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  1. #1
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    Great climber AND great decender!?

    Unfortunately not much around here to demo.

    I had a stumpy pro 27.5 with 150/150 travel. liked it ok on the downhill and chunky stuff, didnít like to climb with it, especially if I had to stand up and mash.

    Road a 29Ē pivot 429 trail with 116/120 travel and LOVED it on the climbs but down hill was lacking. Bottomed it out a couple times as well.

    I was wanting a pivot switchblade because I liked the trail so much, but after doing some reading it sounds like the front suspension doesnít seem to jive with the rear all that great.

    Whatís out there with good travel but climbs just as good or better than the 429 trail!?

    i want to Chase Strava times going up AND down (nothing to crazy down hill, southeast US).

  2. #2
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    If you liked the older Pivot 429 trail you might want to take a look at the new one. Supposed to go up about the same and down with much more confidence. I picked up a Spot Mayhem 29 and it does all of the above much better than I ever expected. It pedals better than my Ibis DW link and descends with great stability while still being agile and fan.


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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonL View Post
    If you liked the older Pivot 429 trail you might want to take a look at the new one. Supposed to go up about the same and down with much more confidence. I picked up a Spot Mayhem 29 and it does all of the above much better than I ever expected. It pedals better than my Ibis DW link and descends with great stability while still being agile and fan.


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    I was wanting to buy used because I could save money initially and not loose as much when I sell it. Iíve yet to see a used trail 429

    Iíll check out the bikes you mentioned.

  4. #4
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    Closest I can think of to match your desires for KOM's up and down is when I demo'ed a Epic. But...that's not my choice. My choice is when I want uphill KOM's, I ride my F-Si. When I want DH KOM's, I ride my Enduro. I do not ask either to be supreme in both arenas.

    But...I think you need to look for more compromise in your wants. And/or a trail HT.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    Closest I can think of to match your desires for KOM's up and down is when I demo'ed a Epic. But...that's not my choice. My choice is when I want uphill KOM's, I ride my F-Si. When I want DH KOM's, I ride my Enduro. I do not ask either to be supreme in both arenas.

    But...I think you need to look for more compromise in your wants. And/or a trail HT.


    I agree I need two bikes, but I also have two issues with that. I donít want to have two different types of rides. When I ride I like to do it all. My wife ainít gonna let me have 2 nice bikes.


    I ruled out a hardtail as I didnít think it would do good on the DH stuff. Itís also non stop roots and rocks here and I feel like my spine would hate me. Iíve rented a HT (although a cheapie) and didnít like it.

  6. #6
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    You get one or the other but not great for both----you can get pretty good for both with most popular 130/120 or 130/130 bikes-----
    Intense pimer
    YT Jeffsey
    RM instinct
    Spec stumpy
    Trek fuel
    IBIS ripley

    And stop blaming your wife---no good comes of that

  7. #7
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    A few folks, myself included, have commented on their surprise with the climbing prowess of the Guerrilla Gravity Smash. Much better climber than the brand ethos and its downhill performance might suggest. 140 rear/140-160 front. You could ping GG and see if there's one in your area to try.

  8. #8
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    Kona Process 153 29er sure looks sweet.

  9. #9
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    Very happy with climbability of 2018 Kona Process 153 AL/DL (I have 27.5 version) for a bigassed bike. Downhills are super fun obviously.
    12 Santa Cruz Heckler
    18 Kona Process 153 AL/DL (27.5)...

  10. #10
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    Guerilla Gravity Smash is great climber and a great descender.
    Lrg GG Pedalhead 29/27+
    XMed GG Smash 29/27+
    Lrg Devinci Hendrix 27+ (Loaner)
    Pivot Shuttle 27+ (wife)

  11. #11
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    You are gonna have to buy a bike with 120 to 140mm rear end if you want a do it all bike. You're actually gonna not be competitive in either uphill or downhill but I think that's the sweet spot. Is the uphill more important than the downhill or vice versa?

    IMO sometimes you think you need more travel than what you actually need. I'm slower on my hardtail on the downs but it's a different ride. It's fun as hell and scary at times haha
    Last edited by slimphatty; 08-31-2018 at 10:09 PM.

  12. #12
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    Are you just going for PRs up or down these climbs? If so, the bike is irrelevant. Get a bike, get fit, go chase PRs. Riding a lot is going to do that, not your bike.

