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The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 105 - The 3 Bike Budget Challenge

Feb 10, 2022
by Mike Levy  
Art by Taj Mihelich

Asking someone what three cars they'd choose to have in their dream garage is a fun game, but it quickly gets much more difficult when you're given a meager - aka realistic - budget to work with. And while the numbers are a lot smaller when we apply the same question to mountain bikes, our carbon fiber toys can still cost an exorbitant amount of money. Ten thousand dollars bikes are almost always pretty great, but do you know what's a lot harder? Finding a decent machine for $1,000 USD that won't require you to spend more fun tokens to upgrade it as you progress.

Today's show sees Henry Quinney, Mike Kazimer, Brian Park, and I take part in the 3 Bike Challenge where we choose our favorite rigs at three different price points: $1,000, $3,000, and $6,000 USD.

There are only a few rules to this game. First, you're allowed to go a little over budget as needed because, just like in the real world, sometimes you find something better and decide to save for another month to afford it. Especially if it means getting a dropper post or working disc brakes, right? Second, buying used is definitely an option worth considering, particularly at $1,000 and $3,000 USD. Finally, the bikes don't have to actually be in stock otherwise we wouldn't have a podcast - this is just a fun thought experiment.

Levy's three bike garage includes a Sombio Shovel 3, Polygon's Siskiu T8, and the new Santa Cruz Blur TR STR, while Henry chose a Ragley Marley hardtail, Commencal's Trail, and then Transition's Sentinal for his high-end bike. Kazimer dipped into the PB Buy & Sell for his 2012 Specialized SX Trail, but went new for his Specialized Status and Canyon Torque CF8.

What bikes would you choose at $1,000 USD, $3,000 USD, and $6,000 USD?

Feb 10th, 2022

Three bikes, three price points.

Featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.

