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  1. #1
    11 is one louder than 10
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    Green Machine Initial Review (429 carbon)

    So I've been able to get 5 rides in on my 429 Carbon thus far.

    Time for an initial review. Can't speak to any durability issues or non-issues at this point but a ride review.

    Build up - XX1, Carbon Rovals, 2012 Talas Terralogic. Rear shock is 2013 CTD.

    Most of my last 3 seasons have been spent on a Tallboy Carbon. I have short stints on a 2012 Ellsworth Evolve (rear was SOOO flexy). 2013 El Rey (did nothing wrong, but didn't do it for me), and a 2013 Cannondale Scalpel 29er (just didn't like that single pivot rear, but it is a FAST bike, also had a rough go dialing in the 2013 lefty)

    But, my main point of reference is the Tallboy Carbon (135 rear but used a 135 x 10 on it).

    Tallboy vs. Pivot - Nutshell - the bikes are more similar than dissimilar. Tallboy is slightly more plush and has a little bigger range of adjustment. The Mach 429 Carbon is more efficient, and more neutral in it's suspension action. But, I'm running XX1 on the pivot and ran a 2 x 10 on the tallboy so I have no small chainring experience on the Pivot. The pivot is a stiffer chassis from front to rear, this isn't just the 142 on the pivot. It's just a stiffer chassis. This will sound strange, but while the tallboy is more plush, the pivot rides smoother - that is it's more consistent throughout it's suspension action. Cable routing is much better and well thought out on the pivot. Less pedal strikes so far on the Pivot.

    Some scalpel 29er carbon thoughts - having ridden all 3 bikes now, the Scalpel carbon 29er really is remarkable in the weight vs stiffness department from front to rear. It's very close to the Pivot, and is stiffer than the tallboy from front to rear. Given it's weight it's outstanding. But, it's a single pivot and really does ride like one when you are on the brakes and cornering through stutter bumps.

    Pivot is the most neutral bike in it's habits from braking to climbing. It's more plush than the Scalpel, but less than the tallboy.



    Pivot 429 Carbon Specific thoughts.

    1. XX1 - if you don't need a massive range of gears, you want this on your next bike (assuming it proves durable). Ok, not bike specific but just a thought.

    2. Float CTD Rear Shock - VERY nice. While it's similar to pro-pedal, it's smoother and there is more of a difference in settings. Also, Pivot's little sag indicator is great. Their suggested settings for initial set-up are also very close to what I am going to end up with. Read the suggestions. While I don't have huge decents here, you can tell the decend setting will be nice out west. (I'm in Michigan)

    3. I'm running 120mm up front for the first time ever on a 29er. While it's a bit "lighter" steering than my Tallboy (which was at 110) the bike handles well and doesn't push through corners as was my concern. Current Fork is a talas terralogic, so I have less sag than usual. A float 120 reduced to 110 might just be perfect on this bike.

    4. Steering is remarkably neutral even at 120 where I thought it would be slow. The BB height thus far has led to less pedal strikes than the tallboy. Talas down to 95, but with little sag as a terralogic fork can be set is a quick steering bike.

    5. Fit and finish is very good.

    6. 142 rear = nice

    7. Suspension action remains neutral while braking. This is the best way I can describe the supension action (keeping in mind I only have 1 chainring). But throughout it's travel it's consistent. I find I am always using all my travel but never feel I blow through it, but it also isn't a magic carpet ride (though more so than the scalpel)

    Mini-shootout rankings.

    Lateral Stiffness Front to Rear

    1a. Pivot
    1b. Scalpel (and at a lower weight)
    2. Tallboy (keeping in mine 135 x 10 rear)

    Suspension action while riding most conditions
    1. Pivot
    2. Tallboy
    3. Scalpel

    Suspension Action while braking
    1. Pivot
    2. Tallboy
    3. Scalpel

    Suspension action while climbing rougher climbs
    1. Pivot
    2. Tallboy
    3. Scalpel

    Suspension action on smooth climb
    1. Scalpel
    2. Pivot
    3. Tallboy

    Acceleration
    1. Scalpel
    2. Pivot
    3. Tallboy

    Plushness through rough stuff
    1. Tallboy
    2. Pivot
    3. Scalpel

    Steering Precision (this can be affected by fork travel) All are excellent, when accepting your set-up as the scalpel is designed to be quicker handling.)

    1. Scalpel (this thing railed, but is very quick handling)
    2. Pivot
    3. Tallboy

    Downhill plushness
    1. Tallboy
    2. Pivot (Need to get this bike out west though and put the shock in the "D" position) suspect it will be very close to the Tallboy.
    3. Scalpel.

