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  1. #1
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    New question here. Help with an All Mountain mountain bike purchase

    Hi all

    I am a 5'4" tall woman who is interested in getting an All Mountain mountain bike. I have a cross country bike that I LOVE (the Santa Cruz Juliana with 4" travel) but now I like to get something with more suspension. I like to do more moderate downhilling but I want a bike that can still climb well.

    The brands I have been looking at are: Santa Cruz, Yeti and Intense. Can anyone recommend some of their models as good options?
    So far, I have found the Santa Cruz Heckler, Blur LT, Butcher, Nickel (although the Butcher and Nickel have been discontinued), Intense Uzzi, Tracer 2 and Yeti ARC5 and 575 ... Do you recommend any other models from these companies?

    Thank you so much!

    Happy Riding!
    Addicted to two wheels ...

  2. #2
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    My wife and I are in exactly the same situation but also considering a Specailzed Stumpjumper as well as the others. We thought the Nickel and the Butcher might be too heavy but still trying to find some to test ride.

  3. #3
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    Add the Ibis Mojo SL or the Ibis Mojo SL-R to your list as well. Also, look at Turner. I was looking for an all-mountain bike about 1.5 years ago and ended up with the Mojo SL and I love it. I wasn't able to test-ride many bikes so I poured over the reviews and talked to knowledgeable friends. I wanted something that climbed well and was confidence-inspiring. I eliminated the ASRC5 from consideration because I felt it would be a little less forgiving than the other bikes I was considering; however, it was probably the fastest bike I was considering.

    My top 3 pics ended up being the Mojo SL, Specialized Stumpy, and Turner Flux with 120mm fork. I felt like the Turner 5-spot was heavier and beefier than I needed so I preferred the Mojo SL to the Turner 5-spot.

    In the end, I got the Mojo SL and it's exactly what I wanted. It climbs great and it's quite forgiving in the technical stuff and on the downhills. My husband tried it and decided he wanted a bike with a dw link, so he ended up with the Turner Flux with a 120mm fork. He loves it. In general, I like a little more travel than he does. Here's a link to a pic of our bikes from last weekend: IMG_1839ps 800h.jpg photo - j_harvey photos at pbase.com. The thing in the green duct tape on my bike is a spare tube. The only thing I'm not thrilled about on the Ibis is the lack of a good water bottle location. They have mounts on the underside of the downtube. I put a seat post-mounted cage on the bike. It works on a medium. I have buzzed the bottle on my tire rarely when I ride a gully really aggressively.

  4. #4
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    I should add that you can't go wrong with a list like you've got. They are all great bikes. I know people with the Santa Cruz Blur LT, the Yeti 575, and the Specialized Stumpy who all LOVE their bikes.

  5. #5
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    It is discontinued but I love my Yeti ASR-7. I have heard great things about the Yeti SB-66.
    Yeti ASR-7- (DHX RC4)
    Trek Lexa SLX- roadie

  6. #6
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    I would also add that although the Nickel and Butcher are a bit heavy, you might find the remaining stock on sale with their being discontinued. Hucknroll had the Nickel frame on sale recently--maybe still does. I have a small 2011 Nickel that I scored for a good deal from the SC demo fleet this winter, and it's spec'ed out really nice. I'm also 5' 4". Good luck, lots of good options. Hope you can test ride some things.

  7. #7
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    I would exclude the Heckler from the list. It's a single pivot bike and not the most efficient climber.

    I would look at the Pivot 5.7, the Turner 5 Spot and the Ibis Mojo. I am a big fan of the DW Link. I currently ride a 5 Spot but will most likely be riding a 5.7 as my next bike. It climbs great and kills it on the downhills.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by speckledtrout View Post
    I would exclude the Heckler from the list. It's a single pivot bike and not the most efficient climber.
    Why would you say the Heckler is not a great climber? :-)

    Thanks!
    Addicted to two wheels ...

  9. #9
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    Love the Mojo

    Hi, just wanted to chime in. I rode a 2006 Santa Cruz Juliana for several years and my husband upgraded all the components and made the bike just about the best it could be. I never felt like I climbed well on it and for some reason the front end always felt kinda unstable and sketchy at high speeds.

    So a couple of weeks ago I finally upgraded to an Ibis Mojo SL. I am so in love with this bike. I love climbing on it, enough that I frequently pass my husband on downhills and turn around and go right back up the hill. I won't say it effortless, but it is a lot of fun. Downhill, it's such a plush and smooth ride. It feels so stable compared to my Juliana and has really increased my confidence and my climbing/downhill speeds. I can't say enough good things about this bike. I'm 5' 7" and ride a small, BTW.

  10. #10
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    Well, here would be my top contenders, as I'm kind of going through the same process as you:

    Santa Cruz:
    If you really want a true all-mountain rig, and want to stick with Santa Cruz, I would be more interested in the Nomad carbon than the Blur.

    Ibis:
    I agree with the others here who say Ibis Mojo should definitely be a contender on your list. But for AM riding, I'd recommend the SL-R or HD rather than the SL as they can take longer travel forks, and have slacker head angles. I have been on a Mojo SL since 2007. It's a great all-around bike - I have used it for everything - XC racing, endurance racing, plus regular fun rocky trail riding in Downieville and Tahoe. However, I rented an HD for some rockier light downhill riding, (Downieville), and it made the technical riding way more fun, plus it climbed just as well as the SL.