Previous Pinkbike Podcasts
Episode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?
Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?
Episode 3 - Pond Beaver Tech
Episode 4 - Why is Every Bike a Trail Bike?
Episode 5 - Can You Trust Bike Reviews?
Episode 6 - Over Biked Or Under Biked?
Episode 7 - Wild Project Bikes
Episode 8 - Do We Need an Even Larger Wheel Size?
Episode 9 - Why Are We Doing a Cross-Country Field Test?
Episode 10 - Getting Nerdy About Bike Setup
Episode 11 - Are We Going Racing This Year?
Episode 12 - What's the Future of Bike Shops?
Episode 13 - Are Bikes Too Regular Now?
Episode 14 - What Bikes Would Pinkbike Editors Buy?
Episode 15 - What's Holding Mountain Biking Back?
Episode 16 - Who's Your Mountain Biking Hero?
Episode 17 - XC Field Test Insider
Episode 18 - Electronics on your Mountain Bike: Good or Bad?
Episode 19 - The Hardtail Episode
Episode 20 - MTB Conspiracy Theories
Episode 21 - Stuff We Were Wrong About
Episode 22 - Does Your Riding Style Match Your Personality?
Episode 23 - Grim Donut 2 is Live!
Episode 24 - Why Even Buy a DH Bike?
Episode 25 - Fall Field Test Preview
Episode 26 - The Three Most Important Mountain Bikes
Episode 27 - The World Champs Special
Episode 28 - All About Women's Bikes
Episode 29 - Freeride or Die
Episode 30 - Would You Rather?
Episode 31 - Wet Weather Riding Tips & Tricks
Episode 32 - What Needs to Change in the Bike Industry?
Episode 33 - Behind the Scenes at Pinkbike Academy
Episode 34 - Grilling Levy About Field Test Trail Bikes (and His Bonspiel)
Episode 35 - Story Time - Stranger Than Fiction
Episode 36 - Grilling Kazimer about Field Test Enduro Bikes
Episode 37 - The 2020 Privateer Season with Ben Cathro
Episode 38 - Editors Defend Their 2020 Best-Of Picks
Episode 39 - Predicting the Future of Mountain Biking
Episode 40 - The Pinkbike Awards!
Episode 41 - Racing Rumours and Team Changes
Episode 42 - Mountain Biking's Guilty Pleasures
Episode 43 - Dangerholm's Wildest Custom Mountain Bikes
Episode 44 - Mountain Bike Suspension Decoded
Episode 45 - What Makes a Good Riding Buddy
Episode 46 - The RockShox Zeb vs Fox 38 Deep Dive
Episode 47 - High Pivot Bikes: The Good, The Bad, and The Why?
Episode 48 - Rides That Went Horribly Wrong... & Why That Made Them So Good
Episode 49 - What's the Best DH Bike?
Episode 50 - Are Bikes Actually Getting Less Expensive? (Value Bike Field Test Preview)
Episode 51 - Should MTB Media Post Spy Shots?
Episode 52 - Our Most Embarrassing MTB Moments
Episode 53 - Should Climbers Still Have the Right of Way?
Episode 54 - Best and Worst MTB Product Marketing
Episode 55 - Big Dumb Rides & Staying Motivated
Episode 56 - What Were the Most Important Inventions in Mountain Biking?
Episode 57 - What Were the Best (and Worst) Trends in Mountain Biking?
Episode 58 - Debunking Mountain Biking's Biggest Myths
Episode 59 - Value Bike Field Trip Surprises & Spoilers
Episode 60 - What Kind of Mountain Biker Do You Want to Be?
Episode 61 - Athlete Pay, Lycra, Equality and More from the State of the Sport Survey
Episode 62 - Editor Preferences and Why They Matter
Episode 63 - Our Best (And Worst) Bike Buying Advice
Episode 64 - Who's On Your MTB Mount Rushmore?
Episode 65 - The Hardtail Episode
Episode 66 - The Best and Worst of Repairing Bikes
Episode 67 - The Story of Mountain Biking's Most Interesting Man: Richard Cunningham
Episode 68 - Who Are Mountain Biking's Unsung Heroes?
Episode 69 - The Good, Bad, and Strange Bikes We've Owned - Part 1
Episode 70 - The Good, Bad, and Strange Bikes We've Owned - Part 2
Episode 71 - The Story of Mountain Biking's Most Interesting Man: Richard Cunningham - A Pinkbike Podcast Special, Part 2
Episode 72 - Hey Outers!
Episode 73 - The Details That Matter... and Some That Shouldn't
Episode 74 - The Best Trails We've Ridden and What Makes Them So Special
Episode 75 - Things MTB Brands Waste Money On
Episode 76 - MTB Originals and Copycats
Episode 77 - Interview with Outside CEO, Robin Thurston
Episode 78 - Modern Geometry Explained
Episode 79 - What's the Future of eMTBs?
Episode 80 - The Best Vehicles for Mountain Bikers
Episode 81 - You've Got Questions, We've (Maybe) Got Answers
Episode 82 - Behind the Scenes at Field Test
Episode 83 - Does Carbon Fiber Belong On Your Mountain Bike?
Episode 84 - Explaining RockShox's Computer Controlled Suspension
Episode 85 - Is the Red Bull Rampage Too Slopestyle?
Episode 86 - Greg Minnaar on the Honda DH Bike, World Cup Racing, and Staying Fast Forever
Episode 87 - How to Love Riding When it's Cold and Wet
Episode 88 - Mountain Biking on a Budget
Episode 89 - The Derailleur Pickle
Episode 90 - Is Supre the Future of Trouble-Free Drivetrains? (with Cedric Eveleigh of Lal Bikes)
Episode 91 - Riding Every Double Black in the Whistler Bike Park with Christina Chappetta
Episode 92 - Does Bike Weight Really Matter?
Episode 93 - Staying Motivated and Overcoming Burnout
Episode 94 - PBA Contestant Tori Wood on Her First Race and Finding the Right Mindset
Episode 95 - Field Test Down-Country Bike Debrief
Episode 96 - PBA Contestant Israel Carrillo on Riding in Mexico and Why It's Not Always About Speed
Episode 97 - Can We Predict the Future of Mountain Biking?
Episode 98 - Field Test Trail Bike Debrief
Episode 99 - New Year, New You?
Episode 100 - Q&A with the PB Editors
Episode 101 - MTB Tradeshows Explained
Episode 102 - Should MTB Media Be Going to Press Camps?
Episode 103 - Secrets from the World Cup Pits with Henry Quinney
Episode 104 - Lachlan Morton on How to be a Happy Bike Racer and the World's Longest Climb

