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.
mtn. biking 101
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.
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  1. #1
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    Trek Fuel EX vs. Giant Trance

    Hey Experts!
    Took forever to think of a clever login handle...I'm not sure if I succeeded or not...seems kinda cheesy....anyway, new poster, relatively new to MTB (rode lots of street bikes as a kid). Need some advice as to what model to purchase. I am currently riding a Trek 6500 series, 2008 XC hardtail, had it less than a year. Nice bike, good all-round machine. Am considering an upgrade (if you wanna call it that) because I'd like a bit more cushion for my arse and lower back (I'm 48, weigh about 205, 6 feet tall).
    Considering FS, and have narrowed it down (although I'm open to options) to the Trek EX7 or 8 (2009) or the Giant Trance X1 (or maybe X0). Wondering if that's too much of a FS switch from a hardtail, or do I need to consider either the Top Fuel or Anthem instead?
    I live in Korea, and the trails I ride are likely pretty tame compared to Colorado or B.C. etc, but still I'd like to have a good balance of road and trail maneuverability, climbing speed and agility, and cushion for the ride down, roots, rocks, stairs, etc.
    Thanks....guess I said all I need to say.
    Steve.

  2. #2
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    I just built up a 2008 Trek EX9 and a 2008 Giant Trance X2. I'd rate the Treks EVO link/full floater/ABP as a smoother, plusher, more compliant and more reactive suspension than the Giant Maestro suspension. My recommendation would be to go with the Trek. (FYI, I'm 56, weigh 195, 6'3").

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitedog
    I'd rate the Treks EVO link/full floater/ABP as a smoother, plusher, more compliant and more reactive suspension than the Giant Maestro suspension. My recommendation would be to go with the Trek. (FYI, I'm 56, weigh 195, 6'3").
    Really? Thats interesting.

  4. #4
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    your name is freaking funny !! lol good one

  5. #5
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    I have no input on the bikes but I do like the screen name. Pretty clever! Of course if your name is not really Steve then it's less funny, but good nonetheless!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitedog
    I just built up a 2008 Trek EX9 and a 2008 Giant Trance X2. I'd rate the Treks EVO link/full floater/ABP as a smoother, plusher, more compliant and more reactive suspension than the Giant Maestro suspension. My recommendation would be to go with the Trek. (FYI, I'm 56, weigh 195, 6'3").
    That really is, indeed, interesting.

    Your comparing a single pivot frame design that suffers from brake hop, pedal bob and lack of small bump sensitivity to an extremely lightweight (anthem X series and trance X series) plush and efficient design. I'd like to hear some more feedback Whitedog.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitedog
    I just built up a 2008 Trek EX9 and a 2008 Giant Trance X2. I'd rate the Treks EVO link/full floater/ABP as a smoother, plusher, more compliant and more reactive suspension than the Giant Maestro suspension. My recommendation would be to go with the Trek. (FYI, I'm 56, weigh 195, 6'3").
    [SIZE=2]Performance is very close but I agree with you on that but to add fairness the Giant is stiffer, more pedal efficient, bobs less and is on paper better although just because it’s better on paper doesn’t make the ride so. The Trance is better uphill because of the geometry and forward riding position and the Fuel is slacker with a more rearward riding position making it slightly better downhill, if you put an adjustable fork like Fox Talas on the Trance it’s pretty much perfect for everything.

    [/SIZE]scralatchtica824
    [SIZE=2]Both suspension systems are pretty much unaffected by braking forces, hence the Trek ABP a[SIZE=2]nd the Full Floater which gives it excellent small bump sensitivity and an almost bottomless feel, no really, that’s not just marketing hype and the moment you use the rear brake you notice ABP.
    [/SIZE]
    [/SIZE]
    Last edited by EGF168; 10-07-2008 at 11:19 PM.

  8. #8
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    thanks

    yep, the name really is steve. guess we have a winner, folks.
    still tons of questions re the bike, especially cuz i'm going to have to rely on your sage advice, seeing as it's tough to get test rides from shops. the other option is the mtb group here in korea, for selling used, but i'd really prefer to get new.
    there are some terms that i'm unfamiliar with (sheepish bow...try to bandy about terms like an expert and look foolish.....no way!)
    pedal bob....i think i can figure that one out....brake hop....i guess a little skittish....not a smooth stop....single pivot frame? is that referring to the set up of the rear suspension?
    anyway....as for choice....my guess is narrowing it down to the Fuel EX8, or Trance 1, mostly because of price, features, and looks.
    If you've got or had one, I value your opinion more than if you're a brand guy generally.
    Climbing, downhill, road, track....looking for balance of all. Suppose you guessed that.
    Heard some things about the Juicy 5s on the Trek being kinda noisy, and the Bontrager tires being crap (I have Bontragers on my Trek hardtail....no problems at all). As for the Trance, I've heard that the Fox float is better than the Maestro (which is not on the T1, I believe).
    Anyway, thanks again....look forward to your replies.
    steve

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by scralatchtica824
    That really is, indeed, interesting.

