Prioritization: Frame or Components

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Prioritization: Frame or Components

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    • #303269


      I’m new to the forum.

      My last mountain bike was an early 90’s Raleigh with Deore LX. I used to bike all over northeast Mesa, AZ (probably Hawes before it was known as Hawes). My bike was stolen 23 years ago and I never replaced it. I’m here to soak up knowledge and opinions so I can make an informed decision on a new bike.

      My first question is this: How would you prioritize the importance of a frame vs components?

      For example…I’m looking to spend around $3,000 (gulp). Right now I’m deciding between a Fezzari Cascade Peak and a Fezzari Signal Peak. The Signal Peak has a carbon frame with SRAM NX Eagle and the Cascade Peak has an aluminum frame with SRAM GX Eagle. Both bikes are the same price.

    • #303375

      Bueller?… Bueller?…

    • #303404

      Hi jaj23,


      I say go frame first, then components. It’s very easy to upgrade components over the life of a frame if you start with something modern with up to date specs like: boost spacing, dropper post routing etc. I had a hard-tail with NX components and they worked great! Not the lightest or most precise but they gave me zero issues and performed better than anticipated. So if it were me, I would go with the carbon frame and NX build.

    • #303408

      Two very different frames…

      Geometry wise they are going to ride very different. I would say the Cascade Peak will be a more versatile “trail bike” while the Signal Peak is more of a modern XC machine, lite trail bike.

      besides drivetrain, the suspension on the Cascade Peak is WAY nicer than the Signal .  I would take the Fox Performance Elite and aluminum frame all day. Suspension makes a HUGE difference and is very expensive to upgrade.

      Have you looked at Canyon bikes? They also make some great stuff at very good prices.

      • #303570

        I’m leaning towards the Cascade Peak. I’ve looked at Canyon bikes. I can get a 2019 Spectral CF 7.0 with GX for $3000, but it’s last year’s model. Fezzari has a lifetime warranty on their frames and I haven’t read a single bad thing about them yet.

      • #303630

        With Canyon, I would look at something like the Neuron CF 8.0

        $3,200 for the current model.

        The Spectral is A LOT of bike, unless you plan on sending big jumps with it regularly and hitting gnarly stuff at high speed, I would think it’s probably too much bike.

        I would not get too wrapped up in a bike NEEDING to fit 2.6” tires…

        Modern full suspension trail bikes have such good suspension and to me, the benefits of plus tires do not outweigh a lot of their drawbacks.  Especially on a full suspension trail rig.

        If you were looking to buy a party hardtail, sure, plus tires could be a consideration.  But with a full suspension trail bike, it’s not worth the weight, vague steering, and un-dampened rebound.  If you ever end up jumping the bike, I HATE jumping with plus tires, if you put enough air in them that they don’t feel like your landing on a marshmallow, they ride like crap and are super bouncy.

        Narrower tires can also sniff out traction better in loose conditions.  Instead of floating on top of loose soil, they can dig in and hook up.


      • #303644

        This advice is so good! I really appreciate the insight. Thanks!

    • #303427

      It’s frame first.  But it’s much more about getting a bike that has the right geo and sizing for the type of riding you intend to do.  It’s MUCH less about the frame being carbon or aluminum.  If I’d narrowed it down to these two bikes (there are plenty of other options available in that price range) unless your primary goal and ride style is to race XC, I’d lean toward the Cascade Peak ( )

    • #303429

      If I was buying a new Trailbike for $3000, here are the features I would be looking for.

      —Aluminum frame (Besides being about a pound lighter than aluminum frames, carbon frames do not add any other performance benefits.)

      —1×12 drivetrain (Sram Eagle SX or NX, Shimano SLX)

      —120-145mm rear travel

      — Modern progressive geometry with a slack head angle 66.5 -64 degrees

      —29×2.5 or 2.6 tires on i30-35 (i=inner width) rims

      Here are some bikes I like.

      2020 Ibis Ripmo AF NX   $3000   145mm rear travel

      2020 Trek Fuel EX 7   $2900   130mm rear travel

      2020 Stumpjumper 29   $2700   140mm rear travel

      2020 Ibis Ripley NX   $4200   120mm rear travel (Carbon only and therefore, the higher price.  My favorite bike on the list.  I wish they made an aluminum version.)

      (All these bikes on my list have seen significant changes from the 2019 models.  Avoid 2019 models.)

      I think any of these bike would be much better than the Fezzari bikes you have mentioned.  Also, you can get these bikes at your local bike shop and therefore, you do not have to assemble them and you can be confident of the fit.

      Given your $3000 price point and that you seem to want a shorter travel bike,  the Fuel EX would be my first choice for you.  Go test ride these bikes and see what a modern Trailbike is like.  You can get some really great trailbikes for $3000.

      • #303568

        Awesome response! Thanks.

      • #303569

        I really appreciate the detailed response. Much of that info falls in line with what I have been learning.

        The 2020 Fuel EX 7 is nice, but the Fezzari Cascade Peak has SRAM GX and a much better fork. Geometry looks good too.

        I live in AZ, but I will be going to Utah in two weeks. While I’m there I’ll be able to test ride the Fezzari bikes.



      • #303612

        I kave two concerns with the Fezzari Bikes.  First, is that they have old school geometry and the second is that they don’t have frame clearance for wider up to 2.6 tires.   I just don’t think that in 2020 anybody should buy any Trailbike that doesn’t come with modern progressive geometry and clearance for at least 2.6 tires irregardless of what level of components the bike comes with.   I live and ride in the Southwest and I think those two features vastly improve ride quality and capability.  A couple of degrees of headtube and seattube angle and a wider tire make a huge improvement in ride-ability.      

