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  1. #1
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    New Heckler or Blur?

    I am between 3 bikes right now. The heckler, blur and the Giant Reign 2. I love that the heckler has such a loyal following. I am 21, 5'11" and 150 pounds. Trailriding All-Mountain seeing 5 foot drops and small jumps. Heckler, Blur ( which model? LT or 4X) or the Reign2. I think the store might have been trying to sell me on the Reign 2, but they are one of the most knowledgable stores in Socal, so I do value their opinion. Which bike would I be better suited for. How well does the Heckler handle climbs compared to the Blur? This will be my first FS.
    Last edited by Tuner_Dude; 03-10-2006 at 11:50 PM.

  2. #2
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    If you are doing anything with drops or agressive trailriding then I would consider the Heckler. I have my Heckler built fairly heavy (34 lbs)with van 36 RC2 upfront and a dhx 5.0 coil but it still takes me up steep technical climbs no bother. When riding either man made trails or technical singletrack in the Scottish Highlands I never feel the bike is either struggling or out-of-depth ...it is a true all round performer which will not let you down!

    I think the Blur (only had 3 rides on a LT) and the Reign would probably have the edge of the climbs, but would certainly be lagging on the descents compared to the Heckler! :-)

  3. #3
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    I dunno about the LT lagging behind on descents. That would be rider difference given they are very similar in travel and durability. The angles are similar as well. The handling would be identical minus the brakejack that I experience on my heckler. Seems to me the BLT is a vpp heckler.
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  4. #4
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    I've owned both a Reign and now a Heckler. My Reign had a Pike and IMO was a lot plusher ride than my heckler, and it also climbed better. I built up the Heckler to be an all mountain bike that would weigh in around 26-27lbs that I could huck. Even though the Reign climbed better, the Heckler's not too far behind, but descending is where the Heckler shines, IMO it just feels perfect and I can not feel any brake jack at all. BTW the Heckler is set up with Marz AM SL and DHX-A.

  5. #5
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    EASY........ Heckler RULES.

    Hey with all the hype that has been coming down the pipe with the new tech like vpp, maestro etc. People are quick to forget the Heckler. But I have spend time on all of the bikes that match somewhat the Heckler ( Reign, 5 spot, enduro........) And I ride a Heckler because is the most versatile bike in the world. You can use it for anything under the sun. It climbs very good, jumps awesome, downhills pretty darn good, all and all a blast to ride. Tell you a quick story that sums it up. Everytime one of my buddies gets a new bike I get the urge to get a new one myself then we go out and ride and swap bikes and I ride there new one and they ride my Heckler, more than 80% of the time me and my friends after swaping look at each other and say......" wow that heckler is pretty darn good"
    And the fun factor with the Heckler is off the charts. It just an incredible simple bike that works awesome. Mine is set up with the DHX-5 coil in the back at 5.6 inches of travel and a Marzocchi Z1 Light 150mm. Total weight 29.75 pounds and ready for anything. Here she is isn't she pretty!

  6. #6
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    Sweet. I am totally leaning towards the Heckler at this point. Does the VPP platform design really perform that much better then the Heckler design? I am a complete newbie to FS.
    Last edited by Tuner_Dude; 03-11-2006 at 12:56 PM.

