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  1. #1
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    Am I searching for a Unicorn? (cross-posted)

    Ok Arizona MTBRers,

    I know I'm not alone in this, but I'm looking for some feedback. I live and ride in southern Arizona and never ride park or DH. Most of our trails are a mix of XC/Trail with the occasional rock garden thrown in. An average ride will net approximately 100 feet of climbing per mile.

    I'm not close enough to any major city to do a bunch of demos, but have ridden a small variety of bikes (Trance 27.5, Trek Fuel EX, Specialized Stumpy 27.5, Trance X 29er, Anthem, etc). I currently own an Evil Following V1, which I love for its playful nature and its decent climbing prowess, but it tends to get bogged down through sustained rock gardens at speed. I recently sold a Canyon Spectral, which was fantastic for sustained rock gardens at speed, but not quite as playful as the Following. It was also a decent climber. So here's the question:

    Is there a bike out there that is playful and "jumpy" (like my Following), but is also composed and smooth through sustained rock gardens at speed (like the Spectral)? Most of the bikes I have ridden seem to be one or the other, but not both.

  2. #2
    wretch
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    I just sold my Wreckoning to get the Offering - I bet that's your unicorn as well. I live in the mountains and loved the Wreck - loved the Following even more but knew that i'd get beat up riding certain trails and locations. I think the Offering will ride slightly more like the Wreckoning than the Following due to wheelbase and for me that'll be a plus. Initially setup as 140/140 but will consider going 150 and Coil as a heavier duty option. I would certainly choose this as my go to Az rig.

  3. #3
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    My two cents...

    I got back into mountain biking a few years ago with a 120/120mm full suspension bike a few years ago. Before that I only had hardtails. I loved it. It was perfect for my level and I continued to build confidence. I kept improving and pushing my limits. I was getting faster and more daring. I finally broke the rear triangle off a drop. I'm a big guy, 6'5" 220 lbs, so it probably had more to do with that, but I lost a lot of confidence in the bike.

    I got the bike fixed under warranty and sold it. I now ride a 150/135 mm Stumpjumper and it fits my needs just perfect. It is not as good of a climber as my previous bike but I feel like I am limited only in my ability, not the bike's. I picked the stumpy largely due to sizing, I got the XXL, but I can't find a better bike to fit my riding which sounds similar to yours.

    A friend of mine has the Ibis Ripley LT and loves it. He has 2 other bikes (Pivot mach 5.5, Santa Cruz Tallboy LT) but rides the Ripley the most.

    I have another friend that loves his Pivot Mach 429 Trail.

    One thing I know is that your unicorn bike will be different than someone else's unicorn bike. Good luck finding yours.

  4. #4
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    check out the new Ransom from Scott. Progressive ramp up lever on the shock makes a huge difference in feel. From super plush freight train to firm and poppy. The lever reduces air volume by 50% so it's like adding volume spacers to the shock without actually having to take the can apart. The bike only weighs 29lb too.
    Denver, CO

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by singletrack990 View Post
    Is there a bike out there that is playful and "jumpy" (like my Following), but is also composed and smooth through sustained rock gardens at speed (like the Spectral)?
    Every bike out there, if you believe the ads and industry hype or the homers on bike forums.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truckee Trash View Post
    I just sold my Wreckoning to get the Offering - I bet that's your unicorn as well. I live in the mountains and loved the Wreck - loved the Following even more but knew that i'd get beat up riding certain trails and locations. I think the Offering will ride slightly more like the Wreckoning than the Following due to wheelbase and for me that'll be a plus. Initially setup as 140/140 but will consider going 150 and Coil as a heavier duty option. I would certainly choose this as my go to Az rig.
    If I don't get the suspension sorted on my Following, the Offering is at the top of my list. It just seems to check all the right boxes.

  7. #7
    Ahhh the pain....
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    get a rigid SS....you will gain so many skills and understand how to ride efficiently. Will you be as fast? not on chunky DH, but so fast on everything else.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    get a rigid SS....you will gain so many skills and understand how to ride efficiently. Will you be as fast? not on chunky DH, but so fast on everything else.
    Thanks for the sentiment Raybum, but I stopped riding rigid back in the 90's after riding an old rigid Nishiki down the Ash Creek trail on Mt. Graham near Safford one summer. For nearly 20 years I was on a hardtail and have only jumped to a full suspension bike in the last 5 years or so. Call me lazy, but I like the squish (and the gears).

  9. #9
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    I may be misunderstanding the issue you're describing that you're trying to get away from ("bogging down" from sustained rock gardens), but that almost sounds like a suspension setup issue like too much rebound damping. This will cause the suspension to compress then decompress much slower, sometimes before the next compression hit. This causes the suspension to 'jack down' over repeated hits, causing you to either run out of travel or just get into a much more progressive part of the spring curve (like on an air shock with spacers).

    I could understand how some types of bikes would demand spring rates or rebound settings to work well in normal conditions that then work against it in rock gardens, but simply poor setup on the bike might be something to consider versus it being a flaw by nature and fix it by getting a completely different bike.

