Some help needed to choose a new bike- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Some help needed to choose a new bike

    I'm looking to replace my good old Rocky Mountains ETS-X 50 2008. As much I love it, the cost of refurbishing it is too high now for an old worn out frame.

    I tend to keep my bikes for a long time, so I'm ok to plan a good budget to get quality.

    Most of the trails I do consist of long climbs and long downhill, some gentle single track and some very technical sections, so I'm looking for a well balanced bike that will last a long time.

    I'm not 20 anymore, so willing to sacrifice some speed and nimbleness for some comfort.

    So here's some contenders that I can find locally, all 2020 models and all 29" (I know, some may not be in same category, definitions are often blurry between manufacturers ) I'm not looking at higher models as I don't feel the gains are worth the beefy price increases.

    Specialized Stumpjumper Expert
    Trek Fuel EX 9.8
    Rocky Mountains Instinct 70
    Santa Cruz Hightower S
    DeVinci Django Carbon 29 GX
    Comments/suggestions?

    It would be my first carbon bike, so hopefully I won't regret it. I'm still reading MTBR about it. Comments?

    The Rocky Mountain is equipped with Shimano XT and the Trek can be equipped with either SRAM GX or Shimano XT (but difficult to get with XT here) I had comment that the Shimano XT is smoother and less maintenance than SRAM GX. Comments?

    I could try them a bit, like 10-15 minutes each, with a bit of climb and downhill, but I'd like to hear your comments on these bikes.

    My quick comments on my testing

    The Specialized is the most expensive for equivalent gear. Anything special to justify the extra? I have trouble to explain what I felt, but the rear suspension... Its feedback just gave me a strange feeling. But seemed the most playful right behind the Santa Cruz. But not sure if I liked its rear suspension's behavior. (Short test, no proper tuning?)

    Santa Cruz was clearly the fastest and most nimble, but not sure I'd be comfortable enough to spend 3 hours on it.

    Both Trek and RM seem well balanced and comfortable.

    RM is supposed to be the lightess of the bunch, but didn't feel that way.

    I still have to try the DeVinci (should be able to try this week)

    Trek has a lifetime warranty on carbon frame and wheels and from comments, seems to have a good customer services. Anything like that with other brands?

    Currently leaning toward the Trek, but it's difficult to chose without actually riding them more than 15 minutes in a field.

    I'm not in a rush, so I'd like comments/suggestions. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I'm not sure I understand the "comfort" issue. Bike set up/saddle/tire size should take care of that. I'm 67 and I'll do occasional 3 hour rides (I'm in Utah) on a Giant Trance Pro 1 with 115mm of rear travel and it's plenty comfortable.....well, comfortable enough, anyway.

    I'm very happy with XT (it's on all of my bikes) for simplicity and use of mineral oil. My bike came with Guide T's and they were okay too, I just prefer XT's. I ride 3000 ft descents (I'm 160 pounds) pretty regularly with no issues.

    I'm a fan of DPX2 shocks Vs. DPS, but that's just me, I suppose. Some on your list have DPX2, some don't.

    Get a bike that you can put 2.6" tires on. Probably can on all these.
    I'd look at rim width and hub engagement differences between the bikes as well.

    I've ridden Moab for quite a few years on 3 different carbon bikes. I've cracked ribs, but never a frame. I wouldn't sweat carbon for durability, if that's a concern.

    Yes, ride them.

  3. #3
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    I'd look into the Revel Rascal as a do it all comfortable bike - they seem very impressive based on reviews with many industry veterans in the company. The CBF suspension seemed to 'wow' a lot of folks especially for tech climbing and descending braking bumps.

    If you're open to high quality alu 7000 series, I'm a fan of the Banshee bikes (prime or titan). In the EU the Pole Stamina is getting very good reviews but their geo is on the extreme side though I cannot comment on how it feels.

  4. #4
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    The above post suggested additional bikes to look at. I won't add any bikes and instead will comment on your list. Good you have narrowed it down some to a short list. I did the same last summer myself. I only considered bikes I could demo locally.

    I don't understand the concern about the SC Hightower not being comfy for 3 hours. I ride a 2019 SC 5010, which has less suspension than the Hightower and I can do 1/2 day rides without discomfort. I am 43 years old. Wearing good cycling liners, a good seat and tires will go a long way in making any bike comfy.

    I like the suggestion of 2.6" width tires, but each their own.

    Trek may be the best bang for the buck (I have not compared Specialized bikes lately though). Personally, I'd go with the Trek, Rocky Mountain or Santa Cruz off your list, but all those bikes would be great to own. That said, usually Santa Cruz is not a good bang for your buck brand. Ride them more and buy the one that makes you happy on it.

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