Clyde worthy shorter travel FS bikes?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Clyde worthy shorter travel FS bikes?

    Riding a DiamondBack Release 3. It's a great bike and with the Manitou Drake shock installed it's been amazing for me as a heavy rider. But after last season I've discovered it's really too much bike for the type of riding I do. I do NOT need a 150/130mm travel bike with a 66 degree HT. I think that for what I ride, a 130mm travel bike would be more than enough. And something slightly steeper and shorter wheelbase. The Release is a bit like a tank honestly and does wonderful when pointed downhill but going up or just hitting tight twisty stuff...it sucks.

    So what are some options that might fit my needs? Shorter travel. Slightly steeper HT angle. Shorter wheelbase. Clyde approved. 29" wheels.

    Does such a beast exist? Doesn't have to be something on the new market either. In fact I'd prefer something that is a couple years old because I'd be looking to try and buy a used frame and swap over the parts from my Release.
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  2. #2
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    One option I have found so far is maybe the DiamondBack Catch with 29" wheels. It should check off everything except the shorter wheelbase. It is shorter but by like 2 or 3mm so I don't think that really counts. But same rear travel so I can re-use my Drake. 130mm fork (I'll convert my 150mm Pike down to 130mm), same pivot design as the Release so I know that's clyde approved, 68 degree HT vs. 66 degree.

    I'm thinking some of the shorter travel Santa Cruz frames might work too since the Diamondback Level Link suspension system is pretty much a slightly tweaked ripoff of SC's VPP system. Maybe the 5010 if it'll take 29" wheels. It's 27.5+ so I'd assume it will but how well it works is something I'll have to look into. Maybe the older ones came in 29"? I don't know...I just see that the 2020 is 27.5/27.5+ only. No 29" option. The Tallboy looks alright too. 120mm 29" bike. But it is steeper and longer so...I know that doesn't tell the whole story but it's something to consider.

    I'm definitely open to other suggestions.
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    It sounds like you should be looking at the Tallboy (new one) and not the 5010. I run the last version of the Hightower (140/135), but I would have to buy a Tallboy now for the same reason you are looking. I know this is a world of "more is better," but I don't want a longer bike that comes with more travel because the trails where I live are tighter and some have sections of tight switchbacks.
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    It sounds to me like you already have a decent trail bike and are searching for something that isn't there. Buy another set of tires or something. A 66 degree head angle is no longer slack. The Tallboy the poster above me is recommending is even slacker than that. There's perhaps a modest amount of speed still left in the bike, but it's way, way less than you think.

  5. #5
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    The Release isn't a trail bike. That's the problem. It's a big heavy downhill machine that handles like a tractor and climbs like shit. It's just a lot more bike than I need since I really don't hammer the downhills and definitely not on the type of terrain this bike was designed for. I'm looking for more of a XC full suspension bike. Something that handles and climbs better and I don't need 150mm of travel up front.
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  6. #6
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    Today's 150mm bikes pedal just as well as a 120-130mm bike. I dont see the need to even go with less travel than 150. Of course, just my opinion. But with the anti squat numbers they use these days, most "trail" bikes in that range pedal damn well!

  7. #7
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    Maybe because I don't use anywhere near 150mm a travel so it's wasted travel. It handles like shit. I don't like riding it. It sucks on climbs. It sucks on twisties. It pedals fine. But it still climbs poorly and handles poorly. It's a downhill beast. But it's not a nimble bike. Most trails i ride have a lot of uphill and a lot of twists and turns. Two things this bike doesn't do well. It's not about the pedaling. It's about the handling more than anything. I want a smaller more nimble bike. I don't need convinced that a 150mm bike is the bike I need or want because it's neither.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by R_Pierce View Post
    Today's 150mm bikes pedal just as well as a 120-130mm bike. I dont see the need to even go with less travel than 150. Of course, just my opinion. But with the anti squat numbers they use these days, most "trail" bikes in that range pedal damn well!
    I can not disagree with this any stronger other than to say: this is absolutely wrong. Take a couple examples: An SB 150 doesn't pedal or handle tight switchbacks nearly as well as an SB130...same with a Megatower vs a Tallboy. Or FB29 vs. T429...The Firebird is one of my all time favorite bikes and I haven't liked the T429...but not b/c the 429 is worse at climbing.

    Are they close: maybe. Are you willing to give up that small bit of climbing prowess for the downs? Some people are. But "just as well"...no way.

    OP: are you tall or just heavy? If you're talking 120 or 130 rear: Spot has some demo Mayhems bikes on sale and Alchemy has a good deal on their ArktosST. Just some ideas. Both are not necessarily less travel (a bit), but both are noted for their climbing manners.

  9. #9
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    Bikes I know/own, like, and/or have ridden. Ibis Ripley, Pivot 429, Transition Smuggler, Kona Process 134. All are sturdy.

    Others with 120-130 travel that may fit the bill- Giant Trance, Intense Sniper Trail, SC Tallboy, GG Trail Pistol.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by smartyiak View Post
    I can not disagree with this any stronger other than to say: this is absolutely wrong. Take a couple examples: An SB 150 doesn't pedal or handle tight switchbacks nearly as well as an SB130...same with a Megatower vs a Tallboy. Or FB29 vs. T429...The Firebird is one of my all time favorite bikes and I haven't liked the T429...but not b/c the 429 is worse at climbing.