    Sam

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    get a rigid SS....you will gain so many skills and understand how to ride efficiently. Will you be as fast? not on chunky DH, but so fast on everything else.
    I've been all excited about building a FS rig...the more I think about it the more I think I'm excited about now converting my Honzo to a rigid SS. Lost my derailleur the 2nd half of Kentucky Camp...it beat my ass!

  11. #11
    wretch
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    Quote Originally Posted by singletrack990 View Post
    If I don't get the suspension sorted on my Following, the Offering is at the top of my list. It just seems to check all the right boxes.
    Am I searching for a Unicorn? (cross-posted)-offering_cropped.jpg


    Dooo it!

  12. #12
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    Transition Smuggler and Sentinel are fun around here (in AZ), very capable downhill and in the rough, even with what would seem to be a reduced amount of rear travel. I'd recommend the carbon. Alloy versions are a bit hefty.
    Binary • Transition Bikes • Demon Dirt •

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by singletrack990 View Post
    Thanks for the sentiment Raybum, but I stopped riding rigid back in the 90's after riding an old rigid Nishiki down the Ash Creek trail on Mt. Graham near Safford one summer. For nearly 20 years I was on a hardtail and have only jumped to a full suspension bike in the last 5 years or so. Call me lazy, but I like the squish (and the gears).
    Sweet jeebus, hadn't even thought of Ash Creek as a riding option. Hiked that many moons ago and it's a pisser on foot =) May have to pencil that in when the weather warms back up...

    As for bike options, 2018 Stumpy Expert 27.5 has done well monster-trucking through pretty much everything I've pointed it at. Most of my riding is at PMP where there's no shortage of rocks. It's been equally at home on the glass-smooth trails of Brown's Ranch.

    I'm sure there are tons of bikes that are better in certain ways, and one could spend a lifetime (and fortune) picking through the options out there trying to find that unicorn, but who has time for that? Just pedal, dammit =)

  14. #14
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    Ibis Mojo 3 or HD4 would get my vote. Plenty of squish for everything you can throw at it and with the DW Link suspension pedals amazingly well. Plus you get the ability to switch between 2.3-2.8 tires to totally change the feel of the bike. You should look for a demo and try them both.

    Whether you go with any of these suggestions or not you definitely should demo before you commit to anything.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoreau View Post
    Sweet jeebus, hadn't even thought of Ash Creek as a riding option. Hiked that many moons ago and it's a pisser on foot =) May have to pencil that in when the weather warms back up...

    As for bike options, 2018 Stumpy Expert 27.5 has done well monster-trucking through pretty much everything I've pointed it at. Most of my riding is at PMP where there's no shortage of rocks. It's been equally at home on the glass-smooth trails of Brown's Ranch.

    I'm sure there are tons of bikes that are better in certain ways, and one could spend a lifetime (and fortune) picking through the options out there trying to find that unicorn, but who has time for that? Just pedal, dammit =)
    Yeah, we were probably a bit foolish, but it sure was an adventure. There have been a couple of large fires since then that have impacted the trail. Doubt one could do it on a bike anymore.

    Right now I'm strongly leaning towards a custom tune, but the suggestions that have been made are just what I'm looing for.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bradym77 View Post
    Ibis Mojo 3 or HD4 would get my vote. Plenty of squish for everything you can throw at it and with the DW Link suspension pedals amazingly well. Plus you get the ability to switch between 2.3-2.8 tires to totally change the feel of the bike. You should look for a demo and try them both.

    Whether you go with any of these suggestions or not you definitely should demo before you commit to anything.
    I'm at that point as well. There are so many excellent bikes out there, demos are a must.

  17. #17
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    i didn't realize there was so much rocket science with respect to full suspension bikes...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sestone View Post
    I may be misunderstanding the issue you're describing that you're trying to get away from ("bogging down" from sustained rock gardens), but that almost sounds like a suspension setup issue like too much rebound damping. This will cause the suspension to compress then decompress much slower, sometimes before the next compression hit. This causes the suspension to 'jack down' over repeated hits, causing you to either run out of travel or just get into a much more progressive part of the spring curve (like on an air shock with spacers).

    I could understand how some types of bikes would demand spring rates or rebound settings to work well in normal conditions that then work against it in rock gardens, but simply poor setup on the bike might be something to consider versus it being a flaw by nature and fix it by getting a completely different bike.

    Sam
    Suspension tuning made a huge difference for me - I bought a custom-tuned fork cartridge and rear shock modification from Avalanche; a chunky rock garden is one of the places where this change excels; I think that’s because there’s less high-speed compression with this setup but curiously a lot of low speed compression as well, which really helps with out of the saddle climbing. On the fork, there is very little difference between clicks on both rebound and compression, because the baseline setting is made for your weight, so you can really dial it in if you session a section of trail that represents the riding you like to do. On the rear shock, Craig at Avalache matches the shock setup (damping and recommended chamber volunes and pressure) to your weight and to the linkage design of your bike.

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