First Full Suspension Buying Guidance- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    First Full Suspension Buying Guidance

    Hello yall! long time lurker, first time posting.

    i've had a hardtail for almost a year now and i'm finally ready to upgrade to a full suspension!

    I live in the bay area and ride pretty much all the south bay/midpen/santa cruz trails (demo, skeggs, santa teresa, skyline/saratoga, etc). eventually with a full suspension i want to start expanding and trying harder trails, going on trips to places/bike parks/etc.

    preferably want a 27.5 wheels, pedal efficient amap, air shock, and just overall an all mountain type of bike. (eventually with the goal of adding a shorter travel bike to my quiver) &&& Right now the bikes i am leaning towards the most are Transition Scout, ibis mojo hd5, SC bronson, and the yet sb140.

    How much travel is honestly necessary for the riding i will be doing?
    Anyone have these bikes or experience with these bikes?
    Which one of these bikes would be suit my needs?
    Thoughts?


    Thanks!

  2. #2
    NRP
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    Can you demo any of those bikes? It’s always best to try before you buy.

    I’d say more travel is better because most new bike pedal pretty well, but the truth is you really don’t need as much travel as you think.

    Good luck in your search!

  3. #3
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    due to the covid cirumstance, demoing isn't an option in my area for a bit of time unfortunately. and thanks! it's a little overwhelming but in a fun way

  4. #4
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    My first ride at Skeggs on a full suspension was so much fun compared with the hardtail I was previously riding. Should have switched earlier.

    If your hardtail is a 29", I suggest staying with the larger wheel size, and going with something with shorter travel, like a Ripley. Then if you find yourself wanting more travel, add that later, or switch.

  5. #5
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    OP -- Yeah, related to previous commenter, was wondering about your preference for 27.5 instead of 29.
    Plenty of fine 27.5 bikes, certainly, but was curious. Is your current HT 27.5?

  6. #6
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    Yeah my current hardtail is 27.5 and it's what i'm used to. also i like the idea of the 27.5 being more nimble, flowy. But i'm not entirely opposed to 29ers, do you ride 29s? do you like them? in your opinion why should one switch to 29s from 27.5?

  7. #7
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    I went from 26" to 29". Didn't seem to make sense to try 27.5".

    A dual suspension experience would be so different that it may not really matter whether you get 27.5" or 29" for your 1st FS bike.

    But if you think you'd prefer more nimbleness and playfulness, 27.5" and shorter travel may make sense.

    For going fast all the way down Resolution to North Leaf, Methuselah, down to the creek, a 29" would be better.

    You should try to demo.
    Sports Basement Redwood City (and probably others) is open, and I demo'd a Ripley recently.

  8. #8
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    As others have suggested, definitely test/demo both wheel sizes and go with what you like best!

    I have both 27.5 and 29 wheelsets for my hardtail, but ride mainly my 29s. For my hardtail, I like the better rolling of the 29s. But you might be doing more tricks and stuff than I do, so perhaps 27.5 is better for you. I don't miss the 27.5 on my hardtail, and the 29 also is what my full squish bike is.

    Another factor is, as you may have seen, the market overall has shifted more towards 29. That said, that means you can find lots of 27.5 stuff (at least pre-pandemic) at pretty good prices.

  9. #9
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    Sweet thanks for the info and tips! going to see if i can demo some bikes then and see what i like best.

  10. #10
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    I had a 29er a while ago, then went to a 27.5. I like the 27.5 better, but that is just me.

    If you can hang until October, head to the Sea Otter Classic at Laguna Seca and demo everything in one place. I did that, and ended up with a Canyon Spectral. I probably demo'd 6 bikes back to back.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JStrube View Post
    I had a 29er a while ago, then went to a 27.5. I like the 27.5 better, but that is just me.

    If you can hang until October, head to the Sea Otter Classic at Laguna Seca and demo everything in one place. I did that, and ended up with a Canyon Spectral. I probably demo'd 6 bikes back to back.
    That's optimistic. What's going to happen between now and October that will make Covid-19 go away?

    @OP I would never recommend waiting 4+ months to get a bike. That's 4 months of riding you miss out on.

  12. #12
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    I went from a 140mm 26" wheel to a 120mm 29" wheel ,around the north bay to Tahoe don't miss more travel . For me and my riding 120 is enough.

  13. #13
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    I have a new Scout. Really fun bike which loves to corner. I demo’d a few 29ers before buying it and, undeniably, the 29ers were faster in most places, but I was definitely having more fun in the corners on the 27.5. That being said, I was coming off a Bronson so was going into it more used to the smaller wheels. And, re: Scout vs Bronson, I much prefer the feel of the mid stroke on the Scout. Also the geo is more dialed on the Scout in my opinion.

  14. #14
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    Truth is that a 120-130 bike with a good geo is probably enough for everything most people ride. I like cush, so I got a 140/150 Stumpjumper with a coil.

    Wheel size: looks like the market is moving toward 29" until the mullet bike becomes the next unicorn. Most likely, 27.5 will be around for a while though.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    Truth is that a 120-130 bike with a good geo is probably enough for everything most people ride. I like cush, so I got a 140/150 Stumpjumper with a coil.

