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  1. #1
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    Rumblefish vs. SJ FSR vs. Rip9 vs. Mach429

    I'm 6'4" 250 lbs and getting back into mountain biking again. I have a '03 Specialized Epic Disc that I haven't ridden much in the last few years due to work, other interests, family, etc. but I am planning or ride more this year.

    I had a chance to demo an 2010 Rumblefish 1 and I really liked it. However, it is a little heavier than my old bike and it feels a little more plush on the downhill with the extra suspension.

    I ride in the Blue Ridge Mountains on a combination of fireroads and single track. The trails aren't too rutted, but some sections have plenty of roots, ruts, rocks, etc.

    I like to climb single track for the challenge (even though I suck and I'm slow) and I really enjoy the downhill single track, but I'm 40 years-old and do not look for the big air and drop offs. Most of my rides are 8-20 miles.

    I should have a chance to demo the Specialized FSR 29er next week and hopefully the Niner Rip9 next month before I make my purchase.

    Has anyone had a chance to ride all of these and compare? These happen to be the FS 29er brands that are available at the LBSs.

    I have a budget of up to $4000 (not including wheels which I already have), but I don't want to spend that much if I don't need to. I've already picked up a i9 Enduro wheelset that will go on whichever bike I get.

    It seems like the Rip and Mach249 are nice bikes, but if I want to go with XT or XO components, I am going to be looking at $4500+ for this? I think.

    I will at least get to ride the FSR and Rip9 soon, but I look for input from those who have experience on these and look forward to your comparisons. Thanks!
    Last edited by nevermiss; 03-22-2011 at 04:53 AM.

  2. #2
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    I just ordered the Rumblefish 1. I'm the same as you, 250 and 6'6" just getting back into MTBing. When the snow melts I'll be riding.

  3. #3
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    I'm 6'3" 250lbs and ride a Stumpjumper FSR Expert 29er and really like it. The brain shock works great for clydes and there is no pedal bob and no lock out levers to mess with. I did a demo ride on a Rumblefish and really liked it, that was also the first time I rode a 29er. At the same time the local shop I liked had just switched to Specialized and I really wanted to stick with them. I ordered the Specialized without ever riding it and have been very happy with it. When you demo the Specialized play around with the adjuster knob on the brain canister to get a feel for the range of ride set up.

  4. #4
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    I JUST BOUGHT A Trek HiFi Pro and I go about 270. It is smooth and plush, I love it...I really don't think you can go wrong with any of the bikeS you have listed...

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the feeback! It's been raining all weekend. I can't wait for spring to get outside and ride.

  6. #6
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    I think you would do well to expand your search a little more before narrowing it.

    A Turner DW Sultan is another bike that might fit your budget and is a great riding bike, and in the same category as the Stumpy and Rumblefish.

    I would also throw some more 100mm travel 29ers (or even a Niner JET 9 @ 80mm) in there for consideration as well. 120mm travel on a 29er is flirting with the long legged segment and you might appreciate what 100mm travel on a 29er can bring to your table.

    A few others I would look into before narrowing my search:

    Santa Cruz Tallboy
    Niner JET 9 (only 80mm, but a very nice trail bike)
    Specialized Epic (although they do require a 142mm wide rear hub now?)

    It might surprise you how well 100mm travel works on 29" wheels.

    But if you're dead set on the three you have mentioned, they are all well regarded for their intended use.

    Have fun. Shopping for a new bike should be, so don't get too caught up in the hand-wringing to the point it makes you miserable.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj
    I think you would do well to expand your search a little more before narrowing it.

    A Turner DW Sultan is another bike that might fit your budget and is a great riding bike, and in the same category as the Stumpy and Rumblefish.

    I would also throw some more 100mm travel 29ers (or even a Niner JET 9 @ 80mm) in there for consideration as well. 120mm travel on a 29er is flirting with the long legged segment and you might appreciate what 100mm travel on a 29er can bring to your table.

    A few others I would look into before narrowing my search:

    Santa Cruz Tallboy
    Niner JET 9 (only 80mm, but a very nice trail bike)
    Specialized Epic (although they do require a 142mm wide rear hub now?)

    It might surprise you how well 100mm travel works on 29" wheels.

    But if you're dead set on the three you have mentioned, they are all well regarded for their intended use.

    Have fun. Shopping for a new bike should be, so don't get too caught up in the hand-wringing to the point it makes you miserable.
    Since I have a 80mm rear and 100mm front travel on my 26" FS, I thought I would look for something more/different. However, your point is well taken. After I rode the RF1 with 29" wheels, I thought maybe the 29" would be enough and maybe I don't need the extra travel when steeping up to a 29".

    I'll make sure and ride the Jet9 on demo day and see if the LBS has Specialized Epics for me to rent as well.

