2020 Growler hardtail - who's riding one- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    2020 Growler hardtail - who's riding one

    Anybody riding the new Growler? The geo looks really good for a progressive hardtail with a frame you can upgrade as you need too. 64 head tube angle, 75 seat tube angle, etc. The basic Growler 20 is a decent price for a rolling chassis (yea the spec is not great but I have a 150mm pike, xt brakes and misc parts I can put on it).

    This will replace my old 2015 commencal meta ht (10X135 rear) and be a compliment to my alloy gg smash.

    Thanks in advance.

    Gerry.

    good review here:
    https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/revie...ain-growler-50
    Last edited by gerryl; 04-18-2020 at 12:56 PM.

  2. #2
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    We don't get them here in Australia unfortunately which is a bummer as I would love to try one. I own a steel-frame 2011 Blizzard LT (Long Travel) and love how Rocky builds hardtails. The Growler 50 looks like a modern incarnation of that bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryl View Post
    Anybody riding the new Growler? The geo looks really good for a progressive hardtail with a frame you can upgrade as you need too. 64 head tube angle, 75 seat tube angle, etc. The basic Growler 20 is a decent price for a rolling chassis (yea the spec is not great but I have a 150mm pike, xt brakes and misc parts I can put on it).

    This will replace my old 2015 commencal meta ht (10X135 rear) and be a compliment to my alloy gg smash.

    Thanks in advance.

    Gerry.

  3. #3
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    I just picked one up last week, but due to rain haven't had it out to the trails yet. Looking forward to it as soon as possible.

    2020 Growler hardtail - who's riding one-grwlr.jpg
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_shmoop View Post
    I just picked one up last week, but due to rain haven't had it out to the trails yet. Looking forward to it as soon as possible.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Looking forward to your ride thoughts on this...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerryl View Post
    Anybody riding the new Growler? The geo looks really good for a progressive hardtail with a frame you can upgrade as you need too. 64 head tube angle, 75 seat tube angle, etc. The basic Growler 20 is a decent price for a rolling chassis (yea the spec is not great but I have a 150mm pike, xt brakes and misc parts I can put on it).

    This will replace my old 2015 commencal meta ht (10X135 rear) and be a compliment to my alloy gg smash.

    Thanks in advance.

    Gerry.

    good review here:
    https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/revie...ain-growler-50
    It's a great bike, demoed one a couple of weeks ago. With a good fork and some performance parts, that thing turns into a fast trail machine.
    ​Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 2016 Custom Built

  6. #6
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    Personally I'm gunning for a C50 Growler! The geo demands it!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by r1Gel View Post
    Looking forward to your ride thoughts on this...
    I didn't forget about this thread, I just wanted to log a good deal of seat time on the trails before commenting.

    TLDR version: This bike rips, I'm in love. It's definitively up to the task of my local trails and is in no danger of my skill overshadowing it.

    A little background, I've spent my of my mountain bike career on my 2015 Giant Trance 2. I got the bike as I returned to riding after a long hiatus from BMX/dirt jumping. Along the way I upgraded pretty much everything on it because I'm also kind of a gear junkie. I've always been an aggressive rider...a sloppy one at that. I do my best to improve my skill and fitness but I ride for a good time and in no way competitive.

    My most frequent trial: Raceway

    A very close 2nd: Palos

    I feel like the geo of this bike is exactly want I want in a mountain bike. It's comfortable and stable while still being able to climb very well. One of the things I love most about the ride is how it REALLY wakes up on the decent and gobbles up chunky stuff. I'm constantly catching myself underestimating its capabilities. I see something and immediately feel like it's gonna buck me off course or rattle my fillings only to have it almost disappear underneath me. Really the only thing holding this thing back is the pilot. The 2.6 tires (currently running 24lbs f/r) really do a great job at soaking up terrain while not being obnoxiously big or unruly. I ran 2.3 WTB Vigilante on my Trance and loved that tire before. I'm glad to see it's portly brother carries on that tradition. If and when the time comes I may be tempted to upgrade to a rim with a little bit wider ID, but I'm going to wait till I have to upgrade rather than jump the gun. I feel like there has been a few times the front has folded a tiny bit under load but some of that is to be contributed to my lack of skill and weight. Cornering is one of things I'm constantly trying to work on as a rider and I know I should be doing it smoother. I have a tendancy to throw my bike into turns hard to carry momentum and I'm aware of it. I'm still getting it dialed in so no need to throw money at it yet. It may be as simple as adding a few pounds to the front to make the problem go away. I do remember how much I enjoyed the upgrade to Stan's Flow's with NEO hubs on my Trance so I'll keep it on my mind.

