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  1. #1
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    Not much love on MTBR for Sensor 9r's, so here is mine

    After trying several different 29er full suspension bikes over the years, including the Specialized and Pivot offerings, I came across a killer deal for the Sensor 9r elite. for the shipped price of $1099, I figured what the heck. The parts spec was decent, but the bike weighed a ton. I decided to convert my 29er hardtail back to singlespeed, so before it had it's maiden voyage, the Sensor was parted down to the frame, other than the front derailleur, brakes and suspension. The bike was built back up, and away we went. Let me say that I was very happy with the results. This bike climbs amazing, corners very nice for a big wheel bike, and just feels comfortable. It is not as plush as some other bikes I have tried, but at the end of the ride, my back felt great. All was not great, as towards the end of the ride, the fork developed a clicking sound, so it is now on its way back to Marzocchi. Looking forward to getting the fork back for some more ride time. Great job on the Sensor 9r GT, it may not be a high zoot frame like a Mach 429, or a Niner, but for the price, it is a steal.


  2. #2
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    I've been seriously pimping this bike. I started off with a $4K budget to buy a bike, but ended up spending $1500. I'm a big fan of DW-link, but after extensively demoing the 429 and Sultan, I felt that other than the few pounds for the high-dollar build, the Sensor had them 99% covered. Close enough to save a few grand. The only difference I could decern was that DW-link was slightly more fluid when pedaling over rocks, and was a little more supple on high-speed bumps. The Sensor has a QR rear and a straight 44mm head tube - not the latest and greatest. But I felt the Sensor pedaled and wheelied a little better. It is also super-stiff, like the others. The Geo is very similar to the Sultan.

    It's a little on the homely side and doesn't have much brand cashe, but I don't care about that. I wanted a stiff frame with a rear suspension that pedals well. I can upgrade the rest. I put Flow EXs on it. The X-fusion shock works really well on this bike, but in month 4 it's lost rebound and it hitting top hard, so I'm bringing the shock in to Performance to get warranteed. I've got an RP23 that I'm going to get pushed for the Sensor. The only flex in the bike is in the fork (I weigh 230), so I might get a fox 34.

    So back to pimping. When I saw the 1099 price at Giantnerd, I told two friends riding well-worn 26ers they oughta jump on this deal. They both did, in addition to another friend in CO that paid $1200 for his.

    If you care to, you can increase the the travel of the Marzocchi from 120 to 140 by simply removing a spacer.

    Enjoy!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Not much love on MTBR for Sensor 9r's, so here is mine-georgetown.jpg  

    Last edited by JACKL; 12-07-2012 at 09:57 PM.

  3. #3
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    Sensor 9r love!

    I *LOVE* my Sensor 9r. Mine's a 2010. I believe that was the first year. There was only one version, with SLX 3x9 drivetrain, Fox suspension, Avid Elixir 5 brakes.

    My upgrades:
    XT 2x10 crankset, XT medium-cage rear derailleur (still running 9-speed)
    SunRinglé Charger Expert wheelset, running Maxxis Ardents, tubeless.

    My buddies call my bike the Crown Vic. It just seems to roll over anything. You don't have to overthink your line, just point and shoot.

    Here's a pic from when it was brandy-new:



    PS: JACKL, I have to spread more rep before I can hit you again, you must have said something else I agree with completely!
    Last edited by joe_bloe; 12-10-2012 at 08:37 AM. Reason: Fixed picture

  4. #4
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    I just picked up a Sensor 9r Elite from GiantNerd last week and am pretty optimistic about my purchase so far. I've only managed a test ride around the neighborhood to check out the build, but was encouraged by first impressions. This is my first full-suspension bike (my other bike is a 2013 Trek Mamba 29er hardtail). I was on the fence (ie, indecisive) about whether to go with a 26" FS to add a totally different type of bike or stick with the 29er size. But it seemed like a heckuva deal so I pulled the trigger on the Sensor 9r.

    If the weather cooperates here in the Midwest, then I can get her out on the trail and get a better feel for the bike. But the initial ride left me feeling very encouraged. It's definitely not light, but seems to roll & pedal faster than it's weight would imply. Hopefully, I'll learn quickly about getting the suspension dialed, but I'm pretty much a noob so I figure there'll be plenty of trial & error.

