Field Test: Firebird 29 vs Spartan 29 vs Ransom

Dec 23, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  


We placed the Devinci Spartan, Pivot Firebird 29, and the Scott Ransom in the Super Enduro category, the realm of longer travel bikes that are designed for aggressive riding, enduro racing, or smashing out laps in the bike park. All of the bikes in this test have 29” wheels, and between 162 – 170mm of travel. The head angles are similar as well, with the Firebird and Spartan checking in at 65-degrees, and the Ransom just a touch slacker at 64.5 degrees.

The Whistler Bike Park served as the test area, and multiple laps were put down in the Creekside zone in order to sort out the pro and cons of each bike in this trio of 29ers. After thoroughly thrashing all of the contenders we sat down to discuss our favorites.




Devinci Spartan

• 165mm (R) / 170mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• Carbon frame
• 65° head-tube angle
• 30.5 lb / 13.89 kg
• Price: $8,999 USD
Field Test article

Pros
+ Good sizing range
+ Lyrik fork is easy to tune and a great performer
+ Stiffness could be good for flow trails and harder/heavier riders

Cons
- Harsh suspension and fatiguing ride
- Stiffness of parts package
- Tires and brakes unsuitable for bike's intentions
Pivot Firebird 29

• 162mm (R) / 170mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• Carbon frame
• 65° head-tube angle
• 30.2 lb / 13.7 kg
• Price: $9,199 USD
Field Test article

Pros
+ Fantastic looks
+ Great pedalling performance
+ Excellent suspension

Cons
- Geometry could be more progressive, especially for climbing and larger sizes
- No easily accessible bottle cage mount
- Price



Scott Ransom

• 170mm (R) / 170mm (F) travel
• 29" wheels
• Carbon frame
• 64.5° head-tube angle
• Weight: 29.6 lb / 13.4 kg
• $7,500 USD
Field Test article

Pros
+ Good looking, well-specced bike
+ Fantastic on big hits
+ Light weight

Cons
- TwinLoc system compromises suspension
- Geometry could be more extreme given its intended purpose
- EXO casing tires on an enduro race bike




Editors' Choice

Pole Machine review


Paul Aston: Scott Ransom

My background of dirt jumping, downhill, and enduro racing means that I want a bike that handles as well as a downhill bike to make my life easier on the trail; slacker angles and a forgiving system lets me focus on the riding and how I want to ride, not focusing on fighting the bike to stick to or absorb the terrain. When it comes to climbing, I'm not adverse to knocking out 1-2000 metres in a day, but I don't care about racing up to the top - just like an enduro race - grind up the climbs and get there when you get there (unless I'm on an eMTB then it's fun to go fast up).

So what did this leave me with? The Ransom. Easily the most forgiving bike over the Spartan and Firebird, which could have been put down to the Syncros handlebar/stem combo and the alloy wheels on the Scott that smoothed out the trail. But, the frame also seemed to be the most forgiving along with the rear suspension system which relies less on the anti-squat of the kinematic design and more on the TwinLoc lever; basically the Ransom was the least efficient at pedaling, which I don't think makes a huge difference cruising up a road with no rush to the top, on the way down however it gave a much more forgiving ride.




2018 Pinkbike Field Test
Paul Aston
Discipline: Super Enduro
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 165 lb
Notes: Technical Editor, never ridden a bike that was too long for him.
The Ransom was also slightly slacker at the headtube, and longer in the chainstay, these are an advantage in my eyes, especially for taller riders with a higher center of gravity: a slacker head angle keeps you safer, and the longer chainstays make it easier to keep your weight in front of the rear axle. So less pedal efficiency, but the nicer climbing shape is more important to me and my lower back and hips. The TwinLoc? Well, this does make pedaling more efficient, but, locking out the fork too is always a downer for me. I have tried disconnecting the cable from the fork lockout on many TwinLoc bikes and this always gives a better climbing position – the front sags more, the rear rides higher in travel. C'mon Scott, spec a burlier rear shock with a 'UniLoc' lever and the full powered GRIP2 Fox fork then we are talking, especially on a rig that is aimed at climbing and descending steeper grades than its XC brothers.

The Ransom is my favorite of this trio, and with a few tweaks could be the best enduro bike on the market.



Mike Kazimer: Scott Ransom

The Scott Ransom is my pick out of these three big mountain machines, even though I'm usually opposed to extra levers on the handlebar. I do wish that the TwinLoc system left the fork alone, and that there was a GRIP2 damper inside that fork instead, but the Ransom's excellent handling and suspension feel outweighs those gripes.

For a bike with 170mm of front and rear travel the Ransom is extremely manageable – it's still enjoyable even on rides that don't involve blasting straight down the fall line, and its light weight makes it less of a chore to get to the top of a long descent. Even if the TwinLoc lever is left in the open position it's still a relatively decent climber, although there is a fair bit of suspension motion during out of the saddle efforts - the Firebird takes the win when it comes to lever-free pedaling efficiency.

