Most underrated bikes- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Most underrated bikes

    Some bikes get endless hype like the Ripmo, SB130, Nomad, Following, etc. While these bikes rip and deserve the hype, Iím wondering what bikes people think are underrated or under the radar in the trail/enduro category?


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  2. #2
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    Any 29+ Lenz Sport
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  3. #3
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    I've always felt that Kona is a little underappreciated.

  4. #4
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    It's probably more the rider.
    If you're that good you ride whatever.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
    I've always felt that Kona is a little underappreciated.
    Agreed


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    Maybe it's too new, but I am surprised by the lack of press on the 2019 update of the Norco fluid FS.
    The bike is basically a transition smuggler with 2.6" tire clearance and the base complete bike is the same price as the smuggler frame-only. Insane!
    They don't list a frame only option on the website but I'm going to ask my local dealer. Seems like a sick bike at a really impressive price point.

  7. #7
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    I'm not sure its an underrated bike.

    But my slayer is goddamn sensational.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Most underrated  bikes-img_20190216_090430_1.jpg  


  8. #8
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    Whyte T-130!
    You didn't quit riding because you're old, you're old because you quit riding.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
    I've always felt that Kona is a little underappreciated.
    I agree about Kona. My first good bike was a Hei Hei Trail. They seem to be a little under the radar.

    But my current bike is even less talked about... Banshee Phantom. Of the short travel 29ers it gets compared to, it gets way less coverage than bikes like Kona Process 111, Transition Smuggler, even Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol. Seriously, there hasn't been any mainstream press on the Phantom since like early 2017, and that was a writeup done on a 2016 model before the frame was updated. Meanwhile Transition Smuggler gets covered like it's a celebrity.

  10. #10
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    The Phantom is one of my favorite bikes of all time. Not everyone can fathom what a war machine a bike with 105mm of travel can be.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  11. #11
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    Size S: Intense Recluse, GG Shred Dogg

    Size M: Evil Offering, Kona Process 153 29, Whyte S-120/S-150/G-170 29, Pivot Firebird 29, Devinci Spartan 29, Intense Spider 275c, Kona Honzo ST, Canfield Toir (Riot), Cannondale Jekyll 27.5, GG Trail Pistol, Esker Elkat

    Size L: Fezzari La Sal Peak, Commencal Meta AM 29, Canyon Strive 29, Pivot Switchblade, Ellsworth Evolution, Starling Murmur, any Transition or Knolly FS bike, GG Smash

    Size XL: '19 YT Jeffsy29, Commencal Meta TR 29, RM Instinct, '19 Niner RIP9, Kona Hei Hei Trail CR, SC Blur TR (tall guys defy what you think can be done on short travel)

  12. #12
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    You can't go wrong with anything Knolly.

  13. #13
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    Canfield Riot/Toir

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hitechredneck View Post
    Canfield Riot/Toir
    Climbs better than it should, descends even better. Years before everyone else lol.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by hitechredneck View Post
    Canfield Riot/Toir
    There's no doubt in my mind that the Riot/Toir is an awesome bike. Riding buddy had one and I'm confused, angry and disappointed that he let it go in favor of something else. I totally envied him for that bike. In spite of this I'm not sure I'd call the Riot/Toir underrated...
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    The Phantom is one of my favorite bikes of all time. Not everyone can fathom what a war machine a bike with 105mm of travel can be.
    I have nothing to add to this statement... just wanted to quote it.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    The Phantom is one of my favorite bikes of all time. Not everyone can fathom what a war machine a bike with 105mm of travel can be.
    Quote Originally Posted by JScoot View Post
    I have nothing to add to this statement... just wanted to quote it.
    This is the type of stuff that makes me super curious. How much better can it handle a rock garden at speed, or extended choppy downhills, or big drops compared to my Kona Hei Hei CR/DL at 100/120 with a Fox 34?

    I want to try one and see for myself.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    This is the type of stuff that makes me super curious. How much better can it handle a rock garden at speed, or extended choppy downhills, or big drops compared to my Kona Hei Hei CR/DL at 100/120 with a Fox 34?

    I want to try one and see for myself.
    The Banshee frame is a bit slacker, probably stiffer, certainly heavier... I think you'd also find the suspensions behave very differently between the two bikes, KS Link on one and Fuse IS on the other.

    I had a Hei Hei Trail (aluminum) a couple years ago, when it was still 100/120. The marketing literature calls the Fuse IS suspension "efficient" and "snappy", and that's kind of how I remember it. It relies in part on flex in the rear triangle, right?