    Are they close: maybe. Are you willing to give up that small bit of climbing prowess for the downs? Some people are. But "just as well"...no way.

    OP: are you tall or just heavy? If you're talking 120 or 130 rear: Spot has some demo Mayhems bikes on sale and Alchemy has a good deal on their ArktosST. Just some ideas. Both are not necessarily less travel (a bit), but both are noted for their climbing manners.
    A Yeti SB150 is not a trail bike. It has a 170mm fork. That's strongly in "Enduro" category. Same with the other comparisons you're making. The Megatower and Firebird 29 are not trail bikes, either. The bike he's riding is a lot more like the SB130, Hightower, or Mach 5.5 than it is like the big travel enduro bikes you're entering into the discussion.

    The bike he has already has 130mm of frame travel.

    If the reason you disagree is that you thought someone was saying that a 170mm Enduro bike pedals just as well as a 140 or 150mm trail bike, then you're arguing with a straw man. While today's enduro bikes pedal great, I don't think anyone was saying that the really big travel bikes are as efficient as middle of the road trail bikes. A 150/130 travel bike can be ridden in an enduro race, but it is strongly in the "trail" category.

    The Release isn't a trail bike. That's the problem. It's a big heavy downhill machine that handles like a tractor and climbs like shit. It's just a lot more bike than I need since I really don't hammer the downhills and definitely not on the type of terrain this bike was designed for. I'm looking for more of a XC full suspension bike. Something that handles and climbs better and I don't need 150mm of travel up front.
    The Release is absolutely a trail bike and designed to be used as such. Diamondback does not market a downhill bike and their "Enduro" category bike is called the Mission. It sounds to me like you're just confused about what you have.

    I highly doubt you're going to notice the difference between your current bike and a "trail" oriented bike with a 130mm fork. If you think you will, though, shortening the travel of your current fork to 130mm will steepen your bike's geometry if you really think that is going to make a huge difference.

    It sounds to me like maybe you just need to buy some XC tires. Personally I won't ride trails with XCish tires because where I live, the terrain is loose and I'd be on my face. But if what you really care about is reducing rolling resistance and improving your speed, I'm willing to bet that a more XC oriented set of tires will do more to produce that feeling than any geometry or suspension dynamics changes you can make. It'll also cost you $150 instead of $4000 to buy some tires. You're already on a trail bike.

    A slightly twitchier/shorter/steeper bike with less travel might save you a few seconds or a minute per HOUR of climbing in an XC race. That isn't enough to produce $4000 worth of results for me and if it was for you, you'd be at a shop buying a $12,000 XC race machine instead of on here asking for advice.

    I have ridden basically every bike discussed in this thread and while the shorter travel 29ers are faster (e.g., the Trail 429 discussed above), the difference between the bike you're riding and that is so modest that if I had one, I wouldn't go buy the other. We discuss these kinds of tiny details as enthusiasts, but we're talking about single digit percentage efficiency differences here, not really anything relevant out there on the trail.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    A Yeti SB150 is not a trail bike.
    I didn't say it was. He wrote: "Today's 150mm bikes pedal just as well as a 120-130mm bike." I was merely responding to what he wrote.


    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    I highly doubt you're going to notice the difference between your current bike and a "trail" oriented bike with a 130mm fork.
    I've never ridden a Diamondback (other than a BMX bike back in the day), but I'd possibly disagree with this as well. For example: Ibis Ripley is a 130/120 bike. A Transition Smuggler is a 140/120 bike. An Evil Following is a 130/120 bike. To me, the Ripley noticeably climbed better and was "quicker" than the Evil or Smuggler climb as well as the Ripley; the Smuggler, on the other hand, was much more stable and confidence-inspiring, to me, than the Ripley. These three bikes all fall within the same genre with (nearly) the same travel, but they have different strengths. And it was definitely noticeable when riding them back-to-back.

    What I'm getting at (and the reason I suggested what I did) was: maybe he doesn't need a different "genre" of bike, but one that has better climbing mannerisms.

    Note: Reviews on the Release seem pretty positive, so maybe it's the set up???

  12. #12
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    You guys are going way off topic. Obviously not all 130 travel bikes pedal the same, not even close, we can all agree on that.

    Now, just let the OP have his thread and knock off the bickering. If you feel the need to hash it out take it to PM or just start a new thread.

    Back to your regularly scheduled programing...
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    A Yeti SB150 is not a trail bike. It has a 170mm fork. That's strongly in "Enduro" category. Same with the other comparisons you're making. The Megatower and Firebird 29 are not trail bikes, either. The bike he's riding is a lot more like the SB130, Hightower, or Mach 5.5 than it is like the big travel enduro bikes you're entering into the discussion.

    The bike he has already has 130mm of frame travel.

    If the reason you disagree is that you thought someone was saying that a 170mm Enduro bike pedals just as well as a 140 or 150mm trail bike, then you're arguing with a straw man. While today's enduro bikes pedal great, I don't think anyone was saying that the really big travel bikes are as efficient as middle of the road trail bikes. A 150/130 travel bike can be ridden in an enduro race, but it is strongly in the "trail" category.



    The Release is absolutely a trail bike and designed to be used as such. Diamondback does not market a downhill bike and their "Enduro" category bike is called the Mission. It sounds to me like you're just confused about what you have.

    I highly doubt you're going to notice the difference between your current bike and a "trail" oriented bike with a 130mm fork. If you think you will, though, shortening the travel of your current fork to 130mm will steepen your bike's geometry if you really think that is going to make a huge difference.

