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  1. #1
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    help with building up my dream bike (SL-R)

    Well dream bike within a certain budget ($6k), but anyway...

    After reading through countless posts, watching videos, visiting the Ibis website nearly every day and saving my cash for years, I'm ready to purchase one of these amazing bikes. My current bike is a 2007 spec stump jumper fsr. Bikes I have been considering were the Santa Cruz Blur TRC, Tallboy LTc, Pivot Mach 5.7, the HD, and the Ripley (if it were to come out).

    I was honest with myself and realized that while the HD would be fun, I don't ride that aggressive nor do I do a whole lot of DH. Rarely do I have both wheels more than 2-3 feet off the ground. I ruled out the Santa Cruz's because they are just as expensive as the Ibis, and the Ibis just seems like a better bike. Again, this is all just my opinion based on what I've read. The only thing that I'm still on the fence with is wheel size. I'm comfortable on my 26'' wheels currently, but could 29'' be better? I don't know because I don't have any personal experience. I'll get back to this issue below.

    I have not ridden an SLR yet, and would still like to (several of you ibis owners have graciously offered to let me try your bike on the palos trail system, and I'd still like to once the weather is a bit more favorable), but until then I'd like to start planning the build.


    So where do I start? Is it best to go with a complete bike, or build one up (either myself or have a bike shop do it). I do have a slightly used XO crank, rear short cage derailleur, elixer 7 brakes and xo shifters. I'm not sure if it would be smart to try and use these parts. If not, I'm not sure how I would build this up, or what build kit to go with if I decided the complete bike route.

    So what do you all suggest? I'd like to keep it under $6k if possible. I'd also like to go through a shop that you guys recommend if I'm not building it myself. It seems that there are a few well known ibis shops that really go out of their way for their customers.

    So what group set, fork, wheels, brakes, etc. I know some stuff about the differences of the component options, but probably not nearly as much as all of you. I'm also on the fence with this 650b thing. Like I mentioned before, this has been the most difficult decision. 26/29/27.5 On the 650b threads, someone had posted about getting a 650b SLR from Bike Co.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/650b-27-5/ibi...0b-812085.html

    This looked awesome, and would seem to be a good compromise of what I want. But I'm very new to this 650b stuff and am not sure what problems this may present, outside of the obvious wheel clearance and shimming the rear shock.

    So basically I'm just looking for advice and opinions from you more experienced owners. I just want a really fun, versatile bike. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Not sure if this helps you out or not:

    I chose the HD over the SL-R because of the amount of carbon used.
    The HD uses a lot more. One of the editors of Bike magazine said about the HD "it is the first carbon frame I have ever had faith in."

    I don't hit big jumps, or do lift riding with it.
    I do crash though, so for the peace of mind , I went Heavy Duty.

    As for the wheel sizes, if it ain't broke don't fix it.
    When you change wheel sizes remember there are trade offs. Bigger wheels will weigh more and turn less, but will roll through stuff much better.

    As for the bike, buying complete will most likely save you money. The X-9 or XT build should stay in your 6k budget.

  3. #3
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    What area and type of terrain are you riding? Without that info here is my recommendation and it would probably not change unless you are riding Florida sand trails;

    Go HD unless you are racing. Also do not bother going 140 over 160 since Ibis has stated there is no climbing advantage. 3' is more than most people will ever do and the HD is an amazing do it all bike/quiver killer/what ever you want to call it. Build would be

    HD Frame
    Fox 34
    XX1

    Fill in the rest. I personally run a 36 and just switched to a Lyrik because I hit a lot of high speed chunk, but have friends on the 34 that really like it. It will also give you a *slightly steeper HA in the 67.5 range. It is a bike you can do 35 mile 5K climbing on and then hit the bike park the next day. Most of them never see a park and everyone still raves about them.

    The SL-R is also a great choice as well, but would not be my first unless I was racing cross country and if I was racing cross country I would go 29. Everything else 26 is the way to go. So much more fun to ride on any trail worth riding (read as not fire road). If you do get really enamored with a new wheel size the HD will accomodate 27.5.

    Bikeco does good work and several of my friends have bought from them.

  4. #4
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    Great discussion points guys, I really appreciate your responses. I guess I thought the HD was just too much bike for me. Like I said before, I'm going to be coming form a spec stumpy with 120mm travel.

