New Bike Thoughts: Nimble, sprightly descender-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2019

    New Bike Thoughts: Nimble, sprightly descender

    Hey all,

    I'm considering adding a second bike to the MTB quiver. I've resisted this because I also race road and cyclocross, and have way too many bikes in the garage. But, I'm riding MTB a lot more, and getting into enough gravity-oriented days and trails that my SB100 is starting to feel like not enough bike. There are plenty of drops and chunk I'm hitting where I use up the travel pretty quickly.

    I race XC and I'm pretty competitive, so I'll be keeping the SB100 for sure. I have two sets of wheels for the Yeti, so I have a super-light XC race setup, and a fast all-around trail setup. That means the new bike will only be for pedal-up and bomb-down days, focused on the descents.

    There's very little fireroad climbing here (PA). Pretty much all the descents are accessed with technical singletrack climbs, so I don't want anything too cumbersome on tight stuff. Also, descents mostly involve tight corners and highly featured terrain - very little fall-line bombing.

    I don't want to spend a ton on this bike. Something in the $3-5k range, probably on the lower end. I'm OK with NX, but want decent dampers. I'm more concerned with geo than spec - I can fix little details.

    The shop that sponsors my race team has Transition, Santa Cruz, Yeti, and Cannondale. The SB130 or 150 would be awesome, but pushing the budget pretty hard. Is an SB100/130 combo a little too close? Would the SB150 be too much bike for trail riding with only an occasional enduro race?

    The Hightower offers some nice economical builds, but reviews make it sound like a much better bike for faster trails vs. tight, natural stuff. Pretty much everything I've read has said it's a little bit of a clunky ride at low speeds.

    The Jeffsy 29 sounds really good, and of course the value is there. The Comp build for $3k is a nice spec. Reviews have the handling being quick and agile, up and down.

    Ripmo AF looks great but is all sold out and I'm not sure it'll be available for 2021.

    Canyon Strive also sounds great.



  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Don't forget about the Transition Sentinel. Even the 2018-19 models look like a lot of fun! I have a buddy who was switching bikes every few months or so it seemed, but once he landed on a 2018 Sentinel he has stayed on it for 2 years. I've ridden it once and can say that it was a very fun bike to ride and actually wish I could get some more seat time on it! I am in (SE) Pa as well and it climbs well enough and absolutely bombs the downhills. The new Sentinel looks like it's even more fun than the previous generation.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Well, I just pre-ordered a Jeffsy Base. I figure at this price I can ride it for a season and maybe Iíll be happy and keep it, but if I want to get something lighter or bigger Iíll know for sure.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: fredcook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Autoxfil, since you're open to consumer direct (you mentioned Canyon), I'd suggest looking at a Whyte T-130, which is a 140 mm bike. The base model comes with Fox 34 and GX at something like $2500. Heck, for $3200 you get carbon, Pike, SRAM 4 pot stoppers, GX, etc. I think fully decked out, it tops out at less than 5k. And it's a very nice quality, boutique like, build. But more importantly, I think it'd fit the type of riding you described. It's very capable on tight technical climbs and descents. That's some of my favorite type of riding, and this has been the most fun bike on that terrain I've ever ridden. It's a bit long, as are most newer geo trail bikes, but it's so easy to hop into the line if needed, going up or down. It's very stable through rock gardens, natural staircases, either by slow negotiation, or just bombing through at full speed. It really feels more like a 150 mm bike if you decide to hammer down stuff. Yeah, it can climb OK on longer flat stuff, but it's not (by design) an XC bike. But steep techy climbs? It's a goat. And no slouch when taking on flow and air either. That was my biggest surprise. It's a blast on flow, and pops up in the air without effort.

    If 140 mm isn't enough, they have a 150 and 170.

    Like I think any decent consumer direct bike, 30 day no questions asked return policy. Also has lifetime warranty on main pivot bearings. Four years on everything else, as I recall.

    But... like I always mention in my rants about this little known gem of a bike... they sell out fast in the U.S.

    I looked at and rode the Jeffsey (and Canyon Spectral), btw, when I was looking for a new trail bike in 2018. Both great bikes, but the Whyte took me by surprise.
    You didn't quit riding because you're old, you're old because you quit riding.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Knolly Fugitive would be a good candidate

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