The vast majority of my rides tend to be fully pedal powered, and often encompass a wide range of terrain, which means that my ideal bike needs to be well rounded, rather than solely focused on the moments when gravity takes over. The Ransom fits the bill, I'd be just as happy racing it as I would heading out for a big multi-hour mission. Sure, it doesn't have the absolute steepest seat angle, or an insanely long reach, but it doesn't need to – instead, it has a very balanced, 'just right' feel that's easy to get along with.



2018 Pinkbike Field Test
Mike Kazimer
Discipline: Trail/Enduro
Height: 5'11"
Inseam: 33"
Weight: 160 lb
Notes: Managing Tech Editor, self proclaimed winner of all Mike vs Mike videos.

It's when the shock is in the fully open mode and gravity takes over that the Ransom truly shines. The suspension tune is excellent, allowing the bike to track extremely well through chunky sections of trail without getting bounced around. That level of traction is what sets the Ransom apart – it has a way of sticking to the trail that keeps it on line in loose or slippery conditions.

There isn't one particular trait that made me choose the Ransom over the Firebird and the Spartan. Instead, it's a mix of attributes that add up to create a bike that's perfectly suited to my riding style.





192 Comments

  • + 73
 Awesome work Pinkbike! I have seriously been glued to Pinkbike just hitting refresh over and over for days while each of the Field Test videos/articles came out.
  • + 12
 The only true "field test" is can the testers huck Mike Levy in a field? That's what I want to see.
  • + 5
 in time Bike Magazine came out with their opinions for 19'

www.youtube.com/user/TheBikemag/videos
  • - 13
flag ppp9911 (Dec 21, 2018 at 16:10) (Below Threshold)
 @mattmach7: cant believe these reviews are more substantive and useful then the pinkbike ones. Normally, I cant stand bike mag reviews.. race to the bottom i guess
  • + 28
 @sledshed, thanks, I’m glad you liked them. Hopefully they served as informative entertainment of some sort.

And to those bemoaning the supposed lack of substance, these are meant to be easily digestible, quick overviews of a bikes’s strengths and weaknesses. Our more in-depth long term reviews aren’t going anywhere.
  • + 18
 @mikekazimer: they certainly did. Cheers!

It’s incredible how much people complain about free content. Then again what is Pinkbike without the fiery comment section?
  • + 8
 @ppp9911 I hate to agree with kazimer but you hoopleheads need to understand this isn't a public school classroom where you get a medal for speaking up half baked opinions.
  • - 3
 @mikekazimer: Why no Capra comparison? Just curious, I don't know how you guys decide what to test and what not.
  • + 8
 @ppp9911: why are you guys taking reviews so seriously? A race to the bottom? A you a
professional review reviewer???
  • + 6
 @jwestenhoff: For time and our sanity, we kept the comparisons to the 12 bikes we had in the Field Test. We had already reviewed the Capra here: www.pinkbike.com/news/review-yt-capra-29-cf-pro-race.html

@mikekazimer might be able to give you some specific comparisons if you have questions though!
  • + 46
 @ppp9911: always open to constructive feedback. We'll do another round of Field Tests next year, and always want to get better.

Just please no more "why didn't you test and compare these 3293209308942 other bikes?" or "you didn't like MY bike so you don't know anything" or "you didn't tear the bike down, test torsional and lateral stiffness in a lab, weigh the pivot hardware, 3D print a custom volume spacer, and spend 18 months on the bike, so your test is literally worthless." Smile
  • + 0
 @brianpark: We didn't see Randy test the bikes, so your tests are worthless.
  • + 4
 @brianpark @mikekazimer I would love to see more about the trails ridden with each bike. Though timing isn't everything, it would be cool to see that data if possible. I don't particularly believe in "objectivity" but I do appreciate transparency in the process. the more info available on the conditions in which someones opinions were formed the more meaningful they can be IMO. Overall though- I loved this field test format- and judging by the flood of comments and exchange of opinions- I think it is safe to say they were an engaging feature that I hope continues. The quality of videos was excellent as was the length and flow of them IMO. Thanks! Look forward to next years.
  • + 3
 @mattmach7: Bike Magazine has been doing their Bible tests for a long time.
  • + 4
 @snl1200: yeah we absolutely should do a feature on the test trails next year. Glad you enjoyed!
  • - 3
 @Thustlewhumber: Randy got robbed
  • + 1
 @jwestenhoff: they never were in stock Wink
  • - 5
flag Golden-G (Dec 23, 2018 at 9:28) (Below Threshold)
 @DBone95: these field tests are a total bite of Bike Mags Bible of Bike Tests. Not a particularly original format. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery as they say...
  • + 2
 @Golden-G: In fairness, I don’t think most things are especially original anymore - but also, nothing is plagiarized here. I think what sets Pinkbike apart is the high quality of the reviewing staff, including their distinct personalities, which are encouraged to come out. Bike Mag is strong for sure, but some lesser industry mags feel staid, safe, and comfy (or meander too frequently into on-the-road soul-searching and hipster food and drink features). They feel a bit too much like “dad” columns. There’s a real authenticity, by contrast, to Pinkbike’s editors, who truly know about what they’ve written and seem to take riding, testing, and mechanics beyond the junket circuit. I’m a fan of this series. Good job @mikekazimer
  • + 3
 @Karakoram77: You need to get off someones jock. LoL
  • + 15
 Again, what is it with PB reviewers wanting all bikes to be DH? "This thing descends incredibly, so why not make it extra slacker?"
Because it then would be a DH bike, that's why.
  • + 7
 They probably think a 63.5° HA is better for climbing and flat trails.

