Help me Pick a Bike Please (overwhelmed)

PB Forum :: All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country
Help me Pick a Bike Please (overwhelmed)
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Posted: Jul 28, 2021 at 11:05 Quote
I would say you're over-thinking things. Every suspension design (horst link, vpp, single pivot, etc.) can and has been set up amazingly in recently years. The pedaling differences between them are (can be) very small, and for example are way less important than the geometry or even the tire choice.

Pick a bike that seems to have geometry that will work with you, a design that you think is sexy and will get you motivated to go out and ride more, and only then start to look at which components you're getting.

There's at least 20-30 bikes which would be perfect for you and blow your mind.

Posted: Jul 28, 2021 at 12:23 Quote
To the OP the Ripmo is in the same category as Stumpy EVO and Troy. Your budget would dictate a Ripmo AF if a local or online dealer has any.

I had a friend on a shorter travel horst link carbon bike ride my RAF this morn and he said it climbed better (and descended better ofc) vs his bike. So many good options. Good luck!

Posted: Jul 28, 2021 at 16:15 Quote
bishopsmike wrote:
I would say you're over-thinking things. Every suspension design (horst link, vpp, single pivot, etc.) can and has been set up amazingly in recently years. The pedaling differences between them are (can be) very small, and for example are way less important than the geometry or even the tire choice.

Pick a bike that seems to have geometry that will work with you, a design that you think is sexy and will get you motivated to go out and ride more, and only then start to look at which components you're getting.

There's at least 20-30 bikes which would be perfect for you and blow your mind.


Agreed. Look for the best deal on the bike that turns your crank; they're all pretty good. You seem to have a good idea with the sub-150mm travel bikes. Most brands call those "trail" as opposed to "enduro." Trail bikes are probably the most all-round all-rounders you can get these days.

Posted: Jul 29, 2021 at 10:15 Quote
Dr-YTMTB wrote:

Actually, the Jeffsy pedals quite well, minimal pedal-bob. I don’t think Horst link means bad climber, it’s more in the kinematics of each specific bike, Jeffsy and Stumpjumper have very different feel suspension wise.

I have a climb switch, but I have never really been tempted to use it. Professional reviews tend to bear this out too. I feel like it climbs great for an AM bike, doesn’t seem to hold me back much at all, certainly not as much as my fitness and general lack of climbing skill do. Most reviewers felt it was a great climber. But Jeffsy is definitely built to be more on the gravity end of the spectrum, and as good as it is going up, it really comes alive going back down.

Thanks.

After doing some more research, it looks like Canada has some really high import tariffs (around $900 on a $4500 bike) which I assume I would have to pay as there are no local dealers for YT, Orbea, Canyon, etc. That *might* rule the internet direct bikes out for me as that also kills the value proposition, but I will have to do some more research there to confirm.


BSmith1972 wrote:
I live in Calgary and I ride all the locations listed in your post. I'm 5' 6" and approx. 200 lbs, almost 49 years old. I have a 2019 Norco Optic C2 and I think it is very suitable for the conditions around Calgary. Climbs all of the trails well. I am not the fastest up, but I never will be. Handles the downs well. Any place I have to dismount on the downhill is because of my (lack) of skill and/or the fear of having yet another visit to the hospital.

The more research I do, I am actually leaning towards this bike for a few reasons. I can get it locally with no surprises, the short rear travel doesn't seem to be an issue, and the C3 in particular seems like exceptionally good value at $4850 for Carbon, SLX/XT and higher end RockShox. I would probably have to buy a 2022 model though and I don't know if the price will go up a bunch more again. Where did you get yours from and were you happy with the experience? I don't imagine anyone is giving out deals...

My only concern is how it climbs - it seems to get mixed reviews and I am not the strongest climber either (nor do I like it very much LOL). My ideal bike is probably an enduro e-bike of some kind but I'm not spending $15K haha.

bishopsmike wrote:
I would say you're over-thinking things. Every suspension design (horst link, vpp, single pivot, etc.) can and has been set up amazingly in recently years. The pedaling differences between them are (can be) very small, and for example are way less important than the geometry or even the tire choice.

