Bike advice - Techy Az trails, bit no jumps- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Bike advice - Techy Az trails, bit no jumps

    Ok,
    So looking for some ideas on a Tech/Gnar bike.

    Currently have 29er SS HT, 29er FS XC bike (100/100) and 125/130 Santa Cruz 5010.

    Looking to replace the 5010 with a 29 better suited to Tech/Gnar.
    What do I mean by Tech/Gnar?

    Well I want climb tech and descent tech. I don't need speed and I don't do jumps.

    Yesterday I went climbing up Irregular and I hated getting hung up on the ledges with the 27.5 wheels on the 5010. I feel like rollover will be better on a 29er and my other two bikes are 29. Going down I want to be able get down stuff like cheesegrater, Hairball and the nasty descents off So Mo. I am not looking for super fast speeds, but slack / reach that allows me to get behind the front wheel.

    My 5010 is a first generation (2013 Solo) model so has 68 Deg HA, 130mm fork. I have dropper on it and riding a Large frame with 24" top tube and 16.8" reach with 50mm stem. I am 5'8" so the large is a bit "big" for me, but with bikes getting longer it actually fits ok to maybe needing 60mm stem. I run an 80mm stem on my 2018 Epic with 23.4" top tube and that fits well.

    So I think I need a slacker HA and a longer reach. Top tube length is probably ok as with steeper seat tubes these days reach gets longer for similar ETT.


    Ok what are some good bikes that can climb tech, but also descend. I don't think I need a long travel bike as I don't intend to go fast down this stuff and I do want still climb too. Like to keep the weight under 30lbs.

    An AM HT might work, but I do want to be able to do the occasional enduro so I the lack of rear suspension is going to get old.

    Priorities -
    1) Descending steep and ledgy terrain in a controlled fashion
    2) Climbing steep ledgy terrain
    3) Nimble to be able to pick way around tight stuff
    4) Once a year Enduro. Mid to back of the pack pace.

    Not important
    - jumps, bike parks, "getting rad", flow trail crap

    Any advice for our Az trails?
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  2. #2
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    Looks like we have the same riding style and priorities. I ride a 29er Pivot Switchblade, 150F/135R, and find it the perfect bike for the PMP chunk and techi climbs. Prior to the Switchblade , I had 2012 Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc, and like you the VVP seemed to get hung up on the ledges, whereas the DW link seems not to and a bit more plush and stiffer. The SB is a great all around bike. I ride the SB all over from the swoopie Brown's Ranch to bombing down SoMo.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Ok,
    So looking for some ideas on a Tech/Gnar bike.

    Currently have 29er SS HT, 29er FS XC bike (100/100) and 125/130 Santa Cruz 5010.

    Looking to replace the 5010 with a 29 better suited to Tech/Gnar.
    What do I mean by Tech/Gnar?

    Well I want climb tech and descent tech. I don't need speed and I don't do jumps.

    Yesterday I went climbing up Irregular and I hated getting hung up on the ledges with the 27.5 wheels on the 5010. I feel like rollover will be better on a 29er and my other two bikes are 29. Going down I want to be able get down stuff like cheesegrater, Hairball and the nasty descents off So Mo. I am not looking for super fast speeds, but slack / reach that allows me to get behind the front wheel.

    My 5010 is a first generation (2013 Solo) model so has 68 Deg HA, 130mm fork. I have dropper on it and riding a Large frame with 24" top tube and 16.8" reach with 50mm stem. I am 5'8" so the large is a bit "big" for me, but with bikes getting longer it actually fits ok to maybe needing 60mm stem. I run an 80mm stem on my 2018 Epic with 23.4" top tube and that fits well.

    So I think I need a slacker HA and a longer reach. Top tube length is probably ok as with steeper seat tubes these days reach gets longer for similar ETT.


    Ok what are some good bikes that can climb tech, but also descend. I don't think I need a long travel bike as I don't intend to go fast down this stuff and I do want still climb too. Like to keep the weight under 30lbs.

    An AM HT might work, but I do want to be able to do the occasional enduro so I the lack of rear suspension is going to get old.

    Priorities -
    1) Descending steep and ledgy terrain in a controlled fashion
    2) Climbing steep ledgy terrain
    3) Nimble to be able to pick way around tight stuff
    4) Once a year Enduro. Mid to back of the pack pace.

    Not important
    - jumps, bike parks, "getting rad", flow trail crap

    Any advice for our Az trails?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Ok,
    So looking for some ideas on a Tech/Gnar bike.

    Currently have 29er SS HT, 29er FS XC bike (100/100) and 125/130 Santa Cruz 5010.

    Looking to replace the 5010 with a 29 better suited to Tech/Gnar.
    What do I mean by Tech/Gnar?

