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  1. #1
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    Only bike: FS 27.5 or modern geo 29 HT?

    I'm in the market for my first good MTB. I'm an experienced road cyclist and I've been riding a cross bike offroad for a pretty long time. I had a random cannondale trail 29er for a while but sold it because I just rode road where I used to live, but now MTB is back in the picture in a big way, so the new bike will get used a lot.

    I want a modern bike, preferably with a warranty, and I've kind of settled between a 2019 chameleon and a 2019 trance 3. The price is pretty close when you consider the chameleon needs a dropper. The giant also has a better fork.

    I've been warned against HT bikes as well as 27.5" bikes, but the bottom line is I really can't afford a new 29" FS bike. It's hard to know what to believe at this point.

    Most of my rides seem to involve riding up then down hills - you could would probably not consider them very technical but there are loose rocky sections.

  2. #2
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    27.5 and 29 are pretty different. FS and HT are too. If you're on the fence about what you want, keep shopping.

    Have you tried a demo? Lots of shops will "rent" you a bike and take the rental cost off the purchase. You can also talk to the shop dudes; if they're enthusiasts, they'll have a good recommendation for where/how you ride.

    And a 27.5 should be more or less the same cost as a 29 if the build is equivalent.

    What does your LBS carry?
    2016 SC 5010
    2017 Norco Torrent
    2014 Giant Trance (the boy's)
    2014 Kona Process 134a (the other boy's)

  3. #3
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    The problem with asking for recommendations is people seem to have widely varying opinions. As far as the cost being the same, it doesnít seem like you can get a FS 29er thatís as good as a trance without spending quite a bit more.

  4. #4
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    In my experience riding an AM hardtail vs. a full sus trailbike is a completely different experience. With a HT you are basically 90% of the time off the saddle which is a great full body workout and tons of fun but does wear you down much faster. With a FS you can let the rear suspension eat up a lot of the smaller hits and conserve a ton of energy.

    To be honest I would not worry that much about the 27.5 vs. 29" thing, you'll have a blast going either way. Also the Trance should be able to take 2.6 or maybe even 2.8" tires that brings the rollover capability closer to a 29er.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dundermifflin View Post
    I'm in the market for my first good MTB. I'm an experienced road cyclist and I've been riding a cross bike offroad for a pretty long time. I had a random cannondale trail 29er for a while but sold it because I just rode road where I used to live, but now MTB is back in the picture in a big way, so the new bike will get used a lot.

    I want a modern bike, preferably with a warranty, and I've kind of settled between a 2019 chameleon and a 2019 trance 3. The price is pretty close when you consider the chameleon needs a dropper. The giant also has a better fork.

    I've been warned against HT bikes as well as 27.5" bikes, but the bottom line is I really can't afford a new 29" FS bike. It's hard to know what to believe at this point.

    Most of my rides seem to involve riding up then down hills - you could would probably not consider them very technical but there are loose rocky sections.
    I wouldn't discourage you from 27.5" wheels nor hardtails, haha. Both have their merits and can be ideal for various situations.

    I happen to have both a somewhat modern 29er hardtail and a 27.5" wheeled 7"/7" travel enduro/light DH bike and I love them both to pieces (not literally).

    The enduro bike is "overbiked" in a lot of situations and that's where my hardtail comes in. It makes a lot of trails that I stopped riding years ago a lot more fun again. The 29" wheels do make a HUGE difference in smoothness compared to the old 26" hardtails and rigid bikes I used to ride. I actually take the hardtail on pretty nasty trails from time to time and I still have a blast and keep right up with times of people on full suspension bikes.

    If you're riding truly technical terrain though, then having quality suspension at both ends is unbeatable regardless of wheel size.

    Honestly, it's really difficult to take our word for it -- you have to try both styles of bike on your particular terrain to know what will serve you best.

