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  1. #26
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    Awesome reviews

    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    I'm not super sensitive to wheel stiffness but we didn't ride any wheels that noticeably adversely affected the ride. Most the bikes were equipped with high-end stuff though so I wouldn't expect that.

    Noticing a lot of Formula. How did the rear Avid and Formula's compare throughout all the new 142mm bikes?

  2. #27
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    I totally agree, the Cove G-Spot was the stand out at Bootleg when I demoed it there in a previous year, and with Elka and Lyrik coil no less! The HD could be set up as well for Bootleg, but need about 2 pounds added to the frame to smooth it out over the rocks as well as the G-Spot

    Looks like the rain kept the temps in check, ibike was pretty early in the LV season this year.

    Great pictures, they each tell a thousand words. Thanks so much for your quality reviews!

  3. #28
    it's the ride....
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Commencal Meta AM 5" trail/am

    This was a cool bike. Definitely designed to rule the European type Enduros like Mega Avalanche and longer Super Ds..... yet still pedaled well and had a comfortable middle-of-the-bike seated postion for climbing.

    Close up of the linkage
    DSC00942

    More bikes to come. Stay tuned.
    The shock seems to be right on the line of fire of mud-flinging, wondering the long-term durability of shock stanchion under adverse trail environment. And it's not looked too easy to fit a mud-protection-flap there.
    The bike look great though, one of my favorite single pivot. And again a great effort to ride and reporting it out. Kudos for you, Russel and Randy.
    Ulating blencong sejatine tataraning lelaku...

  4. #29
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    Specialized Enduro Pro: 6" All Mountain

    We got the next several bikes from the X-Fusion tent because they were available and they had several different bikes we were interested in including this Enduro Pro. I'd already checked out an Anthem from Giant when I rolled up to find Russell getting fitted for a Tomac Vanish at the X-Fusion booth. They were in the process of doing a photo shoot of this beautiful black Enduro but by the time Russell was set up they rolled the Enduro over to the bar rack and said it was ready to be hammered. It was an impossibly long wait at the Specialized tent to get anything so I was thrilled to pick this one up.

    I asked them if they'd mind keeping an eye on "Bonnie" (Giant names their demo bikes instead of numbering them) for awhile while I took out the Enduro. They said, No problema, so off we went.

    Wow.... how the Enduro has evolved! I remember when it was a 4-5", light weight trail bike. This thing was a mini DH beast! It was roomy (almost XL feeling) and stable. It sprinted up the little G-out grade reversals on Skyline with ease and thumped over the choppy rocks and ledges without getting off-line.

    The coil X-fusion suspension felt a bit over sprung for my weight as it was a bit hard to get moving and ramped up a little too fast for my tastes. I'll bet softer spring settings would've helped because otherwise the suspenders behaved nicely and had good controlled damping characteristics.

    There was an annoying creak coming from somewhere on this bike. Maybe the headset area?

    I don't care what you think about Specialized but one thing they know how to do is make pretty bikes. This one was all decked out in..... you guessed it: Black.
    DSC00953

    DSC00955

    This is the X-Fusion Vengence 170mm Coil fork. Solid, flex-free chase, but would've felt a bit better with a softer spring for me.
    DSC00954

    Most of the bikes we got from X-fusion were also sporting their hydraulic dropper posts. They worked well and had infinite height adjustment. When I mentioned to the tech that I noticed the post was compatible with the Specialized Command remote he told me that they manufacture the Command Post. I didn't know that.
    DSC00961

    Our crack test team near the end of two long days of riding.
    Thanks guys. I enjoyed riding with you.
    DSC00956


    Tomac Vanish: 160mm All Mountain

    I was surprised at how different this bike and the Enduro felt. The Enduro felt like a much bigger, longer travel bike. The Vanish felt more like your typical 6" all-mountain steed. A fairly upright climbing position kept things comfy on the ups and the suspension seemed to keep thing efficient and bob free. The IAS (Instant Active Suspension) is basically a linkage activated single pivot where the second pivot has been moved from the seatstay near the axle to the top of the seatstay, connecting it to the shock via a short link that stradles the seat tube. It seemed work well, looked clean and simple, and was plenty stiff.

    It was a bit taller at the head tube than the Enduro with a shorter feeling top tube and wheel base. The geometry definitely felt a bit more towards the trail side of AM as compared to the Enduro which was decidedly skewed towards the DH side. The longish stem on the Vanish certainly added to this feeling, moving our weight quite a bit farther forward over the bars than on the Enduro.

