I am in the process of looking into getting a new bike come this spring/summer time frame. I figured since this is a group of people that ride much more than I get to and ride the trails I ride it would be a good place to start asking about some bikes.
I would prefer to use a local shop, but sometimes its hard to pass on some of the last year models/closeouts you can find online.
I have been reading/looking/listening to lots of things to try and decide what I am looking for.
I absolutely love my Rocky Mountain Element 950, but I went with a small frame and coming from a 26 inch wheeled bike the smaller twitchier feeling bike felt more right at the time. Now that I have ridden a good bit more I would like something more in the light trail category. I don’t want to lose too much in the climbing department, but it would be nice to not feel so up on the front of the bike and a little more comfortable going down hill.
I have been looking at several bikes: Trek Fuel Ex 8, Scott Spark, giant anthem, Whyte T-129, Commencal met4 TR, Rocky Mountain Thuderbolt, Santa Cruz Tallboy, and the intense spider.
My element is a 29er and I love the 29er wheels, but from what I have read going a little longer lower slacker as everything is now days it may start to feel a little bigger especially on going up to a medium frame. So I am still leaning toward 29s, but not opposed to 27.5s. I am not really interested in + tires.
The bikes I am really leaning toward would be the fuel Ex 8, and the Intense spider.
My concerns on the fuel ex 8 are that reviews seem to put it more toward an enduro bike that climbs well. Not great but well. They also say it takes a lot of the agility and play fullness out of the trails.
I just recently saw that Intense is closing out some of their 2017 stock. I have never owned a carbon bike and have always worried about the longevity. The reviews on this bike really sound like what I am looking for. The rear travel is adjustable. My concerns are that it is 27.5 and there are several mentions of the stand over height and the dropper post not working very well for people with short legs (me). Anybody have any experience with one of these?? Since they are on closeout from artscycles you can’t come close to the specs from anywhere else I have seen. https://www.artscyclery.com/<wbr />Intense_Spider_Expert_275C_Silver/<wbr />descpage-INSE7CS.html https://www.bikemag.com/gear/<wbr />first-impressions-intense-spider-27-5/
I am also a little afraid to just order a bike without riding it first, but its hard to find anyone that will let you take a bike out and really ride it to find out much about it anyway.
Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I have a 2017 trek fuel ex 9 and I love the bike. Like you said, it is not the fastest climber in the world, but you will make it to the top a lot faster than someone on a 160 travel bike, and can hang with them on the way back down. I ride mostly xc type stuff and have a hard-tail for my more uphill style rides, and the trek is perfect for when I want to ride like a moron at 1000 mph downhill.
If you want more of a “do it all better” bike then I would say go with the spark (not RC) the 930 is a great trail bike and it has a full lockout so it is a rocket ship uphill. It also has a dropper post and slack enough geometry it will keep you out of trouble.
I don’t have any seat time on any of the other bikes, but I know the new anthem is a ripper. (sort of like the scott) Hope this helped!
I have a 2017 Fuel Ex 8 and it’s great. It’s good to know that this was the first year they really tried to up the enduro factor on this bike. It’s basically the same geometry as the 2016 Remedy with 130 travel in the rear instead of 140. It is lower, longer, and slacker then previous Fuels. The stock tires are horrible so I switched to Continental Trail King 2.4s. Much better traction for the Pacific Northwest and more volume so there taller. I’m selling it to upgrade but with a few tweaks this is really a sweet bike.
Also, if you like your Element and the Thunderbolt, but want to go with a more trail oriented 29er, have you considered Rocky’s Instinct line? Of all the 29er trail bikes I’ve ridden, that one has by far the broadest performance envelope, being quite excellent both up and down.
I have a Fuel EX 9.8. The bike is a Swiss Army Knife of riding ability. I ride it regularly in FL and NC and I have found it to be as compliant climbing up technical Pisgah as bombing down Ridegline in DuPont as blowing through the pine roots in the panhandle of Florida. With the Fuel EX you also have to ability to run either 29er and up to 27.5 plus size wheels. The Mino Link allows you to make changes to the head tube angle to change between XC and Downhill geometry. I did buy it a size larger than my hard tail as I found myself cramped between the seat and handlebars. My hardtail Superfly and has a much longer top tube. Since I have gotten my Fuel EX it has become a clothes rack though. If you can afford it recommend going carbon. They are all over eBay and quite affordable. Good luck!