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  1. #1
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    Best FS Bike at $2K?

    I've test ridden a few bikes now:

    1. trek superfly fs 8,100 mm, $2K with $200 store credit

    2. specialized camber, 110 mm?, $2K

    3. pivot mach 4 carbon, 115 mm, xt/xtr, $6k?

    A few others to consider

    4. stumpjumper fsr, $2500

    Notes:

    The camber was a nice, basic bike. Shifting worked well, brakes (deore) were a bit less powerful, but still more than adequate. Something was just "off" about the riding position. Too upright?

    The superfly was a great climber, good descender, extremely light. I felt like I could use a bit more suspension though. Nice brakes, good shifting.

    The mach 4 was the best of the bunch, easily, but at a price point I'm really not interested in at this point.


    Any other bikes to consider?

    Trek Fuel?
    Stumpjumper FSR?

    The closer I stay to $2K, the better.

    I currently have a fisher tassajara. I have a thudbuster which I've yet to install. That should hold me over for a while.

    Any input on bikes to ride is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Marin, and Kona, both make FS bikes around the $2k mark.

  3. #3
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    Giant makes the Stance line with a few models under $2k. If you are lucky, you might be able to find a 2014 Trance 3 for well under $2k. I have a few shops in my local area that still have stock and they are discounted heavily ($1600 range).

    I just bought a Norco Fluid 7.2 which was also below $2k. I really like it and it fits the riding I do.

    Like the person above said, Kona has the Precept line which tops out with the DL around $1900.

    Shop around, there are some decent options out there.
    2015 Norco Fluid 7.2

  4. #4
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    You could score a Trek Remedy for that money if you look in the right places. Those are KILLER all around bikes.
    2005 Trek 4300 "Frankenbike"

  5. #5
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    So many bike options!

    I can't say I have a short list as of yet, but among the 'big names' I plan on test riding:

    -specialized stumpjumper fsr comp ($2.5K)

    -trek fuel 7/8

    -trek remedy

    I won't exclude other possibilities, it just depends on what's available in local shops, what's on close out, etc.

    As far as bikes I've test ridden, I rank them as follows:

    1. pivot carbon mach 4 ($6K, so, out of budget)

    2. trek superfly fs 8 2014 ($2K, but not quite enough travel overall)

    3. spec. camber. $2K. Competent, but the ride position is not quite right. Also, the components are a tier below what I'd like.

  6. #6
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    I would put the Cannondale Rush 3, and the Trek Fuel X5 on your list to check out.

    If you're considering a longer travel bike like a Stumpjumper FSR, then perhaps it would be worth it to check this deal out:

    Yeti SB-95 Jenson Custom SRAM Bike 2013 > Complete Bikes > Mountain Bikes | Jenson USA

    I'm not knocking, the Stumpjumper FSR (I have one), but the Yeti SB-95 is a solid deal on a really nice riding bike.

  7. #7
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    I was gonna say Giant Stance as well.

    You're saying the brakes are weak? That's how most new bikes are. The pads and the rotors are not set in yet.
    Last edited by AshevilleMtBiker; 04-17-2015 at 07:41 AM.

  8. #8
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    Have a look at Giant Anthem as well.
    Anthem 27,5 SX XC MTB.
    Moda Bolero Road bike.

  9. #9
    OMZ
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    Kona Precept DL. $1800 msrp.

  10. #10
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    I have a 2015 SJ FSR. The Maestro rear on my wife's Liv (Giant) Lust is pretty damn sweet.
    '94 Trek 950 w/RS Judy 19.5"
    '15 Spec SJ FSR Comp 20.5"
    '15 SE OM Flyer 15"
    want to buy '79-80 Redline Proline frame & fork

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by murderman View Post
    I have a 2015 SJ FSR. The Maestro rear on my wife's Liv (Giant) Lust is pretty damn sweet.
    How do you like the SJ? With so many great bikes around, it's impressive that the SJ FSR is often rated #1 in it's price range and class.