    Glad to see some love thrown out there for the Sensor 9r. Hope I can add to it once I get a chance to really ride it.

  5. #5
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    I keep thinking the 2013 Sensor is a 9r sleeper and could be the bargain bike of the year.

    Really keen to change from my 26 Anthem so been looking at 29er Anthems, Trances, Scott Spark /Genius 940/950.

    Do the odd race but more XC/trail riding - but think the Sensor ticks all the boxes - now have info overload and too much choice - agghhh..

    Any other Sensor owners with some comments on these bikes?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mackt View Post
    I keep thinking the 2013 Sensor is a 9r sleeper and could be the bargain bike of the year.

    Really keen to change from my 26 Anthem so been looking at 29er Anthems, Trances, Scott Spark /Genius 940/950.

    Do the odd race but more XC/trail riding - but think the Sensor ticks all the boxes - now have info overload and too much choice - agghhh..

    Any other Sensor owners with some comments on these bikes?
    Not sure I'd consider the Sensor 9r for a race bike. Even after upgraded wheels, mine's pretty heavy. I believe it's right at 30 lbs.

  7. #7
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    Dont know if the pic will work from my phone? But I love mine.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe_bloe View Post
    I *LOVE* my Sensor 9r. Mine's a 2010. I believe that was the first year. There was only one version, with SLX 3x9 drivetrain, Fox suspension, Avid Elixir 5 brakes.

    My upgrades:
    XT 2x10 crankset, XT medium-cage rear derailleur (still running 9-speed)
    SunRinglé Charger Expert wheelset, running Maxxis Ardents, tubeless.

    My buddies call my bike the Crown Vic. It just seems to roll over anything. You don't have to overthink your line, just point and shoot.

    Here's a pic from when it was brandy-new:



    PS: JACKL, I have to spread more rep before I can hit you again, you must have said something else I agree with completely!
    Thanks! I've always liked that 2010 green, looks killer in the sun.

  9. #9
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    Hawk - Congrats on your purchase. If you can swing it, I'd suggest getting a set of tires so you can get the full potential out of the bike. IMO, the 2.1 Maxis Aspens on the 2012 Elite are good for smooth hardpack, and not much else. Even if you are ok with 2.1s, they are so smooth that there is no traction on loose stuff. There is plenty of clearance for 2.35s, so I'd go that route, or at least 2.25s. You will loose a little standover, but otherwise it's all good. Then throw on a set of ODI lock-on grips and you are good to go.

    My buddies got their bikes, and I'm already getting my ass handed to me by one of them. They are 5'9" and 5'10", and both got the medium. I warned them they might struggle with the big wheels, but no, they are rocking the bikes and I got huge thanks for showing them the deal. They don't have 3k to drop on a bike (married, mortgage, kids, etc.), so they were happy to find a great 29er FS bike for a great price.

  10. #10
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    JACKL - thanks for the tire suggestions. I had already been considering a Rampage 2.35 for the front of my Mamba so the idea of a 2.35 front on the Sensor crossed my mind as well. Had never ridden Aspens before, but even on the pavement ride I can see where you're coming from about the grip. A mech at my LBS highly recommends the Rampage for grip & durability so I may give it a try. Still haven't settled on a tire to pair with it on the rear though. I suppose the Aspen would be sufficient for a rear tire for the time being, since it seems like it'll roll decent enough. Any suggestions for a good front/rear combo to consider for the Sensor?

    Having already shelled out money for 2 bikes this year, I'm hoping to run the stock tires as long as I can though. Maybe I've been good enough all year that Santa will put a new tire or 2 under the tree this Christmas!

  11. #11
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    JACKL - since your buddies are about my height, I was wondering what they think of the Medium frames (considering I bought a Large). Mine feels like a good fit so far, but still haven't got her on the trail yet.

  12. #12
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    They are both happy on their mediums, and they were on medium 26ers. I noticed the size chart at GiantNerd said large for them, but I disagree. In this case we checked the specs and the top tube for the medium was within a few mm of their old bikes. Since they were happy with the size of their old bikes, medium was a no-brainer.

    I'd set the seat so that you are comfortable with the reach. If the seat is mostly forward on the rails at that point, you might want to get a medium.