    With the Air/Air X-fusion set up it was also fairly light (33-34 lbs?) compared to the Enduro. These geometry and weight differences made it feel a bit less confident on the steep rocky descents but it motored through the rock tech sections well while pedaling and climbing.

    DSC00957

    DSC00958

    The stem was a little long for this application and made us feel a bit too far over the front wheel compared to other bikes in this class.
    DSC00970

    DSC00969

    Almost there. I'll try and get the rest of the bike reviews up tomorrow.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeerhillJDOG View Post
    Noticing a lot of Formula. How did the rear Avid and Formula's compare throughout all the new 142mm bikes?
    You know, two years ago it seems everyone was running Avids, but this year I think there was only two (one elixir and the Codes on the Canfield). Two thirds of the bikes were Shimano XT or XTR which were nice. They weren't super strong but strong enough and the modulation was really good.

    Formula brakes were the next most represented and the ones we rode worked really well. Nice reach adjustment knobs, good feel, with a bit more abrupt contact point than the Shimano stuff.

    I didn't ride any bikes with Magura and only the one with Hayes brakes.

  6. #31
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    Jamis Dakar 650B Pro: 5" Trail/AM 27.5" wheels

    I really got excited about the whole 650B movement two or three years ago when I rode a Carver Ti Killer B on the smoother Lakes Loops trails at I-Bike then a year later rode the 5" Ventana El Bastardo on the more technical trails here at Bootleg. It seemed to be just the right compromise between rollablility and snappiness.

    Since then there has been a few advances in 650B availability but really it's a movement that never really got off the ground and I'd largely forgotten about it. I'd seen these Jamis 650B FS bikes advertised in a few magazines and so when I saw this one at the X-fusion tent I decided to give it a try.

    I can't say that I had any great epiphany moment or even got overly excited about it this time around. We took it out at the same time as the Giant Anthem and, quite honestly, we liked the Anthem better. While it rolled over some rough spots a bit better than some 26ers it wasn't enough different to make it stand out.

    As far as general comments on the bike. It felt more XC/trail than Trail/AM. It was a pretty firm pedaler seated or standing and small to medium bumps were smoothed out acceptably well. It did take on the few steeper G-outs and drops of Loop 4 on the Lakes trails but I wonder how it would feel on some of the gnarlier trails up the canyon.

    The X-fusion fork was their normal 160 Vengence with a 30mm spacer at the bottom to lower the travel. Arch clearance was fine.

    Overall a nice bike.... but I have to question its relevance.

    DSC00976

    DSC00977

    DSC00975

    Nice to see some other tire manufacturers tossing their hats into the 650B arena.
    DSC00978


    Giant Anthem: 4" XC/Trail 29er

    When we finally got a chance to take "Bonnie" out for a ride we discovered that this was a pretty fun bike for fast, smoother, XC type trails. The big wheels made it easy to keep up your momentum and handled smaller trail irregularities nicely. The Maestro mini-link suspension felt firm and fast on sprints and climbs, but the 100mm fork was a little overmatched in the steeper descents and rockier sections. We would've like to have tried it with a 120mm fork, but overall we liked it better than the Jamis 650B for the same XC trail we rode them on

    Sizing was comfy and roomy even in a medium.

    DSC00952


    Santa Cruz Blur LT Carbon: 140mm Trail bike.

    Russll and I didn't ride this bike this year, but Randy spent most of day two with this black beauty. He just wouldn't let it go. Every time we ran into him he was just chugging along on the Blur LT. He said he really liked it compared to his Trek EX 8. In fact he was ready to buy one by time he left. It was stiffer, lighter, better suspended, and prettier than his four-year-old Trek, He's 5'6" or 5' 7" and said the medium fit him really well.

    Hopefully he'll chime in with additional insights.

    DSC00962

    The ubiquitous Fox 32 150mm. Not a bad fork, but I was really hoping to try the Revelation Dual Air 150 but didn't see too many bikes with that set up.
    DSC00963

    DSC00964

    The other two bikes Randy rode that we didn't were the Ellsworth Moment and Trek Remedy. Maybe he'll log on and post a few comments.


    Tomac Snyper 140:. 140mm Trail bike

    I think Joel Smith has done some nice things with the Tomac line. They looked sharp and the build quality looked to be on par with other Asian manufactured bikes we saw.

    I rode a Snyper 140 three or four years ago and was really impressed. In fact I remember placing it just behind the TNT 5 Spot for best 5" trail bike that year.