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 49 4
 A question I have that has been bothering me for years and keeps me up at night... people CONSTANTLY talk about how they prefer the RANGE of 12 speed drivetrains because it is just nice to have an easier gear to petal up hills with. I hear it on podcasts, youtube clips, and in articles on pb. This drives me crazy because this has nothing to do with the cassette RANGE, only the ratio between chainring and biggest cog. My question is, why don't more people talk about downsizing a chainring size to make your climbing gear easier? Sure you lose a little top end gearing but I spend maybe 2% of my riding in my smallest cog and a TON of time in my climbing gear. I have an x01 11 speed cassette (42t) with a 28t chainring which gives me VERY nearly the same climb ratio as a 32t chainring with 50t cassette. (42/28=1.5 , 50/32=1.5625) I have not yet been in a situation where I was going so fast in my smallest cog that I wished I had a larger chainring. (could be because of my terrain, Steep techy, but have also ridden a good bit at bike parks) But I also have a 270g cassette, and much cheaper parts bc 11 speed is easy to find cheap parts. Seems like a win win win. I've been riding this setup hard for the past few years, just waiting to find the shortcomings of a 28t chainring but I still haven't found it! I am convinced an 11 speed drivetrain with a 28t chainring is a perfectly great setup for many people. Why isn't it talked about more and why don't more people just buy a $25 chainring if they want an easier climb gear? Is there some terrible downside to a small chainring that I haven't yet found in 2 years of riding with one? Thanks Pinkbike editors! Love what you guys are doing, keep at it!!
  • 13 1
 For real 11 speed for the win!!
  • 11 15
flag plustiresaintdead FL (Feb 10, 2022 at 7:56) (Below Threshold)
 Why would I get something less capable when I already have and can afford a great 12 speed drivetrain? I'm not looking for reasons to downgrade.
  • 4 0
 @plustiresaintdead: A wide range 11 speed setup would likely be cheaper, weight less, and would likely be easier to set up/maintain. I'm sure there is more to it, but those couple of points come to mind. @dairydolores also makes a good point about changing chainring size.
  • 5 0
 I’m thinking you’re right — if you want an easier climb or whatever, you can go the route of a smaller front ring. I don’t think the advantage of a 12 speed is easier climbing. You can make it easy to climb on a 6 speed, theoretically. In my opinion, the advantage is the range across the cassette. I find most of my riding isn’t at the extremes of the cassette (smallest cog/largest cog) on a 12 speed, but in the middle. And there’s a “bottomless” feel. By that I mean it always feels like you have another gear, because you’re not in that big cog as much. 11 speed is fine, but 12 is a step better in that respect.
  • 6 14
flag jpcars10s (Feb 10, 2022 at 8:15) (Below Threshold)
 If you're not spinning out a 28T chainring on at least one of your local descents, your opinion means nothing.
  • 9 1
 If you have steep trails, limited time, and a significant number of years behind you, like I do, you might want to run a 28x50 low gear. I also have some long down sloping fire road sections where I just hang out in the 28x9 top end, so I'm glad I have the RANGE. To put it another way, I keep nearly all the RANGE of gears I had on my 3x8 when I started riding so long ago, but don't have to put up with a triple.
  • 7 0
 Dairydolores- I have often thought the same thing. The only reason to downgrade is weight, which isn't really a great reason and I would net do it. You could argue the replacement parts are cheaper, and they are, but that doesn't justify swapping a 12spd for an 11spd. I think original equipment wise, many bike companies could proved better 11spd drivetrains for less money and still give the rider the gears they need, although not necessarily the full range. I think the quick jump to 1x12 was as much about marketing as anything else, at least for a lot of casual riders on entry level bikes. I would happily take a 1x11 SLX, XT, or XO over a lesser 1x12- here's looking at you, NX/SX. If I bought a used bike with 1x11 I would definitely not upgrade to 1x12 unless I wanted to invest in wireless. A smaller chainring does the job pretty well, unless you already need a 30t on your 1x12. Riding in CO at elevation, I almost can't gear low enough and I am fairly fit.
  • 2 0
 Depends on the type of terrain you ride. I live in Midwest America where the terrain is rolling and often fast. Having a 36t chainring puts me in the sweet spot of the major 4-6 gears I use the most without having huge gearing gaps in between each gear. I have noticed an improvement on the gearing gap as the number of cassette speeds have increased . (I say this having run 1x10, 1x11, and now 1x12) all with 36t chain ring. Plus having more bail out gears is always nice.
  • 23 0
 Added to the list - we'll hit on it in one of the next podcasts Smile
  • 1 0
 Agreed. The $220 12 speed GX cassette weighs the same as my $60 11 speed cassette. Heck, I'd give up my smallest two gears from my 11 speed, really just don't need 11 or 13 teeth cogs on my mtb. 28 in front, largest cog 46, second largest 40 in back, has worked great for me so far.
  • 2 0
 My girlfriend needs a 26 or 24 tooth front chainring from Shimano hyperglide+. Good luck in finding that lol.
  • 3 0
 I genuinely hate having to shift so much with 12 speed. I would be happy with a 9 speed 11-12 to 48-51. Less shifting obviously means not having the exact cadence to be efficient. The efficiency is often not my main concern considering timing my shifts on 12 speed, which happen more often, force me to ease up a bit anyway. Also, my local terrain is anti-flow so efficiency in having the perfect gear ratio is not that important to me.
  • 6 0
 People love wide range cassettes because you get top speed AND climbing gears.

I spin out on my downhills at times with my 30t and my 46-11t cassette. So while at times I'd want easier climbing gears, I'd not really want to go to a 28t, or 26t either. Same with all of my local riding buddies. Its probably location dependent.

That said, I completely agree with many of your other points. I've been loving my new Microshift Advent X drivetrain. I never feel between gears, and the extra range for climbing (48t vs my old 46t), and the fact that the cassette cost me $55, and weighs less than Shimano XT/SRAM GX Eagle.