    Your comparing a single pivot frame design that suffers from brake hop, pedal bob and lack of small bump sensitivity to an extremely lightweight (anthem X series and trance X series) plush and efficient design. I'd like to hear some more feedback Whitedog.
    Where do you get the idea that the 2008 EX9 Trek is a single pivot frame? It its technically a 'four bar' linkage (as is the Maestro).
    There is a pivot in the bottom bracket area on the front of the chainstay, a pivot at the rear wheel (the ABP), a pivot at the end of the seatstay where it connects to the rocker and a pivot in the middle of the rocker where its attached to the seatpost:
    http://trekmountain.typepad.com/phot..._dualtuned.jpg

    The Maestro has the same number of pivots, a pivot on the frame in front of the bottom bracket, another pivot a few inches behind that, a pivot at the end of the seatstay where it connects to the rocker, and a pivot in the middle of the rocker where its attached to the seatpost:
    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...stro_new_2/21/

    An example of a single pivot is the Santa Cruz Heckler (one of which I used to have), one big pivot in front of the bottom bracket:
    http://www.santacruzbicycles.com/heckler/
    Another example is the Ellsworth Distance (one of which I have):
    http://www.pbase.com/nikolak/image/67435731

    The 08 EX9 does not have brake hop (in fact its one of the best performing brake actions of all the bikes I have), nor do I feel or notice pedal bob, and as I mentioned in my first post is very reactive to small bumps while still being able to take big hits. And it has small bump compliance without feeling wallowy.

    You don't have to listen to or like my opinion, if you have both bikes in your garage that the OP is speaking of then you to can share your thoughts as can others. Eventually the OP will read through everything and make is own decision. Addition to owning the above bikes, in my search for trying every suspension design out there, I have an 08 Specialized Stumpy FSR Pro (4 bar linkage), 07 Ventana El Ciclon (faux 4 bar), 05 Titus Racer-X (specialized FSR), 05 Intense Spider (VPP), 07 BMC fourstroke (modified VPP), 07 Niner RIP9 (CVA linkage), and an 07 Yeti 575 (single pivot with a flex joint in the seatstay). I used to own a 07 Felt Virtue Three (Equilink, a modified DWlink), and used to own an Ironhorse Azure (DW link) and a IH MarkIII (DW link). My point of mentioning this is to show that my opinions are coming from lengthy (and expensive) trials with actual bikes vs. just reading about them.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by EGF168
    [SIZE=2]... if you put an adjustable fork like Fox Talas on the Trance itís pretty much perfect for everything.
    [/SIZE]
    The Fox Talas 140mm/120mm/100mm is the fork I put on my TranceX2 after first riding with the stock F120R In the 120mm position the Talas had the exact same axle to crown measurement as the F120R (as you would think it would). So 120mm setting felt like original, the 100mm setting helped for steeper climbs, and the 140mm setting helped on the fast fireroad downhills.

  11. #11
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    Lots of great info there, Whitedog. Sounds like you've got a Jay Leno-esque collection of machines. Nice!
    Remember, I'm quite new to MTB, so a lot of the terms you've got there are going to take me some time to get acquainted with. But I get the gist most of the time. Thanks for the links to other stuff....much appreciated!
    I wasn't considering the EX9, as I think it's just a bit pricey....not that it's not worth it....it's just like, when do I put a cap on my price range? I just felt that the EX8 was enough of a leap from the 7 to put that on my list.
    So for me, EX8 or Trance 1...I'm guessing they're close enough in features and functions to each other....unless I'm way off base. I was reacting initially to some reviews here on this site that talked about the Juicy 5s being very squeaky (something the largest Giant dealer here in Seoul confirmed....btw, he also deals Trek). I had also heard that chain slap was a big complaint of some of the owners in their reviews.
    Anyway, for me, it makes sense to consider the "biggies" because of serviceability here. And not being able to really test ride....which sucks.
    Thanks again.
    Steve

