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  1. #1
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    Specialized SX Trail 2011 vs. Giant reign x0

    Hi,

    After selling my 2012 RM slayer 50 I'm looking for freeride machine that
    can still pedaling uphill.
    So i'm considering these two bikes,
    I know the giant is a pure AM bike, and the SXT is a freeride oriented.
    Comparing both geometry :
    Giant vs. SXT
    STA - 72.5 vs. 70.5(74.5 effective)
    HTA - 67.0 vs. 65.5
    Weight 34.5lbs(15.5 kg) vs. 37.68 lbs(17kg).

    Can weight be considered as the only difference here(with the same setup), Or the minor difference in geometry has an impact also.

  2. #2
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    That is a MAJOR difference in geometry (considering the head angles here). 1.5 degrees might not seem that much, but it is. The SXT will kill the Giant on descents. I haven't ridden a Reign, but I worked at a shop for a number of years and have ridden and owned MANY bikes in this geometry range. Geometry is THE NUMBER ONE FACTOR I consider when purchasing a new bike.

    You also have to consider bottom bracket height. Giant did not publish that for the Reign, and I'm not sure what the SX has, but it's pretty low. (Low = more stable at speed and better at cornering). I own a 2012 SX Trail, which, if I'm not mistaken, has the exact same frame and geometry as the 2011. FWIW, my 2012 SXT weighs around 36 pounds, so you may want to look for one of those.

    As for climbing, I find that my SXT climbs like a champ considering it also descends like a full-on DH bike. Some would disagree, but at some point you have to compromise if you want a truly capable descender. To maximize its climbing performance, I push the seat forward all the way on the rails and turn up the compression on the rear shock to help keep the rear end from sagging as much. Also, the seat has to be LEVEL when climbing, not angled back DH style. This is critical. With a 65.5 degree head angle, you WILL NOT be able to climb up and over steep roots/rocks with your seat angled back. Leveling it makes a HUGE difference in keeping your front tire tracking where you want it and also on the ground/not wheelie-ing.

    I regularly ride up steep, fairly technical climbs on mine without a problem -- though I am better at climbing technical terrain than most people (not to brag -- but that's just what I've observed over the years). Since you are familiar with the RM Slayer -- I used to own an 08 Slayer SXC. My wife still owns an 08 SXC-50, which I ride from time to time. **Though it is nearly 5 pounds lighter than my SXT, I am still faster climbing on the SXT, and I even run 2.5 DH tires on mine. I couldn't tell you why, but I've been timing myself all summer and I CANNOT beat my times with anything but the SXT. It must just pedal a lot more efficiently. Weird. I can't explain it. The only other thing I can think of is maybe my SX is slightly higher geared, forcing me to work a little harder and thus go a little faster up the hills.

    And when it comes to the descents -- the SX is WAY faster/more stable/nimble than the RM. They are not even in the same ballpark.

    If downhill performance is a priority to you, I would get the SXT without a second thought.
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  3. #3
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    Looks into a Knolly Delirium if you can find one. I owned both a Delirium and an 2012 SXT at the same time, and the Delirium is in a class of it's own. The SXT is a great bike for sure, but I'd look into some other alternatives.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    That is a MAJOR difference in geometry (considering the head angles here). 1.5 degrees might not seem that much, but it is. The SXT will kill the Giant on descents. I haven't ridden a Reign, but I worked at a shop for a number of years and have ridden and owned MANY bikes in this geometry range. Geometry is THE NUMBER ONE FACTOR I consider when purchasing a new bike.

    You also have to consider bottom bracket height. Giant did not publish that for the Reign, and I'm not sure what the SX has, but it's pretty low. (Low = more stable at speed and better at cornering). I own a 2012 SX Trail, which, if I'm not mistaken, has the exact same frame and geometry as the 2011. FWIW, my 2012 SXT weighs around 36 pounds, so you may want to look for one of those.