I understand this is for a SUPER enduro bike but the same comment is always there even for all mountain or normal enduro bike.. I want an old school enduro bike (I think this is now all mountain category) that has the travel for big hits and can go fast but I also want to climb my technical, with tight switchbacks, singletracks.... I don't like the feeling when too slack except for ultra steep downhills! Don't understand why everybody wants ultra slack bikes when, all they ride, is small little mountains with a lot of flats and climbing sectionsl.
  • + 4
 @Timo82: it's incredible that adjustable travel forks have pretty much been uninvented. Imagine being able to switch from a 67 HA for steep climbs to 64 for gnar. Or choose the travel/HA of your choice depending on the ride. Still can't get my head around this, what happened to U-turn/talas?
  • + 2
 @BenPea: I don’t understand it either! They would also do a good job at compensating for different wheels sizes and swaps like a lot of manufacturers do nowadays! I say bring them back!
  • + 0
 @BenPea: The Helm still has TA and a whole lot of it.Havent ridden it yet but judging off their db coil cs they know how to make suspension!
  • + 2
 @endurogan: the Helm isn’t travel adjustable on the fly.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: I had (still have but want to sell it) a 160/130 Pike but I bought a 2019 lyrik this summer... I loved it but at the end I wasn't using it enough. With a new modern 64° HA, I certainly would! The other problem with modern geo is the super low bottom bracket so you couln't really ride everything except steep or super fast downhills, on the lower travel...

Maybe, for exemple, a bike that would come oem with a 160mm fork could have a 170/140mm.. but at the end, you'll have to buy another fork to do it by yourself. $$$
  • + 3
 @BenPea: I ran a TA fork for several years on my Enduro. Even rigged up a remote switch so I could drop/raise on the fly and used it all the time. Two things happened, 1) I was demoing a lot of bikes that obviuosly didn't have it and I kind of realized how nice it was to not think about adjusting it. Is this a long enough downhill should I hit the switch ? Are we going to be climbing ? etc. It was just nice to not think about it. 2) I tried a coil conversion and it was so awesome I didn't want to go back.

Keeping the front end low was excellent for climbing and pedalling, in fact I kept it low all the time and only raised it for dh. I still miss the small advantage but I guess I was able to compensate for it. Still I'm a believer in the concept. I was even wondering if I could use the Scott twinloc to do travel adjust instead of the front fork compression but it takes a pretty long cable pull to adjust the travel so I doubt it would work (I was using a rock shock pop-loc lever and its barely enough pull). And - love that front coil too much.
  • + 2
 I don't know how you can expect a bike to excel both up and down (or at least perform well) without making changes between the up and the down. There are some MTB fundamentals that have been neglected in favour of dogma and the belief that tech can produce miracles (i.e., tweaked modern geos and shocks with CPUs.) Perhaps we're close, but why be restrictive?. Still using a 2009 Lyrik and 55ATA here, which allow for the best up and down positions. The former is heavy AF but being able to drop down to 115mm turns a 170mm bike into a fat XC rig for steep climbs. Maybe these things died when coils went out of fashion, Talas having been a less than scintillating experience for many.
Internal travel adjust doesn't count, does that leave zero contenders in the TA stakes? The low BB thing may be an obstacle, maybe they don't need to be so low, it's not healthy to be that close to the ground in all situations. Ramble over...
  • + 1
 @preston67: posted simultaneously...
I'm not sure I could get used to not dropping the front for a climb. When I forget to do it, I seem to have less energy, maybe because I'm clinging onto the bars so I don't fall off the back. The OG
Reign was not designed for a 160 fork, but they get on so well going down. Not sure this is as big a problem on a bike that isn't over forked, but getting the front down low is always going to make a climb less of a chore... Just to digress further, it's usually long climb, long descent round these parts, so there's less thinking about when it's needed or not. Just wind it up at the top...
  • + 1
 @BenPea: In theory, Canyon’s Shapeshifter was a better solution to the said problem than travel adjustable forks. You get both steeper STA/HTA and higher BB.
  • + 1
 So what where the disadvantages of slacker headangles and generally longer frames when doing (99% seated) climbing on 160-180mm travel bikes again?
They never come to my mind when riding such bikes so I wasn't able to remember them...can you guys enlight me?
  • + 1
 Slack seat-tube angle?
  • + 5
 @mirskeinereingefalln: I started to write a book on this but petered out and deleted it, so I'll try to say it more succintly (note this is my opinion not an argument with anyone) - my main move when climbing tech is getting that front wheel up and on the obstacle, and then donkey humping the rear wheel up on it with just the right amount of body english to balance lifting the rear wheel and using whatever traction you can get from the surface. Moving the front wheel hub so far forward of the hands is great for preventing endos but makes it more difficult to pivot the bike up and forward (obviously). Then, with longer chainstays, your weight is already more forward making it hard to get rear wheel traction. Besides proper body positioning to match long reach, steeper seat angles are lauded for improving climbing because they keep the front end down, but they don't mention that moving your body weight forward (or lengthening the chain stays) also reduces rear end traction.