    I've heard a lot of good things about the SC Tallboy. However, at 6'4" 250 lbs., I'm not sure how Carbon Fiber and I would get along on a mountain bike. I would like to get some time on this bike, but I don't know of any in the area to rent or demo.

    Thanks for the advice/insight!

  8. #8
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    I had an extended (two week) test ride on a Tallboy and was around 270-275lbs at the time and at least during the time I had it, felt it was very much up to the task. I also tested one at Interbike in 2009 and the good folks at the Santa Cruz booth never flinched at my size when setting it up for me to test. If you were to consider one though, I would place a call to Santa Cruz to see how they felt about it just to be sure.

    At Interbike, they put me on an XXL (to be fair/honest, it had a layback seatpost and a 120mm stem), but the one I had for two weeks was an XL. I am 6'5" and I preferred the XL. YMMV.

    The Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 29 I briefly rode a couple weeks ago was an XL and I was not cramped on it at all. The upper end Specialized bikes do have a fairly long top tube. I think their XXL is 660mm and the XL is 640mm (ETT).

  9. #9
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    I own a 429, and I demoed a Rumble Fish and parking lot demo of RIP 9. I love my 429, thats why I bought it. The rumble fish is really nice and for the price I can't say not get it. The RIP 9 does have a "softer" suspension it will give will just about any movement.

    I would say if you have the money go 429, but really at this price point it is worth driving to a few locations a demoing. Also I'm 260 naked, and I've had my 429 for 5 months if you have any questions.
    RideSAMBA.com Mountain Biking in South Alabama.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulrb02
    I own a 429, and I demoed a Rumble Fish and parking lot demo of RIP 9. I love my 429, thats why I bought it. The rumble fish is really nice and for the price I can't say not get it. The RIP 9 does have a "softer" suspension it will give will just about any movement.

    I would say if you have the money go 429, but really at this price point it is worth driving to a few locations a demoing. Also I'm 260 naked, and I've had my 429 for 5 months if you have any questions.
    Thansk for the info. You are the first person I've heard that felt the compression was as soft as you descrived on the Rip9. Did you have it adjusted for you prior the the ride? I know the tech spent about 10 minutes with me adjusting the Rumblefish that I rented and it made a huge difference.

    There is a store that is a Pivot dealer nearby, but I doubt they have any XL 429s in stock. I'll check and hopefully they will have a demo day sometime soon.

    Thanks again for your input.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj
    I had an extended (two week) test ride on a Tallboy and was around 270-275lbs at the time and at least during the time I had it, felt it was very much up to the task. I also tested one at Interbike in 2009 and the good folks at the Santa Cruz booth never flinched at my size when setting it up for me to test. If you were to consider one though, I would place a call to Santa Cruz to see how they felt about it just to be sure.

    At Interbike, they put me on an XXL (to be fair/honest, it had a layback seatpost and a 120mm stem), but the one I had for two weeks was an XL. I am 6'5" and I preferred the XL. YMMV.

    The Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 29 I briefly rode a couple weeks ago was an XL and I was not cramped on it at all. The upper end Specialized bikes do have a fairly long top tube. I think their XXL is 660mm and the XL is 640mm (ETT).
    I went by a LBS who is a SC dealer today and they had an XXL Tallboy in stock. It actually seemed to fit me perfectly. The frame seemed more firm than the Rumblefish and the bike was lighter and more nimble. Unfortunately, it's not my color and it had the entry level component package. I'm going to see if they can get one in black with some better components and Fox fork and shock and go from there.

    Since I'm in no rush to get a bike, I still plan to demo a Rip9 and Jet9 at the end of April and I learned that Pivot will have a demo day here some time in May so I'll have a chance to try many great bikes before June and I'll make my decision then.

    Since I'm not a big speed demon downhiller and a lot of my rides invole a fair amount of uphill single track, the Tallboy or Jet9 will likely better fit the majority of the type of riding that I do.

    I can see why people who bike a lot and ride varied terrains often end up with more than one bike.
    Last edited by nevermiss; 03-08-2011 at 06:32 AM.

  12. #12
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    Demoed everything but the Spesh. I ended up with the RIP9. Can't say enough about this bike and the speed both uphill and downhill. I have smoked my best time on every trail. I though I would be at a little disadvantage coming from a 26" HT, absolutely not. It would take alot to move me off this bike.

  13. #13
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    We the people ...

    I have ridden RIP, Stumpy FSR Expert, RumbleFish, HiFi & Mach 429. All are great bikes as well as ones mentioned by others (Sultan, Tallboy).

    I have a HiFi already and after demos, I choose a Stumpy FSR Expert as second bike to get all mountain. Here are some observations to check out as you demo these really great bikes...and like anything, it's all a matter of personal feel & type of riding you like.