    As for climbing, I find that my SXT climbs like a champ considering it also descends like a full-on DH bike. Some would disagree, but at some point you have to compromise if you want a truly capable descender. To maximize its climbing performance, I push the seat forward all the way on the rails and turn up the compression on the rear shock to help keep the rear end from sagging as much. Also, the seat has to be LEVEL when climbing, not angled back DH style. This is critical. With a 65.5 degree head angle, you WILL NOT be able to climb up and over steep roots/rocks with your seat angled back. Leveling it makes a HUGE difference in keeping your front tire tracking where you want it and also on the ground/not wheelie-ing.

    I regularly ride up steep, fairly technical climbs on mine without a problem -- though I am better at climbing technical terrain than most people (not to brag -- but that's just what I've observed over the years). Since you are familiar with the RM Slayer -- I used to own an 08 Slayer SXC. My wife still owns an 08 SXC-50, which I ride from time to time. **Though it is nearly 5 pounds lighter than my SXT, I am still faster climbing on the SXT, and I even run 2.5 DH tires on mine. I couldn't tell you why, but I've been timing myself all summer and I CANNOT beat my times with anything but the SXT. It must just pedal a lot more efficiently. Weird. I can't explain it. The only other thing I can think of is maybe my SX is slightly higher geared, forcing me to work a little harder and thus go a little faster up the hills.

    And when it comes to the descents -- the SX is WAY faster/more stable/nimble than the RM. They are not even in the same ballpark.

    If downhill performance is a priority to you, I would get the SXT without a second thought.
    Wow that's exactly the answer i'm looking for, lots of people are trying to convince me that it's not possible to pedal uphill with SXT.
    Yesterday I've ended up trying it my self, with a friend's 7" norco shore and didn't notice a huge difference from the slayer 50..

    Thank you very much for your time , can you plz tell me which fork do you have on yours?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by wagdic View Post
    Wow that's exactly the answer i'm looking for, lots of people are trying to convince me that it's not possible to pedal uphill with SXT.
    Yesterday I've ended up trying it my self, with a friend's 7" norco shore and didn't notice a huge difference from the slayer 50..

    Thank you very much for your time , can you plz tell me which fork do you have on yours?
    Mine came with a Fox 36 Van R. It took a long time to break it in but I'm very pleased with it. I find that I don't really need a compression adjuster because it's damped perfectly for me the way it is. It has a full 180mm of travel too, which rarely gets fully used up.

    People that say you can't climb on a FR bike are, frankly, just not in shape/don't have balls. I used to climb my 44 pound Santa Cruz Bullit w/ Avalanche shock and MONSTER T fork up some stupidly steep ****. I won't lie and say I enjoyed the climbs much, but it can be done, lol. Comparatively, my SXT is a dream, and like I said earlier, outclimbs my wife's 30 pound Slayer.

    This may come off sounding weird, but I'd rather ride a FR bike up steep climbs (as long as there's a decent DH reward when I'm finished) than riding that bike on rolling, smooth XC terrain. If your terrain is relatively flat, a light, more XCish bike WILL excel. But if your climbs are fairly steep, in my experience, bike weight and even rolling resistance is less of a factor. I have owned 25 pound XC bikes, and really, the only time I'm faster on those is on fireroads and flatish, smooth xc terrain.

    Thankfully, all of my local trails are steep as ****, warranting a nice, light FR/DH bike.
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  6. #6
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    you might also check out a canfield balance

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by metalMTB View Post
    you might also check out a canfield balance
    What about the one?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by arkon11 View Post
    Looks into a Knolly Delirium if you can find one. I owned both a Delirium and an 2012 SXT at the same time, and the Delirium is in a class of it's own. The SXT is a great bike for sure, but I'd look into some other alternatives.
    I have an option for Delirium, what makes them better than the SXT?

  9. #9
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    Canfield the One is what you want, but it'll be very hard to find one. The SXT really does pedal badly. Very badly. Can you pedal up on it? Sure. Will it take forever? If you are a very strong pedaler, one or two forevers seems about right. It's like dragging a boat anchor with you until you find something to coast down. You'll eventually get to the top, but what fun will it be if you're so gassed that you have no energy for the ride down?

