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  1. #1
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    All rounder? Looking for a 29er Trail bike

    There are tons of posts about trail bikes here and elsewhere, but I am struggling with the information overload around trail bikes. The last trail-bike I owned was trek ex 9 about 10 years ago. I have been on about 8 different 100mm XC bikes since then, as I was a pretty serious XC racer. My serious racing days are over for now, but I still want a capable bike if I decide to hit a local race every now and then. I guess I am looking for something that is generally equally good at climbing and descending, but every bike review out there generally talks about how a bike does on the downhill. I don't go for KOMs anymore, but there is a ton of climbing and descending in my area. I want to be able to ride all day and still have fun.

    I have been looking at:
    YT Jeffsy
    Trek Fuel
    Transition Primer

  2. #2
    Vincit qui patitur
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    I like my SC Tallboy 29er for trail, XC and play.
    Vincit qui patitur
    2014 KONA Process 153
    2016 KONA Operator
    2017 Salsa Powderkeg
    2018 Santa Cruz Tallboy 29 C R

  3. #3
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    what's your budget and preference for components

  4. #4
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    I was hoping for 3-4k. I don't have a component preference. I am thinking I want a bike with 130-140 travel. I also want to stick with 29er.

  5. #5
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    I think you mean Intense Primer.

    You might add the Transition Smuggler to your list, too.

  6. #6
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    Fanboi gonna fan...Smash FTW!

  7. #7
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    for that money I'd suggest

    YT Jeffsey
    Trek fuel--perenial best seller year after year
    Giant Trance 29--less rear travel
    Intense Primer---rumors of update soon
    Norco Sight--maybe able to find a 2018 with a 140 fork

    Lots of choices for sure----

  8. #8
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    Imo the only bikes listed here that have a chance at fitting in at an xc race are the tallboy and trance. All the others are way to trail bikey. You will feel out of place at the starting line for sure. If youre considering the occasional enduro, I like the Smuggler and the GT Sensor (smug copy).

  9. #9
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    @PurpleMtnSlayer - You are probably correct. I have been out of the loop for awhile. I basically rode what the sponsor told us to. I feel like the XC days are done for a while. I just want to ride for fun again.

  10. #10
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    Fuel EX with fork "bumped" to 140 (~$60).

    Swiss Army Knife of bikes. Easily tuned for the OCCASIONAL, NON-SERIOUS xc race with a shock volume reducer and some lighter wheels.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  11. #11
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    You need to do some demos and rent some models where necessary. You'll be able to feel what you want to ride.

  12. #12
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    Knolly FugitIve LT. You're welcome.

  13. #13
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    I like the Trek, but I'm not sold on its knock-block system.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleMtnSlayer View Post
    Imo the only bikes listed here that have a chance at fitting in at an xc race are the tallboy and trance. All the others are way to trail bikey.
    I've ridden a Trance 29 back to back with a fuel ex 29, near identical spec. The Trance is not reall any less "trail" than the Fuel. 15mm of rear travel doesn't have to mean that much. If I hadn't just bought the Trek I probably would have been buying a Giant.

  15. #15
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    I have a Jeffsy and it is a very good all rounder. You could get a nice component package with your budget on one too.
    It's a little beefy for XC, but not by a lot and wouldn't kill you in an xc race, but it wouldn't be ideal either.
    Mine runs 28 pounds and I spent around what your budget is.

  16. #16
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    What about a Scott Spark?

  17. #17
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    I was a fast downhiller as an XC guy. With my most recent bike I wanted a bit more capability, but the ability to race it XC and not have too much of a weight penalty.

    I was considering the Intense Primer and the Scott Spark 900.

    I ended up getting the Scott Spark 900 Ultimate and I absolutely love it. It weighs right around 25# with pedals and has 120/120 for travel. I notice just a bit of a difference in climbing with rolling resistance (more aggressive tires), but otherwise, have not been any slower with climbing than my S-Works Epic while downhilling much faster.
    BoiseBoy

  18. #18
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    If youíre a size medium, there is a great deal on an intense primer pro in their website. 3k for a 7k bike

  19. #19
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    Look into the Spot Mayhem. I have been extremely impressed with mine. Climbing is on par or better than some XC bikes. Itís a great all around trail bike.


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  20. #20
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    Giant Trance 29er all day ;-)

    'Born to ride!'
    "Mountain biking: the under-rated and drug-free antidepressant"

  21. #21
    Keep on Rockin...
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    Quote Originally Posted by targnik View Post
    Giant Trance 29er all day ;-)

    'Born to ride!'
    Yeah, that bike, on paper, hits the sweet spot for a classic trail bike.