    One person's "technical" terrain, "requiring" a modern enduro bike is another's warmup trail. Case in point, I finally rode one of my area's most hyped "all mountain/#endurbro/#sickDH" trails this year and come to find out, there was not a single bump on the entire trail. I would have been better suited on my hardtail or even a cyclocross bike -- and I intend to go back and do just that.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.

  6. #6
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    What size? I have a Large SC Heckler 2016 I might be willing to part with. I'm in SoCal as well.

    Sorry for the Spam.
    The Steel Fleet:


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  7. #7
    Dream it, Do it.
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    How tall are you? If you're under 5'7" or 5'8", the 29er might not even fit you well.
    Dirt Merchant Bikes
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    Seattle area dealer for Turner Bikes & Cleary Bikes

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectre View Post
    How tall are you? If you're under 5'7" or 5'8", the 29er might not even fit you well.
    Iím about 6 feet tall and ride a 56cm road bike with 78cm saddle height, should be right for most large sized mountain bikes I think.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectre View Post
    How tall are you? If you're under 5'7" or 5'8", the 29er might not even fit you well.
    Those days are over, plenty of options for smaller 29's

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dale-Calgary View Post
    Those days are over, plenty of options for smaller 29's
    Not really. Stack height is a thing. Some manufacturers are getting good at designing bikes that work ok despite the restriction of stack and sharing a chainstay length with proper fitting bikes. At best it's a compromise in either direction.


    WRT original question- that's hardtail VS FS. If you want to enjoy trails then FS is the way to go at that price point. Depending on 10 personal variables the chameleon might be better.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    What size? I have a Large SC Heckler 2016 I might be willing to part with. I'm in SoCal as well.

    Sorry for the Spam.
    Spammer! Ok, I'll let you off the hook since you complimented my bike this week. (BTW it was a hardtail)

    Op, my vote is 29er hardtail. Mostly because your description of your local terrain is not overly technical and it doesn't sound like you need full suspension. Also because your on the tall side.

    Common mistake- thinking a full suspension bike is an "upgrade" to a hardtail. It's not, it's just a different kind of bike. Especially on terrain that doesn't "require" full suspension I think a hardtail is way more fun. It will pedal better and teach you how to choose good lines and proper technique. A full suspension bike covers poor technique for beginners and lets you mostly get away with it.

    Plus it's lower maintenance and costs less.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

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

  12. #12
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    Well, looks like I'll be going with a FS 27.5" bike Deep down I really wanted to try a full suspension anyway so we'll see how it works out. Thanks for everyone's input. Maybe a HT 29er will also be on the table for a next bike

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Spammer! Ok, I'll let you off the hook since you complimented my bike this week. (BTW it was a hardtail)

    Op, my vote is 29er hardtail. Mostly because your description of your local terrain is not overly technical and it doesn't sound like you need full suspension. Also because your on the tall side.

    Common mistake- thinking a full suspension bike is an "upgrade" to a hardtail. It's not, it's just a different kind of bike. Especially on terrain that doesn't "require" full suspension I think a hardtail is way more fun. It will pedal better and teach you how to choose good lines and proper technique. A full suspension bike covers poor technique for beginners and lets you mostly get away with it.

    Plus it's lower maintenance and costs less.
    A hard tail might teach you how to pick easier hardtail friendly lines, but that's not inherently good or anything. Same with technique, just teaches you how to ride a hardtail.

    OP, go for the trance! It's a great bike, you can ride it all day and it climbs great. It's also a ton of fun.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dundermifflin View Post
    Well, looks like I'll be going with a FS 27.5" bike Deep down I really wanted to try a full suspension anyway so we'll see how it works out. Thanks for everyone's input. Maybe a HT 29er will also be on the table for a next bike
    Trance 2 29 is an option worth demoing.
    Giant bikes are price negotiable if you check with several managers at different shops.
    Find one who'll work with you to get a deal done at an amount(figure the actual dollar amount) around 20 off + tax cash 60% no refund down on an order.
    A reasonable alternative to the 0% financing Giant is currently running as an incentive.

