New bike for tighter singletrack- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New bike for tighter singletrack

    I am looking into a new full suspension 29er. Looking for NX drivetrain, Fox 34 front fork. 130mm max front travel, 120-130mm max rear travel.

    I don't race. I don't do any parks. Ride mostly in tighter singletrack, fair amount of shoe switchbacks. No big drops (I like to stay below 2' of drops). I am 6' 1" and 220lbs. Test rode a 2019 Spearfish and liked it, but the front fork felt a little flexy.

    Looking at the Fezzari Signal Peak. Looked into the Horsethief, but heard it is a little lazy in tighter singletrack.

  2. #2
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    Entry level on sale for the end of season.

  3. #3
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    Being an owner (and lover) of the new Ripley, it wouldn't be my first choice for tighter singletrack riding with the long wheelbase. Actually, you could get a better deal on a Ripley LS, which I also own, and have a better "tight, twisty trail" bike. Riding the new Ripley on trails like Spin Cycle in Park City is a bit of a chore.
    Ibis Ripmo
    Ibis Ripley V4
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BmanInTheD View Post
    Being an owner (and lover) of the new Ripley, it wouldn't be my first choice for tighter singletrack riding with the long wheelbase. Actually, you could get a better deal on a Ripley LS, which I also own, and have a better "tight, twisty trail" bike. Riding the new Ripley on trails like Spin Cycle in Park City is a bit of a chore.
    I was going to say previous gen LS

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BmanInTheD View Post
    Being an owner (and lover) of the new Ripley, it wouldn't be my first choice for tighter singletrack riding with the long wheelbase. Actually, you could get a better deal on a Ripley LS, which I also own, and have a better "tight, twisty trail" bike. Riding the new Ripley on trails like Spin Cycle in Park City is a bit of a chore.
    I recently picked up an LS. I also got a chance to ride the V4 in the same weekend. I think if I rode trails that are a bit steeper and wide open...I would have went with the V4.

    Another bike that handles well and can also really shred the downhill is the Evil Following. With the slightly shorter wheelbase...it can handle tight twisty trails pretty well too.

  6. #6
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    You should also look at the giant trance 29er.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by s-master View Post
    You should also look at the giant trance 29er.
    This. Everyone says the 115mm rear rides like it's deeper than that, and a friend of mine who is all about his XC bikes and just knew the turn-in on the Trance 29 would suck was super impressed with the bike when I let him ride - raved about it in fact. It sounds like it could be exactly what you're looking for.

  8. #8
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    Giant Trance 29. Seriously.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  9. #9
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    Yep- Trance is worth a demo for sure. I was expecting a sluggish ride going from a steep front end on my 2011 Epic to the new Trance. Climbs as good as the Epic and corners better. Switchbacks are no problem after you acclimate yourself to the newer geometry. I can huck it off 3-5 foot drops and bomb the downhill sections yet it rails like a XC machine. Great all-around rig.

  10. #10
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    I'm another happy Trance 29 owner!

  11. #11
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    Having ridden places in the midwest just as described, I can definitely understand how out-of-your-****ing-mind some of the suggests are for a new bike. You are avoiding trees at high speed and have to make critical split-second adjustments, it's not a place for slack, long-travel bikes.
    "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

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  12. #12
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    Giant Trance, Transition Smuggler, Kona Process 111 (if you can find one used)...

    Know it's not on your list, but a dialed AM HT would fit the bill nicely ;-)

    Sent from my Nokia X6
    "Mountain biking: the under-rated and drug-free antidepressant"

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BmanInTheD View Post
    Being an owner (and lover) of the new Ripley, it wouldn't be my first choice for tighter singletrack riding with the long wheelbase. Actually, you could get a better deal on a Ripley LS, which I also own, and have a better "tight, twisty trail" bike. Riding the new Ripley on trails like Spin Cycle in Park City is a bit of a chore.
    Thanks for the info. I have actually read that from a few V4 owners.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xlr8n View Post
    Yep- Trance is worth a demo for sure. I was expecting a sluggish ride going from a steep front end on my 2011 Epic to the new Trance. Climbs as good as the Epic and corners better. Switchbacks are no problem after you acclimate yourself to the newer geometry. I can huck it off 3-5 foot drops and bomb the downhill sections yet it rails like a XC machine. Great all-around rig.
    I just haven't read much about it in the tight stuff. I have honestly read one review that said it was sluggish in the tight stuff. Everyone raves about its rear suspension, but seems the component spec is a little sub par.

  15. #15
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    I ride central PA singletrack so it tends to be rather tight. I think I'm having good success with a Foes Trail Mixer. The bikes I can compare it to are a 2001 Raleigh HT, a 27.5 Giant Stance and a 29" Stumpjumper all ridden on the same trails.

    The Trail Mixer is far better then the StumpJumper, equal to and I think better then the Stance in tight quarters. The 26" Raleigh is a hair better in the real tight stuff partly because the bars are narrower.