    Speaking of throwing money at it, minus the seat (I'll cover that later), I feel the bike is spec'd very well. My first instinct was thinking that I was gonna have to spend a couple hundred dollars to upgrade the Suntour Raidon Fork but if I'm being honest...it's been great. I'm a larger rider (~230lbs) and this thing has done a good job of making this bike really stand out. Would a Fox or Rockshox be better? Sure. Enough to justify the crazy costs those parts have crept up to? I don't think so, at least not for me. I say that as someone who swapped over both my fork and rear shock on my Trance. I'm not afraid to spend money on my bike, I just want to do so wisely. Seeing as it's a hardtail my thought process was that I was going to have to dump money on the fork right away to get the most out of the bike. I haven't found that be the case and have been pleasantly surprised at the performance of the Raidon 34. I've been tempted by the Marzocchi Bomber fork in Gloss Red...but that would more be a cosmetic upgrade so it will wait. I'd also explore the Suntour upgrade program I start to feel the cost can be justified.

    Another area I was concerned about was the brakes. After seeing how they upped to 4 piston calipers on the 50 trim model I feared the MT400's wouldn't be up to the task. As with the fork I've haven't found them to be an issue. When the times comes for maintenance/service I may upgrade but they are doing everything I ask of them for now.

    Really the only issue I've had was for the life of me I couldn't get the seat to keep quiet. I pulled it apart several times for cleaning and greasing but it would never shut up. I really wanted to keep the WTB Volt on there (it looked cool and I like WTB...don't judge me) but as a last resort I swapped it off for a Specialized Phenom Comp I had pulled off my TCX Advanced before I sold it. Wahla...she's as quiet as a church mouse. My guess is that being a heavier rider I was just too much for what I'm sure is the cheapest rails WTB makes (steel). The Cr-Mo rails on the Specialized are much better suited for the task.

    Things I have added:
    Wolf Tooth Fat Paw grips
    RaceFace Chester pedal
    Specialized Phenom Comp saddle
    Switched over to tubeless (everyone should)

    Things I'll address as needed:
    Possible fork if I feel the Raidon performance falls off
    Upgrade to 35-40mm ID rims and new hubs
    Possible brake upgrade (I'm a heavy rider that is pretty aggresive)

    That's it really. I'm totally stoked with this bike and I love riding it. It's exactly what I was looking for in a new trail beast. Nothing needs to be changed on this bike, it's all personal preference. I feel there's a lot of value here for most any rider. I plan to pile on the miles and as my fitness and skill improves I want branch out to bigger more technical trials. I plan to see how far I can take this bike and all trouble it will get me in along the way.

    Moving to a hardtail and going back to flats has made biking fun again.

    2020 Growler hardtail - who's riding one-img_1476.jpg
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  8. #8
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    Nice review! The two parts on the Growler I'd look at first (other than tubeless) is cranks and brake rotors+pads, and eventually the dropper post when the stock one grenaded (which they seem to eventually). Obviously the platform justifies a frame up build, but if I were looking to keep it in the budget, I'd go for the 30 and spend some cash getting it better. Plus, the 30 has way better colourways than the 50.


    Assuming both forks are maintained relatively frequently (which IMO is required to keep budget forks feeling awesome), the Radon will equal or exceed the performance of the 35. The Radon's actually a really good little fork for the money. The minimum I'd want to up grade from it would be anything Foxzocci with a grip damper or a 35mm revelation/yari. The Rockshox 35 wouldn't be enough of an upgrade to justify the price. If anything, the biggest upgrade is to learn to do lowers (clean + add fresh oil, soak o-rings, coat dust wipers in slickoleum) on the radon and do them fairly often. Once you've done it once or twice it's like a 20-30 minute job if you aren't changing the seals. That'll be a bigger performance upgrade to swapping to something like a Yari and then never servicing the damn thing.