  12. #12
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    I may not be the best person to assess the finer attributes of the SJ FSR as it is substantially overkill for my riding activities. I bought it to get some exercise and to try and lose a little weight. I went FS due to multiple back surgeries.

    At 6'2", I am on the border between L and XL size wise, and I went with the XL after trying both. Coupled with 29" wheels, it is a plenty big bike. I put a shorter stem and riser bars to create a more upright riding position. I have questioned my size selection, but have tried the size L again at the LBS, and it just seems a little small for me.

    One thing that I have learned is that the 130mm travel can be tuned plenty soft, and I like the CTD functionality. The downside of the travel is that the BB, and therefore overall CG, is higher from the ground than a bike with a little less travel.

    Component wise it seems to be spec'd comparatively well for the price point. The thru axles front and rear seem like a good feature. The 2x10 configuration seems right for my lack of fitness.

    Is there any particular aspect that you are especially interested in?
    '94 Trek 950 w/RS Judy 19.5"
    '15 Spec SJ FSR Comp 20.5"
    '15 SE OM Flyer 15"
    want to buy '79-80 Redline Proline frame & fork

  13. #13
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    The best new fs bike for $2k is a hard tail. It's not that $2k fs bikes are bad but for the same amount of money you get a pretty nice hard tail which will weigh about 5-7 lbs less and will have a better fork, wheels and components.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by murderman View Post
    I may not be the best person to assess the finer attributes of the SJ FSR as it is substantially overkill for my riding activities. I bought it to get some exercise and to try and lose a little weight. I went FS due to multiple back surgeries.

    At 6'2", I am on the border between L and XL size wise, and I went with the XL after trying both. Coupled with 29" wheels, it is a plenty big bike. I put a shorter stem and riser bars to create a more upright riding position. I have questioned my size selection, but have tried the size L again at the LBS, and it just seems a little small for me.

    One thing that I have learned is that the 130mm travel can be tuned plenty soft, and I like the CTD functionality. The downside of the travel is that the BB, and therefore overall CG, is higher from the ground than a bike with a little less travel.

    Component wise it seems to be spec'd comparatively well for the price point. The thru axles front and rear seem like a good feature. The 2x10 configuration seems right for my lack of fitness.

    Is there any particular aspect that you are especially interested in?
    I've had sports injuries as well, and would appreciate the extra comfort of extra travel.

    I like the 2X10 since I'm getting back into off road riding.

    I also want some standover clearance and the SJ FSR maybe has 2" of standover.

    The sizing of the SJ seems spot on.

    I should be able to make a decision within a week or so after I have an opportunity to test ride a number of bikes.

  15. #15
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    I test rode a few more bikes. A couple of caveats:

    1. I am WAY out of off-road riding shape. I can knock out a couple of hours on a road bike easy, but off road riding is far more demanding, requiring both upper body strength, condition and coordination as well as strong legs. Solid core strength is important as well.


    2. the bikes I test rode were set up pretty sloppily. Saddle heights were not optimal, and shock settings were conveniently set to "open" resulting in bouncy bouncy cushy, but very far from a dialed ride.


    Giant Trance 27.5 1. A super light bike, very upright ride. This bike does not climb as well as I'd like, certainly due in part to the fox and shock setting being very sloppy/springy. But the tall front end makes it more difficult to keep the front wheel planted and the suspension bob was pretty bad.

    The upright ride does help a lot when descending. For a beginning rider like me, that may not always be a good thing. The 140 mm of travel, tall front end and a bit of inexperience meant this sucker was taking me downhill a lot faster than I had anticipated. It pretty much rolls right over everything going down.

    The bike is very lightweight and perhaps that led the bike to feel a little squirrelly.

    I think this would make for a great downhill bike but wasn't as much fun as a climbing bike.

    --

    Specialized Camber 120 mm. I felt like this bike was a bit better balanced. It climbed a bit better than the giant, but still descended quite well. A solid, balanced bike. I think it would be great for a beginner like me.

