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  1. #1
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    Best Do It All Bike For SoCal - How much travel is enough - all mountain & trail

    I've been geeking out trying to determine my next bike and thought this would be a topic that others would find useful as well. I know it's completely subjective and that there is no one right answer that fits everyone, but it's useful to read what other riders feel strongly about.

    So...what's your favorite ride to tackle most trails in Southern California? It would be great if you could share some specifics about your body weight, favorite trails, riding style, etc.

    My details: Middle-age novice/intermediate, 240 lbs, riding since 1997, started off with a hardtail with 80mm fork, went over the bars too many times and didn't like the noodly front end, so jumped up to a 2006 Reign 1. That opened up a lot of options and fun but the dated geo is showing itself and as my skills have progressed I've found myself wanting to reduce travel so that going downhill requires a little more focus on my part.

    I primarily ride El Moro, Laguna, Santiago Oaks and tolerate the climbs to get to the down hills. I'm comfortable with short jumps and drops to 3', like to hit corners fast enough to scare myself, and would probably push those limits if the local trails offered bigger features.

    Right now I'm wavering between the Santa Cruz 5010C with a 140 Pike or a Kona Process 134 with Pike. The Santa Cruz wins on fit, finish, ease of maintenance, and probably long-term durability. The Process 134 is just plain fun to ride as the geo makes it feel more lively to me. I've got another test ride to do on the 5010 before I decide. Bronson would have been a consideration but I can't find an XL to demo. As a clyde, I like a bike that is as stiff as possible.

  2. #2
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    Re: Best Do It All Bike For SoCal - How much travel is enough - all mountain & trail

    I have a Pivot Mach 5.7 carbon and its done everything I've needed well. Climbs great and descends well. I ride in LA area mostly including the Santa Monica mountains and Calabasas area. Small jumps and drops for me too. Not a Clyde but the Mach 6 our firebird may be worth checking out too.

    Sent from my SGH-T999L using Tapatalk 2

  3. #3
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    I tested the Santa Cruz 5010 and I liked it alot. Switching the shock to climb mode on that bike really worked as advertised. I was seriously considering it as an option until I saw a Norco Sight listed on Craigslist. The sight is getting rave reviews and I can tell you it rides great. Very efficient pedaling and small bump performance is outstanding. I can plow through stuff without thinking about my line on this thing. It is an option you should consider.
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  4. #4
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    I'm in the Central Valley (Camp Nelson riding area). I'm building up a Pivot Mach 6, as most of the riding is downhill around here. I was contemplating the 5010 or Bronson too.

  5. #5
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    I'd give the mid-to-long travel 29ers a try, especially the Tallboy LTc. With a CCDBA on mine, it has incredible downhill performance, and it climbs great, too.

  6. #6
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    definitely carbon since all the magazines love them. also, i would go 27.5 wheel size since its popularity is more recent than 29er. as for travel, pretty sure the magazines and local shops say that 5 or more likely 6" is required for anything but curb drops and since the vast majority of riders are hard core, you must have adequate suspension

  7. #7
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    I am 5foot 9, 200lbs and have riden both a 5in and 6in travel bike over the last 10 tears as my do it all kind of bikes for socal.

    I currently have a 2007 Kona Coiler, 6in travel. Does not climb as good as my buddies bikes, but i don't care. it shreds all the downhill sections with ease.
    Ride Bikes, Drink Craft Beer, Repeat.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    I am 5foot 9, 200lbs and have riden both a 5in and 6in travel bike over the last 10 tears as my do it all kind of bikes for socal.

    I currently have a 2007 Kona Coiler, 6in travel. Does not climb as good as my buddies bikes, but i don't care. it shreds all the downhill sections with ease.
    Stop blaming your poor bike...it's the skillllllzzzzzzz of the rider!

  9. #9
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    I'm stoked on my Turner Burner. It does everything good, so much so that I'm probably going to end up selling my other 3 bikes.

  10. #10
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    Pivot Mach 5.7 if you ride a 26er

    Pivot Mach 6 if you ride a 27.5er

    Niner RIP9 if you ride a 29er
    ...and proud member of the anti-sock puppet desolation

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle View Post
    definitely carbon since all the magazines love them. also, i would go 27.5 wheel size since its popularity is more recent than 29er. as for travel, pretty sure the magazines and local shops say that 5 or more likely 6" is required for anything but curb drops and since the vast majority of riders are hard core, you must have adequate suspension
    Carbon's combo of stiffness and damping is nice, but aluminum works for me too when it's built stiff...at the end of the day it's coming down to which bike feels more connected and controllable with reasonable climbing efficiency. As for wheel size, for me it's a feel thing as well, I was fine with 26" and 650B feels a little better. I've only ridden a few 29's and while the momentum on uphills and acceleration on flats was noticeable, the increased turning radius and flex was as well. I'm never going to be the fast guy on flats or uphills, so speed isn't a deciding factor.