    If you want to chase KOMs, both up and down, thatís an entirely different story.




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  13. #13
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    I live in the Southeast. I ride primarily in North Georgia. I had the same thoughts as you last year and ended up getting an Orbea Rallon. Itís a fantastic bike no doubt about it. Goes down great and climbs like a goat for what it is. But after a year riding it Iíve come to realize that the sustained downs that bikes like the Rallon excel at are hard to come by around here. You just canít get to where a bike like that could take you. Trails are much better suited to an all-Rounder like my old Remedy 29er. That bike popped off everything, was super fun, but was never overwhelmed around here. Not as fast as the Rallon, but more fun on local trails. Sold the Rallon and am gonna be demoing like crazy. Looking at:

    Transition Smuggler
    Norco Sight
    Yeti SB130 (itís coming shortly. I can feel it.)
    Scott Genius (maybe this Twinloc thing plus ramp control is the answer?)
    Intense Primer
    Ibis Ripmo (reviews seem to put it more in the trail bike category... ).

    However, if I ever managed to ride Pisgah or Cold water regularly I would have probably kept the Rallon. Just some thoughts from someone in a similar spot.

  14. #14
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    Fuel ex 8

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke205 View Post
    Unfortunately not much around here to demo.

    I had a stumpy pro 27.5 with 150/150 travel. liked it ok on the downhill and chunky stuff, didnít like to climb with it, especially if I had to stand up and mash.

    Road a 29Ē pivot 429 trail with 116/120 travel and LOVED it on the climbs but down hill was lacking. Bottomed it out a couple times as well.

    I was wanting a pivot switchblade because I liked the trail so much, but after doing some reading it sounds like the front suspension doesnít seem to jive with the rear all that great.

    Whatís out there with good travel but climbs just as good or better than the 429 trail!?

    i want to Chase Strava times going up AND down (nothing to crazy down hill, southeast US).
    Where in the SE are you? I moved to the SE and outside of Pisgah and Dupont, most of the trails are pretty tame, with very few sustained or technical climbs and the same is true of the descents. Personally, I find that most people (like me!) are way over biked in these places -mainly because you need a "big" bike for Pisgah but the day to day stuff is very different.

    These trails are better suited for things like the Trek Stache, Top Fuel, Specialized Epic, Pivot 429 (as mentioned) or the Ibis Ripley. 120 mm bikes. Norco and Transition also make bikes the fit the bill.
    Last edited by Vespasianus; 09-01-2018 at 04:42 AM.
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  16. #16
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    What your describing sounds like a Trek Remedy 29 er from 2016 would be a solid choice if you must have a 1 bike forcups and downs. 140mm rear and climbs well. Should be able to find some used out there.

  17. #17
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    Ibis Ripley LS. I broke most of my downhill PR's from Park City made last year on my Pivot Mach 5.5 this summer on my Ripley LS. And was close to (or sometimes bested) my PR's made on my 429SL last year on the ups with it. Couldn't believe it.
    You can't buy happiness. But you can buy a bike. And that's pretty close.

  18. #18
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    I just got a Banshee Phantom and naturally I think it's great. (I'm setting pr's both up and down). If you read user reviews most people are surprised with how good it is on descents, with just 105mm travel. I live in the rockiness of the Ozarks, haven't bottomed it out yet, but then I'm not flying off big jumps or drops.

    If you must have or think you must have more travel, the Banshee Prime is next up their line. People seem to like how it climbs too. Last I looked Jenson was still clearing out some complete builds. These are burly bikes but they can be ridden fast.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke205 View Post
    Unfortunately not much around here to demo.

    I had a stumpy pro 27.5 with 150/150 travel. liked it ok on the downhill and chunky stuff, didnít like to climb with it, especially if I had to stand up and mash.

    Road a 29Ē pivot 429 trail with 116/120 travel and LOVED it on the climbs but down hill was lacking. Bottomed it out a couple times as well.

    I was wanting a pivot switchblade because I liked the trail so much, but after doing some reading it sounds like the front suspension doesnít seem to jive with the rear all that great.

    Whatís out there with good travel but climbs just as good or better than the 429 trail!?

    i want to Chase Strava times going up AND down (nothing to crazy down hill, southeast US).
    I hear something Evil Calling,
    Then of course Evil has the bigger Following. https://www.evil-bikes.com/products/following-mb

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by armii View Post
    I hear something Evil Calling,
    Then of course Evil has the bigger Following. https://www.evil-bikes.com/products/following-mb

    Waiting on a guy to get back to me with a following. I missed 2 killer primers yesterday

  21. #21
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    I own one, and I'd nominate the Fuel EX. I'd happily endurance race it with light wheels and tires. I haven't done so, but if DH means that much to you, simply extend the fork to 140.

