Salsa Spearfish vs Devinci Atlas Carbon- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Salsa Spearfish vs Devinci Atlas Carbon

    Anyone compare/consider these two bikes?

    I've been considering these two for a while, and would like some thoughts from anyone who has experience with one or both. For background, I ride technical XC/trail in central Virginia - lots of rocks and roots, some tight twisty stuff, and some rolling hills, some punchy steep hills, up and down. I enjoy tricky, technical climbs, don't do big jumps or drops more than 1-2 ft, and do a handful of races each year. Currently ride a HT 29 (2010 Gary Fisher X-Cal), and thinking of adding a FS 29. I would keep my HT, but would likely move my carbon LB/Hope wheels over to the new bike.

    Things I like about both of these bikes:
    Short Chainstays
    Split Pivot
    Relatively affordable compared to more boutique brands (have seen used frame/forks for ~$1500, slightly used/demo bikes ~$2800)
    Both seem to be playful, but with slightly different front end geometry

    Things I like about the Spearfish (I did a demo of a 2014 SF1 last summer):
    Short travel isn't too far from my HT in terms of efficiency/weight
    Short chainstays
    Decent weight for aluminum frame (~6 lbs for Large)
    Geometry very similar to my HT (Long ETT, slack HTA @ 69.3*, 51 mm offset fork)

    Things I like about the Atlas Carbon (going by reviews and geo):
    A little more travel to give more trail capability
    Adjustable geometry
    Carbon frame is a little lighter than SF aluminum frame (~5.75 lbs for large), with stiffness advantages, but can be found for not much more $
    Lifetime warranty

    Differences:
    The most notable difference is the HTA and fork offset, with the Atlas being a little steeper (69.6* or 70.1* depending on setting) with a 44 mm offset fork.
    Reach is slightly longer on the SF.

    A complete SF1 weighs ~26#, where a complete Atlas Carbon RC weighs ~28#. I assume most of the weight difference is in the wheels (Stans Crests vs Easton XR), but why else does the Atlas Carbon weigh more than the SF?

    So to summarize, if choosing between these two, which would you pick, and why?

    Thanks!
    Ted

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OykysYk0c68

    Good review on the carbon Spearfish from Bike magazines site

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    Have you thought about getting a more capable HT 29er?

    Before I moved to WA, I rode 29er HT all over the East (TN, NC, GA, VA) and I ended up getting a Honzo, it was hands down the best bike for the riding you describe. A Yelli Screamy or something similar would be a nice lightweight HT alternative to the Honzo.

    You will lose a lot of tech and climbing ability when you go to an FS, not to mention increased weight. But FS is nice for taming the rear end on the downs. If you really think you need FS and you want a tech friendly fun bike, the FS Honzo is called the Kona Process 111. You should defintely try that bike if you can find a demo.

    I'm demoing an Atlas now, it is a nice bike, not exactly a Honzo, it rides much taller and the steering is much quicker. I'm looking at the Atlas as a AM climber for Western riding, it has a high BB which may be why it feels so tall. I don't think the Atlas is as fun as a Honzo, but then I still have a Honzo

    I have not ridden a Spearfish. The weight difference is probably in the parts, even then the carbon framed Atlas will not be that much lighter than an aluminum framed bike. The nice thing about Devinci is the carbon only costs $300 more than Al.

    If pedal strike is not an issue where you ride, you might want to try a Ripley, nice low BB, smooth riding, fast and agile, very popular for good reason, but more $$

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    @ rushman3: Thanks for the link. I hadn't seen that review. It suggests the SF has decent trail capability despite its minimal travel. That's really my only concern with the SF: would I regret not getting something with more travel down the road. Also, at this point I'm probably budget limited to the Al SF, while the carbon Atlas might be within reach (with a little stretch).

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    @ Nurse Ben: thanks for the suggestions. I have thought about another hardtail, since I enjoy mine a lot. But I've decided to keep mine and ride it until it breaks, at which point I will take advantage of its lifetime warranty to update the latest ht frame. Moving the fork travel up from 80 to 100 alone will make it feel like a trail bike.

    My focus now is on a bike that will bring some relief to my aging back and reduce the sketchiness on some of the rougher downhills, while not giving up too much in weight or efficiency.