    One thing I've discovered demoing five different high-end bikes is that -- for aggressive fun riding -- geometry and fit seem to count more than suspension designs. I had a media-induced bias against single pivots but the Process I tested climbed noticeably better than my Reign and -- in terms of traction -- was at least on par with the Trance SX and 5010C that I demoed. Maybe the bike just fits me better for pedaling efficiency, maybe I just don't have enough riding hours logged to sense the difference, or maybe the differences between suspension design are less than advertised.

    Haven't found a Pivot to demo yet but the Mach 6 sounds impressive, only concern would be rear triangle stiffness for my weight as I've read a couple Clydesdale reports of flex felt under hard cornering. I'll see if I can find a Turner and Tallboy LTc to demo as well.

  12. #12
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    My Ellsworth Evolution 29"er has 120 mm travel front and rear, and is enough for everything I ride, with a possible exception for some of the features on Noble and a few other trails. My Joker is more the bike for those spots, but to be honest, I usually end up walking the really dicy ones. At my age, and with my finances, I really can't afford any more surgical interventions and lengthy recovery times-off.
    Re-Cycled Person who rides a mountain bicycle.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by colbatguano View Post
    As for wheel size, for me it's a feel thing as well, I was fine with 26" and 650B feels a little better. I've only ridden a few 29's and while the momentum on uphills and acceleration on flats was noticeable, the increased turning radius and flex was as well.
    agreed, based on what magazines talk about and the fact that the 27.5 forum is newer than 29er makes 27.5 wheels the better choice

    Quote Originally Posted by colbatguano View Post
    ...geometry and fit seem to count more than suspension designs.
    agreed. and while i only made it to junior college physics 101, its become very obvious that nothing really mattes except chainstay length where the shorter the better regardless of rider, terrain, etc. even better if in carbon and even more better if carbon and 27.5 wheel size

  14. #14
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Ray View Post
    My Ellsworth Evolution 29"er has 120 mm travel front and rear, and is enough for everything I ride, with a possible exception for some of the features on Noble and a few other trails. My Joker is more the bike for those spots, but to be honest, I usually end up walking the really dicy ones. At my age, and with my finances, I really can't afford any more surgical interventions and lengthy recovery times-off.
    i am sure its a fine bike but because probably the best rider i have ever ridden with really does not like ellsworth and tony was apparently mean-spirited to him, i cant personally endorse ellsworth. i know aquaholic to be quite sensitive but in this case i dont think he was exaggerating tony's behavior.

    i am glad you like your bicycle though

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by colbatguano View Post
    I've been geeking out trying to determine my next bike and thought this would be a topic that others would find useful as well. I know it's completely subjective and that there is no one right answer that fits everyone, but it's useful to read what other riders feel strongly about.

    So...what's your favorite ride to tackle most trails in Southern California? It would be great if you could share some specifics about your body weight, favorite trails, riding style, etc.

    My details: Middle-age novice/intermediate, 240 lbs, riding since 1997, started off with a hardtail with 80mm fork, went over the bars too many times and didn't like the noodly front end, so jumped up to a 2006 Reign 1. That opened up a lot of options and fun but the dated geo is showing itself and as my skills have progressed I've found myself wanting to reduce travel so that going downhill requires a little more focus on my part.

    I primarily ride El Moro, Laguna, Santiago Oaks and tolerate the climbs to get to the down hills. I'm comfortable with short jumps and drops to 3', like to hit corners fast enough to scare myself, and would probably push those limits if the local trails offered bigger features.

    Right now I'm wavering between the Santa Cruz 5010C with a 140 Pike or a Kona Process 134 with Pike. The Santa Cruz wins on fit, finish, ease of maintenance, and probably long-term durability. The Process 134 is just plain fun to ride as the geo makes it feel more lively to me. I've got another test ride to do on the 5010 before I decide. Bronson would have been a consideration but I can't find an XL to demo. As a clyde, I like a bike that is as stiff as possible.
    Hey,
    I ride Aliso, El Moro and Laguna mainly. I have a Bronson and it seems to do handle these trails great. Try The path in tustin for Bronson or 5010 demos. Send me a pm if you have other questions.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle View Post
    i am sure its a fine bike but because probably the best rider i have ever ridden with really does not like ellsworth and tony was apparently mean-spirited to him, i cant personally endorse ellsworth. i know aquaholic to be quite sensitive but in this case i dont think he was exaggerating tony's behavior.

    i am glad you like your bicycle though
    I find it easy to differentiate between the Ellsworth personality and the Ellsworth product. I bought my Joker back in 2001, and when I broke the frame, mainly due to me riding the bike in a medium size when I really should have had the Large frame, they replaced it with a 2005 Joker no questions asked. They even replaced it with a Large frame, and a neat little machined aluminum bit that would allow me to continue riding the Joker as a 6" travel bike, using the same shock.. By then, they had upped the travel to 7." Since then, I went ahead and got another longer shock and it's now a 7" travel trail bike, although I ain't got no trails nearby that actually need a 7" travel frame, it's still a fun bike to tool around on, and it pedals surprisingly well.