  7. #7
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    My 2 cents

    Quote Originally Posted by Tuner_Dude
    Sweet. I am totally leaning towards the Heckler at this point. Does the VPP platform design really perform that much better then the Heckler design? I am a complete newbie to FS.
    Seeing how you are a newbie to suspension let me first say that any bike that you get with over 5 inches of travel is going to take some time to get use to. Your riding style will have to be modified somewhat, it is simply different than a hardtail especially on climbing and sprints.
    The Vpp will perform marginally better in certain situations. That said I have two buddies that have had the Blur Classic and the Blur LT and both of them have had problems with the bearings. The first guy crack the swing link on his and the frame made terrible squeeking sounds from the 2 or 3 ride. The guy with the LT who by the way admits that my Heckler handles better than his LT, has had to do a couple of services on the lower swing arm bearings, now I know that bearings wear out but on a 1.5 year old bike twice already. And he rides about have the miles I do. Imagin that if I would ride that frame I would have had to service does bearings 4 times already, that justs seems rediculous to me. I have another buddy with an Intense 6.6 vpp design and again it squeeks, now you may say who cares, but trust me squeek squeek squeek get the picture it will drive you nuts. Now I know that a lot of VPP proponents are going to come in here and tell us how it must be that they don't have their bikes right. And I would say you are right if it was one but three different guys with three different bikes exhibitng similar issues, it just doesn't fly with me. As far as how they ride, they are a very good riding bike, they may make you feel like they are sluggish cause of the design (little dead feeling, diconected) but in reallity they are really efficient. In my opinion and this is my opinion only (Nomad) had more pedal feedback and brake jack than my Heckler, again it might be because it has more travel so it makes it feel more but there is some, it caould also be cause I push big gears thru rock gardens so I might feel it more than a person who rides lite gears. If it would be me the competition would be between the Nomad and the Heckler I really don't see the Blur LT being in the league of these two. I see the Blur LT more like the Ellsworth Epiphany being a little more biased to XC. What you have to consider is what you ride, where you ride and how much more you think the VPP is worth, in my case I cannot justify paying twice the amount for a VPP bike when the Heckler is pretty darn good.
    On another note the Giant Reign, I was really looking forward to riding that bike and when I rode it it was a big letdown for me. It definetly did not feel plusher than my Heckler, and the handling didn't come close by a long shot.
    hope this helps, let us know how it goes.

  8. #8
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    Nice Ride. I'm thinking about getting that fork for my new heckler once I sell my Blur. But I'm also eyeing the Fox 36 TALAS too.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyfab25
    I dunno about the LT lagging behind on descents. That would be rider difference given they are very similar in travel and durability. The angles are similar as well. The handling would be identical minus the brakejack that I experience on my heckler. Seems to me the BLT is a vpp heckler.
    I used to own a Heckler and have checked out the LT up close. The Heckler is clearly a burlier bike. The frame is beefier, weighs more, and is intended for abuse. The Heckler can also handle a bigger fork. Some guys run dual crowns on Hecklers for freeriding. The angles are similar, but the Heckler is a little slacker, with a touch more travel than the lt. The handling would not be identical, especially considering the bigger forks that a Heckler can handle. To further expand on this, a Heckler performs best when it has a hd all mountain spec on it. Like 32lbs or more to compliment the true intent of the bike. Compare this to the Lt where most riders are building it up to 30lbs or less.

    The two bikes are in a different class, when comparing what type of riding the frames can handle.

    The Lt is beefed up over the Blur classic and the poster in question would probably be able to get away with small drops on one. Especially at a 150lb weight.
    Last edited by ronny; 03-11-2006 at 03:32 PM.

  10. #10
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    Yeah, I am not looking for anything longer then 5 inches of travel. I really like the versatility of the Heckler. Thanks alot for the info. When I get mine I will have a million more questions on what I can do next on the bike.

    Thanks again.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronny
    I used to own a Heckler and have checked out the LT up close. The Heckler is clearly a burlier bike. The frame is beefier, weighs more, and is intended for abuse. The Heckler can also handle a bigger fork. Some guys run dual crowns on Hecklers for freeriding. The angles are similar, but the Heckler is a little slacker, with a touch more travel than the lt. The handling would not be identical, especially considering the bigger forks that a Heckler can handle. To further expand on this, a Heckler performs best when it has a hd all mountain spec on it. Like 32lbs or more to compliment the true intent of the bike. Compare this to the Lt where most riders are building it up to 30lbs or less.

    The two bikes are in a different class, when comparing what type of riding the frames can handle.

