1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
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    Scott Spark 940 from REI doesn't feel right

    Ok, So i got a great deal on an XL Scott Spark 940 29er. Scott Spark 940 29er Bike - 2013 at REI.com

    It is super light, and the REI staff assured me that i would be suitable for most trails. I told them I was gonna ride some rough trails and I wanted some thing mid-range, and universal. I was skeptical because I'm a 6'4" 260lb Clydesdale, but I didn't know much about bike styles or travel so I took their word for it.

    I'm starting to think that an extra-large 29er with limited travel is not the type of bike I need for the trails I ride (Central Indiana and North Carolina Mountains), and It feels large on me. I felt much more confident on my friend's large Trance.

    Part of the reason I felt comfortable buying a bike at REI without a proper fit was because the offer a year unconditional return policy. I don't wanna return it without good reason, but a poor fit and and poor bike for the application seems like a good reason to me. I was considering a Giant Trance at a store where I can get fitted.

  2. #2
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    assuming your friend's Trance is stock, the handlebar is 1.5" closer to you than the scott, This, coupled to the slightly steeper headtube on the Scott would explain the "largeness" that you are feeling. It is a bigger cockpit than you are used to.

    That said, If a 6'4" guy came into my shop and was looking at the Large Trance, I would have to be seriously convinced not to put him in the XL instead. For average trail riding the L seems too small. I'm not saying the Scott is the perfect bike for you (though it seems like it would suit your needs just fine), but I do think you owe it to yourself to ride a bike that is properly sized.

    Since you already have the Scott, I would try flipping the chip on the rear shock, which will lower the Bottom bracket and slacken the head angle a bit. Give it another go like that. I have a hunch it is in the more upright mode, which gives a twitchier, more XC, geometry.

    If you don't care for that, perhaps then hit a dealer to get sized for something else. Though i would be suprised to find them putting you on anything smaller, you might find something with a geometry that is a bit more "All-mountain" suits your expectations better.

  3. #3
    Formerly of Kent
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    100mm of travel is standard for an XC bike. You're riding XC trails.

    Set up the bike to suit you. Tire pressure, fork pressure, stem length/angle.

  4. #4
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    I don't know that they are XC trails. Western NC is basically one big rock garden, and south-central Indiana is very hilly. Besides, I was sold on this bike as an all arounder.

  5. #5
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    It's you.

    Can you post a pic of the bike as you've set it up? People often sabotage themselves with unhelpful bike setup...
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    Careful with REI's return policy also… I tried to return a yakima rack the other day (3 months old). Too much of a pain in the ass to lift bikes on top of my truck and the fat bike didn't fit in it. I told the manager I wasn't satisfied with it and that it was too much of a PITA to put the bike on the roof of my truck. She promptly told me that since there was nothing wrong with the rack and the way it functions, and that my choice of vehicle is the real problem she would not accept the return. I reminded her of REI's "100% satisfaction guarantee" but she wouldn't budge. I ended up driving 20 miles to another REI who gladly accepted it. Wish I got her name to report her to corporate.
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  7. #7
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    It's definitely you. I live in Indianapolis, and have ridden Pisgah and Brown County and a lot of other places (even lift-assisted downhill riding) on a 100mm XC FS bike.

    MOST people ride hardtails in Indiana, which is why you got the deal you did on that Scott. Pisgah is perfectly rideable on that bike, though you will see some longer travel bikes down there. At your size, I'd have put you on an XL, also. I agree with the other suggestions that you should get the suspension sag set for your weight, and get it adjusted to fit you. At your size, it should be within the correct range with relatively minor adjustments. The employees at REI SHOULD be able to get you set up, but any decent shop should be able to help you out with this sort of setup question. Big Daddy at Nebo Ridge is very good at helping folks get set up on mtb's. I've run into him on the local trails occasionally helping folks get their FS mtb's set up correctly. He posts here on mtbr sometimes, and also on the HMBA forums.

  8. #8
    Formerly of Kent
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    Quote Originally Posted by gardenrock View Post
    I don't know that they are XC trails. Western NC is basically one big rock garden, and south-central Indiana is very hilly. Besides, I was sold on this bike as an all arounder.
    And?

    You seem to have this preconceived notion that XC trails are flat, and free of rocks and roots. Unless you're taking 3'+ drops regularly (you aren't), an XC bike will be fine for your purposes.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    It's you.

    Can you post a pic of the bike as you've set it up? People often sabotage themselves with unhelpful bike setup...
    I would like to see this as well. Minor cockpit adjustments like handlebar placement/angle, stem length/rise and saddle position along with the seatpost can often make a bike feel like it doesn't fit. Small adjustments to these things can often work wonders. I was never a believer in this, until a friend showed me. Now I firmly believe in it.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streetdoctor View Post
    Careful with REI's return policy also… She promptly told me that since there was nothing wrong with the rack and the way it functions, and that my choice of vehicle is the real problem she would not accept the return...
    Whoa. Totally contrary to my experience. They've always exchanged or refunded anything I brought back. Not that's it's been a heck of a lot of stuff. There used to be no time limit either, but now it's 1 year...30 days for outlet stuff.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    And?

    You seem to have this preconceived notion that XC trails are flat, and free of rocks and roots. Unless you're taking 3'+ drops regularly (you aren't), an XC bike will be fine for your purposes.
    I ride primarily XC (in New England) and don't hit a bunch of drops on regular basis. An XC bike would definitely suffice for most of the stuff I ride, but I personally prefer a longer travel, slacker bike. Short travel XC bikes can tend to feel sketchy to me in a lot of situations; they just don't match everyone's style of riding. Same goes for sizing - my buddy is 6'-5" and prefers a large 26" with lots of post showing. If I were the OP, and the Trance in a smaller size felt right to him, I'd maybe go that route.
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  12. #12
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    OP, how much saddle time do you have on this bike?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    The fork is the most significant component for trail riding.
    This bike has a 2013 Fox CTD fork. Bad reviews. That is causing your dissatisfaction with the control and performance you are experiencing. The 2014 model of this fork has been greatly improved. Your fork can be updated. Talk to the techs at Push about options.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    OP, how much saddle time do you have on this bike?
    About 20 hours. I already put a shorter stem on it and added some Ergon grips.

  15. #15
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    Re: Scott Spark 940 from REI doesn't feel right

    I ride an XL Scott Spark and it fits me like a glove (I'm 6'2 1/2). The fork comment is something you should attend to - in addition to the issues with the 2013 CTD model, I personally find Fox to be a little soft, and I only weigh 190. The Rock Shok SID felt much better for me...although the best feel for me is from my lefty on my c-Dale hard tail. Anyway,do as others have suggested, perhaps go to your lbs or have an experienced friend watch you ride and help suggest specific tweaks to the cockpit. You'll be amazed at how changing little things makes your ride feel entirely different

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    The fork is the most significant component for trail riding.
    This bike has a 2013 Fox CTD fork. Bad reviews. That is causing your dissatisfaction with the control and performance you are experiencing. The 2014 model of this fork has been greatly improved. Your fork can be updated. Talk to the techs at Push about options.
    A little presumptuous, don't you think?

  17. #17
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    I wouldn't think twice about returning it to REI if you aren't 100%.
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