I really don't see why Shimano/SRAM doesn't come out with a ~50-10t 9 or 10 speed drivetrain.
  • 5 0
 I couldn't tell you the difference in feel between different suspension platforms, I can happily cope with Shimano Wandering Bite Point and I probably wouldn't notice if you'd fiddled with all my fork dials, however even I noticed a difference in pedal bob and weird things going on with my suspension after dropping down to too small a chainring. Won't affect every bike but definitely a consideration on some.
  • 2 0
 Because an upgrade should always be a bigger component. How am I supposed to upgrade to something smaller??
  • 1 0
 I have a friend who teases me for having a chainring smaller than 34 teeth. Peer pressure, shame, maybe that's why more people don't make sensible choices.
  • 1 0
 @plustiresaintdead: please provide an example of which trail you are using your highest gears on? Not doubting it's possible, but really where???
  • 3 0
 To add to that, if you run a 10-45 cassette vs an 11-51, I think if you size your chainring for the same ratio on the big cog, you still have about the same on the little cog. The single tooth dropped on the smallest cog is a big percentage. A shimano 10-45 has an almost similar range to a 11-50. Plus you get to maybe run a medium cage on it too. You need a microspline or XD, but may be worth it. In a perfect world, I would have a 10 speed 10-48 or so but built with 12 speed spaced cogs so I could space out the whole cassette from the centerline to give extra tire clearance. And dropping two cogs would really help with chainline deflection.
  • 1 0
 Good point / discussion. My YT Capra came w/ a 36t chainring w/ 12 gears (GX) - I thot it was 32) and climbing seemed shitty so I dropped to a 30t chainring & climbing got more fun & easier. Howver, as I've put more years & time into climbing (and became a strava nerd) and actually started getting some kom / t-10's on big DH segments, I just couldn't get any faster w/ the 30t on gentle / flatter sections so I went back to the 36t and that seemed to do it for higher speed and better engagement on some DH segments pending the slope. This is for DH only tho - climbing is better now due to increased strength, but just OK, more difficult than the 30t, but having the greater power on the gentle / flat areas has helped improve speed (& Strava times so) - went back up in size. A trade off, like everything.
  • 1 0
 and 10spd? Can is that usable?
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: and on a similar thread, what are the downsides of a 1x9 that has the same range as a 12 speed but is missing a few gears in the middle? I have a friend that runs a 9 speed wireless box setup and swears by it. Pretty light and he has the same granny gear I do. I have a cheaper end 12 speed that constantly needs adjusted.
  • 1 0
 I'm rocking the same, 28x11-42 and it's juuuuust enough to get my fat overweight ass up some really steep and long climbs around where I live. I liked the 11-46t e*thirteen cassette I had on there better of course but it wore out after 1 season unfortunately.
On my hardtail I have a 32x 11-42 and that thing hauls ass up hills ( it's basically an "Agro-Gravel" bike. I'm just ahead of the curve.)
  • 2 0
 ssssshhhh! This was supposed to be a secret. You are gonna cause a run on 11sp parts!
  • 1 0
 I use to use a 30 with a 10-42 and would go thru a chain every 400-500 km. Now i have a 34t ring on my x1 crank, and a 10-50 cassette and i get 1000km. The larger the ring, the less stress.
  • 1 0
 @silverstanktions: I actually thought about that and almost didn't post anything.. Oh well, Cat's out now...
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Great, please also include how the suspension gets affected going with a smaller or bigger chainring :-). I would love to know if I can save some bucks on just changing chainring or if I will screw up my FSR suspension Razz
  • 1 0
 Great point. Another aspect that's not talked about very much is weight. An 11 speed cassette is quite a bit lighter than a 12 speed cassette.
  • 28 1
 Are we going to have ep 2 of mechanic talk with Henry at some point? I know it was spoiled by the anti-outside gestapo but it was the best episode I've heard so far.
  • 30 0
 Lots more one-on-one episodes with Henry coming up - recording one today!
  • 6 0
 @mikelevy: how about just Henry on Henry episodes?
  • 19 0
 @kokofosho: Some Henry ASMR videos?
  • 2 1
 @mikelevy: You gotta increase the lost revenue from Pinkers abandoning you because Outside+ memberships somehow eh? Alternative income streams via YouTube is the way Wink
  • 15 0
 @kokofosho: I'll get Henry to spend hours reading bike manuals for you
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy: Think you can get him to provide his own personal foot notes as he reads them? That would be a gem.
  • 7 0
 It's pronounced 'gazpacho'.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: put some LoFi accompaniment with it and you have a new subscriber.
  • 2 0
 @grabtindy: That is one smooth brained operator.
  • 2 0
 @kokofosho: seconded. I'd seriously consider a subscription to just get the raw audio from having him mic'd up in the pit.
  • 5 0
 @mikelevy: Naw, you should film him installing cables/hoses. Choose whichever frame has the worst designed, most frustrating to install internal routing.
  • 1 0
 @kcy4130: Henry loves internal routing so you would be giving him a nice treat.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: Henry reading the 1000 page canyon manual??
  • 18 0
 Super appreciate the discussion about changes to PB & Beta and curious to see how this approach works. Speaking of the big take away IMO is that flexibility Brian mentioned, things will change and when they don't work they'll change again all that we vote with our engagement and clicks. Sure beats stagnation in my book. Dare we talk about what magazines used to cost per month? With ads nonetheless. We've gone from a PinkBike Race Team being a bit of a pipe dream to an actuality in 105 episodes, all for the cost of our attention. Congrats to that accomplishment, I'm stoked to see what more you all can do!
  • 1 0
 Ah typos. **...change again and that we all vote... **