    The Lt is beefed up over the Blur classic and the poster in question would probably be able to get away with small drops on one. Especially at a 150lb weight.
    With the same shocks, the LT is only .14lb lighter. Of course, most of the BLT's weight may be in the links. Remember, the 4x's are designed to do all kinds of jumps, drops and the like. At least that is what the team does with them. That said, the BLT is closer in relation to the 4x to the XC in regards to the burly design but not geometry. The BLT can also take a 160mm fork. You would get 10mm more in fork on the heckler, but if you really needed that, then you really need a bullit or a vpfree. According to SC's site, the BLT can take a 160mm fork. That makes about as much sense as throwing one on a heckler. SC's bike builder offers the same forks for both frames. That is very telling. The "class" of bikes is similar in regards to SC's line of bicycles. The real difference seems to be in the design and target audience. The Blur XC is in the same class as the Superlight. The BLT is in the same(or similiar class) as the heckler. The Nomad is basically the same class as the bullit. And so on...perhaps we are talking apples and oranges. I have a heckler and I love it, never had the rear triangle straight and still rode well!!
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  12. #12
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead!

    Quote Originally Posted by gkler
    Seeing how you are a newbie to suspension let me first say that any bike that you get with over 5 inches of travel is going to take some time to get use to. Your riding style will have to be modified somewhat, it is simply different than a hardtail especially on climbing and sprints.
    The Vpp will perform marginally better in certain situations. That said I have two buddies that have had the Blur Classic and the Blur LT and both of them have had problems with the bearings. The first guy crack the swing link on his and the frame made terrible squeeking sounds from the 2 or 3 ride. The guy with the LT who by the way admits that my Heckler handles better than his LT, has had to do a couple of services on the lower swing arm bearings, now I know that bearings wear out but on a 1.5 year old bike twice already. And he rides about have the miles I do. Imagin that if I would ride that frame I would have had to service does bearings 4 times already, that justs seems rediculous to me. I have another buddy with an Intense 6.6 vpp design and again it squeeks, now you may say who cares, but trust me squeek squeek squeek get the picture it will drive you nuts. Now I know that a lot of VPP proponents are going to come in here and tell us how it must be that they don't have their bikes right. And I would say you are right if it was one but three different guys with three different bikes exhibitng similar issues, it just doesn't fly with me. As far as how they ride, they are a very good riding bike, they may make you feel like they are sluggish cause of the design (little dead feeling, diconected) but in reallity they are really efficient. In my opinion and this is my opinion only (Nomad) had more pedal feedback and brake jack than my Heckler, again it might be because it has more travel so it makes it feel more but there is some, it caould also be cause I push big gears thru rock gardens so I might feel it more than a person who rides lite gears. If it would be me the competition would be between the Nomad and the Heckler I really don't see the Blur LT being in the league of these two. I see the Blur LT more like the Ellsworth Epiphany being a little more biased to XC. What you have to consider is what you ride, where you ride and how much more you think the VPP is worth, in my case I cannot justify paying twice the amount for a VPP bike when the Heckler is pretty darn good.
    On another note the Giant Reign, I was really looking forward to riding that bike and when I rode it it was a big letdown for me. It definetly did not feel plusher than my Heckler, and the handling didn't come close by a long shot.
    hope this helps, let us know how it goes.
    Good points. One of the reasons I am going to stick with mine. I was thinking about "upgrading" to an LT but not worrying about squeeking would likely do it for me.
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  13. #13
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    Any thoughts on the benfits of bearing vs bushings. Im in the market for a 5x5 always rode a 4x4, sold it, been off the bike for while and cant stand it. Now we have all these vpp bikes out,
    started on a jamas dakar w/ like 3" switched to LTS 4x4 superlite setup 24 lbs awsome bike , owned a IDrive for a while loved it, but the dog bone clicked at slow speed or long climbs.

    LtS was prob my favorite, but maintenace on the bushings was very time consuming.
    Turner looks pretty good , but theres the bushing thing.so Im considering 575 or blur LT caus the bearings sound better, but Now I read this guys post saying hes got three friends w. vpp bikes who have skweeeky or broken bearings. I would think that bearings are better than bushings? No? whats every body else say?
    Considering which bike to buy based on how much pivot maintenance there is may sound funny, but I think there all good and I would rather ride than over haul the pivots evry couple months, but if bearing are no more reliable, then at least turners got zerk fittings. dont know what does anybody else think?