    I have looked into the Process 111, and like a lot of what I've read. But I've ruled it out due to 1) weight 2) efficiency isn't its strong suit 3) lack of demo availability.

    Pedal strikes aren't uncommon on my X-cal, but they don't trouble me too much. A lot of guys around here like the Pivot Mach 429/429c, but those are a bit beyond my price range (plus they seem to need frequent servicing).

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    I'd ride the Atlas back home in TN, it's a nice agile bike, good quality for a decent price.

    I really like the adjustable suspension, you can run mild to wild, I have a 130mm Revelation on the one that I will "probably" purchase

    I feel like the Atlas is the kind of bike that can grow with you, change the fork up or down, drop or raise the rear end, it's such a cool trick that I wonder why other mfgs aren't doing it.

    The Atlas will not take a very fat tire out back, an Ardent 2.25 for sure, but not an Ardent 2.4

  7. #7
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    Re: Salsa Spearfish vs Devinci Atlas Carbon

    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    I'd ride the Atlas back home in TN, it's a nice agile bike, good quality for a decent price.

    I really like the adjustable suspension, you can run mild to wild, I have a 130mm Revelation on the one that I will "probably" purchase

    I feel like the Atlas is the kind of bike that can grow with you, change the fork up or down, drop or raise the rear end, it's such a cool trick that I wonder why other mfgs aren't doing it.

    The Atlas will not take a very fat tire out back, an Ardent 2.25 for sure, but not an Ardent 2.4
    You hit on one of the things I like about the Atlas: the flexibility to run from 100 - 140 mm forks and tackle everything from xc to am. It would definitely be capable of the roughest trails I'm ever likely to attempt.

    So that leads me to the main question: how different from the SF does the Atlas ride when in XC mode? Is it similar in efficiency and handling? Would I be better off with a bike targeted at my main riding style, or one that has perhaps a broader range?

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    I feel like the Atlas is the kind of bike that can grow with you, change the fork up or down, drop or raise the rear end, it's such a cool trick that I wonder why other mfgs aren't doing it.
    There's alot of manufacturers doing adjustable geo by the way of flipchips or adjustable dropouts. Banshee and Rocky Mountain are the first to spring to mind, but there are others aswell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    You will lose a lot of tech and climbing ability when you go to an FS,

    I'm demoing an Atlas now, it is a nice bike, not exactly a Honzo, it rides much taller and the steering is much quicker. I'm looking at the Atlas as a AM climber for Western riding, it has a high BB which may be why it feels so tall. I don't think the Atlas is as fun as a Honzo, but then I still have a Honzo

    If pedal strike is not an issue where you ride, you might want to try a Ripley, nice low BB, smooth riding, fast and agile, very popular for good reason, but more $$
    IMHO climbing on a FS just gives you a different set of abilities. The rear will track with the terrain and thus give you better grip for climing. That's the case unless you just climb on smooth terrain where pedaling effiency becomes a larger part of the equation.

    As for the Honzo vs the Atlas I'd call the Atlas a FS Honzo assuming they both have the same fork and you can make up for the seat angle of the Atlas using body english.

    I recently moved all my Honzo parts onto an Atlas and they're both stellar bikes. If both are set up with 140mm forks, the Atlas geo closely mimics the Ripley, or the other way around depending on how you want to look at it.

    2.35 HD clears just fine on the rear too. (On Roam60s atleast)

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    Thanks for the feedback, Vegard. How would you say the Atlas handles/performs as an XC bike, particularly in with techy climbs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Have you thought about getting a more capable HT 29er?

    Before I moved to WA, I rode 29er HT all over the East (TN, NC, GA, VA) and I ended up getting a Honzo, it was hands down the best bike for the riding you describe. A Yelli Screamy or something similar would be a nice lightweight HT alternative to the Honzo.

    You will lose a lot of tech and climbing ability when you go to an FS, not to mention increased weight. But FS is nice for taming the rear end on the downs. If you really think you need FS and you want a tech friendly fun bike, the FS Honzo is called the Kona Process 111. You should defintely try that bike if you can find a demo.