    It sounds to me like maybe you just need to buy some XC tires. Personally I won't ride trails with XCish tires because where I live, the terrain is loose and I'd be on my face. But if what you really care about is reducing rolling resistance and improving your speed, I'm willing to bet that a more XC oriented set of tires will do more to produce that feeling than any geometry or suspension dynamics changes you can make. It'll also cost you $150 instead of $4000 to buy some tires. You're already on a trail bike.

    A slightly twitchier/shorter/steeper bike with less travel might save you a few seconds or a minute per HOUR of climbing in an XC race. That isn't enough to produce $4000 worth of results for me and if it was for you, you'd be at a shop buying a $12,000 XC race machine instead of on here asking for advice.

    I have ridden basically every bike discussed in this thread and while the shorter travel 29ers are faster (e.g., the Trail 429 discussed above), the difference between the bike you're riding and that is so modest that if I had one, I wouldn't go buy the other. We discuss these kinds of tiny details as enthusiasts, but we're talking about single digit percentage efficiency differences here, not really anything relevant out there on the trail.
    I really don't care what you want to call the bike. I don't like riding it no matter the category it fits it. That's a completely irrelevant point. Trial bike. Enduro. Downhill. Who cares. It handles like ass and I don't want to ride it.

    I have more XC oriented tires on the bike. That doesn't change the handling characteristics. Still handles and steers like a big rig.

    Don't care about shaving seconds or even minutes off a time. I don't race. I care about enjoying my ride, having fun, and liking the bike i'm on. It's difficult to enjoy a ride when you're fighting the bike and not liking the way it rides.
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    Quote Originally Posted by smartyiak View Post
    I didn't say it was. He wrote: "Today's 150mm bikes pedal just as well as a 120-130mm bike." I was merely responding to what he wrote.
    A Yeti SB 130 is not a "150mm bike." It's a 170mm bike. Nobody was saying that enduro and trail bikes pedal the same, although new suspension designs are pretty impressive. But within a category, the difference between "trail" bikes, which generally have 120-130mm of frame travel and 130-150mm of fork travel, there isn't a lot of difference. That's the point. Bringing a 170mm bike into the discussion is a straw man.

    I've never ridden a Diamondback (other than a BMX bike back in the day), but I'd possibly disagree with this as well. For example: Ibis Ripley is a 130/120 bike. A Transition Smuggler is a 140/120 bike. An Evil Following is a 130/120 bike. To me, the Ripley noticeably climbed better and was "quicker" than the Evil or Smuggler climb as well as the Ripley; the Smuggler, on the other hand, was much more stable and confidence-inspiring, to me, than the Ripley. These three bikes all fall within the same genre with (nearly) the same travel, but they have different strengths. And it was definitely noticeable when riding them back-to-back.

    What I'm getting at (and the reason I suggested what I did) was: maybe he doesn't need a different "genre" of bike, but one that has better climbing mannerisms.

    Note: Reviews on the Release seem pretty positive, so maybe it's the set up???
    There are minor differences within a category, but not enough to make the bike behave like something totally different. A trail bike is a trail bike. We have our preferences, sure, but there isn't some drastic difference in efficiency. All modern bikes are pretty good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    I really don't care what you want to call the bike. I don't like riding it no matter the category it fits it. That's a completely irrelevant point. Trial bike. Enduro. Downhill. Who cares. It handles like ass and I don't want to ride it.

    I have more XC oriented tires on the bike. That doesn't change the handling characteristics. Still handles and steers like a big rig.

    Don't care about shaving seconds or even minutes off a time. I don't race. I care about enjoying my ride, having fun, and liking the bike i'm on. It's difficult to enjoy a ride when you're fighting the bike and not liking the way it rides.
    Change your tires. They will make more difference than buying another trail bike.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    Change your tires. They will make more difference than buying another trail bike.
    He already said he's using XC tires. Also he doesn't sound like he needs another person telling him what he wants.

    The OP is simply trying to get recommendations for a 'better' bike to suite his needs. Repeatedly telling him his current bike is just fine isn't accomplishing anything.

    If you don't have anything useful to add, move on to another thread. It's frustrating just reading these replies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    He already said he's using XC tires. Also he doesn't sound like he needs another person telling him what he wants.

    The OP is simply trying to get recommendations for a 'better' bike to suite his needs. Repeatedly telling him his current bike is just fine isn't accomplishing anything.

    If you don't have anything useful to add, move on to another thread. It's frustrating just reading these replies.
    If none of the available options are "better," then how is that not useful to tell him?

    Which of the ones you've mentioned is "better" for his use? I've ridden several of the ones you have and some that you haven't. Which one of them has a steeper head angle than 66 degrees? Which bike, especially the 29ers you've suggested, have a shorter wheelbase? I'm not saying they're bad suggestions, because of all the bikes you posted about, I'd happily ride any one of them. But they're not fast handling, super light weight, twitchy, XC type bikes. All of them are different flavors of trail bikes, which are longer and slacker than XC bikes.

    If what he really wants is an XC bike, we should be talking about the Specialized Epic (68.5/73.8), Santa Cruz Blur (69/74), Trek Top Fuel (68.5/75.5), Pivot Mach 4 (67.5-68.5/75.5), etc. All of these bikes have shorter top tubes and put that length into the stem for proper rider fit, and so they will have shorter wheelbases not only from the front centers but also from the frame reach as well. If you want faster handling, less weight, and more maneuverability, these are the bikes for you--not a trail bike that seeks to split the difference between a rowdier machine and an XC bike and the resulting compromise.