    Once the seat and bars are adjusted to your liking, there is not a huge difference between sizes. The top tube and wheelbase will be about 1 inch different per size. Sizing down will get you a little quicker handling, especially in tight switchbacks and such. Sizing up with give you a little more stability on steep bumpy descents (and to a lesser degree, steep climbs). The smaller size will have lower standover.

    I went from a Large to my current XL. It really did not feel a whole lot different once I got the bars and seat set up as I like them.

    Tire-wise, you could start with a Rampage on the front, but ultimately I think you'll need a good knobby on the rear as well if you ride loose stuff.

  13. #13
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    For tire selection, and please take this with a grain of salt, since I have only one ride on the bike, because the fork took a dump on the first trip, but I still managed to get a 20 miler in on some good techy and fast rolling areas, but I went with a 2.35 Specialized Eskar, and a 2.0 Specialized The Captain in the rear. This combo worked amazing on the same trail, I used to bomb on my Freeride bike with 2.5 Butchers front and rear.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JACKL View Post
    They are both happy on their mediums, and they were on medium 26ers. I noticed the size chart at GiantNerd said large for them, but I disagree. In this case we checked the specs and the top tube for the medium was within a few mm of their old bikes. Since they were happy with the size of their old bikes, medium was a no-brainer.

    I'd set the seat so that you are comfortable with the reach. If the seat is mostly forward on the rails at that point, you might want to get a medium.

    Once the seat and bars are adjusted to your liking, there is not a huge difference between sizes. The top tube and wheelbase will be about 1 inch different per size. Sizing down will get you a little quicker handling, especially in tight switchbacks and such. Sizing up with give you a little more stability on steep bumpy descents (and to a lesser degree, steep climbs). The smaller size will have lower standover.

    I went from a Large to my current XL. It really did not feel a whole lot different once I got the bars and seat set up as I like them.

    Tire-wise, you could start with a Rampage on the front, but ultimately I think you'll need a good knobby on the rear as well if you ride loose stuff.
    FYI, although it is very useful, effective top tube (ETT) length isn't the best way to gauge bike fit. This is because the ETT doesn't account for the seat tube angle. As the seat tube angle increases, so does the effective reach to the handlebars. This is because you have to position the seat further back on the rails (or get an offset post) to get the ergonomics right in relation to the bottom bracket. The dimensions of "reach" and "stack" are much more important IMO. Unfortunately, GT doesn't publish this info. The Sensor has a rather steep seat tube angle, so that gives it more reach than the ETT suggests. When I received my Large Sensor 9R, I measured the reach and stack. If comparing bikes, the reach falls between a Large and XL Trek Rumblefish. So yeah, the fit is a little larger than the numbers suggest. I'm almost 6'3", but have a long inseem at 36" (34" pant leg) and a relatively shorter upper body. The Large is the right fit for me. I could have fit into a XL, but I would have needed a short stem.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JACKL View Post
    They are both happy on their mediums, and they were on medium 26ers. I noticed the size chart at GiantNerd said large for them, but I disagree. In this case we checked the specs and the top tube for the medium was within a few mm of their old bikes. Since they were happy with the size of their old bikes, medium was a no-brainer.

    I'd set the seat so that you are comfortable with the reach. If the seat is mostly forward on the rails at that point, you might want to get a medium.

    Once the seat and bars are adjusted to your liking, there is not a huge difference between sizes. The top tube and wheelbase will be about 1 inch different per size. Sizing down will get you a little quicker handling, especially in tight switchbacks and such. Sizing up with give you a little more stability on steep bumpy descents (and to a lesser degree, steep climbs). The smaller size will have lower standover.

    I went from a Large to my current XL. It really did not feel a whole lot different once I got the bars and seat set up as I like them.

    Tire-wise, you could start with a Rampage on the front, but ultimately I think you'll need a good knobby on the rear as well if you ride loose stuff.