    Potential problems with the Trail Mixer:

    1: It's a 97er, 29 up front and 27.5 in the back. Some people don't want that.
    2: Foes likes to sell them as a mostly frame only set so you have to build it up.

    I have mine set up with a DVO Sapphire, DVO Topaz, Shimano drive train and a Rekon in the back with a Mcfly up front.

  16. #16
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    New Top Fuel @ 120 front and 115 rear.

    Waiting impatiently for mine later this month!
    Whining is not a strategy.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrightcs77 View Post
    I just haven't read much about it in the tight stuff. I have honestly read one review that said it was sluggish in the tight stuff. Everyone raves about its rear suspension, but seems the component spec is a little sub par.
    It seems your primary concern is snappiness in very tight singletrack. I don't know what you are currently riding, but if that is you primary criterion, a 29er just might not be your best choice. As mentioned, I'm on a Trance and evolved into that from a Pivot 5.7c to a Yeti SB5 to my current ride. In 90% of riding, the 29er is measurably superior, I'm a 67 year old getting PR after PR on the Trance....up and down...but that advantage decreases in very tight ST. Like Bman, I ride Park City, and on the downhill on a local trail - John's - it's tight rooty trees. Changing directions on a bigger wheeled bike takes a different dynamic, and now that I've broken the code on it, my times equal smaller wheeled bike times on the tightest of ST going down and is superior on the climbs. But, there's a learning curve. Enough of one that, if you're coming from a 26 or 27.5 and demoing 29ers, you're not necessarily going to feel the love. For that one application, and only that, you may be better off with a 27.5.

  18. #18
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    I had a 26, demoed a 29 and loved it from the start. The thing is, geos have changed and most all 29rs are longer and slacker than older bikes, irrespective of wheel size. I've strongly been considering a new Ripley, but IMO, the previous version was much better for tighter trails and climbing.
    Do the math.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    New Top Fuel @ 120 front and 115 rear.

    Waiting impatiently for mine later this month!
    I thought about this bike. Have ridden a Trek ex8 and liked it.

  20. #20
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    The new Top Fuel is very close in geo to the 2016 Fuel EX, which is one of the bikes I have and really like. Starting in '17 the FEXs got longer/lower/slacker and the '20 is longer and slacker yet.
    Do the math.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    New Top Fuel @ 120 front and 115 rear.

    Waiting impatiently for mine later this month!
    With similar seat angle the V4 Ripley is stuck with. Works for those it works for but for what the OP described I wouldn't bother. I looked before deciding on an LS.

    Would have bought a Trance, but the deals on the LSs right now are hard to beat.


    OP now is a great time to get a Ripley LS V3 on decent discounts.
    Ripley LS v3
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrightcs77 View Post
    I just haven't read much about it in the tight stuff. I have honestly read one review that said it was sluggish in the tight stuff. Everyone raves about its rear suspension, but seems the component spec is a little sub par.
    The Trance has a 66.5 HTA. I've found that the slower the speed...the less responsive slack HTA's are. The steeper...and faster the descent...the better slack HTA's handle.

    It is a bike I want to go try out though.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    With similar seat angle the V4 Ripley is stuck with. Works for those it works for but for what the OP described I wouldn't bother. I looked before deciding on an LS.
    New Top Fuel STA is ~0.6 degrees steeper than the current Top Fuel and ~0.8 degrees steeper than the current Fuel EX.

    I think that can be compensated for with seat fore/aft positioning, if need be.

    But personally, I think a little bit steeper STA will suit most. Glad Trek didn't go too crazy in this area.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by RS VR6 View Post
    The Trance and it has a 66.5 HTA. I've found that the slower the speed...the less responsive slack HTA's are. The steeper...and fater the descent...the better slack HTA's handle.

    It is a bike I want to go try out though.
    It handles better in slow, tight up and down, than my Yeti SB5 (HTA 66.5 also, ESTA 73.8) did, and the Yeti was considerably better in both than the Pivot 5.7c (67.1 & 71.5).
    On fast downhills, like Bull Run in Moab, the Giant blows both of them away.
    As you correctly point out, all other things being equal, the HTA has that effect, but all else is not equal on these new designs.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    New Top Fuel STA is ~0.6 degrees steeper than the current Top Fuel and ~0.8 degrees steeper than the current Fuel EX.

    I think that can be compensated for with seat fore/aft positioning, if need be.

    But personally, I think a little bit steeper STA will suit most. Glad Trek didn't go too crazy in this area.
    STA is 75-75.5 depending on the setting. Ripley V4 is 76. The issue I found with a steep seat tube angle isn't compensated for with seat position.
    Ripley LS v3
    OG Ripley v2 handed down to son

  26. #26
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    If you want a quicker handling bike take a look at the Devinci Django.

    You can also tweak the handling by steepening the headangle on a bike using one of these headsets:

    https://www.workscomponents.co.uk/

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