    Well I want climb tech and descent tech. I don't need speed and I don't do jumps.

    Yesterday I went climbing up Irregular and I hated getting hung up on the ledges with the 27.5 wheels on the 5010. I feel like rollover will be better on a 29er and my other two bikes are 29. Going down I want to be able get down stuff like cheesegrater, Hairball and the nasty descents off So Mo. I am not looking for super fast speeds, but slack / reach that allows me to get behind the front wheel.

    My 5010 is a first generation (2013 Solo) model so has 68 Deg HA, 130mm fork. I have dropper on it and riding a Large frame with 24" top tube and 16.8" reach with 50mm stem. I am 5'8" so the large is a bit "big" for me, but with bikes getting longer it actually fits ok to maybe needing 60mm stem. I run an 80mm stem on my 2018 Epic with 23.4" top tube and that fits well.

    So I think I need a slacker HA and a longer reach. Top tube length is probably ok as with steeper seat tubes these days reach gets longer for similar ETT.


    Ok what are some good bikes that can climb tech, but also descend. I don't think I need a long travel bike as I don't intend to go fast down this stuff and I do want still climb too. Like to keep the weight under 30lbs.

    An AM HT might work, but I do want to be able to do the occasional enduro so I the lack of rear suspension is going to get old.

    Priorities -
    1) Descending steep and ledgy terrain in a controlled fashion
    2) Climbing steep ledgy terrain
    3) Nimble to be able to pick way around tight stuff
    4) Once a year Enduro. Mid to back of the pack pace.

    Not important
    - jumps, bike parks, "getting rad", flow trail crap

    Any advice for our Az trails?

    Anything from 130-150mm Travel.

    The list of bikes that fit that and what you wanna ride is HUGE.

    Knowing brands you would consider would help a ton with idea's on which bike.
    Too Many .

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent701 View Post
    Anything from 130-150mm Travel.

    The list of bikes that fit that and what you wanna ride is HUGE.

    Knowing brands you would consider would help a ton with idea's on which bike.
    The list of possible bikes in huge, but looking at techy ledgy climbs starts to narrow things. So many reviews are out there, but the ones I care about are for terrain I want to ride it on. This why I posted here. If you are going to get bike to climb Irregular and ride down hairball trying clean (not really fast, just clean) both what would you choose. My 5010 is good, but I feel like I could do better on the descents with the front tire being farther out front just a bit and could climb the steps better with larger wheels. A friend of mine has a Enduro 29 and to me that is too big of a bike and handling suffers as a result. I still want reasonably nimble to handle low steep tight stuff. Then again what I want may not be possible in one package. So just looking to get some ideas.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Epicrider View Post
    Looks like we have the same riding style and priorities. I ride a 29er Pivot Switchblade, 150F/135R,
    Like the switchblade. Don't like superboost. I do suspect that Pivot generally are designed better for climbing steps and ledges than Santa Cruz VPP. Due mostly to terrain their respective backyards. This not the first time I have heard this about VPP.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  6. #6
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    I have not ridden one but it sure sounds like you are describing a Ibis Ripmo (or ripely LS with less travel) Similar to switchblade, DW link with no super boost.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    The list of possible bikes in huge, but looking at techy ledgy climbs starts to narrow things. So many reviews are out there, but the ones I care about are for terrain I want to ride it on. This why I posted here. If you are going to get bike to climb Irregular and ride down hairball trying clean (not really fast, just clean) both what would you choose. My 5010 is good, but I feel like I could do better on the descents with the front tire being farther out front just a bit and could climb the steps better with larger wheels. A friend of mine has a Enduro 29 and to me that is too big of a bike and handling suffers as a result. I still want reasonably nimble to handle low steep tight stuff. Then again what I want may not be possible in one package. So just looking to get some ideas.
    YT Jeffsy 29er 140/140
    Trek Fuel, ( I have a 29er if you want to try it, size 19.5) 130/130, some 140/130
    Spec. Stumpjumper 130/130 some have more
    Koma Hei Hei Trial 140/140
    Ibis Ripmo 160/145
    Intenses Primer, AVC or the Spider
    Transition Smuggler is a 140/120, Sentinel is 160/140
    Niner Jet9
    Pivot Mach 5.5 or the 429 Trail

    all are 29er and some are 29/27.5+ like my Fuel.

    Hope some of that helps.
    Too Many .