I could actually write 2-3 more paragraphs about climbing technique but I guess I could have just said "long and slack is less maneuverable".
  • + 1
 @mirskeinereingefalln: I don't know, physics?
  • + 1
 @jollyXroger: Canyon's shapeshifter seems incredible but still not available in Canada, plus they always seem to be broken... Frown
  • + 18
 Super Enduro? Whats is that??
  • + 140
 It's when you wear a cape and a full face helmet while riding a bike with a single crown fork. A utility belt is also a recommended accessory.
  • + 6
 @mikekazimer: I need one of those belts for my Enduro Banana.
  • + 2
 For the Elite, of course...;-)
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer: Utility bum bag?
  • + 9
 Super enduro is when you pass full enduro.
  • + 2
 Super boost required?
  • + 2
 @chriskneeland: It's more like super douche, only on a bike.
  • + 1
 @pedalhound: for your joints and vape pens
  • + 1
 Enduro on PEDs.
  • + 2
 We need an updated How to be a Mountain Biker video.
  • + 1
 @chriskneeland: and go to plaid!!!!
  • - 1
 @Beez177: so it's a mirror for you?
  • + 0
 @underhawk: says the dbag accountant
  • + 11
 I wonder what happened with the Spartan that it was so harsh. The bike's been reviewed in a few other places, and no other mentions of that characteristic. Quite the opposite, really.
I just picked one up, and haven't spent more than a couple of days on it. Coming from a coiled Troy I didn't notice that either. Maybe a weird shock tune?
  • + 6
 I wonder that also. I rode the bike down Micoclimate and Crazy train, the trails used for stage 1 and 2 at EWS Whistler this year. I wouldn't have called the suspension harsh by any means.
  • + 4
 Same question here. Mine has been nothing but plush at 30% sag.
  • + 2
 I've found the RS shock/tune that comes in the Spartans to be rubbish, and you'll notice the team use either coils or the RCT shock. After swapping a coil in to my Spartan it was unrecognisable, so much better. I've just gotten a 29" Spartan, and it'll have a coil or an X2 from the get go.
  • + 1
 @heinous: That's good to hear. I swapped a coil into my '18 Troy and it made a huge difference, was wondering if it'll do the same for the Spartan.
  • + 0
 As far as I know none of the review state its plush. Feel the trail was a statement in bible of bike. I definitely was surprised about how stiff suspension was. Started with 30% and went up 35, better but still far far away from plush...
  • + 15
 Awesome job guys... you’ve been killing it lately!
  • + 15
 This is bullshit my new bike didn't win!!!

*throws things*
  • + 0
 Which bike
  • + 12
 I feel like the "as-tested" price should be listed where the specs are to give us an easy idea (without going to each brands website) on price. Would be cool Smile
  • + 33
 You got it. They're all in there now.
  • + 5
 @mikekazimer: Thanks!

Wow... At $1,500 less than the second "cheapest" bike, the Scott Ransom is a bargain here! Incredible.
  • + 4
 @Ryan2949: I said the same thing in the Ransom review however someone pointed out the price difference is in the wheels: Pivot and Devinci come with carbons. So they're about uneven when you look at those two spec'd with alloy downgrades.
  • + 4
 @Ryan2949: $1500 carbon wheelset cost I suppose.
  • + 4
 @fullmetalski:
@gnarnaimo:

I can't believe I missed that... Meanwhile the Ransom is still the lightest bike. So I'd take the Ransom anyway!
  • + 14
 @gnarnaimo: Says quite a lot about the price/performance ratio of carbon wheels, that even this 1500$ upgrade can't sway the editors opinion away from the ransom.
  • + 12
 @Ttimer: Carbon wheels seem over priced and so far seem pretty unreliable. I'm not sold, just like most EWS and WCDH boys. I'de like to see how the Spartan review would have gone with aluminum wheels (and maybe a shorter offset fork)... Me thinks it would have been alot more positive.
  • + 8
 @gnarnaimo: ya I think so too. I rode the the GX build spartan that devinci had at Crankworx whistler this year and did not feel any of the "harshness" or "scittish steering " that these guys were talking about.
I just ordered the LTD spartan with the 44 mm offset so we will see when it arrives.
  • + 0
 @ride-pg: well i did ride the GX also and it was fast, but it def was harsh and stiff. I first also rode it with 30% sag and then 35%. Basically just like they described it in the test. First I thought I felt this way because I spent the previous days in the bikepark with the DH bike. But now all it makes sense. I really was on the fence to buy one because I think this bike looks fantastic, was fast and I like Devinci as a brand. but this test made my final decision not to. I was going for the topend built, but since already the GX felt harsh, there is just no point. Fatuigness is playing a big role if you are racing...
  • + 3
 The Reserve wheels are the only ones I thought looked tasty, until I saw the weight is literally the same as a spank/hope combo. So what's the point?
  • + 1
 Ride it with air and if too harsh, buy a coil shock!! The LTD version seems incredible..I wouldn't change a thing except maybe the shock for a coil if Pinkbike is right but would try it first because all the others reviews says that it is a really good all arounder and don't remember seing the word ''harsh'' anywhere! Good all arounder is my kind of bike. Smile
  • + 2
 @Timo82: my thoughts exactly. One would think with all reviews that are out there on this bike some of the other testers would have mentioned this. But every person's idea of the "perfect" is going to be different, one of the things that makes reading/watching bike reviews so interesting.
  • + 4
 Related question: what’s the cut-off point where price becomes a con? It’s listed as a con for the Pivot, but not for the Devinci. The difference in cost is $200, which, when you get that far is about the same price.
  • + 3
 @TheR: I think after the con list they racked up for the Spartan they felt like throwing it a bone on the price
  • + 1
 @endurogan: the Helm is not travel adjustable on the fly.
  • + 9
 So Paul Astor wants an "enduro bike" that "handles as well as a downhill bike" and that a 64.5 degree headtube angle is "not aggressive enough?" So, basically what he wants in a trail bike is a Santa Cruz V10 with an eagle drivetrain? Unfortunately, most of us have trails that aren't just fireroad grinders to access idyllic downhills. This category of bike is supposed to transcend that - a bike that can feel like it climbs gnarly singletrack efficiently, but will also provide maximum fun on the descents. I feel like he missed the mark in his reviews
  • + 4
 I agree, these bikes are supposed to climb also, they aren't DH bikes. I feel like this category was reviewed as if almost all the riding of these bikes would be done at bike parks. What do you think happens if you slacken the head angle and add another pound of rotating weight with DH tires as they suggest? Let's say Scott, Devinci or Pivot did thet...what do you think the reviews would look like on other sites where they did more all-around testing? Don't some Enduro events end up with like 15-20 miles of non-timed pedaling where the racers actually end up climing a few thousand feet? I'm not an Enduro expert, but I thought they did.
  • + 1
 So what where the disadvantages of slacker headangles and generally longer frames when doing (99% seated) climbing on 160-180mm travel bikes again?
They never come to my mind when riding such bikes so I wasn't able to remember them...can you enlight me?
  • + 8
 The Pivot Firebird definitely lost the composite picture competition. At least we know it has a fork and front wheel.
  • + 9
 Which one reminds you to floss twice a day?
  • + 0
 Underrated comment gold
  • + 5
 The Sideline Mtn Bikers give the Ransom a lot of flack for a NO-Res rear shock and the Twin Lock, but I know 2 guys who have ridden it, and were blown away by it, one of them even went out and bought the Ransom within a week; and he has used the Ransom at both Keystone and Trestle many times (Both are Bike Parks in Colorado were a DH run can be as long half an hour). He told me he has no more problems with "inconsistent damping" on long extended runs than any of his X2s. I think that is the problem with most Sideline Mtn Bikers, they tell us what a bike needs before they even rode it. These Sideline-Mountain-Bikers are Fortune Tellers! they can see the future.
  • + 4
 These tests are great. But I would love to see the opinion of a full-grown adult tester, maybe one who weighs around 90 kilos (200 pounds) or more? I feel like stiffness and flex are relative to rider weight and that this is a more common weight. But, hey, maybe that's just me and most of the people I ride with. Keep up the good work.
  • + 7
 They note in the Spartan review that it might be more suitable for fatties.

I mostly ride with people 160lbs. Since neither of these numbers capture the real average, it seems that neither of us should use our limited sample size to define "most people".
  • + 3
 @sspiff:

>might be more suitable for fatties

You mean like Richie Rude ?
  • + 1
 Sasquatch country!
  • + 1
 I'm 196lb out of the shower. The Ransom is stiffer than the 2018 Enduro, GG Smash, and SB150.
  • + 2
 @preston67: just responding to a snarky comment on what constitutes as adult-sized in a similar tone.

And let's be honest here: the vast majority of people pushing 200 lbs do not have the physique of Richie Rude.
  • + 0
 @sspiff: preston was just responding to original snark with better snark, that's all...
  • + 4
 Thanks, the field tests were great!

I think something for next year to think about is more consistency.

Starting with categories. It makes no sense that the SB150 was in the trail enduro and not the super enduro catagory.
I mean you picked twelve bikes and had three categories. It seems an obvious set up of four bikes each in three categorizes. Yeti's been pretty vocal about the SB150 tested to "DH spec". And with the SB130 and SB100 on the market and the geometry and fork travel I think it's pretty clear where the SB150 belonged in this test. And if seems like someone just changed the catagory late in the game for some reason? (and if your gonna say it's the 20mm less travel than I would argue that Yeti spec'd the bike at 150 as a choice to make the bike pedal better which is the same reason Scott uses the twinlock. It's a choice to make the bike more livable for people who aren't "just" racing. But I don't think it changes where the SB150 belongs in the lineup...)

