Born-Again Newbie would like input
OK fellas, here's the short story. Stopped biking 6 years ago with the birth of my first lil one. Kids are older now, and I thought I'd get re-engaged in it. Dusted off the old hardtail and proceeded to hit the most technical local trail. Wow, I now realize how much I left on the table with giving up cycling.
I used to race (did the 24 Hrs of Canaan and raced the Maryland point series) back in the 96 time frame, and road 3x-4x per week up until 2001. I rode only hardtails, mainly a Trek OCLV hardtail and a Specialized M2 S-Works hardtail. Both bikes way light, stiff, and agile. Top drawer components and carbon fiber chi chi.
Now, I'm older, won't race, way slower, and need to get back in shape. Since my back is funky these days and acknowledging that FS has come a looooonng way, I'm about to bite the bullet on FS. On the plus side, I can swing an Ells with an uncompromised component selection.
From old friends in the local community, Ellsworth stands out as one of the finest XC oriented FS bike companies out there. I think I will go with a Truth or Epiphany and want you input.
I'm used to a compact, short wheelbase, 'twitchy', Norba style racer. My Sworks (17") has a 41.5" wheelbase and steepish angles. I am immediately drawn to the 4" travel Truth, but it seems that there's a lot of buzz and interest in the Epi over the Truth based on my searches. I can handle, and in fact prefer, an quick agile bike and my gut says that the Truth will be the perfect ride for me, despite recommendations of the Epi. I have always had strong technical DH skills and really question the tradeoff of agility for stability on the downhills.
Also, this whole new "All Mountain" category is new to me. There just seems to be soooo many choices out there, it's mind boggling.
Any input appreciated. I know this is an Ells forum, but if you think I should be considering other framesets more seriously, pls let me know (eg., Maverick, Santa Cruz, Titus, etc.)
Time is not a road.
Man, it's a hard thing, starting fresh and back into the world of bikes these days. There are a lot of good bike companies out there and a ton of worthy bikes to consider.
Ultimately, you have to look at where you'll ride most and tailor the bike to the terrain of you're area. Check your local shops and riders to see what they're on...
I hate to steer a person one way or another because we each have to make our choices as best we can. However, I won't buy another Ellsworth...not because I have had a bad experience with the bikes or the company for that matter, but some others have and I don't like how that's gone down. Plus, I think you can get comparable bikes for way less money. Why spend more on the same thing?
If I were in your position, I'd be looking at frames from Titus, Turner, Chumba and Ventana to name a few. Ibis makes a hot new bike and people rave about the DW link. From my point of view, a lot bias in today's bike industry is towards the "down", so several small companies like Versus, Transition and Knolly have popped up offering bikes that are well built with slacker angles tending towards stability and strength. But if you don't have the terrain for that type of frame, it's overkill. These would tend towards the more FR/DH spectrum of "All Mountain". On the other end would be bikes like the Ibis Mojo, Epiphany, Ventana El Ciclon, Santa Cruz Blur LT and Heckler, Specialized Stumpjumper and Yeti 575. Like I said, a LOT of bikes out there...don't get too hung up on design and marketing. Fit and customer service are where the rubber meets the road.
Thanks man, much appreciated.
It took me a bit to sort through the marketing fluff and get to the meat of the matter: there are only a handful of basic designs out there and the tweaks in the design tend to be somewhat evolutionary in nature. What I do like about the Truth in partiuclar, is that Ells has had lots of data on the frameset, and has taken past failures into account in building the ruggedized and 'optimized' version we see today.
That said, I think it would be tough to really feel the difference b/t an identically setup Truth v. a Titus Racer X for example given their similiarities.
Santa Cruz Blur (not sure about the LT one) is such a standout too and I'd like to ride one of them to see what I think.
Here in central TX, we have no epic descents or climbs. Just lots of up and down rocky technical stuff. I've always like Yeti, perhaps b/c I always got Colorado Cyclist as a kid and drooled over Yeti for years. I'll check the yeti out as well.