Pick a bike that seems to have geometry that will work with you, a design that you think is sexy and will get you motivated to go out and ride more, and only then start to look at which components you're getting.

There's at least 20-30 bikes which would be perfect for you and blow your mind.

Fair point, and you're probably right. I am famous for "paralysis by analysis" (as you can probably already see) and maybe I just need to pick something and be done with it. I also agree that there are likely multiple bikes that would be good for me, I'm just not used to spending thousands of dollars without being able to see or try the bike because if I don't put a deposit down this year I am probably not getting one next year either.


WasatchEnduro wrote:
To the OP the Ripmo is in the same category as Stumpy EVO and Troy. Your budget would dictate a Ripmo AF if a local or online dealer has any.

I had a friend on a shorter travel horst link carbon bike ride my RAF this morn and he said it climbed better (and descended better ofc) vs his bike. So many good options. Good luck!

Thanks - I can take another look at the Ripmo. Oddly, they are in stock at one of my LBS but I think it might only be the really expensive variants. The guy at the store told me it was more of an enduro bike so I never gave it much of a look.





After a bunch more research and watching some more video reviews, the Norco Optic is looking like a front runner so far, as long as it's not too much of a pig on the climbs. Nobody seems concerned about the low rear travel and some guys on YouTube were ripping it down trails that are probably beyond what I have access to. Seems to be good value, available locally, bike of the year 2019, etc.

Posted: Jul 29, 2021 at 15:00 Quote
If you can demo the Ripmo, you absolutely should!

Posted: Jul 29, 2021 at 16:41 Quote
Idk why, but I have never liked a susp with a link at the rear der, on the triangle. Probably not an issue this day and age, but it used to be. Got to see some Norco's today. Good looking bikes, but just not for me.

Posted: Aug 3, 2021 at 10:49 Quote
This weekend I went to the Canmore Nordic Center and instead of taking my old bike, I rented a newer bike (entry level Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 140mm/150mm). This was very helpful and I made a number of observations:

1) Wow it's so much better than my existing bike haha. Even with entry level components (RockShox Recon up front, Deluxe in the rear, Deore, etc.) it felt like a big step up. The 11 or 12 speed 1X drivetrain is more than enough and makes you wonder why we ever had 24spd etc.

2) I could not believe how well it climbed. I hate climbing and I felt like I could pedal indefinitely on that thing without getting tired. I haven't biked in years and I felt like I had more in the gas tank than when I was in my "prime" on my old bike. Geo on that bike was nothing too crazy either (65.9 / 73.9 head/seat). At 33lbs it did not feel heavy.

3) It was a 27.5" wheelset and there was no learning curve there or anything - they are clearly better than 26". I am assuming a 29er feels even better.

4) The dropper post has got to be the best invention in mountain biking since the suspension fork.

5) 150mm travel up front is probably the minimum for me. Granted the suspension probably wasn't set up ideally (the guys at the rental shop did set it up roughly for my weight), it felt good but I was using most or all of the travel even on the chunkier sections of the blue runs. Maybe a more substantial 36mm fork would change my mind but that's all I have to go on at the moment.

6) The bike was so quiet compared to what I am used to. Love that.

7) I was reminded why I liked riding downhill so much. For better or worse, I think I want something that trends towards "all mountain" rather than "trail" so long as it can still climb well. I think I want something that can handle the tamer bike park trails (greens, blues, blacks - no double blacks). I live so close to COP I would like to be able to go there without renting a bike each time, and it would be nice to go to Panorama, Kicking Horse, or even Whistler if the bike could handle it - I mostly like blue runs with the odd black run or jump run. I'm not into the double blacks, crazy drops, skinny wooden features, or "just try and survive" type trails.

As another bonus, my wife loved it too, so I just need to get her trained up a bit more and I've got myself a riding buddy. She just needs to build confidence for the descents and clunkier sections.