  18. #18
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    The Ripley in particular is decidedly modern XC with a touch more travel. It's a quick bike. Mostly the DW link suspension will be much more efficient and it will give a much snappier ride overall.

    It's almost as quick as my Kona Hei Hei CR/DL, which is probably a bit shorter travel than what the OP is looking for, but tough enough to do the job. I'm 215lbs and have pushed that bike as far as I'm willing to and never had an issue. (Adirondacks, Pisgah for example)

    The Transition and Kona Process are more towards the Trail side of things, mostly due to the suspension platform, but great all rounders.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    If none of the available options are "better," then how is that not useful to tell him?
    What you're saying then is the Diamondback Release 3 is the best bike on the market and there is no 'better' option available for the OP? There's no other bikes that would suite his needs?

    If that's the case, and there isn't a better bike, why are there so many different bikes available? Shouldn't we all be riding a Release? It's the best for everything?
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  20. #20
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    Santa Cruz Tallboy 4. Its already been mentioned and its fits the OP's spec perfectly. Life time warranty. I know a 330lb+ rider who's been riding a 2013(?) TB without any issues. I picked up a TB4 in December (2020). I'm 6', 250lbs and the TB4 is the best bike I've ever owned.

    Contact SC and find out when there will be a demo in your area. I demo'ed the MegaTower, HighTower and lastly the Tallboy on local trails. I ended up purchasing the Tallboy. My previous bike had 5"-6" front/rear travel. The stock Tallboy felt way more plush, smooth, and stiff than anything I've ridden. The demo crew set it up for my weight. I was and remain very pleased with the TB's performance.

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    The new tallboys have a very high leverage ratio. Are you heavy enough to need to consider that?

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    Guerilla Gravity Trail Piston 29 would be one to look at.

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    Transition Smuggler

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch1413 View Post
    The new tallboys have a very high leverage ratio. Are you heavy enough to need to consider that?
    285 nekkid so probably.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch1413 View Post
    Guerilla Gravity Trail Piston 29 would be one to look at.
    I was actually looking at that one but was a bit disappointed that it appear GG is now only carbon frames. Not that that's a bad thing other than price is now a bit higher. I mean honestly I'm looking for a used frame so maybe with a lot of luck a pre-carbon frame will pop up somewhere for a decent price. If nothing comes up this year maybe I'll be able to spring for a new frame or whole new bike next year.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bingemtbr View Post
    Santa Cruz Tallboy 4. Its already been mentioned and its fits the OP's spec perfectly. Life time warranty. I know a 330lb+ rider who's been riding a 2013(?) TB without any issues. I picked up a TB4 in December (2020). I'm 6', 250lbs and the TB4 is the best bike I've ever owned.

    Contact SC and find out when there will be a demo in your area. I demo'ed the MegaTower, HighTower and lastly the Tallboy on local trails. I ended up purchasing the Tallboy. My previous bike had 5"-6" front/rear travel. The stock Tallboy felt way more plush, smooth, and stiff than anything I've ridden. The demo crew set it up for my weight. I was and remain very pleased with the TB's performance.
    Thanks. There's not a SC dealer in my area but some within reasonable driving distance. I'll contact them and see if maybe they can help setup a demo if there's none coming to the area.
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    Late to this, but look at a Banshee Phantom V3- AL 115mm Travel frame that is Coil compatible. At 285lbs, I'm thinking a coil will serve you better than an air shock.
    https://www.bansheebikes.com/phantom-v3
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    I think in most cases a coil would be best choice...but my Manitou McLeod is a fantastic fat guy shock but of course it's not likely I'll be able to transfer it over to a shorter travel bike unless I find one with 130mm rear travel that's also designed around a 120-130mm front. Of course I could always just buy a new shorter travel McLeod.

    The Banshee is definitely a nice looking bike that I'll check out for sure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Riding a DiamondBack Release 3. It's a great bike and with the Manitou Drake shock installed it's been amazing for me as a heavy rider. But after last season I've discovered it's really too much bike for the type of riding I do. I do NOT need a 150/130mm travel bike with a 66 degree HT. I think that for what I ride, a 130mm travel bike would be more than enough. And something slightly steeper and shorter wheelbase. The Release is a bit like a tank honestly and does wonderful when pointed downhill but going up or just hitting tight twisty stuff...it sucks.

    So what are some options that might fit my needs? Shorter travel. Slightly steeper HT angle. Shorter wheelbase. Clyde approved. 29" wheels.

    Does such a beast exist? Doesn't have to be something on the new market either. In fact I'd prefer something that is a couple years old because I'd be looking to try and buy a used frame and swap over the parts from my Release.
    Really like my Process 111, w/ Fox dps inflated to just under the rated max. It's built like a tank but feels surprisingly nimble for 33 lbs.
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    Looks like Kona isn't doing the Process 111 anymore but do have the 134 though 140mm front is a little more than I need. The Hei Hei looks good on paper, not sure how the leverages are for heavier rider.
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    Man, I didnt mean for you to get all short about it. Maybe its best not to take any advice from anyone in this thread, and go ride some bikes for yourself....

    Also, Im sure if you look around enough you can find a bike that uses a 200x57 rear shock and transfer that Mcleod over. Or even a 200x51 and get an internal spacer from Dougal.

