thought I would check this forum for
    some opinions, advice.
    Right now its more of a dream than a reality - but I would like to move up to
    a 5" travel all around trailbike. I dont do any hucking, but I like technical singletrack,
    which desscribes most of the trials in AZ if you do much riding.
    The dw-linked Mojo seems like a really cool bike. I've heard it described as almost as
    pedaling efficient as a blurLT but with better traction. With the loose rocky trail
    conditions around here, and given the unproven durability of the frame, tho - and carbon
    frames in general I've heard can be flexy, I'm thinking the Epiphany is the safer choice.
    It won't be as pedaling efficient, but the frame was designed with tech singletrack
    in mind. Its not like I can afford to buy a new frame every year. ...
    Anyway, I'm rambling. Any thoughts on these 2 bikes for AZ trail riding ?

  2. #2
    Happy trails
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    i demoed the epi at somo when they were out there.

    it rode great and seemed to climb very well.it handle alot like my titus.in fact after riding the epi i went home and reset my shock pressure and rebound speed to get it to ride more like the ellsworth.have not rode a dw link bike but it look good in theory and seems to get good reviews.not sure what a hard crash in the rocks would do to the carbon frame though.
    Aaron

  3. #3
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Those are too light for XC riding IMO.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  4. #4
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    I would go with the Ells. I would be very worried about a brand new all carbon bike here There is a lot of rocks that would just love to puch through that carbon

  5. #5
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    Good job! Two fine choices, but a third?

    I went through this process last year - having the opportunity to buy a bike with no real thoughts about the cost (everyone should be able to do this once in their life). The Ibis is one sweet looking bike, and has gotten really good reviews... but a big downfall (in my book - besides the "ding factor" mentioned by previous posts) would be availability. You'll likely wait a while due to the demand/production ratio.

    I also looked at a couple of Ellsworth offerings, and much feedback (particularly here on mtbr forums) was concern over breakage. This *was* a year ago... were they forgoing strength for weight? Have the breakage issues been resolved? I don't know, but it was enough of a hesitation for me.

    Have you considered the Titus Moto Lite? There were several factors which sold me - most of which, Titus is right in Tempe. They design and test their bikes right here - not at Whistler, CA, NE woodlands... but right here. Fine-tuned for the AZ trails. The second was the price. I was amazed to find that of the "high-end" frames, teh Moto Lite was $300-500 less that any of the other comparable 5" frames. And you don't sacrifice weight to get 5"... mine is a scant 27# (1/2# lighter than my previous '01 Schwinn)

    That said - almost a year later - the ML is an absolute dream. I too mustly do XC-type, some aggressive, and like the marginally technical downhills. I've found that the bike does it all well - if you stay seated, you climb like a goat (yeah, you'll squish if you stand and grind, but you'll still be able to pull it out). It rails fast and twisty singletrack, and handles any bumps or technicals you'll come across. It's also comfortable for the long-haul... I just squeezed out 10 laps in the 24HOP, and the only thing I needed to do the whole time was relube the chain and tighten the barrel adjuster a click or two. And they're local.

    In short - don't overlook the ML...

    Hank

  6. #6
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    I don't like either choice. I would stick with a proven frame/design/material and a company that has good to better customer service.
    I AM JUST A JERK

  7. #7
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    Hank has a number of good points relative to the Titus ML. It really is a great bike for AZ trails and you can demo the bike for several days from a number of sources. I think the going rate for the demo program is about $200 with round trip shipping and a $100 discount from the dealer if you choose to buy. Check the Titus web site for online dealers I believe a number of them offer demo programs.

    I would also recommend the SC Blur LT with one caveat. I wouldn't use that frame for AZ riding without a longer travel front fork yielding a higher BB. IMO the 130 mm forks yield far to much pedal smack. Fortunately the frame is rated up to a 160mm fork which is where I would go. Both Fox and Marzocchi offer forks in that range with adjustable travel.

    SC has a good customer service reputation and keep an eye on this thread Busted! as it will be interesting to see how Titus handles a broken frame.
    Last edited by Mountain_Man; 02-19-2007 at 01:03 PM.

  8. #8
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    I'll second (or third) the Titus MotoLite as a great all-mountain bike for AZ...better than your other options (at a lesser cost). I went through this exact same process a few months ago and ended up with the MotoLite. The ML has a proven 4-bar Horst suspension and a reputation for durability and superb handling.

    I am completely happy with my choice. The ML is a winner on the downhills and is also an excellent climber and very good handler (not as snappy as my NRS, but it's still damn good). One thing to note -- get an adjustable fork such as the Fox TALAS. My ML has a 140mm TALAS (100/120/140) and it's the perfect companion to have. On climbs the 100mm setting really helps out, and on the descents the 140mm setting is what you want. I can't imaging riding the ML with only a 140mm fork as the front end will pop up too often on climbs.

    Lastly, I wouldn't recommend Santa Cruz Blur bikes to anybody looking for an all-mountain bike. They are great in terms of their all-mountain prowess, but they are wimpy. Of the 3 friends of mine who own or have owned SC Blurs and Blur LT's, they went through 4 broken frames. I hear this from many people that the SC Blurs are underbuilt...which isn't good for an all-mountain bike.

