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  1. #1
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    Need some help with my short list!

    Looking to build a FS trail 29er that can be used as my to go bike on a daily basis as well used for epic rides (Moab, Bend, Arizona...) and some racing (stage, enduro, mega-avalanche, 24-hrs racing...). Currently I leave in the DC region and ost of my riding can be done on the hardtail but have done long events on it (Leadville) and it really killed by back.

    Had ordered a TBLTc (so I have everything but the frame already...) but cancelled the order after a few months of wait. Rethinking now and depending on what I get might keep of get rid of one of my bikes. Any help will be appreciated.

    Here's my shortlist in order of preference:
    Intense Spider Comp (carbon)
    Santa Cruz TBLTc
    Turner Sultan
    Santa Cruz TBc

    ...what I have:
    Giant XTc 29 (hardtail)
    Cannondale Gemini with RP23 and Fox 36 RLC Talas

    ...and what I used to have:
    Cannondale Judge
    Trek Session 88
    Canfield The One
    Santa Cruz Blur (first iteration)
    other short travel/hardtail 26ers

  2. #2
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    Reputation: 1soulrider's Avatar
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    Test ride everything you can! Also consider a Burner? It sounds like it might be a good fit for the range of riding/racing you want to do, and you have a 29er hardtail already...
    Just a thought.

  3. #3
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    Reputation: rogerfromco's Avatar
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    This fall, I was shopping for a new bike and demoed the following:
    • Turner Sultan (twice - 4 days total),
    • Jet9 RDO (2 days),
    • Yeti SB95 (2 days),
    • SC Tallboy Carbon (2 days), and
    • RIP9.


    I was looking for options for riding both XC and Trail terrain. I narrowed my search by looking at:
    1) set-ups that had received good reviews on MTBR (tried to find riders my size who wrote the reviews too) and
    2) were available in my size at local demo dealers.

    I rode all these on 2 trails near my house, riding the same loops so I could compare apples to apples. I set the sag at the bike shops per the manufacturer's recommendations and set the rebound dials in the middle to start with. On the first ride, I adjusted shock pressures to get full use out of the suspensions and then tweaked rebound settings to deal with the chatter on the chunky sections of the local trails. Day 2 on each bike was more about heading to the harder of the 2 trails and riding rather than dialing in the suspension.

    The RIP9 was the last one I found in my size to demo and it was the first one that felt as responsive in handling the tight technical sections as my old 26" bike. I kept telling my wife after riding the other ones that "it was nice, but I'm not sure it's worth spending that much money on". When I finished day 1 on the RIP, I was grinning from ear to ear and couldn't wait for the day 2 ride. Lucky for me, the LBS had a 20% off sale on XT set-ups with the 110-140 Talas fork, so I bought one, had it built and brought it home the next day!

    I highly recommend getting out and demoing (not parking lot rides) the ones you are considering. I heard a LOT of advice at the various shops, but riding them often told me something different. I think each rider experiences something different on the same bike because of riding style and body type. There's nothing like demoing to help with your choice.

  4. #4
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    I used to live on the Bay Area for years and it was a lot easier to demo anything that is on the market. Being in DC makes it difficult unless you want to demo the latest on TT/road bikes. Any decent riding spot is over 45mins away.

    I'm trying to set some demo on a TBLT but not sure how many of these bikes I can test ride. My intend was to go to Outerbike and demo them all but didn't work...Anyway, riding characteristic would be appreciated as they can help me narrow my search.

    On the 27.5, not for me right now. Want to keep myself on 29ers to be able to swap as much as possible (wheel and fork of course).

  5. #5
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    Reputation: rogerfromco's Avatar
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    Sorry about that. I use to live in DC 20 years ago and forgot how mush travel there is involved in getting out for a good trail ride.

    I know the Sultan gets a lot of great feedback here, but for me, while it was rock solid on the climbs, the suspension felt a harsher (didn't absorb the high speed bumps on the downhills as well) than the RIP9 and it felt longer in the tight switchbacks.

    The SC TallboyC was fast and fun on the flats and climbs but felt harsh on the downhills for me. My actual notes from my test ride were:

    "The 1” drop capability of the Fox Talus 29 was fantastic for climbing, but I would have liked a little more plush feeling from the fork on rocky descents. The carbon frame was really nice and the lightweight bike made me want to keep going. The counter to the lightness seemed to be the bike getting tossed around a bit on the descents – losing contact with the ground."

    For reference, I'm 6'2" and 225 lbs.

  6. #6
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    roger, thanks for the feedback. I'm also 6'2" with a short torso. So for me mostly everything in large works (think the Sultan might need to be XL).

    I'm moving this post to the 29er page. Posted it here by mistake. Thanks u all for the feedback.

  7. #7
    MK_
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    If you were a tad bigger you could take advantage of this $1500 TBc deal:
    Santa Cruz Bicycles

    _MK
    .
    "No man goes before his time -- unless the boss leaves early."
    -- Marx, Groucho

  8. #8
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    My request for help is coming from the opportunity to get some end of the year deal and for that I won't have time to test ride.

    Just thinking about this deal:

    2012 Bikes : 2012 Turner Sultan In Blue With XT Build *ON SALE*

  9. #9
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    Reputation: rogerfromco's Avatar
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    That's a pretty good deal.

    Here's where I got my RIP9 for ~20% off and he will ship and work with you on component swaps as needed. He swapped rims and tires for me and gave me credit for the seatpost since I added my dropper post.

    Niner Special Buy R.I.P. 9 V.2 - Big Kahuna Bicycles - Littleton CO

  10. #10
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    I was in a similiar situation to you. I currently have a Yeti Big Top and Intense Uzzi. I was looking for a tweener 29er for the epic rides in Colorado and Utah. I VERY briefly tried out four bikes before making my decision 1) Tallboy LTC, 2) Specialized Stumpy EVO 29er, 3) Rip 9 and 4) SB95.

    The Tallboy LTC was nice but felt too XC. Not to say its an XC bike, but it did not feel like it was begging to be ridden like my Uzzi like the Yeti and Specialized.

    The Specialized EVO felt very low and confident. It also felt the longest with the slowest handling (not necessarily bad). The carbon version of this ended up my second choice when making my final decision.

    The RIP and I just didn't get along from the second I threw a leg over it. Felt like I was riding a short, tall bike. It was immediately ruled out.

    The SB95 was the most fun bike of them all - by a considerable margin. The shorter stays and slacker head angle really made it a fun bike to rip around on. Yeti really seems to have the 29er geo nailed.

    So here is my conclusion, I bought an Intense Sider Comp. I have drank the coolaid and wanted a carbon rig. Unfortunately, the SB-95 carbon won't be out until this summer and I am impatient. On paper, the Spider Comp and SB95 are very similiar, except for the slightly longer top tube of the Spider which should fit my longer torso perfectly. Could this assumption be flawed, sure. But having an Uzzi, Big Top, and SB-66 (wife's) in my house, I think I can appreciate the subtle differences between the brands.

    I would have thrown my leg over a Turner if it was or would soon be available in carbon like the bikes above. I have always admired the Turner rigs and flirted with getting one a few times - just never came to fruition. Maybe next time I open my wallet.

    Good luck!

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