    I do not race and probably never will. I don't do bike parks either. I live in Illinois and 70% of my overall riding is in southern wisconsin and a trail system just southwest of chicago. Youtube video (not mine) of the trail I ride most Kettle Moraine Southern Unit - John Muir - Easter 2011 Ride - YouTube

    I'd consider both trails more cross country than anything else, but I only want to have one mtb right now so I don't want to limit myself with a cross country style bike. I don't mind going a little slower if it means more fun/more versatility over all. I occasionally get out to brown county south of Indy, and a few trail systems in SW Michigan. At least once a year I take a 1-2 week tour of colorado and just ride everything I can. (Last summer focused around Crested Butte and Durango). When I do head out west, I feel that I do push myself (read: XC bike won't cut it). I don't know if I'll ever do it, but my fiance and I have dreams of one day moving west.

    So that's why I picked the SL-R over the HD.. but maybe I should reconsider? I'm probably not as aggressive as most of you guys, but I do want a great do-it-all bike.

    Keep the comments coming!

  5. #5
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    I suggest the HD as well. I originally had my order in for the SL-R but after waiting a month and a half, i got impatient and decided on the 160HD and i'm very glad i did. Most of my home town riding is pretty flat, so it definitely is overkill here. But the mountains are only 4 hours away and it handles everything i throw at it.

    I love descending and the HD gave me a lot of confidence on the declines. It made me push myself a lot and feel comfortable while doing it. I thought it would be a pain to climb, as it's a pretty big bike, but it climbs extremely well for what it is. There is next to no pedal bob and your back wheel is always planted. I climbed a dried up river bed that was pretty much nothing but rocks and boulders and it ate it up.

    As echoed before, unless you're going to race and you need the weight savings, indulge in the HD. It's an amazing bike.

  6. #6
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    What I saw in the video is not very technical nor hilly and based on that and your first post I would suggest the SL-R. The SL-R is designed to handle much more than XC.

    I would put:
    angleset
    Fox 32 150. If you are 200+ or your tech ability is on the rise go Fox 34 160 (you can lower it later). Float not Talas.
    Arch Ex wheelset.
    Full XT except SLX Crank. Shadow+ rear derailleur.
    Dropper post.

  7. #7
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    Everyone seems to suggest the HD over the SLR.

    You definitely need 6.3inches of travel. Put a totem up front for that florida riding!



    ...slr is a really nice bike though!

  8. #8
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    Zeppman I haven't tried the HD but I have owned an SLR for the past four months. Coming from a 120 Stumpy just like you. I enjoy my rides so much more, longer travel and less weight. Build-up is everything XTR, R1 brakes and Crest ZTR rims, I would go for XT drivetrain and brakes to stay under 6K. The rims are very light and solid, and not that expensive. I guess the HD would bring more fun to descents, but I prefer the lighter feel overall.

    Your life is going to change so much.

  9. #9
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    i am on HD as well and would suggest it over slr. remember that hd is excellent climber, you can easily do whole day epics and its more fun on downhill. you migtt not ride the trails which use its potential at the beginning but when it happens that you need more travel, its right there. and believe me, you will be trying to go higher, faster and chunkier in no time. as to whether to buy or build, i went with build route. my budget was too tight, and by getting complete bike, i wouldnt have everything i wanted. the way i did it was, i started collecting parts at the end of summer and by new year i had all the parts. i took advantage of all the big sales (labor day, black friday, xtmas). i saved a lot. and i mean a lot $$$. my build is XT. honestly with the bike like HD you dont really care for weight (that is if you keep it reasonable which i would say is under or around 30 lbs). XT is pretty good so if your budget is limited dont worry, you will be very happy with XT. also i installed 650b wheels after a year of riding it, which helped with pedal strikes on our rocky trails. my next upgrade is going to be new shock. oh an i was on fsr bike before HD too. you will love dw link.
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  10. #10
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    As far as the money end. I bought a partial build from Competitive Cyclist on line ( no local dealer). I already had a wheelset, seat, post, bars, ect... that I liked. I got an HD 140 after much thought of my riding style and the trails in my area. I came off a 2009 Speci XC Comp 120 mm. The bike right under an SJ. As far as weight you might go SL or SL-R but check out the weights of the HD's on here. My XT build is 27 lbs and feels lighter. My Speci is 27 lbs 7 ozs built up with similar parts. Either bike will be fun. The jump from fsr to DW was odd at first but after the shock and fork broke in it was heaven on the trails.
    Disclaimer: Always get a second opinion cause I'm just guessing

  11. #11
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    People definitely love their HD's. It is almost a cult.