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitedog
    ...
    You don't have to listen to or like my opinion, if you have both bikes in your garage that the OP is speaking of then you to can share your thoughts as can others. Eventually the OP will read through everything and make is own decision. Addition to owning the above bikes, in my search for trying every suspension design out there, I have an 08 Specialized Stumpy FSR Pro (4 bar linkage), 07 Ventana El Ciclon (faux 4 bar), 05 Titus Racer-X (specialized FSR), 05 Intense Spider (VPP), 07 BMC fourstroke (modified VPP), 07 Niner RIP9 (CVA linkage), and an 07 Yeti 575 (single pivot with a flex joint in the seatstay). I used to own a 07 Felt Virtue Three (Equilink, a modified DWlink), and used to own an Ironhorse Azure (DW link) and a IH MarkIII (DW link). My point of mentioning this is to show that my opinions are coming from lengthy (and expensive) trials with actual bikes vs. just reading about them.
    Interesting collection/stable of bikes you own/used to own. I hate to steer this thread completely off topic, but I would like to know how you thought the MKIII compared to all the other bikes because I'm quite interested because IH is not using the DW Link in the near future. I guess the next logical question is which one you liked the most for AM trails to some mild single track.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve L. Knievel
    I live in Korea, and the trails I ride are likely pretty tame compared to Colorado or B.C. etc, but still I'd like to have a good balance of road and trail maneuverability, climbing speed and agility, and cushion for the ride down, roots, rocks, stairs, etc.
    (Cut down to the important bits)

    Well - if youre riding roads and light trails aswell as rougher ones, Id probably give the Giant a slight advantage because its a little more pedal efficient.
    However, when it gets rough, Id take the Trek.

    At the end of the day, these are both excellent bikes - there are times where one will be better than the other, and times when the other will be better.

    Are you able to testride? If so, do it - it will probably make the decision for you... its easier to choose when you know what youre choosing between (ie, you know the feel of both on the trail)
    If not - have you been able to sit on (and be fitted up, so youre on the right size) in a good shop, to get a feel for cockpit position? It might not be a test ride, but it would be worth doing for sure.

    If we're totally honest, youre not going to be disappointed by either - are you looking at the same dealer? If youre looking at different shops for these two - I would take the quality of the shop into consideration (since theres so little to choose between the bikes)...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve L. Knievel
    I wasn't considering the EX9, as I think it's just a bit pricey....not that it's not worth it....it's just like, when do I put a cap on my price range? I just felt that the EX8 was enough of a leap from the 7 to put that on my list.
    So for me, EX8 or Trance 1...I'm guessing they're close enough in features and functions to each other....unless I'm way off base. I was reacting initially to some reviews here on this site that talked about the Juicy 5s being very squeaky (something the largest Giant dealer here in Seoul confirmed....btw, he also deals Trek). I had also heard that chain slap was a big complaint of some of the owners in their reviews.
    Anyway, for me, it makes sense to consider the "biggies" because of serviceability here. And not being able to really test ride....which sucks.
    Thanks again.
    Steve
    The EX7/8/9 for 2008 all share the same suspension platform with the ABP, Full Floater, EVO link, and the Trance/TranceX for 2008 all share the Maestro suspension, so comments on suspension design work across the price ranges. Of course there may be different shocks used in the different models which adds some variability, but again, most general comments of suspension action apply.

    You mention the EX8 vs. Trance 1. The EX8 has 120mm of suspension travel, while the Trance 1 has 100mm of suspension. The TranceX series is the one with 120mm suspension. Are you really looking at the 100mm Trance1 or did you mean to say TranceX1? I ask this as its one thing to say "of these two bikes both with 120mm travel, which one do you suggest" and its a completely different question to say "I'm looking at this 120mm travel bike vs. this 100mm travel bike, which should I get".

    Regarding brake squeal on the Juicy brakes, there are many many threads complaining about this (and threads suggesting fixes). A lot of any noise issues can go away with careful adjustment of the caliper. The juicy mounting system allows for some 'swivel' and you can use that to fine tune everything. As I put my bikes together from pieces on ebay, I have found that the avid roundagon or 'wavey' rotors make less noise than the "G2 Clean Sweep" rotors that come stock on new bikes.

    Regarding chain slap on any bike...it's mainly just a noise thing, and you can get those 'Lizard Skin' pads to wrap around the chainstay if the bike you get has any noise.

    It's too bad you can't test ride. As others have mentioned, both bikes are fairly equal in performance, but there may be differences in the 'cockpit' between the two, and one may fit your body better, which a test ride in parking lot could tell you.

    It might just come down to which one you can get the best price on and which one has more of a 'visual appeal' to you. What prices are they quoting you?