So, in the "all mountain but can still climb well" category of 150-160mm front travel bikes I am now looking at the following:

Norco Sight A2 - Front runner on paper, but extremely expensive above the base model. Reviews suggest it climbs better than it should and is beefy enough for a bike park. Fairly extreme 64/78 geo. Seems a bit overpriced for the componentry (eg. entry level Fox 36 Rythm even at $5,600) but overall well spec'd.

Stumpjumper Evo Alloy Comp - Great on paper and very adjustable, but I am put off by the alarming number of issues people seem to be having with blown rear shocks and damaged frames in the 2021 Evo thread. Some people are on their third shock.

Devinci Troy GX12S - Heavy, and reviews seem to be pretty average. Apparently the compression switch is mandatory for climbs - doesn't sound great. Would prefer a Fox 36 to the Pike as well.

Ibis Ripmo - Many people seem to like this bike a lot but I hate the way it looks haha. The design reminds me of the $300 CCM/Supercycle full suspension bikes you could buy at Canadian Tire and Sears back in the day. They all seem to have DVO suspension which I am not familiar at all in terms of Fox/RockShox equivalents so it's hard for me to judge value.

Rocky Mountain Instinct Alloy 50 - The 30 seems a bit heavy and a bit overpriced for the componentry relative to other brands but but 50 seems like good value with XT/Fox Performance. This bike seems to be flying under the radar a bit but reviews are quite positive. Loved the Thunderbolt I rented and this seems to be the slightly beefier 2021 version of the same with more progressive geo.

Commencal Meta TR Essential - No idea where to even buy something like this but it's a Canadian company and reviews are great. Only negative seems to be the rear suspension design is punishing unless you ride really hard and is affected by braking forces. No piggyback shock either.

Giant Trance 29 X2 - Looks like good value on paper, but reviews of the 2021 Trance X are pretty average outside of the $10K Fox Active Valve version.

What others am I missing? Internet-direct brands are probably a no-go due to Canada's crazy import tariffs (over $1000 on a $5000 bike).

I'm willing to raise the budget to ~$5500 or so to get something I'm really happy with. The one situation I want to avoid is not buying enough bike for the easier stuff at bike parks, because then I am still renting each time and I'm not getting any benefit on the XC/Trail type riding. At that point I might as well just buy a 34mm trail ripper if I'm going to have to rent something anyway at the bigger hills. If I can do it all with one bike though (within reason) that would be ideal.

Thanks again to anyone still following along!

Posted: Aug 3, 2021 at 11:09 Quote
YT is distributed out of Squamish for Canada sales. I think you’d skip that tariff. I might be wrong, but I didn’t pay that when I ordered from Canada.

Posted: Aug 3, 2021 at 12:14 Quote
sorry I missed your comment on Trance.
Trance or TranceX are worth a look and depending on the model, can be one of the best values in the low-midrange (in Canada), and I saw the opposite the review of the top model criticized it for harshness on descents (related to the active suspension), but said it was an amazing climber. See if you can get a demo ride.

Posted: Aug 3, 2021 at 12:46 Quote
Dr-YTMTB wrote:
YT is distributed out of Squamish for Canada sales. I think you’d skip that tariff. I might be wrong, but I didn’t pay that when I ordered from Canada.

How's the quality on YT? I was originally intrigued by the Jeffsy but I've seen several comments both on here and on YouTube about poor quality and also QC. I also much prefer the look of the Izzo and Capra haha (Jeffsy looks old like an Ibis), but that is a secondary concern. Both the Core 2 and Carbon Core 3 look like good value at $4200 and $5800 respectively.



brianl wrote:
sorry I missed your comment on Trance.
Trance or TranceX are worth a look and depending on the model, can be one of the best values in the low-midrange (in Canada), and I saw the opposite the review of the top model criticized it for harshness on descents (related to the active suspension), but said it was an amazing climber. See if you can get a demo ride.