    So, there you have it thus far. I've not spent much time on a Jet 9 carbon, but it is one of the obvious other contenders for your cash in this market.

    I would again stress this, the Pivot and Tallboy are more similar than different. My short rides on the Jet 9 carbon point to it also being in this same vein. My gut feeling (only one ride on a Jet 9 carbon off road) is that it is even more similar to the Pivot than the Tallboy is.

    The Scalpel 29er carbon really is the most different beast out of the bunch. I would see it's biggest competition being the Epic 29ers. While not a hardtail by any means, it's really more similar to a hardtail with benefits than anything else. It's VERY fast though, but it's really a XC bike only and not as versatile as the others. If I raced a ton at the expert level that bike would be on my very short list. But, for me these days I race sport class and like endurance events at that level. I think I will be fine on the Pivot as I was on the Tallboy.

    Assuming durability is good, I will say that I think I like the Pivot more than the Tallboy. But that the Tallboy is VERY, VERY good. I did have two tallboys (medium and large) and in fairness I cracked both of them (I'm 190-200lbs, don't jump a ton). Santa Cruz was OUTSTANDING about the warranty. I could still be very happy on a tallboy, but thus far am very happy with the Pivot decision.

    The Scalpel on the other hand, man it's FAST, stiff and light. I did not love the 2013 lefty (rumor has it they may have had the wrong grease and tunes coming from the factory) and that may have played a part in in it. But for racing that bike would be a blast.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Green Machine Initial Review (429 carbon)-img_1939.jpg  

    Green Machine Initial Review (429 carbon)-img_0818.jpg  

    Green Machine Initial Review (429 carbon)-img_1567.jpg  

    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

  2. #2
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    Tremendous review. One of the more useful ones I've seen on MTBR.

  3. #3
    Long Live the Gorn!
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    Nice Review thanks...and Man you have some nice rigs!

  4. #4
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    Sweet comparison and 429 looks nice.
    Is the 429 a size smaller ? It looks quite a bit smaller than TB.

  5. #5
    11 is one louder than 10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surfdog93 View Post
    Sweet comparison and 429 looks nice.
    Is the 429 a size smaller ? It looks quite a bit smaller than TB.

    Well, that was my initial build with the tallboy. I did not ride a set-back post ultimately.

    I also don't own all 3 at once! I've got 4 kids... can only justify one high end dually at a time ya know...

    Size wise, the Tallboy and Pivot fit almost exactly the same. BUT the pivot is a medium and the tallboy is a large.

    Both have 24 inch effective top tubes, I'm running a 90mm stem on both and set up my saddle to bars reach exactly the same. I could run an 70-80mm stem when I go out west for a bit more flexibility.

    I also run a 12 deg sweep bar. I'm 5'10" and find a 24 inch top tube is spot on for me.
    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

  6. #6
    Tough Guy Extraordinaire
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    Great review! Thanks for the info.

    I just put a 50mm stem on my 429. To some extent I find the 120mm fox with a 70mm stem pushes a bit in the corners. I'm set up with a enve 710mm bar.

    Interested to see if you had any thoughts on an even shorter stem? I should get it out for a ride tomorrow night, but nowhere really twisty turny.

    FYI I am coming off a Niner MCR with a 100mm fork. This thing eats up turns like no bike I have ever ridden.

  7. #7
    change is good
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    Very thorough review. I have owned all three, except my 429 is the alloy. I had the first gen 429 and currently have the second generation. I agree with most of it, especially the Scalpel's brake jack and freakish weight to stiffness ratio. Out of the three, only the Pivot in my opinion can handle day in and day out trail duty for myself.

  8. #8
    11 is one louder than 10
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    For its intent the scalpel really is a freak show of a bike. It really is amazingly stiff from front to rear and is one of my favorite aspects of it. I wished that the lefty had worked a bit better out of the box, but I found myself also running the rear absolutely as plush as I could for day to day riding.

    The other small issue was that RS rear shock is noisy. Bugged me a bit.

    BUT, for a race bike it is fantastic.
    Last edited by Green Giant; 04-19-2013 at 11:03 AM.
    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

  9. #9
    spr
    spr is online now
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    Thanks for the info.
    Can you add a small review that compare the El rey to the Tallboy /Pivot?
    Thx

  10. #10
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    Wow! great info and thanks for putting the time in and sharing.
    Pedal Dammit!

  11. #11
    11 is one louder than 10
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    Quote Originally Posted by spr View Post
    Thanks for the info.
    Can you add a small review that compare the El rey to the Tallboy /Pivot?
    Thx
    Sure.