    Looks like, with the right build, could do a great job covering everything from XC to AM.


    That's why I have a frame waiting for me to build up. Couldn't get a test ride on it first, so I'm hoping it works out.

  22. #22
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    What about the ibis Ripley Ls?
    Slightly above your budget, but an adsolute rocket uphill.
    Also the Specialized Stumpjumper ST comp?
    More on the trail side, but both great bikes.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le frog View Post
    What about the ibis Ripley Ls?
    Slightly above your budget, but an adsolute rocket uphill.
    Also the Specialized Stumpjumper ST comp?
    More on the trail side, but both great bikes.
    I looked at those same bikes, but to build up a frame only, those two are way more than the Giant Trance frame only.

  24. #24
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    I am still at an information overload stage. I am just not used to having so many choices. I am thinking that I will go for a proper trail bike and get an XC hardtail if I want to race again. I just want to ride for fun again. Anyone want to buy an Epic?

  25. #25
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    Another vote for the Intense Primer. You can run the rear at 115 for a race and light builds like mine can be in the high 25 lb range with pedals.


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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sb.Reno View Post
    There are tons of posts about trail bikes here and elsewhere, but I am struggling with the information overload around trail bikes. The last trail-bike I owned was trek ex 9 about 10 years ago. I have been on about 8 different 100mm XC bikes since then, as I was a pretty serious XC racer. My serious racing days are over for now, but I still want a capable bike if I decide to hit a local race every now and then. I guess I am looking for something that is generally equally good at climbing and descending, but every bike review out there generally talks about how a bike does on the downhill. I don't go for KOMs anymore, but there is a ton of climbing and descending in my area. I want to be able to ride all day and still have fun.

    I have been looking at:
    YT Jeffsy
    Trek Fuel
    Transition Primer
    This is really tough. What was your last XC bike? The very latest XC bikes are really good descenders while still being great climbers and fast handling bike like XC bikes should be. The first if this generation in my mind is the Scott Spark RC. 68 deg HA. The new geomertry bikes after this bike all tend to be slacker 69.5 to 67.5, light and still strong pedaling. Many of these you can add in a dropper post and go with a 120 fork and really have strong trail bike that is still light.

    After much consideration I picked up a 2018 Specialized Epic. I wanted an XC bike, but not just for short sprint races, but for back country endurance races and general trail riding. I was coming from a 2012 SC Highball hardtail and still rider a 29er SS. I also have 2013 5010 (125/130) for the real gnar. That bike at 30lbs with "soft" suspension was to squishy for general ride and too tiring for 50-70 mile backcountry rides. So for me the Epic was the perfect mix of efficiency and comfort and could tackle just about anything.

    Since I do have bigger bike for more gnarly rides I can keep my Epic lighter (22.9lbs) and more race oriented. However of I had to have just 1 bike a simple change of 2 parts would be enough. 120 mm fork to slackout a bit more and a dropper post. Basically the Epic Evo. The difference in DH capabilities compare to my 5010 really comes down to HA and lack of dropper in more techy bits. In the faster chunk the 5010's extra travel will help, but I would be ok going just a touch slower. Overall the bike is faster due to less weight. I did Breck Epic on this bike this year. 200+ miles and 32k climbing. Bike was perfect. Light enough to climb all day at altitiute and good enough on the descents to ride them with no issues. Only 1 day did I want for a dropper post, but I was ok without it.

    Now I have heard good things about the Primer. (Intense Primer). Friend of mine demoed on back to back with a Sniper and while the though he wanted the sniper for his needs the Primer was better. He still has Singlespeeds he rides alot and the Primer is more of his "bigger bike". So if are less race and more trail then Primer might be good. Still you really too pedal some because it is hard to split the line between XC with some trail and Trail that can be raced. Very subjective.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  27. #27
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    What about a Pole Evolink 110 or 131? The 110 was going to be available to order now, but it is not on their homepage yet. Probably two super capable bikes. Slack head angle, steep seat tube angle and long reach. I bet the 110 could do double duty as trailbike and race bike quite well.

    https://polebicycles.com/summer-day-...d-evolink-130/

  28. #28
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    Coming on MTBR and asking for options is just gonna lead to more data overload.

    You have an XC bike now, keep it, go try some new bikes on terrain that makes your XC bike feel overwhelmed. Maybe try buddy bikes?

    Do you live in Reno? Where would you ride if you had a trail bike?