@brianpark @mikelevy I'd be curious to know why there's no edit function on comments, not because I want one that badly but just curious about the thought process behind not having one in the first place.
  • 9 0
 I think what the PB team is aware of but not voicing is: we're not averse to supporting things we love with subscriptions, but we are concerned about supporting Outside^TM MegaCorp, and we know that their interests are aligned with ours.

I would have happily subscribed to an independent PinkBike. I subscribed to TrailForks Pro the day that subscriptions became available, because it was great tool that improved access to mountain biking and I was happy to support it. I subscribe to Freehub, the Mountain Gazette, several independent news outlets, my local newspaper and others.

The "I give you money to support your coverage" isn't the problem.

But there's a big difference between "supporting independent news outlets with subscriptions" and "paying into the coffers of a venture-capital-funded megacorp that's trying to gobble up every decent outdoor piece of media and make it theirs."

The venture capitalists who have pumped $173.4M into Outside Inc. haven't done it for the love of mountain biking. Their goal is dope stacks of cash. They've invested in Outside Inc. because they hope they can make more dope stacks of cash by dominating outdoor media than they can in any other way.

I genuinely believe that PinkBike's editorial staff, contributors and administrative staff are authentic people who love mountain biking, and sincerely believe in the outlet. I also know that the venture capitalists who own PinkBike do not give two shits about authenticity unless it affects their dope stacks of cash.

It's fair of the PB team to ask readers to give them the benefit of the doubt, and wait until things actually change for the worse, instead of imagining worst-case scenarios. But it would be incredibly naive to imagine that a venture-capital funded large corporation intent on dominating the outdoor media landscape won't make decisions that are good for its investors, even if they come at the expense of that authenticity.

TL;DR: More whinging about Outside.
  • 9 0
 3 bikes: $1000 - Polygon Xtrada 7; $3000 - Ibis Ripley AF Deore; $6000 - Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol Rally Build

I would actually think the bikes at budget points would be a cool article/video series. You could even do a version when editors build bikes that would be better in execution than the Budget vs. Baller series. Imagine this:

2 editors get the same frame, like a Banshee Phantom or something similar. Then at the start of each episode they have to draw for their budget for that item - budget or baller. And we say "budget" here we mean real products. How much better are Shimano XTR than TRP Slates, for instance. It would also help readers know where to spend the money.
  • 5 0
 Question for another time, I've just been catching up on a couple of the last podcasts and listening to Henry and Mike L talk about world cup racers. What is it that world cup riders actually do to get to world cup ludicrous speed from just being 'really fast'? And an idea for you - after hearing Mike K say he doesn't think coaching is for him, how much faster can coaching get different levels of rider (beginner, intermediate, advanced) on various tracks?
  • 4 0
 Hey thanks for the episode that I guess I inspired! I saw this episode pop up on my phone and I started playing it on the drive home. I'd forgotten that I'd even suggested this a while back. Another Beauty as always! Don't listen to the haters I'm a newish member here and love the content.
  • 3 0
 Thanks for the idea!
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Interesting most of the comments have little to do with the episode. I forgot to leave my 3 bikes:

$1000 - Giant Fathom 29 2
I know it's a bunch over budget, but you get so much more capability if you push the budget just a bit higher. Deore drivetrain, air fork, solid angles and could be ridden for a couple years without much fuss.

$3000 - Norco Sight A3
Just on budget and a very modern geo packed with solid components. This aluminum bike could do everything from shuttle laps to local rides after work and would be worthy of any upgrades you wanted to throw at it. It even has metallic 4-piston pads for Levy and Kaz!