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones2 View Post
    I have not ridden one but it sure sounds like you are describing a Ibis Ripmo (or ripely LS with less travel) Similar to switchblade, DW link with no super boost.
    Wheelbase on the Ripmo is 2" Longer than Ripley LS. Both Medium. Reach on the LS is shorter than my Large 5010. So I think the Ripley LS only gets me 29"wheels, but not much else. The Ripmo may be "too big" for what I need. Medium Switchblade looks to have good Geo numbers. 0.75" slacker than my 5010, 1/2" longer reach to move the front end out but only 1" longer wheel base. The Hightower might work, but I am kind of split between Medium and large.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  9. #9
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    I went through a few bikes last year trying to find what worked for me as a 'Do all' bike. I know that's not exactly what you are looking for, but you still want something that both climbs and descends really well. I'm down in Tucson so terrain is very similar. I picked up a Spot Mayhem about 6 months ago and it should definitely be on your list. I enjoy climbing the techy/ledgy almost as mush as I like descending, and this this bike just impresses me the more I ride it. Going down is as good as any other modern trail bike fun, stable, and confident inspiring. Set up with 140 front and 130 rear it handles Mt. Lemmon very well. Its not the lightest bike around, but it rides much lighter than other suspension designs. If you ever come down this way shoot me a message and you can take it for a spin. I'm around 5'7" on a medium.

  10. #10
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    Newer versions of VPP are much more dialed in pedal kickback thing. If you otherwise like Santa Cruz, might be worth checking out a Hightower. Nice bike, particularly if youíre not looking to absolutely blaze downhill.

    Iíve owned many of the bikes listed here, though I generally ride Somo. Currently on a Ripmo, which Iíd venture is the finest overall bike Iíve owned.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  11. #11
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    Built out and been on a Jet 9 RDO now for about 6 months and its been the perfect "do it all" bike for me.

    Running a 140 fork with 29 wheels and long shocked it by 3mm to get BB little higher for technical climbing, and squeezed out like 8mm more travel on it.

    I think the geometry is spot on and the CVA suspension is sooo smooth on the chunk here is AZ. Suspension is very active and has very little pedal kickback which is great for climbing chunk and descends like is has more travel than it has. Its not a snappy pedaler (little squishy on gas out of the saddle), but its a nice trade-off.

  12. #12
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    So I too have a Jet 9 as my do all bike. Also with 140 fork. I havenít done the rear shock mode to increase travel. I agree itís a great do all bike. I can ride Hiline, Browns and do ok at Somo. I can change out my wheels and tires do some XC races.

    But your not looking for a do all. The Jet is too close to your XC bike. Iíd want more travel for what your looking for.

    If did in2fallingís mod I might think otherwise.

  13. #13
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    Great post Joe, following. Some day I'll have a do-it-all bike.
    My Two Schillingsworth


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Wheelbase on the Ripmo is 2" Longer than Ripley LS. Both Medium. Reach on the LS is shorter than my Large 5010. So I think the Ripley LS only gets me 29"wheels, but not much else. The Ripmo may be "too big" for what I need. Medium Switchblade looks to have good Geo numbers. 0.75" slacker than my 5010, 1/2" longer reach to move the front end out but only 1" longer wheel base. The Hightower might work, but I am kind of split between Medium and large.
    Joe I've owned both the Ripmo and the Switchblade, I would advise to demo if you can, not just look at numbers. The Ripmo is a noticibly better climber in all but the gnariest climbs. From the numbers its counterintuitive but the Ripmo rides lite but still tames rocky DHs. I ride Az less Phoenix more Sedona Flag I would take the Ripmo over all the above suggestions.
    For ref in 5-9 ride a med in both. The Ripmo cockpit feels a little short but the seatangle makes short work of steep climbs.

  15. #15
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    My thoughts... I've always preferred DW-link over VPP for climbing ability. The suspension action of DW link as you hit an obstacle seems to sink into travel and then propel you over as it rebounds rather than get hung up like VPP sometimes does. I have been underwhelmed by the new long/low/slack bikes when it comes to climbing, and especially technical climbing. Everyone seems to rave about how great these bikes climb but I find the front wheel wants to turn over to the side too much, they track poorly on steep climbs, and I get way more pedal strikes all around. I haven't noticed much difference descending wise. A steeper HA can have more precise steering so I wouldn't go too slack. It might help to demo a new 5010 and then ride your current one back to back to get an idea of how they differ, then try some similar DW-link bikes too. What might help your descending might hurt your climbing.

    As for 29er yeah they roll over things better but it also takes more effort to get them rolling. This will make it harder on technical climbs where you sometimes need short bursts of power to get up and over things. The bigger wheels might be less precise when picking lines but maybe that is offset by easier roll over. I've always thought smaller wheels = better for slow tech riding.