    I've not ridden one, but I'd have to agree with the Rallon recommendation. There's a guy here in the PNW that slaughters the competition with one in endurance races. Sure, he's an ex-pro, but he's also over 40, and it's a 150 mm bike?!
    Whining is not a strategy.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Guerilla Gravity Smash is great climber and a great descender.
    This is a great bike. If I didn't have a Canfield Riot I'd probably have this bike they are so comparable and I run a set back so even more so. (the Smash is a beautiful bike to look at if that helps) 140/140 29er is a good middle ground for most of the East Coast chunky trails. In WNC I sometimes want a little more fork but not enough to buy it lol.

  23. #23
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    I don't have a dog in this race since I like longer travel bikes, but what you are looking for is a Ripley LS or Yeti SB4.5/5.5. Stay away from Horst Link bikes, super plush down, but they need some sort of climb switch going up if you are going to be pushing, especially out of the saddle. The other outlier would be the Intense Primer or Sniper. The Sniper is especially interesting due to the geo.

    The number one candidate would be the upcoming SB130 since it will be EXACTLY what you want. Next gen geo with 130/150 travel and a very well sorted suspension curve. I know you said you want to buy used, but it might be worth it to buy new to get exactly what you want.

  24. #24
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    Spot Mayhem is another good candidate. 130mm in the back, plays well with a 140 or 150mm fork. Stiff, climbs great and a burly descender. As a bonus, Spot is customer direct so is typically quite a bit cheaper than big brands.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Where in the SE are you? I moved to the SE and outside of Pisgah and Dupont, most of the trails are pretty tame, with very few sustained or technical climbs and the same is true of the descents. Personally, I find that most people (like me!) are way over biked in these places -mainly because you need a "big" bike for Pisgah but the day to day stuff is very different.

    These trails are better suited for things like the Trek Stache, Top Fuel, Specialized Epic, Pivot 429 (as mentioned) or the Ibis Ripley. 120 mm bikes. Norco and Transition also make bikes the fit the bill.
    - yep.....I live in North GA and spend my summers traveling (I'm a teacher) and Pisgah definitely warrants AM/Enduro whereas a good trail bike (130-140) would probably work most places.......
    Rigid 29er Ti SS / 29er SC Tallboy AL / Paketa Magnesium Road Bike

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_chrome View Post
    - yep.....I live in North GA and spend my summers traveling (I'm a teacher) and Pisgah definitely warrants AM/Enduro whereas a good trail bike (130-140) would probably work most places.......
    A lot of the 29ers are now around 140 rear but can handle a 160mm fork this might work for you. One bike 2 airsprings.

  27. #27
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    Did you ride a Mach 429 Trail or the newer Trail 429? I ask because you said it had 116/120 travel (the old one had 116 and 130, not 120, and the new one is 120/130) then you said you haven't seen any used ones (there are tons of used older models around).
    You can't buy happiness. But you can buy a bike. And that's pretty close.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BmanInTheD View Post
    Did you ride a Mach 429 Trail or the newer Trail 429? I ask because you said it had 116/120 travel (the old one had 116 and 130, not 120, and the new one is 120/130) then you said you haven't seen any used ones (there are tons of used older models around).
    I rode the older 429 trail. My bad on the fork size.

  29. #29
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    Add another vote for the Trek Fuel EX. The Re:aktiv shock really provides an incredible pedaling platform. I've only had one ride on mine (after demoing one and deciding to pull the trigger on one) but I love it.

    I also demoed a Mach 429 Trail and liked it too, but the FEX feels a lot more stable and I felt was easier to whip around corners than the 429T.
    Patrick

  30. #30
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    Pivot Trail 429!