    So, The El Rey is really nice and I really like Sherwood and the gang at Ventana.

    It's as stiff as the Pivot and Scalpel, stiffer than the Tallboy (were talking front to back lateral stiffness. With the 140 rear, it might have the stiffest back half of all. (though all are very, very good and so close I couldn't tell you.

    For a single pivot suspension the El Rey rides really well, and it doesn't suffer quite as much brake jack as the Scalpel.

    I do think in the case of the Pivot and Tallboy that the more advanced suspension designs do ride better with less compromise. Actually when chugging along, or even standing and climbing all can be set to ride pretty similar (in the middle chainring).

    I didn't particularly care for the new curved TT on the ventana and the front end is pretty darn tall. I also realized after owning the other bikes that the internal cable routing on the Ventana, particularly the rear brake was a giant pain in the butt.

    If I were ordering a new El Rey, I would go custom and ask sherwood if he could build me one with a straight TT again, and definitely go external cable routing on the rear brake.

    The more fair comparison would be the 429 alloy and Tallboy Alloy to the El Rey.

    In that case, the Ventana's workmanship is second to none. The 429 alloy and Tallboy alloy are both nice, but Ventana does have that extra little bit.

    Weight wise, that puts things in the same class also, so that helps.

    In that case, it comes down to what you want out of the bike. The 429 alloy is really close on stiffness to the Ventana, it would be hard to pick one. The tallboy is close.

    I think that yes, the DW link and VPP are more advanced suspension systems than the Ventana. I think the DW link has the least number of compromises now after about 10 rides on my Pivot. Gotta say I really like it so far. I think it also is the firmest riding, with the El Rey and Tallboy both being more plush and having more range of adjustment. In fact, one area the El Rey has an advantage is that it's suspension has the most range of adjustment in sweet spot I found.

    But, with the DW link set up in it's sweet spot, it really seems to be working for me.
    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

  12. #12
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    nice review!
    PIVOT

  13. #13
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    Now, if I could just get GG to ride a SB-95C and compare the suspension characteristics, I'd be a happy camper!

  14. #14
    11 is one louder than 10
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    You get me a SB95C and I'll give it a whirl. Might try to rent on this year when I come out west.

    Just an update after 20 or so rides. I absolutely love this bike. It's tremendous.
    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

  15. #15
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    OK Green Giant. You are officially not the only dude in Michigan with a 429C. Got mine out to the Poto today. This is a tremendous bike. So fast.

  16. #16
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    I second GG getting a SB95c to review for us. Just one more rig he will have to make us all drool.

  17. #17
    All bike, all the time
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    Ripley?

    Great review, will you be comparing the Ripley? Your impressions of the 429c mirror mine, would be curious to see how the Ibis stacks up against the rest from your standpoint.

    Quote Originally Posted by Green Giant View Post
    So I've been able to get 5 rides in on my 429 Carbon thus far.

    Time for an initial review. Can't speak to any durability issues or non-issues at this point but a ride review.

    Build up - XX1, Carbon Rovals, 2012 Talas Terralogic. Rear shock is 2013 CTD.

    Most of my last 3 seasons have been spent on a Tallboy Carbon. I have short stints on a 2012 Ellsworth Evolve (rear was SOOO flexy). 2013 El Rey (did nothing wrong, but didn't do it for me), and a 2013 Cannondale Scalpel 29er (just didn't like that single pivot rear, but it is a FAST bike, also had a rough go dialing in the 2013 lefty)

    But, my main point of reference is the Tallboy Carbon (135 rear but used a 135 x 10 on it).

    Tallboy vs. Pivot - Nutshell - the bikes are more similar than dissimilar. Tallboy is slightly more plush and has a little bigger range of adjustment. The Mach 429 Carbon is more efficient, and more neutral in it's suspension action. But, I'm running XX1 on the pivot and ran a 2 x 10 on the tallboy so I have no small chainring experience on the Pivot. The pivot is a stiffer chassis from front to rear, this isn't just the 142 on the pivot. It's just a stiffer chassis. This will sound strange, but while the tallboy is more plush, the pivot rides smoother - that is it's more consistent throughout it's suspension action. Cable routing is much better and well thought out on the pivot. Less pedal strikes so far on the Pivot.

    Some scalpel 29er carbon thoughts - having ridden all 3 bikes now, the Scalpel carbon 29er really is remarkable in the weight vs stiffness department from front to rear. It's very close to the Pivot, and is stiffer than the tallboy from front to rear. Given it's weight it's outstanding. But, it's a single pivot and really does ride like one when you are on the brakes and cornering through stutter bumps.