    The KS Link on the other hand floats on sealed ball bearings and feels deep and so smooth. Of course, I do have a better shock than I did on the Kona. But the suspension design should be better suited to taking big hits and smoothing things out.

  19. #19
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    That would be those bikes with 26" wheels...
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samo831 View Post
    Iím wondering what bikes people think are underrated or under the radar in the trail/enduro category?
    The bike in your garage already.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    The bike in your garage already.
    Ha ha, Vik. There's a difference between "underused" and "underrated."

    Several of the underused bikes in my garage are (or should I say were) quite well known and well rated in their day but they're not used much anymore. Nor should they be when compared to the bikes I ride today.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHROMAG19 View Post
    You can't go wrong with anything Knolly.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    That would be those bikes with 26" wheels...
    Haha, gotta give a shout out to the underrated kids bikes and dirt jumpers out there! :-P

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by hitechredneck View Post
    Canfield Riot/Toir
    I never felt anything from Canfield was underrated. They always seemed to get good reviews and there was always plenty of chatter about the bikes.

    The Yelli Screamy was a huge success and may have been one of the first readily available aggressive geo hardtails. It certainly thrust Canfield into the view of the average rider. The same could be said for the Riot, and to a lesser degree, the Nimble9 and EPO.

    Hopefully they make a comeback.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  25. #25
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    banshee Prime

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by KennyWatson View Post
    Maybe it's too new, but I am surprised by the lack of press on the 2019 update of the Norco fluid FS.
    The bike is basically a transition smuggler with 2.6" tire clearance and the base complete bike is the same price as the smuggler frame-only. Insane!
    They don't list a frame only option on the website but I'm going to ask my local dealer. Seems like a sick bike at a really impressive price point.
    My first thought was a Norco as well! In this case, the Torrent FS 1. Spank rims? DVO? and $2999? Seriously?

    Most underrated  bikes-norco-2019-norco-torrent-1-fs.jpg

    Also, shout out to Kona and NS Bikes.
    The cake is a lie.

  27. #27
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    Just any four-bar with a nice shock is going to be the basis for an awesome bike. With these advanced shocks out there, the fancy patented suspension designs are totally unnecessary.

  28. #28
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    LOL...Very underappreciated bike and way ahead of it's time because...well...there was no such thing as mountain biking. Didn't have to think about geo, suspension, tubeless, clips, discs, droppers, helmets, etc. Just lather up with bug spray and ride it!

    I present the 1970 Sears 3speed...This is what I rode through the trails growing up in western Maine in the mid-70's.
    http://velospace.org/files/70_river_sm.jpg.jpg
    12 Santa Cruz Heckler
    18 Kona Process 153 AL/DL (27.5)...

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by kubikeman View Post
    My first thought was a Norco as well! In this case, the Torrent FS 1. Spank rims? DVO? and $2999? Seriously?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Also, shout out to Kona and NS Bikes.
    Now Norco is using DVO suspension?

    That's very cool!
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  30. #30
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    Generation 1 Intense Carbine 29. 160F/140R long low and slack but also pretty darn light. New C29 is too heavy and DH specific for me, but my 2014 C29 hits the sweet spot IMO. It was ahead of its time.


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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    I never felt anything from Canfield was underrated. They always seemed to get good reviews and there was always plenty of chatter about the bikes.

    The Yelli Screamy was a huge success and may have been one of the first readily available aggressive geo hardtails. It certainly thrust Canfield into the view of the average rider. The same could be said for the Riot, and to a lesser degree, the Nimble9 and EPO.

    Hopefully they make a comeback.
    Love my 2012 Yelling. Is Canfield on hard times?

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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by kubikeman View Post
    My first thought was a Norco as well! In this case, the Torrent FS 1. Spank rims? DVO? and $2999? Seriously?

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	norco-2019-norco-torrent-1-fs.jpg 
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ID:	1239873

    Also, shout out to Kona and NS Bikes.
    That is seriously impressive spec for $3k! Same price as Transition's NX builds but waaay better parts. I can't wrap my brain around how it costs less than the Sight A2. I assume it could also run 29" wheels if plus tires aren't your thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RMCDan View Post
    That is seriously impressive spec for $3k! Same price as Transition's NX builds but waaay better parts. I can't wrap my brain around how it costs less than the Sight A2. I assume it could also run 29" wheels if plus tires aren't your thing.
    Crazy, right?! My LBS recently became a Norco dealer; the first one in the area. So naturally, I was curious and started looking at their website. When I found this bike, I swear, I stopped, and looked around, like, is this price a typo? How can people not know about this bike? Why are there no reviews??? You can even buy the frame only for $1599!
    The cake is a lie.

  34. #34
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    NX is spec'd on $400 department store bikes.

