Nomad Carbon vs. Mojo HD160 vs. Yeti SB66c vs. Pivot Mach 5.7c vs. Pivot Firebird
It has been a few years since I last bought a bike. At that time, I did a ton of demos and posted a big comparo that included a bunch of trailbikes. I ended up buying a Mojo SL). I figured that I have put a ton more time test riding bikes and thought that others may benefit from my experiences so Iím posting again. Iíve loved my Mojo SL and have upgraded it to a much more burly bike (now with a dropper post and a Fox 36) so Iím looking to upgrade to a longer travel bike. Like last time, a friend of mine helped me test ride the bikes for a second opinion. He currently rides a nearly new Turner 5-spot (with a Lyrik). These are our opinions on the bikes and you may not like them. We based our thoughts on how we ride and what we like to ride. We tried to have no preconceptions about these bikes, but we both currently own DW-link bikes. I also had a serious CS issue with Santa Cruz in the past and am only now considering one of their bikes.
Background: Two of us have spent the last few months test riding the above bikes at length. We both typically ride medium frames and weigh about 180 lbs fully geared. We took these bikes on technical trails that involve a decent amount of climbing in AZ/UT/CO/WY. We max out at 6-foot drops and have started doing some jumping and Park riding. We also will ride 30+ miles at altitude. When possible, we would swap bikes on the same ride for comparison. All bikes had full Fox suspension and at least XT level of components. We swapped out stems/bars/dropper posts to arrive at a comfortable fit. We spent a significant amount of time adjusting shock pressures to get the most out of each bike. We weighed the bikes, but only after finishing riding them, as I think the weight may have played a role in our rankings the last time around. When applicable, we used the aforementioned Mojo SL and 5-spot as references.
Not surprisingly, the Firebird is the best descender here. No question, if you want to go downhill very quickly, then you need this bike. It felt a little hamstrung on undulating terrain as it was mildly sluggish sprinting up the small hills. While it felt a little heavier and less ďflickableĒ than the other bikes, I believe that if you actually timed the runs it would have smoked any bike in this comparison.
The Nomad/Mojo HD were very similar overall descenders. The Nomad was slightly plusher when dropping and jumping while the Mojo HD smoothed small/medium hits better. We thoroughly enjoyed both. I slightly preferred the Mojo HD while my buddy slightly preferred the Nomad. Note that the Nomad had a 2012 Fox RP23 Kashima and the Mojo HD had the 2013 Fox CTD rear shock. The Mojo also had the new Fox 34 CTD fork and the Nomad had last yearís Fox 36. I could not perceive any real stiffness difference between the two forks (although I only roll at 180lbs) even at speed. However, the Fox 34 used ALL OF ITS TRAVEL! . I could even put the correct air pressure (for my weight) in the Fox 34 and I still would get full travel! The Fox 36 RLC on the Nomad (just like my older RC2) never got more than ~140mm of travel even when bailing in emergency mode. We swapped out the Fox 36 on the Nomad and put on a Lyrik (that used all 160mm of travel) and it did improve the descending ability but only at extreme speeds. In any event, both bikes absolutely railed downhill, sucked up bumps/jumps/and super technical lines. I felt that these two bikes were a serious upgrade to a Mojo SL/5-spot. My buddy agreed, but we both wished for a 160mm Turner bike for comparison.
While the Mach 5.7c did not perform in the same league as the above bikes, we were both surprised about how much we liked it. Iíve never been a fan of Cocalisí bikes in the past, but this 5.7c is different. While it couldnít hang with the Nomad/MojoHD/Firebird on the downhills, it was super fun, flickable, and a great time. If this bike was around when I bought my Mojo SL several years ago I may have bought the 5.7c instead. We thought about replacing the stock Fox 32 150mm fork with a bigger fork but Pivot doesnít recommend a 160mm fork and we did not have the time to space down our Lyrik/Fox 36. We both felt that the Mach 5.7c had an ďitĒ that we couldnít put our finger on. The Mach 5.7c is perhaps the best trailbike Iíve ever ridden, but out of its element here.
The Yeti experience was essentially the opposite of the 5.7c. First of all, this bike came with a Fox 32 150mm fork. Iím confused--is this bike supposed to compete with bigger bikes like the Nomad/MojoHD/Firebird (it has 152mm of travel and weighs ~6lbs) or is it supposed to compete with lighter trailbikes with less travel (MojoSL/Pivot Mach 5.7/5-Spot)? We assumed the former and swapped out the Fox 32 150mm for a RS Lyrik and added a dropper post/shorter stem/burlier tires. While this increased the playfulness of the bike, it did not feel that much better than the Mojo SL/5-Spot at speed. The o-ring showed that it would get full travel on big hits, but it sure never felt like it. The Yeti 575 is a better descender and more fun, IMO. My buddy couldnít stand this bike on the descents and much preferred any other bike mentioned here. I did not have such an extreme opinion, but felt that the rear suspension was very stiff and even lagged behind the Pivot 5.7c.
1) Firebird (fast but not as fun as the others)
3) Mojo HD
4) 5.7c (fun but not as fast as the others)
For the record, climbing is very important to us. We ride trails at high altitude from AZ to Montana and climb a ton.
In my book, the 5.7c and the Mojo HD were the best climbers in the group. My buddy felt that the 5.7c edged out the Mojo HD in this category and I would have to agree. We are both fans of the DW link and it showed here. The 5.7c just felt lighter and more maneuverable while going up. I was surprised to find that the Mojo HD felt essentially no different than my Mojo SL when climbing. Both the Pivot and Ibis climbed well, never paused, and felt like the only natural climbers in this comparison. I felt that they both climbed better than the 5-spot, but my friend felt that only the 5.7c climbed better than his 5-spot.