    Thx...Doug

  9. #9
    mr. wonderful
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    i would suggest 4 alternatives-

    ventana el ciclon: 5"x26"

    ventana el ray: 4"x29"

    turner spot: 5.5"x26"

    turner sultan: 4"x29"

    1. proven
    2. reliable
    3. GREAT customer service
    4. and i can go on. . .

    not to slag the the ML, but it's less expensive because it's fabricated off shore. it's also known to have tight rear tire clearance, which is a significant issue for our terrain (big tires= )

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirdir
    I don't like either choice. I would stick with a proven frame/design/material and a company that has good to better customer service.
    like Kona?

  11. #11
    Fragile - must be Italian
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbag
    i would suggest 4 alternatives-

    ventana el ciclon: 5"x26"

    ventana el ray: 4"x29"

    turner spot: 5.5"x26"

    turner sultan: 4"x29"

    1. proven
    2. reliable
    3. GREAT customer service
    4. and i can go on. . .

    not to slag the the ML, but it's less expensive because it's fabricated off shore. it's also known to have tight rear tire clearance, which is a significant issue for our terrain (big tires= )
    FYI - the 2007 ML has increased tire clearance over the previous model years, which definitely was an issue. With that resolved, I couldn't find any fault with the ML...which is why I bought one.

    Thx...Doug

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wurensh
    I went through this process last year - having the opportunity to buy a bike with no real thoughts about the cost (everyone should be able to do this once in their life). The Ibis is one sweet looking bike, and has gotten really good reviews... but a big downfall (in my book - besides the "ding factor" mentioned by previous posts) would be availability. You'll likely wait a while due to the demand/production ratio.

    I also looked at a couple of Ellsworth offerings, and much feedback (particularly here on mtbr forums) was concern over breakage. This *was* a year ago... were they forgoing strength for weight? Have the breakage issues been resolved? I don't know, but it was enough of a hesitation for me.

    Have you considered the Titus Moto Lite? There were several factors which sold me - most of which, Titus is right in Tempe. They design and test their bikes right here - not at Whistler, CA, NE woodlands... but right here. Fine-tuned for the AZ trails. The second was the price. I was amazed to find that of the "high-end" frames, teh Moto Lite was $300-500 less that any of the other comparable 5" frames. And you don't sacrifice weight to get 5"... mine is a scant 27# (1/2# lighter than my previous '01 Schwinn)

    That said - almost a year later - the ML is an absolute dream. I too mustly do XC-type, some aggressive, and like the marginally technical downhills. I've found that the bike does it all well - if you stay seated, you climb like a goat (yeah, you'll squish if you stand and grind, but you'll still be able to pull it out). It rails fast and twisty singletrack, and handles any bumps or technicals you'll come across. It's also comfortable for the long-haul... I just squeezed out 10 laps in the 24HOP, and the only thing I needed to do the whole time was relube the chain and tighten the barrel adjuster a click or two. And they're local.

    In short - don't overlook the ML...

    Hank
    The Motolite was actually my first choice. I got to ride a friends that a few years old
    on a couple different rides. One was down Milagrosa. It handled like a dream on this.
    I tried stuff I would never have dreamed of before. I thought it handled at least as good,
    maybe even better, than my friends VP-Free on this ride.
    Then a few weeks later I got to try it again on the upper 50. I decided that if I liked
    the handling on this ride I was gonna get the bike. Unfortunately on the rather long
    granny ring seated climb I started feeling lower back strain, even when I sat on the saddle
    nose. I had the seat to the right height, and the frame was a large, so the only thing I
    could attribute it to was bad (for me) frame geometry. Since I've heard a couple mentions
    of this before on other forums I thought there might be something to this. I haven't tried the latest version of the Motolite, though. Has anything about the geometry changed over earlier versions ?
    I noted that the seat angle was a little slack, 71.75, for XC type climbing.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by le_buzz
    The Motolite was actually my first choice. I got to ride a friends that a few years old
    on a couple different rides. One was down Milagrosa. It handled like a dream on this.
    I tried stuff I would never have dreamed of before. I thought it handled at least as good,
    maybe even better, than my friends VP-Free on this ride.
    Then a few weeks later I got to try it again on the upper 50. I decided that if I liked
    the handling on this ride I was gonna get the bike. Unfortunately on the rather long
    granny ring seated climb I started feeling lower back strain, even when I sat on the saddle
    nose. I had the seat to the right height, and the frame was a large, so the only thing I
    could attribute it to was bad (for me) frame geometry. Since I've heard a couple mentions
    of this before on other forums I thought there might be something to this. I haven't tried the latest version of the Motolite, though. Has anything about the geometry changed over earlier versions ?
    I noted that the seat angle was a little slack, 71.75, for XC type climbing.
    Did the ML have an adjustable front fork? I hated my ML in the 140mm setting as the front end felt too light, but at 100mm, it's a very comfortable climber for an all-mountain rig. I've taken that bike on a few endurance rides with long steep climbs (>45min, >1000 ft) and it's been great. I will not say it climbs as well as my NRS or any other dedicated XC rig...but it's pretty damn close.

    If you like climbing I'm a bit surprised by your other choices. Turners and Ventantas are not noted for their climbing prowess. The only other all-mountain rig that I hear is a good climbing machine is a Yeti 575, which was another of my top choices. The other AM bikes I checked out either had too much pedal kickback (GF Cake -- and most single-pivot bikes in the granny gear) or too heavy (such as Giant Reign or SC Nomad) to be a "good" climber...especially if you're already used to a good XC bike.

    Thx...Doug

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    Did the ML have an adjustable front fork? I hated my ML in the 140mm setting as the front end felt too light, but at 100mm, it's a very comfortable climber for an all-mountain rig. I've taken that bike on a few endurance rides with long steep climbs (>45min, >1000 ft) and it's been great. I will not say it climbs as well as my NRS or any other dedicated XC rig...but it's pretty damn close.

