Rocky Mountain Switch vs. Mountain Cycle San Andreas for freeride- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Rocky Mountain Switch vs. Mountain Cycle San Andreas for freeride

    I've been giving this some thought, and have narrowed it down to two frames: the Rocky Mountain Switch and the Mountain Cycle San Andreas. These are really comparable frames.

    Which of the two is more suited to freeride? They've both got the same amount of rear travel, but the headtube angle on the Switch is more slack (67.5 vs. 70 for the San An). Of course, putting a 170mm fork on a San An would slacken the headtube as well. I'm having a tough time deciding between the two.

  2. #2
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    personal i like the Switch. Almost decided to get one, but saving for something else. I hear it's a great bike. they both sound like great bikes, but you should test ride them and see what you think of it. Then you shoud diecide.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SideshowBob
    I've been giving this some thought, and have narrowed it down to two frames: the Rocky Mountain Switch and the Mountain Cycle San Andreas. These are really comparable frames.

    Which of the two is more suited to freeride? They've both got the same amount of rear travel, but the headtube angle on the Switch is more slack (67.5 vs. 70 for the San An). Of course, putting a 170mm fork on a San An would slacken the headtube as well. I'm having a tough time deciding between the two.
    I would go with a switch. I got my wife a San Andreas for her FR/DH/Trail bike, and it works really well for her. Its light and she likes the way the suspension feels (altho the brake jack is really bad). But she's 5'6" and 120lbs and she doesnt huck (yet). I am not a big fan of monocoque(sp?) frames. They are noisy, and the 1st month that she had the bike, she wrecked really hard and dented the frame (huge dent behind the headtube on the main frame). But she saw it at interbike and fell in love with it. This is an 03 model. As for the switch, I feel that it would take a bigger beating than the Mtn Cycle. It would have less flex in the rear end, and it would just be more suited to the likes of freeriding. After all the San andreas is a XC bike that has kinda morphed into a light FR bike. Where as the RM Switch was designed and intended for FR abuse. Personally i would go with the RM I Think that you'd be happier in the end.
    Blaaah blaaah blaaah

  4. #4
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    get the switch

    definately go with the switch. Rocky mountain bikes are some of the best bikes you can get in my opinion. I rode a rm7 and it was like riding on a cloud. That and if you are into looks the switch is a whole lot better looking then the san andreas

  5. #5
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    The difference between the two is that the Switch is geared more towards freeride, while the San Andreas is meant for trail riding. The Switch has a DC fork and a solid component spec for the price. Look into the San Andreas DNA, new this year. Its just the regular SA but with a burlier spec and more travel. In my opinion though, the San Andreas looks disgusting, I would be ashamed to ride such an ugly bike. But I guess its more about performance. I'd go with a switch.

  6. #6
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    Mtn. Cycle Sin. Basically the same mainframe as the 9.5. It's a little easier on the eyes than the San Andreas. I ride a 9.5, and it's a great bike.

    Mtn. Cycle designs are kind of a love/hate thing. I personally rather like the moto-look of the 9.5. Black anodized. Their new '05 decal package is a little..errr..yuck IMHO, but oh well. I like the sparse-look decals of my '04. The Sin in pewter looks nice. "Tantra tan" looks like puke (literally). Who cares, really, if the bike performs and suits your needs. Cheers.

  7. #7
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    The San Andreas has some advantages over Switch

    One of the benefits of monocoque frames is stiffness. As the diameter of aluminum tubing doubles, stiffness quadruples. Granted, the Switch comes as a basic triangle which is tried-and-true, but look closely at the Switch and you'll see that its bottom bracket shell isn't attached by much at all---only by the standard-width down tube! The San An is the same, however the monocoque frame has a wider grip on the bb shell.
    On another note, pivots are problems. The more of them you have, the more severe your play will be over time. Granted, the San Andreas depends on just one for its rigidity, so problems with play would manifest themselves earlier but would likely not develop to the severity of a four-pivot design. Think about it for a minute: everywhere in life, it's the components that endure motion that start to fail first: ever see a swingarm on your car fail? Nope. It's usually the joints/linkages that start developing play. There is MUCH to be said about simplicity.
    Another benefit of the San An is the ability to use piggy-back shocks, like the 5th element. I don't think the Switch can fit those.
    Finally, the fact that the San An started out as an XC design doesn't mean much. The frame is designed for use with a dual-crown fork, has a headtube angle that is very suited to long-travel forks, and currently has 6" of rear travel, which is a hair more than the Switch. Mind you, when the Switch first came out, it didn't come with 6" either. The category of "freeride" has been changing, and some manufacturers successfully been able to tweak their existing bikes to meet the demands. Mountain Cycle introduced the Sin with the bottom-line in mind: sales and money. What exactly is the Sin? It's a watered-down Shockwave with front-derailleur compatibility. There's no need for it. What you can do with 7" of travel you can do with 6". Same with the San An DNA.
    I do agree with you, however, of the vulnerability of monocoque designs to being dented easily. But then again, the main frame is replaceable.