    For the trails you describe I'd look at a Stache.

  15. #15
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    I think wheel size can be over emphasized to a degree...the geo of the bike has as much impact on how it feels and performs depending on terrain ridden. I chose 27.5 for my Kona a year ago due to the terrain I ride being less flow and more tech. Being 6'4" I need an XL so it's already a huge bike. I went with the 27.5 vs 29 for a bit more maneuverability. A buddy just picked up a new YT Jeffsy 29er ($2300) in a Large frame. When bikes were loaded in truck my 27.5 is longer.

    The bigger wheel size is not necessarily the right tool for all applications. If I was in an area where there were more high speed downhills I would have gone 29.
    12 Santa Cruz Heckler
    18 Kona Process 153 AL/DL (27.5)...

  16. #16
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    Yep, you can pretty much hop on any appropriately sized bike and have a good time these days regardless of wheel size. At 5'8", I prefer a 27.5 for my full suspension as I do not like the higher feel of the bars on a 29er with 130mm+ fork, but that is just a personal preference. That said, I find my 29" Les hardtail to be my favorite bike these days because it is so light and responsive.

  17. #17
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    The trance was at the top of my list but since I was offered nice used bike by a gracious forum member, Iíll go with that to save a few bucks and see what I like (hint itís a Santa Cruz heckler)

    Iím not gonna lie I still have feelings for the chameleon and everyone keeps talking about the stache so I might have to keep an eye out for a nice used one in the future. Interestingly my girlfriend is also looking for a bike (sheís also a road cyclist) and has taken a liking to the purple 2016 stache but they arenít easy to find in a medium size - not to mention treks sizing is confusing when shopping used.

  18. #18
    Bikesexual
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    Quote Originally Posted by dundermifflin View Post
    The trance was at the top of my list but since I was offered nice used bike by a gracious forum member, Iíll go with that to save a few bucks and see what I like (hint itís a Santa Cruz heckler)

    Iím not gonna lie I still have feelings for the chameleon and everyone keeps talking about the stache so I might have to keep an eye out for a nice used one in the future. Interestingly my girlfriend is also looking for a bike (sheís also a road cyclist) and has taken a liking to the purple 2016 stache but they arenít easy to find in a medium size - not to mention treks sizing is confusing when shopping used.
    I have a purple Stache for sale.....nah!! just kidding!!!

    To the rest of you, please stop killing my sale!!!
    The Steel Fleet:


    '14 All City MMD
    '12 Kona Unit Rigid
    TBA - There is a hint in the Purchase thread

  19. #19
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    Sounds like you're on a good path to learning more about what'll work for you.
    Check Pinkbike for used. Bike Flights as a shipping method is reasonable.
    Here's a good deal.
    https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2464951/

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    I have a purple Stache for sale.....nah!! just kidding!!!

    To the rest of you, please stop killing my sale!!!
    Donít worry I think the heckler is cooler and better looking than the trance

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Sounds like you're on a good path to learning more about what'll work for you.
    Check Pinkbike for used. Bike Flights as a shipping method is reasonable.
    Yeah Iíve been on pinkbike a bit. Only problem with her is she seems to think everything is ugly. Youíd think someone that has raced, and often goes for strava QOMs would be more pragmatic, but no...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dundermifflin View Post
    Donít worry I think the heckler is cooler and better looking than the trance
    I've seen a lot of pictures of that bike. It's pretty cool.

    I rented a Heckler some years ago and really liked it a lot.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dundermifflin View Post
    Yeah Iíve been on pinkbike a bit. Only problem with her is she seems to think everything is ugly. Youíd think someone that has raced, and often goes for strava QOMs would be more pragmatic, but no...
    Tell her you'll get the bike wrapped with whatever color she wants.

  24. #24
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    You know I was just thinking a Heckler would be right up your alley. What are the chances???
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

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

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