February 19, 2019 at 10:05 am #256977
Long time forum reader but just recently signed up. I’ve been reading forum discussion after blog post and watching all YouTube videos and still am having a hard time making the important decision..which bike to purchase, so if you can I would love to hear your input and any advise, after doing all my research I haven’t found the right answers I was hoping to find. I understand I need to test ride to make the decision for my self, but with all of your experience I was hoping you could alleviate the day to day which bike to buy that seems to be haunting my thought process!
I’m 5’10 and fluctuate between 150-165 lbs. I used to race dirtbikes at hair scrambler events. So I find myself loving the downhill fast ascents from smooth to rock, roots, and anything I can jump off of or take big drops on. With that being said I do mostly ride trails in mass and find my self climbing to enjoy the downhills, so i’d like a bike that can handle both.. I have recently gotten into mountain biking but the past year and a half I’ve been riding an entry level hardtail. I find myself looking at larger features and jumps and hesitating with my hardtail, so I’m thinking it’s time to upgrade. I recently was out in St George, Utah and was able to rent and become obsessed with a Yeti sB150, although it is way to much bike for me (I’m not racing) I think it may have poisoned me! I’m looking at the following bikes and would really appreciate your advise, opinions, and input. Thank you for your O2.
2019 Yeti SB130 GX
2018 Santa Cruz Nomad X01 Carbon CC RockShox super deluxe coil RCT w/ Santa Cruz Carbon Rims.
2018 Santa Cruz Hightower X01 Carbon CC
2018 Santa Cruz Hightower 29 X01 Carbon CC
And I also keep looking at the 2019 Evil Offering..
I don’t have the bike knowledge of building a bike so as you can tell I would be buying a complete bike. Thank you again!
February 19, 2019 at 12:05 pm #256984
I too came from a Hare Scrambles back ground, and I would say, depending on your riding style it could be any of those. I would say the Nomad is a little more downhill and would not be as good for everyday trails and climbs. You seem to have already settled on 29in tires or I would say the Santa Cruz Bronson is between the Nomad and Hightower for all around riding.
They are all great bikes and my order for choosing would be the Evil Offering, then the Hightower, then the Yeti. But I am getting older and slower so I prefer a poppy fun bike vs a fast racy bike. If I was fast or raced it would probably be the opposite with the Yeti being my first choice and the Evil last.
February 19, 2019 at 12:37 pm #256986
Alvin, Thank you for your input, My hardtail is a 29in setup so I was going to stick with that, I really have no other reason to say I’m all for the 29in. I like your thoughts, I won’t be racing either so it makes sense to go with a bike that is more fun. The only problem I have with going with an Evil is not having an evil dealer anywhere near mass. I think that is the only thing pulling me more towards the Santa Cruz with local dealers. But I do find myself always looking back at the Offering.
I’m also curious to see of the offering rides compared to the yeti and not having anywhere to test them makes me wonder what i should do, but again thank you!
Also if I wonder how the Bronson is for climbing, compared to a 29″ bike like the offering or hightower..
February 19, 2019 at 12:50 pm #256988
@tylerjames_606 It’s really hard to go “wrong” with any of the bikes you’ve highlighted although I do agree with @AlvinMullin that the Bronson would be a better option than the Nomad based on your specs. I’ve demo’ed all the bikes on your list (just not the HT in 29″ wheels). For me, it came down to the Offering vs SB130. Both are terrific all round bikes. I went with the Evil and haven’t looked back.
February 19, 2019 at 1:13 pm #256989
@rmap01 thank you, I just talked with Evil and it really seams like what im looking for, in your opinion if it was down to the Bronson vs the Offering what would your thoughts be? I guess I’m used to the 29in wheel so if I was to jump down to the bronson i might not like it as much, thats the only worry I have. The new 2019 evil offering GX is $5,899.00 and there is a 2018 Bronson X01 Carbon CC at my local shop at a discounted price of 4760.00, I’m leaning towards the evil, but would be curious to hear your thoughts
February 20, 2019 at 7:37 am #257245
You should try to demo the Bronson to make sure you are comfortable with the 27.5 tires, I actually prefer them.