    EGF 168 below mentioned the Giant frame as being stiffer. I rode the EX on Monday and the X2 yesterday, and the rears of the bikes felt same stiffness, but it does seem to me that the front/headtube area of the Giant is a little stiffer than the Trek as EGF mentioned.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitedog
    You mention the EX8 vs. Trance 1. The EX8 has 120mm of suspension travel, while the Trance 1 has 100mm of suspension. The TranceX series is the one with 120mm suspension. Are you really looking at the 100mm Trance1 or did you mean to say TranceX1? I ask this as its one thing to say "of these two bikes both with 120mm travel, which one do you suggest" and its a completely different question to say "I'm looking at this 120mm travel bike vs. this 100mm travel bike, which should I get".
    I believe he stated in his opening post that he was looking at the X1, not the 1.

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitedog
    It's too bad you can't test ride. As others have mentioned, both bikes are fairly equal in performance, but there may be differences in the 'cockpit' between the two, and one may fit your body better, which a test ride in parking lot could tell you.

    It might just come down to which one you can get the best price on and which one has more of a 'visual appeal' to you. What prices are they quoting you?
    Getting a "sit on" in the shop to see how the cockpit length feels may help decide if OP cant get a testride - it may make his mind up for him, it may not.

    At the end of the day, with the bikes so evenly matched (theyre both very good bikes). I have to say if they come from different shops then that might end up being the deciding factor - some shops are better than others, and if its not possible to decide any other way then going with the shop you prefer (closeness to home, quality of repairs, quality of service, any future deals on upgrades/repairs - ETC) may well be the decider for one or the other.
    Last edited by EnglishT; 10-09-2008 at 09:59 AM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ktse
    I would like to know how you thought the MKIII compared to all the other bikes because I'm quite interested because IH is not using the DW Link in the near future. I guess the next logical question is which one you liked the most for AM trails to some mild single track.
    The MKIII I had was a complete stock 2006 Sport, with the BB5 brakes, heavy manitou black coil fork, and weighed over 35 pounds. I liked the action of the DW link suspension, but the bike at 35 pounds and that fork couldn't compare to my other bikes that are coming in around 30 pounds, so I sold it. I got the Azure as a frame and built up, but the headtube is very short and low on these, so I wasn't comfortable (plus I wanted more than the 3.5" of travel). The headtube on the MKIII is also short, so the bars were lower than I prefer.
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...KIIIFullLf.jpg
    I'd like to get another DW link frame someday to build up.

    The 'pecking order' this week of my 5" travel bikes is the Trek EX9, then the Ventana El Ciclon, then the Trance X2, then the Yeti 575, then the Stumpy FSR.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitedog
    EGF 168 below mentioned the Giant frame as being stiffer. I rode the EX on Monday and the X2 yesterday, and the rears of the bikes felt same stiffness, but it does seem to me that the front/headtube area of the Giant is a little stiffer than the Trek as EGF mentioned.
    [SIZE=2]I spent a very long time deciding on what bike I wanted last year and tested a lot of bikes. The Spesh Stumpy rear end is very flexy, you get a lot of back waggle when you really put the power down, at least an inch or so in either direction which is not good, the Trek Fuel EX is a bit better but it still doesn’t have the seriously stiff feel of the Trance X. Just riding along this won’t be too noticeable but I didn’t like this about my 07 Stumpy so I was really trying to flex the rear end on the 08 bikes I tried. The good news is that none of these 3 have the ridiculous amount of flex on the Gary Fisher Hifi. Another thing worth noting is the EX8 comes with a Float 130mm fork which isn’t quite as stiff as the F-120 on the Trance X or the Talas series forks.

    Some people have no problems with Juicy brakes but I’ve only ever had tried or had 2 bikes that didn’t make more noise than I would expect from any other brakes, people bleat that it’s all about the setup but even if that was so the fact they are so hard to get setup right is a design flaw in itself. Noise is also only one of the problems with those brakes, some sets have sticky pistons, the Avid oval nuts are supposed to make them easier to centre which they do but the moment you put the brakes on they move even using Loctite and my brake blew up so all in all the best that can be said is they have always had a reasonable amount of power. As many people will say, some brake/frame combos just don’t work well together which can result in the turkey gobble problem and I’m afraid to say the Trek Fuel EX is one of the frames that doesn’t mix well with them as documented on the Trek forum. You also have to put up with the Bontrager parts, the higher end stuff is alright and the wheel sets are pretty good but the other Bontrager stuff is pretty rubbish on the EX8 and 7, in fact the owner of one my local Trek dealers cut his finger on a stem with a spike of aluminium sticking out the side, if you want the Trek then I’d try to at least get to the EX9 level which also has a tougher finish on the frame.
    [/SIZE]