$6000 - Devinci Troy Carbon 29 GX
Hundreds under budget and you get to rep a made in Canadian brand! Another Excellent all mountain bike with some nicer components and full carbon front and back. This would basically be my dream bike. If you need the absolute best suspension spend half of the money below budget to upgrade the 36 performance's damper to the grip 2.
  • 3 0
 If I’m under budget on one, can I add that money to the other category? I’d probably go Kona Process X for a little under $6k, the Process 153 for just over $3k, and comb the buy/sell deep for some 2014 Alu Specialized Enduro 29, or similar that was a bit ahead of it’s time.
  • 7 0
 Gen 2 Nomad / Gen 3 Nomad / Gen 4 Nomad
  • 4 1
 you guys should do a field test of $3800-$4000 alloy full suspension all mountain/enduro bikes. =)

Stumpy Evo Alloy Comp
Transition Sentinel/Patrol/Spire Alloy Deore/NX
Commencal Meta AM/SX 29 Essential
Rocky Mountain Altitude Alloy 30

I'm sure there's a lot of people wondering if these bottom tier build are worth the scratch and how they all compare to each other.
  • 9 0
 We've done a few value bike Field Tests but yeah, the plan was to impose some sort of MSRP limit for the normal Field Test reviews. Corona scuppered that, though, as there just aren't enough bikes available for us to impose a budget and still have a big test. We'll certainly do exactly that in the future, though Smile
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: I feel like the value bikes you guys tested were way too low $ and they were trail bikes that are not as capable and lower speced. as these bikes that I just listed.

I guess the bikes I listed are more mid tier pricing.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: in all fairness, I feel bad for y'all trying to schedule this year's budget field test... 2500 has become the bare minimum to get a 'proper' bike. and 3k bikes are still going out with 2 piston resin brakes, sram SX derailleurs, etc.

i think the hardtail test was underrated, and I hope you schedule another 4 for a test this year. I definitely gave Canyon's HTs a second look after that test. good values. maybe the 3 big boiz and then an independent one off, Fuse, Roscoe, Fathom, and a more expensive random hardtail Smile
  • 1 0
 +Scott Ransom
+Giant Reign
+Propain Tyee
  • 3 1
 In true "answer the title question without listening to the podcast" style - am I buying 3 bikes for a total of 10k?
I'd have a
6k direct sales enduro bike
3k trail hardtail for muddy winter rides
1k either a rigid single speed or a road bike for fitness
  • 2 0
 1k: Canyon Stoic entry level, then add a dropper. Great, modern hardtail.
3k: YT Jeffsy core 2 - perfect do it all no-brainer.
6k: Pole Machine - or a Knolly Chilcotin ... or Nicolai G1 ... or a Transition Spire .... no, the Pole ... or the Knolly

I was shocked (really) that the entire group in this podcast didn't know about high-end aluminium bikes. ("Are there any alloy bikes in the 6k price range? Maybe Commencal makes one...") It shows how close minded and uniform they are (all the same weight and size range so they all fit on the same test bikes).
Bring in a bit of diversity. I'm 6'5": some XL frames are on the small side for me - and a lot of carbon frames are on the brittle side.

I fully agree on the hilarious websites of some German brands, though. Finding the specs and geometry or - even worse - comparing them, is unnecessarily complicated. Keep it simple, stupid!
  • 2 0
 I agree, we’re terrible with stuff like that haha
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: That's for mentioning the Element, you confirmed my recent purchase was "Levy Approved." Made my day.
  • 4 0
 Just saw on FB used Status for over 6k. Tough times brothers and sisters...
  • 3 0
 I think I saw the same one... It's got a bunch of different parts, but mostly, the seller is out to lunch.
  • 4 3
 What do you mean don't have to overlap on stories anymore, @brianpark ?

If that means Beta writes an article, and Pinkbike doesn't touch on the same subject... That's precisely what 'Pinkers' are upset about.

The only thing that really frustrates me is that when I'm casually scrolling, despite the visual difference, I often accidentally click on the article because it's a totally fine looking headline and all... Then boom I'm a the paywall. Much like any other paywall website or a pop up or whatever. For me personally it's more of a DESIGN issue, as opposed to 'big beta/outside is ruinin muh pinkbike'.

Do I have a solution for you? Errr, not at the moment. And if I say banner or sidebar I know that idea is going straight in the trash.

I'll get downvoted for this, but I think having it be the top/stickied article every day would make it easier to avoid. Slipping it into the middle of the feed, while my brain is going into full smooth mode, I keep accidentally clicking it... EXCITED to read something... And then being subtly reminded that I'm poor. And I don't have any friends who own Yetis who can tell me what the article said Frown

This site is already rough enough to browse as a poor. Think of the poors!
  • 12 4
 @lepigpen, you can just filter out the Beta content if it bothers you that much. Go to your profile, click on 'News Settings', and then pick which news categories you don't want to see. Or you could subscribe to Beta (crazy, I know, especially since it's a whopping $2 a month), and be able to digest even more mountain bike content.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Nah, I'm making rent in Los Angeles poor. That 2 bucks is for groceries baby!