    I'm demoing an Atlas now, it is a nice bike, not exactly a Honzo, it rides much taller and the steering is much quicker. I'm looking at the Atlas as a AM climber for Western riding, it has a high BB which may be why it feels so tall. I don't think the Atlas is as fun as a Honzo, but then I still have a Honzo

    I have not ridden a Spearfish. The weight difference is probably in the parts, even then the carbon framed Atlas will not be that much lighter than an aluminum framed bike. The nice thing about Devinci is the carbon only costs $300 more than Al.

    If pedal strike is not an issue where you ride, you might want to try a Ripley, nice low BB, smooth riding, fast and agile, very popular for good reason, but more $$
    I disagree and so do many others. The suspension helps maintain traction where a HT gets the rear wheel bounced off objects. I find a FS will climb better overall than a HT.

    I do agree on the Ripley, building one now.
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    The Ripley has a lot going for it, that's for sure: light-weight, efficient pedaling, etc. My main issue is cost ($2800 frame only! - I can find lightly used/demo complete Spearfish and Atlas Carbon bikes in that range). Also, I like the longer top tube of the SF and Atlas, as they are more similar to my GF X-cal, which I have really gotten dialed in with.

    Still interested in anyone else who has thoughts specific to the pros/cons of these two bikes.

    Thanks for the dialog so far!
    Ted

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    Umm, no. Try some tech stuff with the suspension locked and then try it unlocked, it's a no brainer. There are situations where you are right, but tech climbing is harder with suspension active. In fact, I did that very thing today and I was able to clean far more locked out. But that's just my opinion....and this is the internet.

    The Honzo vs Atlas thing, no, they are not anything alike, the Atlas is far more XC, it rides very upright. The Honzo is far more slack and it doesn't climb worth a damn, front end lifts too easily. The Atlas is a solid climber, I wrote my buddy that I thought it was a bit of a mountain goat, though the floppy front end can make it hard to keep you line on a tech climb.

    It's a nice bike if you like a more upright riding style.

    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I disagree and so do many others. The suspension helps maintain traction where a HT gets the rear wheel bounced off objects. I find a FS will climb better overall than a HT.

    I do agree on the Ripley, building one now.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TedS123 View Post
    The Ripley has a lot going for it, that's for sure: light-weight, efficient pedaling, etc. My main issue is cost ($2800 frame only! - I can find lightly used/demo complete Spearfish and Atlas Carbon bikes in that range). Also, I like the longer top tube of the SF and Atlas, as they are more similar to my GF X-cal, which I have really gotten dialed in with.

    Still interested in anyone else who has thoughts specific to the pros/cons of these two bikes.

    Thanks for the dialog so far!
    Ted
    You can't really go wrong with either bike, all three have good companies backing them and plenty of good reviews. Ideally you should ride them and see which one you like the best. Which variant of the Atlas do you have available to try?

    I ended up with the Atlas over the Ripley (and RIP 9 RDO) because of the lifetime warranty, burly frame and because it can be built up in alot of different ways to compliment your riding style and terrain of choice. Personally I went with a 140mm fork and a dropper because I enjoy the burlier terrain.

    You might have an interest in reading this:
    Devinci Carbon Atlas 29" First Ride | MyBikeStand.com


    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I disagree and so do many others. The suspension helps maintain traction where a HT gets the rear wheel bounced off objects. I find a FS will climb better overall than a HT.

    I do agree on the Ripley, building one now.
    +1


    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Umm, no. Try some tech stuff with the suspension locked and then try it unlocked, it's a no brainer. There are situations where you are right, but tech climbing is harder with suspension active. In fact, I did that very thing today and I was able to clean far more locked out. But that's just my opinion....and this is the internet.

    The Honzo vs Atlas thing, no, they are not anything alike, the Atlas is far more XC, it rides very upright. The Honzo is far more slack and it doesn't climb worth a damn, front end lifts too easily. The Atlas is a solid climber, I wrote my buddy that I thought it was a bit of a mountain goat, though the floppy front end can make it hard to keep you line on a tech climb.

    It's a nice bike if you like a more upright riding style.
    It might be a no brainer for /you/, but still the majority will disagree. Whenever the rear on a HT hits a bump there will be lift and lost traction, the FS will follow the terrain and thus find more grip.