    For the trail I saw in that video the SLR is definitely more than enough bike. I love mine and the trails around SC seem much more steep and tech (from the video)

    That said, if I were buying right now with $6k to spend. I would start with the HD special blend. Add a dropper post and the seat I like. Ride it like I stole it until I decided exactly where to spend my other $2k on parts. Wider bars and shorter stem? Depends on your taste. XX1 drivetrain? Maybe, let's see the long term reviews. A 650b conversion? The money is there for a sweet changeover. An enduro monster? $2k buys a CCDB Air and a beast of a front fork.

    You see where this is going? The HD is so flexible that no matter how you build it today you are likely to want to make some tweaks (unless you have been riding something similar and know your riding style really well).

  12. #12
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    Thanks guys. I can't say you've made my decision any easier though I honestly have no idea how much my current, all stock bike weighs, but part of the reason why the SLR caught my eye was because of its weight. I don't know what losing 5lbs off the bike (Just a guess in comparing stumpy vs slr) will do for me. I just had it in my mind that when you choose a carbon frame, you are doing so for the lightness and stiffness. The hd is a little over a pound heavier than the slr, right? Can anyone explain the ride and handling differences between the two? It seems the slr is quicker but twitchier and has a more aggressive position for the rider while the HD is more of a stable "point and go" bike with a more relaxed positioning? I could be way off here... With the majority of you saying HD, What are the major differences between the slr and hd140? From what I gather the hd can handle rougher terrain while the slr is more fragile race machine? If it makes any difference, I'm about 165lbs.

    To be fair, that video that I posted does make the Kettle-john muir trails seem pretty lame. It is Wisconsin, but there is some elevation change, and there are some areas that can get technical.

    Something else, and this is just a theory that I have nothing to base on, but since they are offering just the SL and HD in the special blend package, could that mean that they are looking to phase out the HD frame and will be replacing it (like an HD-R for example)? That is the reason why they are doing that with the SL and SLR, right? Because the SLR is a newer version of the SL? Or am I incorrect on that? I know if you think that way I could be waiting indefinitely, but I'd be a little disappointed if I bought a HD and ibis came out with an updated HD 1 month later.

    I realize this is the midwest and probably one of the least profitable mtb markets for the industry, but it would just be so much easier if Ibis had a demo center somewhere that wasn't more than a 10 hour drive!! (Seriously, google maps puts the closest one at 10 hours 23min that has an HD and SLR).

  13. #13
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    I have ridden both and they are both good bikes. I would not hesitate to take the sl-r on most of my local dh trails. I would go with the sl-r if i was in your shoes. Built with xt derailures and xtr shifters for their silky smooth shifting and xt for just about everything else, Easton carbon bars havocs or havens would be good they take away some of the small vibrations, have heard good things about the fox float 34's, and I do everything that you arn't suposed to do to your specialized blacklight dropper post and it works awsome still.

  14. #14
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    If you're concerned about weight, go with the SL-R. And don't worry about it being fragile either. Before i initially ordered my HD, i was emailing ibis regarding the capabilities of the SL-R. They told me that Brian Lopes had won the big air DH in Whistler riding a mojo SL, so the SL-R was stronger and lighter and to not worry about it. The SL-R is a solid choice.

  15. #15
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    What makes the HD more fun on downhills, especially if we are comparing the HD140 to the SLR?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeppman View Post
    If it makes any difference, I'm about 165lbs.
    It does make a difference - I go almost 100lbs heavier than you when geared up. The SL-R is not twitchy, it is not flexy - for me the stock ibis rims and the fox 32 do show quite a bit of flex but it is not in the frame. I don't know if you'd see much of that at your size. But read it again I'm 250 in my birthday suit and ride everything around Santa Cruz like the hack that I am. Which means I take bad lines and have rough landings. The SL-R handles it in stride, for me it is definitely enough bike.