    A couple bikes to look at that haven't been mentioned are Knolly and Guerrila Gravity. Bikes from both companies are generally regarded as good technical climbers. I have an old Knolly Delirium and can attest first hand to its climbing ability despite being 40lbs with 7" travel. It hurt to grind that bike up long fire road or trail climbs but I could rock crawl up anything short/steep/technical at places like the Dells or SoMo that I could climb on my MojoSL. The Endorphin has been a constant on my list of next bikes at lower weight but still capable. Looks like Knolly has a short travel 29er now too. It could be hard to get your hands on a demo though (OTE Sedona?). I've also been hearing a lot of good things about GG lately in terms of great tech climbing and descending ability, and from people whose opinion I trust. They would also be hard-ish to get your hands on but it could be worth the effort. These would be worth looking at for sure with sub 30lb builds possible at reasonable cost. Mike / she&I on MTBR is in AZ periodically and is a GG ambassador. The two other bikes I test rode and really liked were Turner Flux and Intense Primer. Didn't have the chance to try them on anything technical but both seemed very fast and climbed great.

    Lots of pics of the Knolly in this old TR: https://forums.mtbr.com/arizona/anot...st-787969.html

    Something else that may be worth trying would be to put a 150mm fork on your current 5010. This would slacken the HA a degree or so which might help on the descents (but not the climbs). I think you are on the right track looking at something on the shorter travel side of the spectrum, as I agree you don't need more travel for the type of riding you want to do. That's the same reason I went with a shorter travel Mojo3 rather than a longer travel Ibis HD4 or other.

    People can give you suggestions all day long but ultimately you need to go out and ride some bikes and find out what works for you.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Wheelbase on the Ripmo is 2" Longer than Ripley LS. Both Medium. Reach on the LS is shorter than my Large 5010. So I think the Ripley LS only gets me 29"wheels, but not much else. The Ripmo may be "too big" for what I need. Medium Switchblade looks to have good Geo numbers. 0.75" slacker than my 5010, 1/2" longer reach to move the front end out but only 1" longer wheel base. The Hightower might work, but I am kind of split between Medium and large.
    FWIW, I'm 5'8" with 30" inseam and ride a medium Hightower with 50mm stem. 800mm/35mm riser bar. I do like to sit more upright but the Hightower also has a short stack height. As mentioned the newer VPP is much less prone to hanging up, I don't really notice it.

    Think I'm fairly close to you in the North Valley, if you want to swing a leg over mine sometime and get a feel for fit shoot me a PM.

  17. #17
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    I have an Intense Primer built as a 140/130 and I've ridden all over AZ on it, including all over SoMo and it did everything surprisingly well considering I wasn't running beefy tires at the time. If you said you wanted to jump and slam down the mountain, I'd suggest you look elsewhere but based on your riding description, it could be an option. Many people are putting 150 or 160 forks up front and putting the longer linkage from the Intense Recluse to essentially make them a Ripmo. If you read the Primer thread on the Intense board, you'll see there are 100's of people who are overwhelmingly impressed by their Primers.

    All that being said, if I was going shopping for a do it all bike tomorrow, the first bike I'd ride would be the new Yeti SB130. It's a 150/130 29er and their Switch Infinity (SI) suspension is the best there is for climbing IMO. https://www.pinkbike.com/news/field-...-sb130-pb.html
    2019 Yeti SB5C
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    2017 Intense Primer

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    the first bike I'd ride would be the new Yeti SB130. It's a 150/130 29er and their Switch Infinity (SI) suspension is the best there is for climbing IMO. https://www.pinkbike.com/news/field-...-sb130-pb.html
    I test rode a few yeti's when I was bike shopping and wasn't very impressed with switch infinity compared to all the hype those bikes get. They climbed ok but not great and generally felt pretty lifeless. The switch infinity seems like it would be a huge pain in the ass to clean all the time. And then there is the outrageous pricing and CO bro-brah following. No thanks....

  19. #19
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    Unless you are going to be pushing it hard on the DHs and IMO, doing some air-time, the biggest bikes are going to be dogs to lug around on climbs for little benefit. The 150+ frames here like Wreckoning, many of the Knollys, Ripmo, etc., do not make up for their heft and other issues. They are fun bikes and maybe it's warranted if you already have the shorter travel trail/AM niche filled, but to put proper rubber on these and parts to match what the bike and suspension is capable of makes for a poor accelerating/pedaling bike just due to the mass. I've had lots of air-time on a 155mm 29er enduro bike and it's more than possible to do, but IMO, unless you have some aspirations to do this, 130mm is a much better travel class to be looking at.