    If you like climbing I'm a bit surprised by your other choices. Turners and Ventantas are not noted for their climbing prowess. The only other all-mountain rig that I hear is a good climbing machine is a Yeti 575, which was another of my top choices. The other AM bikes I checked out either had too much pedal kickback (GF Cake -- and most single-pivot bikes in the granny gear) or too heavy (such as Giant Reign or SC Nomad) to be a "good" climber...especially if you're already used to a good XC bike.

    Thx...Doug
    No, Turners or Ventanas were never on my list. I'm liking the looks of the new Chumba XCL, though. That might be the ticket if the geometry is a little steeper than the ML.
    As far as the fork on the bike I tried, it was a 130mm non adjustable. I tried to take this
    into account as far as the handling. I know the new Motolites come with a Talas that you
    can wind down to 100mm for the climbs. I never ridden a bike with a talas, but I gotta
    think it would be a bit inconvenient to have to reach down or if that wasnt possible
    get off the bike and wind it down every time you needed to climb a granny ring section.
    If you only had to do that once in a while that would be ok, but in a trail with lots of steep
    ups and downs I'd seems like you'd be better off if you if you didnt have to wind down
    the fork every time things got steep.

  15. #15
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    The 07 Talas in either 32 or 36 mm varieties are adjustable at the 45 deg flick of a lever on the top of the left tube. Or if it was a clock face 9 = max height, 7:30= Mid Point, and 6 = Lowest height. The settings are 140, 120, 100 and 160, 130, 100 respectively. Very quick, very easy to reach and very easy to adjust while on the trail.

    The Talas may not be the plushest fork in the world but it sure is easy to adjust and I'll live with that for those times when the climbing really gets technical.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by le_buzz
    Unfortunately on the rather long
    granny ring seated climb I started feeling lower back strain, even when I sat on the saddle
    nose. I had the seat to the right height, and the frame was a large, so the only thing I
    could attribute it to was bad (for me) frame geometry
    This doesn't make sense to me. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a "5" travel all around trailbike" as stated in your original post, there is no perfect bike that perfectly combines climbing and descending ability. The Yeti 575 is another option, although at this point I am not sure what kind of bike you want.

    The ML is a 5" trailbike and so is the 5-Spot, but they are different. In terms of proven designs plus proven customer service, I agree with Dirtbag that Ventana and Turner are on the top of the list. I have heard a few bad things about Titus' customer service, but in all honesty, I would have no problems pulling the tigger on a ML.

    As for Blurs, Conservationist rides his pretty damn hard and he has had no issues for three or so years.
    I AM JUST A JERK

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain_Man
    The 07 Talas in either 32 or 36 mm varieties are adjustable at the 45 deg flick of a lever on the top of the left tube. Or if it was a clock face 9 = max height, 7:30= Mid Point, and 6 = Lowest height. The settings are 140, 120, 100 and 160, 130, 100 respectively. Very quick, very easy to reach and very easy to adjust while on the trail.

    The Talas may not be the plushest fork in the world but it sure is easy to adjust and I'll live with that for those times when the climbing really gets technical.
    My experience with the 07 Talas is the same -- EASY to adjust between 100/140mm. The dial is on the left leg and has only 3 positions -- 100/120/140 -- with detents and obvious position of the lever. Since I only adjust between the 2 (140 or 100), it's as easy as "lever all the way up" or "lever all the way down". This is an adjustment you can make while riding the bike.

    I can't imagine having an "all-mountain" bike without an adjustable travel fork (Talas and some RockShox models). ANY bike with a tall front end from a 140mm fork is going to be a PITA to climb with -- front end will just be too high up and your handlebars will be at your chest and you'll constantly be popping wheelies. And any 100mm-only fork (which is good for climbing) is going to suck on gnarly downhills when you want 130-140mm (or more) of travel.

    Regardless of what kind of bike you get, at least consider an adjustable fork. I never owned one before and never wanted one...but now that I have one I can't imagine being without it. The Talas is the perfect compromise...no matter what kind of bike it is on.



    Thx...Doug

  18. #18
    I am Walt
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    Oh, and make sure you get a 29'er...
    Ride more; post less...

  19. #19
    Fragile - must be Italian
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    Quote Originally Posted by waltaz
    Oh, and make sure you get a 29'er...
    Yeah...don't you have a Kona for sale? I've heard those are the best climbing and descending bikes on the planet...the perfect do-it-all bike. That solves the entire debate.



    Thx...Doug

  20. #20
    mr. wonderful
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    Turners and Ventanas are not noted for their climbing prowess.

