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  1. #1
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    2019 Stumpjumper vs Hightower LT vs Regular Hightower in Norcal

    Has anyone ridden all 3 of these bikes? (the newer 2019 stumpjumper 29, Hightower lt, and Regular Hightower) My current 125mm xc 29er is fairly worn and with its own set of issues so I think its time to seriously consider making it a spare bike and getting a new one. I demoed a Hightower lt in Santa Cruz but have only rode the other 2 around parking lots. Basically I need a bike that will do everything from pedaling through the rocky flat trails at Tamarancho to flying downhill at demo, all while still being somewhat fun on tight switchbacks.

    I was fairly set on getting the Stumpjumper 29er expert, but after learning about the hightower lt, I demoed one and was really impressed with it. For one thing, the hightower lt S build is $600 cheaper than the stumpjumper expert yet seems to be similarly equipped (both are GX eagle for example), so maybe there is something I'm missing but the lt seems like a better value. The lt of course climbed excellently and descended fast and with extreme confidence, and also pedaled quite well on some xc type trails. The lt was a 2018 model xo1 build with fox 36 fork and dpx2 rear and SC carbon wheels, so somewhat different than what I was considering buying as the new one has a dps rear and aluminum rims. The 36 had a hard time using all of its travel but that seems common with the 36 equipped bikes I've ridden and might be solved by running lower air pressures/ messing around with tokens, etc, plus I've been told the 36 that comes on the 2019 bikes has an improved damper. The LT was somewhat harsh on the small bumps as expected but otherwise felt nice on larger hits and was a good all-around bike.

    Then there is the regular hightower, which is also a good choice. The same built for the same price as the lt appears to be over 1 lb lighter than the lt if the same tires are used, and the regular hightower felt a bit more nimble riding on the street possibly due to its short wheelbase, which would be an advantage for tight switchbacks. The LT had kind of a big monster truck feel somewhat in comparison which gave lots of confidence when descending but this may also partially be due to the heavy 2.5/2.4 dhf/dhr2 combo that was on the bike. The advantages of the lt are that it can fit the larger rear tire when I want to and it does everything well, yet the regular hightower may be enough bike and has the benefit of being a bit more light and playful and handling tight turns better. The LT is almost on the edge of being a bit much to ride around while most reviewers suggest that they wanted more travel from the regular hightower and to get the LT instead. As it is, I have always been wanting more travel from my current bike so the regular hightower may disappoint a little.

    The stumpjumper seems like my 3rd choice then in this shootout but I rode the old sworks 29er with ohlins air at a demo event and it was simply amazing, so that complicates things. Either way, I was wondering if anyone had any feedback as I'm torn between 3 great bikes and the only way to help a bit would be to demo all 3 which can get pricey. Its hard to go wrong with any of the 3 bikes for our trails but picking the best is somewhat of a challenge, although I am leaning towards the hightower lt currently. Perhaps the rear suspension of the stumpjumper handles small bumps better, but I don't know.

    Honorable mention here is the yt jeffsy though I'd rather go 1x12 than the e13 1x11 system it has. Guerrilla gravity was also on the radar but their bikes seem to be more focused strictly on nailing long descents and are less all around bikes.

  2. #2
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    I bought a Guerilla Gravity Smash. It's for sure too much bike for everything you mentioned, but I love it. It handles tight switch backs, it handles speed, and it handles climbing. I have never thought I wished it had better small bump compliance, but I do have a coil shock on it and built my bike up probably 2 to 3 pounds too heavy (dreaming of Tahoe and Moab)

    I regularly ride with a guy who has a Trail Pistol and is significantly better at literally everything than me. You don't need a lot of travel for the bay area ( but more is fun and makes up for personal skill deficiencies)

    My main point is a GG is an excellent all around bike and is right in the running with all the bikes you listed.

    I personally didn't like the slack seat angle of the SC bike I tested (tallboy 3). If the Hightowers are similar, just not a fan. It also really felt like I was sinking into the VPP travel. But that might have been my demo setup.

    The Stumpjumper I tested was great. I liked it a lot. I had already bought and was waiting for the GG Smash at that point though.

  3. #3
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    The new Yeti SB150 29 looks interesting. They stepped a little out of the box in geo. 77 seat tube angle 64.5 head tube angle with a reduced 44mm offset fork and really long reach.

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    Isn't that basically the exact same as the Transition Sentinel and right in line with current trends? You know just at the farther end of the slack HA?

    @OP unfortunately we can all tell you what we ride and like, but unless you start demoing bikes you aren't going to know, which works the best for you personally.

    So, try and hit up demo days, take a trip to SC to demo the bikes for a little cheaper, or suck it up and pay the $200-$300 to demo all the bikes you are interested in and get something you love.

  5. #5
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    I've ridden all three. And have even ridden them at Tamarancho. The Stumpjumper I wanted to like. A lot. But I just couldn't. Maybe it's because I was super tired that day, but I just couldn't get it to work how I wanted it. The SC bikes, while still being overkill there, were more manageable and intuitive.

    In my opinion the only reason to get the Hightower over the Hightower LT is because you want to go with plus tires. I honestly didn't notice any lack of efficiency climbing the LT. The extra half degree HA and 15mm in back can make some of those sketchy situations a bit less sketchy.

  6. #6
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    But but but what about the Yeti 5.5? Ripmo? Riot? Switchblade? Wreck?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cassieno View Post
    Isn't that basically the exact same as the Transition Sentinel and right in line with current trends? You know just at the farther end of the slack HA?
    True, but Transition bikes are generally heavier and suspension platform is not as pedal friendly. They are definitely more downhill oriented.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliikane View Post
    True, but Transition bikes are generally heavier and suspension platform is not as pedal friendly. They are definitely more downhill oriented.
    And they don’t cost $10k either.

  9. #9
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    Recently bought HTLT C S w/ reserve wheels. It is comparable to the SJ in many ways however it is burlier in some key areas including fork (36 vs 34), brakes (code vs guide) and slightly more rear travel. For me, this was a huge perk because it really made the bike a do it all rig. I would regard the SJ as too light for northstar and perhaps less suited to stuff like UC than the HTLT.

    The HTLT pedals really nicely - I couldn't really understand why someone would opt for the regular HT. If you want to do a lot of out of saddle sprinting and stuff you're probably after a different bike anyway.

    The LT is a bit much for the smoother parts of skeggs but a worthwhile trade off for the ability to really play in all the sandboxes.

  10. #10
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    I put faster rolling tires on my HTLT for MidPen and Demo riding. Mezcal rear, Morsa front. Make a HUGE difference in pedaling without giving up too much on the downhill. Mezcal is a little slippery, could probably run Morsa on front and rear with similar results.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cassieno View Post

    My main point is a GG is an excellent all around bike and is right in the running with all the bikes you listed.
    Yeah I think they are pretty nice and were at the top of my list for awhile, they do seem to have a fairly long wheelbase and are fairly slack I think though. So the travel is fine and I like their options but maybe its not the most ideal.
    Quote Originally Posted by aliikane View Post
    The new Yeti SB150 29 looks interesting. They stepped a little out of the box in geo. 77 seat tube angle 64.5 head tube angle with a reduced 44mm offset fork and really long reach.
    I gave it a thought but it definitely seems to be on the extreme enduro side, the wheelbase alone is more than 100mm/10cm longer than the wheelbase on my current bike!

