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  1. #1
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    Test rode a Spark Pro 29 this weekend!

    ... And loved it!

    My local bike shop, Westbrooks in Stokesley, Teesside, UK loaned their demo SPark this weekend and wow, what a bike!

    I've always remained on the fence regarding the whole 26 v's 29 thing, despite being a former owner of a Soul Cycles Dillinger 29r. However I've been very inquisitive to the point of being a bit obsessed with finding a 29r that actually rides as well as a 26" wheeled bike.

    In my quest I've ridden 4 29ers up top now, bearing in mind that 29ers are only just becoming a little bit popular in the UK.

    The ones I've ridden are:

    Soul Cycles Dillinger SS - really liked it, but never rode it enough!
    Scott Scale 29er 2011 - Demo'd at Dalby Forest and loved it although only had 30 minutes or so on it.
    Santa Cruz Highball - did not enjoy it at all.

    The main thing that always has kept me away from making the move is the steering response, being used to trail bikes that steer pretty quickly this is important to me, but I have to say that the Spark is definitely the best steering, fastest 29er I've ridden so far! I loved it!

    I know from my weekend with the Spark that I have to stop comparing them to trails bikes as they are not, not on our trails (North Yorkshire, UK) anyway. The Spark handled everything but just couldn't offer the tech ability and agility needed for the tight trails we have up here.

    If I could justify having a XC specific bike, the Spark would be that bike though. I am trying to justify it right now, really I am!

    Anyway here are some pics of my favourite 29er so far! Next week I try a Scalpel 29er but I'm pretty sure it wont have this lasting effect!


    Untitled by Jamieson Just J, on Flickr


    Untitled by Jamieson Just J, on Flickr


    Untitled by Jamieson Just J, on Flickr


    Untitled by Jamieson Just J, on Flickr


    Untitled by Jamieson Just J, on Flickr


    Untitled by Jamieson Just J, on Flickr
    2014 Yeti SB95c
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  2. #2
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    how much riding did you get on it? is there anything more you can say about how it rode?

  3. #3
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    Well I rode 5 hours on Saturday and a couple on Sunday. I rode all the local trail type stuff rather than taking it on a long XC ride where I'm sure it would have excelled.

    I found the bike to be a superb climber, I used the 3 stage lockout on climbs and this really helped, 29" wheels didn't feel like a hinderance this time. First time I can say that on a climb. The bike handled all the steep stuff I could throw at it.

    This is the first 29er that I've ridden that I can honestly say steers well, it was fast although not a well set up 26er fast.

    The suspension itself took some time to get used to, I bottomed it out a lot on Saturday but played around with the pressure on Sunday and got it dialled to where it needed to be.

    I would say as a XC bike I would get one, but I like to ride everything and have fun on it. SOme of the components like the narrow bars and SID's with their QRs rather than bolt through axel detracted on the fun that could have been had, also the lack of dropper post cable guides would cause me problems as I am used to a Reverb now.

    I am considering doing a 24 hour marathon in the summer, this would be the perfect bike for it.

    Hmmm...

    I'll post more thoughts as they come to me
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  4. #4
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    Just curious about what you did NOT like about the Highball? It has generally gotten very good reviews...
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  5. #5
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    To me, the Highball felt dead, not at all what I was expecting, it detracted from the fun side of things. The steering felt very slow and although it was probably down to the build of the bike I borrowed, the wheels took ages and a lot more effort to get rolling than I've experienced on any other 29er thus far.

    I am sure that with the right build and familiarity the HB would be a brilliant XC weapon, I am a massive Santa Cruz fan, but the HB just wasn't for me or what I was looking for that's all.
    2014 Yeti SB95c
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  6. #6
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    Thanks for the review. I am considering getting a spark elite. Not sure what the weight would be. Anyone have any ideas?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rawdoggie View Post
    Thanks for the review. I am considering getting a spark elite. Not sure what the weight would be. Anyone have any ideas?
    No problem The Pro with Pedals weighed 26.8 lbs.
    2014 Yeti SB95c
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