That is the question.
So I had a short list of full suspension bikes I was looking at. At first, I thought a Trek Fuel might be the one, but then decided I needed to look at the Stumpjumpers and the Rocky Mountain Altitude as well. And then a few shops I went to said that 29'ers were the way to go in my region(New England), so I've been looking at them also.
For the Stumpjumpers, I figured if they rode well, and the Brain did what it's supposed to do, then that was gonna be the hands down choice. I got to ride a 2010 Expert 29'er, and a 2011 Comp 29'er, just around the parking lot, but felt the Brain made a huge difference, and was a must have. Without it, the bike seemed to bob quite a bit.
Last week at NEMBAfest, I rode an Altitude 29'er. Liked it well enough. The next day I tested a Trek Fuel, and it felt sluggish in comparison, I just couldn't seem to get it to move. Right after that, tried a Rumblefish, and that thing just flew where the Fuel seemed like it needed effort to move. So it looks like I'm gonna be a 29'er convert.
Today I rode a 2010 Expert 29'er, and a 26" Comp. Liked them both. The 26" felt more like the 29'er in terms of overall ride comparison than the comparison between the 26" Trek and the Fisher 29'er. The Expert 29'er still seemed like it was less effort to keep moving, but not too huge a difference. Both climbed pretty well, and felt totally in control coming back down. Tried a Rumblefish again, and if didn't seem like it was better than the Stumpies, so I think I'll stick with them.
Test route was basically a rocky, leafy, fire road climb and then descent, didn't get to try them out on any narrow twisty singletrack, so couldn't really explore their handling abilities too much. But pedalling the 26" without Brain didn't feel that bad, I wasn't feeling a whole lot of bob unless I stood or purposely mashed the pedals, and I figured I could live with this ride without the Brain. And it could save me quite a bit of cash.
But I also figure if I can swing the money for the Expert with Brain, I might as well do so. It's not gonna hurt anything to have it. What do you guys think?
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Thread: To Brain or not to Brain