Hey fellow Ventanaphiles and others so inclined to join. Some of you may have followed my 3 month long build in another thread. It was a lot of fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat, but clearly the best part of the whole build was the riding it when I was done!
A few things...I'm coming off of a 1998 Marble Peak...15 year old technology so my frame of reference is a bit clouded. Although I did ride both a Giant FS 29er Anthem and a Niner Jet 9. I liked them both...I like the big wheels. But I love my El Rey. I'm sure I'm partially biased towards it, I admit that. But I'm here to say that I love the ride.
The frame is stout, it rides super plush and the bike just rides the line I put it on. Rocks roots, whatever, the bike takes the line. It's a relaxed fit which is what I was hoping for. I'm not up on head tube angles and seat post length and whatnot. But I feel like I'm sitting in the bike and not on the bike - it's hard to describe, but it feels right. Not quite as hunched over as before on my older MP. It spins up fast and just absorbs what the trail has to offer. I ride XC so the 4" travel rear is just perfect for me. I'm bottoming out a couple of times per ride, but that's because I going so much faster through so technical areas...I'm pumping the rear up another 10 psi to see how that runs.
Like I said I'm not up on the technological talk, but I can say I love the bike. Not to mention that the bike itself is simply a work of art. The quality of the build is second to none.
And for the money shot:
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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Thread: 2012 El Rey Review