    The One pedals as well as the ReignX (IMO even better), and is more burly than the SXT. You can run a dual crown on it if you want, or you can build it up as a light and flicky park bike. But with similar builds, the SXT is going to be heavier and more sluggish. I've had my One for a year and a half, and it's the most capable bike I've ever ridden. 8+ mile climbs with 4500' elevation gain? Did it two weekends ago. Laps down Garbanzo at Whistler? Did it 5 weekends ago. Rampage course? Yep. It'll handle everything.

    But since The One has been discontinued, check out the Balance. Canfield employees are saying it is incredibly capable on the way down, and pedals better than the One.
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  10. #10
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    Hell I have been on sxtrails since 2006 but my latest on the 2011 is a beast but it does not stop me from pedaling it and I have no probs doing big rides with big accents it may take my 40lb beast a bit longer . To give you a little more info . I have a stump jumper , enduro evo , and a jedi . Which bike do you think gets the most use? Yup my sxtrail ....Why you might say ....well damn its just a fun ass bike to ride
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  11. #11
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    the one is good too I think. I believe the balance replaced the one this year. I've heard good things about that one as well. You can probably find a good deal on it too since they stopped making it.

  12. #12
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    You CAN pedal an SXT uphill, but you won't like it. If it's just short climbs, no worries. If you're going to do some long climbs to get to your trails, you will suffer. A lot. That said, the SXT descends like a DH bike (why do you think the STATUS is so similar to it?) and is one of my favorite bikes to ride down tough trails.

    The Reign will climb 100% than the SXT. Almost "comfortable" to climb, compared to the SX. With a 180 fork and coil shock, it could give an SX a run for its money on the descents, but I think the SX would win.

    I've owned both, btw. If were only shuttlling and doing bike park freeride kinds of stuff, I'd go for the SX. If I had to pedal/climb to get to the goods, I'd go with the Reign. You'll sacrifice a bit on the downs, but the energy and frustration you'll save on the climbs is definitely worth it.

    Can't speak about the Canfield, but I wouldn't rule it out....
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  13. #13
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    Ex-SX trail owner here, 2010 model but was running 180mm Talas front, the bike is SUPER FUN, no doubt but I must say is a pig for climbs. I admire the people here who say they can pedal it as no doubt you sir(s) have super strong legs. I found myself way to exhausted with the up-hill when ready to hit the downhill however, on park days, hell yeah, nimble, fast and playful.

    Why don't you look at the new Enduro breed of bikes? Spesh Enduro / New Nomad / Davinci Spartan / Giant Reign (2015) , etc? Judging by the EWS race at Whistler earlier this month these bikes are getting more and more capable for both, up & down hill and there is only half a degree difference on HA.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by charging_rhinos View Post
    The SXT really does pedal badly. Very badly. Can you pedal up on it? Sure. Will it take forever? If you are a very strong pedaler, one or two forevers seems about right. It's like dragging a boat anchor with you until you find something to coast down. You'll eventually get to the top, but what fun will it be if you're so gassed that you have no energy for the ride down?
    What on Earth to you mean by "pedals badly???? Bob? There is no bob perceptible/no pedaling-induced suspension reaction. I just can't disagree more on this. Are you standing up the whole time you climb??? My SXT climbs better than many XC bikes I've owned. Seriously, I don't know if we're talking about the same bikes here...

    I ride the same 1800' x 3 mile climb as everyone else around here and keep up if not beat people on XC bikes. The bike climbs just fine. And no, I don't think I'm just a super-strong climber. The bike just doesn't hold me back at all. I've ridden far worse-climbing bikes in my day.
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  15. #15
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    It bobs, it's heavy, it does not transfer power to the ground, it gets lost in the shock. FSR/horst are inherently bad at pedaling, thats why they need a platform shock or brain to function well.

    Btw, mine has a fox dhx 4 with a titanium spring. Compared to a Reign or other multi-link design, the SX is a horrible climber. Fun on the way down though!
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    What on Earth to you mean by "pedals badly???? Bob? There is no bob perceptible/no pedaling-induced suspension reaction. I just can't disagree more on this... My SXT climbs better than many XC bikes I've owned.
    Well, as you're in a decided minority that feels the SXT climbs like an XC bike... I'm inclined to say that you have ridden nothing but only worst-pedalling XC bikes on earth. Did these XC bikes you rode have ~38" of travel and say Karpiel on them, by chance?