    Quote Originally Posted by sortafast
    I would go with a switch. I got my wife a San Andreas for her FR/DH/Trail bike, and it works really well for her. Its light and she likes the way the suspension feels (altho the brake jack is really bad). But she's 5'6" and 120lbs and she doesnt huck (yet). I am not a big fan of monocoque(sp?) frames. They are noisy, and the 1st month that she had the bike, she wrecked really hard and dented the frame (huge dent behind the headtube on the main frame). But she saw it at interbike and fell in love with it. This is an 03 model. As for the switch, I feel that it would take a bigger beating than the Mtn Cycle. It would have less flex in the rear end, and it would just be more suited to the likes of freeriding. After all the San andreas is a XC bike that has kinda morphed into a light FR bike. Where as the RM Switch was designed and intended for FR abuse. Personally i would go with the RM I Think that you'd be happier in the end.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator
    One of the benefits of monocoque frames is stiffness. As the diameter of aluminum tubing doubles, stiffness quadruples. Granted, the Switch comes as a basic triangle which is tried-and-true, but look closely at the Switch and you'll see that its bottom bracket shell isn't attached by much at all---only by the standard-width down tube! The San An is the same, however the monocoque frame has a wider grip on the bb shell.
    On another note, pivots are problems. The more of them you have, the more severe your play will be over time. Granted, the San Andreas depends on just one for its rigidity, so problems with play would manifest themselves earlier but would likely not develop to the severity of a four-pivot design. Think about it for a minute: everywhere in life, it's the components that endure motion that start to fail first: ever see a swingarm on your car fail? Nope. It's usually the joints/linkages that start developing play. There is MUCH to be said about simplicity.
    Another benefit of the San An is the ability to use piggy-back shocks, like the 5th element. I don't think the Switch can fit those.
    Finally, the fact that the San An started out as an XC design doesn't mean much. The frame is designed for use with a dual-crown fork, has a headtube angle that is very suited to long-travel forks, and currently has 6" of rear travel, which is a hair more than the Switch. Mind you, when the Switch first came out, it didn't come with 6" either. The category of "freeride" has been changing, and some manufacturers successfully been able to tweak their existing bikes to meet the demands. Mountain Cycle introduced the Sin with the bottom-line in mind: sales and money. What exactly is the Sin? It's a watered-down Shockwave with front-derailleur compatibility. There's no need for it. What you can do with 7" of travel you can do with 6". Same with the San An DNA.
    I do agree with you, however, of the vulnerability of monocoque designs to being dented easily. But then again, the main frame is replaceable.
    From a design stand point, monocoque can make some sense, but the harsh realities of the real world set in. After 2 seasons of dealing with my with my wife's San Andreas I can tell you that I am not terribly fond of it at all (and I think that the new ones look like @$$). #1 the spring that the 5th comes with rubs the seat tube sub assembly. After some filling and what not, it still rubs. #2 even on the small frame that i got for her, we cant get the seat low enough. #3 every little creak and pop the bike makes becomes horribly amplified. Yes the main frame may be stiffer, but the back end flexes, the main frame dented pretty easily and because of the nice centralized mass in the main frame it uglifies pretty quick with dents and scratching where as a tube frame it is harder to dent and scratchs are less noticeable. The Top of the line switch comes with a DHX 5.0. The piggy back argument is kinda weak. And so is the one about the BB. I mean when was the last time someone sheared off a BB??? Also by this logic, bikes like the Big Hit, and the Iron horse SGS bikes would fail at the same point. I have yet to hear of any or see one of these frames fail at this point. Over all the San Andreas in an OK bike. I just feel that the switch is a better overall design. You can talk design tech all day, but on the trail performance over all quality of frame build is a whole nother ball game. I am just not that impressed with the construction of the san andreas thus far.
    Blaaah blaaah blaaah

  9. #9
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    Frames DO brake at the bb shell. No mystery there. As far as flex goes, you ignored my point about pivots developing play over time. All these little pivots of the Switch are trouble waiting to happen. In fact, I think a few of them are bushings, and I'm not talking about the bushings holding up the shock.