    Pivot:
    The Pivot Mach 5.7 (also available in carbon) is a great option to seriously consider too. It comes in an extra small, which might be the right size for 5' 4". (And it comes in black with hot pink accents, lol - not my thing but I have a gal rider friend who loves it).

    Bike fit tip:
    If you are concerned about your height and frame size, competitive cyclist has a great bike fit calculator. It tells you all the dimensions of the frame that would work best for you, not just standover height. Fit Calculator - Competitive Cyclist

    Anyway, enjoy! Buying new bikes is super fun. Wait till you get to deciding on all of the components...
    Never use your face as a brake pad.
    -Jake Watson

  11. #11
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    Just a note - the SL is designed for a 140mm fork but 130 - 160 mm forks will work according to the Mojo owner's manual.

  12. #12
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    I went through this earlier, check out my thread if you have a chance.

    Came from a 100mm XC bike wanted more suspension. I demoed a Giant Reign, Santa Cruz Heckler and the Mojo Ibis SL.

    I hated the Heckler, it was a terrible climber, the shop guy said they are better with an adjustable fork like a Talus. I also hated the width of the single pivot, I found sometimes I actually hit my legs on it.

    The reign was great on downhill, but felt like a mac truck compared to my XC.

    The Mojo was amazing!! it was love at first ride. it rides about 90% as well as my XC, with a Talus, or other CTD fork it would be identical I bet. And the descending and travel has vastly improved my speed and confidence. (what roots???!!). It will be a little pricier than the Blur but well worth it. And you can look at the Special Blend which is harder to find in a size small but sub $3K. A nicely spec'd Blur will be close to the price of the Mojo SL, but I highly recommend the SL-R. Down the road you can run even more travel on the fork and slacken the head tube angle too. If I hadn't found an SL on sale I probably would have forked over the extra 200$ for the SL-R.

  13. #13
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    PS. I am 5'3" and an intermediate rider, our trails are rooty and mostly straight up then straight down. I am on a size small Mojo.

  14. #14
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    Ladies,

    Looking to build the first mountain bike for my girlfriend and we're looking at the SC Nickel. She's 5'0 and about 135lbs but she'll get down to about 120lbs once she heals up. When she rode the Yeti ASR-5 in an XS with 100mm stem, her arms were fully extended. She's right between an XS and a S, what size do you all think would be better for her? Thanks a lot.

  15. #15
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    If she's 5'0" I would think an XS.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vah_Nay View Post
    If she's 5'0" I would think an XS.
    Thanks for the help. I ended up comparing the geometry of the Yeti ASR5 in XS and the Nickel in XS. They are very similar with the Nickel having a shorter TT, which will help her reach.

    BTW, SC website is having a virtual garage sales so there are some great frames on sales. I bought the Nickel for her and a Heckler for myself. Yay us!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by shredchic View Post
    Well, here would be my top contenders, as I'm kind of going through the same process as you:

    Santa Cruz:
    If you really want a true all-mountain rig, and want to stick with Santa Cruz, I would be more interested in the Nomad carbon than the Blur.

    Ibis:
    I agree with the others here who say Ibis Mojo should definitely be a contender on your list. But for AM riding, I'd recommend the SL-R or HD rather than the SL as they can take longer travel forks, and have slacker head angles. I have been on a Mojo SL since 2007. It's a great all-around bike - I have used it for everything - XC racing, endurance racing, plus regular fun rocky trail riding in Downieville and Tahoe. However, I rented an HD for some rockier light downhill riding, (Downieville), and it made the technical riding way more fun, plus it climbed just as well as the SL.

    Pivot:
    The Pivot Mach 5.7 (also available in carbon) is a great option to seriously consider too. It comes in an extra small, which might be the right size for 5' 4". (And it comes in black with hot pink accents, lol - not my thing but I have a gal rider friend who loves it).

    Bike fit tip:
    If you are concerned about your height and frame size, competitive cyclist has a great bike fit calculator. It tells you all the dimensions of the frame that would work best for you, not just standover height. Fit Calculator - Competitive Cyclist

    Anyway, enjoy! Buying new bikes is super fun. Wait till you get to deciding on all of the components...
    Full disclosure: I am 5'4" and ride two Ventanas and a Yeti.

    OP: I see you already have Yeti on that list.

    Personally, test ride everything you can because only you can decide what you like, and don't take something out because someone says the suspension design is outdated/bad/etc.

    It's not the suspension design--it's the implementation of it.

    Many people like Pivots. I absolutely hated them. So everyone person has their own tastes. I did love the feel of the Ibis, and they both use the DW link. As said earlier, look at the HD.

    For fit, the Santa Cruz bikes leans towards the smaller size. I fit a medium on them where most bikes I would ride a small. If you like the Santa Cruz bikes, go for the Nomad.

    Specialized fit me great, but I hate the feel of their suspension. I did like their Enduro, but it had a longer wheelbase than I would like for a bike I have to pedal uphill and on twisty sections. Then again, I still don't like their suspension..

    If you're still looking at American made bikes like Intense, don't forget to add Ventana (El Ciclon) and Turner (5 Spot) in there.

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