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  1. #1
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    Trek Slash 9.8 vs Hightower LT (or others?)

    I need help.

    For the past week I've been looking at bikes to replace mine that were stolen. I've been going back on a lot of brands and builds but I have mostly settled on either the Trek Slash and the Hightower LT. The main reason is I have local shops close that I can get service from on these brands.

    I am open to other options of brands and bikes but they would have to stand out way above these two for me to consider them.

    So for people who have ridden these bikes which do you feel is the better value and most fun? I live on the west coast of BC (Just outside Vancouver). My home trails are loamy dirt with a mix of fast and flowy and steep. Not much rocks apart from little spots here and there but no big boulder or rock face type stuff.

    My main concern is descending but I also need a bike that pedals decent. I can shuttle my trails but I climb 90% of the time. I can climb either climbing trails or fire roads to the top but I tend to do the climb trails.

    I'm currently leaning towards the Trek because it seems to slightly favor the downhill more then the Santa Cruz.

    So...are these bikes close enough that either one is amazing and doesn't really matter which I chose?

    For reference the pricing I can get is as follows.

    2019 - Trek Slash 9.8 - 6300 CAD (About 1000 off retail)
    2019 - SC Hightower LT - S Build - $6500
    2018 - SC Hightower LT - X01 Build - $7300

    I know the X01 LT is probably the best deal but honestly I'm not sure if I'm going to notice the difference that much at my level vs the S or 9.8 trek builds.

    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
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    So those two bikes are very different, not only in ride quality, but just overall design and function.

    I totally disliked the Hightower, rode on in E TN in the winter, hero dirt, and it still sucked.

    The Slash is a really nice riding bike, Trek has their suspension dialed, I'd get one but I ride a Smash

    There are so mnay other bikes to choose from, I certainly wouldn't let spec and price dictate your choice, esp if you're looking to spend $6-7000 on a bike.

    For BC riding, I'd look at Kona, Transition, Devinci, Pivot, Ibis. If you don't have much rock and low BB are okay, I'd pick a good pedaler like a DW suspension.

    Quote Originally Posted by mf82 View Post
    I need help.

    For the past week I've been looking at bikes to replace mine that were stolen. I've been going back on a lot of brands and builds but I have mostly settled on either the Trek Slash and the Hightower LT. The main reason is I have local shops close that I can get service from on these brands.

    I am open to other options of brands and bikes but they would have to stand out way above these two for me to consider them.

    So for people who have ridden these bikes which do you feel is the better value and most fun? I live on the west coast of BC (Just outside Vancouver). My home trails are loamy dirt with a mix of fast and flowy and steep. Not much rocks apart from little spots here and there but no big boulder or rock face type stuff.

    My main concern is descending but I also need a bike that pedals decent. I can shuttle my trails but I climb 90% of the time. I can climb either climbing trails or fire roads to the top but I tend to do the climb trails.

    I'm currently leaning towards the Trek because it seems to slightly favor the downhill more then the Santa Cruz.

    So...are these bikes close enough that either one is amazing and doesn't really matter which I chose?

    For reference the pricing I can get is as follows.

    2019 - Trek Slash 9.8 - 6300 CAD (About 1000 off retail)
    2019 - SC Hightower LT - S Build - $6500
    2018 - SC Hightower LT - X01 Build - $7300

    I know the X01 LT is probably the best deal but honestly I'm not sure if I'm going to notice the difference that much at my level vs the S or 9.8 trek builds.

    Thanks for any help!
    Lrg GG Pedalhead 29/27+
    XMed GG Smash 29/27+
    Lrg Devinci Hendrix 27+ (Loaner)
    Pivot Shuttle 27+ (wife)

  3. #3
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    @MF82, I'll bite... This is a matter of opinion. "Nurse Ben" may not like the hightower and that is fine. Read the reviews on the Hightower Lt, they are really high reviews on it. I rode the Hightower LT in Pisgah a couple of times and its is an outstanding bike. I liked it better than the Yeti 5.5. For BC you would love the hightower LT but I would also throw the Yeti 150 and the Ibis Ripmo in the mix. THe Ripmo is a really nice bike too and it feels similar to the HIghtower Lt. The nice thing with the hightower is lifetime warranty. The talk is that Santa Cruz is coming out with a new Hightower Lt but when we don't know.

  4. #4
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    Bike mechanics can work on just about any bike. I'd look at the Evil Offering. New geo the other models will be getting.

  5. #5
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    I have a very different experience on the SCLT than nurse ben. I demo'd a number of bikes and owned the intense primer before buying the SCLT. I think it is a good climber and a great descender. I feel totally confident going downhill on this bike. As Rev 14 said, check out the online reviews and youtube reviews on the SCLT--it's rare to find negative reviews on the SCLT or most current bikes in the $6,000 + range. Haven't ridden the Trek and I don't know about their warranty, but its nice to have the SC lifetime warranty on the frame and carbon rims.

  6. #6
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    The Hightower geometry is wonky for me at 6-4. They will update the Hightower geo and fix the issues this next spring/summer I'm guessing. Seat angle was a disaster for me and the short reach numbers (for even back then) were no good for me either. Updated VPP will have better small bump (an issue today with HT). I'd wait if you want the SC. The new HT will pedal better up (fixed seat angle design) and also go down better (fixed reach design) while having a better VPP too (SC said they focusef on addressing this on updated VPP design.