And then for me it was weird having different groups of people critiquing bikes from test to test. It's hard to get a baseline from one bike to the next when the rider changes and the perspective on the commenting is different. (for instance, the guy who intro's the Ransom video did a lot of testing and commenting but I guess he's not an editor so he doesn't end up making any bike choices? Which if that is the case why are we getting so much of his perspective on what he likes and doesn't like about the bikes??? I mean no offense, the dude could ride rings around me. But just doesn't seem logical?)

And then the pro's con's just don't seem to add up from one bike to the next. (which I think is because of all the different testers between different bikes?) If being expensive is a con than why were other expensive bikes not given the same critique. If EXO's are a con than why is it not mentioned on other bikes. Same for head angles, seat angles, for not being a 29er, etc.

Personally, I'd like to see however many testers chosen ride and review all of the bikes and pick by catagory and one overall. But at least I think you need the same riders in each catagory riding, reviewing, commenting on each bike each test. (even if only one person does the vid, they should all give their written feedback for consistency between bikes) And then everyone riding and reviewing should also make their pick.

Anyway, again I very much appreciate these reviews!! Thanks!
  • + 3
 @mikekazimer

I'm sorry I'm that guy but.

Everyone focused on Twinloc as being a corner cutting maneuver, and in my somewhat informed opinion, It's more of the manufacturers desire to have a proprietary part for marketing, doesn't matter if its cannondale, trek, specialized, or Scott in this case.

They are focusing too heavily on having something the other companies do not have, not necessarily on what performs best.
  • + 2
 I think Alex meant corner cutting in the sense that it isn't the full-fledged version of the shock, not that it's somehow cheaper or easier for Scott to use their fancy shock + TwinLoc system.

And yeah, most brands want compelling USPs. Interesting to see Specialized turn that around with the most recent Stumpjumper, and Cannondale release a shockingly regular Habit this year.
  • + 1
 @brianpark: Hopefully Trek will follow.
  • + 3
 thanks for the awesome tests pinkbike!! but what i don't get is the constant moaning regarding the exo tires?! no bike except a DH rid comes with DD or DH casing tires from maxxis. suddenly it's a contra in those tests. why never before?
  • + 2
 That’s what I was wondering. No one, including the commentariat here on Pink Bike, ever had any problem with these tire — why is it suddenly an issu?
  • + 3
 @TheR: Because they are way more rad than the rest of us that can ride EXO tires, and they need you to know it. Remember, these bikes will never be ridden on anything other than Whister-esque trails after being shuttled.
  • + 1
 @yupstate: How many of us were out there riding on Minion EXO tires knowing we were mere seconds from a blowout?
  • + 2
 Some interesting verbal gymnastics about the spartan ‘it just didn’t sit into its travel like the other two, it could be due to the wheels, chassis, suspension, shock tune’.

If it’s not sitting in to it’s travel, its most likely one of those - the last one. There’s so much avoiding talking about sram stuff directly when it’s not good...
  • + 4
 I find it strange how all bikes have the same tire casing yet only two of them get knocked for having “too light of a casing”
  • + 3
 cause the ransom was able to be ridden faster Wink
  • + 2
 And two of them are virtually the exact same price, but only one had the price listed as a con. What’s the cut-off?
  • + 1
 @TheR: 8999.99 is still ok.
  • + 2
 I appreciate the reviews that PB provides. I know they can't cover all bikes. However I don't understand why the SB150 was not included in this review?

I also consider climbing of much higher importance so thank you for clarifying that this was not a major consideration. It would be cool if the Ransom only locked out the rear shock.

Lastly, I was wondering why would anybody would run double down in those conditions? But then I recalled that climbing is not of any importance. That's why I guess.

Thanks again guys.
  • + 0
 the sb150 was reviewed in a field test with the other enduro bikes...
  • + 3
 So, are the Tire’s on the Ransom EXO or the new EXO + that they have been shipping the bikes out with? I am curious if you guys are complaining about a newly released tire. I haven’t seen any reviews on the new casing?
  • + 1
 The Ransom ships with an EXO+ rear and EXO front.
  • + 2
 I would be genuinely interested in buying a Ransom if they spec'd a normal fork / shock combo and dropped the price a bit. Why does this proprietary lockout system even exist on an enduro race bike? I can't imagine anyone ever using it during a race run. And any other time, it's just as easy to reach down and flip a lockout lever.
  • + 1
 hah! reach down and push a lever while racing? We must race different enduro events. A number of EWS pros also had remote lock outs on their bike this year. I see it as Scott focusing on building the best descending platform possible and adding a remote lever for sprinting/climbs. I use it almost as much as my dropper. I've been on a Ransom for over a month now. No complaints.
  • + 1
 I spent 2 years on a Genius and now really miss the lockout on Rallon. It's something you get used to, as it helps with (mostly fire-) road climbs. If I had shuttle or a chairlift I wouldn't care, but a bike that climbs like a gravel bike and doesn't waste your energy is a godsend.