    I remember back when 29ers started appearing on SoMo, all of a sudden 4" travel bikes were faster than the hardcore 6"+ AM bikes on many of the downhills. I don't think this advantage continues linearly, there's a point I reached with my 29er enduro where I noticed in the medium radius turns at high speed I had to slow down more to maintain traction, or I would just skid, then I had to pedal harder out of the turn and in between some obstacles to get the same speed I would have when riding a shorter travel bike. For general riding, I think there's a sweet spot for technical terrain and 29ers in terms of wheel travel and the more extreme amounts of travel become useful in less situations. About the only place I needed or wanted the full 155mm of travel on that 29er was the bike park, and I do a lot of descending outside of that.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by schillingsworth View Post
    Great post Joe, following. Some day I'll have a do-it-all bike.
    Your bike plus your feet = DO IT ALL.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    ... a point I reached with my 29er enduro where I noticed in the medium radius turns at high speed I had to slow down more to maintain traction, or I would just skid, then I had to pedal harder out of the turn and in between some obstacles to get the same speed I would have when riding a shorter travel bike. ...
    My friend rides SoMo on his Enduro 29 and laments to me how he can't corner worth crap. Part of it may be skills, but part of it the size of the bike and getting it to turn. He is constantly working get his bike around tightish turns. Seems like is biggest downfall. Down a twisty marginally chunky descent I can easily gap him with my 5010. Part of this skills, but also because I can maneuver the bike. He picks up speed when he can just plow through stuff.

    In then end I like my 5010 alot and I push it pretty good and probably take it down more chunk that in the main design scope for it (Full Lemmon Drop!), but I am looking for better performance in ledgy climb and a little more stability in steep descents. Since my other two bikes are 29 XC type bikes I will probably never get comfortable with a pure "just plow through it" approach. I still want have my bike be "nimble" in grand scheme of things even if it will never be as nimble as my Epic or SS Rigid.


    BTW... I converted my 29er SS HT to 29+ SS Rigid. I really like how that bike climbs light chunk. Those big wheels really just roll over stuff and don't get hung up. They are harder to spin up, but since they slow down less it not bad. This why I really think I am big wheel guy. But all that said the bike is still very nimble which some might doubt on 29x3.0 and not as "snappy" as on 29x2.35/2.2. Not sure which is "faster".
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by evdog View Post
    My thoughts....
    Evan,
    Good thoughts. I think I am pretty set on 29" wheels. The thing I have found is the bigger wheels roll over steps better and I don't seem to mind the extra effort to spin up. All that extra weight to spin up means they slow down less too. My 5010 was my first FS bike a few years ago, but I think 29" wheels are right for me if bike does not turn super long unresponsive pig.

    As for steep seat angles my Medium Epic has 74.8 Deg Seat angle, 17" reach and 23.4" top tube and fits well with 80mm stem. Of course with no dropper and 69.5 deg HA it is not ideal for super steep descents. Even my Vassago Verhauen has a 74deg seat angle, but my 5010 has a 73. I feel like my legs are tuned now for a steeper seat angle as. I am thinking I want at least a 74 deg seat angle may be 75. Probalby not more. My 5010 reach is 16.8" Reach at least 17". With a longer reach will move the front out just a bit more with a slacker than my 68 deg 5010 HA by 1 maybe 1.5 deg max and 130/140 travel It might just preserve the weight on the nose for the super steep climbs to prevent wandering, but give me a little more margin for comfort super steep descents. Looks like the Medium Switchblade Geometry is pretty close to what I thinking about.

    My real goal here is to have a few top pocket bikes in mind so can look for demos or demo opportunity or possible bikes for sale on Stevebay to know what might work rather than seeing a bike and the having to do a ton of research. Yeah I will have to ride the bikes to really find out, but that short list makes things much easier for me.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  23. #23
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    Can't recommend any one bike because comes down to personal preference which is tied more to body type compatibility probably but a DWL for the climb and I wouldn't want less than 140mm fork for the descent on some of those trails..

  24. #24
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    I don't have much to add to this thread but am bike researching myself. I will add that I find my Ibis Ripley LS (120/140 travel) lacking on technical descents. The 13" bottom bracket and pedal strikes drive me crazy as well although the bike does corner very well for a 29r. Either way, the bike is not nearly as much fun or confidence inspiring as my 27.5 RFX on techy trails both up and down.