  14. #14
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    Other people have pointed out why they love the Heckler, I'll point out something else.

    Like so many people have said, if your going to (or wanting to) abuse it, go with the Heckler. It has a HUGE following for a reason, it's an overall great bike. The VPP is great, but chew on this. When HONDA decided to make a dowhill bike, they went with the single pivot. Now, there is no bike manufacturer in the world with pockets anywhere close to as deep as HONDA (case in point their bada$$ drivetrain). They could have made any damn frame they wanted to but still went single pivot.


    Not to mention the Heckler frame is $500 cheaper than the BLT which can go towards components or a trip to Moab.

    PS.. I ride a Heckler.

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    bearing vs bushing pivot?

    I think for down hill single pivot is definately the way to go and I agree for the money the heckler is probably the best, but money is realy no object for me. I also like the suppleness of multi pivot bikes as well. Plus I really want something lighter than a hekler, in fact I want the lightes 4 or 5 inch travel bike avilible.but really my question isnt as much single verses vpp cause I know I want multi pivot. but what whats up w/ bearings? are people really having alot of problems w/ bearing pivots? I'm all like looking at 575, BLT, 5Spot,
    flux?? I was just gonna get the turner, but I would have thought they would have switched to bearing pivots, then I learn they still use bushings...so Im like awwwwe man. now I hear this guy in this thread say hes got several friends who have had probs w/ bearing pivots???

  16. #16
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    sweet

    Quote Originally Posted by Sway?
    Other people have pointed out why they love the Heckler, I'll point out something else.

    Like so many people have said, if your going to (or wanting to) abuse it, go with the Heckler. It has a HUGE following for a reason, it's an overall great bike. The VPP is great, but chew on this. When HONDA decided to make a dowhill bike, they went with the single pivot. Now, there is no bike manufacturer in the world with pockets anywhere close to as deep as HONDA (case in point their bada$$ drivetrain). They could have made any damn frame they wanted to but still went single pivot.


    Not to mention the Heckler frame is $500 cheaper than the BLT which can go towards components or a trip to Moab.

    PS.. I ride a Heckler.
    How many motorcycles do you see with a vpp or four bar design. Granted you don't have to pedal them, but they have been engineering does things forever and they use a single pivot.

    On another note about the guy who posted about bearings and bushings. You are the third person that I hear praising the GT. So I know for a fact it is an outstanding design. The one buddy that cracked the link on the Blur says and I quote " It is the best suspension bike I have ever ridden." And he has ridden a lot of bikes. He says if they would have made it with 7 inches it would have been the best ever.

    Back to the subject of bearings vs bushings, I think if performed correctly both have a good llifespan. I fail to mention this before but the only bikes that are on my mind right now as far as an upgrade to my Heckler are the Turner 6 Pack with Horst link, and the Ellsworth Rogue. The only bike that I would consider buying other than a Heckler as far as 5 inch would be the Turner 5 Spot, it is a superb bike.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by solidasarock7
    I think for down hill single pivot is definately the way to go and I agree for the money the heckler is probably the best, but money is realy no object for me. I also like the suppleness of multi pivot bikes as well. Plus I really want something lighter than a hekler, in fact I want the lightes 4 or 5 inch travel bike avilible.but really my question isnt as much single verses vpp cause I know I want multi pivot. but what whats up w/ bearings? are people really having alot of problems w/ bearing pivots? I'm all like looking at 575, BLT, 5Spot,
    flux?? I was just gonna get the turner, but I would have thought they would have switched to bearing pivots, then I learn they still use bushings...so Im like awwwwe man. now I hear this guy in this thread say hes got several friends who have had probs w/ bearing pivots???
    Look, your having information overload. First off, I'm not saying the Heckler is a DH bike. I just made the reference to Honda bc they're rich and still went single pivot. Second, money was no object for most Heckler owners or they would have a Trek. Third, you said in your original post that you were going to do 5ft drops and jumps. Your 5 foot drop career will be real short if your looking to find a bike any lighter than the Heckler (i'm talking about the frame). In fact, you spoke about a 4" travel frame, but I wouldn't recommend using a 4" rear travel bike to do anything more than an accidental 5 foot drop unless you weigh 90lbs. Whatever you buy, you need to take your intentions into consideration more than its weight...