    If it were me I'd go with a Ripmo or Yeti sb130/150 easily or perhaps the Rocky. Oh the new Offering is prob def worth a demo. My guess is it's overweight, prone to creaks and won't pedal that well... and is a blast down hill. Who knows tho, maybe they killed it. If it pedaled well, it might be worth the weight and bolt creaks.

    Fwiw I built a custom 2018 Rocky Mountain Instinct and it's nothing short of amazing, just amazing but you can't get my build off the shelf. It's a 140mm dpx2/36grip2 @150mm, pedals like a beast and is only 29lbs for an XL with 2.5in Dhf tires! The geo is in between Hightower and Ripmo which works great for me as the new ultra reach bikes are nice but in XL the wheelbase is getting nutty long and I'm using it for everything not just straight lining rock gardens at 25mph.

  7. #7
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    I'm 6', and haven't experienced those issues with the SCLT. I did demo the Ripmo and wanted to love it as I heard so many good things about it. On every demo I timed the climbs and descents on the same trails because sometimes you can perceive you are going faster/slower than you are. I always rode all out, but of course there are always mitigating factors. I figured the SC might be faster uphill than the Ripmo, but I was surprised that I was significantly faster going up and down. The Ripmo did have bigger tires (2.5) so that could be part of the reason, but it just felt like too much of a monster truck for my local trails. These choices are so personal and tires, suspension, the rider's height/weight etc. really play a huge factor. I think until you take a bike out on a long ride on the trails you ride the most it's hard to know what works.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mf82 View Post
    I need help.

    For the past week I've been looking at bikes to replace mine that were stolen. I've been going back on a lot of brands and builds but I have mostly settled on either the Trek Slash and the Hightower LT. The main reason is I have local shops close that I can get service from on these brands.

    I am open to other options of brands and bikes but they would have to stand out way above these two for me to consider them.

    So for people who have ridden these bikes which do you feel is the better value and most fun? I live on the west coast of BC (Just outside Vancouver). My home trails are loamy dirt with a mix of fast and flowy and steep. Not much rocks apart from little spots here and there but no big boulder or rock face type stuff.

    My main concern is descending but I also need a bike that pedals decent. I can shuttle my trails but I climb 90% of the time. I can climb either climbing trails or fire roads to the top but I tend to do the climb trails.

    I'm currently leaning towards the Trek because it seems to slightly favor the downhill more then the Santa Cruz.

    So...are these bikes close enough that either one is amazing and doesn't really matter which I chose?

    For reference the pricing I can get is as follows.

    2019 - Trek Slash 9.8 - 6300 CAD (About 1000 off retail)
    2019 - SC Hightower LT - S Build - $6500
    2018 - SC Hightower LT - X01 Build - $7300

    I know the X01 LT is probably the best deal but honestly I'm not sure if I'm going to notice the difference that much at my level vs the S or 9.8 trek builds.

    Thanks for any help!
    Hell I have a 2018 Slash 9.8 with a Fox Factory X2 shock I'm selling. It's a size large (19.5) everything else on the bike is stock. comes with both shocks.

    PM if you are interested
    Too Many .

  9. #9
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    Itís not about whatís good or bad, instead look at the source of the comment and use that to explain why a product might be seen positively or negatively in the eyes of that party.

    I didnít like the Hightower or the Tallboy, spent a week in EastbTN riding both, rode em 29 and 27.5. I did like the Switchblade and the Slash. I ride a Smash.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev. 14 View Post
    @MF82, I'll bite... This is a matter of opinion. "Nurse Ben" may not like the hightower and that is fine. Read the reviews on the Hightower Lt, they are really high reviews on it. I rode the Hightower LT in Pisgah a couple of times and its is an outstanding bike. I liked it better than the Yeti 5.5. For BC you would love the hightower LT but I would also throw the Yeti 150 and the Ibis Ripmo in the mix. THe Ripmo is a really nice bike too and it feels similar to the HIghtower Lt. The nice thing with the hightower is lifetime warranty. The talk is that Santa Cruz is coming out with a new Hightower Lt but when we don't know.
    Lrg GG Pedalhead 29/27+
    XMed GG Smash 29/27+
    Lrg Devinci Hendrix 27+ (Loaner)
    Pivot Shuttle 27+ (wife)

  10. #10
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    I have the HTLT in XXL and with the seat slammed forward it climbs really well. So I agree the STA should be steeper but if I moved the seat much further forward I'd be cramped and need the reach/top tube to be longer. Which I suspect is what they'll do whenever they update it.

  11. #11
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    Pole machine?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Itís not about whatís good or bad, instead look at the source of the comment and use that to explain why a product might be seen positively or negatively in the eyes of that party.
    So what are you attempting to say? I'm the source you seem to not like. Stop trying to give generalities for an implication, dig deep and have the guts to spit it out. Otherwise go home... You put my comment out there attempting to imply who knows what...

  13. #13
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    yeti sb150 for the downs or sb130 for a better overall ride

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