    I have to say however, that I did not like the tall front end of these two bikes.

    I test rode a 100 mm trek and 115 pivot and both bikes had slightly more aggressive positions for xc/easy trail riding. The camber and trance feel like cruisers when riding easy trails.

    The pivot mach 4 was the winner of this 4 bike comparo by a good margin. However, at $5K with dropper post for an slx build, it's far out of my budget.

    Finally, I rode my gary fisher tassajara and I just LOVE this bike! There's something magical about the gary fisher geometry. It just feels so dialed. And, it's nice to see my tassajara dirty all over!

    I may just buy a second set of wheels and swap them out to make this bike a double duty steed: slicks for street rides and wtb's for off road.

    Also, after a day of clipping in and out, I am starting to love my speedplay frogs. I finally got the knack of clipping in (you clip in from outside to inside and down), and it's super convenient to clip out.

    I don't know how popular frogs are, but I love 'em. I would put on my road bike, too but the q factor was just all wrong in that particular setup.

  16. #16
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    Santa Cruz you could go Bantam or Superlight.

    If the Kona Precept is anything like the Process then that should be considered.

    Problem is with $2K and under your rear shock is going to be on the cheaper end. Depending on the model you may not have lockout capability which could help with the climbing, again depending on the brand of bike.

  17. #17
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    Good point about rear sus, lfc.

    My first choice, based on spec and geometry is the SJ FSR comp. However, test riding this bike is a challenge--can't seem to find one anywhere.

    I think the fuel might be an alternative; I just wish it had a bit more standover.

    I'm in no rush though: if the right bike isn't available, I ain't buyin.'

  18. #18
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    I found a bantam for $2k. It has been awesome! Test ride what you can, pick the one that feels the best. Or, take my advice, since you asked, and order a bamtam.

  19. #19
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    The more I think about it, the more I realize how much I liked the entry level camber.

    Everything just works. The brakes have good stopping power, shifting quality is perfect, and it eats all bumps without hiccup or problem. I wasn't overly impressed with the 9 speed spec, but 2X9 should be more than sufficient. It's a tiny bit shorter and more upright than I had hoped, but I don't consider it to be a dealbreaker.

    $1700 on sale I think. The local shop may have a smokin' deal on accessories too. I'll have to ask again.The next step up is at least $700 more from specialized: a much nicer spec, but as a new full suspension rider, I'm not sure I'd really care or even some of the suspension improvements.

    Or, I can get a used 2012 FSR Comp. More travel, and just higher quality, but without any accessories obviously, or shop support.

  20. #20
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    How strict is your $2k budget? Not to diss the Camber 29, but the SJ FSR Comp has much better spec across the board:

    Fox CTD shock vs. something I've never heard of
    Revelation fork with 15mm thru axle vs. XC32 w/skewer
    Shimano brakes vs. Tektro
    2x10 versus 2x9
    X7 shifters vs. Alivo
    X7 FD vs. X5
    X9 type 2 RD (w/clutch) vs. Deore Shadow (w/o clutch); I also just learned tonight that the X7 type 2 and above have a lock back feature for when removing/installing the rear wheel

    What is somewhat surprising is that at the same $2700 MSRP, the FSR Comp is also spec'd better than the Camber Comp:

    Revelation fork vs. Reba
    X9 type 2 RD vs.X5

    I wasn't able to find much of anything spec'd as well as the FSR Comp at the same price point, which is why I bought it. If you can swing the budget, it is a better value overall IMHO, and you get 130mm travel on top of that.
    '94 Trek 950 w/RS Judy 19.5"
    '15 Spec SJ FSR Comp 20.5"
    '15 SE OM Flyer 15"
    want to buy '79-80 Redline Proline frame & fork

  21. #21
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    It's a fantastic spec but I have not yet been able to find a SJ FSR to test ride. Spec. is pushing their evo bikes during demo days: camber and SJ. I'm reluctant to buy without an extended test ride (as in, riding it as long as I want: the better part of a morning or afternoon).