    Nothing against Intense, but I think you're taking chance buying a bike you can't demo.

    Also maybe not the best time of year to demo if you have snow on the trails...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sb.Reno View Post
    I am still at an information overload stage. I am just not used to having so many choices. I am thinking that I will go for a proper trail bike and get an XC hardtail if I want to race again. I just want to ride for fun again. Anyone want to buy an Epic?
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  29. #29
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    Yeti Sb4.5
    Yeti Sb100
    Pivot Trail 429

    These are my top three bikes that I am interested in right now.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by KTMwoodsrider View Post
    Yeti Sb4.5
    Yeti Sb100
    Pivot Trail 429

    These are my top three bikes that I am interested in right now.
    If that's the case, then this was written for you:

    https://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/sp...-45-yeti-sb100

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by KTMwoodsrider View Post
    Yeti Sb4.5
    Yeti Sb100
    Pivot Trail 429

    These are my top three bikes that I am interested in right now.
    I really really like my sb4.5 a lot. There are some killer deals to be had on them right now too!

  32. #32
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    Knock Block is annoying.

    I have a Jeffsy, and dig it. If I were you I'd wait for them to drop the new ones! They just started teasing some photos, so it can't be too far out.

  33. #33
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    Trek Fuel EX is a nice bike, good handling and functional suspension, except for low BB and Knock Block. At 3k for a frame, there are comparable choices without these issues.

    The direct sales mfgs are showing some promise, but still do a test ride first.

    Fezzari is in SLC
    Intense is in SoCal
    YT is ?
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by naya the dingo View Post
    I really really like my sb4.5 a lot. There are some killer deals to be had on them right now too!
    I've seen really good things about all these bikes. The reason I would buy the 4.5 is becuase the deals. I am scoping the XO1 4.5 line for 5250.00. Thats even to much for my liking. I would rather be in the 3s. The SLX 4.5 would be fine for my riding terrain in the midwest.

  35. #35
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    I've seen the GX Eagle non Turq version for $3800 or so online.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by naya the dingo View Post
    I really really like my sb4.5 a lot. There are some killer deals to be had on them right now too!
    Would you consider it to be ideal to do both moderate trail riding, no big air/drops, and decent to do endurance type events? I'm not really looking for a true XC bike and while my FEX is nice I think I got the best deal instead of the best bike for me and my riding. For me it came down to a Tallboy and the FEX. Those deals on the 4.5 are awesome though and have me tempted...

  37. #37
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    For sure! The 4.5 is super capable and it has a great platform for sprinting. I haven't gone super big on it, but it handles all the local jumps and drops great. Really progressive.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by naya the dingo View Post
    For sure! The 4.5 is super capable and it has a great platform for sprinting. I haven't gone super big on it, but it handles all the local jumps and drops great. Really progressive.
    How's the sizing? The CC recommendation for me, 5'11" with 31.5" inseam, is a medium which "seems" small?

  39. #39
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    I am 6'3" with a 33" inseam and ride an XL. I wouldn't mind if the 4.5 had longer TT and reach numbers, as I also have an sb6 which is a longer bike. I would go for a large over the medium if I was your size.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudderNutter View Post
    Knock Block is annoying.

    I have a Jeffsy, and dig it. If I were you I'd wait for them to drop the new ones! They just started teasing some photos, so it can't be too far out.
    yes, I have a jeffsy too, carbon pro. i've also got a '17 fuel ex 9.8 w/27.5+ wheels looking for a new home if you're interested. it'll probably go on pinkbike soon and for not too much $$$. actually in the queue for a fezzari, i just have to try one!

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by naya the dingo View Post
    I've seen the GX Eagle non Turq version for $3800 or so online.
    Can you remember where you have seen the C series SB100 online for 3800? I can not seem to find that deal. My riding is more XC single track and climbing. I am leaning towards the sb100 c series and the 429 trail pivot in a close second place. Any recommendations?

  42. #42
    I'm with stupid
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    Im glad I was not the only person who took one look at lock block and scratched Trek off all of my list till it is gone.

  43. #43
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    I rode it for a few months, there were times when it was noticeably preventing me from making tight turns, not a lot, just once in a while.

    My biggest peeve was not being able to use non OEM stems without some kind of work around and the risk of fork to frame contact if I did. Itís a gimmick and itís not necessary.

    What gets me is that the Knockblock design is intended to make the frame stiffer, but on my Full Stache the rear triangle was so flexy that it made the bike unrideable with stock tires. Iím thinking Trek has the priorities mixed up.