Had that been the price points when I bought my Evil, I would have gotten the Bronson. But when I got mine last year, locally the Bronson s+ was the full $5100 price and Evil had a close out for $4300 on the previous year Insurgent GX.
One thing is if you are comfortable assembling the Evil, or would have to pay extra to have it put together.
February 19, 2019 at 1:32 pm #256991
@tylerjames_606 I hear you on the 29 vs 27.5. Obviously that comes down to preference. (NB: I did not ride the 2019 Bronson which has been redesigned). For me, I didn’t really feel as much of a difference in either rollover or maneuverability between the difference size wheels as I expected. Aside from the cost, one benefit to the Bronson is the ability to run wider tires – which was not a significant factor to me. The Bronson is slightly slacker although they are very close in the Offering’s XLow setting. To me, the Offering just seems to do everything really well and while the Bronson has more travel the Offering seems to soak up whatever I throw at it. I don’t think you can make a bad decision here.
February 19, 2019 at 6:34 pm #257011
As was mentioned by somebody else, very bike on your list is top notch. Maybe you should demo a 27.5 bike, preferably a Bronson, before spending $6K? I have (2) 27.5 bikes as well as a 29er. They all have their place and advantages/disadvantages. I also came from a dirt bike background and I basically pick a bike based on where I’m going to ride but I generally prefer the 27.5 bikes. I find them more “poppy” and the fun factor increases because I’m able to throw them around, especially important on tighter, twisty trails. If I could only keep one bike, I’d keep my 2019 Yeti SB5 as it does everything well.
If I was going bike shopping tomorrow, I’d definitely demo the Offering and SB130. Both those bikes were the “hit bikes” of this years Bible of Bike Tests. Each rider was asked to choose what bike in the test they’d take if they could have any bike, the Offering and SB130 tied for the most votes. If there one thing I always read about Evil bikes, it’s that they climb adequately but are an absolute blast coming down the trail. My mental hang-up as I’ve never owned one is the build weights on may of them. That’s why I would have to ride one first.
February 20, 2019 at 6:13 am #257236
Let me throw in my 2 cents…I went through a similar dilemma last year at this time. There is even a thread on this forum where I too solicited advice about which bike I should choose. And the comments and feedback were much appreciated.
The two biggest variables that guided my decision were 1) the trails available to me the would make up 90% of my riding time, and 2) my riding style.
1) I live in Charlotte NC. While there are great technical trails and long descents in Pisgah National Forest and other places in NC, I am not likely to travel very often to ride those. So the trails within a 40 mile radius of my house were most important. And specifically the trails within 15 miles, where I could get out weekly. Those trails were mostly flat, some technical, some flow, small jumps if any. So the majority of my rides did not require long travel nor downhill consideration. Mostly single track, XC trails that are playful and fun.
2) My riding style. I cut my teeth on a 26″ rigid frame that I rode all over the southeast, including the toughest trails in Pisgah and surrounding areas. Then I got a Gary Fisher Sugar, full suspension with 26″ tires. The upgrade from rigid to full suspension was amazing and I loved that bike. I could whip, flick it, bunny hop the crap out of it, jump anything in my way…It was Very Playful. From there I got a hardtail 29’er, Cannondale Flash 29’er. I lost the playful and responsiveness, and the tight cornering. I could roll over anything without fear, but after a year, I realized that was not my style. My style was fast, fun, great handling, maneuverable, playful, try to get air off anything I could hit on trails (not Whistler air, just trail air).
With those considerations, I bought the Cannondale Habit 2. A carbon bike with good components, 120mm travel and 27.5″ tires. The bike is great. IMO, it is perfect for the 90% of the trail time I get. And because I made the decision based on the above, I have risen more this year than ever before, I am in great shape, and I looking to expand my range and even race a little. All of the bikes you and everyone have listed are good. Evaluate what is right for you.
P.S.: I went to Whistler last year, Seattle, Pisgah, TN, and more. All for business but added some riding while there. I demo’d the Evil Insurgent and loved it. It is not right for my 90% of the time riding, but what a great ride it was at a bike park in Seattle. I spent 4.5 hours on it running bigger jumps, race lines, drop offs, and more. I am planning to buy another bike this year so I can ride Bailey Mtn in NC, Windrock in TN, Sugar and Beech Mtn in NC, and possible others. The Evil is high on my list.
