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  1. #1
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    The one bike dilemma

    Hey there. First post, long time reader, etc.

    Quick background. Been biking for decades here in southern Ontario, Canada. No mountains but lots of trails.

    Started on a Rocky Mountain steel hard tail, then a Specialized Enduro, got into cyclocross for a while, then back to FS Specialized 29er (stolen) and then a Cannondale Scalpel 26er ... the one with 80mm of travel that had no linkage on the chainstays (stolen out of the back of my truck while moving...).

    So now I'm in the market for a new bike and I've been researching so much my partner is getting annoyed! With spring around the corner I've got a massive urge to get a bike and start riding.

    Currently live in Toronto, Ontario, in a small apartment. I need a bike bad but want to make the right decision and thought I'd get some input here.

    I originally wanted 27.5 because I didn't jell with the way my FS 29er handled. Also wanted smaller wheels because space is at an absolute premium, and I want something that's easier to lug into and out of a highrise.

    So I want an FS bike. I'm willing to invest a fair bit of money for the right bike. I ride my bikes everywhere, urban, trail, commute etc. Don't race anymore but do enjoy the taut feel of a racier ride.

    I've tested a 2017 SC 5010, and a '17 Scott Spark 730, Trek Remedy can't remember which flavour, Devinci Troy. Plan on testing an Intense Spider 275C and likely various FS 29ers. The Scott felt the best of the bunch to me.

    So just trolling for opinions: for an urban based rider, who pedals everywhere and likes light, playful bikes, is the speed of a 29er a better fit than 27.5? In the 27.5 spectrum - are the 130mm bikes just as fast\capable\fun as a shorter travel XC\race oriented bikes?

    I've been intrigued by the Jeffsy 29ers, but that's a lot of bike!

  2. #2
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    All 29ers are not created equal. Try out something like a Tallboy if you get a chance. If I didn't know better, I would have thought I was on a 27.5 bike.

  3. #3
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    The new giant anthem is 110 rear and 130 front. That may be a bike you want to demo. Also try a trek stache. It rips over rocks and roots. If you don't have actual drops the stache may be the way to go. A 29er to check out would be the fuel ex or santa cruz tallboy. They both kind of blend that trail xc bike pretty well.

  4. #4
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    One bike for me would be a 27.5" cross country bike with 130mm travel, dropper post, and 2.25" tires. SO basically a "trailish" XC bike.
    I purchased a Giant Anthem Advanced SX and later added a Pike 130mm travel front fork with 2.35" grippier tires. The bike still has the nimbleness of an XC bike with the bite of a modest trail bike. Couldn't be happier.

  5. #5
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    The speed difference between a 27.5 and 29 based purely on the wheel diameter is not enough to really make a huge difference. What you gain on the flats, you more than give up on any incline when going with 29. So, for the most part, I would call it even.

    I live just outside of Toronto (to the west of you). I moved from an older 26 that has likely been ridden out of its useful life. I overly analyzed what was out there and looked not only at what I got and value for money spent but also for me was the comfort and connectedness I felt when riding. Geometry plays a big part in the bike. You are correct in we really don't have mountains here in the GTA and any of the trails close enough by. I wanted a bike that was responsive enough to take on the single track with speed that I would be providing, but yet be fun enough to ride just about anywhere.

    I ended up getting a 2017 Giant Anthem 2, as it gave me the best bang for the buck along with a ride that I found exhilarating. I did take the 30tooth front ring off and change it for a 34tooth to give me a bit better top speed as I know I am not climbing up and mountain, and would rather have a decent fast gear for riding the types of trails we have around here.

    I was very happy with the weight of the bike considering it is FS. I have in the past had bikes inside a highrise apartment (much frowned upon) and as long as you keep it clean before bringing inside, I generally got away without complaints.

    Let us know what you end up getting. Who knows, perhaps sometime we might even run into each other on the trails.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farmpunk View Post
    ...

    I've been intrigued by the Jeffsy 29ers, but that's a lot of bike!