    But given the deal that is the special blend, buying today, as I said above - I would go for the HD and spend a few extra months deciding exactly what I wanted to change out - if anything. Now, if they had a sb build for the SL-R...that would be a tough choice.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeppman View Post
    What makes the HD more fun on downhills, especially if we are comparing the HD140 to the SLR?
    Geometry and stiffness. In your shoes I would be looking at the most demanding riding you are going to be doing. You talked about an annual trip to Colorado and the HD is definitely going to be the bike to have there. The penalty vs. the SL-R is very low, 1 lb. For your normal riding the SL-R would be fine, but the HD will still be more fun.

  18. #18
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    Will "the hd will still be more fun" hold true on flatter, xc type trails such as the one in the video I posted above? Or just when I'm riding more AM stuff? I'm sure some of you are probably starting to roll your eyes... ha. But I just want to be 100% sure that I'm getting the right bike.

  19. #19
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    Zepp - I would say this thread does a solid job of pointing out that you would be really happy with either bike. The only way to know 100% if your buying the right bike is to put some saddle/trail time on both. One may just feel right to you.

  20. #20
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    Yeah, I know you are right. I'm really 50/50 on the decision right now and the only thing really pushing me in the direction of the HD is the ease of going 650b, which is really interesting to me right now. Still a tough decision.

  21. #21
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    I'm going against the grain here and suggesting SL-R. I've had an HD for a little while now (also own a Mojo Classic), and while I love it I wouldn't say that the HD even when set up in 140 mode has the same singletrack "rippability" of the SL/SL-R/Classic. I don't know enough about suspension/shock rate to say why that is, but at the very least the longer chainstays/wheelbase of the HD is definitely noticeable and slows it down in tight corners & punchy acceleration. Of course, this turns into an advantage at higher speeds, steeper topo, and chunkier/techy terrain. For me that's what makes the HD the right choice for my terrain and riding. But my basic point is that there's more to distinguish the two than merely weight...

    For your trips to CO, having a beefier backup wheelset &/or tires will really improve the SL-R's capability in the Rockies' chunder, and be an easy swap to make. Personally, I would make the decision on the basis of what you ride most of the time, and make the compromise for the infrequent trips, rather than the other way around.

    Having said all that, I made the decision to get the HD while on a techy ride in the Sierra mountains here in NorCal -- something I do 2-3 times a year -- when I felt clearly under-gunned on the Mojo C. It's hard to shake those feelings of doubt once they've set in, I'll be the first to admit!
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  22. #22
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    Thanks for your input budgie... while I'm still trying to make up my mind, does anyone have a shop they recommend I go through? There are none within a reasonable drive from my house.

  23. #23
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    So I've pretty much ruled out the HD and I believe I'm going to go with the SL-R (although I'm curious to see if Ibis is going to release something besides the Ripley in two or so weeks). HD looks great, but I think it truly is too much bike for this area and my style of riding. Jeff at Ibis kind of confirmed this, and so did a sales rep from competitive cycles.

    I was thinking XT, and some kind of tubeless wheel setup. My friend said go sram XO and get a cheaper (but still tubeless wheel set).

    I'm lost on the XT vs XO issues, and as far as wheels, weight is important, but more importantly is I'd like the option to run a big tire (for those trips out west).

    Also, I believe the HA on my stumpy was 68.5. The SLR is 69. I *think* I like slacker bikes... should I get the angleset to slacken it out a bit or try out the original geometry first?

  24. #24
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    Hi Zepp - I highly doubt you will be disappointed. The SL-R is a great bike. I run the angle set on mine and have been really lucky to have absolutely 0 problems with it. I love the slacker head angle and I don't feel like it hurts the climbs at all.

    Shimano vs. SRAM is a personal choice. I highly prefer Shimano and would only go SRAM if I was opting for the XX1 which on paper seems to be the perfect drive train. You should be able to figure out which you prefer by checking the action on any bike - even in a parking lot. My take is that SRAM takes a bit more effort to actuate and somehow feels less smooth - as in push - kachunk - shift. But that is purely anecdotal and from limited real world riding time.

    So many wheel choices it is hard to know where to start. Seems like a set of arches or flows laced to dtswiss or hope hubs make for fantastic, reasonably priced wheelsets.

    Don't forget to spec a dropper post...

  25. #25
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    Thanks Aagro.

    Also, I'm 6' 1'' with (buy 32/33'' length in pants)... L with a 90-100mm stem or so... or XL with a 60-70mm stem?

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