    Quote Originally Posted by cassieno View Post
    @OP unfortunately we can all tell you what we ride and like, but unless you start demoing bikes you aren't going to know, which works the best for you personally.
    Unfortunately I think I will need to do this, just need to find a stumpy to demo. I realized today though that the stumpjumper costs more since it has carbon rims.
    Quote Originally Posted by sambs827 View Post
    I've ridden all three. And have even ridden them at Tamarancho. The Stumpjumper I wanted to like. A lot. But I just couldn't. Maybe it's because I was super tired that day, but I just couldn't get it to work how I wanted it. The SC bikes, while still being overkill there, were more manageable and intuitive.

    In my opinion the only reason to get the Hightower over the Hightower LT is because you want to go with plus tires. I honestly didn't notice any lack of efficiency climbing the LT. The extra half degree HA and 15mm in back can make some of those sketchy situations a bit less sketchy.
    Awesome this is actually extremely helpful feedback. I don't care much about the plus tires, it was mostly wondering if I should go for the regular hightower as its lighter and enough bike to do the job. Almost every reviewer says to jump straight to the LT though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gigi View Post
    But but but what about the Yeti 5.5? Ripmo? Riot? Switchblade? Wreck?
    I demoed a yeti 5.5 before and liked it less than the stumpjumper, somehow it felt bigger and less fun than the stumpjumper while also being more harsh. I really like the look of yetis and actually had that bike at the top of my list as a result, but I was disappointed enough to not need to try it again.

    I considered the Ripmo too but I demoed both an hd3 and a riply ls and didn't like the way either bike fit, I was going to buy an hd3 then as they were going for massive discounts everywhere but I wasn't a fan. I like Ibis bikes but they don't work for me I guess. The 2.8 nobby nics were terrible too though, on the hd3 the front washed out on me out of nowhere for no reason and the the rear on the riply tore right open after only a few downhill corners in a section that I cleared with many other bikes.

    I somewhat overlooked the other options so I should research a bit more maybe.

    Quote Originally Posted by akdmx View Post
    Recently bought HTLT C S w/ reserve wheels. It is comparable to the SJ in many ways however it is burlier in some key areas including fork (36 vs 34), brakes (code vs guide) and slightly more rear travel. For me, this was a huge perk because it really made the bike a do it all rig. I would regard the SJ as too light for northstar and perhaps less suited to stuff like UC than the HTLT.

    The HTLT pedals really nicely - I couldn't really understand why someone would opt for the regular HT. If you want to do a lot of out of saddle sprinting and stuff you're probably after a different bike anyway.

    The LT is a bit much for the smoother parts of skeggs but a worthwhile trade off for the ability to really play in all the sandboxes.
    I see another vote for the LT over the regular. I guess my current bike being a essentially xc bike that's always pushed to the limit makes me think about having too much bike and making things a bit too easy. But the LT was nice either way.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    I put faster rolling tires on my HTLT for MidPen and Demo riding. Mezcal rear, Morsa front. Make a HUGE difference in pedaling without giving up too much on the downhill. Mezcal is a little slippery, could probably run Morsa on front and rear with similar results.
    Good points, I have overlooked those tires too.

  12. #12
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    I was hoping to open this thread to find good info not just a bunch of "what about this bike" (insert favorite brand the original poster was not asking about).

    I have a friend looking at both the new stumpy and the hightower lt. He would get grass roots pricing on the LT, but I think he is still going to go with the stumpy. Rockshox suspension, carbon hoops, and the swat box. Which is actually pretty awesome and once you have had it, it's hard not to. If you compare the geometry of the two they are insanely close. Someone up above commented on the seat tube angle possibly being to slack, but if you look at the geo chart its almost the exact same as the new stumpy.
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  13. #13
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    I test rode the HT in Santa Cruz and I have a 2019 SJ expert. The HT was a bit more compliant but the SJ is a great package that does really well in the steep stuff. Being able to run big tires is a plus. I have a 2.4 Ardent rear and a 2.6 front, which turns out to be a great combo.

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  14. #14
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    new Kona process (friends went up to BC and tried/loved), Fezzari la sal peak (Francis?)? Transition Sentinel, Devinci Troy, Jeffsy, w/extra $$$ upgrade drivetrain + get u some car-bone wheels. For 10g's I'd go used KTM or Husky but dat's me. Lotsa good used bikes for sale too!

  15. #15
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    I've ridden 2019 versions of all three bikes within the past 3 months. My favorite was the Stumpjumper, followed closely by the Hightower. The Hightower LT was a distant 3rd.

    The LT was just too long for me. Maybe it was where I was riding (Spokane WA with a lot of tight singletrack). In the switchbacks, I felt like I was driving an RV. It was incredible on the straightaway DH sections though.

    The SJ gets the nod for a lot of small things. It seemed more agile, quiet and smooth. But really, the Hightower is a great bike as well.

    All of this is personal preference. I suggest that you find a means to ride each if you can (yes demoing can get expensive). Offerings from Scott, Evil, Pivot, Ibis etc. are also fantastic. The era when one manufacturer made a bike clearly superior to all others is over. And that is a wonderful thing for mountain bikers. Except it makes it hard to choose :-)

  16. #16
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    I've spent a lot of time on the Hightower and the Hightower LT, and a little time on the Ripmo. Formerly owned a Specialized. I do think the Hightower is a little more playful than the LT, and after riding both bikes back-to-back a few times I was first leaning toward the regular. However, after a few more rides I noticed that the LT climbs as well as the regular, and felt significantly better going down and over rocks and roots. I felt at times that I wanted more bike on the regular, but never felt like I wanted less bike on the LT. I was only able to demo the Ripmo for a few hours. The OP stated that the LT felt like a monster truck and that is a good description for how I felt about the Ripmo. I was considerably slower going uphill on the Ripmo, but what surprised me was that I was also slower going down (maybe the 2.5 tires front and back?). I know the Ripmo is a great bike, just not a good match for the kind of riding I normally do. Ultimately I bought the SC LT. It is great for my local trails and I like the fact that I can take it to bike parks and places like Tahoe and Moab. I also like the lifetime warranty on the frame and carbon rims.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bike Daddy View Post
    All of this is personal preference. I suggest that you find a means to ride each if you can (yes demoing can get expensive).
    Demoing IS expensive, but buying the wrong bike and selling it is even more expensive.
    Depreciation is brutal, especially as most bike warranties do not transfer to a second owner.

  18. #18
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    On second thought, anyone have recommendations on where to possibly demo a stumpjumper expert or hightower lt S build, or anything close to them? I've found carbon comp stumpjumpers to demo and I demoed pretty much a top of the line hightower LT, so i'd like to try something similar to the bike i'd actually buy. Especially for the stumpjumper, i'd rather demo a higher end model with the carbon wheels and rockshox to see how I like it rather than demo the cheaper carbon model, which only has a fox 34 and shimano 1x11.

    If you know a place, let me know through a message.
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    I was hoping to open this thread to find good info not just a bunch of "what about this bike" (insert favorite brand the original poster was not asking about).

    If you compare the geometry of the two they are insanely close.
    Yes from my internet searches there are a decent amount of people who are interested in comparing these bikes but not much info about them.For one thing as you said, the geometry is almost the same and the bikes are fairly comparable so it makes it hard to determine which bike is better suited for your riding.

    Quote Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    I test rode the HT in Santa Cruz and I have a 2019 SJ expert. The HT was a bit more compliant but the SJ is a great package that does really well in the steep stuff. Being able to run big tires is a plus. I have a 2.4 Ardent rear and a 2.6 front, which turns out to be a great combo.

