I’ve been riding a Merida Big Nine for a little while and I’m wanting to sink a bit of cash into something a little bit more geared towards trail riding. I’m wanting to do MTB trails, all mountain riding, downhills, jumps and just generally messing around. I think I’ve got it down to two choices: The Giant Trance 2 27.5″ or the Trek Remedy 8 27.5″ I’d welcome any feedback, thoughts or suggestions on how these bikes perform, I’m still very much an amateur but I’m wanting to get something that as I get better I don’t outgrow in a hurry (like i already feel like I’ve done with the wee Merida)
The best bet would be to go around your LBS and see if you can demo them. You can always read what people have to say about certain bikes or watch all the YouTube videos in the world but until you actually get on it and ride, you wont ever know. Just call around and if one shop has one and not the other just go at least try that one then find another bike shop that has the there. When you get close to that $3 mark you definitely don’t want to get something just to find out the other would have been better. IMO
To my way of thinking, the best trail bikes have these 3 features.
1. Geometry. Great Trailbikes have modern progressive geometry with ~76 degree seattube angles and ~66.5 degree headtube angles. Bikes with progressive geometry climb better and descend better.
2. Clearance. Ideally, all modern Trailbikes should have frame and fork clearance for 2.8 tires. Many 27.5 bikes are now built this way but not all of them. Not many 29 bikes come this way. At a bare minimum a Trailbike should have clearance for 2.6 tires but why not have clearance for 2.8 Plus tires and have more tire versatility. Stay away from any bike that is not compatable with 2.6 tires
3. Rim width. All modern Trailbikes should be capable of using tires in the 2.4-2.8 width range. The best rim widths for 2.4-2.8 tires are inner width i30-35mm. I think that the ideal rim width for all Trailbikes is i33mm.
The great thing about a Trailbike set up this way is that by just changing a tire you get to decide what tire width you want, Narrow, something in between, or Plus.
So if you compare the Remedy to the Trance, the Remedy meets all of these requirements but the Trance does not. You might also want to consider the Santa Cruz Bronson or Specialized Stumpjumper (both with 2.6 tires) which also meet all of the above requirements. If I could pick one, I would go for the Bronson but I haven’t ridden any of them. I’m just judging by the spec and the geo. How you like the ride is what matters most!