    Good Luck

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sway?
    Other people have pointed out why they love the Heckler, I'll point out something else.

    Like so many people have said, if your going to (or wanting to) abuse it, go with the Heckler. It has a HUGE following for a reason, it's an overall great bike. The VPP is great, but chew on this. When HONDA decided to make a dowhill bike, they went with the single pivot. Now, there is no bike manufacturer in the world with pockets anywhere close to as deep as HONDA (case in point their bada$$ drivetrain). They could have made any damn frame they wanted to but still went single pivot.


    Not to mention the Heckler frame is $500 cheaper than the BLT which can go towards components or a trip to Moab.

    PS.. I ride a Heckler.
    What does that have to do with the two bikes that were being discussed? Intense cycles has won a lot more DH championships than Honda ever will. They are using VPP I think, not sure. The uniqueness of the Honda bike is its drivetrain. I surmise this played a large role in the design in that the SP complemented the drivetrain. By the way...is that bike for sale? Ahh...no. Good point on the money issue.
    P.S. I ride a Heckler....going on 8yrs now....likely more.
    I am immune to your disdain.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyfab25
    What does that have to do with the two bikes that were being discussed? Intense cycles has won a lot more DH championships than Honda ever will. They are using VPP I think, not sure. The uniqueness of the Honda bike is its drivetrain. I surmise this played a large role in the design in that the SP complemented the drivetrain. By the way...is that bike for sale? Ahh...no. Good point on the money issue.
    P.S. I ride a Heckler....going on 8yrs now....likely more.
    What is the biggest difference between the Heckler and the Blur? Rear suspension -Single Pivot vs VPP. I was simply pointing out that a BILLION dollar corporation built a bike and chose single pivot when they could have built any design they wanted too. It says that the single pivot still works, hence the Blur is not better than the Heckler just because it's VPP. It has everything to do with the two bikes being discussed.
    If the guy wants to do regular 5ft drops, he better pick a stouter frame than the Blur whether it's a Heckler or not.

    Pics of your Heckler??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sway?
    What is the biggest difference between the Heckler and the Blur? Rear suspension -Single Pivot vs VPP. I was simply pointing out that a BILLION dollar corporation built a bike and chose single pivot when they could have built any design they wanted too. It says that the single pivot still works, hence the Blur is not better than the Heckler just because it's VPP. It has everything to do with the two bikes being discussed.
    If the guy wants to do regular 5ft drops, he better pick a stouter frame than the Blur whether it's a Heckler or not.