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_chrome View Post
    - yep.....I live in North GA and spend my summers traveling (I'm a teacher) and Pisgah definitely warrants AM/Enduro whereas a good trail bike (130-140) would probably work most places.......
    Based upon that, I think a bike like a Ripley, with nice fat 29X2.6" tires would work great. I rented one for a week in Pisgah and Dupont and honestly, I was blown away at how effortlessly it climbed and it just slayed the descents. And the dw link is nice and efficient so the bike would not be out of place at a place like Chicopee.
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  32. #32
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    Smuggler.
    Sentinel, though not as good on the climbing side.
    Ripmo

    Or any of the copycat SBG bikes coming out now.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    Based upon that, I think a bike like a Ripley, with nice fat 29X2.6" tires would work great. I rented one for a week in Pisgah and Dupont and honestly, I was blown away at how effortlessly it climbed and it just slayed the descents. And the dw link is nice and efficient so the bike would not be out of place at a place like Chicopee.
    Chicopee is my "backyard" ride.......I currently ride an older Tallboy with 120 mm of travel and it works fine there (and pretty much most places I've ridden), but I wouldn't head to Pisgah for any torture sessions........been to Dupont and did pretty well there but sometimes find myself wanting a bit more travel........
    Rigid 29er Ti SS / 29er SC Tallboy AL / Paketa Magnesium Road Bike

  34. #34
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    Santa Cruz Hightower is an amazing bike. Pedals well, and kills the downs.

    Santa Cruz Tallboy is also an amazing bike, but does give up some of the decending prowess of the Hightower for better climbing abilities.

  35. #35
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    My bike I ride is the best, vote for my bike!
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  36. #36
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    Most new bikes are pretty good. I have demoed lots over the past 6 months and really didn't find to many that I didn't like.

  37. #37
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    I owned a Primer which I thought was a great climber and a good descender. I played around with tires, bar length, and rear suspension but could never get it to be a great descender and I was getting too beat up on longer/rockier descents. I recently sold the Primer and bought a Santa Cruz Hightower LT which I think is a very good climber and a great descender. I don't mind giving up a little climbing prowess to more thoroughly enjoy going downhill.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_chrome View Post
    Chicopee is my "backyard" ride.......I currently ride an older Tallboy with 120 mm of travel and it works fine there (and pretty much most places I've ridden), but I wouldn't head to Pisgah for any torture sessions........been to Dupont and did pretty well there but sometimes find myself wanting a bit more travel........
    When we first went to Pisgah, my son had to ride my HT 29 race bike. Boy was that a bad experience!

    But seriously, even 120mm bikes can work in those places - especially with big fat tires. Was really, really impressed with the Ripley and those big 2.6 tires.
    Last edited by Vespasianus; 09-02-2018 at 05:41 PM.
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  39. #39
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    It's been recommended several times but I suggest the Intense Primer as well. It does everything well. It punches way above it's weight class. I ride it on trails where everybody where everybody else is riding 6" travel bikes. I demo'd the Ibis Ripley and Yeti SB4.5 as well. I almost bought the Yeti but the Intense pricing was too good to resist. The more I ride the Primer, the more I like it. Another guy in our group rode my bike ONE day at bought his own Primer less than a week later.
    2019 Yeti SB5C
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  40. #40
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    I also recommend the Primer. It does not climb as well as my Epic but it is a fantastic climber and very capable downhill. Super light for a 130 bike at 26 lbs and very efficient. Highly recommend this bike. I have had a myriad of bikes and this is my favorite Swiss Army Knife bike.


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  41. #41
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    Two bikes that are great climbers and wicked down: SB100 and Firebird 29. Each different but Iím great in their class. If you need one bike. Iíd wait for that Yeti SB 120/130.

  42. #42
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    Yeti SB130 will be the best tool for job. September 10th you'll be able to get all the info on the bike.

    It's basically using the Transition SBG Geo but with the "Superior" Yeti Kinematics

    29'er - 150mm Fox 36 and 130mm Fox DPX2 44mm Reduced Offset Fork

    Short seat tube length so you can fit a long dropper

    77 degree seat tube angle for great seated climbing

    65.5 degree Head Angle paired

    It's a Yeti with Switch Infinity so it'll be effecient and pedal best in class

    Now comes with lifetime warranty
    Yeti SB130
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    Yeti SB5.5
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    Devinci Troy

  43. #43
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    I'm not sure what you read about the Switchblade but I only ride chunk and it eats it up. Some people run an x2 shock and bump the fork travel up to 160mm but I never felt the need. Good climber too and very laterally stiff rear.

  44. #44
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    Seems like most of these bikes are first great descenders, and okay climbers. I would put the balance point of a 50/50 bike at around 120mm of rear suspension. Bikes I would vote for would be the Niner Jet 9 RDO, the Fezzari Signal Peak, Yeti SB 100 or 130.

