New Bike: Santa Cruz Hightower, Rocky Mountain Instinct, Norco Sight

PB Forum :: 29ers
New Bike: Santa Cruz Hightower, Rocky Mountain Instinct, Norco Sight
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Posted: Oct 8, 2019 at 7:24 Quote
Looking to get a new mountain bike; soliciting opinions and first hand experiences!

I’m 6’, 165lbs, live West Coast BC, ride North Vancouver and Interior BC. I’m not a very aggressive rider – I’m not doing any big drops, not hucking jumps, won’t be blazing down a technical trail at mach speed. I just love being on bikes and I like getting outside to be outside. I’m very fit and I like the ups as much as the downs; when coming down I really enjoy more technical trails that challenge you. Leave of Absence, Angry Midget, and Credit Line in Squamish come to mind. Blues to easy Blacks. I’d also be keen on some longer day backcountry expedition type rides.
I’m trying to figure out how much travel is required for what I ride. I’ve been told by bike shop owners 140mm is minimum for North Shore/Squamish riding. But I’ve been really stoked on these new short travel 29ers (Ripley, Trance, Tallboy) and wondering if they are enough bike/squish for BC riding for me. If you aren't hucking jumps or super aggressive but still riding steeper, technical, rocky, rooty terrain - are these bikes gonna get overwhelmed/bottom out? Would one be better on a mid-travel 29er (Ripmo, Hightower, Rocky Mountain Instinct)?

Bikes I’m considering
Rocky Mountain Instinct Carbon 50 2019 - $4320
- The Goldilocks so far. 20% on sale at LBS, $4320
- HTA 66-67, STA 74.5-75.5, Reach 419-455
- Fox 34 Performance 140mm, DPS Performance 140mm
- SRAM NX/GX mix drivetrain
- Shimano SLX brakes
- Race Face i27 rims, Maxxis Minion DHR2 2.3”

Santa Cruz Hightower 2020, Aluminum Reserve Build - $4699
- Downside: Price, RockShox Yari, weight
- Upside: Slacker HTA, stepper STA
- HTA 65.5, STA 76.8, Reach 473
- RockShox Yari RC 150mm, Fox DPS Performance 130mm
- SRAM NX drivetrain
- SRAM Guide R brakes
- WTB i29 rims, Maxxis Minion DHR2 2.4”

Santa Cruz Tallboy v4
- Would the Tallboy, at 130/120mm, be too easily overwhelmed? Better to have extra squish if I’m a newer rider – not the best at picking lines?

Norco Sight Custom Build - $4200
- Downside: Steeper HTA, slacker STA, Guide T brakes, weight
- Upside: DVO suspension, Wine/Fuchsia colour
- HTA 665, STA 73.5, Reach 453
- DVO Diamond 150mm, DVO Topaz Piggy Back 130mm
- SRAM NX drivetrain
- Guide T brakes
- WTB i29, Maxxis Minion DHF 2.4/2.5” WT

Other Bikes Considered
- I also looked at a few other bikes but narrowed it down to those available locally, and within a reasonable price point
o Ibis Ripley, Ripmo
o Giant Trance 29
o Yeti SB130
o Specialized Stumpjumper
o Devinci Troy
o Kona Process 134

The two I'm really considering right now are the Hightower 2020 and the Instinct - but the Instinct in the mid-setting has a 66.5 HTA and 75 STA, compared to the Hightower’s 65.5 HTA, 76.8 STA. With the "long and slack" movement - is the Instinct considered too conservative or you still going to feel pretty confident descending (and climbing) with those numbers?
Any thoughts or experiences are appreciated!

Posted: Oct 8, 2019 at 8:37 Quote
I'm biased, haven't ridden a Rocky Mountain, but I am going to say go with the Santa Cruz. I have three and I love them all, with the 2020 Hightower probably being my favorite. I ride in New Mexico, but I have been to BC and ridden the three trails you mentioned. I brought my Nomad on the trip (didn't have the Hightower at the time) because I was also riding the bike park, but the 5010 would have been plenty capable and more fun on the trails you mentioned (leading me to believe the Tallboy would be as well). Santa Cruz has also replaced a frame and a Reserve wheel for me within the last six months, no questions asked even though I think the wheel was my fault, so in my mind the price tag is already justified.

I just helped my dad pick out a bike, and he ended up going for the Tallboy. He rides tight, rocky, rooty New England trails. I think the Tallboy is perfect for him. If I were you, I'd be between the Tallboy and the Hightower, and probably pick the Hightower because it may give you just a little more confidence to push a little harder. I am sure the Tallboy would be a great choice too, I haven't ridden one but it looks amazing.

Posted: Oct 8, 2019 at 18:55 Quote
A leftover 19 Hightower over forked with a 150 Fox 36 is pretty capable, and can be had pretty reasonably.

I was really torn on what to do and ended up with a leftover Hightower. I also have a HTLT.

There were a few things I did not like with the new SC's, internal brake routing and the added weight of the new frame being the main ones.

I may sell one of mine later, but I need to be really impressed with the new TB to do so. I came off a carbon TB before these.

SC does some things that separate them from the pack for me. Lifetime frame warranty, and free bearing replacement for life. All bearings are in the linkage, none in frame. BB housing is not open to the rest of the frame, no water intrusion from other parts of frame. Some of these may apply to some of the others. I have been on SC since 2001, so...haha

Posted: Oct 13, 2019 at 22:52 Quote
Trance 3 available in Canada? Full carbon frame Marzocchi fork, costs less than bare frame from some of the others on your list. I just picked up a Trance 1 after narrowing it down from Tallboy and Ripley.

Canadian pricing on Giant is very decent. I've bought 2 North of the border

Posted: Oct 14, 2019 at 1:13 Quote
If it was me, it would be between the Ibis Ripley and SC Tallboy V4.
I don't think you'd be outgunned with a 130/120mm (F/R) travel bike, if you're not doing any crazy jumps etc.
The TB4 is however a degree slacker, so could be a smidge better in the steep stuff.

But these new short travel 29ers, really are stupidly capable.

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