    Pics of your Heckler??
    The BLT's front triangle is pretty stout. I would say nearly as stout as the Hecklers. I bet 5 footers wouldn't be a problem on it. After all, it is designed to take a 160mm fork. I would like to see the hecklers gusset replaced with something like the nomad/BLT/4x headtube junction. Still strong, just sexier. I also think it is a matter of perception. Everyone thinks Blur=XC/no drops or aggressive riding. For the XC and classic that is true. For the BLT and 4X that is not the case. Either way..good points.
    By the way, the only reason the single pivot still works is because of SPV technology. There are posts abound about how non spv shocks blow on our ride. Something about that damn falling rate. About pics? My heckler is on its way back to SC at the moment. The rear triangle is canted to the right. They replaced the rear triangle last summer in an effort to fix it. I took a closer look at it and it turns out the main pivot is off on the non drive side. Pretty bummed actually. I am not impressed that they missed it. I was thinking about upgrading if I had a chance to a BLT. Not sure if I would simply because of pivot maintenence. Why fix something that in all reality is not broken? This is something this thread has rrrreally gotten me to think about. That and squeeking. I hate squeeking. Been on a heckler for 7 years and wouldn't mind trying something new. I had a first gen 99 in black pc. 04 is white. Perhaps by the time I get it back, I will have a digital camera....but I would rather spend the money on parts. The new hadley front hub needs to be built up.
    I am immune to your disdain.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyfab25
    The BLT's front triangle is pretty stout. I would say nearly as stout as the Hecklers. I bet 5 footers wouldn't be a problem on it. After all, it is designed to take a 160mm fork. I would like to see the hecklers gusset replaced with something like the nomad/BLT/4x headtube junction. Still strong, just sexier. I also think it is a matter of perception. Everyone thinks Blur=XC/no drops or aggressive riding. For the XC and classic that is true. For the BLT and 4X that is not the case. Either way..good points.
    By the way, the only reason the single pivot still works is because of SPV technology. There are posts abound about how non spv shocks blow on our ride. Something about that damn falling rate. About pics? My heckler is on its way back to SC at the moment. The rear triangle is canted to the right. They replaced the rear triangle last summer in an effort to fix it. I took a closer look at it and it turns out the main pivot is off on the non drive side. Pretty bummed actually. I am not impressed that they missed it. I was thinking about upgrading if I had a chance to a BLT. Not sure if I would simply because of pivot maintenence. Why fix something that in all reality is not broken? This is something this thread has rrrreally gotten me to think about. That and squeeking. I hate squeeking. Been on a heckler for 7 years and wouldn't mind trying something new. I had a first gen 99 in black pc. 04 is white. Perhaps by the time I get it back, I will have a digital camera....but I would rather spend the money on parts. The new hadley front hub needs to be built up.
    Ahh.. that's right, I remember your thread about the rear triangle. Glad you figured it out, and your not "nuts" Too bad SC missed it and now you have to send it back again.
    I totally agree with you about the Hecklers gusset would be sexy if made like the Nomad. Speaking of which, if your looking to upgrade from your Heckler, I hear only good things about the Nomad.

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    Just because the BLT can take a 160mm fork, does not make it a bike that should be hucked 5ft plus on a regular basis. 5ft is higher than most realize and more than most riders will launch. The front triangle might handle it for a while, but will the rear?? FYI, most BLT riders are not using a 6" fork on the BLT. More like 130mm. Not all 6" forks are designed for hucking either. The Zoke AM1 and Maverick are good examples of this. They are designed for performance and plushness on the trail, not hucking. 160mm is the MAX travel allowed on a LT. It does not mean the Lt is meant to be hucked off of 5 footers on a regular basis.

    The 4X is a different animal entirely than the LT and it sports a stronger frame.

    I never said the Lt could not handle some mild drops either. I would not recommend hucking one on a regular basis. This also depends on what type of drop we are talking about and several other factors. How much does the rider weigh? How smooth are they? 5ft to flat is a lot different than 5ft to smooth tranny, which an Lt should be able to handle with a light rider on board. I still would not recommend it on a regular basis though. Not what the bike was designed for. Yes, it is burlier than the Blur classic and can handle more abuse, but not Heckler type of abuse. If you read the bike description on the SC website it paints a pretty clear picture. The Heckler description mentions abuse a couple of times. The LT description does not. Get the right tool out of the shed. If you want to do 5ft drops on a regular basis, the Heckler, 4X, and Nomad are much better choices.

    Back to the Heckler and single pivots. Even without a spv shock, the Heckler pedals fairly well. This is because of the high forward pivot which uses chain tension to a certain extent to stiffen up the shock while cranking on the pedals. Intense was compared to Honda in terms of wins on the DH circuit. Honda just started, Intense has been around for a while. With that said, Honda has many wins and good placings in a short time. Steve Peat and Cedric Gracia kicked some serious ass on their single pivots. Foes have done quite well also.

