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  1. #1
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    What new bike to get?

    How's that for a catchy, new title?

    I own a 2004 Stumpjumper FSR Elite, which I love. Now I might be looking for a new bike.

    Why look for a new bike? (long-winded background follows):
    My soon-to-be 11-year-old daughter, now 5 ft. tall, has outgrown her 24 inch Trek MT220. She loves my soon-to-be 17 year old son's 15" 2008 Specialized Rockhopper. My son, now at 5'8", has outgrown the RH and would like to move to dual suspension. So, I'm thinking: give daughter the RH, give son my '04 SJ, and look for something new for myself.

    Me: 5'9", 150 lbs., in great shape (running, tennis, skiing and of course biking). When I'm not just biking for exercise on the Capital Crescent Trail (paved), I do mostly East Coast singletrack (e.g., narrow, roots, sometimes muddy, etc.).

    I haven't paid attenton to bikes since I got my '04 Stumpy, and now I'm starting to look around. I was hoping to keep the cost under $3000, but recently raised the bar to $3500. My first thought was to get the 2011 version of what I have: a Stumpy FSR elite. But it seems that the spectrum has shifted in the last seven years: the geometry of a 2011 SJ is moving toward what the Enduro was back in '04. So now I'm thinking maybe the Epic FSR Elite. And, frankly, other than Specialized, I don't know much about what else is out there.

    The fall-back option is to hold onto what I've got for myself and get my son a 17" Rockhopper, after giving his 15" RH to his sister.

    Any thoughts? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    The Epic is an really nice bike, but it is a race bike. If you want to stick with Specialized(which is great) i would say to with the Stumpjumper. With that kind of money I would also look into Santa Cruz and Giant. (Blur LT and Trance). I had an epic (2008) and it just was not comfortable at all. Now I have a Blur and I love it. (I got a great deal on the Blur, but I was between the Blur and the Stumpy) You can't go wrong with the Stumpy. Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Im new here, but if you love your bike why get another? I would get my son a better bike, give the daughter the RH and spend some cash on maybe some upgrades. Still would have some cash left over for goofing off with the family.

  4. #4
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    Thanks.

    Robtro116 -- I was thinking the 2011 Epic would actually ride more like my 2004 SJ FSR Elite than would a 2011 SJ FSR Elite:

    Head tube angle -- Tire width -- Suspension travel
    04 SJ = 70.5 -- 2.0" -- 100 mm
    11 Epic = 70.0 -- 2.0" -- 100 mm
    11 SJ = 69.5 -- 2.2" -- 140 mm

    But your point, I think, is that what matters is how it feels when you ride it. I take your point, and will definitely test ride both before choosing.

    sbrogdan -- You make a good point; financially I'm ahead if I go the route you suggest. That option is still on the table. Giving my son my bike would get him dual suspension with good componentry from a known previous owner (me). I paid around $1600 for my bike new in 2004, and its probably worth half that now. To buy him a new bike for $800 would be another Rockhopper (or its ilk) -- a fine bike but not at the same level as my '04 Stumpy. So, yes, we would be paying out more for bikes, but family's stable of bikes would be of higher quality.

    I appreciate your thoughts.
    Last edited by MTBJIM; 05-09-2011 at 09:36 AM.

  5. #5
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    I ride east coast single track and currently ride a stumpjumper fsrl. You will probably enjoy the extra travel available on the stumpjumpers...they went to 140mm in 06. I doubt you will feel to much of a difference in the HTA anyway. As others have said, lots of different options out their, but if you like Spec I'd say just stick with them.

  6. #6
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    Why not look into a Camber, if you stick with Specialized?

    Basically, all the bikes got some more travel - The Epic is still the race bike - they do not offer a FSR-XC any more, the Camber replaced it. That is their new "XC-Trail bike", and should be a great option.

    a Giant Trance is a solid choice, as is a Trek Fuel, SC Blur, and dozens of others. Lots and lots of options.

  7. #7
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    I have to say that the reason that the industry has changed the spectrum of bikes toward longer travel bikes is that the technology has evolved that makes these longer travel bikes lighter and more efficient while retaining the benefits of longer travel. I would highly recommend giving the new SJ(s) a test ride to see what you think.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  8. #8
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    I test-rode a SJ FSR Comp today -- that's what my LBS had. Nice fit for me, smooth ride. Question: how does the '11 SJ FSR Comp compare to my '04 SJ Elite? I went to Bikepedia and did the side-by-side comparison. I can see some of the obvious differences:
    -- the '11 Comp has M5 aluminum vs. M4 for the '04 Elite
    -- the '11 Comp has 140 mm travel vs. 100 mm for the '04 Elite

    But I don't have enough knowledge to compare the '11 SRAM components in the Comp to the '04 Shimano components on my '04 Elite. Can anyone help? Would I be "downwardly mobile" to go from an '04 Elite to a '11 Comp (which is about $500 cheaper than an '11 Elite).

    All insights welcome.

  9. #9
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    X0&xx=xtr
    X9=xt
    etc...lower the numeral, lower the "quality".