    And yes, there is most definitely pedal-induced suspension reaction. A lot of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    Keep up if not beat people on XC bikes.
    Let's give the OP some honest feedback.

    The SX does deserve a mythical status (as a FR/mini-DH bike) but climbing better than an XC bike?

  18. #18
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    Well, I guess I'll continue to climb my SXT in ignorant bliss. I have owned and ridden various Rocky Mountain Slayers, ETSXs, and numerous XC hardtails. I've also owned a SC Chameleon setup for FR/DJ and several SC Bullits. There's my bike background. I've ridden a lot more too, I just can't remember them all (worked at a shop for a few years).

    Out of all the bikes I've ridden/owned, the SXT has had the best climbing ability to "shred"-ability ratio out of all of them. Maybe it's because it's the only bike I've had to ride in the last two years.

    Honestly, I can feel no pedal feedback or bobbing, I'm not sure what everybody else is doing. I do turn the compression up on the rear shock before climbing, by like 10 clicks. Maybe you guys aren't doing that. I also do all of my climbing seated (hey, if you have 7 inches of travel, what do you expect if you stand up and hammer). I consider it "bad" technique to stand up while climbing anyway, as it burns A LOT of energy for only very short gains. Pedal feedback is something I've not noticed on the SXT. At all. I know what it is; my Bullits had it pretty bad -- yet I still managed to climb on those too.

    Also, is 36 pounds considered "heavy" these days? Pffft, I say. Eat your Wheaties!

    Anyway, there are other excellent bikes out there, sure. I've just (obviously) been very pleased with my SXT. I keep up with everybody I ride with (most of them on lighter bikes), and it doesn't suck. Maybe that comes from it being my only bike so I don't even entertain the thought that it's not the best climber. But its downhilling ability makes any lack of climbing performance worthwhile. My $.02.
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  19. #19
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    Well, if it makes YOU happy, that's the important part.

    I love mine, but really reserve it for parks or shuttles. I crank the lsc all the way up when climbing, but it still ends up sitting low in the travel - and really does not move up the hill in the same way my Reign did (my Reign weighed about the same, give or take a pound or two). If you've not pedaled uphill on DW/VPP/Maestro-like set up, you may not know what you're missing - at least compared to the SX.

    Cool that you dig it, I've just had a different experience.
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    OK, here's what I've got today,
    A local dealer has offered me a 2014 Gaint reign sx.

    Reign SX (2014) | Giant Bicycles | International

    I've asked for RS totem instead of the 170 domain..
    And my question is, does the 6.7" Maestro accept the totem?

    Is this bike enough for light DH?

  21. #21
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    It is strong enough for light DH, definitely. The geometry isn't exactly like that of a full DH bike, but you can surely rip some lift-accessed trails on it ahd have a ton of fun. now, how long the bike will last riding DH trails will depend GREATLY on what kind of rider you are. If you're a balls-out plow-biker, it will probably get beat up much faster than if you were to pick lines carefully and use more finesse than brawn. That bike likes to be ridden intelligently, not ham-fisted like some full DH rigs. Does that make sense?

    The totem should be fine on it, as it is a minimal gain in travel. I don't know the axle-to-crown measurements of those two forks, so that could either add or take away some of the overall head angle. Might want to check that out. But if you get the right headset and fork combo to fit the headtube, it should be a decent match, albeit a tad heavy. If you have a coil on the back end, it could be a very nice pairing.

    The only other thing I'd mention is that Giant bikes have beautifully hydroformed tubing. That beautiful tubing has been optimized pretty heavily, and it can be a tad thin in places. My old Reign got a dent in the downtube after I accidentally planted it on top of a large rock. It wasn't a massive, teeth shattering hit, but it was a solid strike. Other bikes may have withstood it a tad better, but I bet any bike would have dented to some degree. The X is more than strong enough to handle rough riding, but I could see the tubing getting damaged if you are careless and repeatedly toss it into hopeless situations. It is DH-able to an extent, but it isn't a true DH bike. But you know that already.

    If you can live with those things, you should be fine.
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