    That's not the only part of the post I've read, but that immediately reminded me... ME

    I was looking, researching, thinking 275 vs 29 etc etc through the fall. Than My buddy sent me link to Jeffsy 29er. I got intrigued.

    Compared it against so many bikes, SC, Kona, Trek, Canyon, Commencal, Transition.
    There is no way to get bike with specs of Jeffsy for that price.

    Only one problem, they were out of stock....

    One Thursday evening they came in stock, all CF's sold out within 24 hrs. I bough one of them 2017 Jeffsy CF One 29. My buddy waited little too long, but he ended up buying AL1 29.

    We've been riding these bikes since early December. Every ride we tell each other how much we love these bikes, and how great they are.

    Is it too much bike? Too much for what? If you are riding cross country, smooth trails, no drops, no rocks, no jumps... Maybe.
    But if you enjoy some of these features, like to go fast over roots, rocks etc...
    This bike rocks!!! It eats roots and rocks for breakfast. It is confidence inspiring, climbs very well, it is light, nimble, stiff and precise.
    I must admit I noticed little longer wheel base at first, but quickly got used to it (compared to my old Giant Stance 1 27.5)
    It is perfect amount of travel for the type of riding we do. Suspension is pretty progressive, and I do not think I bottomed out rear end yet (I'm 230lbs)
    This Saturday I learned I'm at least 6-7 min faster on one of the trails compared to giant.
    Bottom line, read up about it, do your research. But if you can only have one bike... It is really hard to bit this one. Unless you want to spend 5-6k or more...
    2018 models are available, and they come with e13 9-46 casette and few other improvements. On 2017 32 ring with 11-42 casette made some rocky climbs little harder. I got Absolute black oval 30T, and now everything is perfect

    My large CF1 is 30 lbs dead on. That is pretty dang good for fully squish 29er

    Good luck, no matter what you get, have fun riding!
    More you beef it up, more it will handle like a cow....

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farmpunk View Post
    The Scott felt the best of the bunch to me.
    Like you I've demoed a few nice bikes and I agree the Spark is one of the most fun. So quick to turn and pop around (or off) the trail features. I loved the Cannondale Habit too. Another 120mm trail-ish bike which is loads of fun on any trial.
    Like scoobmario typed you can't go wrong since all the bikes you're looking at are so sweet, so if you find a good deal on leftover or used you should buy it fast. You can always replace it in a year. I also recomend trying 27.5, if you miss 29" you can change back later.
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  8. #8
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    Thanks, all!

    Definitely need to do some more test rides. Top of list will be bikes Mach 429, Tallboy, maybe search out a C-Dale Scalpel, with a 29er Spark thrown in there to compare vs the 27.5.

    I'm not really hooked to a wheel size. Having said that, the 29er I did own totally flew when pedaling flat terrain. Felt really significant when I then dropped down the 26er Scalpel even though the C-Dale was like 22 pounds.

    There's some good deals right now on various 27.5 bikes and I admit that value for money is on my mind.

    @roadkill401 - good to hear from someone from the area. I like the bike choice, too, and am watching various sites for lightly used and new 2017 Anthems.

    Don't worry, scoobie! I'd jump at a YT if one becomes available at a price I like.

  9. #9
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    And get a good lock!
    My name is Chris and I ride a Prophet 650b with a Lefty.

  10. #10
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    I really like the parts group on the scalpel 5 si. Thats a really nice alloy bike for the money. I would still check out the 2018 giant anthem 2 27.5 though too at the same price. It has the racier 110 rear with a great suspsension design but is rocking 130 up front. It should move like the XC bikes but roll over rocks and roots like the trail bikes. They both retail for around $2600-$2800 USD.
    Last edited by party_wagon; 02-22-2018 at 11:38 AM.

  11. #11
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    Was able to test out a large Ibis Mojo 3 with the most basic build, and an Expert Intense Spider this weekend.

    Just 15 minutes of city riding on each.

    The Mojo is a slick looking bike. Large felt a bit big, amplified no doubt by the 2.8 rubber, which looks thick.

    Was interesting to ride it nearly back to back with the Spider. The Intense fit great in medium. Cool ride. Reminded me of the Spark in some ways.