    Thx...Doug
    what!? just imagine what geoff kabush could have done on an nrs? seriously, where is this noted? did i miss an issue (or all) of mountain bike action? i would have thought they would say they climb 'like a scalded monkey on steroids'.

    i think both climb fabulously, both on smooth and technical terrain. i've done the blur thing, and the 575. both fine bikes and good climbers, but for technical climbing i haven't found anything that beats a good ol' 4 bar, whether it's horst link or faux bar.

    when you speak of all mountain and climbing, i think of technical terrain which requires a balance of goemetry for both climbing and descending. where i think the moto lite fails in its geometry (depending on the model) is a head angle that is too steep for hairy descents (the 130 is marginal at best) and a seat angle that is too slack for great traction on steep and loose terrain (the seat angle on the 100 is good, but then you are stuck with head angle over 70 degrees).

    the bottom line is it's 99% the horse, .9% luck, and .1% the bike (at best). if you can make any work well for you, most likely all will work well. mostly, you just need to adjust to the nuances of the bike.

    i do have to laugh, however, at the blanket statement about the climbing prowess turners and ventanas this ol' turner climbs pretty well. . .
    Attached Images Attached Images

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi

    Turners and Ventantas are not noted for their climbing prowess.
    Thx...Doug

    I ride a Turner RFX, so take this as you may, but that is about the dumbest things I have ever heard My bike weighs in at 36lbs, (with Super Tacky DH tires) and I can climb better with this bike than any other bike I have been on. Is it as fast a 30lb ML with 800gram XC tires, no. But compare it to a 31lb 5 Spot and I take the 5 Spot hands down. Titus is a great bike, but I take the American handbuilt product with the BEST customer service in the business everytime. Besides, there is nothing better than good 'ol greasable bushings,
    Employed by Pivot Cycles - www.pivotcycles.com

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbag
    when you speak of all mountain and climbing, i think of technical terrain which requires a balance of goemetry for both climbing and descending. where i think the moto lite fails in its geometry (depending on the model) is a head angle that is too steep for hairy descents (the 130 is marginal at best) and a seat angle that is too slack for great traction on steep and loose terrain (the seat angle on the 100 is good, but then you are stuck with head angle over 70 degrees).
    Just to let everyone know, there isn't a MotoLite 100 or 130. The website is just showing the change in geometry depending on the travel position of the fork - it's incredibly misleading.

    The head angle is 69.25 with a 5 inch fox 32. The only thing the seat-tube angle affects is the position of the saddle. So the difference between a 71.75 deg SA and a 73 deg SA is about 15mm on the saddle rails; or perhaps not going with a setback post. It's sort of a moot point since it's the rider's measurements that should set the saddle position and not the bike's.

    Awesome picture d'bag!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiSS'er
    I ride a Turner RFX, so take this as you may, but that is about the dumbest things I have ever heard My bike weighs in at 36lbs, (with Super Tacky DH tires) and I can climb better with this bike than any other bike I have been on. Is it as fast a 30lb ML with 800gram XC tires, no. But compare it to a 31lb 5 Spot and I take the 5 Spot hands down. Titus is a great bike, but I take the American handbuilt product with the BEST customer service in the business everytime. Besides, there is nothing better than good 'ol greasable bushings,
    Ok - you guys have both taken my comment WAY out of context. My comment regarding Turners and Ventanas was not a smack down on their design. On the contrary, both have similar 4-bar designs as the ML, so knocking the Turners and Ventanas would be knocking the ML. What I meant was that most Turners and Ventanas are heavier bikes (usually 35+ lbs)...which in turn makes them not great climbers (as compared to a 27lb Yeti 575).

    Ask anybody what they would consider a "good climbing" 5-6" travel bike and you will rarely hear anybody mention either Turner or Ventana. When "climber" is mentioned in conjunction with "all-mountain", you will hear Yeti 575 and Titus MotoLite very often...more often than most other "all mountain" bikes. And I'm sure many other "all mountain" bikes are better descenders than the Yeti and MotoLite.

    I also reached the same conclusion with the Giant Reign. Since I've had such great experience with my NRS I obviously looked to buy another Giant before anything else...and the Reign fit the bill. It has a "new and improved" suspension design over previous 4-bar designs (that's according to the marketing literature), so one would think it's the best of all worlds -- climbing and descending. But guess what? A Reign 1 weighs in at 32lbs without pedals. A 32+lb bike with a 150lb rider does not make a great climbing combination, no matter how good the suspension design is.

    There is no silver bullet bike. If there was we would all be riding one. All bikes are a mix of compromises. I shopped and chose the ML over everything else based on my preferences -- solid climber and descender (not the best of either...but a mix) with reasonable weight (28lb). And I'm 100% happy with my decision. As long as you all are happy with yours, then relax and stop being so defensive.

    Thx...Doug

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by dulyebr
    Just to let everyone know, there isn't a MotoLite 100 or 130. The website is just showing the change in geometry depending on the travel position of the fork - it's incredibly misleading.

    The head angle is 69.25 with a 5 inch fox 32. The only thing the seat-tube angle affects is the position of the saddle. So the difference between a 71.75 deg SA and a 73 deg SA is about 15mm on the saddle rails; or perhaps not going with a setback post. It's sort of a moot point since it's the rider's measurements that should set the saddle position and not the bike's.

    Awesome picture d'bag!
    Actually, that chart is also now out of date, as the 2007's come with a taller 140mm fork (not 130mm as in 2006). I checked with the guys at Titus and the head angle at the tallest (140mm) setting is slacker than indicated in the chart for the 130mm setting. How much? This varies by frame size. My frame is a size Small, and at 140mm the head angle slackens out the HTA from 69 degrees to 68.5. A bigger frame will see less of a change.

    Thx...Doug

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dulyebr
    The head angle is 69.25 with a 5 inch fox 32.
    Yeah, that's pretty steep IMO.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    Ok - you guys have both taken my comment WAY out of context. My comment regarding Turners and Ventanas was not a smack down on their design. On the contrary, both have similar 4-bar designs as the ML, so knocking the Turners and Ventanas would be knocking the ML. What I meant was that most Turners and Ventanas are heavier bikes (usually 35+ lbs)...which in turn makes them not great climbers (as compared to a 27lb Yeti 575).