    I like where progressive 29r frame design with steep seat angles is going but am leery of the long wheelbase big travel bikes like a Transition Sentinel or Evil Wreckoning. Like Jayem pointed out above, the sweet spot for a 29r is probably in the 140-145 mm realm. The Evil Offering is checking a lot of boxes for me but I need to get on one.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by evdog View Post
    I test rode a few yeti's when I was bike shopping and wasn't very impressed with switch infinity compared to all the hype those bikes get. They climbed ok but not great and generally felt pretty lifeless. The switch infinity seems like it would be a huge pain in the ass to clean all the time. And then there is the outrageous pricing and CO bro-brah following. No thanks....
    Obviously, different experiences....I've had two switch infinity bikes, a couple Pivot's, multiple Santa Cruz' and currently (2) Intense bikes with their VPP version, the SI climbs the best. Cleaning the rear suspension is not an issue at all, takes 30 seconds. The pricing is higher than average but if you buy at the right time at the right shop, it doesn't have to be any more than other bikes. I have a 2019 SB5 frame I got for 24% off. I don't know anything about the CO bro-brah thing as I haven't experienced it.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    I don't know anything about the CO bro-brah thing as I haven't experienced it.
    Ha, a few years ago I unknowingly made the mistake of riding Kennebec Pass to Durango during a 'Yeti Tribe Gathering'. I totally get what evdog is referring to.

  27. #27
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    29er wheels have pros and cons. For tech riding, I have been so impressed with 27.5 plus wheels. I have both for my pivot 429. I find that bike too steep for steep descents, but the change the wheels make adds a remarkable boost to my climbing, descending and jumping -- just so much tread and traction. I've climbed some of the rocky trails in the McDowells with both setups - I think the better roll of the 29 is a fair trade for the better traction of the 27.5 - the frame is much more important than the wheel there imo. The 29 is faster going up.

    I agree that the Switchblade is a bit more tech oriented, in either wheel configuration, than the 429. I demo'd all 4 setups. the fork is not so much the issue as the slightly slacker angle compared to the 429 for tech riding. Whatever that geo is, its right about there I think is a good sweet spot for your goal. Hightower is also a popular choice.
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  28. #28
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    My contribution... currently on a 5010 v3 with 27.5+ wheels and 140/130 suspension setup and it is far more capable than the v1 with much more modern geometry. Rode a Bronson v2 for 2 years and the new 5010 feels like the same bike on somo. But with your preference for 29ers I think a Hightower is up there for recommended rides. But again, there are so many good bikes in this category it is still best to get out and demo.

  29. #29
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    You just need to pick a bike with a longer reach, slacker HTA, and shorten the stem. It's all about the balance. Stack has a bit to do with it as well.

    I would suggest you keep the 5010.

    Call me whatever you think but...

    Get a longer fork. Like 150mm. Put an extra spacer or 2 in the air spring. Set the sag so the small bump is comfortable. This will also change the spring curve to give you more support in the mid stroke and prevent dive. Helps a ton going down steep tech.

    Having a longer fork will also slacken the bike a touch and raise the BB a few MM. Both bonuses when riding tech.

    Shortening the stem will increase your leverage ratio on the wheelbase of the bike. This makes it easier to lift the front wheel and get over the front center easier. This is better for climbing steep tech.

    Speeding up the rebound on the shock helps will big hops up steps.

    If you have to have a 29er the options are long listed. But after seeing what Danny Macaskill can do on a 5010... Not sure the bike is your limitation.

  30. #30
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    Norco Sight Bible of Bikes Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89cCAOA98Tw

    Took their advice...found this with carbon wheels for an insane price...haven't regretted it for a second.

    The Pivots didn't fit me...I was in between two sizes and for me, that didn't work at all. I was dead in the middle of the large for Norco sizing, which has proven to be a big deal on the downhills.

    In the end...buy a bike that makes you happy. You will learn how it works best on the trails you ride. Put a smile on your face dude...give a rip what others tell you!
    Last edited by BoomingSooner; 12-21-2018 at 08:00 AM.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin MD View Post
    ..

    I would suggest you keep the 5010.

    Call me whatever you think but...

    Get a longer fork. Like 150...
    Hmm 150 will add 20mm A/C Which I think gets me about 1 deg slacker. Another thought could be 130mm 29/27.5+ fork. Same AC as 150mm 27.5, but with less travel. Might be interesting. Looking at maybe picking up a used fork. Cheaper than new and less investment should it not work out as I want.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Hmm 150 will add 20mm A/C Which I think gets me about 1 deg slacker. Another thought could be 130mm 29/27.5+ fork. Same AC as 150mm 27.5, but with less travel. Might be interesting. Looking at maybe picking up a used fork. Cheaper than new and less investment should it not work out as I want.
    A angle headset with your existing fork might be a good option also. Or
    maybe a 140 fork and a 1 degree angle headset.

