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  1. #1
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! Trying to buy a new dually & can't decide - NEED HELP!

    O.k, so up 'till now I've played my bike purchases safe by staying in the hardtail realm...
    After years of being envious of dually riders cruising comfortably past on endurance rides or bombing past me on technical downhill sections of the trail, I've decided to bite the bullet & splash out some hard-earned on a new dual-squish machine (I even have spousal approval - UNBELIEVABLE ).

    I've been dilligently researching brands & options + test-riding for months & seem to be further away from making a decision. Mainly I think because every bike shop I talk to just wants to sell me their latest 'insane deal'. So I thought I'd subscribe to a forum & throw it out there to my fat-tyred-loving comrades. So please, tell me what you think...

    I live in Brisbane & spend most of my time riding Mt Cootha's trails (riding distance from my house), with the odd trip to Daisy Hill, Mt Crosby or Bunya State Forest. For those who aren't familiar, this basically consists of lots of gravelly single track, technically intermediate in most places with a few more technical area's + some man-made terrain w/ decent drop-off's etc.

    To put it simply, I want a bike that'll do everything!
    The main focus would be trail-riding, going down hills faster & getting more air, but I'd also love it if I could find a bike that could be competitive in an endurance or XC race.
    I do have a couple of hardtails including a Giant XTC 1 that could be lightened up from it's current trail spec. to focus more on XC.
    And I've pretty much targeted the 5-inch-travel segment of the market simply because that seems to be the go for what I'm looking for... But maybe not?

    As I've said, I have done heaps of research & have some favourites (both from mass-produced & 'botique' brands), but I'm intentionally not mentioning them in the hope your feedback will help firm up a decision.
    Oh & I wanted to spend between $4 & $5K, but I note there's some 2010 bargains floating around ATM...

    So over to you guys...
    What do you reckon is the best machine to do the job & why. Please don't be afraid of naming brands.
    Hopefully I get the feedback I'm looking for & you guys can participate / contribute to the purchase of my new rig !

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    DoF

  2. #2
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    I think any brand with 4 to 5 inch of travel will do the job. With that much budget you'll be on a nice bike. Do some googoleego research and go with what you like and dont listen to anyone telling you thier bike brand is better than others

  3. #3
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    Umm, O.k. I must confess I expected a bit more of an answer than "any bike at that budget will be good"...

    Really looking for peoples suggestions here.
    I want to make sure I get the right bike (there's so much choice out there)!

  4. #4
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    I'm going through the same process...and I think I'm going Yeti 575
    **** Looking for a Sram 9.0SL rear hub *****

  5. #5
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    So what made your mind up about the Yeti & what sort of riding are you planning to do on it?
    i.e/ Would you use it in an XC / endurance race?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by degrees_of_freedom
    So what made your mind up about the Yeti & what sort of riding are you planning to do on it?
    i.e/ Would you use it in an XC / endurance race?
    Tapered head tube, ISCG so i can run a chain guide for the 1x10 have a local dealer that stocks them, they climb well, but decend well .... what type of riding...I'm in Dunedin so it's all up and downs, will be using it for the Motatapu
    **** Looking for a Sram 9.0SL rear hub *****

  7. #7
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    I recently purchased a Yeti ASR5C, from the US, with the $$ so good at the moment it makes sense. I went with the 5C over the 575 as 5 inches is more than enough for what I ride which is XC racing, Endurance and trail riding. I dont do downhill or this AM stuff, launching drops etc.

    The reasons for my decision:

    I very rarely do drops or jumps (its not in my blood and I dont have the balls)
    Light for racing
    5 Inch travel is good for trail riding as well as endurance
    Fairly new bike as well.

    PM me if you want the details of the shop in the US. If you buy the bike here like I did in the 2011 Pro build it will set you back $7k AUD, I paid just over 5k AUD landed.

  8. #8
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    I'll also recommend an ASR5 because of how it can go up (light) and down (geometry) pretty well.

    To find a bike that descends better you'd have to look at much heavier options... if you're serious about entering enduros that's a major factor.

  9. #9
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    I think you are definitely on the money with your decision around 5 inches of travel. It seems to be the real sweet spot at the moment as far as versatility goes.
    In terms of which particular manufacturer produces the best 5 incher, that becomes very subjective.
    In my opinion you want to settle on the geometry of the bike you want first - then worry about the type of suspension. People will go on for ever about vpp vs maestro vs single pivot etc.....Yes that is important but it doesn't matter how good the suspension design is if the angles are all wrong for you.
    I personally love the slack and low design of my stumpjumper - that is my preference. What have you ridden and liked? Why? What have you hated?