    Wheel size: looks like the market is moving toward 29" until the mullet bike becomes the next unicorn. Most likely, 27.5 will be around for a while though.
    ...and you can up your cush to 153mm with a 55mm stroke shock, if wanted.

  16. #16
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    I love my Bronson, I put a Lyrik with a push damper and it rips

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    To clarify, I was on a Bronson 2, and before that, had a Bronson 1.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BraaapTastic View Post
    ...and you can up your cush to 153mm with a 55mm stroke shock, if wanted.
    Technically, I got 145mm with the Cascade link.
    Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun

  19. #19
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    I'm riding a mullet, I think that setup has legit merits, but isn't a magic bullet that will instantly make you the magical high priest of send.

    29/29 is probably faster in a straight line. 27.5 spins up quicker, 29 holds the speed more. 29 front will help you get over chunk easier.

    I would make sure you get something with a low standover and a seat post without a kink so you can fit the OneUp 210mm dropper. Love that set-up.

    If I was going carbon, the high-pivot Forbidden Druid with the mullet link is what I would get.

    Wait for that delicious purple/orange color to come out.
    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/forbid...nversions.html

    Also had the first gen Transition Scout and loved it. That would be up there for a 27.5 recommendation.

  20. #20
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    Demo'ing bikes can help you figure out which of the specs is right for you (riding style, geometry, types of trails you're on etc).

    I find the pros/cons of different specs are all true, but only after riding them to compare did I find out which ones I preferred and which ones mattered to me.



    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  21. #21
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    I recently went back to 150 suspension after a few years with 130 on my Ibis Ripley LS. It's way more fun and forgiving on descents and features--and it jumps WAY better. And try a 29er. They can be plenty nimble. I haven't ridden it, but lots of folks love the Ripmo. Happy hunting!
    "I will absolutely apologize hopefully sometime in the distant future if I'm ever wrong." ~ Donnie Bonespurs

  22. #22
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    Yt jeffsy or commencal meta trail, save a shit ton of money and both are awesome all mountain bikes.

  23. #23
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    29er: Rocky Mountain Instinct
    27.5: Rocky Mountain Pipeline

    I personally own the Instinct because I found a 2018 used and I would have bought other bikes on my list if they popped up on used market.

  24. #24
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    As Zorg pointed out above, long travel is not necessary, 130-140 is plenty, but like him I use longer travel for comfort too. In my 50's, and a lifetime of construction, my body is sore most nights from work. The tradeoff is efficiency. Another thing to consider is maintenance needs of full suspension. I am "supposed" to send my FOX fork AND shock in for service every 5 months at a cost of $300 with shipping. I do service at home (takes many hours). So take a minute, and figure wether you are going to spend Time or $$$ on maintenance and what kind of hours you put on a modern bike per month. Sometimes its economical to sell a bike every 18 months, and do almost no service, if you can get a GREAT deal on the front end, of a bike with GREAT resale value. Think about how long you plan on keeping bike, before you buy it, so you make the right purchase. Warranty/resale value/parts cost for worn items.
    Buy American, save lives. (Tough for cyclists)

  25. #25
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    +1 for Jeffsy or Meta, never got to demo a Jeffsy but knew enough about it to know it was a great choice and I have no complaints about it.

  26. #26
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    I’m not the type of person you would ask since I haven’t been riding for too long (2 and a half years) but I’ll give my input.

    It really depends on what “harder trails” are defined as. The amount of time riding and progression you’re going to achieve also plays a part. I found my 27.5 stumpy evo huge when I bought it but slowly got used to it and got a lot better. It has saved my ass numerous times from catastrophic crashes due to how forgiving it is.

    If “harder trails” are big gaps and bombing steeps aka dumb shit, go for something enduro with 150-170mm. Otherwise as stated by others, 120-140mm should do you just fine.

  27. #27
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    Are you keeping your hardtail? I ride in your area, and I see a lot of bikes with way more suspension than the trails warrant. Of the trails you mention, Demo, Santa Teresa and Skeggs are the only ones where I feel you might be underbiked on your hardtail. If you are keeping your hardtail for the rest of the Midpen trails, then you can afford to go with more suspension for the big rock gardens and drop offs. Otherwise, I would go with 120. In our area, you have to climb a lot before you get to go down. Go with the least amount of suspension you can. You will be a lot happier on the climbs.

  28. #28
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    Are you sure you cannot demo some of those bikes in the bay area?

    About 27/29, the most important factor is your height. I would say 5'7 and above go with 29er. The only downside for a 29er is that a bigger wheel is little heavier, but you get it back in better rolling ability especially going down.
    If you are shorter the back wheel can hit your bottom, that is a reason for some downhill bikes not to go full 29.

    The rest is mostly in peoples heads. I demoed 27/29 back to back same day before I bought my last bike, and they behaved exactly the opposite of all the stereotypes that people have on wheel size.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by shapethings View Post
    the magical high priest of send.
    LOL! Love it!

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