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  1. #1
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    new full sus bike for a 290lbs rider

    i am in the market for a new 29'' full sus bike.
    290lbs and 6rt 4''

    bikes i like the look of are

    tallboy
    hightower
    banshee prime
    transition smuggler
    niner wfo

    any thought or reccomendations?

  2. #2
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    Find one you like when you demo it, and see if you can do a frame only. A lot of times, the better bikes will come with high$$ lightweight rims and hubs that will get chewed up by a clyde. Unless it says DTswiss on the hub, I'd be reluctant to use the stock wheels.

    What have you ridden in the past and what sort of trails do you ride?
    "a hundred travel books isn't worth one real trip"

  3. #3
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    in the past i have owned a santa cruz heckler, a ventana el capitan and a spesh enduro 29r.

    rides are from smooth bike parks to full on rocky mountain routes

  4. #4
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    Those are all good choices. The only one I have any experience with is the Banshee Prime. I've had mine for more than 3 years. For sake of comparison, I'm 6'2" and 270lbs. So far I have had no problems with the durability of the frame and the bike rides awesome. The only place I've felt the bike was completely out of its element was on double black dh trails. Aside from that, there isn't much it can't do.

    I have owned a couple of Transition bikes over the years. I can't give you any input regarding the Smuggler, but I can tell you that Transition is a great company to deal with and that they will stand behind their bikes.

    I will echo what watts888 said about the wheels. Invest in a strong wheel set. The wheels on a mountain bike take a pretty harsh beating, especially from us big guys. I run Stans Flow rims laced to Hope (rear) and Azonic (front) hubs. I built the wheels as light as I could without compromising strength.

  5. #5
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    Great list.

    Unless you've got incredible form, or are blasting along relatively smooth stuff at high speed, I'd opt for the higher travel options like Hightower or Prime over Smuggler. It's a great bike, but it's very little travel and bottoming out a short travel bike is not fun. That's the advice I got from people who've ridden both - so take that for what it's worth.

    watts is absolutely correct on wheels. At your weight, I did medium-loaded touring with DTSwiss hubs and they came through just fine, and under similar loads and circumstances I destroyed Bontrager, Hope and Shimano Deore hubs.

  6. #6
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    I'm around 280 and love my Tallboy 1c on Michigan single track with plenty of rocks and roots. Be aware that VPP bikes can creak a bit under heavy pedaling load. I have minimal tolerance for creaky bikes, and I've been able to ignore what little I hear on mine.

    They tweaked geometry on the 3, so it's longer and slacker now. I'm eager to throw a leg over one.
    Clydesdale Gear
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  7. #7
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    It really depends on the terrain you ride, but I have owned the Banshee Prime and currently own a tallboy 2. The trails I ride are not dh, but Midwest style with some rocks/roots, no drops/jumps over 2 feet. Perfect trails for a hardtail if your back can handle it or a 100-120mm FS bike.

    I initially bought the Prime because I was attracted to the beefy frame, and that it wasn't a super long travel bike. I rode that for a couple of seasons, lost some weight and moved to a Tallboy. The first ride on the tallboy was eye opening on what type of bike I should have been riding the entire time. While the prime pedaled fine and the CCDB coil shock handled my weight very well, it was a TANK. I can rail tight corners better, go up hills better, and get air with much more confidence.

    I would think the Banshee Phantom might be a closer match to the Hightower/Tallboy if you want to look at it instead of the prime. It might be better suited to your needs?

    Regarding the Hightower, only CF models are released right now. I know SC carbon is top notch, but I dump my frame enough to be concerned about crash damage on carbon. I am sure I will get some flak for this, but it is just a peace of mind thing for me to stick with alloys.

  8. #8
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    Up to about 340 now, unfortunately. I bought my SC Tallboy when I was around 290 a few years back and it has never let me down. Factory rims did however, but those were soon replaced with Flow EX's on Hope hubs. They've been beastly so far for me with no issues. I'm not graceful at all. I've taken some down right horrible choices for lines, and taken some stupid drops and the bike has been great. Again, only killing rims.
    The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning, you didn't even think to ask

  9. #9
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    hightower or smuggler..I'd recommend flow ex hoops on DT swiss 350 hubs ,dt comp double butted spokes , stainless nips.

  10. #10
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    I absolutely cannot recommend Flow EX's enough. They've held up under my big ass well for going on 3 years now. Get them re-trued up every now and then and good to go.
    The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning, you didn't even think to ask

  11. #11
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    I float between 260 and 290lbs. and own an aluminium Tallboy 2 AL. I originally had a Tallboy 1 AL but cracked the rear triangle. SC did not have any replacement triangles as they just transitioned to the TB2 with the 142 rear so I got a TB2 as a warranty replacement. I can't say I've been happy with it. I've broken 2 different pivot axles so far. Now the damn thing is creaking up a storm now.

    SC went from bigger, hollow axles to smaller, solid ones which I think was a bad move. I really wish I had went with something with a little more travel....should have waited for the TB LT.
    2011 Dawes Deadeye | 2011 Niner EMD9 | 2014 Santa Cruz Tallboy AL| 2016 Raleigh Merit 3

  12. #12
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    I have broke a few pivot axles on my TB2, it's frustrating but something I figured was just due to me not being a graceful rider. I keep several replacements on hand just in case something happens.
    The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning, you didn't even think to ask

  13. #13
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    Make sure you SC guys are swapping out the RWC needle bearing kit on the shock/pivot axle. Makes a little difference on the small bump sensitivity and might just eliminate that creaking.

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