    Sure a FS will bob a bit in it's travel and lose pedaling effiency, but unless you're a XC pro that will never matter.

    As for the latter half of your post I'm just going to disregard all of it, with the KHS you blamed lift on the wheelsize and now you're saying you get it on the Honzo. This screams inexperience with setting your stuff up properly.

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    Yes, I.am very inexperienced, I don't even ride a bike. Carry on with your bench talk.

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    Actual weight of the Atlas carbon in size large is just a little over 6 lbs, based on several frames weighed in the Atlas thread. The weights listed on Devinci's site are for a smaller frame, and without the shock.

    How tall are you Ted, and what is your inseem? A size large RIP 9 RDO has almost exactly the same geometry as the size XL Ibis Ripley, and very similar to the size XL Atlas with a 140 fork, with the exception of longer chainstays. You might want to consider the RDO because there is a killer deal on them right now. I ride very tight trails here in eastern Ohio and western PA, so I look for the same qualities as you. I plan hit some big mountain trails this year, so I wanted something capable of a 140mm fork, but still with a relatively short wheelbase for my normal trails. The Ibis was immediately off my list because it was way out of my budget.

    I currently ride a size large GT Sensor 9r full suspension and a 21" 2005 Gary Fisher X-Cal hardtail, and I consistently post better times on Strava almost everywhere (including technical climbs) on the GT, even though it's 2-3 lbs heavier. The better traction from the rear suspension more than makes up for the heavier weight, while being more comfortable too.

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    @ Nurse Ben & Vegard:

    I appreciate the different takes on HT vs FS on climbing. I know there will be different pros/cons of each, and perhaps there isn't always a clear-cut "better" option, but I expect them to be different and make certain things easier or trickier. But part of my interest in obtaining one of these bikes is to find out for myself . Since I already have (and intend to keep) a HT, I can compare and select a bike for different types of trails, or just for a different experience on the same trails.

    @ OhioPT:

    That's interesting about the weight of the Atlas Carbon - it's basically the same as the Al Spearfish frame (6# in L). I guess it must be a pretty burly frame.

    I'm ~5'11", 165#, with 33.5" cycling inseam (not pants inseam). My 2010 GF X-Cal is a Large (19"). I'd be looking at Large in either of the two bikes mentioned here. I hadn't been looking very much at the Niners, but I'll take another look. The reason I've narrowed my search to these two is mostly b/c their geometry is fairly similar to the G2 geometry I'm used to, but with shorter chainstays (which I liked on the 2014 Spearfish demo I did). Unfortunately, I don't there are only two bike shops within an hour of me, so demo opportunities are very limited.

    BTW, I'm from western PA, and ride there when I visit family. Brady's Run, White Oak, and North Park are familiar trails...

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    Shoot me a PM the next time you're in the area. I work 5 minutes from Bradys, so I ride there 1-3 times a week. I love North park and Bavington too. Never been to White Oak, have to check it out.

    Between these 2 choice, I'd go Atlas for sure, with the longer warranty and burly frame build. You sound like a solid size large.

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    Cool, OhioPT. Was just up there over the holidays. Not sure when our next visit will be, but will keep that in mind. My family is in Beaver Falls. White Oak is near Irwin, where my in-laws live.

    Back on topic: Vegard, I forgot to say thanks for the link. I hadn't seen that review before.

    I keep going back and forth. Had been leaning towards the Atlas, then Spearfish, and now back to Atlas...

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TedS123 View Post
    Also, I like the longer top tube of the SF and Atlas, as they are more similar to my GF X-cal, which I have really gotten dialed in with.
    I was looking at the Atlas and at least to me the the eff top tube is deceptively long due to the slack seat tube. To me it felt like a long bike until I stood up and the reach got short in a hurry, ymmv. P.S, I went with a 111, screw the weight

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    I'm 6', 32" inseam, normal arm length, I tried a Large Atlas and it was huge, both in the stack and reach, more so than I would have expected. I swapped to a medium and after tweaking the fit I am finding the frame to have a deceptively long TT, in part due to the slack ST. The difference between the large and medium TT was a couple inches, seriously, you need to fit this bike if you're a tweaner.