    As far as flex in the San An, you're probably the first I've heard to make that complaint. Read the reviews on this very website, and you'll be lucky to find one complaint of frame flex. The single pivot is stiff stiff stiff. Furthermore, a solid swingarm will always be more stiff than a collection of pivots and linkages, even if the read end of the Switch is a few inches shorter in length than the San An. Simple physics, my good man. And as for the dents? You make a valid point, simple as that. But again, if cosmetics are important to you, well.....

    I'm not trying to poopoo on the Switch. I'm sure it's a fantastic frame as well. Actually, I thought of picking one up myself instead of the San Andreas. I sided, however, with simplicity and a tried-and-true design. The San Andreas hasn't been around for as long as it has for no reason. Similarly, the San Andreas hasn't been as exquisitely versatile as it has for no reason.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemansam
    definately go with the switch. Rocky mountain bikes are some of the best bikes you can get in my opinion. I rode a rm7 and it was like riding on a cloud. That and if you are into looks the switch is a whole lot better looking then the san andreas

    what kind of fork did it have? i rode a kids rm7 witth a stratus fork... gaaa its soo smooooth

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SprungShoulders
    Mtn. Cycle Sin. Basically the same mainframe as the 9.5. It's a little easier on the eyes than the San Andreas. I ride a 9.5, and it's a great bike.
    I agree- I have an '04 Sin and it's perfect for me. I considered a San An, but I've always considered the San An to be an "aggressive" XC bike no matter what they do to it. And I'm not a fan of the way the San An looks, but I love the way the Sin and 9.5 look.

    Quote Originally Posted by SprungShoulders
    Mtn. Cycle designs are kind of a love/hate thing. I personally rather like the moto-look of the 9.5. Black anodized. Their new '05 decal package is a little..errr..yuck IMHO, but oh well. I like the sparse-look decals of my '04. The Sin in pewter looks nice. "Tantra tan" looks like puke (literally). Who cares, really, if the bike performs and suits your needs. Cheers.
    From what I've seen on this site most people are disgusted by the way MC's look. I think there are about 3 of us that actually like them. And I agree, the '05 color/decal scheme is a step backwards as far as looks. The '04 colors and decals were clean...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator
    Mountain Cycle introduced the Sin with the bottom-line in mind: sales and money. What exactly is the Sin? It's a watered-down Shockwave with front-derailleur compatibility. There's no need for it. What you can do with 7" of travel you can do with 6".
    While I think the Sin overlaps the 9.5 and San An, I think it was necessary at the very least for marketing reasons. Pretty much every bike company has a "freeride" bike that is somewhere smack between their DH frame and "all mountain" frame, so why wouldn't MC do the same? I would agree that the Sin is a watered-down version of the 9.5 (not as slack, higher ride height, no moto-linkage rear end, fr derailleur compat.), but it still was many steps above the '04 San An (One thing that I heard was that the newer San An's had much thinner frame walls than eariler versions to get the weight down, so they weren't as durable as the mid-90's San An's were.) Anyway, now I would guess the Sin's position in the MC family isn't quite as clear with this new DNA model San An...

    And just for the record, the Sin had 7.5 inches of travel- the new '05 only has 7

  13. #13
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    Hmmm, I'm not so sure about that.

    In fact, very few changes have been made to the San An over the hears. I do believe they've changed aluminum alloys, but as for wall thickness, I think you're mistaken. One of the marquis features of the San An is the fact that it was a fantastic, bombproof design from the get-go, way back in '88.

    Besides, there as a period of time when the San An was marketed as a freeride bike. In fact, if you look at their 2002 and 2003 catalogues, it was indeed listed as freeride. Thinning out the tube walls on a bike they're selling is freeride would not be wise in the least.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator
    In fact, very few changes have been made to the San An over the hears. I do believe they've changed aluminum alloys, but as for wall thickness, I think you're mistaken. One of the marquis features of the San An is the fact that it was a fantastic, bombproof design from the get-go, way back in '88.
    Now that you mention it, I do believe you are correct in that it was an alloy change that I had heard (might) have happened with the San An.

    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator
    Besides, there as a period of time when the San An was marketed as a freeride bike. In fact, if you look at their 2002 and 2003 catalogues, it was indeed listed as freeride. Thinning out the tube walls on a bike they're selling is freeride would not be wise in the least.
    Well, I guess until they released the Sin, the MC marketing team had to attach the "freeride" buzzword to one of their frames. But what's interesting now is if you remove the San An from their line-up, they seem to have a good span of 5 frames that cover the MTB spectrum nicely. I think they just don't want to put the San An to rest because it's the bike that started at all- and obviously still a popular "do-it-all" frame to those of us that like riding "them thar fugly Mountain Cycles"

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