    Sent from my LG-H872 using Tapatalk
    Good info, so the if the hightower is more compliant, is the SJ more agile? I'm just crurious as to what steered you towards the SJ if you demoed a hightower, was it just the plus wheels or something else?

    Quote Originally Posted by nativeson View Post
    n For 10g's I'd go used KTM or Husky but dat's me.
    Luckily the bikes I'm looking at are about half that price, even if I could afford it I can't see dumping 10k on a fully loaded mtb, but that's me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bike Daddy View Post
    I've ridden 2019 versions of all three bikes within the past 3 months. My favorite was the Stumpjumper, followed closely by the Hightower. The Hightower LT was a distant 3rd.

    The LT was just too long for me. Maybe it was where I was riding (Spokane WA with a lot of tight singletrack). In the switchbacks, I felt like I was driving an RV. It was incredible on the straightaway DH sections though.
    More great feedback, I felt the same about the LT, I thought it was a perfectly livable bike for all riding except for its performance in the switchbacks had me somewhat concerned. The bike I rode had extremely worn tires and conditions were kind of sandy and loose so I was concerned about really pushing it around the switchbacks, so it might be better than I thought, but the performance in the tight twisties was the only fault I really found with the bike. It sounds like the stumpy may have the advantage there.

    Quote Originally Posted by drich View Post
    . The OP stated that the LT felt like a monster truck and that is a good description for how I felt about the Ripmo. I was considerably slower going uphill on the Ripmo, but what surprised me was that I was also slower going down (maybe the 2.5 tires front and back?). I know the Ripmo is a great bike, just not a good match for the kind of riding I normally do.
    I think that's why I disliked the yeti sb5.5 vs the old stumpjumper, the 5.5 had a much more stable monster truck feel yet had the same amount of rear travel, so since the stumpy was more agile, the 5.5 felt pointless. The ripmo too has a 160 fork with 140mm rear (I think) like the 5.5 so that may be why, big stable bike capable of enduro riding yet somewhat short travel holding it back on the downhills.

    Quote Originally Posted by fgiraffe View Post
    Demoing IS expensive, but buying the wrong bike and selling it is even more expensive.
    This is true, I will have 1 bike for everything, and as good as bikes are now, I could foresee me keeping this bike a decade from now unless significant changes happen in the mtb world. My current bike is worn and not all that capable, if I could run more than a 100mm dropper, some wider tires, and it had way different geometry, i'd possibly just keep modifying it and ride it until the frame breaks.

  19. #19
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    As said earlier, I dont think you will truly find th bike unless you demo them all in similar conditions. I did that this last year and tried all the bikes you mentioned. I fell into the group of people that didnt like the seat angle of the HT or HTLT. I did not ride the new SJ, but I never considered it as an option for myself. I demoed a Ripmo, and if they were available I would have bought one right there. I didnt want to pay that much and wait 3 months for a bike (current bike was not an option).

    I ended up buying a Jeffsy haha. I have really loved all the time I have spent on it and its an awesome bike. It just fit. I would rather have the Ripmo, but I saved about $2500 and have a rad bike.

    It comes down to what fits you best and you will feel right and super comfortable on a bike at some point. Buy that one. Pretty much all the bikes have too much travel for the Bay Area, but its nice to have extra for that "just in case" situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyrmedic510 View Post
    Pretty much all the bikes have too much travel for the Bay Area, but its nice to have extra for that "just in case" situation.
    I keep hearing this. Would Pacifica, the Ridge in Pleasanton, Santa Cruz, or even Demo be considered bay area riding? If so, I don't think any of the bikes mentioned above are overkill. I think that is the type of terrain they were designed for.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    If so, I don't think any of the bikes mentioned above are overkill. I think that is the type of terrain they were designed for.
    That is the fundamental problem with having one do-it-all bike. It's a compromise. Get a bigger bike and it will eat up Pacifica, etc. and be just perfect on those trails. But take that same bike elsewhere on other tamer trails and it you'll be dragging a boat anchor up the hill as compared to what other lighter bikes can do on the climbs.

    You may say... yea but... my bike is a good climber! *But it is still a compromise*. As all bikes are. Sorry, but your big bike won't climb as well as a lighter XC rig. That's just a fact. Perhaps you don't care or don't ride tame trails, which is totally fine.

    I recently made such a compromise when I bought a Scott Spark. Great bike, super versatile and it just rips. But it is not a svelt race whip on the climbs. Nor is it as capable as a big 160mm rig is on the sketchy descents at Squamish or Northstar. And that is OK. I can always rent a big bike for these excursions.

    Someone just needs to give me $25K so I can buy my dream quiver... I accept both checks and money orders.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    I put faster rolling tires on my HTLT for MidPen and Demo riding. Mezcal rear, Morsa front. Make a HUGE difference in pedaling without giving up too much on the downhill. Mezcal is a little slippery, could probably run Morsa on front and rear with similar results.
    Just acquired an HT and run Morsa fr/Barzo rr work great for my rides.👍
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by agreenbike View Post

    Good info, so the if the hightower is more compliant, is the SJ more agile? I'm just crurious as to what steered you towards the SJ if you demoed a hightower, was it just the plus wheels or something else?

    .
    Bike has everything: carbon wheels, boost, eagle, room for 2.6 29" tires, high end carbon frame, swat box, great geo. Suspension is progressive and supportive. Bike pedals well for its size. Bike is long and big. All those bikes are great. Can't go wrong either way.

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    I keep hearing this. Would Pacifica, the Ridge in Pleasanton, Santa Cruz, or even Demo be considered bay area riding? If so, I don't think any of the bikes mentioned above are overkill. I think that is the type of terrain they were designed for.
    There are gnarly trails in the Bay Area that the majority of riders would not be able to get down. You just have to know where to look.

    And I don’t think Santa Cruz locals like being included in the “Bay Area”

  25. #25
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    I have a stumpjumper and demoed a Hightower LT in crested butte for 3 days last month. They are very similar, felt like I was riding my own bike when on the Hightower LT. I think the sj feels just a little better when climbing and the Hightower LT may descend just a little better, but you really can't go wrong with either bike.

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  26. #26
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    I have em all.

    My answer is Ibis Ripmo. Cause it answers more of the questions better than all else.
    -76 degree seat angle and 66 head with longggg reach
    - comes with the Fox 36, Grip2
    - comes with the awesome Fox DPX2 rear and can be bought with the X2
    - Aggressor, Minion DHR combo
    - longggg waterbottle
    - can put a 170mm dropper for medium riders
    - 2.6 tires
    - can be built up to a sub 28 lb bike

    The others are amazing bikes as well. The new Specy is legittttttt.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2019 Stumpjumper vs Hightower LT vs Regular Hightower in Norcal-img_3072.jpg  

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    Thats a great answer, only my LBS has had one on order since they first "Launched" and doesn't expect to get it until October.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    I have em all.

