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  1. #1
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    Fuel, Fuel, Fuel is all I hear. Anything else to buy?

    I am looking for a FS, 650b with a dropper post to use in Arizona for a Clydesdale. Lots of climbing and moderate descents. Lots of trails and chunky/rocky ground. I weight 240, 6' 1" and mostly road bike believe it or not. I tried a Stumpy 3" fattie and liked it only on the mountain and hated it on flat trails and even the ride to the mountain. Budget is $4k, will be my only non-road bike.

    Everywhere I turn its "get a fuel ex", its the best all around, but I want something different from buying another Trek (I have had a few road and MTB from Trek before).

    Is 160mm travel really too much? Are 130mm travel at risk of bottoming here on the trails and moderate hills/mountains? I am seeing 130mm being called XC now a days (thingk rocky mountain thunderbolt). Camber comes up a lot with the criticism of not having a Fox 34 or better. I am scared of Carbon btw. I will be the last guy to buy one, I have always been slow to adapt. I don't think I bought Doc Martin shoes until everyone threw theirs' out. Just a little slow to learn I guess.


    Here is what I have looked at
    Fuji Auric 1.3- incredible components, claims efficient on flat and climbs. 160mm travel with damping in fox 36.
    Speciailized Camber 650b- 130mm travel I believe
    Giant Stance 1- fox 34 on new 2017, 650 b, dropper, aluminum. 130mm.
    Giant Trance 2- 150mm travel, 650 b, aluminum, dropper , fox 34
    Santa Cruz 5010- no one seems to have one for sale
    Trek fuel ex 8 650b- 2.8 plus tire, you know the rest.


    The Fuji looks cool and is outfitted to the extreme. Its a $5k bike on sale for $2,999 only through saturday. But 160mm travel seems like it could be painful on climbs and any XC riding even though I am being told 160mm is no longer considered high on mm these days and is an all around mountian bike (what?!). The fuel ex 650b+ seems really good but I am tired of the matt black look and really don't feel like my only MTB being a 17 psi tire all the time. The MTB world has gotten very confusing to navigate.

  2. #2
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    Check out the Yeti SB5 from Backcountry/Competitive Cyclist too. They have a great sale price on the enduro build right now, $3149. I just picked one up but don't have much ride time on it yet due to weather here. It is set up very nice for the money.

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  3. #3
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    1. In all honesty your first paragraph basically stated that you want a 2017 trek ex.
    2. The advice you have been getting is great.
    3. At 240lbs, the most important thing is probably a fox 36 or equivalent, very strong wheels and tough tires, or whatever you get, you will be walking beside it.
    4. No one I have ever met WANTS to pedal 160mm of suspension, 90% don't WANT to pedal 140mm. 50% don't want to pedal 130mm.
    5. Plus tires and wide rims FTMFW!
    6. Maybe you need to describe what you plan to do with the bike better and we can help. Otherwise copy the geometry, travel, and wheels from the Trek, and buy another manufacturer with the same specs 

  4. #4
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    I was afraid of the response stating I needed better forks and wheels. That Fujui Auric has a Fox 36 and the lbs said it has damping and lock out so it doesn't have to be a 160mm when you don't want it to be. Not sure how practical that is. He also said for my size the greater travel would be a positive. But from the posts it sounds like the lbs may just be trying to sell me a bike, and that I actually do need a fuel ex or giant stance 2 and upgrade the fork and wheels...this is going to be expensive. Or I could buy a camber, add a dropper, better fork and wheels. That Santa Cruz 5010 is cool too.