  45. #45
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    I agree with the Boz, Ninerís Jet 9 RDO is a great climber while still being more plush in the chunk then any other bike Iíve ridden. For reference, this year Iíve ridden the SB5.5, Wreckoning, Rallon, FB29, and HTLT.

  46. #46
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    Do you work for Niner? Youíre seriously trying to tell riders that your Jet 9 is more plush than a Wreck or HTLT OR Firebird? Címon, dude ...
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Do you work for Niner? Youíre seriously trying to tell riders that your Jet 9 is more plush than a Wreck or HTLT OR Firebird? Címon, dude ...
    I know I sound extremely crazy, and no I donít work for Niner. Probably a good thing since their future is cloudy! I demoíd everything that possibly fit me in Moab and had no intention of liking anything they had. To be honest, their tent was slow and I didnít feel like waiting in lines anymore😂. I couldnít believe how Ninerís CVA just ate up the rough compared to the others mentioned. To be clear Iím not talking about huge hits and 4+ drops. I mean just how it absorbs all the little annoying speed sucking obstacles like consecutive baby heads, loose rocks over hard, and all those constant trail transitions. Riding the Niner back to back to the others mentioned felt like a Cadillac which doesnít make sense to me either. Iím still looking for a bigger bike since Ninerís Geo isnít the most up to date, but might end up on their RIP9.
    Last edited by jpfurn; 09-27-2018 at 06:51 PM.

  48. #48
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    Tantrum, Tantrum, Tantrum!!!

  49. #49
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    Iíll say it again, I think about 120mm of rear travel is the balancing point for a 50/50 bike that can climb and descend in equal amounts. 130mm and up and youíre getting into aggressive bikes that clobber downhills but with their slack head tube angles and heavy frames, climbing will be a slog. Most of the bikes mentioned in this thread fit in this category like the Evil Reckoning, Yeti SB 5.5, Intense Primer. These bikes think of climbs as a necessary evil to have fun on the downhills.

    90mm-110mm rear travel bikes are generally racy lightweight goats, with steep head tube angles they charge the climbs. Think Specialized Epic, Canyon Lux, Niner RKT 9, Trek Top Fuel, Pivot Mach 429 SL, etc. These are climbers first, because XC races are typically won on the climbs.

    In the middle, the 120mm bikes can walk the line. The Niner Jet 9, the Ibis Ripley, the Pivot Trail 429, Fezzari Signal Peak, Trek Fuel EX (130mm but not too slack).
    Last edited by The Boz; 09-28-2018 at 05:41 AM.

  50. #50
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    Strongly disagree.

    I have had a number of good climbers that had 140-150mm travel. I have also had terrible climbers with 120mm of travel.

    It's like you're saying that the further you get from a hardtail, the worse a bike climbs.

    Some bikes climb better, it's not solely a function of more or less travel.

    My Smash climbs as good as my Pedalhead, each has their strengths, but the Smash is a better climber than any FS bike I have had to date.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Boz View Post
    Iíll say it again, I think about 120mm of rear travel is the balancing point for a 50/50 bike that can climb and descend in equal amounts. 130mm and up and youíre getting into aggressive bikes that clobber downhills but with their slack head tube angles and heavy frames, climbing will be a slog. Most of the bikes mentioned in this thread fit in this category like the Evil Reckoning, Yeti SB 5.5, Intense Primer. These bikes think of climbs as a necessary evil to have fun on the downhills.

    90mm-110mm rear travel bikes are generally racy lightweight goats, with steep head tube angles they charge the climbs. Think Specialized Epic, Canyon Lux, Niner RKT 9, Trek Top Fuel, Pivot Mach 429 SL, etc. These are climbers first, because XC races are typically won on the climbs.

    In the middle, the 120mm bikes can walk the line. The Niner Jet 9, the Ibis Ripley, the Pivot Trail 429, Fezzari Signal Peak, Trek Fuel EX (130mm but not too slack).
    Lrg GG Pedalhead 29/27+
    XMed GG Smash 29/27+
    Lrg Devinci Hendrix 27+ (Loaner)
    Pivot Shuttle 27+ (wife)

  51. #51
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    I'd vote fuel ex or the new 429 trail. Rode both and one will definitely be my next bike for a do it all trail bike. I used to ride around the Helen, GA area and though a 120 would clear most everything efficiently(I was on an older stumpy), it was a lot more fun to screw around on a 140ish bike even with a little efficiency loss. As someone else stated above it depends which is more important to you, up or down. For me I had the athletic background to give up some efficiency on the climb for more confidence/fun on the down. So yea it takes a bit more effort for me to climb behind my buddy's SJ, but man is the downhill sweet while he is busy being picky over his line.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Strongly disagree.