February 20, 2019 at 11:15 am #257264
All these bikes are excellent bikes. Whichever one you buy you can’t really screw up. Stop over-thinking it and take them for a test/demo ride. Then pick the one you like the feel of best.
Or try to narrow you choices. *27.5 or 29? *Hardtail or full-suspension? *XC(100-120mm travel), Trail(120-150mm travel), or Enduro(150-170 travel)? *Aluminum or Carbon? *Narrow tires(2.0-2.4) or Wide tires(2.5-2.8). *Price range? *Drivetrain? Usually if you go through that process it narrows it down to just a few bikes. Your list is all over the map.
So if I was buying a new bike my answer would be—29, full-suspension, Trail(120-150mm travel), aluminum, wide tires, ~$3500, Eagle 1×12. So that narrowed my list to the Specialized Stumpjumper, Scott Genius, and Trek Full Stache. I bought a Trek Full Stache last spring because it checked off all my boxes and was the bike I liked the ride, design, and component spec of best.
February 20, 2019 at 2:17 pm #257302
I agree with the comment to “not over-think it”. Last year I spent months researching brands, components, builds, reviews, etc. I had a list of 5 bikes, demo’d them but couldn’t decide because they were all very similar with slightly different feels but none of them really stood out. The LBS suggested I demo the Ibis Ripley LS which wasn’t on my list, so I took it out and within 5 minutes I knew what bike I was getting…I didn’t want the ride to end. Everything was similar but the Ripley fit me perfectly and there was no question then and no regrets now. I’ve made the mistake of buying without demoing and those bikes typically haven’t lasted. Demo a variety on a trail you typically ride and one will stand out.
In the category of bike you are looking at, give a look to the Ibis Ripmo. I hear it’s is awesome on the descent and climbs like a smaller travel trail bike.
February 20, 2019 at 3:03 pm #257304
I think Plusbike Nerd and Cdreid7 nailed it. You’ve listed some great bikes – don’t over-think the label, and concentrate more on the primary features. With what you’ve described, I’d like to see you try the following: 130-150mm full suspension, dropper post, 1×12 drivetrain. From there, I would suggest you try both 27.5″ and 29″ rigs. You might also want to try both aluminum and carbon. Personally, I think 27.5 is more “playful” and I like how carbon takes out a little harshness. But I know several guys prefer 29 and alum.
The best bike is the one that gets you riding. Make your choice, get riding, and you’ll have no regrets!
February 20, 2019 at 3:50 pm #257306
Thank you guys for all the help, I’m making the decision tonight as stated above I don’t want to over analyse any further. I’m pretty sure the right choice to me sounds like the 2018 Bronson Carbon CC X01, it is a left over and is discounted $2,000 from new. So instead of buying the sb130 at 5,100.00 or evil offering 5,899.00 with the GX package, I’ll be a year old Bronson Carbon CC X01 cheaper than both the other bikes. Then the only thing left to do stare at a shiny new bike until the snow disappears!
February 20, 2019 at 6:37 pm #257317
That’s an awesome bike (as are many others on your list). I went with the 5010 only cause the Bronson was a little overkill for my upper Midwest trails, but I was really close on the Bronson. Ride the crap out of that beast!
February 22, 2019 at 5:37 am #257496
First I would like to mention that all the bikes you listed in your post are good at their own place but have some different kinda feature, pro, and cons which fully depends on the user. I’ve also read the replies as well and found the reply from Alvin most helpful. I think that the order he mentioned is the order that I will also go for.
And most importantly, never think too much. Make your decision according to your need without thinking too much. Happy biking 🙂
February 23, 2019 at 10:29 am #257572
February 25, 2019 at 10:33 am #257639
I went with the Bronson Carbon CC X01 I couldn’t pass on the deal! Thank you again for everyone’s advise!
February 25, 2019 at 5:07 pm #257667
Cool Tyler. Sounds like you got a great deal. Ride the sh!t out of it!
March 3, 2019 at 1:29 am #257992
Hey, I found a super helpful bicycle buying guide that can be helpful for you too. You can find it here
Go through it, I hope it is gonna help your situation.
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