    Ask anybody what they would consider a "good climbing" 5-6" travel bike and you will rarely hear anybody mention either Turner or Ventana. When "climber" is mentioned in conjunction with "all-mountain", you will hear Yeti 575 and Titus MotoLite very often...more often than most other "all mountain" bikes. And I'm sure many other "all mountain" bikes are better descenders than the Yeti and MotoLite.

    I also reached the same conclusion with the Giant Reign. Since I've had such great experience with my NRS I obviously looked to buy another Giant before anything else...and the Reign fit the bill. It has a "new and improved" suspension design over previous 4-bar designs (that's according to the marketing literature), so one would think it's the best of all worlds -- climbing and descending. But guess what? A Reign 1 weighs in at 32lbs without pedals. A 32+lb bike with a 150lb rider does not make a great climbing combination, no matter how good the suspension design is.

    There is no silver bullet bike. If there was we would all be riding one. All bikes are a mix of compromises. I shopped and chose the ML over everything else based on my preferences -- solid climber and descender (not the best of either...but a mix) with reasonable weight (28lb). And I'm 100% happy with my decision. As long as you all are happy with yours, then relax and stop being so defensive.

    Thx...Doug
    I don't think the backpedaling is going to help. No offense, but it still doesn't make any sense to me.

    How much does a 575 weigh? How much does a 5 spot weigh? You're going to tell me that something that is at most a quarter pound different is going to affect climbing greatly?

    Sure, my 6 pack is 35+lbs, but it is not a comparable bike to a 575. My 6 pack has heavier tubing, is made for more abuse, slacker, etc.

    If I compared yeti downhill bikes against the turner nitrous, I could say that yetis are usually much heavier than turners, because that is just as valid IMO as your comparission of "35lb" turners against "27" yetis. That 575 might end up too light with a 27lb build for "serious" all-around terrain in some of our opinions, but at the very least the comparission you made is very poor.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirdir
    This doesn't make sense to me. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a "5" travel all around trailbike" as stated in your original post, there is no perfect bike that perfectly combines climbing and descending ability. The Yeti 575 is another option, although at this point I am not sure what kind of bike you want.

    The ML is a 5" trailbike and so is the 5-Spot, but they are different. In terms of proven designs plus proven customer service, I agree with Dirtbag that Ventana and Turner are on the top of the list. I have heard a few bad things about Titus' customer service, but in all honesty, I would have no problems pulling the tigger on a ML.

    As for Blurs, Conservationist rides his pretty damn hard and he has had no issues for three or so years.
    Just to clarify, I'm looking for a general heavy duty trail riding bike - somewhat all mtn.,
    but maybe a little to the XC side of all mtn., meaning one that isn't a pain to climb on.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    Yeah, that's pretty steep IMO.
    all the better for a longer fork.

    assuming 20mm increase of AC (Axle to Crown) = 1 degree of slack...

    ACHASABB
    Pike Low48869.6072.1013.53
    Pike Mid50369.1571.6513.71
    Pike Full51868.4070.9013.95
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    Last edited by dulyebr; 02-21-2007 at 04:07 PM.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    And I'm 100% happy with my decision. As long as you all are happy with yours, then relax and stop being so defensive.

    Thx...Doug
    and i'm happy that you're happy. BTW, i was not being defensive, i was simply calling you on your BS. . . in a friendly-sort-of-way

    your thinking that all turners and ventanas are 35+ lbs. is cute though

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by le_buzz
    Just to clarify, I'm looking for a general heavy duty trail riding bike - somewhat all mtn.,
    but maybe a little to the XC side of all mtn., meaning one that isn't a pain to climb on.

    This thread was getting a little off topic. However, many of the replies are quite valid as everyone has a preference.

    I was in the same situation you are in having purchased an XC bike that just doesn't quite cut it in AZ. A 5 in bike is probably the minimum you would want to ride for general purpose riding around these parts. I spent quite a bit of time obsessing over what to buy as a replacement and in the end went with a Nomad. Frankly at a little over 30 lbs (depending on tires and wheels) I find that it climbs as well or better than my Blur and eats the bumps alive on the way down. They really aren't a pain to climb with and have more than sufficient BB clearance for the rocks that our trails seem to be littered with. So depending on where you like to ride you might actually want to consider a 6 in travel bike as a valid alternative. I haven't ridden my Blur since the Nomad arrived and really haven't missed it either. My point here being that with some of the new designs out there that you can step right out of the XC bracket and into a "larger" bike and not really feel like you went to far on your selection.

    I put my wife into an 07 ML2 and she loves it and feels it has many of the positive attributes that several others have mentioned in their replies to your post. With the adjustable 140 mm forks they both climb and descend very well. The Titus really is a very close fit to the bike you describe as what you are looking for. Not to say that Turner, SC, Yeti, etc., etc. don't all have something in the 5 in travel range.

    I would still highly recommend narrowing down your selection to two or three bikes from companies that have good customer service reputations and then spend the money on a demo. Competitive Cyclist has a demo program for Turner, Titus, Ventana, Intense, etc. I don't believe that every frame is available but it is a place to start. You will be able to get in two or three days of riding on a bike that you can set up to fit you and try it in areas that you know well.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain_Man
    This thread was getting a little off topic. However, many of the replies are quite valid as everyone has a preference.