    RIP = Excellent rear pedaling platform, smoothest/best feel of any bike I have ridden as far as rear peddling platform and plushness goes. CVA arc feels something special. Suspension glues to trail in corners and handles well at slow and high speed. However, steep front head tube for an all mountain bike made descending feel less stable than I preferred for steep technical downhills.

    Mach429 = Solid rear and solid pedaling platform. Very stable ride. Frame felt too stiff for me upfront with respect to vibration transfer (although it could have been the bars). Noticed pedal strikes as bottom bracket is lower than others. Bike also feels a bit heavy compared to others.

    HiFi = Very solid all around bike. (note: I stepped up front fork to 120mm vs 100mm) to make it more of a trail vs cross country geom to improve descending performance at cost of some climb wandering needing front weighting. Much improved with 2010 ABP rear that added much needed stiffness & trail hugging rear during braking. Excellent slow speed turning with G2. Front steering is quick but could also feel a bit twitchy with 640mm handlebars...

    RumbleFish = Very solid bike. Rear shock (with dual chamber + boost valve) absorbs exceptionally well all small trail chatter and feels good for large hits. G2 geometry turns very well. Rear ABP stayed engaged to trail during turns. Geom is almost same as HiFi (dual boost shock is one difference). Ultimately in trying to be an All Mountain bike, it didn't quite match the travel feel of the SJ FSR Expert and did not match the rear pedaling platform excellence of RIP.

    Stumpjumper FSR Expert = dialable brain allows hard vs plush tuning. Platform pedals very well and feels very light for a 29er (one of the lightest feeling of any I rode). 130mm front and rear gives good all mountain performance. Bike descends very well & handles well at speed, and is a surprisingly good climber even with 69.5 head tube angle. Wheelbase does feel long so slow speed turns, or tight switchbacks require good turning technique. Still, of all the bikes I rode in late 2010, early 2011...SJ FSR Expert won me over for 2011.

  14. #14
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    RIP9 has relaxed the HA by a degree for 2011 plus you can now use an angleset headset(e.g. Cane Creek) to play around with that by +/- 1.5 deg. I have 2010 with 140 marz tsr2 air fork, replaced fork oil with a redline mix @ ~15wt. Non sag is 69.5-70 HA. Best bike I've ever owned I think over the years, CVA is amazing, can stand when necessary even bursty uber steep stuff. I'm around 230# ride weight. Built it up for somewhere in the $3000 range with a mix of SRAM(inc Avid/Truvativ) and Shimano, closeouts on most parts although I missed the real deal on the 2010 frame by 2 months when they blew them out for the updated spec. For a clyde, spend on the wheels/hubs & frame you can go budget on some of the other stuff.

  15. #15
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    I test rode a SJ 29 a few weeks ago. It is a nice bike but I felt the price was a little high for the part spec. I can't say its bad, just boring for some reason.

    Right now Competitive Cyclist has some good closeouts and I've seen the 2010 Rip 9 for $1200. I just purchased a Ventana El Capitan from them for $750, my build sheet is attached but my budget was much smaller than yours. Right now a lot of 2010 stuff is on closeout. I went with 9 speed but you can get a 10 speed drivetrain for ~$100 more if that's what you want. Being a clyde I plan on sticking with 9. I'm a fan of doing a custom build as it lets you get exactly what you want the first time.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Rumblefish vs. SJ FSR vs. Rip9 vs. Mach249-ventana-build.png  


  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lets Try Science
    I test rode a SJ 29 a few weeks ago. It is a nice bike but I felt the price was a little high for the part spec. I can't say its bad, just boring for some reason.

    Right now Competitive Cyclist has some good closeouts and I've seen the 2010 Rip 9 for $1200. I just purchased a Ventana El Capitan from them for $750, my build sheet is attached but my budget was much smaller than yours. Right now a lot of 2010 stuff is on closeout. I went with 9 speed but you can get a 10 speed drivetrain for ~$100 more if that's what you want. Being a clyde I plan on sticking with 9. I'm a fan of doing a custom build as it lets you get exactly what you want the first time.

    Go Carbon!! I'm 265 and had a 2010 SJ Expert and just upgraded to a 2011 SJ Pro and the difference is definitely there. The Pro is 3 lbs lighter and feels extremely solid. Only problem Im having is with the tubeless tire setup....3 rides, 2 flats. Small Block 8 26x2.1.

  17. #17
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    I tets rode Rfish and Stumpy FSR. The Rfish handled better is slow turns and the geometry of the Rfish works better for my body dimensions. Got the Rfish and have been riding and enjoying the heck out of it with no problems. Im 6' and now 235, was 257 when I bought the bike.

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