    Works Components make great angle headsets.
    https://www.workscomponents.co.uk/

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Hmm 150 will add 20mm A/C Which I think gets me about 1 deg slacker. Another thought could be 130mm 29/27.5+ fork. Same AC as 150mm 27.5, but with less travel. Might be interesting. Looking at maybe picking up a used fork. Cheaper than new and less investment should it not work out as I want.
    And get custom suspension, dump the pike cart for an avy cart or get a fractive tune for a fox fork, send the shock off to avalanche or vorsprung. They gut internals and put stuff in there that actually works. You often don't know what you don't know and there's usually a world of performance you are missing out on. Riding down crazy stuff with my AM bike, it feels more like a DH bike because it's so well controlled and damped, and then pedaling it is firmer so it accelerates and responds better. I can't guarantee that would help with your ledgy climbing, but it's a worthwhile investment and I add it to the cost of any new bike or suspension I get now, simply because it's worth it. Vorsprung has some good videos on suspension and the limitations of many of the OEM products. You can have all the handling, slack angles and reach numbers in the world, but if your chassis ins't stable and able to handle repetitive bumps, it's all for naught.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  34. #34
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    I did replace the rear shock with a Fox Factory DPS EVOL. - 2016 version. It did make the bike climb much better. Not so wallowy in the mid stroke, but the old shock was leaking and failed so not the best comparison. Climbed that super steep stuff at Hawes heading to the new trail. On smooth 10-12% grades the bike climbs well. It is just 30lbs so not light. However that climb has no steps to worry about. I did bump rear shock back to 210psi where I like it. I think it was about 180 on the rider earlier in the week where I was getting hung up, but that was up Irregular so much different terrain
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  35. #35
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    The new Giant Anthem looks like a great option as well. Like others have said, modern multi-pivot designs seem to climb tech much better than our old VPP's (I have a v1 Bronson and have the same momentum-destroying issues). If you can wait, go to the Sedona MTB Fest, test ride all the bikes, and give us a writeup of you impressions. I hope to be in the market for one of these bikes next summer.

    EDIT: Meant the new Giant Trance 29 ... not the Anthem. It's even light enough you could use it for techy marathon races.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by In2falling View Post
    A angle headset with your existing fork might be a good option also. Or
    maybe a 140 fork and a 1 degree angle headset.

    Works Components make great angle headsets.
    https://www.workscomponents.co.uk/
    Did some reasearch and ran some numbers and it seems like a -1 deg angle set might be just what I need. Won't solve the climbing issues that much, but will slacken the bike out at low cost. Frankly there is little I can do to make 27.5 roll over stuff like a 29er. I already have a 2.6 tire there and it won't fit anymore. I can slack the bike out some with a fork or angle set (or both). This might be a good low cost test case.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  37. #37
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    Sounds like the Pivot Switchblade Epicrider recommended fits the bill to a tee...

  38. #38
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    2019 Bible of Bikes just dropped. This year they tested out in St George. Very similar to our terrain. Lots of reviews on mid to long travel 29ers

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Did some reasearch and ran some numbers and it seems like a -1 deg angle set might be just what I need. Won't solve the climbing issues that much, but will slacken the bike out at low cost. Frankly there is little I can do to make 27.5 roll over stuff like a 29er. I already have a 2.6 tire there and it won't fit anymore. I can slack the bike out some with a fork or angle set (or both). This might be a good low cost test case.
    If you're looking into this what about slacking it out while gaining the rollover by just throwing a 29 up front?

    I'm not a big fan of trying to engineer geo way out the window of the original design though, a bike is a package and I don't believe most of us can improve upon them by feel (or even engineering intuition).

    As a former indycar damper guy I 100% don't believe we can tune damping effectively without dyno or shockwiz help, tho aftermarket options are definitely the right direction.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    I did replace the rear shock with a Fox Factory DPS EVOL.\
    IME, the latest and greatest shock never compares (favorably) to a good custom tune. Even though they tend to get better as new shocks are introduced, the rate of the actual ride improvement (not all the gimmick features they try and tack on) is very very slow. They still have to design those shocks for a range of 120-240lbs or so and that means when the 240lb guy gets on, the high speed damping needs to be restrictive enough not to bottom the first time he hits a sharp-bump, so that means everyone below that weight is way over-damped in high speed compression and you tend to have to run the shock "open" to get any kind of decent bump absorption. This is the catch-22 you are usually locked into with OEM suspension. The other issue tends to be mass-production and extremely crude internals. As fancy as they look on the outside, many OEM shocks still have very ineffective damping circuits inside, to the point of RS advertising things like "rapid recovery" when the rebound stack is so over-damped it'll never open under the most extreme conditions. Multiple design issues like this often exist in shocks and we set them up to try and get the best compromise we can. You can often get a small increase in performance by upgrading the shock and sometimes something exists as the OEM spec that is so woefully inadequate that you can get a decent improvement with a new shock, but as compared to a good custom tune, those both usually pale in comparison. The only downsides to the custom tune are once you do it, it's hard to live without and it tends to make you notice how inadequate the other end of your bike is (if not also tuned). It costs money, but compared to the cost of a new frame, for the amount it actually can change the ride, it's still a good value IMO. It's also often taking an older beat up chassis that you have, gutting it, putting in new tuned internals with a full service, so you end up with something that vastly outperforms a new shock anyway.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  41. #41
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    I think I have fallen into the upgradeitis trap with my DPS in wanting to go with a DPX2 or CC DBiL. My question is can you custome tune DPS to work for 200lbs?