      • #303690

        I fully respect your opinion and you are definitely more in the know, but I do find it interesting that you feel Fezzari features old school geometry. Their latest stuff is pretty cutting edge. They were one of the leaders in the latest geometry when they designed the La Sal Peak with a steep 78 degree effective seat tube angle and slack 65 degree head angle. It was designed to be 1/3 climbing and 2/3 downhill (more of a next generation All Mountain). The Signal Peak has a 75 degree seat tube angle and a steep 68 degree head tube angle and was designed to be 2/3 climbing and 1/3 downhill (more of a next generation XC bike). The Abajo Peak and Cascade Peak are inbetween those two with a 75 degree seat tube angle and 66.4 degree head tube angle.

        For reference, the Canyon Neuron CF 8.0 has a relatively old school 74.5 degree seat tube angle and 67.5 degree head tube angle.

        Admittedly, I am just learining what all this geometry stuff means, so I would be grateful if you want to punch me in the face and set me straight.

      • #303713

        Up until a few years ago nearly all Mountainbikes had old school geometry.   Then the Enduro thing caught on and progessive geometry got mostly sorted out.  Progessive geometry works so well that it is now used on even the shortest travel bikes.  However, not all bike models have been updated.

        The La Sal Peak was recently updated and has what I consider good geometry(76-78 degree STA, 66.5-64.5 degree HTA).  Some of the other Fezzari bikes are not quite as up to date on geometry.

        I wouldn’t want to punch you in the face!  This new geometry stuff can be confusing and has been changing rapidily over the last few years.  The numbers I gave you above are where the newest updated 2020 bike models have their geometry for 120-150mm travel Trailbikes.  I’ve been riding a progressive geo bike and I think it is a huge improvement over old geometry.   In my opinion, progressive geo bikes not only descend better but they also climb better and they feel like you just can’t fall off.


      • #303732

        The 2020 Trek Fuel EX 8 is at the top of my list right now. I’ve heard that SRAM GX is much better than NX, so I haven’t been looking at NX bikes much.

        Basically I want a full carbon frame with 75-76° seat tube angle, 65-66° head tube angle, 120-140 rear / 130-150 front travel, and SRAM GX or Shimano XT.

        I don’t think that exists for $3,000, so I will probably need to increase my budget or settle for NX.

        The Canyon Neuron CF 8.0 has everything but the geometry and the Trek Fuel EX 8 has everything but the carbon frame.


      • #303889

        Given the choice between a $4000 aluminum bike with better spec and a $4000 carbon bike with lesser spec, I would pick the aluminum bike every time.  Not because I have anything against carbon.  I just prefer having a better drivetrain and suspension.  Carbon full-sus frames add about $700 to the price of a bike over aluminum and they decrease the weight by about a pound over aluminum.  Other than less weight, carbon doesn’t add any other performance benefits.

        Sram Eagle SX, NX, and GX drivetrains all shift about the same.  SX and NX have 11-50 (455% range) cassettes.  GX has 10-50 (500% range) cassettes.  Having more range is a good benefit.  Given a choice, I would want the GX drivetrain but only because it has more range.  However, NX and SX are also more than adequate and much better than the old 1×11 or 2×10.  If I really wanted a carbon frame, I wouldn’t feel compromised if I had to settle for an NX or SX drivetrain.

        Mountainbikes are massively better than they were just 5 years ago and they are massively better in the low price models.  I could be perfectly happy riding a $2300 aluminum bike with an SX drivetrain as long as it came with modern progressive geometry and 29×2.6 tires.   Mostly the $2300 bike would be heavier than the same higher priced models without much compromise on performance.  Much of what you get when you spend more is just less weight.  Bikes are just that good in 2020.

    • #303432

      I agree with Bike Nerd. Good advice. You have a healthy budget so have so many options. Consider what you want based on how you want to ride. Test ride bikes at your local LBS’s.

    • #303632


      I recommend trying as many as you can before making a decision with 3k. When you find one that really intrigues you, ask the shop if they would do a rental on it. The shops that do rental before purchase usually apply the rental fee to your purchase should you pull the trigger. This would give you an opportunity to get to spend some time riding and getting familiar with a bike.

      Once you pull the trigger, enjoy it and replace parts as they wear out and you’ll get some bang for your buck.

      Bike Nerd makes good points as well. Try plus as well as regular tire bikes to see what might suit your needs.


    • #303712

      Bikes are so much better than what you rode in the 90’s. $3000 will get you a nice bike that will blow you away.  Just get some local advice for what will suit your area but you will be fine. Get a bike and go ride.

    • #303935

      I am currently going the build route myself but before I started that I had been eyeing up Bird Bikes. You can customize the build. I like the Aeris145, which is currently on sale. It supposedly climbs better than their 130 travel bike. The cheapest version of the SLX build is under $3,000, if my conversions are correct but I would go with the coil shock.

      Since you are already on board with direct to consumer, I would take a hard look at Vitus bikes. The new Mythique tops out at $2,000 and I would probably go for that one since the lower levels use x-fusion suspension and I have heard getting parts and service for those can be challenging in the US. The top level has 140mm of travel F/R and mixed Marzocchi/RockShox suspension. This leaves you with $1,000 of your budget to upgrade when you wear anything out or for gear, helmet, clothes, rack for your car, etc.

      If you want the LBS touch, I’d look at Marin. The suspension is less sophisticated (single pivot) but there is a lot of value across their line up. I’m thinking: Alpine Trail, Hawk Hill and not their crazy bikes like Mount Vision and Wolf Ridge.

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