    My answer is Ibis Ripmo. Cause it answers more of the questions better than all else.
    -76 degree seat angle and 66 head with longggg reach
    - comes with the Fox 36, Grip2
    - comes with the awesome Fox DPX2 rear and can be bought with the X2
    - Aggressor, Minion DHR combo
    - longggg waterbottle
    - can put a 170mm dropper for medium riders
    - 2.6 tires
    - can be built up to a sub 28 lb bike

    The others are amazing bikes as well. The new Specy is legittttttt.
    So for the money is the ripmo a better build..:?
    Last edited by TubeSSnapper; 08-31-2018 at 06:16 PM. Reason: Autocorrect

  29. #29
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    2019 Stumpjumper vs Hightower LT vs Regular Hightower in Norcal

    Quote Originally Posted by agreenbike View Post
    Yeah I think they are pretty nice and were at the top of my list for awhile, they do seem to have a fairly long wheelbase and are fairly slack I think though. So the travel is fine and I like their options but maybe its not the most ideal
    .


    How tall are you? I have a medium trail pistol you can take for a lap at Tamarancho if you want. I think you'd be very surprised at how capable and versatile the GG bikes are.


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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by TubeSSnapper View Post
    So for the money is the ripmo a better build..:?
    Ya know... they're all about the same. They try to really deliver at the $5-$6k range and are quite comparable. Then they'll have a $4k build too to get more folks on the bike.

    The key I think is to see if they have the components that you like? Eagle, stubby stem and wide bars, saddle, dropper that works. So much better when you don't have to replace anything.

    For bang for the buck, Yt Capra 29 is the king. Fezzari La Sal is good too.
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    They're all way too much bike for me, but after reading the reviews, what about this?
    https://www.bikemag.com/2018-bible-s...00-tuned-7200/
    My Favorite Peeps:

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    I think at this point I just need to demo a stumpjumper and I will be able to make up my mind, its just finding anything higher end than a carbon comp model is impossible, there may be a shop out there that has an expert or higher and isn't advertising so I will have to hunt around when the time is right. But it seems like the LT S, stumpjumper expert are on my list and I should probably demo a Ripmo for the heck of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyrmedic510 View Post
    I ended up buying a Jeffsy haha. I have really loved all the time I have spent on it and its an awesome bike. It just fit. I would rather have the Ripmo, but I saved about $2500 and have a rad bike.

    It comes down to what fits you best and you will feel right and super comfortable on a bike at some point. Buy that one. Pretty much all the bikes have too much travel for the Bay Area, but its nice to have extra for that "just in case" situation.
    Yeah those YT's are pretty rad, just reading reviews though i'm not sure if they are the right bike for me despite the great value. Fit is always important too though, a Large lower end 650b stumpjumper fit me like a glove, if the 29er fits the same (geo is slightly different) than that's great, of course the LT fit okay too so idk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    I keep hearing this. Would Pacifica, the Ridge in Pleasanton, Santa Cruz, or even Demo be considered bay area riding? If so, I don't think any of the bikes mentioned above are overkill. I think that is the type of terrain they were designed for.
    Going with the other post quoted above, I guess if I get one of these bikes, I'm pretty sure i'll start riding more DH stuff/ doing bigger drops, etc. that my current bike has difficulties with so i'll likely use the bikes to their full availability. I barely ride near santa cruz/ demo currently but would probably be out there way more with a 1x12 set up and the way better downhill performance.

    Quote Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    Bike has everything: carbon wheels, boost, eagle, room for 2.6 29" tires, high end carbon frame, swat box, great geo. Suspension is progressive and supportive. Bike pedals well for its size. Bike is long and big. All those bikes are great. Can't go wrong either way.
    Good points, the carbon wheels are a good sell, I haven't ridden any rockshox bikes to compare with the fox options though so that's partially one of the reasons i'm uncertain about the specialized. But the specialized seems to be a bit more playful while still being a great descender so that tilts things in its favor.
    Quote Originally Posted by slide mon View Post
    I have a stumpjumper and demoed a Hightower LT in crested butte for 3 days last month. They are very similar, felt like I was riding my own bike when on the Hightower LT. I think the sj feels just a little better when climbing and the Hightower LT may descend just a little better, but you really can't go wrong with either bike.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
    Great, that's more good feedback, and surprising they feel the same!

    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    I have em all.

    My answer is Ibis Ripmo. Cause it answers more of the questions better than all else.
    -76 degree seat angle and 66 head with longggg reach
    - comes with the Fox 36, Grip2
    - comes with the awesome Fox DPX2 rear and can be bought with the X2
    - Aggressor, Minion DHR combo
    - longggg waterbottle
    - can put a 170mm dropper for medium riders
    - 2.6 tires
    - can be built up to a sub 28 lb bike

    The others are amazing bikes as well. The new Specy is legittttttt.
    Any more feedback comparing them? As far as I can tell the specialized is the most playful, followed by the LT, followed by the Ripmo which puts things into favor for the specialized for me. I admit I looked at the Ripmo in much further detail after this thread and the GX build is pretty nice, except for the brakes and I think KS LEVs had questionable reliability unless they changed them. So did the old rockshox reverb though so I guess the specialized would win the best dropper award here. Otherwise, the 2.5dhf/aggressor sounds like the summer combo i'd be running and the bike sounds pretty nice.

    The only problem was I disliked both the HD3 and Ripley that I test rode so a bike that's a combination of them may not be any better imo. The good point is it seems like I could probably do a factory demo for the ibis and take it out to Demo forest and answer whether or not the bike is right for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Little_twin View Post
    How tall are you? I have a medium trail pistol you can take for a lap at Tamarancho if you want. I think you'd be very surprised at how capable and versatile the GG bikes are.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks for the offer! I'm always concerned about borrowing other's equipment that isn't a demo bike though. I'm right below 5'10" so usualy between medium and large, I think in this case a medium may work.

    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    The key I think is to see if they have the components that you like? Eagle, stubby stem and wide bars, saddle, dropper that works. So much better when you don't have to replace anything.
    Actually good thing you mentioned that, if I like the rockshox ont he specialized then I need to replace nothing as the bike seems perfectly specced. IBIS saddles are always painful though, the LT's aluminum rims seem to not have the best longevity, and the droppers on both bikes (as mentioned above) may not be the most reliable either. I have a fox transfer on my current bike and after almost 2 years now it still works great with 0 servicing, which has been nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by jms View Post
    They're all way too much bike for me, but after reading the reviews, what about this?
    https://www.bikemag.com/2018-bible-s...00-tuned-7200/
    Haven't considered it much but will read up on it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by agreenbike View Post

    Thanks for the offer! I'm always concerned about borrowing other's equipment that isn't a demo bike though. I'm right below 5'10" so usualy between medium and large, I think in this case a medium may work.
    It's built like a tank, if you manage to break anything at tamarancho I'll be impressed. My offer stands, you wouldn't be the first forum member to ride it. Most have bought a GG of their own after.

    I am 5'10.5" and the medium is a very good fit with a 50mm stem and the seat in the middle of the rails.

    My wife has a small smash you could throw a leg over for fit as well, though unless you like a small feeling bike I doubt you'd like the small.


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    FYI I think I saw a SJ expert in the demo fleet at cognition cyclery in mountain view.

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    fc
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    Test rides are great! But, don't expect too much from them specially when differentiating bikes that are very close.

    You can tell if a bike fits you and what size to get. You can tell if a bike feels pretty good and if the bike 'speaks' to you and what color to get. And you get a pretty good feel of how the bike climbs and descends.

    But unless you have the bike for a weekend, on a good, challenging trail and all bikes on the same trail, same tires, it's very hard to find nuances between the different bikes.

    My buddy was a scientist when it came to test riding bikes and he had a 10-point system when it came to test riding bikes. It took him about an hour to get a bike ready for a test ride. I'll share some of his tips but if others have pointers, share here please.

