Just returned from a visit to an LBS where I went to test ride several bikes to get a better focus on what I would be getting after selling my used Reign 1.
(See Newb's adventures: part 3: Sell or upgrade the Reign 1? and other threads in Beginner's Corner if you want the whole series of older newb's adventures and misadventures.)
Since the Reign had been such a good learning experience and I had come out of that deal OK, I had been pretty focused on getting another used bike and trying that out. Had been concentrating on checking out Stumpjumper FSR's and other bikes in the $1,500 range.
LBS is a dealer for Specialized and Yeti (among others) and I wanted to try a 26" Stumpy FSR large frame to check it for fit and overall feel. While there I rode:
Stumpjumper 29'er Comp hardtail: ~$1,750
Stumpjumper 29'er FSR Comp: ~ $2,350
Camber Elite 26" full-suspension: $1,750
Yeti ASR5 Enduro build: ~$2,300
I liked all of the bikes, actually and with my riding skills and being limited to the parking lot area, I am only able to judge on general feel. ALL the bikes felt 100% better than the Reign, which I'm now sure was just too big a bike for me. Reign "Large" frame is 20". The 2 29'ers I rode today reminded me of the Reign, but the cockpit area was more compact and fit better.
The 26" Camber felt small and compact and I liked it as well. The 29'ers felt faster--and maybe a little plusher. They felt more "powerful" if that communicates anything. But I did like the agility and the very compact feeling in the cockpit with the Camber.
I REALLY liked the Yeti (which was kind of fore-ordained--ever since I test rode a used 575 I liked the overall look and feel of the Yeti bikes). It looked way cool and all the components on it, including the wheels and tires were a grade above the other bikes. As far as actual performance goes--I couldn't really feel a huge difference between the ASR and the Camber, but I'm pretty sure it's there in the sense that the Yeti probably has more potential.
I had no real intention of buying a new bike of any kind today, but I'm pretty certain that I'll go back and get the Yeti today. It's a close-out, lightly used (maybe a demo bike) with a couple very minor scratches on the frame. At $2,300 it's about $600 more than the Camber and the higher grade components are easily worth that or close to it.
I'll post some pix if I get it.....
Again, ALL the bikes felt so much better than the Reign, which I'm now convinced had to more with the actual SIZE of that bike than anything else.
Couldn't resist the ASR 5.....
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Thread: Bought a Yeti ASR 5....