That said - I am waiting for Scott to figure out another problem - having an enduro bike with enduro/dh tires behave like a road bike on the way to the trails and then be a proper enduro/dh rig on the actual trail. So a lockout for the tires, suspension and front chainring (like a 50t)
  • + 0
 @Frontrange: did any of those number win?
  • + 1
 @jayacheess: Cecil did pretty good....
  • + 5
 Great reviews, as always. However, the bike I really want to hear about is the Evil Offering. Anything in the works, fellas?
  • + 1
 Proly should have been with sb130, remedy, ibis 29 category
  • + 2
 Bike magazine called it more of a long leg following mb instead of a short leg wreckoning.
  • + 5
 So @paulaston, what is the "best enduro bike on the market" if the Ransom is not quite that?
  • + 2
 Pole, Geometron, etc for the geometry.
  • + 2
 For Paul or for you?
  • + 6
 @brianpark: for him. He made mention at the end that it did not quite match the best, so your readers want to know what is the best.
  • + 5
 Clearly we can't conclude anything from these reviews with the omission of @paulaston 's inseam number...
  • + 4
 Can always disconnect that fork. I'm not a fan of remote forks at all but very much so of remote rear shocks.
  • + 1
 Right.. but it would still be a compromised fork...
  • + 1
 @gnarnaimo: Right, that was their point exactly. Not that the remote feature is so bad (?), but that the fork they chose to support remote operation is a de-featured fork lacking the adjustability of the standard GRIP2.
  • + 1
 @gnarnaimo: Yes, but it would resolve a complaint or two mentioned. Swap the damper out, but I wouldn't the whole fork cuz that 44mm offset is real deal Holyfield baby! Unless you can retain the 44mm on a swap.
  • + 2
 @MtbSince84: I swapped out the Fit4 damper in my Ransom for a Grip2. It cost me $310 and 15 minutes of my time.
  • + 3
 Loving these reviews!! Thanks pinkbike! One question...how does the sb150 stack up to these rigs? Is the ransom still the winner of that comparison? @mikekazimer
  • + 1
 So did the reviewers not love any of these bikes or did they just think that they aren't the ideal EWS racing machine? Seemed like the reviews for this category were a lot more negative and I can't tell if that's because they are worse bikes or if it was just more the fact that the reviewers were overly focused as to what they think an EWS level bike should be like.
  • + 5
 would the sb150 have won this category?
  • + 3
 Great review. Funny however giving the Ransom a PRO because it's 300gr lighter and complaining about the EXO tires ;-)
Change the tires and forget about both.
  • + 3
 Too stiff? Isn't that the point? To be as stiff as possible? Trail deflection due to a stiff bike is non existent - you just picked a shitty line and couldn't ride it ha!
  • + 2
 Am I the only one who would like to know how this same comparison would change if the riders had time for 3 trail ride days per week on Lost Lake but only one day in the park every 3 weeks?
  • + 3
 Take note internet. Piggyback shocks look 'bro' but aren't necessarily necessary.
  • + 5
 The main complaint with the bike was the shock, no?
  • + 15
 @spaceofades, if we're talking about the Ransom, no, the lack of a GRIP2 damper in the fork was the complaint. The shock works really well - the little ramp up lever is handy, and the tune is great.
  • + 3
 @mikekazimer: thanks for clarifying. Id love to see Pinkbike do a timed test of DPS, DPX2, and X2. Not a full DH run, one with significant pedaling, but still big hits and rough lines. Id bet that the X2 would only be marginally faster.
  • + 1
 Bike without piggyback shock is just not enduro worthy.
  • + 3
 @PHeller: It would be more accurate to stick each shock in an apparatus and cycle it while measuring the heat build up and performance drop.
  • + 1
 @JohanG: Right, but so far, nobody has done that. I've even asked prominent suspension tuners if they have measured performance on a bench with as much real world tests as possible, and the responses I've gotten were less than detailed. Basically, the industry is very hesitant to suggest that maybe, just maybe, you don't need that huge shock to be fast, at least for most consumers. They seemed to indicate that in an every-second-counts racing format that obviously a bigger heat sink with more oil volume and more space for adjustment valving and knobs is going to be better, but the average rider, or even weekend racer can better spend the additional cost (and weight) on other parts.
  • + 2
 It's kinda surprising how much there is to dislike about all 3 bikes here considering their cost. Especially when the downsides all look curable
  • + 1
 i think for me, the lack of water bottle cage is an instant 3rd place. the pivot looks quite similar to the old spartan frame optimized for boost 29
  • + 3
 Get a Meta instead, an EWS winning bike and save yourself so much money.
  • - 1
 No easily accessible bottle cage mount (North American market only)