    This bike was really the only one we rode from the X-fusion tent where the suspension seemed to be out of sorts. The rear end was too stiff and really stalled on square rocks and ledges while climbing. Maybe it was just my tired legs talking, but I just couldn't get it to behave correctly on the Girl Scout climb and I muffed several little tech sections that I cleaned easily on most bikes.

    Other than that, the sizing felt good in the large and its geometry and cockpit fit felt comfortable while descending. Although the rear skipped over rocks and wasn't as plush as some of the other bikes in this class that we rode. It would be nice to ride it again with some Rock Shox or Fox suspension to give it a fair shake.

    DSC00983

    This rear triangle felt laterally stiff and tracked well.
    DSC00982

    DSC00981

    The rear end was so bad I honestly didn't notice the fork too much... but I think it was decent.
    DSC00980



    Felt Virtue LTD Carbon:: Adjustable 120-130mm Trail bike.

    This was a beautiful bike and was ridiculously light, fast, and efficient.... but like the BMC, it's geometry and/or set up let it feeling sketchy on the rough Bootleg descents. I think Russell actually got off and walked it over a few of the slightly tricky sections while cursing under his breath. The 69deg HA felt steeper than that and to make matters worse, not only was there not adjustable seat post, but due to the curve in the seat tube, you couldn't lower the seat very much to lessen the tippy feeling while pointed down anything rough at all.

    I'm sure this was a very expensive bike and totally appropriate for certain types of trails and certain types of racing/riding....but it just didn't fit the bill for us and the type of riding we do most.

    DSC00984

    The EquiLink suspension worked well on the climbs but we were too afraid to push it enough to tell how it worked on the downs.
    DSC00985

    DSC00986

    This long, racer-boy stem didn't help our comfort level on the rough Bootleg descents.
    DSC00990

    DSC00987

    So there you have it. A short, first impression of some 20 bikes over two days. We had to substitute Cove, Commencal, BMC, and Tomac for some of our favorite brands like Turner and Knolly this year, but it was still a lot of fun and we gained some valuable information to take back to our shop and to spout off on the inter-web... and discovered some really cool bikes that we may not have ridden otherwise.

  7. #32
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    Damn thats one hell of a trip !! LUCKYYY , sick bikes.

  8. #33
    it's the ride....
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Jamis Dakar 650B Pro:
    So there you have it. A short, first impression of some 20 bikes over two days. We had to substitute Cove, Commencal, BMC, and Tomac for some of our favorite brands like Turner and Knolly this year, but it was still a lot of fun and we gained some valuable information to take back to our shop and to spout off on the inter-web... and discovered some really cool bikes that we may not have ridden otherwise.
    Thanks again for the time spent to demo and summarized it up in a nice write up series.
    I was expecting you got Santacruz Blur TRc, Pivot mach 5.7/4, but I guess there were so many bikes for so much les time within 2 days window.
    Bravo KRob cs. I wish there were some more "volunteers" like you to do the same. You really filled the gap left by tcheezy Interbike dirt demo write up couple of years back.
    Ulating blencong sejatine tataraning lelaku...

  9. #34
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    As an owner of a 2010 DB Mission I will agree its MUCH more comfortable going down than up, its a beast and I love it. Gotta work it to get it up the hill but worth it coming down.

    Very interested in seeing more of the Commencal MetaAM - that looks like it will be on my radar in the next two years or so.

    Thanks KRob.

  10. #35
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    Awesome reviews as always. I can only imagine the work you had to put in to do a write up like this. +Rep to you.

  11. #36
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    This Truvativ dual ring chain guide was one of the slickest we saw. It had two derailleur pulleys for rollers and the chain shifted seamlessly from one to the other as you shifted. It looks light and seems to manage the chain well.
    Is this the same as the recently released MRP or just very similar?

    Mountain Racing Products home of MRP, White Brothers, Kreitler, Tamer, and Power Grips | 2x

  12. #37
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    Very well done sir. I appreciate all the time you put into the reviews.

  13. #38
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    Subscribed to read a little later. Nice writeups.

  14. #39
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    Wow thank you for this great right up! Just curious what would you say was your favorite all around AM bike? Mojo hd or g-spot maybe? As well I was curious if you have ever ridden the banshee rune and your thoughts on that as that is what I currently ride but am considering of selling to buy a newer bike. The rune seems to peddal fairly well though so maybe it is not worth upgrading.