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    Another vote for the Heckler

    I'm 250-260# depending on the day without gear. I ride aggresive XC trails with a couple of 2 foot drops. I've had my share of spills and I take those drops hard. Despite my size landing hard on the Heckler numerous times, it always gets right back up and keeps going. For me, it was pretty much a no-brainer. The Blur has less travel, weighs about the same, is considerably more expensive, and has a more complex and expensive suspension system to maintain. While VPP type designs are starting to dominate the market, there are still a few good single pivot bikes out there....the Heckler being one of them. When you move that single pivot way up the down tube like the Heckler is setup, pedal bob is almost eliminated which was one of the main disadvantages of single pivot in the past. For me, the Heckler is a lot of bike for the money with a very simple and cheap pivot system to maintain. I've not ridden the Blur but I can say the Heckler is a dream....it's like riding a Cadilac. The frame is stiff as can be (even with me on it) and as others have said, it is extremely versitile.

  24. #24
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    another one for the Heckler

    i have my Hecler from 2000 also have vpfree for about a year and HT from the good old days of GT for many years, great biks, but to be honest every time i ride the Heckler its remind me whay i love MTB in the first place, let's face it most of us are not going to win races or even to race at all, so few more secondes on the way up or on the way down this is not the point, the point is to go out and ride a little of this a little of that and have as much fun as possible doing so.
    some bikes are faster, some lighter, or better climber, but nothing is so good in so many ways like this bike.
    i ride MTB for many years and the Heckler in my opinion is the best bike ever built.

    "just go out and ride"

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkler
    Seeing how you are a newbie to suspension let me first say that any bike that you get with over 5 inches of travel is going to take some time to get use to. Your riding style will have to be modified somewhat, it is simply different than a hardtail especially on climbing and sprints.
    The Vpp will perform marginally better in certain situations. That said I have two buddies that have had the Blur Classic and the Blur LT and both of them have had problems with the bearings. The first guy crack the swing link on his and the frame made terrible squeeking sounds from the 2 or 3 ride. The guy with the LT who by the way admits that my Heckler handles better than his LT, has had to do a couple of services on the lower swing arm bearings, now I know that bearings wear out but on a 1.5 year old bike twice already. And he rides about have the miles I do. Imagin that if I would ride that frame I would have had to service does bearings 4 times already, that justs seems rediculous to me. I have another buddy with an Intense 6.6 vpp design and again it squeeks, now you may say who cares, but trust me squeek squeek squeek get the picture it will drive you nuts. Now I know that a lot of VPP proponents are going to come in here and tell us how it must be that they don't have their bikes right. And I would say you are right if it was one but three different guys with three different bikes exhibitng similar issues, it just doesn't fly with me. As far as how they ride, they are a very good riding bike, they may make you feel like they are sluggish cause of the design (little dead feeling, diconected) but in reallity they are really efficient. In my opinion and this is my opinion only (Nomad) had more pedal feedback and brake jack than my Heckler, again it might be because it has more travel so it makes it feel more but there is some, it caould also be cause I push big gears thru rock gardens so I might feel it more than a person who rides lite gears. If it would be me the competition would be between the Nomad and the Heckler I really don't see the Blur LT being in the league of these two. I see the Blur LT more like the Ellsworth Epiphany being a little more biased to XC. What you have to consider is what you ride, where you ride and how much more you think the VPP is worth, in my case I cannot justify paying twice the amount for a VPP bike when the Heckler is pretty darn good.
    On another note the Giant Reign, I was really looking forward to riding that bike and when I rode it it was a big letdown for me. It definetly did not feel plusher than my Heckler, and the handling didn't come close by a long shot.
    hope this helps, let us know how it goes.
    May I have a question ? Hecler does have one pivot that never squeaks, is that true ? And BLT has two pivots (maybe the same bearing used, I dont know) and they are always squeaking (at least all three you have met yet). But it doesnt make sence, with regard to the pure statistics, there should be 1:2 ratio, or else those guys at SC are crazy and constructed deliberatly BLT as a squeking bike.

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