    Take a day, drive to the big city and test out the bikes you like, it's not a perfect plan, but it'll prevent a big mistake. Last year when I was looking at a 650 I was convinced I should get a Troy, but after a couple demos, I decided on a different bike. It wasn't that the reviews were wrong, it was just not the bike for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TedS123 View Post
    Anyone compare/consider these two bikes?
    I saw a mention of the Niner. Anyone ride both the carbon Spearfish and the Jet 9 RDO? Similar travel. Impressions on all types of uphill would be of interest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfo423 View Post
    I saw a mention of the Niner. Anyone ride both the carbon Spearfish and the Jet 9 RDO? Similar travel. Impressions on all types of uphill would be of interest.
    I can tell you what I think of the RDO I had, efficient peddler, too steep of head angle, too long of stays, very fast bike, and it broke along with many others just like it. To be fully honest I'm a short stay whore. Have never ridden a Spearfish sorry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    I can tell you what I think of the RDO I had, efficient peddler, too steep of head angle, too long of stays, very fast bike, and it broke along with many others just like it. To be fully honest I'm a short stay whore. Have never ridden a Spearfish sorry.
    Same on the RDO, except no breaking. It's an XC racer, through and through, meant to ride long and low. It's going to accelerate and climb like a rocket, but it's not a bomber and not the best choice for tight, winding trails.

    The aluminum Spearfish rides very closely to an Atlas Carbon if the Atlas had the rear chip on 'high' and a 100mm fork. The Spearfish's chainstay is only a 1/2" longer than the Atlas, and the way it's set up with the 80mm suspension feels just as quick as the Atlas. Very similar bikes. Biggest difference is the price, about a grand between the two.

    Atlas Carbon has a lifetime warranty, is over a pound less, and 30mm more travel. Spearfish carries a 3 year warranty, and my buddy who owns the bike I tested already broke the front triangle. Granted he broke his bombing down a descent with a carbon-crowned 100mm XX SID (not a great free ride combo).

    So I would say if your main obstacle to a great frame is the budget, I'd go Salsa (especially since I'm seeing them online for around $1,200). If ride quality is priority and warranty matters, Carbon Atlas. If prices are equal (Carbon Spearfish), Atlas all the way.

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    One thing that is interesting about Devinci bikes with their warranty. They are the one of the few companies with a transferable lifetime warranty.

    Salsa frame is either 3 or 5 yrs for the full suspension.


    I haven't rode the Salsa Spearfish, but I have rode the Devinci Atlas Aluminum when it came out with a 120mm fork. It rode nice, nice and precise. I really liked the Split Pivot. To me, it felt good. Depending on how you like to ride your sag, it may feel more like VPP or a DW-Link.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver View Post
    One thing that is interesting about Devinci bikes with their warranty. They are the one of the few companies with a transferable lifetime warranty.

    Salsa frame is either 3 or 5 yrs for the full suspension.


    I haven't rode the Salsa Spearfish, but I have rode the Devinci Atlas Aluminum when it came out with a 120mm fork. It rode nice, nice and precise. I really liked the Split Pivot. To me, it felt good. Depending on how you like to ride your sag, it may feel more like VPP or a DW-Link.
    That is incorrect. It used to be that way but isn't anymore. It's right on their website.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    That is incorrect. It used to be that way but isn't anymore. It's right on their website.
    It appears you're right about the transferable warranty. They still carry a lifetime warranty though (excluding pivots and hardware (1yr)). This change must have happened in the last year.

    If it were my money, with the Atlas being very close in comparison to the Tallboy carbon....with a pretty playful geo, I would go that route. Not to take anything away from the Salsa because I believe that is a great bike too, but the added suspension is really nice.

    To the point that I own a Tallboy Carbon, but wanted another bigger bike because I was finding the limits of the 100mm in the back. I ended up getting an Intense Spider 29Comp Carbon (decided against the Banshee) on discount just before Christmas which is 114mm or 130mm rear travel adjustment. I run it in the low mode with a 130 Revelation RCT3 and its perfect!