    Some of the keys are take very good notes, have shock pressures and tire pressures really dialed (to compare).

    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by agreenbike View Post
    Yeah those YT's are pretty rad, just reading reviews though i'm not sure if they are the right bike for me despite the great value. Fit is always important too though, a Large lower end 650b stumpjumper fit me like a glove, if the 29er fits the same (geo is slightly different) than that's great, of course the LT fit okay too so idk.
    Comparing the geo of the new stumpy 29er to the Yt Jeffsey 29er. They are almost the exact same bike. So.... the YT was what, 2 years ahead of the big S?
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    I did some more reading and I really think the stumpy is the right bike for me out of everything, just need to get out and ride one, I may need to take a 27.5 for a spin also since I fit so well on the lower end model I rode around the block.I'm used to 29ers though so it would be weird for me to go down in wheelsize (not the wheelsize debate again lol).
    Quote Originally Posted by Little_twin View Post
    It's built like a tank, if you manage to break anything at tamarancho I'll be impressed. My offer stands, you wouldn't be the first forum member to ride it. Most have bought a GG of their own after.

    I am 5'10.5" and the medium is a very good fit with a 50mm stem and the seat in the middle of the rails.
    Thanks again! I'll let you know one day if I'm interested in trying it out, its looking right now like September is going to be fairly busy so I may not be demoing bikes again for a few weeks or heading to fairfax for awhile.

    Quote Originally Posted by akdmx View Post
    FYI I think I saw a SJ expert in the demo fleet at cognition cyclery in mountain view.
    Good info!

    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Test rides are great! But, don't expect too much from them specially when differentiating bikes that are very close.

    You can tell if a bike fits you and what size to get. You can tell if a bike feels pretty good and if the bike 'speaks' to you and what color to get. And you get a pretty good feel of how the bike climbs and descends.

    But unless you have the bike for a weekend, on a good, challenging trail and all bikes on the same trail, same tires, it's very hard to find nuances between the different bikes.

    My buddy was a scientist when it came to test riding bikes and he had a 10-point system when it came to test riding bikes. It took him about an hour to get a bike ready for a test ride. I'll share some of his tips but if others have pointers, share here please.

    Some of the keys are take very good notes, have shock pressures and tire pressures really dialed (to compare).

    fc
    This is true, there are so many differences to account for , I was certainly planning on demoing an LT again after I demo a stumpjumper, this time probably at tamarancho to see how it handles the flats as I know it climbs and descends well.

    Its ironic here too as both bikes I am looking at then are blue (all 3 if you consider the Ripmo, but that seems like its more DH focused than the other bikes) 150 front 29ers, the biggest difference really is the rear suspension probably. The Hightower LT kind of ticks all the boxes and does everything well and would be a good bike to own but it doesn't mean its the absolute best choice.

    I must say that getting to go to the Santa Cruz factory and riding a fully loaded bike straight out the door for a few hour test is one of the best ways to win over hearts if you are stuck choosing between bikes, that experience definitely made me a huge Santa Cruz fan. I'd like to own a Santa Cruz but in this case and I know where the factory is if my bike ever breaks. Overall though I just seem more interested in the stumpy even if its the most costly. As far as your color comment I have seen both bikes in person (2019 Lt in light blue and clay, stumpy in blue, both LT colors look way better in person) so I already know I like the design of the stumpjumper a bit better in terms of aesthetics, and the only concerns about the stumpjumper are the guide brakes are not the best choice and that the bike apparently comes with tubes, though it should be easy to convert it to tubeless.

    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    Comparing the geo of the new stumpy 29er to the Yt Jeffsey 29er. They are almost the exact same bike. So.... the YT was what, 2 years ahead of the big S?
    In that case probably, although most reviews i've read claim the yt is not the best pedaling bike while the stumpjumper has received great reviews, the YT was called good for the money but not the best as far as I know. If the YT had 1x12 and some other options i'd be much more interested, but despite being a bargain, the reviews plus the concern of sending the bike in for warranty work if needed and having to drive far to demo one are pretty big disadvantages of the direct to consumer model IMO.

    edit: looks like the 2018 jeffsy CF Pro Race are sold out too, I'm not sure if any more will come up for sale until next year so that kind of kills that option for me.

    The CF pro is still in stock and on sale though, dang that is an epic deal, for 2K less than the specialized but with some better equipment, might be worth reconsidering the YT. But looking at the numbers, the large stumpy and jeffsy have the basically the exact same reach but the stumpy has 20+mm longer wheelbase and slightly slacker GEO, I guess it comes down here to are the better components and cheaper price more important than different (possibly better, possibly worse) geo on the specialized.

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    Quote Originally Posted by agreenbike View Post
    If the YT had 1x12 and some other options i'd be much more interested, but despite being a bargain, the reviews plus the concern of sending the bike in for warranty work if needed and having to drive far to demo one are pretty big disadvantages of the direct to consumer model IMO.

    edit: looks like the 2018 jeffsy CF Pro Race are sold out too, I'm not sure if any more will come up for sale until next year so that kind of kills that option for me.

    The CF pro is still in stock and on sale though, dang that is an epic deal, for 2K less than the specialized but with some better equipment, might be worth reconsidering the YT. But looking at the numbers, the large stumpy and jeffsy have the basically the exact same reach but the stumpy has 20+mm longer wheelbase and slightly slacker GEO, I guess it comes down here to are the better components and cheaper price more important than different (possibly better, possibly worse) geo on the specialized.
    I agree on all accounts. Shopping local can really help with warranty stuff, but I haven't heard any horror stories from YT either. I also agree sram is a better way to go in the drivetrain department, but you could sale the brand new drivetrain from the bike and buy an eagle groupo for pretty much a wash.

    As for the stumpy being slacker, swap the 140 fork on the Jeffsey for a 150 and they would be pretty much the exact same

    One more thing that sells me on the Jeffsey is you don't find them for sale.... Like ever. So the people that are buying them must like them.

    No matter what, I think any bike you are considering now will be a hell of a lot of fun.

    Cheers

    Nate
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  39. #39
    fc
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    2019 Stumpjumper vs Hightower LT vs Regular Hightower in Norcal

    Quote Originally Posted by agreenbike View Post
    I did some more reading and I really think the stumpy is the right bike for me out of everything, just need to get out and ride one, I may need to take a 27.5 for a spin also since I fit so well on the lower end model I rode around the block.I'm used to 29ers though so it would be weird for me to go down in wheelsize (not the wheelsize debate again lol).
    Thanks again! I'll let you know one day if I'm interested in trying it out, its looking right now like September is going to be fairly busy so I may not be demoing bikes again for a few weeks or heading to fairfax for awhile.
    ...

    How tall are you and where do you live? Your powers of analysis are very good!

    fc
    Last edited by fc; 09-04-2018 at 05:46 PM.
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    Just get da fezzari and return it if u no like. I mean...why not? Decision fatigue led me to a jeffsy (after flirtin w/a 275 Capra). Still love me some 29er hardtail doe. 28t-30t front ring soon & maybe some carbon wheels eventually.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    As for the stumpy being slacker, swap the 140 fork on the Jeffsey for a 150 and they would be pretty much the exact same
    True, and the hightower would also be somewhat similar to that bike in either configuration I think. Cheers too!
    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    How tall are you and where do you live? Your powers of analysis are very good!

    fc
    About 5'10 and the east bay, not that it matters much as I have to travel to go biking anywhere as there isn't any super close legal singletrack near me, at least that's worth riding. As a result I travel the entire bay area a lot.