    I have had a number of good climbers that had 140-150mm travel. I have also had terrible climbers with 120mm of travel.

    It's like you're saying that the further you get from a hardtail, the worse a bike climbs.

    Some bikes climb better, it's not solely a function of more or less travel.
    I agree. For example, the Scott Spark 730 (120mm travel) is not an efficient climber. It has great traction but relies on the lockout for efficiency. My Hightower LT is a noticeably better pedaling bike (even with 3C DHR2's) and it's at least a pound lighter.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by jahkneefive View Post
    So yea it takes a bit more effort for me to climb behind my buddy's SJ, but man is the downhill sweet while he is busy being picky over his line.
    This illustrates how everyone's experience can vary so much on this.

    The SJ's and Specialized suspension design in general is quite the poor pedaling platform. However it descends quite well and seems to be unaffected by brake usage.


    Yet your bike pedals worse, while descending better than an SJ? Are you on a full DH rig!

    Yetis, Mondrakers, Pivots, Santa Cruz (choose model wisely however), Intense...these are some of the bikes that most consider to pedal like bikes with less travel, while descending like bikes with more travel. I'm sure there are others cause there are so many great bikes too choose from. I don't have the brain power nor ride time to understand the pros/ cons to every model out there so I try to narrow in on just a few brands that interest me.

    Once you get on one of those bikes, tire choice is a major factor. Don't buy an SB130 for instance and put enduro tires on it, if you really want it to stand apart from the SB150 as far as pedaling performance goes. If you need enduro tires, well you should be on the bigger less efficient bike anyways.

    Good luck!

  54. #54
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    I picked up and built out a 2017 Jet RDO. I have had it now for a few months and it is a plush bike for 120mm of travel, and best do it all bike I have owned so far.

    Think much the plushness is due to the fact it has lowíish anti-squat numbers and suspension stays very active, kind of like Knolly bikes which I have never ridden. It also has very little pedal kickback/feedback and pedals very smooth, especially during technical climbing.

    The downside is that itís a little squishy/inefficient pedaling and when getting on the gas compared to all the high anti-squat/efficient pedaling bikes. But clicking shock into pedal mode/trail mode it pedals/climbs just as well, still feels plush and has little/no pedal kickback.

    I think the Jet RDO is a great all around trail bike for going up/climbing and down/descending.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by In2falling View Post

    Think much the plushness is due to the fact it has lowíish anti-squat numbers and suspension stays very active, kind of like Knolly bikes which I have never ridden. It also has very little pedal kickback/feedback and pedals very smooth, especially during technical climbing.
    I consider my 429SL to be quite "plush" for the travel, I've heard others saying the same about the pivots. I think this is more about the leverage curve and matching the shock tune to the curve and overall ratio. Although this sounds easy, a look at the varying leverage curves on the linkage site shows lots of manufacturers are all over the board in this respect. Many of the air-shock bikes have flat mid-stroke curves which when coupled with natural flat curve of an air shock and the fact that most OEM stuff is over-damped in high speed compression to prevent damage from heavier riders (which requires you to run low-speed compression "open"), it quickly leads to wallow and having to cram a bunch of spacers in your shock. My point is that the manufacturers don't really "nail" this across the board, there are some that are pretty bad, and some that are pretty good.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by TripleR View Post
    Tantrum, Tantrum, Tantrum!!!
    I think this might be the answer. By most all reports, it works as advertised.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/all-mountain/...s-1009862.html

  57. #57
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    I am in the southeast and have been very happy with my Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol. Like others have said about the GG Smash, the Trail Pistol climbs surprisingly well and is a great descender. If you are within driving distance of Canton GA there is a shop there that usually has a few GG bikes to demo.

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    I vote hardtail. There isn't much in that part of the country that you can't absolutely slay with a proper hardtail. Stache, Honzo, Pedelhead, Scout, all exceedingly capable bikes that will make you a better rider. Other than park days my process stays in the garage. PNW guy here

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    I rode a Trek FS Stache for a few months, it was a bit flexy, but the suspension worked really well, plush and smooth, hit above it's pay grade.