    Quote Originally Posted by hitechredneck View Post
    Im glad I was not the only person who took one look at lock block and scratched Trek off all of my list till it is gone.
    Last edited by Nurse Ben; 2 Weeks Ago at 10:40 PM.
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  44. #44
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    Haha thatís hilarious!!

  45. #45
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    Check out a Spot Mayhem 4 Star build. Amazing customer service and you just canít beat the value! Just something special about this bike and after taking with Steve at Spot, many current owners, and watching reviews, I just pulled the trigger on a five star build today, sight unseen. Check them out on their website and then on the reviews by Steve from Dusty Betty.
    https://spotbrand.com/products/mayhem-29
    https://youtu.be/GR3MoZQOX6E
    https://youtu.be/E2hw2Kc8yBg

    Best of luck!

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by KTMwoodsrider View Post
    Can you remember where you have seen the C series SB100 online for 3800? I can not seem to find that deal. My riding is more XC single track and climbing. I am leaning towards the sb100 c series and the 429 trail pivot in a close second place. Any recommendations?
    I was talking about the sb4.5, you're not going to find any deals on the sb100 like that.

  47. #47
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    Ican P-P? Don't shoot the messenger... Just throwing it out there... $2850 direct from China.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails All rounder? Looking for a 29er Trail bike-img_7664.jpg  


  48. #48
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    All rounder? Looking for a 29er Trail bike

    Quote Originally Posted by endo_alley View Post
    Ican P-P? Don't shoot the messenger... Just throwing it out there... $2850 direct from China.
    Pee Pee is a funny bike name.

  49. #49
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    Fezzari, Whyte, or Intense, for the money are the better buy, get a complete for the cost of a frame.

    Quote Originally Posted by KTMwoodsrider View Post
    Can you remember where you have seen the C series SB100 online for 3800? I can not seem to find that deal. My riding is more XC single track and climbing. I am leaning towards the sb100 c series and the 429 trail pivot in a close second place. Any recommendations?
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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by hitechredneck View Post
    Im glad I was not the only person who took one look at lock block and scratched Trek off all of my list till it is gone.
    But the straight down tube makes the front triangle .05% stiffer and the front triangle is where most of the flex is on modern mountain bikes.
    OG Ripley v2

  51. #51
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    Kind of in the same boat. I'm on an Epic right now and was looking to go to something more trailworthy since I'm not going to race seriously next year. Might still hit my favorite courses for fun, but not going to be training. I've got a longer travel bike, but around here I barely ride it since it seems like overkill.

    The shop I ride for carries a few of the major brands. I've tried out a few bikes:

    Stumpy ST - Good bike, and tempting me. Suspension is a little active when climbing/on the flats for me. I get a fairly large discount on these though, so on the fence.
    Trek Fuel EX - Felt sluggish, probably more travel than I wanted.
    Yeti SB100 - This was the frontrunner and I have a demo set up, but I'm a bit concerned after reading over the issues on the Yeti forum.
    Tallboy - Haven't tried this one yet, but I used to have a Hightower, and there's just something about VPP that bugs me. I think it's because we have tons of slow speed tech and it feels like it gets hung up on repeated square edge hits more than other suspensions I've tried.

    I used to ride a Pivot 429 C w/a 120 fork and loved it, so I might go back to the SL. Shop also has Trail429 demos so I might try that out. The new Giant Trance is tempting me too though. They were supposed to have a demo here on Saturday but with 2-4 inches of rain likely tomorrow it'll probably get cancelled.

  52. #52
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    I'm going to be trying a Fezzari signal peak in spring- nothing to lose since they have a 30 day return policy
    OG Ripley v2

  53. #53
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    I'm right there with you, midnight blue.

    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I'm going to be trying a Fezzari signal peak in spring- nothing to lose since they have a 30 day return policy
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  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    I'm right there with you, midnight blue.
    Yea same- can't do the Lime Green.
    OG Ripley v2

  55. #55
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    Might as well demo a wire peak while youíre at it. Thatís my next bike.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleMtnSlayer View Post
    Might as well demo a wire peak while youíre at it. Thatís my next bike.
    Wow that was funny.
    OG Ripley v2

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Wow that was funny.
    Not a joke

  58. #58
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    I heard they had one coming, just looked at the specs, <5k, 49#, 160/140, 27.5 or 29, geo similar to the Shuttle.

    Pretty much a Levo slayer, excellent option if you donít want to spend twice as much on a Shuttle.

    If it rides as well as it looks, thatís a winner.