    Once again thank you so much for all the reviews and pictures, best thread I have seen for inter bike yet. Has given me some ideas on what to try when I head to outer bike next month.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by softailteamrider View Post
    The shock seems to be right on the line of fire of mud-flinging, wondering the long-term durability of shock stanchion under adverse trail environment.
    Yeah. Good point softtail. I hadn't even noticed that. Seems like a company that cuts its teeth in Europe and Alps would've thought of that.

    It'll be interesting to see if someone comes up with a fix or mud guard.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by aedubber View Post
    Damn thats one hell of a trip !! LUCKYYY , sick bikes.
    And this was only the beginning. Wednesday we hit Gooseberry Mesa and I spent the rest of the week in Moab (TR to follow). Heckuva trip, indeed!

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mishtar View Post
    Just curious what would you say was your favorite all around AM bike? Mojo hd or g-spot maybe?
    Thanks Mishtar.

    Yeah, the G-Spot and Mojo HD were probably one and two for favorite bikes of the show, but there were several others that I wouldn't mind having in my stable. The Commencal Meta AM, the Tracer 29er, and The One come to mind..... Oh yeah, and SB66 and Carbon Nomad and the RM Slayer 70.... and... . and. Ooops, there goes my ADD kicking in again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mishtar
    As well I was curious if you have ever ridden the banshee rune and your thoughts on that as that is what I currently ride but am considering of selling to buy a newer bike. The rune seems to peddal fairly well though so maybe it is not worth upgrading.
    Never have ridden the Rune or Spitfire but they were definitely on my list. I was sorry Banshee wasn't at the Dirt Demo.
    Last edited by KRob; 09-29-2011 at 08:41 PM.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Yeah. Good point softtail. I hadn't even noticed that. Seems like a company that cuts its teeth in Europe and Alps would've thought of that.

    It'll be interesting to see if someone comes up with a fix or mud guard.
    Commencal has an optional mud guard for it, or so I've read.

    Thanks for all the reviews... damn you for making me lust after a G-Spot or an Anthem 29...
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  19. #44
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    Very nice and Tcheezyesque writeups KRob. Major props for the obvious effort put into your reviews. Probably good some of the usual suspects weren't at the demo, allowing you to test bikes you wouldn't have otherwise.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshG View Post
    Is this the same as the recently released MRP or just very similar?

    Mountain Racing Products home of MRP, White Brothers, Kreitler, Tamer, and Power Grips | 2x
    Good eye.

    We build the Truvativ X-guide, and it is very similar to our own 2x guide. There is one key difference though; our guide also accommodates traditional triple-style cranks (with big ring removed) whereas the X-guide is optimized for the new 2x10-style cranks only.

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  21. #46
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    Great job, Holmes! Good to see I never have to leave AK again with you guyz on the beat.

    How was the demo crowd/bike availability/wait time/temperatures? 20 bikes in two days with only 2 main testers is a damn impressive haul.

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy View Post
    Great job, Holmes! Good to see I never have to leave AK again with you guyz on the beat.

    How was the demo crowd/bike availability/wait time/temperatures? 20 bikes in two days with only 2 main testers is a damn impressive haul.
    Thanks Phillip. Sorry we missed you (again).

    I was expecting the worst for the weather with it being a week earlier this year, but we really lucked out. A little front had passed through on Sunday cooling things down into the upper 80s to low 90s on Monday. Then with the rain Tuesday morning, I don't think it ever got much over 80 that day..... and like I said, it left the trails in perfect shape.

    We lucked out on the crowds too. They never got too bad on Monday and we got to the few bikes we knew would be impossible first before the wait became too long (SB66, Carbine).

    My rule of thumb was: If it's going to take more than 5 minutes to get a bike, I'm moving on. And we never stopped for lunch or breaks. Just kept pounding the free stuff set out at the various tents along the way to keep fueled.

    Tuesday morning was pretty quiet because of the rain. Most folks chose to stay at the motel or huddled under pop-ups. Then we were able to score like 4 bikes at the X-fusion tent Tuesday afternoon when things were getting really crazy.

    Bikes I would like to have ridden but didn't:
    SC Blur Trc
    SC Tallboy
    Pivot 575c
    Yeti SB95

    And of course the ones that weren't there like the Chilcotin, 5 Spot, and mythical RFX.

  23. #48
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    Thanks Krob for posting

  24. #49
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    This has been converted into an article.

    All Mountain Bike Tests at Interbike Outdoor Demo | MTBR Interbike Coverage

    Amazing read KRob!!! Gregg will be in touch.

    fc

  25. #50
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    Finally gotten around to read all of these reviews, excellent stuff mate!!! Much appreciated.

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