    FYI, although it is very useful, effective top tube (ETT) length isn't the best way to gauge bike fit. This is because the ETT doesn't account for the seat tube angle. As the seat tube angle increases, so does the effective reach to the handlebars. This is because you have to position the seat further back on the rails (or get an offset post) to get the ergonomics right in relation to the bottom bracket. The dimensions of "reach" and "stack" are much more important IMO. Unfortunately, GT doesn't publish this info. The Sensor has a rather steep seat tube angle, so that gives it more reach than the ETT suggests. When I received my Large Sensor 9R, I measured the reach and stack. If comparing bikes, the reach falls between a Large and XL Trek Rumblefish. So yeah, the fit is a little larger than the numbers suggest. I'm almost 6'3", but have a long inseem at 36" (34" pant leg) and a relatively shorter upper body. The Large is the right fit for me. I could have fit into a XL, but I would have needed a short stem.

  16. #16
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    I've thought about a Purgatory/Ground Control combination. Haven't really considered the Eskar/Captain combo before. Wonder how that would compare/differ from the Purg/GC setup?

  17. #17
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    I've thought about a Purgatory/Ground Control combination. Haven't really considered the Eskar/Captain combo before. Wonder how that would compare/differ from the Purg/GC setup?

  18. #18
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    Took the 9r out tonite for her first trail ride. Only about 4 miles or so... Late start and fading light. Trail is a good mix of hardpack and rocks. Bike felt like it handled everything well. The out-of-the-box settings on the fork & shock felt pretty decent. Could probably stand to drop a few PSI in the shock, but overall it felt good.

    My 15-year-old son & I took turns on it to compare our impressions. We both ride Trek Mamba 29er hardtails, and are about the same size (he's a youthful 15 lbs lighter though) so he's a good sounding board for me. We both seemed to think the Sensor just seems to ride "lighter" than it's estimated weight (someone one GiantNerd said the Large weighed 33-34 lbs). That's right about what our Mambas weigh too. The GT seemed to roll & pedal quicker, although I'm sure some of that could be attributed to the Aspen tires compared to the Mamba's Bonty 2.2s.

    Toward the latter half of the trail, there's a lengthy, gradual climb that always seems to kick my butt. Tonite, on the Sensor, I felt like I climbed it better than I ever had. Maybe my legs were fresher from the full-suspension vs. hardtail, or maybe the 9r just climbs more efficiently.

    On some fast flowing downhills, it felt like I was carrying much more speed than I do on the Mamba. On the rocky sections, it did feel like my choice of lines was more forgiving on the Sensor.

    The Elixir 1 brakes did just fine. Again, very comparable stopping power & modulation to my, Hayes Dynos Sports.

    All in all, a very good first trail impression for the Sensor. Loving the bike and the good deal I think I got on it.

  19. #19
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    Those Sensor 9rs at giantnerd are truly a good deal. Better get one for your kid too before they're all gone!

  20. #20
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    I must say that the Elixir 1's are kind of a surprise to me. Having suffered through several different Elixirs in the lineup, I figured I would ride them once just to say I tried them out, but they worked well. The regular issues with fade that I had with my Elixir 5's were gone, the Turkey Wobble sound that I had on the CR's is not there, so I think I will stick with them for the time being. Having XTR race discs on my singlespeed, I am kinda spoiled, but the 1's do a decent enough job.

  21. #21
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    I too picked up one of the GT Sensor Elites from GiantNerd. My only complaints are some of the accessories and tires. Seems like GT could have put better grips, handle bars, pedals, stem, and seat post on the bike. Plus the tires seem really skinny. All those things are easy and cheap fixes.

  22. #22
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    Here is mine, still a work in progress.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Not much love on MTBR for Sensor 9r's, so here is mine-1.jpg  

    Not much love on MTBR for Sensor 9r's, so here is mine-2.jpg  


  23. #23
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    Hi Guys-
    just wanted to tag this thread...looks like there's alot of good info to help with my 2009 GT Marathon 9er frame build.
    roccowt.
    rocnbikemeld

  24. #24
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    Sensor 9r 2013, hope to have you soon...

  25. #25
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    Took the Sensor 9r Elite out in the snow & mud today. Had never done a snow ride before. Probably should've taken the Mamba hardtail instead but still have a case of new bike-itis so grabbed the GT and headed out. My son rode his Mamba and we swapped bikes for a bit so I got to compare the rides a bit. The 2.1 Aspens didn't handle the mud & snow quite as well as the Mamba's 2.2 Bonties, but they didn't do too bad a job overall. I think the Mamba held the edge in climbing in the slick conditions. The Sensor did fine for the most part, but think I'll probably take the Mamba on the next snow ride.

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