    Based on the spec alone, the giant trance should've been a great bike for me. It was just too much travel for me (140). It didn't climb as well as I liked, and the bottom bracket and front end both felt too high. It just leans too heavily towards cushy descending and the high ish front end was bad for keeping the wheel planted.

    I think I'd prefer more of an XC riding stance with a lot of travel. The Pivot Mach 4 came the closest. The camber has a more upright riding position (shorter top tube?) than the pivot, but otherwise, I just dug the ride a lot.

    The key for me is to get a SJ FSR to test ride, and that hasn't happened as of yet.

  22. #22
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    I hope that you don't mind my continuing to post this thread, as I am trying to learn here as well. I probably jumped into my purchase a bit too quickly thinking that I knew more than I actually did. Don't get me wrong, I like my SJ FSR overall, but it is definitely taking some getting used to a bike that is so big even though on paper it "fits" my physical dimensions.

    When you rode the Trance, were you also able to try the Anthem? It has a little less travel, so the CG should be lower, and is available in both 27.5 and 29.

    I just measured the BB height on my SJ FSR (29, 130mm travel, 175mm cranks) and my wife's Liv Lust (27.5, 100mm travel, 170mm cranks), and the former is 1-1/4" higher. Presumably in simplified terms, BB height is driven by crank length and suspension travel, but not wheel diameter per se; i.e. how close can the pedals get to the ground.

    It will be good if you get to try the SJ FSR, but based upon your comments above, you may not like it. It is definitely a "tall" bike from my limited experience perspective.

    It also sounds like your ride experiences may be skewed by suspension tuning. One would hope that if you are spending $2-3k on a bike, that the LBS would either spend a little time setting up the suspension, or at least allow you to do so for a more "accurate" test ride.
    '94 Trek 950 w/RS Judy 19.5"
    '15 Spec SJ FSR Comp 20.5"
    '15 SE OM Flyer 15"
    want to buy '79-80 Redline Proline frame & fork

  23. #23
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    Game, what size are you looking for? 2014 Trek Remedy 7 29 is still available on closeout at $2k, but only 15.5" are left in the warehouses.
    Worked at Trek/Fisher dealer 2008-2013. Only a little biased.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by murderman View Post
    I hope that you don't mind my continuing to post this thread, as I am trying to learn here as well. I probably jumped into my purchase a bit too quickly thinking that I knew more than I actually did. Don't get me wrong, I like my SJ FSR overall, but it is definitely taking some getting used to a bike that is so big even though on paper it "fits" my physical dimensions.

    When you rode the Trance, were you also able to try the Anthem? It has a little less travel, so the CG should be lower, and is available in both 27.5 and 29.

    I just measured the BB height on my SJ FSR (29, 130mm travel, 175mm cranks) and my wife's Liv Lust (27.5, 100mm travel, 170mm cranks), and the former is 1-1/4" higher. Presumably in simplified terms, BB height is driven by crank length and suspension travel, but not wheel diameter per se; i.e. how close can the pedals get to the ground.

    It will be good if you get to try the SJ FSR, but based upon your comments above, you may not like it. It is definitely a "tall" bike from my limited experience perspective.

    It also sounds like your ride experiences may be skewed by suspension tuning. One would hope that if you are spending $2-3k on a bike, that the LBS would either spend a little time setting up the suspension, or at least allow you to do so for a more "accurate" test ride.
    I am thinking somewhere between 110 and 120 mm will likely work for me. Both the camber and pivot are square within*that range.

    I don't want to give up much climbing capability at all, and I think 110/115 is more than sufficient to eat bumps on downhills. A lot of travel will probably just encourage me to go a lot faster downhill than I probably should getting back into the sport.

    I'll be looking to test ride a fuel 120 and stumpjumper 130 in the near future.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by blunderbuss View Post
    Game, what size are you looking for? 2014 Trek Remedy 7 29 is still available on closeout at $2k, but only 15.5" are left in the warehouses.
    I ride medium.

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