    And thanks, I get analytical as I plan on owning 1 bike for everything for at least the next few years, I rode my current bike until few original parts are left and i'm surprised the frame still is in 1 piece given the amount of miles and abuse on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by nativeson View Post
    Just get da fezzari and return it if u no like. I mean...why not? Decision fatigue led me to a jeffsy (after flirtin w/a 275 Capra). Still love me some 29er hardtail doe. 28t-30t front ring soon & maybe some carbon wheels eventually.
    Can you actually return once you ridden? Once a new bike goes on a ride with my it will no longer be mint condition so that doesn't seem possible.

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    Scotts Valley Cycle Sport has both the Hightower LT and SJ in all sizes. Don't know about the regular HT (not interested). I demoed both this weekend.

    The SJ got the nod (coming off my Tallboy LT, which felt very similar to the HT LT). Why? The ergo of the SJ just felt better to me. I rode both on my daily loop through Henry Cowell (a mile from SVCS) and was significantly less tired after climbing out on the SJ. The taller front end fit my body and preferred pedaling position better. The HT LT pedals awesome, descends awesome - I actually thought it was a little more precise on the downs than the SJ (perhaps a familiarity thing as I mentioned it feels a lot like my Tallboy LT) - but at this point I think that's probably more a rider-adjustment curve than bike potential. I noticed that when really standing and cranking I got a *little* bit of bob on the SJ whereas the HT LT was standard VPP solid. Seated cranking was fine and the SJ seemed to have a little more small-bump compliance (but so much of this nitty-gritty is simply adjustment, so take that FWIW). Both bikes were very quiet on the rowdy, but man the SJ is DEAD silent comparatively.

    SJ: the in-frame bottle cage (which fit my xtra-long bottle just fine) versus the PITA under-downtube bottle placement on the HT LT, the all-internal cable routing (vs some still-exposed cables on the HT LT), tire size variability of the SJ, and some of the build (like saddle, bars and dropper) felt/worked better for me. Interestingly the SWAT box didn't even register at first as a big deal, but I do rides that are more bottle-oriented than pack (read: short, lol) - so it gets an approving nod.

    At full-drop the seat felt further out of the way on the SJ. The HT felt beefier (bigger knobs on the tires, 36 fork), but in no way does that mean I felt *any* unwanted flex on the SJ - I do think if you're going to be a gravity-oriented rider the HT LT is probably a burlier big-hit machine - but the SJ just felt like a much more fun and comfortable all-round bike to me and one I wanted to climb more with.

    Wouldn't hesitate to take either to N* - but then again if this is a criteria for someone why not buy a Nomad or demo a real DH machine - the damage potential for both bikes at lift-served bike parks is (IMO) equal.

    Pricing is close enough - the $5500 SJ has carbon wheels. The $4900 HT LT does not. If you option it up it goes to $6100 I think. Both are Eagle GX. Slightly more stopping power on the HT LT with the Codes (slightly - they're both still 4-piston designs). But the SJ brakes felt damn stout under my 210# (just sayin').

    My take: they're both awesome but feel different enough that you should go ride 'em! You have a shop a mile from trailheads with both bikes and can easily do some good, revealing laps in one day on both. Plus, you could probably run down and back to Ibis to grab a demo and ride it on the same stuff too.

    Hope this helps a little.
    Last edited by Makakio; 09-05-2018 at 05:20 PM.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    [...]My answer is Ibis Ripmo[...]
    I was lucky to get one for an extended demo and I was disappointed in how it pedals vs the Hightower LT. Felt sluggish in comparison. Could have been the super wide Ibis rims flaring out the WT tires a little too far.

    It certainly is a sure footed descender but not a great all around choice if you mostly pedal around the Bay Area. Would be a sweet D-ville rig.

    _MK

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    Don't know about the Ripmo but the 2.6 rear tire on the Stumpjumper was not exactly fast either. The SJ got faster with 2.4 Ardent on the rear wheel. 2.6 front is great. If you're a strong rider, ignore my comment.
    Quote Originally Posted by MK_ View Post
    I was lucky to get one for an extended demo and I was disappointed in how it pedals vs the Hightower LT. Felt sluggish in comparison. Could have been the super wide Ibis rims flaring out the WT tires a little too far.

    It certainly is a sure footed descender but not a great all around choice if you mostly pedal around the Bay Area. Would be a sweet D-ville rig.

    _MK
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  45. #45
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    I may not be as strong as I used to be but the rear tire in the Ripmo was the Aggressor 2.5WT. I've run the 2.3 in the HT (crap tire clearance is the worst offense of that frame) and it's a relatively fast rolling tire. The 2.5 is likely a touch slower. Main thing is the HT is eager to lurch forward when you hit the pedals, Ripmo was not. Build was overall similar between the HT and Ripmo down to the X2 shock.

    I was honestly very disappointed as on paper it looked like my next bike. Ripmo wheelies/manuals better than any full susser I've been on (for me, of course).

    More pro for Ripmo: Great traction in tech, great tech climber.
    More Cons: Isn't very poppy, more effort's required to get it off the ground

    _MK

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  46. #46
    fc
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    The Stumpy I'm using.

    Soooo much better than previous generations. Now it is a true contender in this crazy competitive class.

    2019 Stumpjumper vs Hightower LT vs Regular Hightower in Norcal-screen-shot-2018-09-06-8.20.34-am.jpg

    I'm really not a fan of Butcher tires since they have a big gap in the tread pattern, horizontally. And they used to be tiny with weak rubber and casing.

    Now they have good rubber and casing and the tires have gotten much bigger.

    But I'm using.... Specialized Hillbilly
    - 2.5
    - Gripton Rubber
    - Black Dimnd casing

    and it is legittt.
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    This guy's YouTube channel is excellent - he does really high-content bike reviews while ON the bike (climbing or descending) and it's entertaining and aboutt eh best reviewing I've seen. Notably, he has just reviewed the SJ, SJ ST, Hightower, Hightower LT, Ripmo, etc etc etc.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqj...1FwtIZtBd52lcQ

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    Quote Originally Posted by Makakio View Post
    Scotts Valley Cycle Sport has both the Hightower LT and SJ in all sizes. Don't know about the regular HT (not interested). I demoed both this weekend.

    The SJ got the nod (coming off my Tallboy LT, which felt very similar to the HT LT). Why? The ergo of the SJ just felt better to me. I rode both on my daily loop through Henry Cowell (a mile from SVCS) and was significantly less tired after climbing out on the SJ. The taller front end fit my body and preferred pedaling position better. The HT LT pedals awesome, descends awesome - I actually thought it was a little more precise on the downs than the SJ (perhaps a familiarity thing as I mentioned it feels a lot like my Tallboy LT) - but at this point I think that's probably more a rider-adjustment curve than bike potential. I noticed that when really standing and cranking I got a *little* bit of bob on the SJ whereas the HT LT was standard VPP solid. Seated cranking was fine and the SJ seemed to have a little more small-bump compliance (but so much of this nitty-gritty is simply adjustment, so take that FWIW). Both bikes were very quiet on the rowdy, but man the SJ is DEAD silent comparatively.