  42. #42
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    Lots of good points. I am in no hurry so plenty of things to consider.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five0 View Post
    I think I have fallen into the upgradeitis trap with my DPS in wanting to go with a DPX2 or CC DBiL. My question is can you custome tune DPS to work for 200lbs?
    Yes, but the shock chassis is not a DH/enduro shock and the adjustments will be more limited on the DPS. If you are bombing down SoMo or living for the descents, you'd be better off with a DPX2. The thing about tuning is you don't need a new shock for it, a used Float X would be just as good as a DPX2 usually, since they are going to "gut" the shock anyway. The DPS is an XC shock, it can be tuned for more DH riding and provide the necessary support, but pushing it is going to reveal the shortcomings and there'll be more risk of failure. IMO, they put some of these shocks on the bikes to advertise their weight and little else, as there are some trail bikes that are woefully under-shocked, but part of that are the OEM manufacturers refusing to give us meaningful high/low speed adjustments on said XC shocks. Again, weight is usually a primary driver.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  44. #44
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    This: "If you're looking into this what about slacking it out while gaining the rollover by just throwing a 29 up front?"

    I have no experience on the kind of stuff you are riding and don't intend to ever get it but it would seem to accomplish much of what your are shooting for. Maybe use the & saved for that custom tune.

  45. #45
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    This: "If you're looking into this what about slacking it out while gaining the rollover by just throwing a 29 up front?"

    I have no experience on the kind of stuff you are riding and don't intend to ever get it but it would seem to accomplish much of what your are shooting for. Maybe use the & saved for that custom tune.

    By the way Merry Christmas Joe.

  46. #46
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    Have you considered Lenz? Iíve been interested in getting a FS29+ bike for fun, to augment the 29+ Ti SS I ride. Iíve looked at and read too many threads as well. One bike that really has me thinking is the Lenz Behemoth 29+.
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  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by azjonboy View Post
    Have you considered Lenz? Iíve been interested in getting a FS29+ bike for fun, to augment the 29+ Ti SS I ride. Iíve looked at and read too many threads as well. One bike that really has me thinking is the Lenz Behemoth 29+.
    Linkage Design: Lenz Sport

    The pivots are very low and that results in very low efficiency, significantly less than 100% AS means your pedal strokes will compress the rear suspension, lifting the front wheel on steep stuff. On the one hand, this gives you the "clawing into the rocks" feeling on the steep technical stuff, where it feels like you use even more travel than the same sized rocks on the downhill, but the double edged sword is the efficiency and how light it makes the front end. Lenz has been doing this for a while and they seem to make solid frames, I've ridden them, but they don't seem to do much about addressing efficiency.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  48. #48
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    Agree with the comment about the Spot Mayhem. Just picked that up and it is great for the majority of our terrain. But like most mid travel 29ers, you can definitely find its limits if you want to. Shameless plug here, but I am selling my 2019 Hightower. It is a great build, tough to beat for the money. If you want to take a look, just let me know. It is up on SteveBay and Pinkbike.

  49. #49
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    Well I think I am going to stay with my 5010 for at least a while longer. Made small shock adjustment and "steepend" my seat tube a bit by moving the seat forward more in line with the crank to seat position on my Epic. Those adjustments were minor, but really made the bike alot snappier. Took it on some mixed trails at Hawes where I really did not need a super slacked out bike, but appreciated the dropper and slacker than XC geo in a few spots. Found it rode really well in more XC places too. Then took it up Irregular and down Hairball. This included some of the stuff on the last ride where the bike got me thinking. In the end going down Hairball I had to walk some spots, but that was not really bike just me. I did ride quite alot of the trail at my slowish pace and in the end I think I still have more to learn before I really need a big longer bike. Where a bigger bike helps will hurt it in more "mixed" rides where there is just more XC type terrain inter mixed with a few areas of super chunky bits. I still may try to demo some of these newer bikes, but I am no longer in a hurry. Mentally I am pretty happy with where I am at and my current stable of bikes.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  50. #50
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    If you get a new bike get one that can run plus wheels and 29er wheels like a High Tower or Switchblade. Plus are great for grip on the kitty litter here. Love the versatility of my Switchblade for this. My Wed group ride for example all rode plus hardtails this week that make a lot of sense in desert conditions.
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