    Pivot is the most neutral bike in it's habits from braking to climbing. It's more plush than the Scalpel, but less than the tallboy.



    Pivot 429 Carbon Specific thoughts.

    1. XX1 - if you don't need a massive range of gears, you want this on your next bike (assuming it proves durable). Ok, not bike specific but just a thought.

    2. Float CTD Rear Shock - VERY nice. While it's similar to pro-pedal, it's smoother and there is more of a difference in settings. Also, Pivot's little sag indicator is great. Their suggested settings for initial set-up are also very close to what I am going to end up with. Read the suggestions. While I don't have huge decents here, you can tell the decend setting will be nice out west. (I'm in Michigan)

    3. I'm running 120mm up front for the first time ever on a 29er. While it's a bit "lighter" steering than my Tallboy (which was at 110) the bike handles well and doesn't push through corners as was my concern. Current Fork is a talas terralogic, so I have less sag than usual. A float 120 reduced to 110 might just be perfect on this bike.

    4. Steering is remarkably neutral even at 120 where I thought it would be slow. The BB height thus far has led to less pedal strikes than the tallboy. Talas down to 95, but with little sag as a terralogic fork can be set is a quick steering bike.

    5. Fit and finish is very good.

    6. 142 rear = nice

    7. Suspension action remains neutral while braking. This is the best way I can describe the supension action (keeping in mind I only have 1 chainring). But throughout it's travel it's consistent. I find I am always using all my travel but never feel I blow through it, but it also isn't a magic carpet ride (though more so than the scalpel)

    Mini-shootout rankings.

    Lateral Stiffness Front to Rear

    1a. Pivot
    1b. Scalpel (and at a lower weight)
    2. Tallboy (keeping in mine 135 x 10 rear)

    Suspension action while riding most conditions
    1. Pivot
    2. Tallboy
    3. Scalpel

    Suspension Action while braking
    1. Pivot
    2. Tallboy
    3. Scalpel

    Suspension action while climbing rougher climbs
    1. Pivot
    2. Tallboy
    3. Scalpel

    Suspension action on smooth climb
    1. Scalpel
    2. Pivot
    3. Tallboy

    Acceleration
    1. Scalpel
    2. Pivot
    3. Tallboy

    Plushness through rough stuff
    1. Tallboy
    2. Pivot
    3. Scalpel

    Steering Precision (this can be affected by fork travel) All are excellent, when accepting your set-up as the scalpel is designed to be quicker handling.)

    1. Scalpel (this thing railed, but is very quick handling)
    2. Pivot
    3. Tallboy

    Downhill plushness
    1. Tallboy
    2. Pivot (Need to get this bike out west though and put the shock in the "D" position) suspect it will be very close to the Tallboy.
    3. Scalpel.

    So, there you have it thus far. I've not spent much time on a Jet 9 carbon, but it is one of the obvious other contenders for your cash in this market.

    I would again stress this, the Pivot and Tallboy are more similar than different. My short rides on the Jet 9 carbon point to it also being in this same vein. My gut feeling (only one ride on a Jet 9 carbon off road) is that it is even more similar to the Pivot than the Tallboy is.

    The Scalpel 29er carbon really is the most different beast out of the bunch. I would see it's biggest competition being the Epic 29ers. While not a hardtail by any means, it's really more similar to a hardtail with benefits than anything else. It's VERY fast though, but it's really a XC bike only and not as versatile as the others. If I raced a ton at the expert level that bike would be on my very short list. But, for me these days I race sport class and like endurance events at that level. I think I will be fine on the Pivot as I was on the Tallboy.

    Assuming durability is good, I will say that I think I like the Pivot more than the Tallboy. But that the Tallboy is VERY, VERY good. I did have two tallboys (medium and large) and in fairness I cracked both of them (I'm 190-200lbs, don't jump a ton). Santa Cruz was OUTSTANDING about the warranty. I could still be very happy on a tallboy, but thus far am very happy with the Pivot decision.

    The Scalpel on the other hand, man it's FAST, stiff and light. I did not love the 2013 lefty (rumor has it they may have had the wrong grease and tunes coming from the factory) and that may have played a part in in it. But for racing that bike would be a blast.
    All bike, all the time

  18. #18
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    Thanks for taking the time and effort to post your thoughts on these bike comparisons. To each his own, but from my experience, the Ventana shouldn't even be part of this discussion given how much their primitive single pivot design results in a bike that rides like a pogo-stick. I had a Moots Cinco w Ventana rear suspension and after inch-worming my way around for a month or so and attempting to have PUSH IND recalibrate the fox shock, I dumped it for a Pivot and never looked back.... How is Ventana even still in business anyways selling 1980s suspension technology?