    I'm not looking at the numbers but it felt like the medium Spider had a slightly longer reach than the large Mojo3. Lots of variables involved, of course.

    Got to test a 29er still but leaning Intense.

  12. #12
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    The Spider does have a longer reach compared to a lot of other bikes which I like. It climbs great too, one section of gnarly tech uphill that was always really tough on my Niner Rip feels so much easier on my Spider Expert.

  13. #13
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    sounds to me like Evil is Calling!! https://www.evil-bikes.com/products/calling

  14. #14
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    One bike? Get a in room bike rack to stack them or put one behind the couch, blasphemy, one bike.

  15. #15
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    More options, argh. I note that the Following appears to be sold out in both small and medium.

    I'd be more tempted to have more than one bicycle ... but I suspect my partner would then suggest I need to sell one of my motorbikes. It's halfway about space, and the other half about having too many two wheeled toys kicking around.

  16. #16
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    Former Torontonian - now living in California with plenty of real mountains. If you are riding in the GTA I would stick with an XC bike - 100-120mm travel. I don't think you need more unless you are doing lots of MTB trips elsewhere. My XC bike is 26er which I use as a spare, but most new XC bikes are 29ers.

    Mojo 3 is my primary bike that ride here in California - it's very playful and agile on fast twitch trails, but still too much bike for GTA. I don't see why you would need 2.6/2.8 tires either - California trails tend to dry and loose - not so in the GTA. But Mojo 3 is a great bike and pretty much my do-everything bike and by all accounts on Strava it's just as fast as my 26" XC bike up/down the mountain. I'm sure a 29er XC bike with skinnier tires I would faster on XC trails - but I'm also shorter @5'5" and never liked the handling feel of 29ers.

    Don't think you would go wrong with the Spark given their XC success, but if you want something a bit more rowdy and have more cash to burn, then the Ibis Ripley is a good option...still probably too much bike for what you need, but YOLO.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the thoughts, smoothmoose.

    I wasn't a big fan of the last 29er I owned but I that was five years ago so I think I need to test out some modern tackle. Probably end up testing a Ripley and probably Tallboy, maybe new 29er Anthem.

    I def think 2.8 or even 2.6 is overkill for this area. If I end up with a Mojo I'd likely swap for 2.3\4 rubber. Part of me thinks it's nice to have that built in option of being able to do with a wide selection of rubber, though.

    Have you been on a Ripley? Curious about how you'd compare it with the Mojo.

  18. #18
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    No, I haven't demoed a Ripley. Only 29er I tried was the Hightower, which I thought was OK. After I demoed the Mojo3 I was sold. I will probably try Ripley and rumoured new long travel 29er from Ibis later this year at some demo event.

    Only slight concern with Mojo3 on regular wheels is low bottom bracket. But again with GTA trails you are not talking about huge roots or rocks.

  19. #19
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    Iíd go w/ a 27.5 Xc/trail rig w/ 120 to 130 travel all day. Not to say there isnít a sweet spot for hard tail 29ers though. Especially if you donít have many hills. Good luck!


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  20. #20
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    Iíve ridden my wifeís Mojo 3 with 2.8 tires in flatland Midwest (Kansas City area). We some rock & root to contend with but no real climbing. Pedals nice, climbs pretty well and is fairly playful. But I prefer my Yeti SB5 over the Mojo in all those areas.

    I did ride a 2016 Ripley on a factory demo out in Santa Cruz (Wilder). The Ripley was fast, nimble and climbed like crazy. Still seems like the best climbing bike Iíve ever tried. If your main riding doesnít have a lot of gnar, I think the Ripley is definitely one to consider.


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  21. #21
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    Just thought I'd mention, I have demoed a bunch of bikes over the last few years and one of the most fun plus bikes to ride for me was the Cannondale Bad Habit.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farmpunk View Post
    ... likes light, playful bikes
    That is the key reason for going with 27.5 rather than 29 inch wheels. Some 27.5" bikes are quite efficient such as those with the dw-link suspension design though they may not maintain speed as well as a 29er.
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