Well, took the morning off and set down to the hustle and bustle that is Newton, Mass for a pre-hours, semi-private demo today. My goals- Take my Ti ML and put it up against as many Titae as can be ridden in three hours. Disclaimer- I am a Titus homer, and proudly admit to it. While as unbiased as possible, this review should be read with the basis that I was super-stoked to throw legs over the El Guapo and Racer-X along with my moto. No pictures- Everyone's seen the Titus Demo-mobile and trail pics were out of the question.
Terrain: Cutler Reserve is a small park pretty close to the city. I tried all bikes on the same 3.5ish mile section. Mostly smooth doubletrack along with roots, rocks, and a few rock moves/drops, no more than 2-3' (I had to look for them. This was my first time riding here, and hoped to see a bit more technical features to try the guap on, but a free demo is still a free demo). No complaints here.
I first took out my motolite before the demo opened shop just to get a feel for the trails. In hindsight, I am happy I did this as I knew what to expect with my own bike rather than being influenced by the "new bike smell" if I started with them first.
Next, the Racer-X. I didnt think* I would notice the difference in weight from the ML, but I really did. Acceleration was killer- made the moto feel sluggish and I feelthat it climbs better than 85% of other fully bikes I've tried. This would be my bike if I lived out west- it was made for buff singletrack intertwined with a few smaller obstacle patches. It felt a little noodly in the baby heads, but nothing I couldnt overcome with a bit of body english and softer pedaling. I didnt do the step-downs on the rx, although it felt solid enough to try.
And Finally, El Guapo- Took me a few minutes in the lot to get everything settled with the Pearl. My pulse rate was aboout 160bpm just due to the excitement of getting on the bike. It was time to rail. First impressions are- woah, whatever weight difference between the Moto and the Guap certainly feel negligable. This frame is stiffer than a virgin at a whorehouse!! Cockpit size when compared to my large moto was a little more cramped on the top tube. It is a more FR oriented bike though, so I suppose that is to be expected. It was a competent climber, which is to be expected due to the extra travel and the pearl's platform just not working for me (it was definitely a two-stage travel shock, unfortunately the platform was so harsh that it may as well been a 1" stroke). It was very forgiving in the baby heads and roots, never once losing the contact patch and rolling over everything easy and plush. Rock moves were laughed at by the mighty Guapo- rolling everything I could find and correcting my lines when I was purposely throwing them off. I cannot explain to you how stable this thing is on drops and step-ups/downs. It is confidence inspiring on the big, techy tricks to a point that I wasn't thinking technically anymore. Just roll it and drop... I wish I could have tried it on some larger stuff, but overall it was a very pleasant experience.
Summary: I love my moto-lite. It is by far the best do-it-all bike I have tried. After testing the other mountain offerings, I still maintain that for a do-it-all bike, the moto is still superior. The El Guapo has allllmost bridged that gap though. It is more stable in the rough, through the air, and pointed downhill. The moto however was a better climber, better behaved in the buff trails, and personally felt a bit more comfortable (granted, the guap was a demo, so I really couldn't fiddle with it too too much) than the Guapo. Would I buy an El Guapo over a motolite? If I did more shuttle runs and had bigger cashews, hell yea. In a cocaine heartbeat. Unfortunately, I don't have macedamia sized testicles and only shuttle run once a month or so. Most of my riding wouldnt be able to reap the benefits of the El Guapo.
Hope this helped though, for any on the fence. In reference to RnZ's review, I agree with him in that the El Guapo is more of a light Super-moto than it is a heavy motolite. That comparo was spot on.
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