    For brakes, they upgraded to ONE 4 piston on the 50. Not both. Personally I'd go RT-76's and some nicer pads first and then consider upgrading brakes after that. The rotor/pad combo is a pretty huge upgrade from stock that I'd go first.

    The stock cranks/BB is fine, but there's a reason the industry moved away from that interface: it's not durable in the long term. If you ride the bike a ton and are happy hitting some jumps/drops/tech on the bike, you're going to eventually round off one of the cranks and need to put something else on.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_shmoop View Post
    I didn't forget about this thread, I just wanted to log a good deal of seat time on the trails before commenting.

    TLDR version: This bike rips, I'm in love. It's definitively up to the task of my local trails and is in no danger of my skill overshadowing it.
    Awesome
    Thanks for sharing!
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by j-t-g View Post
    Nice review!
    Cheers...just my thoughts so far. I don't see too many people commenting about this bike when I went searching so I figured I'd throw it out there.

    Quote Originally Posted by j-t-g
    The two parts on the Growler I'd look at first (other than tubeless) is cranks and brake rotors+pads, and eventually the dropper post when the stock one grenaded (which they seem to eventually). Obviously the platform justifies a frame up build, but if I were looking to keep it in the budget, I'd go for the 30 and spend some cash getting it better. Plus, the 30 has way better colourways than the 50.
    I couldn't agree more, this is a worthy platform for upgrades. It's taking a lot of self control to not just order a bunch of stuff that I want to change because as I said earlier, I'm kinda of a gear junkie. This time around I'm gonna try and wait till things wear out/break before putting more money in it. I'm having so much fun with it as it is I might as well build up my fitness and skill on parts I've spent money on already.

    Do you mean the 40 over the 50? If so, I agree. That's the route I took.


    Quote Originally Posted by j-t-g
    Assuming both forks are maintained relatively frequently (which IMO is required to keep budget forks feeling awesome), the Radon will equal or exceed the performance of the 35. The Radon's actually a really good little fork for the money. The minimum I'd want to up grade from it would be anything Foxzocci with a grip damper or a 35mm revelation/yari. The Rockshox 35 wouldn't be enough of an upgrade to justify the price. If anything, the biggest upgrade is to learn to do lowers (clean + add fresh oil, soak o-rings, coat dust wipers in slickoleum) on the radon and do them fairly often. Once you've done it once or twice it's like a 20-30 minute job if you aren't changing the seals. That'll be a bigger performance upgrade to swapping to something like a Yari and then never servicing the damn thing.
    That's my plan for now. I do all my own service at home and I've already looked into what's needed to go through the forks. I plan to rip it apart in the very near future because I find what comes out of the factory isn't always up to snuff. I'm still getting it dialed in, but so far the Raidon is good enough for me not to want to shell out $500+. Maybe a Bomber Z1 coil is in the future...we'll see.

    Quote Originally Posted by j-t-g
    For brakes, they upgraded to ONE 4 piston on the 50. Not both. Personally I'd go RT-76's and some nicer pads first and then consider upgrading brakes after that. The rotor/pad combo is a pretty huge upgrade from stock that I'd go first.
    I saw in the specs it was only the front that went up to the 420, but threw a "s" on the end of caliper by mistake.

    Thanks for the recommendation, I'll look into those.

    Quote Originally Posted by j-t-g
    The stock cranks/BB is fine, but there's a reason the industry moved away from that interface: it's not durable in the long term. If you ride the bike a ton and are happy hitting some jumps/drops/tech on the bike, you're going to eventually round off one of the cranks and need to put something else on.
    True. This falls under the "will do till it brakes" category
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by r1Gel View Post
    Awesome
    Thanks for sharing!
    You're welcome. I'll keep the updates coming as things progress.
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