Yeah I just edited my post as I remembered it after the fact - so you probably didn't actually miss it haha. Apparently the non-live-valve versions are bad climbers, bouncy, and inefficient peddlers. Looks like very good value for $4K though. The next step up is the "Advanced Pro" which gets you carbon but a downgrade from Fox 36 to RockShox Pike. I also wish it had a piggyback rear shock but you don't get that until the $6600 mark. Getting a demo might be tough these days but I still need to visit one bike shop that sells Giant so I will have a chat with them regardless.

That shop also sells Scott - I was intrigued by the Genius but it looks like it hasn't been updated since 2018.

Posted: Aug 3, 2021 at 13:00 Quote
I’ve put a few thousand miles on my Jeffsy, not a single issue so far.

Posted: Aug 3, 2021 at 20:00 Quote
I've had a handful of YTs, Tues's and Capra's. No issues with any of mine, but I only ride them for 2-3 seasons and then replace. Their value prop is diminishing but they are still the best value bikes on the market currently.

Suspension service, brake bleeds, pads, drivetrains, bearings, all that maintenance adds up the $$, especially if you aren't doing it yourself. I'm firmly in the camp that thinks you should not keep bikes more than 3 years tops, because their value starts to really drop after that and maintenance costs go way up, and any $$ you put into maintenance doesn't increase the value, meaning youre just throwing away money.

All that is to say I would advise you to plan on buying a new bike every 2-3 years, regardless of what bike you buy, so don't use longevity in your buying decision.

Posted: Aug 3, 2021 at 21:41 Quote
Hey Many Trails (and anyone else reading)

I picked up a 2021 Troy SX in XL. It's only running a 150 RS Revelation in the front and the Super Deluxe in the back. I'm aware its a lower spec but from the riding I've done so far, it's been a great all-rounder. I'm not a super rider and my input is only limited to a few rides but I've had it out for some nice single track runs (Hydrocut, Kelso, Gorba) in the KW Guelph area and a few days at Horseshoe bike park.

The climbing hasn't been as bad as I had anticipated based on the weight and reviews. Not ultra efficient but it does climb. It's without question a bike that rewards the harder you push, the 29s and big frame roll over almost everything. Im a big rider (6'4, 235-40) so my susp, especially the rear is set to a pretty high pressure and have 3 volume spacers in there as well. Found bottom out for the first time with this new set up on the front and rear today at the bike park for the first time but it wasnt too harsh. Have heard alot of other Troy riders talk about having a hard time using all their travel.

Hoping to put 36 160 on the front and a float X2 on the back over the winter, maybe DHX but we'll see. I bought this bike in the hopes of being able to do a bit of everything and so far its exceeded my expectations

I spent about 2 months doing tonnes of research and the Troy ended up on my short list as well. Was the first bike that became available and jumped on it

Posted: Aug 3, 2021 at 22:08 Quote
If you can get the Troy you won't be disappointed. Great bike.

Posted: Aug 4, 2021 at 0:09 Quote
If you are looking at dropping £5k on a bike that you are going to keep for a while then I would seriously go out and demo some bikes, even if it’s a days effort to do so.

You’ve demoed a bike with a 150mm relatively poor fork and been impressed, why not demo a 160mm enduro bike with the sort of spec you are looking at and see what you think. You may be perfectly happy with the way it climbs and blown away with the way it descends. Often you will find higher end longer travel suspension will be more efficient than lower end shorter travel if talking 20mm or so.

I don’t subscribe to the belief that you should change your bike after 3 years, unless it’s massively outdated geo wise then it should be mechanically fine if it’s been properly looked after. This is where the difference in manufacturing quality comes into play. With poorer quality frames you will be changing bearings more regularly with greater chance to damage the frame and ovalise the housings.

64/78 isn’t extreme geo, I think you will find in the next two years it will be pretty much the norm on most trail bikes.

Paymattention to mud clearance, particularly on some short link single pivot designs with short chainstays if running 29” wheels.

Everyone is going to tell you their bike is best, it’s human nature, they are stoked about it but it doesn’t mean their bike is right for you.

Even bike reviews can be a bit meaningless.

Take your time, find the right bike FOR YOU and enjoy the experience of doing so.


 
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