  18. #18
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    Whitedog,

    How would you rate the BMC fourstroke against the other bikes?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by wraydp
    Whitedog,

    How would you rate the BMC fourstroke against the other bikes?
    The fourstroke is 100mm, so its not a direct comparison to the 5" travel bikes of this discussion. BMC's Advanced Pivot System performs similar to VPP or DW-link, but I notice that deep into the suspension travel the shock/linkage seems to 'ramp-up' and get very stiff at the end of travel. The frame is strong and stiff, climbs well and is not nervous. It has more of an AM feel to it compared to the sort of similar spec'd Spider XVP (100mm with VPP, same 71/73 angles) which has a XC/race feel.

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    Steve i would recommended the Trance, i own an 08 X2 and the bike is amazing. If you get the X1 you would have better components but the suspension remains the same and it's great. I ride the XL (22") version at 6' 3.5" so maybe the large would fit you well. Hope i helped.

    Trauma

  21. #21
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    i have an 09 stumpjumper with the humble fox triad in the back, it works just fine for me i couldnt be happier, i ride with the shock open all the time, in this position i have no flex no bob, just a plush ride with a lot of traction, the only time i feel a little bob is going uphill on asphalt, i switch over to propedal and its gone, no fuss

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkest_fugue
    i have an 09 stumpjumper with the humble fox triad in the back, it works just fine for me i couldnt be happier, i ride with the shock open all the time, in this position i have no flex no bob, just a plush ride with a lot of traction, the only time i feel a little bob is going uphill on asphalt, i switch over to propedal and its gone, no fuss
    [SIZE=2]You mean you havenít noticed any flex, you probably havenít noticed the suspension is harsh over sharp edged bumps (almost like the rear wheel is being wrenched off the frame) or the squat in the first part of the pedal stroke when pedalling hard. It just so happens I was riding the 2009 Stumpy Elite just 2 days ago, itís a nice bike but in those respects it doesnít compare to the other two and the fact itís made by Specialized doesnít help either, I think I would rather have the Merida with floating brake callipers that I tried.
    [/SIZE]

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    the fact that i weigh 65 kilos may help matters, if you think an SJ is harsh you should try the epic that i came from, now thats a harsh suspension the stumpjumper feels like its eating the rocks in comparison

    , i havent tried the other 2 bikes that have been talked about unfortunately the only decent bikes available where i live are specialized and connondale, the dales are stupidly expensive in comparison, i also detect ill feeling tones towards specialized in your post, thats ok we all dislike something or other for whatever reason,

    however i detect no harshness, i dont feel like my back wheel is coming off when i go over sharp edged bumps nor do i feel any flex, in fact the bikes feels very stiff, nor do i feel any bob or squat and remember i ride in the open position, not only that but i feel i would be a lot faster on this bike than i wouldve been on my epic over rough terrain because its just more comfortable, my other bike is an 08 SX trail 2, even compared to the DHX5 on that bike i feel no harshness, so frankly, i have no idea what your talking about!!!!

  24. #24
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    [SIZE=2]I think you probably need to ride more bikes to form an accurate judgment on the things I mentioned. The ride characteristics I mentioned have been on the Stumpy for a long time, in in fact I only began to notice them when I spent more time riding other bikes as well as my 07 Stumpy, it’s very hard to notice anything of what I mentioned unless you specifically look for it or have something like a Trance X to try side by side. I didn’t notice the squat until another Mtbr member pointed it out to me. The Stumpy’s a very plush bike but there are particular bumps that seem to hook the rear wheel which I only noticed riding over a pothole in my driveway and then doing the same thing on the Trance X just by accident. The stiffness has been improved a bit since 2007 but the 09 one still isn’t as good as the Trance X, that was the one thing I noticed pretty much straight after I got the bike. I’m not specifically saying this to have a go at Specialized though your right, I don’t like them, I’m saying this because apart from the flex you can notice the back wheel getting hooked into bumps and the squat on other Horst Link bikes, even the 2009 Rocky Mountain Altitude apparently has some squat in the first part of the pedal stroke according to Cycling News.
    [/SIZE]

  25. #25
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    looks like people look for whats wrong with this and that thease days rather than just going out and riding, when im out in the gnar im not thinking, mmm that bump couldve been absorbed better etc, ive been on one giant bike, my friends old downhill machine that had the maestro, my other friends nikolai, various cannondales, they all had their nuances but nothing stands out on my current trail bike where im thinking mmm this or that could be better, im satisfied with the ride

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