    Regardless, best of luck to you in finding the "perfect" bike that you want to ride and that doesnt "handle like shit"

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    The Process 111 was way ahead of its time geometry wise but didn't pedal like modern trail bikes. The Banshee Phantom was similar in that it was short travel with burly trail bike aspirations, never ridden one of these though.

    The Transition Smuggler (120/140) is sort of a modern Process 111 IMO. Only 9mm more rear travel, progressive geometry, tough enough for anything you can throw at it. Fun bike!

    I've never ridden a Giant Trance 29 but I think it would be in the same conversation.

    Modern/current bike recommendation- Ibis Ripley. It feels more XC than the Smuggler, and pedals a little better, but it's a great bike. Super quick and fun.

    I currently own a Process 134 aluminum with a custom build kit, Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes, with a Pike fork, DVO Topaz shock, custom wheels, and a 210mm dropper. It pedals really well for a mid travel trail bike, but it's not a light weight whippy XC bike. Mine is like 34lbs or something (XL).
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    Quote Originally Posted by R_Pierce View Post
    Man, I didnt mean for you to get all short about it. Maybe its best not to take any advice from anyone in this thread, and go ride some bikes for yourself....

    Also, Im sure if you look around enough you can find a bike that uses a 200x57 rear shock and transfer that Mcleod over. Or even a 200x51 and get an internal spacer from Dougal.

    Regardless, best of luck to you in finding the "perfect" bike that you want to ride and that doesnt "handle like shit"
    What did you expect when people keep trying to convience me of what I need when I know what I want? I've been riding bikes more than 10 years...I'm pretty sure I know enough to know what's best for me. Why do I want a 150mm travel 35 pound enduro style bike to ride trails that if I really wanted...I could ride on a full rigid single speed? Trails that I do and have ridden on a hardtail? I'm not a downhiller. I don't jump. I don't do drops. I'm fat and slow with average handling skills so a bike that's designed to go downhill fast and jump and do drops is not ideal when what I ride 99% of the time is not fast downhills with no jumps and drops that aren't more than like 12-18" high. The Release is great for what it's intended for. I think that the bike I got was an amazing value and I admit I got caught drinking the bigger travel enduro bike kool-aid and now it's not tasting so great and I'm ready for a new flavor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    The Process 111 was way ahead of its time geometry wise but didn't pedal like modern trail bikes. The Banshee Phantom was similar in that it was short travel with burly trail bike aspirations, never ridden one of these though.

    The Transition Smuggler (120/140) is sort of a modern Process 111 IMO. Only 9mm more rear travel, progressive geometry, tough enough for anything you can throw at it. Fun bike!

    I've never ridden a Giant Trance 29 but I think it would be in the same conversation.

    Modern/current bike recommendation- Ibis Ripley. It feels more XC than the Smuggler, and pedals a little better, but it's a great bike. Super quick and fun.

    I currently own a Process 134 aluminum with a custom build kit, Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes, with a Pike fork, DVO Topaz shock, custom wheels, and a 210mm dropper. It pedals really well for a mid travel trail bike, but it's not a light weight whippy XC bike. Mine is like 34lbs or something (XL).
    I wish I lived in an area that had more shops with more test ride options. Bikes like the Transition are not popular. I've never actually seen one. Same with the Banshee. Never seen one. Kona is rare. I currently own a Kona gravel bike and recently sold my Kona Big Unit. Every once in a while I'll see something Kona out on the trail. They are awesome bikes, I'm surprised more people aren't riding them. At least in my area. If I owned a shop Kona would be on my short list of bikes to be a stocking dealer of...unless of course the company sucks to deal with.

    So yeah...pretty much just the big brands around here. There was a Yeti dealer that closed. Couple shops within a couple hour drive with Santa Cruz. I'd have to search to see what else is out there within a drive I'm willing to make to demo a bike. I do appreciate the suggestions (other than the one telling me to stick with my 150mm bike)...gives me lots of stuff to look at and consider.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    I wish I lived in an area that had more shops with more test ride options.
    Bike shop demo days can be useful for trying other brands. Most people bring their own bikes, and are cool with swapping bikes for a quick ride (everyone is curious about other bikes). Got to test out nice fat bike a few months back that I'd never find in a shop around here. Also look out for demo days at the bike parks when they open in the spring. And there are events like Dirt Fest WV, which looks like you are close to, in July.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    What did you expect when people keep trying to convience me of what I need when I know what I want? I've been riding bikes more than 10 years...I'm pretty sure I know enough to know what's best for me. Why do I want a 150mm travel 35 pound enduro style bike to ride trails that if I really wanted...I could ride on a full rigid single speed? Trails that I do and have ridden on a hardtail? I'm not a downhiller. I don't jump. I don't do drops. I'm fat and slow with average handling skills so a bike that's designed to go downhill fast and jump and do drops is not ideal when what I ride 99% of the time is not fast downhills with no jumps and drops that aren't more than like 12-18" high. The Release is great for what it's intended for. I think that the bike I got was an amazing value and I admit I got caught drinking the bigger travel enduro bike kool-aid and now it's not tasting so great and I'm ready for a new flavor.
    Yeah, good luck to you in finding what you want......