    In terms of suspension design you'll need to go out and ride as many different designs as possible. I'm sure someone will chirp in about how amazing this or that one is but to be honest they all act differently and you'll most likely love some and hate others.

    I'm sorry if that was really sitting on the fence but these threads inevitably descend into people telling you how much better their bike is than all the others. Opinions count for nothing....except your own of course!

    Good luck with your choice and i'm sure between the market leaders of Yeti asr5, specialized stumpjumper, santa cruz blur lt, giant trance x and trek fuel ex you'll find one that works well for you.

    Cheers,
    Chris

  10. #10
    fan of maple syrup
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    ^^^ What beardi said is spot-on.

    If your research of brands and options is as diligent as you say, you don't need suggestions - you need advice. Suggestions will just add bikes to your list without getting you closer to a decision.

    You're new here (welcome by the way), so my additional advice would be to read around the forums, searching for folk who are doing the sort of riding you do (watch their vids, check out their pics) and see what they say about their ride. "Which bike should I get?" threads probably start every hour somewhere on mtbr, and I strongly beleive they're a poor substitute for figuring it out for yourself by reading about and trying different platforms in the area you're looking (4 - 5in bikes).

    Don't let that stop you asking around here though - plenty of folk will help and offer suggestions - I just think you'll be better off doing the searching and finding rather than asking. In the end, you'll pick the one you like the look & feel of the most, and it will be no better or worse than anyone elses bike because it will have the unique factor of being 'yours'. (which, coincidentally, is kinda what wannabeRacer suggested in the first place - you were a little quick to dismiss that one).

  11. #11
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    + 1 to both beardi and nuclear_powered. Very well considered responses.

  12. #12
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    Yes guys... Great responses, thanks very much.
    Thanks for the welcome to the forum too...
    So to try & elicit more specific input, here's the bikes I've come up with so far & what I think: -

    Turner 5 spot - Great reviews, but yet to find one I can test ride. Slightly over budget too!

    Giant Trance Advanced X SL1 - '10 model for sale @ $4K!!! 9 spd drivetrain though. Pedals well & geometry seems o.k if a little 'isolated' but I'm not sure if the carbon frame's up to bigger hits?

    Santa Cruz Blur LT - Rides great, handles great (geometry), within budget (just) just feels a little heavy for endurance racing.

    Intense Tracer VP - Yet to find one I can test ride... Weight seems right, but Looooong travel potentially not suitable for longer distances??

    Cannondale RZ 120 2 - Another '10 model for sale @ $3.9K!! A lot more lively than the Giant, but again I'm unsure if it can handle bigger hits?

    '09 Pivot Mach 5 - Nice bike, there's an '09 model for sale at one of my local shops, but still (overly?) expensive at $5k...

    Looked at both the Yeti 575 & ASR5 - The ASR5 seemed almost too plush & bouncy for me & the ASR5... Maybe.... Again not sure how strong it is though.

    I just can't get into Specialized for some reason... They ride great, but their pricing seems to be at odds with their 'mass producer' status.
    Same deal with Trek... They always seem at least 0.5kg heavier than their competitors.

    Also not really a carbon fan... I'm a Mechanical Engineer & am still concerned about the impact resistance of carbon.

    As you can probably see, I'm struggling to find the right balance between weight / strength / geometry / suspension.

    So go on guys... Tell me what you think.
    I don't really mind if this degenerates into a 'this bike's better than that bike' discussion. What I'm really looking for is people's opinions.

    Thanks again...

    DoF

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by degrees_of_freedom
    To put it simply, I want a bike that'll do everything!
    The main focus would be trail-riding, going down hills faster & getting more air, but I'd also love it if I could find a bike that could be competitive in an endurance or XC race.
    You need two bikes.

    A lightweight 4 incher and a second bigger machine based on the roughness of the terrain and how many mistakes you want the bike to make up for on the downhills.

    That second bike will never be competitive in a cross country race.

    If you want to be competitive you're going to want the fastest bike for the courses you want to race that you can afford - so have a look at what everyone else racing those courses is riding, and learn to ride light and without mistakes on the rougher terrain and stay away from actual DH trails; or get the "all mountain" bike and either race your hardtail or care less about being competitive. In that case it doesn't matter what bike you buy, or how many speeds or what suspension or what size wheels it has, as far as anyone else is concerned, as long as you enjoy riding it, which you will.

    Every bike you've listed is a great bike. You've ridden most of them so you already know more about those particular bikes than anyone else on this forum. Have fun choosing.

  14. #14
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    Went for the Blur LT myself, (waiting on its arrival)

    They can be built up very light and when I test rode one it certainly didnt feel heavy but I am coming from a FS all mountain machine weighing over 30lbs.