    I will try it when Iím there

    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleMtnSlayer View Post
    Might as well demo a wire peak while youíre at it. Thatís my next bike.
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  59. #59
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    All the Knock Block bashing cracks me up. In two years of riding my FEX, not once have I said "would have made that switchback, except for the darn Knock Block." Or, "wouldn't have crashed, but that darn Knock Block."

    Maybe it's 25 years of racing motocross, but I'm not in the habit of riding with the bars turned more than 80 degrees. I think those bashing it are suffering from some mental gyrations that aren't necessary in choosing a bike.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeInPA View Post
    All the Knock Block bashing cracks me up. In two years of riding my FEX, not once have I said "would have made that switchback, except for the darn Knock Block." Or, "wouldn't have crashed, but that darn Knock Block."

    Maybe it's 25 years of racing motocross, but I'm not in the habit of riding with the bars turned more than 80 degrees. I think those bashing it are suffering from some mental gyrations that aren't necessary in choosing a bike.
    For me itís more annoying when putting it on a pickup tailgate pad. One of my riding buddies has one, and Iíve seen it get in the was a few times on the trail... not like itís a reason to not buy the bike. They really are sweet rigs.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeInPA View Post
    All the Knock Block bashing cracks me up. In two years of riding my FEX, not once have I said "would have made that switchback, except for the darn Knock Block." Or, "wouldn't have crashed, but that darn Knock Block."

    Maybe it's 25 years of racing motocross, but I'm not in the habit of riding with the bars turned more than 80 degrees. I think those bashing it are suffering from some mental gyrations that aren't necessary in choosing a bike.
    I think some of it comes from the marketing. When was the last time you read anyone saying the front triangle was too flexy? It's funny Specialized finally realized people don't want proprietary crap- I guess Trek has a few more years to learn it.
    OG Ripley v2

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleMtnSlayer View Post
    Pee Pee is a funny bike name.
    Oops P-9. Maybe I better stop drinking and messing around on the internet. May have a new bike show up at my front door that I don't remember buying. Pee Pee might be a good bike company name. They could have the PP "whacker " long travel with ground breaking angle of dangle geometry.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I'm going to be trying a Fezzari signal peak in spring- nothing to lose since they have a 30 day return policy
    That's my plan as well.

  64. #64
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    now that everyone is into the sb130-50 you should be able to find a 4.5 in that price range, still a fantastic bike

  65. #65
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    If you ride tight single track, youíll find switchbacks that are not compatible with Knock Block, itís not often, but it happened to me. It also feels weird when you want to turn your bars, get loose and they stop rotating. In the end I still bought a Trek with the Knock Block, but I found it stoopid.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeInPA View Post
    All the Knock Block bashing cracks me up. In two years of riding my FEX, not once have I said "would have made that switchback, except for the darn Knock Block." Or, "wouldn't have crashed, but that darn Knock Block."

    Maybe it's 25 years of racing motocross, but I'm not in the habit of riding with the bars turned more than 80 degrees. I think those bashing it are suffering from some mental gyrations that aren't necessary in choosing a bike.
    Lrg GG Pedalhead 29/27+
    XMed GG Smash 29/27+
    Lrg Devinci Hendrix 27+ (Loaner)
    Pivot Shuttle 27+ (wife)

  66. #66
    -C-
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    I have a Fuel with the KB. To be honest, the only time it's ever been an issue is trying to get the bike in the car & frame cant lay flat, but then I run a mudguard anyway so it couldn't now regardless.

    Can run other stems if you want, you just run the adapter. Yes it's a bit of a solution looking for a problem IMO, but don't let it detracted from what is one of the best trail bikes on the market.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by -C- View Post
    I have a Fuel with the KB. To be honest, the only time it's ever been an issue is trying to get the bike in the car & frame cant lay flat.
    Same. Pretty minor. Otherwise I never notice it.

    I used to put my bike in the back of my car with the bars facing down. Now they have to face up. Insignificant.
    Whining is not a strategy.

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    Doesn't Canyon have a knock block system now too?

    I've had a FEX since the middle of the summer and I've never noticed it on the trail, but to each there own. To get back to the point of this thread, if you're eliminating a bike only because of knock block I think that would be a bit silly. Not saying the FEX is right for you, but its not like knock block is such a huge ordeal that it compromises the bike. It seems like a good portion of the people who complain about knock block haven't actually ridden a knock block bike for any sizable portion of time, and just think the idea of its stupid. It very well might be a stupid idea, but its not something that makes any difference on the trail (at least for me).
    Patrick

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