    I doubt if Aqua's exaggerating, at least not much, but all's I can say is that ellsworth has been good to me.
    Re-Cycled Person who rides a mountain bicycle.

  17. #17
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Ray View Post
    I find it easy to differentiate between the Ellsworth personality and the Ellsworth product. I bought my Joker back in 2001, and when I broke the frame, mainly due to me riding the bike in a medium size when I really should have had the Large frame, they replaced it with a 2005 Joker no questions asked. They even replaced it with a Large frame, and a neat little machined aluminum bit that would allow me to continue riding the Joker as a 6" travel bike, using the same shock.. By then, they had upped the travel to 7." Since then, I went ahead and got another longer shock and it's now a 7" travel trail bike, although I ain't got no trails nearby that actually need a 7" travel frame, it's still a fun bike to tool around on, and it pedals surprisingly well.

    I doubt if Aqua's exaggerating, at least not much, but all's I can say is that ellsworth has been good to me.
    fair points

    plus, aquaholic as you probably know truly is a complete and utter arsewhole so honestly...Tony was probably treating what whiny little bizatch the way he deserved. in summary, phuck aqua. I am getting an ellsworth

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle View Post
    fair points

    plus, aquaholic as you probably know truly is a complete and utter arsewhole so honestly...Tony was probably treating what whiny little bizatch the way he deserved. in summary, phuck aqua. I am getting an ellsworth
    Yeah, well, if you go for an Ellsworth, you better go for a 'bro' deal. Those things are overpriced. I own 2 of 'em, and I ain't rich.

    I've only run into Aqua on the trail, and he always had a smile on his face there. So I don't really know him In Real Life....trails don't count there. Unless trails ARE real life, and the rest is a nightmare! That kinda sounds right......
    Re-Cycled Person who rides a mountain bicycle.

  19. #19
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Ray View Post
    I've only run into Aqua on the trail, and he always had a smile on his face there.
    yeah, makes sense. retarded people smile a lot

  20. #20
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    FoShizzle: I agree that Aqua is a whiny little boy and probably deserved the scorn of Tony The Great. Plus, Tony makes carbon bikes in a green facility so they must be faster and more flickable. If you did not know this, you obviously don't know Tony very well. Tony only does what is right for the environment. Plus, I hear he may know some guys in SOA.

  21. #21
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer View Post
    FoShizzle: I agree that Aqua is a whiny little boy and probably deserved the scorn of Tony The Great. Plus, Tony makes carbon bikes in a green facility so they must be faster and more flickable. If you did not know this, you obviously don't know Tony very well. Tony only does what is right for the environment. Plus, I hear he may know some guys in SOA.
    first of all Flyer, STFU and mind your own business. Leave the SoCal forum and stay in your own pot-legalized section of MTBR you friggin hippie

    As for SOA, the only affiliation they would allow for Tony would be to let him be Jax's Old Lady

  22. #22
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    See, this is the reason people prefer hanging out with Mikesee, Tony, and Aqua. You are just a very evil and mean person with no hopes for redemption. Maybe if you grew a beard to look all tough and "mountain" like Mikesee, then people would at least look at you...damn beach Sasquatch!

  23. #23
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    Seems this is getting off topic....

    So, to answer the op, the shorter the travel to the trail the better. I drive about 6 miles from my house and I'm on the trail.

    Hope that helps (or do I NEED help?).

    Hmmmmmmmmm...... O.k. back to your regularly scheduled sheet flinging.

  24. #24
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    North of the Border just got a fresh demo fleet from Norco and they have Turner, Ellsworth etc. I suggest going there and doing a demo. The Norco Sight is an amazing bike.
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  25. #25
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    My favorite bike for socal is my Ventana el cap/ Zeus b9er. Also have a 2013 Kona process (26 inch version) which flat out rips...feels like a mini DH bike (drops up to 5 feet, which is the biggest I've done so far) feel like nothing under my 260 lbs, and it climbs quite well considering its downhill performance. I've heard even better things about the 2014 processes....would probably recommend doing the 153, as it would be better for snow summit and still great for anything xc or am around here...

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