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  1. #1
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    Rode the Mason hardtail and Mason FS, here are my observations

    So yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the diamondback demo at one of my local trails 10 miles from my house, doesn't get much better than that location wise for me. So I went in with high spirits ready to ride a Mason and a carbon overdrive, maybe even a sortie. I ended up riding the Mason hardtail first, followed by the Mason FS. I skipped the overdrive and went home not wanting a new bike. I ride a 2010 mission so the Mason models were right up my alley. Here are my observations......

    Mason hardtail:
    I like the concept but hated the ride. I have a bulging disc in my lower back and the hardtail killed me! I haven't touched a hardtail in years, I had no idea it would hurt that much, ouch! Even standing up on the descents, I just couldn't handle it. Otherwise, it handled good and felt like a freeride bike with 29" wheels. Nice design, but not for me. The drivetrain was nice, and the fork seemed to have plenty of travel.

    Mason FS:
    Much better! Mostly because of my back. Fell in love instantly. Pretty plush suspension, not as much as my mission but rode pretty nice. The bigger wheels and suspension travel were a perfect match. The 1x11 was really nice! Overall, really nice bike. I liked they way it handled, it is definitely my style. The overall size was a good fit, I'm 6ft tall so a bigger bike is always welcome.

    Because of the jarring ride from the hardtail Mason, I skipped the carbon overdrive. I also skipped the sortie as I felt it probably wouldn't be plush enough for rocky AZ terrain and I don't have my heart set on one. So after riding the two Mason's, I jumped on my mission and rode the same loop. Fell in love again! Much more maneuverable with 26" wheels and really plush. It was just plain fun, made me love my bike even more. Granted my bike is nowhere close to stock with a 7" travel fork and a ton of other upgrades, it just kicks butt! So while my opinions are completely different compared to most riders because of my back and what I can handle, I can still say that the mason platform is awesome but isn't really any better than my mission. In fact, I think enjoy my mission more. I still appreciate a good hardtail and the climbing experience that comes with one since that is what I started on years ago, but no more for me. I may have walked away a little disappointed but the satisfaction of knowing I already have my perfect bike is priceless.

  2. #2
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    Good write up! I switched to a FS for the same reason you did...back issues. I still own my hard tail and ride it on the tame stuff. I bought a Sortie last fall but I seriously considered a Mason FS. I am in Texas and we don't have as much technical stuff here as you have in AZ. In the end the Mason was just more aggressive than I needed. However I am still jonesing to give one a try.

    I really miss riding a 26 as well. Don't get me wrong, I love my Sortie 29er but I do miss the feel of a 26. I also considered a Mission, but again it was just a bit aggressive for my XC needs. I have been keeping an eye on the classifieds for one of the more recent 26" Sorties. I would love to find one of the Sortie Comps from last year.

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