I had to work yesterday, but I got to demo a couple of bikes today. To get a baseline for comparison, I own an '07 Stumpjumper with a Psylo SL fork, a Fox RP23 shock and a Gravity Dropper seatpost.
First up was a Tomac Snyper140 from the X-Fusion booth. Already fitted with a Velvet fork, X-Fusion shock and an X-Fusion remote adjustable seatpost, the tech installed my platform pedals and I was off the the shuttle line. A large truck takes you on a bumpy ride up the mounting to the top staging area. From there I took Skyline down to where several trails converge. The first part of the trail is a bit technical and I quickly discovered that I needed to lower the seatpost in the frame, as low wasn't low enough for me. The ride was really plush, maybe too plush. I hit my pedals on rocks often and almost went over the bars once when trying to ride over a large rock and the suspension ate up my momentum and stopped me. The fork felt solid most of the way, not suprising since it held a 15mm thru axle. Just past halfway down the hill, something went awry in the fork. It started 'clunking' on the rebound stroke. It made it down the hill, but I think it was done for the day. Overall, I liked the bike and I feel it just needed to be dialed in for a rider my size (230 lbs).
I never got a chance to ride the Pivot Mach429 that I wanted, so I went over to the Specialized tent to try a 29 Stumpy FS.
Unfortunately, none were available, so I got to demo an S-Works Epic 29'r
This sharp looking bike had their Brain equiped Fox shock and fork. The tech set it up for my height and weight. I never touched the suspension, but the seat was waaay too high. The seatpost clamp was not QR nor was the seatpost adjustable, so I borrowed a multitool from someone at the top of the hill and I lowered the seat dramatically. Much better. Never having ridden a 29'r, I was not sure what to expect, but was very pleased with the bike. It turned well and climbed even better, lunging forward when pedal power was applied. The brakes were noisy, but not drastically and the front fork felt a bit flexible. I did get a flat near the end of my ride and had to walk back to the display area. In fact, I saw many, many people with flats. I usually run a bit more pressure in my tires and use liners, so flats are a rarity for me. Overall, I preferred the Epic over the Tomac. However, I really like the SJ I already own, and would not upgrade at this time. There's just not enough of a difference for me to justify the expenditure. Maybe in a few years...
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Thread: What I rode at the outdoor demo