  35. #35
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    Although two of my riding buddies also ride Turner's, Id have to say Turner bikes. Arguably one of the best riding and built bikes, you hardly see them or hear anyone comment on them on this site. The prices of a Turner is usually less than that of their competitors and a fully loaded one is definitely a lot less than a fully loaded Specialized or other top end bikes.

    It is cool that you dont see them as much as you see Intense or Santa Cruz though
    Last edited by Hurricane Jeff; 03-05-2019 at 06:42 AM.
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  36. #36
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    I love my Norco Sight and it is one of the best bikes I've ever ridden, but it gets very little attention.

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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Pinche View Post
    I love my Norco Sight and it is one of the best bikes I've ever ridden, but it gets very little attention.

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    I like Sights too. A lot.

    The Sight won my head to head cage match last spring when I went AWOL from work and spent days demoing bikes with a buddy. I was shocked when the Sight emerged on top, ahead of all the well known heavyweights (IMHO).

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by kubikeman View Post
    My first thought was a Norco as well! In this case, the Torrent FS 1. Spank rims? DVO? and $2999? Seriously?

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	norco-2019-norco-torrent-1-fs.jpg 
Views:	239 
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ID:	1239873

    Also, shout out to Kona and NS Bikes.
    That Torrent is a super kick ass bike. DVO is killer. I have been eyeing up that bike for a while now...

    I am a big Kona fan as well. I recently bought a steel Honzo, which I stripped right down and started over again. I was very unimpressed with the component spec. I find Kona's component spec to suck on pretty much every bike I am interested in from them these days. Doesn't stop me from buying them though. I just have to exercise a little post-purchase self-help.

    There are just SO MANY incredible bikes out there. I would like to buy about a dozen of them. RIGHT NOW...starting with a brand new GG Smash (perhaps another brand that flies a little under the radar)...

  39. #39
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  40. #40
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    Anything that isnt an Orbea is a steamy pile of garbage, and you might as well be hiking.

  41. #41
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    Spot Mayhem and Spot Rollik

  42. #42
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    Anyone say Devinci yet? Troy, Spartan. Made in Canada, lifetime warranty. I've got my eye on a Django...
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by cue003 View Post
    Spot Mayhem and Spot Rollik
    Not a well-known brand, but IMO Spot's pricing puts them out of the "underrated" discussion. Cheaper than Yeti, et al., but certainly not cheap.

  44. #44
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    Honestly, I think the hidden gems have been gone since mid 2000.

    Back then everything pedaled kind of mushy, but you could get a weird cheap DW link iron horse! Or a surprisingly good pedaling mongoose or GT. Marin did a short run of an unusually good dual link bike.

    These days, a bike working great is more the standard than the exemption. We've figured out how to dial in antisquat, and now everything from single pivots to multilinks pedal well and have solid geometry.

    Everyones got a favorite, but the gap between underdogs and premium stuff has shrunk considerably.

  45. #45
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    I reckon the OG Transition Scout was brilliant and probably a better all-rounder than the Patrol unless you were racing EWS-level courses.

    Also the pre-boost Giant Reign (before they messed up the seat angle) was a fantastic all-rounder and really well priced.

  46. #46
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    Second on the Turners:

    Turner RFX: https://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/sp...mm-rear-travel
    Turner Flux: https://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/sp...mm-rear-travel

    Here's some other bikes that I've enjoyed riding:

    Alchemy Arktos: https://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/sp...mm-rear-travel
    Pivot Trail 429: https://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/sp...-45-yeti-sb100

    The Fuji Auric was also pretty good. I would take one over a Specialized Stumpjumper.

    Fuji Auric: https://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/sp...mm-rear-travel
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectre View Post
    Second on the Turners:

    Turner RFX: https://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/sp...mm-rear-travel
    Turner Flux: https://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/sp...mm-rear-travel

    Here's some other bikes that I've enjoyed riding:

    Alchemy Arktos: https://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/sp...mm-rear-travel
    Pivot Trail 429: https://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/sp...-45-yeti-sb100

    The Fuji Auric was also pretty good. I would take one over a Specialized Stumpjumper.

    Fuji Auric: https://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/sp...mm-rear-travel
    No offence but isnít Turner all but dead? Is there a frame design post 2016? I actually thought DT had basically closed down shop.

  48. #48
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    Any Diamondback Level Link bike. Sure they don't have gobs of travel, but the Level Link suspension platform is right up there with DW-Link and VPP for pedaling efficiency and overall performance. Even with only 130mm rear, its still a super capable bike especially when paired with a 160mm fork. Definitely underrated.
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Honestly, I think the hidden gems have been gone since mid 2000.