As you can probably guess for someone in my situation, it really is mind numbing. There's soooo much out there, with so many sound XC oriented FS bikes.
I can understand why you are attacked to the Truth. I did the same thing coming from hardtails. The light weight and steeper angles will make the bike feel more familiar to your Norba days. But eventually, I think you will want more travel. Going to FS requires some adjustment. Most of us made the adjustment to more travel gradually, since 3 and 4" bikes were really the only thing available years back (outside of downhill bikes). While you were taking a break, most of us have moved on. So my advice would be to go for the Epi (or another 5 to 5.5" travel bike). You can always firm up the shock and make it feel like a Truth, but my guess is you will end up trying to squeeze all the travel you can out of it.
I have a Truth and Moment, and if I could only have one bike, I would blend them into something like an Epiphany. 5" to 5.5" really is the sweet spot for a trail bike for rocky riding.
FYI, the Blur LT is a longer travel, slightly more relaxed and burlier version of the Blur. I also think that would be a good one to check out.
Thanks Jefe, that's exactly the kind of info that I was looking for.
I have a question though in the migration from 4 to 5-5." of travel. Did you find that you ran out of travel with the 4" bike?
Just trying to get a handle on the significance of going to a longer travel bike. As I think through it, it would seem with a longer travel bike, more of the hits would be absorbed in the suspension's sweet spot where its more plush (through the midrange). I'm not into crazy stunts or anything like that, just fast, sometimes brutal, rocky singletrack.
what nice teeth you have
I can relate to what your going through. Did some mtb in high school then went into the Navy for 6 years. Had the money for a bike but never the time. Got out and have been in school for 3 years. Luckily I saved enough for a bike.
In response to your question about 4 and 5 inch bikes. A lot of 5 inch bikes are being billed as technical xc bikes. You get more suspension w/ a small weight penalty. A good example (I mainly know about Specialized and santa cruz bikes) is going from spechialized epic to a stumpjumper. both are billed as xc bikes with the epic being the lighter, more racey and better climbing bike. The stumpjumper still being a decent climber but with more forgiving suspension. Same goes for the blur xc(what I own) and blur lt.
Also, mountain bike action does a good job of defining the different types of mtb from xc, trail bike, all mountian, dh, fr. If you can( library mabe, bike shop) look through the last couple of months of MBA. They recently sent out an issue with their definitions but I cant remeber which month it was.
I've decided to go for a 5" bike. Ibis Mojo, Maverick and Ells Epi to me are top contenders, though I'll likely go Epi for a variety of reasons.
Been reading about the Mav forks and they seem great but worried whether all teething issues have really been addressed. I *hate* it when companies insist on using devoted customers are Beta Testers. You would think that for a 800 for for fork, 2k+ for a frame that companies could fully sort their products. . . I guess it's the pressure to market.
Regarding forks, consider a pike or lyrik....Rockshox are sleepers here with adjustable travel, nice and plush and a floodgate for a nice long travel climber. When Mavericks and Fox 36 forks were 800, I got my pike for less than $400 and so far it's wonderful.
Originally Posted by frayed cable
BTW, I have an Id with 5.5 inches rear and front, but lately I have been loving my 3.6 inch travel Turner burner. So it's not always true that people just keep moving to bikes with longer and longer travel. Long travel bikes are comfortable and squishy, but sometimes you wanna move forward and feel like every pedal stroke is speeding you up.
I don't understand the Ibis mojo. Back when Ibis made the mojo hardtail it was all about "steel is real" This is the opposite philosophy. Kinda seems like a miuse of the word "mojo." Carbon on a long travel bike to me is bad mojo.
I second the motion on the Pike,
While mine is an 05, the first year in production, it seems like they got it right the first time. Best fork i have ever owned. I also have a 140 mm 07 FoX Vanilla 32, and for a minor weight penalty, but significant cost savings, the Pike rules.