  19. #19
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    The Ventana rides great. I had no complaints about the suspension or handling. It descends fast as any bike I have been on. The problem I had with the El Rey was the sloped top tube and the tall head tube. I couldn't get the bars low enough. Plus when you crash the bars or more specifically the shifters were smashing the top tube. Although the cable route was a paint to set up it worked OK. The issue is though if you are on the trail and a zip tie breaks your cable will rub on the tire and cause all kinds of issues. I know this because it happened to me.

    Personally I liked the older design of the El Rey. While its not state of the art its a great handling bike and works flawlessly. Most of the technology of cycling is just marketing BS to get you to buy a new bike every couple years. It works on me though.

  20. #20
    11 is one louder than 10
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    I'd love to review the Yeti and the Ripley (the Ripley is particularly interesting to me). But, I can only own one high end dually at a time. (the pivot is actually my only MTB right now, sold the hardtail and fat bikes off, though I'll get another fattie).

    IF I can somehow rent one on a trip this year though those are two I want to try.

    As for the Ventana. The new platform shocks IMO kept it from riding like a pogo stick, I really had no issue with the suspension, though the newer designs are more refined.

    I agree though that overall I liked the older design better. I wasn't a huge fan of the new top tube, and while I liked some of the internal cable routing, brake lines were not my favorite. Hydraulic brakes are a pain in the ass to route internally.

    SUPER happy thus far with the 429 carbon.
    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

  21. #21
    change is good
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    Quote Originally Posted by schneidw View Post
    .... How is Ventana even still in business anyways selling 1980s suspension technology?
    Yes, I admit that I like the suspension on 429 better than the first gen Rey I had, but that bike brought a lot of smiles to my face. The Scapel I had briefly rode great even though the brake jack was a little annoying. I think the Rocky Mountain 970 has a tweaked single pivot design. Both of the previously mentioned bikes have recieved favorable reveiws. I wish I could justify the purchase of a Zeus. I had a Weyless (Heckler want a be) that was extremely fun. Single pivots tend to be tough, provide good mud clearance and are good in the chunk, IMO.

  22. #22
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    Thanks for the review.

    I wonder how the 429c compares to Turner's new Czar. Very similar specs but generally Turner's versions of the DW-link have been plusher than Pivot's IMO. But with the Czar being billed as a XC racer and XC marathon bike, I'll bet they're pretty close.

  23. #23
    Daniel the Dog
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    How do the bikes compare to the Niner Jet 9 RDO?

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    Hello Green Giant,

    Thanks for the write up. It's got me confused though. I ride a '13 Scalpel Carbon 1 29 and it's a love hate relationship. Love the stiffness and speed on the majority of riding conditions, but just have a frustration with the OPI headset & stem set up. Also, still not sure if I like BB30 (always seem to be making noise). The single pivot is somehting I can get around except in certain circustances where it seems pretty springy going over a step off or log.

    I've ridden a Turner 5 spot about 4 years ago and it was a great bike, but I do some XC racing and TTs so need the speed. I came across the Pivot and it looked like a great bike, but if you think the Scalpel is faster, I may not go that route.

    Can you give a bit more detail on your take between the two? I'm from MN so I'm guessing we ride similar terrain (roots, tight turns, punchy climbs, etc).

    Thanks,

  25. #25
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    Sure,

    As a pure race bike - the scalpel is "faster" creeks and frustrations not withstanding (I just worked through a couple creeks on the pivot, but cured them).

    It's quicker handling and a shade more effecient. It's close, but the scalpel is more of a pure race bike.

    That said, put a 100-110 mm fork on the pivot, give it a light build and it's not that much behind the scalpel.

    The pivot can do more things very well, the scalpel does one thing excellent if that makes sense.

    The advantage on the pivot is that you can slap on a 120mm fork (or something adjustable) a dropper post and some beefier tires and have a heck of a trail bike.

    Right now mine I have lighter tires and a fox float on it at 110mm - it's great midseason here in Michigan.

    A month ago I slapped on some 2.3 tires, a 120mm talas terralogic, a shorter stem and a 28 tooth front chainring and had a blast out in colorado on it. Next year I'll put a dropper post on it.

    back home - 32tooth up front (could go 34 or 36, but that would involve a chain change, that other fork, a 90mm stem and a carbon seatpost along with some lower tread 2.2 tires - and it's great here in midwest singletrack.

    Let's put it like this, I hate creeks and it took me forever to track one down on this bike and I was almost convinced it was the frame. I bought it from competitive cyclist and could have returned it for all my money back... and I was determined to find the creek because I like the bike that much.
    "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."

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