    Loved how smooth it was over all terrain and with the new tapered head tube and fork it will be much stiffer up front than the old model.
    Building mine with a 2x10 SRAM X9 drivetrain which will help keep weight down as well.

    Good luck with your choice, all your options seem good but on the end it comes down to cost and personal preference.

  15. #15
    fnar fnar brrraaaaap
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    Trek fuel or giant trance. That would be my choice

  16. #16
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    I'm currently looking at getting a new dually too.

    I live in Melbourne and currently have a 575.

    I realized that the 575 is a bit too much travel for me (and it's got a squishy back end). I'm getting more into enduro events and long rides out at St Andrews. Though I also enjoy some of the black diamond tracks at the You Yangs.

    I'm looking at the Trek Fuel Ex 9 as it seems like a 120mm bike would fit my needs. I'm going to sell the 575 so I want a one bike solution. (opinions my fellow Vic crew, 120mm or 100mm?)

    I guess the Giant Trance X would also suit but I don't really like the look of Giants, plus I used to own a Trance.

    The pivot mach 4 and the Blur XC is also some bikes I'm considering, I like the virtual pivot system but they are a fair bit more expensive. I demoed the Pivot and dam it's a quick bike that really makes you want to stand up and hammer along.

    I recon the Yeti 5 would probably suit your needs but for me I want something different.

    If your in Melbourne check out www.mymountain.com.au. They have demo bikes you can take out for the day and are really helpful. I really recommend demoing a bike.

  17. #17
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    I own a 2006 Trance and it is a great bike. Maybe I am just fussy but I love having two water bottle cages. I fill one with Endura and one with plain water and then can go for long rides from home and drink whichever I feel like. Most new bikes I looked at only have one.

    I did the Scott on the weekend and in the tent next to me was a rider on a Carbon Anthem. It is $5499RRP so not much over your budget, has two drinks bottle holders and when talking to the rider he said it was a great bike for that course which was fairly rough, he mentioned that the main thing I would notice compared to my bike that is also 4inch apart from less weight due to the Carbon frame was the front steering bearings are very solid and the thicker front wheel skewer work well together to make the bike feel very confident with its steering and that the improved steering is likely to be very noticeable to me. Anyway it appeared a very nice bike.

    Another option for you is the Ibis Mojo. A friend used to race both XC and downhill and owned a Trance and a Glory. He used to replace both bikes every year as he thought it better to replace it while it still was looking good and possible to sell. Anyway 3 years ago he replaced the Trance with a Mojo before a XC race and has kept the Mojo since. He then sold his Glory as the Mojo can handle the downhill just as well. Now he is the only person I know who can ride up the XC track to the top of Mt Stromlo and come down the main Downhill track. He said he found the perfect bike that can do everything well. In his opinion it is better at XC than a Trance or Anthem and better at downhill than a Glory.

    I know you don't want Carbon but I was thinking the top of my Reba Boxer World Cup forks are Carbon and that bike has done a lot of riding and are still OK. I do check that part for any cracks etc as I don't want my forks failing and so far have noticed nothing.

  18. #18
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    If you want a bike that does not "wollow" in its travel (not to be mistaken with squishyness ) then the best advice is to get a DW style link such as the mojo, giant, pivot or turner. And avoid single pivot's.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilostmypassword
    If you want a bike that does not "wollow" in its travel (not to be mistaken with squishyness ) then the best advice is to get a DW style link such as the mojo, giant, pivot or turner. And avoid single pivot's.
    Or VPP like Santa Cruz or Intense, leaving out only the Cannondale. I'm personally not a fan on the lefty anyway...or single pivots.

    But seriously - is suspension wallow an inherent characteristic of the design, or is it generally a result of poor tuning (too low spring rate, too little rebound, inappropriate shock for the bike)?

  20. #20
    pwg
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    Perhaps an odd question, but how tall are you degrees_of_freedom?

    Have you considered some of the new 29er's going around?

    I know you mentioned not being into Specialized, but I just brought a 2011 Stumpy FSR Comp for $3800 (which is only $2800 in the US...) 5 inches of travel, peddles really well and I love it.

    The one that I would look seriously at is the Giant Anthem 29er. At $3400 it is really well spec'd out and seems to be a great bike. Had frame recall problems, which is why I didn't test one properly (frame now fixed), but i'd say it was worth a look.

    The Anthem is 4 inches front and rear, but with a 29er that would possibly do.

    Good luck whatever you buy.