    I was in the same situation you are in having purchased an XC bike that just doesn't quite cut it in AZ. A 5 in bike is probably the minimum you would want to ride for general purpose riding around these parts. I spent quite a bit of time obsessing over what to buy as a replacement and in the end went with a Nomad. Frankly at a little over 30 lbs (depending on tires and wheels) I find that it climbs as well or better than my Blur and eats the bumps alive on the way down. They really aren't a pain to climb with and have more than sufficient BB clearance for the rocks that our trails seem to be littered with. So depending on where you like to ride you might actually want to consider a 6 in travel bike as a valid alternative. I haven't ridden my Blur since the Nomad arrived and really haven't missed it either. My point here being that with some of the new designs out there that you can step right out of the XC bracket and into a "larger" bike and not really feel like you went to far on your selection.

    I put my wife into an 07 ML2 and she loves it and feels it has many of the positive attributes that several others have mentioned in their replies to your post. With the adjustable 140 mm forks they both climb and descend very well. The Titus really is a very close fit to the bike you describe as what you are looking for. Not to say that Turner, SC, Yeti, etc., etc. don't all have something in the 5 in travel range.

    I would still highly recommend narrowing down your selection to two or three bikes from companies that have good customer service reputations and then spend the money on a demo. Competitive Cyclist has a demo program for Turner, Titus, Ventana, Intense, etc. I don't believe that every frame is available but it is a place to start. You will be able to get in two or three days of riding on a bike that you can set up to fit you and try it in areas that you know well.
    Yeah, I've been seriously considering doing the Ellsworth Epiphany demo with them,
    unless I find a reason to rule it out beforehand. According to some, its the most
    pedaling efficient of the 4-bars, one guy who has both it and the ML says the Ells is
    more pedaling efficient on the climbs. I dont buy the ICT claims of 99% pedaling
    efficiency, though. Nothing is that good. The Nomad would be too slack for me, I'm
    sure. The ML was a tad too slack, I'm sure the Nomad would be slacker still. Too bad they didn't have a slightly steeper version of the ML, maybe a Motolite - Lite. That would be perfect. The advantage of the Epiphany is its built with xc-type all mountain in mind.
    Maybe if I tried the ML with the Talas I'd change my opinion of it.
    If I could afford it, I think I'd demo both, but I have to narrow the selection process
    down somehow.

  32. #32
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    Here is a small list, based on my limited trail and frame experience, of my choices for the perfect bike for each area I know.

    National Trail - Turner 5-Spot
    Hawes, Desert Classic, Pemberton, McDowell Loops - Niner SIR9 SS
    Sunset/Lost Dog, Walt's Bypasses, T100 - Santa Cruz Blur
    I AM JUST A JERK

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    So its even slacker on the new ones. What I'm looking for is around 73 for the SA at
    about 120 - 130 mm in front. I dont care so much about the HA, but I wouldnt want to
    go any lower than 69, to avoid the chopper like handling on tight climbs.
    Its a compromise either way. Go too much to the xc side of things then handling suffers
    going down, but climbing ergonomics is important to me. I have kind of a longish back,
    and I like to be stretched out enough over the toptube to be in a comfortable position
    for climbs; I dont like twitchiness going down though. I need a bike that can do
    evth. well, but doesnt give up too much performance going up, if thats possible.

  34. #34
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    Well le_buzz, my 35+lb turner 6 pack with a 170mm travel front fork has a head tube that's probably around 72° when climbing, due to the fact that I can lock it down with the ETA function. So, just because you may have a 130 or 150mm fork (or even a whole lot more!) doesn't mean you can't climbing anymore because the front end is too high. There are some quick-adjusting forks out there that will sink down in their travel, or the ETA feature like my marzocchi has, which allows me to climb up super steep stuff, even though my bike weighs a ton and the fork has about 7" of travel.

    You don't necessarily have to compramise that much these days...

    This fork can go a little lower even...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Jayem; 02-21-2007 at 05:08 PM.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by le_buzz
    According to some, its the most
    pedaling efficient of the 4-bars
    As a long time mountain biker, and one time shop salesman, I must say that "pedaling efficiancy" is blown way out of proportion and used as somewhat as a gimmick and a sales thing, not so much something that really has much to do with real life.

    What makes more of a difference is the "engine", the person behind it, and to some extent the weight of the bike (yes, I agree with dgangi that weight is important, just not that a turner weighs 35lbs and a yeti weighs 27). You could ride all day on a 23lb innefficiant FS bike most likely, whereas a 30lb hardtail would kill you after a while. This is due to the fact that every pedal stroke is an acelleration, and you're also constantly acellerationg the bike left and right and up and down. Those take a cumulative toll. The other big factor is your engine, and how great your anerobic limit is, because it's not the steady state stuff that kills you, it's when you're going over your limit to catch someone, or climb up a steep hill. Strength plays a huge role here.

    The 2nd part of this is that there are some very "efficiant" FS bikes out there, that don't climb worth crap. Why? Because while they are very good at transmitting pedal strokes into forward motion, they are sometimes less than great at absorbing impacts and providing traction when doing so, in fact some bikes use chain tension (the force that is excerted on the suspension by your pedaling) to make the suspension more "efficient", and when you're trying to climb in rough terrain the rear end will kind of skip and lose traction, ultimately resulting in spinouts and not being able to continue upwards. This obviously is not dependant on weight, but you could have a lightweight bike that pedals great, but doesn't really climb all that well in rough terrain, whereas you could have a heavy bike that climbs great.