    But before I pick anything, I should do what you requested and spell out my riding style/terrain and have more experienced people weigh in so I can learn what type of bike I really need vs want. So here goes:

    Here is what my riding looks like. One, a fair amount of dirt/sand recreational flat desert trails along the desert, the trails can be half day cross country. Two, those trails lead to rocky mountains with a ton of gravel and dirt and some steep inclines and declines. One trail is a 1,000' incline in under three miles. The other one is nothing too technical, cross country through the mountains with some twists of singletrack thrown in the mix. My riding style is conservative. I don't going bombing down the mountain or jumping off some of the rock obstacles. Some of the trails on the mountain are steep enough where my back tires spins until I fall over. Loose rock. But that is only in spots so although a 3" tire s best there it certainly isn't ideal for the other 80% of the ride I do. Now that I am typing this it sounds like I really need a FS cross country bike even though there are steep inclines and declines in spots. Out here we are blessed with this mix of terrain, especially if you drive out of phoenix and head up to flagstaff, az. I wish someone made an aluminum, 120-130mm with a 36 or pike with dropper. Anyway this is roadie guessing what he needs. Any input would be helpful. This isn't a post for whats the best this or that for me, its a post for what are my options given your experience and what I am trying to accomplish. Btw, MTB selection though vast is kinda fun to ponder.

  5. #5
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    A 160mm fork is always going to be a 160mm fork unless you have some sort of travel adjustment on it. Talas (Fox) or DP (RS).

    Lockout won't change that. It's still going to put your front end way in the air, and wander on steep climbs.

    Just buy a 120-130mm bike and swap the 34 for a 36. Pretty simple solution to a non-issue, really.

    130mm, properly set up, is sufficient for the vast majority of trails.



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  6. #6
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    here is a good vid of some of the riding around here.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuidqpiftnY

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by christiansin View Post
    here is a good vid of some of the riding around here.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuidqpiftnY
    That's somo
    If you are wanting to ride things like that. I wdon't old retract your not going off rocky or jumps or drops statement

    I'd look at the intense Recluse, Intense Primer
    trek fuel but in carbon only and a 29er
    Trek Remedy
    niner Jet 9

    Unless you are doing somo and waterfall or some big hitting trails. You don't need 160 travel. 160 sucks on flat and good climbing
    120-140 will be prefect for 95% of the trails around here

    I also live in AZ and have been MTB riding here for little over 3 years


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  8. #8
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    I'm 230lbs. 2015 Fuel EX9 27.5. Best bike I have over owned. Better than the Titus FTM I use to ride.

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    TREK EX9 27.5

    NINER MCR 9 (Moondust)

    2009 Gary Fisher Rig

  9. #9
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    I own a 5010 and came from a larger bike (v1 Bronson w/ 160 up front), I don't really miss the travel except in high speed chunky stuff. The bike pedals a lot better, is much stiffer, and I think it handles drops just as well. The only time I missed the other 20mm of travel was blowing through chunkier terrain. I could be missing something and am still exploring the limits of it, but that's my impression so far.

    I'm heavier geared, too, around 220lbs. You'll probably find, what I have, that stiffness is really noticeable. I tend to make bikes flex a lot more than lighter riders do. Whatever you end up with, I would definitely look into getting a good, stiff wheelset (e.g. I-9 Enduro), it'll hold up better and the stiffness difference will be tangible to you, more so than a lighter rider. Most OEM wheelsets are really flexy.

    As for finding a 5010, you can call around and see if shops have any demos for sale from 2016. It's a bit late in the season, but I'd wager you could still find one if you tried (Santa Cruz provides warranties to original owners of demo bikes bought through authorized dealers, I found out from them directly about 2 weeks ago. Don't listen to your LBS on this, they probably won't know about this).

    You ride a XL or a L?

    Personally, my experiences dealing with Santa Cruz, as a company, have been overwhelmingly positive. They are responsive, have a quick turnaround on questions/warranty requests/etc, and just generally have awesome service. My experiences with Trek were the opposite, slow and poor experiences dealing with them.