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    Quote Originally Posted by sapva View Post
    Bike shop demo days can be useful for trying other brands. Most people bring their own bikes, and are cool with swapping bikes for a quick ride (everyone is curious about other bikes). Got to test out nice fat bike a few months back that I'd never find in a shop around here. Also look out for demo days at the bike parks when they open in the spring. And there are events like Dirt Fest WV, which looks like you are close to, in July.
    Dirt Fest is no more. Dirt Rag has closed their doors and out of business. The two respective parks are still planning on keeping up with some sort of mountain biking festival but not sure about demos like Dirt Rag had. At least this year since both will be new festivals unless all the vendors that Dirt Rag had lined up agree to stick with it and come to these new festivals. Assuming that Dirt Rag had stuff lined up for this year but it's possible they knew this was coming early enough to not get anything lined up.

    I'm hoping that Dirt Rag knew this was coming and contacted the local groups for Raytown and Big Bear and gave them a heads up and maybe worked with them some to help get these two new festivals going. I know the Big Bear group is pretty pumped and really excited and claiming a bigger and better than Dirt Fest experience...we'll find out in July.
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    What type of Clyde are you BTW? When u say handles like shit on climbs, what do you mean? Front wanders and wheelies, Steering Twitchy or vague. How's the gearing? Specific info about you and what you dislike would help in recommendations as well as terrain you ride.
    -----What Size release are you riding? GEO wise it has a short wheelbase as it is, the XL at 1213mm is like a lot of Mediums on some new geo bikes. STA is slack at 73 so if ur tall, I can def see Climbing being bad for you as the higher your post gets the further ur weight gets over the rear, plus the chainstays are really short at 425mm which makes that issue even worse. If ur a Heavy Clyde it could make it an uphill wheelie machine, Release 3 has a short stem at 40mm, a longer stem could slow steering if it felt twitchy, would also give u room to slide ur saddle forward if front end wanders on climbs effectively increasing ur STA.
    -----If ur looking for an XC trail bike, Orbea Oiz TR Alu version starts at $2600, 68 HTA 120mm front, 100mm rear, I could def give better recommendations with more info, but most newer bikes are coming with longer forks these days....120/140, 130/150...etc. SB100 and Ripley will run on too much PSI...over max if ur heavy...(300lbs-ish). SC Tallboy, Norco Optic Great STA's but a bit slacker they run 20-25psi over body weight so they would work for heavy clydes. Good luck in your search!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    What did you expect when people keep trying to convience me of what I need when I know what I want? I've been riding bikes more than 10 years...I'm pretty sure I know enough to know what's best for me. Why do I want a 150mm travel 35 pound enduro style bike to ride trails that if I really wanted...I could ride on a full rigid single speed? Trails that I do and have ridden on a hardtail? I'm not a downhiller. I don't jump. I don't do drops. I'm fat and slow with average handling skills so a bike that's designed to go downhill fast and jump and do drops is not ideal when what I ride 99% of the time is not fast downhills with no jumps and drops that aren't more than like 12-18" high. The Release is great for what it's intended for. I think that the bike I got was an amazing value and I admit I got caught drinking the bigger travel enduro bike kool-aid and now it's not tasting so great and I'm ready for a new flavor.
    So my use case scenario may be similar to yours although I don't really know for sure.

    I'm older, out of shape, average skill set, very little downhill, small jumps up to about 12"-16", trails with lot of roots, tight switchbacks, roots when climbing, roots when turning, roots when descending, tight turns with trees close on each side, mud, and loose junk like pine needles and leaves and gum tree seeds, on trails regularly in NC. Short climbs and short descents with lots and lots of pedaling and almost zero high speed flow areas. Maybe this is similar to you but I really don't know.

    I can tell you as a relatively low speed, technical, trail bike, I am super happy with my hardtail and the biggest size tire I can get on the back. If I could get a 3" tire on the back I'd do it, but really a 2.5" is as big as I can go. Head angle is about 67 degrees when the 150mm fork is compressed about 20%. Wheelbase is roughly 1146mm, chain stays are 432mm, 27.5" tires. I'm 5' 8" (but I was 5' 9" a long time ago before I got arthritis), no idea how tall you are.

    I can easily clear multiple roots that stick 4"-6" above the ground at speed with some slight pulling on the front end and then shifting weight just before the rear tire hits. Some of the people I ride with have plus bikes with 2.8" tires on the back, and I watch them clear the same roots as I do with less effort than I put in. They climb well, are easy to pivot around corners, and float over lousy conditions while maintaining traction. Granted, my bike is no lightweight, as it is a 31lb hardtail under my 255 lbs.

    I know a plus size hardtail is not what you are looking for, but it may be something to consider before spending money on another FS bike. I frankly would like to find something enduro-ish as a second bike, because I want to start jumping again with my son, and jumping really just doesn't work for me on the hardtail with the arthritis in my spine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Dirt Fest is no more. Dirt Rag has closed their doors and out of business. The two respective parks are still planning on keeping up with some sort of mountain biking festival but not sure about demos like Dirt Rag had. At least this year since both will be new festivals unless all the vendors that Dirt Rag had lined up agree to stick with it and come to these new festivals. Assuming that Dirt Rag had stuff lined up for this year but it's possible they knew this was coming early enough to not get anything lined up.

    I'm hoping that Dirt Rag knew this was coming and contacted the local groups for Raytown and Big Bear and gave them a heads up and maybe worked with them some to help get these two new festivals going. I know the Big Bear group is pretty pumped and really excited and claiming a bigger and better than Dirt Fest experience...we'll find out in July.
    it's back...
    https://www.demodays.com/bikebashwv

    from dirt rag today...
    "We are happy to announce that Big Bear Lake Camplands is picking up the Dirt Fest West Virginia torch with a new event on the same weekend. Bike Bash at Big Bear Lake West Virginia."