    There are plenty of us in Arizona that ride all kinds of varied terrain. XC stuff without much gain or loss in altitude, real technical stuff that has lots of steep ups and downs, and long downhill rides with technical and lots of vertical. Jumping off cliffs is NOT a prerequisite for this kind of riding, so you can do this and have fun and not be dropping or getting huge air time. Lots of us have found that the lightest "all mountain" bikes are nothing more than XC race bikes with a little more travel and slightly slacker angles. This means that they could lack a lot in construction and other geometry factors that would make a solid "all around" bike. I'd say the ellsworth epiphany is one of these bikes based on the specs, and I wouldn't ride one due to the bad customer service, but I also wouldn't ride one because the travel is marginal IMO, the construction is very light, tire clearance and other factors are important in the long run, and wheelbase, chainstay lengths, and other features are things that I'm pretty opinionated on. There are a lot of people like me that would rather ride a Moment, 5 spot, RFX, Reign, or other similer bike with differing builds due to their prowess in multiple situations. Most of them climb as well as the human engine can output, and the "differences" in regards to the suspension are usually not that great in the big picture, at least compared to the human component.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain_Man
    . Competitive Cyclist has a demo program for Turner, Titus, Ventana, Intense, etc. I don't believe that every frame is available but it is a place to start. You will be able to get in two or three days of riding on a bike that you can set up to fit you and try it in areas that you know well.
    Can you provide info on Competitive Cyclist? I did a search for them but came up empty.

    TIA
    Gary
    Gary

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain_Man
    A 5 in bike is probably the minimum you would want to ride for general purpose riding around these parts.
    Man this makes me feel old. Pre-major falls, pre-no insurance, pre-job responsibility, pre-40 extra pounds, I was riding absolutely everything on a 3" hardtail. Shoot, everyone was! That's all there was, unless you were a stud and went fully rigid. National, Geronimo, Pass Mtn., Flag, all of it.

    I'm not sure if it's marketing hype or the aging demographic or some confluence of the two, but I wonder what the thousands of AZ mountain bikers from the 80s and 90s would have to say about 5" being a minimum?

    All I know is, 5" is a minimum for me now. 4" if it's on my 29er.

    p.
    Don't be that guy! Read the forum guidelines.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeeDubb
    Can you provide info on Competitive Cyclist? I did a search for them but came up empty.

    TIA
    Gary

    Here you go.....http://www.competitivecyclist.com/mountain-bikes

    mouse over the brand you are interested in then look for the demo bike listing info under that brand.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    Man this makes me feel old. Pre-major falls, pre-no insurance, pre-job responsibility, pre-40 extra pounds, I was riding absolutely everything on a 3" hardtail. Shoot, everyone was! That's all there was, unless you were a stud and went fully rigid. National, Geronimo, Pass Mtn., Flag, all of it.
    Yea...no kidding. It is funny to hear somebody say that 5" of travel is the minimum that anybody would want to ride. When I got my first real MTB in 1992 after I graduated from college, it was a fully rigid 30lb cro-mo rig. I rode that bike everywhere for 3 yrs before I could afford a Manitou 2 fork (which had maybe 40mm of travel). I thought that was plush!

    I'm not sure if it's my 37yr old body, 37yr old mind, fatter wallet, submission to marketing hype, or a combination of all of the above...but I agree that 5" is the new "standard" for full squish MTB's.

    Thx...Doug

  40. #40
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    Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain_Man
    Here you go.....http://www.competitivecyclist.com/mountain-bikes

    mouse over the brand you are interested in then look for the demo bike listing info under that brand.
    I thought they were a LBS....duh! Explains why they weren't in the phone book :-)
    Gary

  41. #41
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    It's interesting coming back in a few days later and seeing where this thread has gone.

    As for the lower back pain in extended climbing on the ML - not sure what body dimentions are at play, but I'm average height (5'11"), average inseam (32") - and I got recommendations to get both the large and medium frames from a couple of sources. I ended up going with the medium frame after consultation with Titus. I've had absolutely no issues with lower back pain (which I did on my previous bike), and while I don't do it all the time, I've done the climb to Charouleau Gap - I think that would be enough of a climbing test. I do think having some sort of a travel-adjust shock may be key. When I know I'm climbing a bit, I do stop and adjust my '06 TALAS down a few notches - while the '07 TALAS has the simpler 1-2-3 height settings, the '06 adjusts in 3mm increments. I've learned to deal with that - but for most of my regular riding (variety), I just keep it at full-out.

    Rear-tire clearance is indeed tight on the '06 ML (which I have). I've been running Specialized 2.1's, which I think more accurately measure in the 2.2 range (the widest 2.1's I've ever ridden). I've also replaced the rear with the Nevegal 2.1, which also fits just fine, and I've had no wanting for a bigger tire for my own preferences. I/we do live in Arizona, so mud is not an issue, so clearance has not been an issue. Having done it in the past, I choose not to ride in conditions of high mud - not because of clearance, but because I just choose not to deal with the damage issues... so I'm a wimp.

    Now- another topic was brought into the fold - US v. foreign made. This is a hot-bed issue, and people are passionate on both sides. I'll be the first to say that I loathe companies that fire masses of Americans (in the hundreds-to-thousands) just to utilize some overseas sweat shop where they can cut labor costs ten(or more)-fold only to keep profits for themselves. That said, we *do* live in a global market - just look where the parts on your "American Assembled" computers come from, your "American Assembled" car, even your "American Assembled" clothes. Why do our markets (even organic) stock nearly all fruoits and vegetables year-round? Just to name a few. I did consider this issue when considering the ML - but the frame *is* designed in Tempe, and made to quality specifications considering the trail conditions in AZ. Furthermore, Titus does, I believe, pass on the cost-savings to the consumer, as proof by the price compared to very similar frames. That was a big plus for me. Designed and assembled in AZ, made overseas - but likely involving several employees - not the 1-2 more it would take to staff at Titus, and thus Titus is able to keep up with demand for a quality frame at a quality price.