    If you ride technical singletrack....take your bike to Sedona or anything out west or the NC, you're going to want more travel than 80mm or you'll have to finesse down every technical section along the way. The 35mm extra rear travel is quite significant! And it comes a zero tax to the efficiency...that Devinci is wicked efficient!

    I do have one warning about it, if you're use to the front end staying glued to the ground on climbs....you'll have to committingly drive the front end a bit because the short stays and trail length forks (120mm) it will make that front end feel a bit light....but it's great in that it takes less energy to get that front end up when you're doing technical climbs with step-ups!
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    I can only tell you about the Spearfish. I have a 2014 aluminum and it's a really fun bike. Climbs great, very agile with the geometry, and surprisingly capable on technical descents.

    I wouldn't really try to get much air under it, and it does start to get overwhelmed a bit when things are both rough and fast. It handles slow techy pretty darn well though.

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    Thanks for all the recent input! I've been leaning towards the Atlas for a while, hoping to find a closeout or used frame ~$1500. Now that the Spearfish frames are on closeout for $1200, that makes it a little tougher choice...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TedS123 View Post
    Thanks for all the recent input! I've been leaning towards the Atlas for a while, hoping to find a closeout or used frame ~$1500. Now that the Spearfish frames are on closeout for $1200, that makes it a little tougher choice...

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    It shouldn't make the choice harder. Don't let price dictate the purchase or there is a good chance you might regret it and then what kind of deal is one you regret later.

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    TwoTone is right....don't let the couple hundred bucks dictate..you'll be left with regret.

    If you need to save some $$, there are different options too.
    However, I bought my Intense from Fanatik Bike, no complaints....lol but it did come in a Devinci box coincidentally :P

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    I have not ridden a Spearfish, but I have ridden a lot of other bikes...the Atlas is a solid bike that can do it all. I was amazed last weekend at some of the stuff I could ride, both up and down, lava field stuff with ouchy consequences, some really loose talus material, mud, sand, whatever, it just handled it.

    The climbing ability was very suprising, nimble, able to point and go, the back tire stuck like glue, only my skills limited what I could get through.

    Suspension wise, I don't even notice it, in other words it works. I changed from a 22t to a 24t up front and this took away the pedal bob, but still have plenty of low end to climb the steepest stuff.

    There are some nice completes on Pink Bike, that would be a more cost effective way to go than building a bike from scratch.

    Parts are parts, good wheels would be a plus, a decent fork (Revelation is fine, a Fox if you're into that, a Pike 120-130 would be sweet if you have the cash), in terms of drive train I'm liking the 2 x 10, it gives me the legs to burn the miles when I have road or gravel to ride.

    I wonder if resale on the Spearfish will be poor considering how many are out there, more so with the chaneg in suspension being confusing to buyers. All bikes get resol sooner or later... and DeVinci is hot!

  32. #32
    Trail Junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Parts are parts, good wheels would be a plus, a decent fork (Revelation is fine, a Fox if you're into that, a Pike 120-130 would be sweet if you have the cash), in terms of drive train I'm liking the 2 x 10, it gives me the legs to burn the miles when I have road or gravel to ride.

    I can vouch for the Revelation RCT3, I have a 130mm model that I just put on my Intense. I like it a lot!
    Ibis Ripley LS
    Santa Cruz Chameleon SS
    Cervelo S2
    Trek Boone 5 Disc (Gravel)
    GT Piece Tour (Gravel)

  33. #33
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    When I got the Atlas, my buddy had a new Rev 130mm we swapped for the stock Reba. So last night I was looking at the fork and it just seemed tall compared to my other forks, so I measured it...it's 140mm, doh!

    So I'm running super slack with the chips in low, and I like it :-)

  34. #34
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    Thanks for the advice- I'll hold out for the Atlas .

    Nurse Ben- have you ridden yours with both the Reba and the Revelation? Is the Reba ok for the Atlas, or is the Revelation much better?

    Sent from my VS980 4G using Tapatalk

  35. #35
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    The Reba.is a fine fork, it was the standard until a few years ago, I rode them on all my 29er SS. I'd get a Rev if you.can afford it, the ride is more supple, the fork is more adjustable. M fav is the Pike, but the Rev rides just as well, just not as stiff

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