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by sapva View Post
    it's back...
    https://www.demodays.com/bikebashwv

    from dirt rag today...
    "We are happy to announce that Big Bear Lake Camplands is picking up the Dirt Fest West Virginia torch with a new event on the same weekend. Bike Bash at Big Bear Lake West Virginia."
    Right...not Dirt Fest but a new festival to take its place. I believe Alligrippis is supposed to be doing a new one at Raystown to replace the May Dirt Fest as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJZ74 View Post
    What type of Clyde are you BTW? When u say handles like shit on climbs, what do you mean? Front wanders and wheelies, Steering Twitchy or vague. How's the gearing? Specific info about you and what you dislike would help in recommendations as well as terrain you ride.
    -----What Size release are you riding? GEO wise it has a short wheelbase as it is, the XL at 1213mm is like a lot of Mediums on some new geo bikes. STA is slack at 73 so if ur tall, I can def see Climbing being bad for you as the higher your post gets the further ur weight gets over the rear, plus the chainstays are really short at 425mm which makes that issue even worse. If ur a Heavy Clyde it could make it an uphill wheelie machine, Release 3 has a short stem at 40mm, a longer stem could slow steering if it felt twitchy, would also give u room to slide ur saddle forward if front end wanders on climbs effectively increasing ur STA.
    -----If ur looking for an XC trail bike, Orbea Oiz TR Alu version starts at $2600, 68 HTA 120mm front, 100mm rear, I could def give better recommendations with more info, but most newer bikes are coming with longer forks these days....120/140, 130/150...etc. SB100 and Ripley will run on too much PSI...over max if ur heavy...(300lbs-ish). SC Tallboy, Norco Optic Great STA's but a bit slacker they run 20-25psi over body weight so they would work for heavy clydes. Good luck in your search!
    6'2" and 285 but usually my riding body weight is in the 260's.

    I suck at climbing. No matter what. I'll admit to that. I hate climbing but where I live it's a necessary evil. Most climbs here are shorter and steep. Sometimes straight up and over. Sometimes switch back after switch back. Sometimes just a several mile sustained grind. But on the steeper stuff my front tends to lift quite a bit and likes to wonder. Sometimes that messes me up if the climbing gets technical. But usually it's just more annoying than anything. The way the bike climbs really isn't my big gripe though. My biggest dislike is just the way it handles on flatter trails that have a lot of tighter turns. The bike just isn't nimble at all. And I understand it's really not meant to be. I'm sure under a more skilled rider it can certain be made to be anything they want it to be. But I'm not particularly skilled and don't mind admitting that. It just feels slow and lumbering. Kinda like me...lol...but I also know what fast and nimble feels like as I've had that in a couple other bikes. Both were hardtails so I'm sure that has some to do with it. But they were both shorter travel bikes with a little shorter wheel base and steeper HT angles. Both day and night different than how the Release handles. As they should since they are drastically different bikes. The Release is a rocket on the nasty downhills and that's where it feels most at home. But since most of my riding is not nasty downhill but rather a mix of smooth-ish single track with some tech and twisty sections to full on technical with loads of rocks and roots but little to no downhill...the Release just feels like a fish out of water. To me at least.

    My bike is an XL.
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    Have you tried higher pressures in the rear shock? I'm only 210 and have to pump mine close to max for it to feel responsive, even then it stays locked out half the time and never sees the fully open position. Any bike is going to feel like a tank if the rear end is mushy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sapva View Post
    Have you tried higher pressures in the rear shock? I'm only 210 and have to pump mine close to max for it to feel responsive, even then it stays locked out half the time and never sees the fully open position. Any bike is going to feel like a tank if the rear end is mushy.
    Not sure what bike you're riding, or what shock is on it, but it sounds like you're putting a bandaid on a bad setup. At 210 lbs (I'm about the same weight) there's definitely a better tune, or a better shock, or a better setup you could get so you could happily run the rear shock wide open and like it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sapva View Post
    Have you tried higher pressures in the rear shock? I'm only 210 and have to pump mine close to max for it to feel responsive, even then it stays locked out half the time and never sees the fully open position. Any bike is going to feel like a tank if the rear end is mushy.
    Not with his. He's got a custom valved McLeod on his bike. He doesn't have the same issues as he would with Fox or RS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Not sure what bike you're riding, or what shock is on it, but it sounds like you're putting a bandaid on a bad setup. At 210 lbs (I'm about the same weight) there's definitely a better tune, or a better shock, or a better setup you could get so you could happily run the rear shock wide open and like it.
    It works and I'm happy with it. I ended up with a Fox DPS after trying a number of them. Unlike RS, it has a decent lockout. Made a huge difference. Only downside is that it gets a bit hot on long descents. Running it wide open? Not a chance, will never go back. If that had not worked, I'd have tried a 600-800lb coil spring. Some people just like a softer shock, I'm not one of them. Do pretty much the same thing with my forks, locked out half the time and half open pointed down hill. Works great with Fox, but RS tends to get jittery long before it gets firm. And I still bottom out, so maybe I should technically have a mid travel, but prefer the feeling of something more responsive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R_Pierce View Post
    Not with his. He's got a custom valved McLeod on his bike. He doesn't have the same issues as he would with Fox or RS.
    Where can I get one of those McLeod's? Will it take 500 lbs of air?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sapva View Post
    Where can I get one of those McLeod's? Will it take 500 lbs of air?
    Nope. You're clearly being sarcastic (I'm assuming) since no sir shock on the market will take 500psi....and from your previous post it sounds like you may as well be on a rigid plus bike... If you're descending with a fork half locked out anyways...