    Bottom line - there are many choices, and it's not like going out and buying a six-pack of beer. Much of the enjoyment is just getting to that spot, balanced with the joy of first getting the new bike, and finally, getting all the time you can in the saddle. Good luck!

    Hank

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by wurensh
    It's interesting coming back in a few days later and seeing where this thread has gone.

    Rear-tire clearance is indeed tight on the '06 ML (which I have).

    Now- another topic was brought into the fold - US v. foreign made. k!

    Hank
    The rear tire clearance is tight on the ML2 also. My wife's bike has Maxxis 2.35's actually a 2.2 and they fit just fine. However, the larger rubber is a little suspect. See the photo for a real 2.5. I don't think I would run this tire on a ML

    FWIW I believe that the ML2 rear triangle with the carbon and hydroformed bits are built in the US and assembled to the front triangle which ships in from off shore. Unfortunately the ML2 pricing is now in line more or less in line with the competition in the 5" market at about $1850 for the frame. You can still buy an an all AL complete bike for about
    $ 2300-$2400 if you are willing to use the components that Titus specs out for you.

    The bottom line is that is that I would agree with Hank in that I consider the ML a very good 5" bike and well worth consideration. On the other hand I wouldn't rule out a larger bike/longer fork based purely on geometry as many of them seem to overcome perceived limitations through adjustable forks and or slick suspension and frame design.
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by wurensh
    It's interesting coming back in a few days later and seeing where this thread has gone.

    As for the lower back pain in extended climbing on the ML - not sure what body dimentions are at play, but I'm average height (5'11"), average inseam (32") - and I got recommendations to get both the large and medium frames from a couple of sources. I ended up going with the medium frame after consultation with Titus. I've had absolutely no issues with lower back pain (which I did on my previous bike), and while I don't do it all the time, I've done the climb to Charouleau Gap - I think that would be enough of a climbing test. I do think having some sort of a travel-adjust shock may be key. When I know I'm climbing a bit, I do stop and adjust my '06 TALAS down a few notches - while the '07 TALAS has the simpler 1-2-3 height settings, the '06 adjusts in 3mm increments. I've learned to deal with that - but for most of my regular riding (variety), I just keep it at full-out.

    Rear-tire clearance is indeed tight on the '06 ML (which I have). I've been running Specialized 2.1's, which I think more accurately measure in the 2.2 range (the widest 2.1's I've ever ridden). I've also replaced the rear with the Nevegal 2.1, which also fits just fine, and I've had no wanting for a bigger tire for my own preferences. I/we do live in Arizona, so mud is not an issue, so clearance has not been an issue. Having done it in the past, I choose not to ride in conditions of high mud - not because of clearance, but because I just choose not to deal with the damage issues... so I'm a wimp.

    Now- another topic was brought into the fold - US v. foreign made. This is a hot-bed issue, and people are passionate on both sides. I'll be the first to say that I loathe companies that fire masses of Americans (in the hundreds-to-thousands) just to utilize some overseas sweat shop where they can cut labor costs ten(or more)-fold only to keep profits for themselves. That said, we *do* live in a global market - just look where the parts on your "American Assembled" computers come from, your "American Assembled" car, even your "American Assembled" clothes. Why do our markets (even organic) stock nearly all fruoits and vegetables year-round? Just to name a few. I did consider this issue when considering the ML - but the frame *is* designed in Tempe, and made to quality specifications considering the trail conditions in AZ. Furthermore, Titus does, I believe, pass on the cost-savings to the consumer, as proof by the price compared to very similar frames. That was a big plus for me. Designed and assembled in AZ, made overseas - but likely involving several employees - not the 1-2 more it would take to staff at Titus, and thus Titus is able to keep up with demand for a quality frame at a quality price.

    Bottom line - there are many choices, and it's not like going out and buying a six-pack of beer. Much of the enjoyment is just getting to that spot, balanced with the joy of first getting the new bike, and finally, getting all the time you can in the saddle. Good luck!

    Hank
    Hey Hank. I think I've ridden with you before. Weren't you also on that SDMB ride back in Nov. - on the Reddington area AZ trail ? I was the guy on the blurXC - I remember you cause we were introduced. Jobie did that ride on a singlespeed. That guy is in shape.
    You were riding a grey Motolite. As of the current moment, I'm actually leaning toward
    the Chumba XCL. Slightly beefiier where it counts, a little steeper SA and slightly higher
    BB than the ML, but otherwise very similar - a geat bike for AZ, also made in USA
    Cheers !

  44. #44
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    Hope

    Quote Originally Posted by le_buzz
    Hey Hank. I think I've ridden with you before. Weren't you also on that SDMB ride back in Nov. - on the Reddington area AZ trail ? I was the guy on the blurXC ...
    Cheers !
    Yup! T'was me. I'm not at all familiar with the Chumba, except as a DH bike - good to see they're expanding their market - always though the name was cool :-). I really enjoyed riding the Bellota Ranch trail - lots of fun... too bad it's such a haul for me to get here (and some great riding also closer). One of these days I'll get back up there and include Milagrisa on the loop... I really HATE being a Milagrosa virgin ;-)

    Hank

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