Thanks for da tip, Kaz. If I can move to Washington some day I could invest more into MTBing. If you know of any jobs up there lemme know!
  • 3 0
 Nobody seems to mention VAT/Taxes on canyon bikes... price on website in Canadian dollars is nice, until you pay 25% at your door to UPS.
  • 1 0
 Question probably more for Kaz & Henry, how does the GG Gnarvana stack up against the Transition Spire and Propain Tyee? I’ve got a mk4 tallboy that I’m getting a bit tour of my depth on a bit to regularly and want something for more park and jumpy sort of trails and riding. I want something that isn’t a total slug up a fire road but that’s about all the climbing prowess it needs. Any good recommendations? Thanks!

P.s. you guys are doing an awesome job of these podcasts and the improvements to Trailforks are great as well!
  • 1 0
 Question probably more for Kaz & Henry, how does the GG Gnarvana stack up against the Transition Spire and Propain Tyee? I’ve got a mk4 tallboy that I’m getting a bit tour of my depth on a bit to regularly and want something for more park and jumpy sort of trails and riding. I want something that isn’t a total slug up a fire road but that’s about all the climbing prowess it needs. Any good recommendations? Thanks!

P.s. you guys are doing an awesome job of these podcasts and the improvements to Trailforks are great as well!
  • 1 0
 Is the Canyon site really that bad?
I was between a Commencal Meta TR and an aluminum Canyon Spectral and went for the Canyon as it seemed to get more of a all round reputation.

A higher end (3/4k) aluminum trail bike shoot out would be a great feature, seen as it seems to be about the sweet spot for $ to performance. Canyon Spectral AL, Commencal Meta TR, Specialized Stumpjumper EVO AL etc.
  • 1 0
 Gives me the warm & fuzzies to hear Levy choosing the Polygon Siskiu T8, having bought one myself last year. Switching out the rear tyre (from 2.6 Vee Flow Snap to Maxxis Aggressor) helped with the climbing, and as a tall guy on the XL I felt more comfortable once I got a bar with more rise, but other than that it's been working out great.

If you consider component trade-offs at this price point, I'm not as bothered with mediocre brakes as I would've been with mediocre suspension or drivetrain. Upgrading from a low end 2015 full-sus, I don't even know what "good" brakes would feel like, so I never feel like I'm missing out. It's a bit odd with the T8, I got metal pads but resin rotors. The pads seem to be lasting pretty well, but I'm not sure what they're doing to my rotors. I've got a vague plan to upgrade brakes in the next year or two, but for now I'm perfectly happy. Ok, maybe not RIGHT now, since I'm still recovering from breaking 8 ribs, but generally in life I'm pretty happy!
  • 1 0
 Clearly in the $1000 pick, @mikelevy got the modern geo for safety but did he end up with Mike Bear equivalent tires and what ever those brakes were on the budget vs baller episode. I'd be interested in seeing everyone from the podcast ride their recommended $1000 in a challenge race.
  • 1 0
 Alright this had to be said, @mikelevy you're out to lunch with the Sombrio Shovel 3 vs Kaz's SX Trail! SX Trails can still bounce (albeit slowly and very inefficiently) up basically any climb and will make the hardtail look like the glorified walmart bike that it is the second you are pointed down any trail. I rode my old one two years ago out of nostalgia and once you get used to the smaller cockpit they ride pretty damn good. Let's just hope Kaz's bike didn't come with Elixir's haha...


Extremely Nostalgic and Defensive SX Trail Owner

Love the podcasts, keep them up Smile
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy - A question related to Specialized and other Major brands going direct to consumer.

I was shopping for a new Transition and saw they had one in my size available for purchase. I went to my LBS/Transition dealer and asked if they could order the bike. The LBS told me that the bike I wanted was unavailable to dealers, but available as direct

I know that Transition is taking the risk of holding inventory (as opposed to the LBS), but it also seems wrong to hose your distributor. This LBS is going to be the first place I go to when there are any signs of warranty issues on the life time warranted frame, so it seems sad they are left out of the transaction. Any insights or comments?

Thanks for the great podcast!
  • 1 0
 I enjoyed this episode, but I have a couple questions. First, was there nothing in the BuynSell for the $3000 or $6000 price point that was appealing to any of you? I thought is was interesting that you went there for a grand, but not for the other 2 price points. Secondly, @mikelevy how are you handling the world playing the Pinkbike video game and having you intentionally or unintentionally have repeated violent crashes? I feel terrible when I see you scorpion over a massive gap from massive heights. Curious mind wants to know.
  • 1 0
 I don't quite get what @brianpark said there:

That Beta would be paywall and Pinkbike would stay free. But then went on to say that some of the Pinkbike Racing Teams (not the BETA Racing Team) POV videos would be behind a paywall. Those two statements do not jive.