    SJ: the in-frame bottle cage (which fit my xtra-long bottle just fine) versus the PITA under-downtube bottle placement on the HT LT, the all-internal cable routing (vs some still-exposed cables on the HT LT), tire size variability of the SJ, and some of the build (like saddle, bars and dropper) felt/worked better for me. Interestingly the SWAT box didn't even register at first as a big deal, but I do rides that are more bottle-oriented than pack (read: short, lol) - so it gets an approving nod.

    At full-drop the seat felt further out of the way on the SJ. The HT felt beefier (bigger knobs on the tires, 36 fork), but in no way does that mean I felt *any* unwanted flex on the SJ - I do think if you're going to be a gravity-oriented rider the HT LT is probably a burlier big-hit machine - but the SJ just felt like a much more fun and comfortable all-round bike to me and one I wanted to climb more with.

    Wouldn't hesitate to take either to N* - but then again if this is a criteria for someone why not buy a Nomad or demo a real DH machine - the damage potential for both bikes at lift-served bike parks is (IMO) equal.

    Pricing is close enough - the $5500 SJ has carbon wheels. The $4900 HT LT does not. If you option it up it goes to $6100 I think. Both are Eagle GX. Slightly more stopping power on the HT LT with the Codes (slightly - they're both still 4-piston designs). But the SJ brakes felt damn stout under my 210# (just sayin').

    My take: they're both awesome but feel different enough that you should go ride 'em! You have a shop a mile from trailheads with both bikes and can easily do some good, revealing laps in one day on both. Plus, you could probably run down and back to Ibis to grab a demo and ride it on the same stuff too.

    Hope this helps a little.
    Awesome, yes that definitely helps a little, comments like this are pretty much what I was looking for.
    Quote Originally Posted by MK_ View Post
    Could have been the super wide Ibis rims flaring out the WT tires a little too far.
    Quote Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    Don't know about the Ripmo but the 2.6 rear tire on the Stumpjumper was not exactly fast either. The SJ got faster with 2.4 Ardent on the rear wheel. 2.6 front is great. If you're a strong rider, ignore my comment.
    Quote Originally Posted by MK_ View Post
    I may not be as strong as I used to be but the rear tire in the Ripmo was the Aggressor 2.5WT. I've run the 2.3 in the HT (crap tire clearance is the worst offense of that frame) and it's a relatively fast rolling tire. The 2.5 is likely a touch slower. Main thing is the HT is eager to lurch forward when you hit the pedals, Ripmo was not. Build was overall similar between the HT and Ripmo down to the X2 shock.
    On these comments, I do think the super wide 35mm ibis wheels are kind of a bit overkill. The maxxis WT tires seem to work perfectly fine with 30mm rims and some 2.3 tires and other sizes also work well with 30mm rims, but the 35mm ibis wheels really limit what tires you can use, add weight, and add rolling resistance.

    The tires that come with the stumpjumper aren't of a huge concern to me as I switch out tires relatively often I think, I was thinking i'll probably pretty quickly drop down to a 2.3 specialized rear or just go 2.5 dhf/2.5 aggressor on it. The aggressor is fairly narrow as a 2.3 so I think a 2.5 will be a bit more manageable.

    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    The Stumpy I'm using.

    Soooo much better than previous generations. Now it is a true contender in this crazy competitive class.
    [/ATTACH]

    I'm really not a fan of Butcher tires since they have a big gap in the tread pattern, horizontally. And they used to be tiny with weak rubber and casing.

    Now they have good rubber and casing and the tires have gotten much bigger.

    But I'm using.... Specialized Hillbilly
    - 2.5
    - Gripton Rubber
    - Black Dimnd casing

    and it is legittt.
    If the bike is working good at UCSC, i'm going to guess its going to handle the gnar great everywhere else too, not that i've ridden there but it seems like santa cruz has a bit more intense drops than elsewhere I do ride, so if it can handle that, its all good.

    I thought the specialized tires I used before (butchers, slaughter, purgatory) on demo bikes seemed good but I am a maxxis fanboy as they have never let me down. Apparently base on reviews
    Quote Originally Posted by Makakio View Post
    This guy's YouTube channel is excellent - he does really high-content bike reviews while ON the bike (climbing or descending) and it's entertaining and aboutt eh best reviewing I've seen. Notably, he has just reviewed the SJ, SJ ST, Hightower, Hightower LT, Ripmo, etc etc etc.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqj...1FwtIZtBd52lcQ
    Yeah i've definitely watched his videos and they help make decisions a bit easier, I even saw his hightower, hightower lt, and stumpy videos. But even someone asked in the comments sections about the lt and stumpy and I think he said they were very similar and didn't elaborate much further, the rest of the internetz seem to say the same which is why I came here, apparently the bikes are similar enough for reviewers to have a hard time recommending one over the other!

  49. #49
    Paper or plastic?
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    All 3 bikes work in Santa Cruz. I will say that the SJ helped me go down some stuff I wouldn't have tried on my 26“

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  50. #50
    CBZ
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    Longtime lurker, first time poster...

    Agreenbike, I found myself in your same shoes last month... my 2016 Stumpy got ripped off and I needed a new bike. I had spent a bit of time riding the OG Hightower in Tahoe and was under the impression it descended better than the 2016 SJ.

    So I test rode the 2019 SJ 29er vs. the HTLT from Mikes Bikes on UC Berkeley campus. Cruising around campus and rolling stair sets, the HTLT seem significantly more poppy and fun and wanted to manual. I was fairly sold on it, but I needed to ride side-by-side on a trail.

    So I put some $$$ down on the bikes and they let me take them to both to JMP with a friend. Riding my standard loop was quite a bit different. It was clear that the HTLT was faster in a straight line, and ate up rocks better. But the SJ was not far off, and climbed much better. The SJ was also a bit more nimble and just felt more fun... the complete opposite impression I had riding around UCB campus. I was actually pretty surprised.

    So I bought the SJ. I had budgeted for the expert with the Mrs, but I ended up getting the 'carbon comp 12 speed 29er'. I swapped in a 160mm Factory 36 Grip2 and SC reserves w/ i9s before riding it. That's all I'm allowed to do for now

    2019 Stumpjumper vs Hightower LT vs Regular Hightower in Norcal-cbzstumpy.jpg

    I've had it for 2 weeks and I can say this bike rips. It is incrementally better and more fun than my 2016 SJ in every way... zero regrets about the HTLT.

    On a side note, it was gona kill me when a rad new lower link HT comes out next year and I'm sitting on the old version in brown...

    FWIW, I test rode all these bikes in XL and weighed them myself... was surprised at how much the expert weighed, granted it had inner tubes.

    HTLT R build (base) - 31.7 lbs
    2019 SJ expert 29er - 31.3 lbs
    My new Stumpy (NX w/ GX cassette) - 29.5 lbs

    Good luck!

  51. #51
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    That's a sick build CBZ.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBZ View Post
    Longtime lurker, first time poster...

    Agreenbike, I found myself in your same shoes last month... my 2016 Stumpy got ripped off and I needed a new bike. I had spent a bit of time riding the OG Hightower in Tahoe and was under the impression it descended better than the 2016 SJ.

    So I test rode the 2019 SJ 29er vs. the HTLT from Mikes Bikes on UC Berkeley campus. Cruising around campus and rolling stair sets, the HTLT seem significantly more poppy and fun and wanted to manual. I was fairly sold on it, but I needed to ride side-by-side on a trail.

    So I put some $$$ down on the bikes and they let me take them to both to JMP with a friend. Riding my standard loop was quite a bit different. It was clear that the HTLT was faster in a straight line, and ate up rocks better. But the SJ was not far off, and climbed much better. The SJ was also a bit more nimble and just felt more fun... the complete opposite impression I had riding around UCB campus. I was actually pretty surprised.