    Trek Fuel EX or similar would be a good choice, but for sure demo first, each person has a different idea of what they want and what feels good. Trek has a good suspension design for all around riding. If you want to step it up, then I'd suggest looking at the Slash.

    I lived and rode in East TN for twenty years, rode 29er SS and Muni. I know you said that you don't want a hardtail, but unless your a geezer, a good 29er hardtail would be the best choice for that sort of terrain: Pedalhead.

    A lateral move that might be cool would be an aggressive AM hardtail with sliding drops, then build it with a Rohloff, that would be much more weather friendly, would provide a huge range, maybe try a belt drive. I can't thnk of a frame like that, but a custom steel Waltworks would be interesting. I've considered asking Guerilla Gravity if they could change my drop outs to sliders.

    If you must have an FS bike, I'd definitely stay with a 29er, but I don't think I'd go with a long (140+) travel bike unless you want to ride park.

    I like my GG Smash, it climbs very well, but it is not plush. I now live in the West, most of my rides are big, long, steep, and fast which is nearly the antithesis of east coast riding. Perhaps the Trail Pistol would be a good choice for all around functionality, locally designed and built, and a near hardtail like performance.

    If I was still in TN, I'd pick a bike with good pedal clearance, travel 120-130, likely a DW suspension.

    Take a look at the Devinci Django 29; I have the 27.5+ version (Hendrix), the aluminum version is welded in Canada. Very nice riding bikes, well supported, and fairly priced. If you want to step up to bigger hit bike, the new Troy 29 is very nice.
    Lrg GG Pedalhead 29/27+
    XMed GG Smash 29/27+
    Lrg Devinci Hendrix 27+ (Loaner)
    Pivot Shuttle 27+ (wife)

  60. #60
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    Great thread with a lot of really useful information. There are definitely multiple factors that impact the climbing efficiency of a bike. While suspension travel is a factor, especially if all other things are equal, geometry, try of shock and its tune, weight, etc all are critical.

    I've had a number of Niners and the RKT is still my daily driver for XC days. I also have the prior gen Rip 9 RDO, which at the time of release was considered a solid all around bike. With a 140mm Pike out front it was a capable descender. It was also a very good climber, but with one big caveat, you needed to stay seated. The soft Fox rear shock lacked mid-stroke support and would bob terribly out of the saddle, but seated things were good. Unfortunately due to clearance issues, there weren't many options to swap out the shock.

    I never did get a chance to ride the new Jet 9 RDO and Rip 9 RDO but would expect them to be decently well rounded bike and better than the prior gen Rip 9. Niner's CVA definitely works well (is there a bike out there with 90mm rear travel that does better?). However technology is always moving forward with a lot of great options. The new Yeti's with slack head tube angles and Switch Infinity seem to define the modern bike. I know I would look hard at an SB100 if I were buying a new XC rig today, and the SC130 would be on my short list for an "all-arounder".

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    I lived and rode in East TN for twenty years, rode 29er SS and Muni. I know you said that you don't want a hardtail, but unless your a geezer, a good 29er hardtail would be the best choice for that sort of terrain: Pedalhead.
    I have a Pedalhead on order and live in TN but I don't think I could live with only a hardtail. I wouldn't want to ride one at Windrock, Stringer's Ridge, or Baker's Creek personally. East TN is also so close to Pisgah it would be a shame not to ride there a few times a year and I'd prefer a FS there.

  62. #62
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    A lot of good info in this thread. It's tough to find an all around bike that will excel at climbing and descending. There are bikes that do both well, but you're going to be at a disadvantage one way or the other. A lot depends on the terrain. I find that generally around here, socal, most of the trails favor a CC style bike. To take advantage of a 160mm Enduro the trail needs to be pretty rowdy. On a smooth flowing single track I'm at no disadvantage on my CC rig. Climbing is for the most part all about weight. On most trails you will go faster uphill on a 22lb hardtail than you will on a 30lb trail bike.

    I have a 2017 Jet 9 RDO. Great bike that climbs and descends awesome. That being said, I'm faster on my Procaliber on just about any climb around here. I've got a friend that rides a SB100 and really likes it. He's a strong rider and says it climbs great. Another friend just bought the new Stumpjumper ST. He says its the best thing he's ever ridden.

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