    Back then everything pedaled kind of mushy, but you could get a weird cheap DW link iron horse! Or a surprisingly good pedaling mongoose or GT. Marin did a short run of an unusually good dual link bike.

    These days, a bike working great is more the standard than the exemption. We've figured out how to dial in antisquat, and now everything from single pivots to multilinks pedal well and have solid geometry.

    Everyones got a favorite, but the gap between underdogs and premium stuff has shrunk considerably.
    I actually think this makes it more likely that there are really underrated bikes out there. Given that most bikes perform really well these days, there is a better chance that a really well-performing bike will be kind of missed in favor of other (also really well performing) options.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samo831 View Post
    Some bikes get endless hype like the Ripmo, SB130, Nomad, Following, etc. While these bikes rip and deserve the hype, Iím wondering what bikes people think are underrated or under the radar in the trail/enduro category?


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    To me, the level of hype and rating are are different metrics. A few examples:

    Canfield Bros: Under-hyped. Not underrated

    Yeti: Hyper hyped. Not underrated

    Kona: Some hype. Underrated

    Trek: No hype. Underrated

    Brand XYZ: Over- hyped. Overrated (Not naming brands- I'm not in the mood for a flame war. Get off my lawn)

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    No offence but isnít Turner all but dead? Is there a frame design post 2016? I actually thought DT had basically closed down shop.

    Dave seems focused on cross and gravel these days. Turner Bikes glory days do seem over but, I will always be a fan. Dave and his company have amazing customer service.

    https://www.turnerbikes.com/bikes/cy...85968017578125

    https://www.turnerbikes.com/bikes/cy...mited-edition/
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    Based on where I live,

    Kona and Rocky Mountain doesn't get much appreciation. People are so crazy with Santa Cruz , Niner, Trek, and Giant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    Dave seems focused on cross and gravel these days. Turner Bikes glory days do seem over but, I will always be a fan. Dave and his company have amazing customer service.

    https://www.turnerbikes.com/bikes/cy...85968017578125

    https://www.turnerbikes.com/bikes/cy...mited-edition/
    I would say that the Calgary/Canmore mountain bike market is second largest in all of Canada. It may even be the largest.

    There hasnít been a Turner dealer here since forever. I have not seen so much as a single Turner bike on the trail/road/gravel since forever. Maybe itís a regional thing or maybe I am just not noticing them out in the wild.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    No offence but isnít Turner all but dead? Is there a frame design post 2016? I actually thought DT had basically closed down shop.
    Yes, nothing new recently, but I still like the handling and climbing ability of the RFX.
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  55. #55
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    Ventana always seemed underrated. They appear to have taken the same path as Turner though. If they made a few updates to the suspension bikes, they could kill it.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    Ventana always seemed underrated. They appear to have taken the same path as Turner though. If they made a few updates to the suspension bikes, they could kill it.
    Agreed. It's funny I think I have a pretty good handle on what's out there in the MTB world and Ventana completely flew under my radar until recently.

    I've read mostly excellent things about the company and bikes but I agree they need to update some stuff, including the website that shows bikes with QR axles even though the text says modern TA's are available.

    Geometry could use a serious update too. Frankly I'm fine with the single pivot suspension for my purposes but geo needs to be right.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  57. #57
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    Pivot Switchblade. The Firebird gets all the hype but is too much bike for most riders.

  58. #58
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    [QUOTE=Spectre;14019658]Yes, nothing new recently, but I still like the handling and climbing ability of the RFX.

    I bought a RFX last year, replacing my XC/ trail orientated Santa Cruz 5010.
    While there was nothing wrong with the SC, I just wanted something more DH/ bike park capable that can also climb. I have not been disappointed.
    My RFX is used not only for some park stuff, I use it for long, 35+ mile, 4000'+ xc type rides also. The RFX probably weighs somewhere close to 30lbs, but it rides like something much lighter, closer to the 25lbs of the SC, with better climbing and descending ability.

    I know DT well, known him since the early 90's. He has seemed to back away some from his mountain bikes a bit for the time being, but is still very passionate about bikes.
    EXODUX Jeff

  59. #59
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    KHS Sixfifty 6500

  60. #60
    Rides all the bikes!
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    I run into Dave all the time in my racing. Enough so that he has taken to heckling me as I go by, maybe because I'm not racing his bike.

    He spends a lot of time on his CX bike now and seems to love it. Passion is still there obviously as he rides all the time. So I'm guessing instead of trying to fight a losing battle with the big corporations, he just focuses on his passion instead.

    I was going to go with a Turner, but the deal I got on my current XC bike was too good to pass up.

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