  10. #10
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    How about a rocky man Thunderbolt BC edition? Burliest build and higher price tag than the regular thunderbolt

  11. #11
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    You could easily ride that on a 130 and like it. The problem with a 160 is that, in your price range, you would be on a pretty heavy bike...especially if you are afraid of carbon. The list of good 130 mm travel bikes is pretty big, though. I'd try to ride what's available locally and settle on whatever feels really good. I'm on an SB5c, but about a year ago I rode a Trance Advanced. Though considerably nicer than the Trance 2 you're looking at, I was absolutely blown away at how well it rode. I'd guess the T2 has a very similar feel, other than being heavier.

  12. #12
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    Camber, Stance, and 5010 are all great bikes for XC, but my favorite is the Intense Spider. It's a great bike and hardly anyone else has one.

  13. #13
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    They no longer make the Fuel in a 27.5 so unless your buying used...
    Also your height and weight are pretty average
    And third Carbon is stronger than Aluminum, after buying my first carbon bike I will no longer go back.

  14. #14
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    Yes they do. The Fuel EX 9.8 is a 27.5 plus
    bike.
    If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains,
    you're lucky enough.

  15. #15
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    Some other good options in Carbon which I know you are not fond of but may get to like:

    -TIMP PEAK 2.0 X1
    -http://www.devinci.com/bikes/bike_798_scategory_189
    2015 Giant Trance 3
    X-Fusion Sweep RL2 160mm fork
    Straitline Defacto pedals
    Renthal Fatbar with TV 40mm stem
    Ergon Grips

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by stump12 View Post
    Check out the Yeti SB5 from Backcountry/Competitive Cyclist too. They have a great sale price on the enduro build right now, $3149. I just picked one up but don't have much ride time on it yet due to weather here. It is set up very nice for the money.

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    I just snagged one of the very last mediums they had... I believe they still had Large and XL. The price on these things is ridiculous.

  17. #17
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    Several small points:

    First, my advice is to gear toward the riding you think you'll want to do a year or two from now, not what you have been riding in the past. If you're coming off a hardtail or something similar, try to adjust your expectations a bit. AZ has some fantastic terrain available, so don't sell yourself short at the outset.

    Your LBS guy either is a poor communicator, or he's full of crap, or trying to unload a specific hard-to-sell bike. My money's on the last one. How much travel you need is a function of the terrain and speeds you ride, not rider weight. A fork lockout doesn't do anything to mitigate most of the tradeoffs of a 160mm bike. You'll still have the wheelbase, angles, rear suspension, and weight that makes a 160mm bike less optimal on terrain where 160mm of travel isn't useful.

    Re: 160mm bikes in general, they climb far better and can be much lighter than 160mm bikes from a decade ago. They can be really fun, efficient-enough, excellent do-it-all bikes, if you regularly ride terrain and speeds to take advantage of the travel. If not, you're better off with less bike.

    As for the Fox 36, try not to focus on that specific fork too much. Your weight isn't crazy. You will value stiffness, but the 36 isn't the only option. The Pike is extremely common and would be plenty stiff. The 34 may suit you well, depending on how aggressive you end up getting. Of course steer clear of 32mm forks (Fox 32, Reba, Revelation, etc).

    You seem decided on a 650b and not considering 29ers. Why is that? A 120mm-140mm 29er sounds perfect for what you're describing: a capable all-around trail bike, that's efficient in more XC terrain, appropriate for all-day epics, and able to handle gnarly terrain. A 650b bike can do all that too, but it'll trade some stability and perhaps efficiency for more maneuverability.

    Some fantastic mid-travel 29ers that come to mind:
    Trek Fuel EX (29er)
    Yeti SB5 (that Backcountry deal is a steal, if you fit Yeti's XL)
    Canfield Riot (On the heavy side, but efficient and climbs loose/techy rock like a billy goat. You won't see many others on the trails for sure.)
    SC Hightower
    Ibis Ripley LS (the Special Blend kit is a really good value, though you'll have to bring your own dropper)
    Transition Smuggler
    Intense Primer

    Most of those bikes have very solid complete builds at the $4500ish price point that include a dropper and Pike (or equivalent). If you find a demo bike for sale you like, that's an excellent way to stretch your budget.

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