Also for @mikekazimer and @mikelevy , no one is talking about longevity and customer service. I DID buy a Canyon bike from Darren Berrecloth and when I ran into trouble (NOT Darren's fault - bad design issue with how the main pivot bolts screw into frame), it took over 10 months and a lot of money to resolve the issue. There was horrible communication, a lot of errors on their part on orders and gaps in communication for weeks.

I love the bike, and other than the issues I have had, it rides amazingly and preforms well, but I will never buy from them again when it comes to getting a new bike. Have heard a lot of similar issues with Canyon customer service from other posts. On top of all of it, they sell in Canada but they do not have offices in Canada, so every time I had to call them (from the West Coast), I would have to call on German time opening hours in the middle of the night and most times there was translation issues. If I missed a call from them at 2am, I would have to wait a week or 2 to hear from them again.
  • 1 0
 The thing missing for me in this episode is the value you can sometimes get from smaller or lesser known brands. (Henry touched on it with Ragley) If I have $3000 to spend I'm not going to Specialized because I know that often I can get a better value. I'm not talking boutique, but small operations like RSD. That type of brand will also often have more modern geo because of more agile development. Am I totally off base?

Also, @mikelevy, as an audio engineer, can I master your podcast so it's consistently at a decent loudness? I'd be happy to do it for a dollar an episode b/c I love you guys.
  • 1 0
 Get Kaz an SX Trail and build it up PROPER! Don't BS about and get the thing setup as best as possible. Rebuild everything, fresh tires, add a dropper and just make it as good as possible. That would make for a really fun article.
  • 1 0
 I'm rocking Hulk wheels carbon DH.
1 year warranty~ Same as Derby ( and they honored it!)
Stiff as I like em ; not a fan of "compliant" carbon like the new Zipp ones. $200 per rim
  • 1 0
 Custom css rule to hide the outside top bar, beta filter on in the settings, all is right with the world. :-) In all seriousness great podcast and I can't wait to watch the pinkbike downhill team.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy - Cant believe no one posted / asked this yet: so is the PB team NOT gonna race on a Grim Donut? My lady bought me this hoodie for nothing ??? Tell me the shopping cart is a go…
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy how about a two bike budget challenge. At what budget would you each choose to buy two bikes for different types of riding, and what would they be? An $8000 super bike is cool, but are two at $4000 cooler?
  • 1 0
 The comments on the bad webpages , cracked me up. I thought I was just getting old , but all that extra scrolling is so annoying and confusing.
  • 1 0
 tl:dl - but how much could one spend on upgrades later, sponsored by a favorite online shop?
  • 2 0
 Canyon Stitched 360/ Propain Tyee/ Santa Cruz Bronson
  • 1 0
 If this is the bike garage and not one bike to rule them all at three price points, then I agree with you.

DJ/good trail bike/weapon of choice

I'd throw in one more price point at $400. This is your clunker or commuter or pub bike. Something you will have chained up in public for a good amount of time and not worry too much.
  • 1 1
 Stoked to hear the clarification on the future plans with Outside/Beta, I was already subscribed to Beta for the awesome print magazines so I'll just keep that rolling!
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer @mikelevy why did the tags go from fun colors to grey??
  • 1 0
 Surely Henry could get his baller bike down from $3800 to $3000 if he hadn't been so extravagant on the tyres!
  • 2 1
 I still believe that its spelled ¨tires¨
  • 1 0
 Yooooo that’s my bike! It’s still available and if anyone in Southern California wants to come buy it let me know!
  • 1 0
 I heard a used growler is the best $1000 bike… and know of one in the classifieds.
  • 1 0
 Not sure if this is indicative of bike industry salaries but I thought it was funny how much everyone struggled to spend 6k
  • 1 0
 I've been trying to buy Mike Bear tires for 3 weeks. Can't find anyone than sells them... Covid supply issues are reeeeel.
  • 1 0
 The Canyon website is not hard to navigate at all.. and the Spectral 29 AL 5 is only $2899, idk how that was missed.
  • 1 0
 3300 usd was my used yeti SB6 from 2016 when I get it in 2019
  • 1 0
 what are some good inexpensive carbon wheelsets?
  • 1 0
 Define “inexpensive” hahahah
  • 1 0
 Roval Controls, "only" 1300. Not bad tho in reality
  • 1 0
 @mariomtblt: If you shop for super light wheels, they are a pretty good value with good specs. Wide, light, strong, and sub-$1400 isn't bad. If you want to go light and super value, I went with the Hunt XC Wide Race. 1513g and $679 shipped.
  • 1 0
 Niiiiiice episode!

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