    So I bought the SJ. I had budgeted for the expert with the Mrs, but I ended up getting the 'carbon comp 12 speed 29er'. I swapped in a 160mm Factory 36 Grip2 and SC reserves w/ i9s before riding it. That's all I'm allowed to do for now

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	CBZStumpy.jpg 
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ID:	1216198

    I've had it for 2 weeks and I can say this bike rips. It is incrementally better and more fun than my 2016 SJ in every way... zero regrets about the HTLT.

    On a side note, it was gona kill me when a rad new lower link HT comes out next year and I'm sitting on the old version in brown...

    FWIW, I test rode all these bikes in XL and weighed them myself... was surprised at how much the expert weighed, granted it had inner tubes.

    HTLT R build (base) - 31.7 lbs
    2019 SJ expert 29er - 31.3 lbs
    My new Stumpy (NX w/ GX cassette) - 29.5 lbs

    Good luck!
    Very excellent analysis
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  53. #53
    Rollin 29s
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    Very informative thread! I'm in a similar situation to other posters, and considering some of the same bikes.

    My backyard is Annadel State Park, so lots of climbing and rock gardens.

    I demoed (and immediately wiped from my list) the Pivot Trail 429. Too compact, even in XL. I'm 6'4" with 35" inseam.

    Next, I demoed the XL SJ which was the 2019 FSR Comp. This bike fit me well and climbed and descended with confidence.

    Finally, I demoed the XL HT LT. This bike descended and handled tight singletrack and rock gardens the best of the three, but climbing was horrible. The front felt light on steep climbs, and lifted off the ground unless I slid forward to the point the tip of the seat was almost wedged into the top of my butt crack.

    Overall winner: SJ

    The build I'm interested in is the Expert 29, which is $1000 more in 2019 than the currently listed 2018 price due to the CF rear triangle vs alloy previously. The '19 still retains the Roval CF hoops, and they are still laced to the mediocre Specialized hubs.

    The '19 geo has changed a bit from '18 with a more slack seat tube, head tube and longer top tube. Chainstay is the same.

    My sampling is 3 right now. Demos are expensive ($110 per bike here in Santa Rosa). When do you decide you like something enough to pull the trigger, and dial in settings to make it closer to perfect for you once you own it?

    This thread distracted me into looking at the Jeffsy 29. While the cost savings for the spec is super tempting, I would be flying blind. I don't think there's any way to ride this bike around here, and I'd have to find an XL. Then there's the warranty and service concern. I do my maintenance myself, but having to deal with warranty related repairs is concerning.

    I'd get $110 off the price of the SJ - the cost of the demo - if I buy that one from the LBS. Still $2k savings (Jeffsy) would buy a nice set of carbon wheels and put $$ in my pocket.

    Also considering what CBZ did, getting a Comp and upgrading over time.
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  54. #54
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    Isleblue65: don't forget that going to the Comp you get Eagle NX not GX (big differences there see link below), a different dropper, different fork and the aforementioned non-carbon wheelset.

    My assessment was that the Expert (even with the hubs I know nothing about - what makes them so mediocre?) was a better deal than buying $1000 low and adding a better fork, wheelset and (ultimately) upgradeable drivetrain (the NX is not, to my knowledge).

    Check out this link: https://www.bikeradar.com/us/mtb/gea...-review-52067/

  55. #55
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    Also: I noticed the same thing on the SC HT LT in XL - very light front end (as with my Tallboy LT). No idea why it feels that way as the geos are very similar, but nonetheless the SJ just felt way more comfortable (probably because I can sit up on climb and not hunch forward to keep the front weighted?). 6'2", 33.5" inseam, riding a SJ XL and coming off the SC Tallboy LT in XL.

    Looking forward to trying out the SJ's flip-chip. Anyone here spent the time to tinker with it yet?

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makakio View Post
    Isleblue65: don't forget that going to the Comp you get Eagle NX not GX (big differences there see link below), a different dropper, different fork and the aforementioned non-carbon wheelset.

    My assessment was that the Expert (even with the hubs I know nothing about - what makes them so mediocre?) was a better deal than buying $1000 low and adding a better fork, wheelset and (ultimately) upgradeable drivetrain (the NX is not, to my knowledge).

    Check out this link: https://www.bikeradar.com/us/mtb/gea...-review-52067/
    Good points above. I didn't notice that the dropper was different, but knew the GX was better as well as the wheels. The Specialized hubs have received some bad reviews for falling apart quickly - at least in 2018. Hopefully they have addressed the issues.

    The 2019 Expert pricing puts me about a grand over my pricepoint, but ultimately since this is probably a 5 to 8 year bike for me, I will likely spring for the Expert if I go the SJ route.
    Whoever invented the bicycle deserves the thanks of humanity.
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  57. #57
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    Too throw a wrench in the whole thing, what do you guys think about the Stumpjumper EVO? I've been reading that it climbs really well with the super steep seat tube and rips on the downs? How would that bike fair for around here? At 3.5K you can add some new hoops and a few other bits and be right at 31-ish too...
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  58. #58
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaeldorian View Post
    Too throw a wrench in the whole thing, what do you guys think about the Stumpjumper EVO? I've been reading that it climbs really well with the super steep seat tube and rips on the downs? How would that bike fair for around here? At 3.5K you can add some new hoops and a few other bits and be right at 31-ish too...
    No way. It'll be hard to get around corners, flattish stuff and switchbacks. It'll be good on rowdy terrain I'm sure. But there will be better choices for around here.

    The wheelbases just get so long with those angles.
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  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    No way. It'll be hard to get around corners, flattish stuff and switchbacks. It'll be good on rowdy terrain I'm sure. But there will be better choices for around here.

    The wheelbases just get so long with those angles.
    Gotcha. Would you say the same thing about the SB130? The wheelbase is just 18mm less...? Thoughts on that bike?


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  60. #60
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaeldorian View Post
    Gotcha. Would you say the same thing about the SB130? The wheelbase is just 18mm less...? Thoughts on that bike?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I think that's better. Steeper seat angle, less travel (probably shorter chainstays).

    Just guessing since I haven't tried these bikes. I have the Stumpjumper Expert Carbon.
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  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaeldorian View Post
    Too throw a wrench in the whole thing, what do you guys think about the Stumpjumper EVO? I've been reading that it climbs really well with the super steep seat tube and rips on the downs? How would that bike fair for around here? At 3.5K you can add some new hoops and a few other bits and be right at 31-ish too...
    I would ride one for sure. (Currently on the Enduro)
    Ended up getting a Sentinel, which is probably the closest “mainstream” bike to the Stumpy Evo.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    No way. It'll be hard to get around corners, flattish stuff and switchbacks. It'll be good on rowdy terrain I'm sure. But there will be better choices for around here.

    The wheelbases just get so long with those angles.
    Give it 3 years and that wheelbase will be “standard”.

  63. #63
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    Give it 3 years and that wheelbase will be “standard”.
    No doubt!!

    I'm actually worried about bikes now and what the engineers are gonna do in the next 5 years.

    Geometry is pretty gaddem dialed and progressive now. It's not likely to improve now. And changing standards will be met with violent objection.

    So what they gonna work on aside from moving that to Trail and XC bikes?
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  64. #64
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    My prediction, purple ano is going to make a comeback...

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