In all seriousness please stop moaning about water bottle mount. It's not a design flow and should not be considered as one. It would be better for everyone if you find real cons.
  • + 2
 I was bit confused why the SB150 wasn't included in this comparison? Seems like a direct competitor.
  • + 0
 OK, now make same field test for bikes with geometry for people who don’t struggle with T-rex syndrome.
Let’s say Geometron G15-16/G1 vs Pole machine/stamina vs Mondraker foxy/dyne
  • + 2
 Is it just me or is that Devinci wayyyy too small for the test pilot. That's not a fair test of the bike at all.
  • + 1
 Love the look of the bike, but after riding a Specalized, never again will I buy a bike with proprietary suspension. If I could get this frame only with no shock, I'd be in.
  • + 3
 Good news for you, Specialized did away with proprietary suspenion.
  • + 3
 It's not proprietary hardware, any should would work. Or you never know, if you try the twinlock you might like it?
  • + 1
 @dimetera413: They did recently, so yes they'd be an option again. As far as trying it, I'm not really opposed to the TwinLock system, more so that it comes with a sub par shock. After riding an X2 for a few years, I don't think I can go back.
  • + 3
 Is it me or the Ransom looks like the Process in the video?
  • + 1
 Funny, that
  • + 6
 I'm a big fan of the Kona Ransome as well.
  • + 2
 What are you talking about? Day drinking again?? Wink
  • + 0
 You think you’re being clever and subtle slipping in your little e-buke shout-out, but in reality you’re just making half your readers think “oh, right, that’s why I don’t quite trust him.”
  • + 1
 Shit test! this vid gave us nothing more than the last vids of the bikes. more detail.
  • + 2
 Still so shy of a good moto shootout
  • - 2
 So, price is an issue on a $9,100 bicycle but not an $8,900 bicycle, or a $7,500 bicycle? LoL Just to clarify, we are talking about BICYCLES here.

2 of the 3 bikes are basically the same suspension design. The other is another copy. How can there be any negs about the suspension on any of these? With the amount of $$$ they want for a bicycle they should be doing a hell of a lot of simulation. Instead of a hell of a lot of marketing.

I don't mind paying for design, I do mind paying for advertising.
  • + 1
 A bike with Boost is favored over two bikes with Super Boost? Maybe this puts an end to the Super Boost nonsense.
  • + 1
 And then to my point; Alex Evens. Which of the super enduro's would you have picked and why?

Thanks!
  • + 1
 well yea, I didn't have the sound on in the beginning of the vid when Alex told us his pick... Smile
  • + 1
 How did you guys get a ransom before the snow came Smile
  • - 3
 It would be nice to have an in depth shoot out of normal, everyday mountain bikes. The sweet spot for probably the adult majority. Like in the $3000-$4000 range and whatever components come with the bike at that price point. I am sure a site as large as PB is, could make the calls to whatever bike makers and request their much less than $10000 models. Everyone keeps asking for this. Its not complicated. If the bike makers will not give them to you , than borrow some from the Pink Bikers. The "its what they send us"line is pretty lame by now. But, very nice reviews and well put together , of the bikes you did in this shoot out
  • + 2
 The adult majority is probably well under $1000.
  • + 1
 @yzedf: i doubt the adult majority of "pinkbike account holders" are well under $1000, course on the flip side I'd think it's way under the $9000 many of these test bikes cost.

The under $3000 shoot out was nice, but I'd think based on all the information Pinkbike has on it's account holders from the polls and the vast majority of buy and sells and the vast majority of personal posted pictures that they would have a good idea how much we spend on average on a new bike. So it would be nice if they tested more bikes in that range and not always go either budget or top end. But the middle! Smile
  • + 1
 @stiingya: who said anything about pb account holders? I sure didn't. Random guy that has a grand to spend and starts googling bikes will never find pb. I guess they are fine with that. I think that ignores the gateway drug to nicer bikes.
  • + 1
 @yzedf: Random guy who wants to spend a grand on a new bike isn't what keeps the lights on at BP. The majority of the content they provide needs to be relevant to their "core" viewers/PB accounts/people who are likely to be spending money with BP's advertisers.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with having budget hardtail shootouts. They are great! And as you say a gateway drug and SEO to get new clicks to BP. All good things! But I am saying, and I think the guy who started this comment thread who you replied to was also getting at is that while looking at nine thousand dollar bikes is fun. It's not as relevant to what the majority of the people reading these field tests are likely to spend on a new bike. (neither is a grand)

I guess it makes sense for bike manufacturers to mostly send high end builds for tests. They want to get the best review possible so you have the best impression of their product when you walk into a bike shop looking to buy... Flip side is that it would be nice to get more relevant info on the bikes we'd actually spend our money on!
  • + 1
 @stiingya: after the last two years it's just another Fox Factory suspended Horst link bike for at least 1/4 or 1/3 of the reviews. Pick a bike based on paint job, works for my toddler! Couple that with reviewers unable to be honest, or even willing to ride bikes in a variety of terrains. It's all just bike porn for the pictures and slow motion video at this point...
  • + 1
 Would a Fox Float X with climb switch fit on the Ransom?
  • + 1
 It would for sure
  • + 1
 Can certify that my Firechicken 29" is an absolute baller
  • + 0
 All these field test have been some of the most helpful things i have seen in a long time Thanks pink bike
  • + 1
 Hats off , Pinkbike crew for this great series of tests! Keep'em pouring !
  • + 1
 Yes!! Head to head.... to head comparisons!!
  • + 1
 I just want to hear what the magic conch has to say!
  • + 1
 Thanks for the field tests
  • + 1
 Wreckoning. I openly welcome the down votes.
  • + 1
 ...was not in the test. There, I finished that statement for your. Smile
  • + 0
 Sweet, these are all well within my price range! Lmao!!!!
  • + 0
 The sb150 should have been in this group for sure.
  • + 0
 Looks like a Slash...
  • + 3
 you need to urinate again?
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