  10. #10
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    Going back to my question of whether moving from the '04 SJ Elite to the '11 SJ Comp would be moving up or down, here are the components for each (first is '11 SJ Comp, second is '04 SJ Elite):

    Frame: M5 ----- M4
    Fork: RockShox Revelation RL (140 mm) ----- Answer Manitou Black Elite (100 mm)
    Rear shock: Fox Triad II (140 mm) ----- Fox Float R
    Brakes: Avid Elixir R SL ----- Shimano Deore M525
    Shift levers: SRAM X7 ------ Shimano Deore LX
    Front d/r: SRAM X7 ------ Shimano Deore LX
    Rear d/r: SRAM X9 ------ Shimano XTR SGS
    Crankset: SRAM S-1250 (22/33/44) ------ Shimano Deore XT (22/32/44)
    Bottom bracket: SRAM GXP ----- Shimano BB-E230
    Rear cogs: 10 speed, 11-36 ------ 9 speed, 11-34

    Based on the above (putting aside the fact that the '04 has 7 years of use on it), which is the better bike?

    I take as a given that if I were comparing the '11 Comp to the '11 Elite, there would be no question that the Elite is the better bike -- but it's $600 more, and I'm having a hard time finding it in stock. (It's only May and bike shops are starting to get 2012 models!)

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBJIM
    Going back to my question of whether moving from the '04 SJ Elite to the '11 SJ Comp would be moving up or down, here are the components for each (first is '11 SJ Comp, second is '04 SJ Elite):

    Frame: M5 ----- M4
    Fork: RockShox Revelation RL (140 mm) ----- Answer Manitou Black Elite (100 mm)
    Rear shock: Fox Triad II (140 mm) ----- Fox Float R
    Brakes: Avid Elixir R SL ----- Shimano Deore M525
    Shift levers: SRAM X7 ------ Shimano Deore LX
    Front d/r: SRAM X7 ------ Shimano Deore LX
    Rear d/r: SRAM X9 ------ Shimano XTR SGS
    Crankset: SRAM S-1250 (22/33/44) ------ Shimano Deore XT (22/32/44)
    Bottom bracket: SRAM GXP ----- Shimano BB-E230
    Rear cogs: 10 speed, 11-36 ------ 9 speed, 11-34

    Based on the above (putting aside the fact that the '04 has 7 years of use on it), which is the better bike?

    I take as a given that if I were comparing the '11 Comp to the '11 Elite, there would be no question that the Elite is the better bike -- but it's $600 more, and I'm having a hard time finding it in stock. (It's only May and bike shops are starting to get 2012 models!)

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
    I would suggest that by nature of the improved geometry and ride quality alone it is worth upgrading from your old bike. The part spec works out in the wash, everything looks to be improved or similar to your old spec. If it were me, it's a no brainer; get the '11. As for the Comp vs the Elite, well that's up to your budget. You will get better working parts that last longer but if it breaks your budget then it might not be worthwhile. I always suggest getting the highest spec bike you can afford.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  12. #12
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    zebra -- thanks. So I don't have to go up to an '11 Elite to be moving up.

    I've also been talking to bike store guys in the DC/MD/VA area (alas, from my desk, during lunch....) and getting more thoughts, much of which jives with what you all have given on this thread. If I stick to my original idea of staying under $3000, three choices are:
    -- Spec. SJ Comp FSR
    -- Spec. Camber Pro
    -- Giant Trance X2

    Pros and cons? Rankings?

    Thanks.

    (Sorry to be taking up so much forum air time on this -- once I make a choice, I'll go back into radio silence for another seven years...)

  13. #13
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    The biggest difference between them all is design intent. They all ride differently, fit differently, and hopefully feel different. You need to go test ride them all and make up your own mind. You can't go wrong with any of them so you need to decide which one feels better for you, which one fits better for you, which geometry and travel combination feels better when you ride it.

    Everyone will have their own biases which are most frequently based on what bike they ride and they'll always suggest the bike they ride or have experience with. That's not so helpful if it steers you away from a perfectly good bike that you might like better. I think the best route might be to decide what travel you're looking for and narrow it down that way. What kinds of bikes do people ride at the trails you're planning on riding the most? Or you can do what I do and even though most people ride rigid 29'er single speeds I still rock a 7" travel monster because I like the bike.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  14. #14
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    Zebe -- Thanks, sound advice. I gotta get out and ride them!

  15. #15
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    Tested bikes this past weekend! Without getting into all the details, I liked the Stumpy Elite the best. The LBS made me a great deal on it, so I pulled the trigger. My only hesitation was that it was only available in the black and white version, which came with a white saddle and grips. It looked a little "road bikey", if you know what I mean. But the LBS agreed to swap the saddle and grips for me, and that sealed the deal. And maybe I can paint some flames on it or something.....

    So, thanks for all the help. I'll be back in seven years, when I'm back in the market again.

    But first, one last question: which saddle should I get? Aesthetically, I'm thinking either all black, or some combo of black, white and/or red -- although of course the actual quality matters too. Mucho thanks.

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