What does Element compete against?
What are the bikes that would be considered in the same "group" as the Element? I hear all the time how the Giant NRS, Trek Fuel, and Epics are common at races. Is the Element up there in terms of competent race bikes in your opinions? Do we hear less about them since there are simply fewer of them made? What are the advantages and disadvantages of them compared to other well known race bikes (besides weight)?
chips & bier
Kinda hard to say...
Back in '01, this was my list:
Kona King Kikapu
Special Ed S-Works FSR
The Element won, obviously. Regarding what the element stacks up against these days: anything w/ about 4" of travel and in the 2100-2600 g range for a complete frameset. On your list (and a couple of others) I'm thinking:
1. Scalpel. The Element has 33% more travel and doesn't bob anywhere near as much.
2. Epic. Hard to say. I'm convinced TerraLogic (or SPV, for that matter) still kills some small-bump response, which the Element shoudn't suffer from.
3. Fuel. Dunno about total travel. A friend has mine and is over the moon with it. From what I've heard the Fuel's travel is a bit more progressive than the Element's. Probably good for an all-out racer, particularly for a rider concerned with bob.
4. NRS. No bob. But also less small-bump, high-frequency response. Light, cheap (the alloy ones), and very pedal-input efficient. The Element bobs more, but may be more comfortable on rough gravel roads.
5. Titus Racer-X. Never ridden one, so I really can't comment. Very good reviews, though.
You ask wether it's a competent race bike? Well, I've been racing mine for four years, and so far I've had a tough time trying to convince myself to take the hardtail, even on easy cross-country courses. I think how suitable a bike is will depend for the most part on how you'll use it. If you're like technical terrain and prefer spinning over mashing, I think it's a great bike. If your emphasis is on going straight ahead at high speeds, and a lot of climbing is done out of the saddle, an NRS or Epic may serve you better.
I think one reason you don't see many Elements at races (well, you do here in Europe, particularly Germany and Switserland) is the design is quite dated. The first Elements were released in 1996 (I think) and the biggest changes have been the shocks. Just like Turner's designs, though: why fix it if it ain't broke?
I had the chance to buy a NRS and an Instinct (basically an element) for exactly the same price, and I opted for the Instinct. It turns out my friend's dad bought the NRS at the bike show.
I am very happy with this bike's performance. It soaks up all the small bumps very well, and rarely bobs when seated. Even when I climb out of the saddle, I barely notice the bobing. Overall, I am extremely happy with my new bike.
However, you listed some very comparable bikes. The NRS and the Epic have newer & more sphosticated designs, especially the Epic with the Brain shock. Just keep in mind the Epic is the only bike that has own the world championships. My take is to really ride all 4 bikes and see which one fits you the best.
After all, it is YOU that makes the most difference during a race. Any of the bikes listed will suit an average racer perfectly fine.
how about a turner nitrous, or a sc superlight?
I'd say the closest competition to the element is:
Specialized Stumpy 100
Kona king kikapu
Trek fuel EX
gf cake (non dlx)
When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.
Thanks for the thorough feedback guys.
Originally Posted by eric
I am really excited about the Element. I had bought the frame months ago and have been buying a couple/few parts per month and just yesterday placed the order for the last of my parts!!!!
I almost never stand when biking so that comment you made is good to hear. I will be using this bike for occassional XC racing but will be using it primarily for XC riding with milt to moderate technical sections. I have an X-5 as well for more All Mountain type of riding so I think the complement will be perfect!!!
I will post pictures when the last part comes in and it is built....I cant wait!! I went through a lot of thought for each part so it is good to be over.
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