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    Quote Originally Posted by R_Pierce View Post
    Nope. You're clearly being sarcastic (I'm assuming) since no sir shock on the market will take 500psi....and from your previous post it sounds like you may as well be on a rigid plus bike... If you're descending with a fork half locked out anyways...
    Only half sarcastic. Haven't tried Manitou. If I had a supply of all the world's shocks and a mechanic, maybe I would have. As noted, the shocks still bottom out from time to time. So no, it is nothing like a rigid bike, and no one really designs bikes or shocks for heavier riders anyway. From what I see in off the shelf bikes, they design for around 130-180 lbs. It's understandable that designing for the minority demographic is not a good business model.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sapva View Post
    Only half sarcastic. Haven't tried Manitou. If I had a supply of all the world's shocks and a mechanic, maybe I would have. As noted, the shocks still bottom out from time to time. So no, it is nothing like a rigid bike, and no one really designs bikes or shocks for heavier riders anyway. From what I see in off the shelf bikes, they design for around 130-180 lbs. It's understandable that designing for the minority demographic is not a good business model.
    I agree. The McLeod is by far the best air shock I've ridden for a heavier rider (I rode it when I was 325lbs) with a custom shim stack that I put in the shock.

    But to each their own for sure.

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    Anyways, sorry OP. Back on track


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    I bought my shock from R_Pierce and he is absolutely correct. This is not a shock issue and the McLeod is a fat guy's dream shock. I can actually be heavy and have a shock that does what a shock is supposed to do. Very little pedal bob. It actually acts like a shock. I don't have to pump it up with so much air that I might as well just ride a hardtail. If you're heavy and the standard Fox/Rockshox offerings aren't working for you...this is where you need to look unless you are ready and willing to put out the money for the appropriate coil spring setup.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    IIf you're heavy and the standard Fox/Rockshox offerings aren't working for you...this is where you need to look unless you are ready and willing to put out the money for the appropriate coil spring setup.
    That custom McLeod might be the dream. But if you have a bike and a shock that isn't doing it for you, it's not a stretch to think about adjusting the pressure to something more appropriate for your weight and how you like to ride as a first step in the discovery process.

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    You can get the V2 version Banshee Phantom frame for $1225. I don't think the V3 is what you're looking for. Long and slack. I'd probably also consider the aluminium Trek Top Fuel frame. https://www.dirtmerchantbicycles.com...nt=31683334721

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    I noticed that you mentioned only the big brands are near you. Since it seems like you prefer the handling you found on ur hardtails, I would stay closer to the XC-trail type bikes. Trek Top Fuel has an ALU frame for $2k, 75 STA, 68 HTA, Wheelbase is a bit longer 1206mm but that's more due top the steeper STA, Shock-wise, pressure runs 1:1 with body weight...285lbs takes 285psi in the shock so that works perfect for you.. it's 115mm rear, 120mm front but u wouldn't have any issue running a 130mm front, Angles would still be fine. On an XC bike ur gonna have a much more snappy feel similar to what ur used to on a HT but you always compromise ur HT's handling for the sake of some squish. You'll find newer trail bikes even the shorter travel ones are going the road of long and slack. If u got a Trek dealer nearby, demo one.
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    top fuel. Good to know about the 1:1. Im 255 on my stumpy and run a topaz at 310psi. So id happily go for the top fuel compared to that. Concern is that trek states 300 lbs max bike and rider. Given its a race frame. Would that make it a bit less robust? its sized up to xxl. Also the tf8 is rather expensive and has some lousy parts imo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuse6F View Post
    top fuel. Good to know about the 1:1. Im 255 on my stumpy and run a topaz at 310psi. So id happily go for the top fuel compared to that. Concern is that trek states 300 lbs max bike and rider. Given its a race frame. Would that make it a bit less robust? its sized up to xxl. Also the tf8 is rather expensive and has some lousy parts imo.
    I've never had issues with limits on alu frames.....Especially if ur not doing drops or jumps, etc. I think Trek has that on all their bikes, I had a 2011 Trek Scratch Air 9 w/ the 300lb limit and rode it all over Highland Bike Park, never an issue when I was 330 geared up. Had that bike for 4 years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sapva View Post
    That custom McLeod might be the dream. But if you have a bike and a shock that isn't doing it for you, it's not a stretch to think about adjusting the pressure to something more appropriate for your weight and how you like to ride as a first step in the discovery process.
    I did and it resulted in a shock (MONARCH PLUS RC3 DebonAir) so rigid I might as well been riding a hardtail.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    I did and it resulted in a shock (MONARCH PLUS RC3 DebonAir) so rigid I might as well been riding a hardtail.
    That was what came with my Process and got replaced with a Fox DPS. It seemed to have only 2 modes, too soft or jittery. The Monarch might be a good shock on something with better anti squat control. I don't think the Diamondbacks and Konas are especially known for that.

  60. #60
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    My guess is the Monarch is a great shock for folks under 200 pounds. But not for us. Replaced with the McLeod and all was good from there as far as shock performance.
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