  21. #21
    fan of maple syrup
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris-crisis
    ...the front steering bearings are very solid and the thicker front wheel skewer work well together to make the bike feel very confident with its steering and that the improved steering is likely to be very noticeable to me.
    Just FYI - it sounds like you're referring to a through-axle fork, as opposed to the QR fork that's on your bike. In which case, it's less of a Trance vs Anthem thing, than it is 2006 bike vs 2009+ bike, since 20 & 15mm through axles are becoming the norm for most forks nowdays, with only the ultra lightweight SID, F-series and R7 forks still running QR (to name a few). Inevitably, these will move to through-axles too. It's worth you mentioning this anyway, as these stiffer axles certainly do play a part in making the bike steer through rougher terrain much better as you mention, and the OP should definitely be looking for a bike that comes with a fork with a through axle.
    Quote Originally Posted by chris-crisis
    ...the top of my Reba Boxer World Cup forks are Carbon...
    Boxxer's are the RockShox dual-crown downhill specific fork and don't have any carbon in them as far as I know. I think you just meant Reba World Cup - which has a carbon steerer. Not that this negates your statement at all - there are mountains and mountains of tests showing how strong carbon is these days in MTB components and frames. I think the OP - being an engineer and possibly a little old-skool at that (?) - just has the same unwariness that most folk will have for a time to come, when it comes to carbon fibre in MTB. Personally I think that if they're using it in commercial airliners (entire wings and some of the fuselage as well) then it's pretty safe to ride around offroad. The only reason I own an alloy SC Nomad instead of the incredibly sexy carbon version is because the carbon was a little too expensive to justify losing 0.6lbs for.

    +1 for VPP suspension by the way - after moving to it from Horst Link, I can say with a certainty that I didn't feel I used to have, that I can not only notice the difference, but also that VPP feels better to me. Esp on square-edge hits, and pedaling uphill.

    But still - no single suspension design is better than another. As I've often said - the discipline of MTB which I feel makes the most use of bicycle suspension is Downhill. And consistently top-20 riders in the World Cup ride:
    - Spec Demo (Horst Link)
    - SC V10 (VPP) (Carbon fibre frame too BTW)
    - GT Fury (Single-pivot with isolated BB) (Also carbon fibre frame)
    - Commencal Supreme DH (Single pivot with linkage-assisted knuckle-box type thingy)
    - Transition TR-450 (single pivot)
    - Evit Revolt (single pivot ... but a bit different)
    - Kona Stab Supreme (Faux bar)
    - Intense M6, M9 & 951 (VPP)
    - Yeti 303 (previously sliding rail virtual pivot, then single pivot faux-bar, now back to sliding rail)
    - Trek Session 88 (effectively half-way between faux-bar and horst link, since the rear pivot is concentric with the rear axle. Technically faux-bar with a brake-jack solution)

    ...to name just a few. In the past some other more basic single pivots have been on the podium (Morewood & Orange), even a few Lawill's back in the day (Schwinn Straight8), and more recently the DW-Link ILMP mentioned had a stint with Sam Hill riding an Ironhorse Sunday to 2 (nearly 3) World Championships. Lapierre, Banshee, and Giant have their own designs similar to VPP and DW-link as well. DW-link may make a return if Turner ever get their DH bike in production ... and they find a rider.

    But if any one of those suspension designs were remarkably better than the others, the results would surely show it. And they don't.

  22. #22
    808+909 = Party Good Time
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    Quote Originally Posted by degrees_of_freedom
    To put it simply, I want a bike that'll do everything!
    Kona Cadabra or Kona Abra Cadabra

    http://www.konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=cadabra
    http://www.konaworld.com/bike.cfm?content=abra_cadabra

  23. #23
    Aussie Aussie Aussie!
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    2013 Giant XTC Advanced SL0 Carbon
    2011 TCR Advanced SL
    2012 Omnium
    2013 29CX Frankenbike

  24. #24
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    I think that the difference between single pivot designs and virtual pivot designs is that the back wheel moves in a backward arc.

    This creates chain tension, so is a sort of auto-lockout while you are pushing hard on the pedals, thus it resists bob.

    I think there are pros and cons to both setups (single vs virtual pivot).
    With single pivots I like how when climbing on a loose track the back wheel is pushed into the ground and it seems to grip better.

    With virtual pivot I like how it feels like a hard tail when I stand and hammer.

    But this is just my uneducated opinion, I'm going to do a bit of demoing to work out what I'm after.

  25. #25
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    Mitigating brake squat/jack is a big issue with single-pivot designs.

    If you put the pivot in a good location a single-pivot design can pedal pretty well over a reasonable range of gears - SC Superlight for example - but brake squat might reduce the performance of the rear brake (the whole "active under brakes" thing). As a result you may use more front brake, and hence more fork travel, than necessary.

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