The Nomad was a better climber than I would have guessed, but still occasionally had the annoying pedal feedback that I hated on my old-skool VPP Blur. The Nomad was a good climber given its downhill ability, but would sit deep in the travel and seemed to wallow just a bit. The SB66c had trouble with technical climbs where the rear suspension wouldnít smooth out the terrain; it felt like it would kind of just bounce over it. This would make it harder to climb on technical terrain as the rear tire would wash out. On smooth fireroads, however, it seemed to spin better than the any other bike here. We ride technical climbs most often, so no big points here.
Lastly, the Firebird felt relatively heavy and harder to drag up the hills. Itís really not that much heavier than the other bikes here and I know it can be built down to 27lbs, but Iím not sure the extra lbs were the problemóit just never felt like is was comfortable on really steep terrain.
1) Mach 5.7
2) Mojo HD
3) Nomad C
The Pivot Firebird is the cheapest here, which makes sense as it is an aluminum frame and the others are carbon. I donít understand why SB66c is so expensive as itís a overseas made carbon bike just like the others. Honestly, I would be willing to pay a premium for a true game-changer, but we didnít feel that the Yeti was better than a Mojo SL/5-spot (a Mojo SL can be had for ~$2750 for a complete bike and last yearís 5-spot frame for ~$1500) Heck, we both would prefer a bomber build, sweet riding 575 to the SB66c (and save a bunch of cash). As far as Yeti prices go, note that the SB66 alloy frame is almost as expensive as a Mojo HD.
We felt that Nomad C was a true upgrade over our current rigs and worth the money for our riding. While the 5.7c was a sweet ride and (dare I say it) better than the Mojo SL/5-spot, it is more of a lateral move than a true upgrade for me at this time.
1) Pivot Firebird $2180
2) Mojo HD $2500
3) Nomad C $2800
3) Pivot 5.7c $2800
5) SB66c $3000(!)
Stiffness was excellent across the board. Full disclosure here: I canít feel much flex in my Mojo SL with a 10mm rear through bolt, revised lower link, and the Lopes Link. Customer service here is a wash as all the aforementioned manufacturers have excellent reputations.
Iíve read posts here that the 5-spot is comparable to the Nomad/MojoHD. The 5-spot is well built but the shorter travel really does limit its abilities (even with a big fork). It is much more comparable to the Mach 5.7c/Mojo SL(R) across the board. My buddy loves his Turner, but is realistic about its limitations. Please, please Dave Turner, build a carbon (i.e. light) 160mm bike!
I believe that the MojoHD is the only frame here that can accept the 650B wheel in either 140mm travel mode or shim limited 155mm travel mode. Depending on your situation, this may be a very big or very small advantage.
Weights are listed below on my Alpine Digital scale.
Pivot 5.7c: 25.4 lbs (no dropper post/Fox 32)
Yeti SB66c: 26.2 lbs (no dropper post/Fox 32)
Ibis Mojo HD: 27.3 lbs (with dropper post/Fox 34)
Nomad Carbon: 28.8 lbs (with dropper post/Fox 36)
Pivot Firebird: 30.8 lbs (with dropper post/Fox 36)
We both felt that the Mojo HD and Nomad C were, overall, the best bikes here. We also agreed that the Mojo HD edged out the Nomad C as it was a better climber and only marginally worse on the downhills. Furthermore, it is cheaper than nearly all of the other bikes here and is 650B compatible.
The Pivot 5.7c is arguably the best trailbike I have ever ridden, but, again, more of a lateral move from my current ride. The Pivot Firebird may be a great ride for those with different priorities (i.e. descending), but was not the bike for us. Unfortunately, the relative lack of climbing prowess is a deal-breaker.
We both wished that Pivot could merge the 5.7c and the Firebird and make a carbon 160mm all-mountain bike. We also wished for a Turner 160mm bike. The closest thing going is a Mojo HD.
Lastly, I really wanted to like the SB66c (perhaps the best looking bike ever made) and I frankly did not know it was so expensive until after I rode it. I ride all over the Rockies and Yeti is the only manufacturer represented here based in the Rockies. Plus, all the mags seem to love it. Unfortunately, we felt that it is either a limited all mountain bike or a long-legged trailbike and not truly game-changing relative to our current rides (especially for the price). We gave it every chance we could: adjusting the shock, adding a long travel fork/dropper post/short stem, changing tires, but could not ever get it to feel right. We even tried to get a second bike as we thought that we might have gotten a lemon (the bike had the new Fox CTD rear shock which seemed to work well on the Mojo HD). Getting a second SB66c was essentially impossible so we rode a SB66 alloy (with last yearís Fox RP23) and came to the same conclusions. We both think that the Yeti 575 is a better descender and possibly even a better climber.
Lastly, I would have liked to include an Ellsworth Moment/Intense Tracer 2/Carbine, but we had trouble getting them for an extended period of time. I also would have loved to try a Titus El Guapo--possibly the best deal on the planet. A sub-7lb, all-mountain frame for under $1000! These are mail order only and hard to demo.
Here is our final overall list:
1) Mojo HD
2) Nomad C
3) Pivot 5.7c
4) Mojo SL
5) Turner 5-spot
7) Pivot Firebird
(For the record, my buddy preferred his 5-spot to the Mojo SL but otherwise had the same rankings).
Let the flaming begin!
Cross posting in other forums
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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