With so many great options on the market how is one to decide?

Singletracks Mountain Bike News, Reviews, MTB Trails and Community Protected: Forums Mountain Bike Forum With so many great options on the market how is one to decide?

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    • #203710

      I’ve been riding a farley 6 for the last couple of years and am finally in the financial position to add another bike to the stable. With so many great bikes on the market at a wide range of prices I’m really lost on what to buy. I had an epic 29er that I rode for a few years prior to the farley and I loved the 29 inch wheels and the full suspension but 100mm wasn’t nearly enough for my riding and I often bottomed it out and after only racing twice in the time I had it I decided to part ways. Living in New Jersey, the trails I ride are probably pretty mild compared to what some of  you have exposure to. I ride a lot of flowy singletrack. Some of my trails are rooty, some are rocky. There is minimal climbing and descending and really only a few jumps here and there. The crew I ride with is on 29ers and I like to think we ride more aggressive than the average weekend warrior. For the last year I’ve really been coveting the hightower in 27.5+ but with a max $4k budget I’m hesitant to spend everything I’ve got on a bike with lower end components and  trendy wheel sizing. I did find a local enough shop that I can rent one from for $100 towards a purchase so I could theoretically get on one before pulling the trigger but after dropping a $100 I feel like I’m pretty committed to that shops offerings if I decide the hightower is overkill. I don’t need top of the line and I feel like I don’t need to spend anywhere near $4k. I’ve ridden a 2015 Jet9 and liked it but bottomed it out a little and think I need more travel. There’s always the tallboy in Aluminum which is a little more on the aggressive xc side which I can get a ride on before buying. And despite all the hate a stumpjumper fsr is about a grand less than the hightower with a very similar build. I’m not one to run off and upgrade things that haven’t broken and I can’t afford a new bike every year. I just want a full suspension bike that will be reliable, fun and moderately fast. Ahhhh decisions decisions.


      Any insight?

    • #203721

      Fuel Ex 29er?

      I’m curious as to why you bottom out so much on the types of trails that you ride.  Do you tend to run a lot of sag?

      • #203732

        Yeah the fuel ex is an option as well. And they have a 27.5+ model like the others. I like my trek and don’t have an issue buying another.

        I wish I could find more solid reviews or possibly ride a cube. I’m shocked at the low price of them. But believe in the you get what you pay for principal.

        I come from a bmx background and like to get as much air off of every log pile/root/rock/stump/jump as possible. To be fair the Jet9 was not in NJ and on much gnarlier trail.



    • #203738

      I was looking for a 27+ bike this year and didn’t want to spend 5k as well. I end up finding a Devinci Hendrix off pinkbike for 2k, that was new. I dropped another 1,200 into it adding a dropper, 140mm pike fork, Cane Creek Inline rear shock, and new Maxxis Recon 2.8 tires. I was able to sell the old fork and I’m into the bike for around 3k and rides like a 5k bike. Loving the bike and the plus tires. I picked up a 29 wheelset for it as well. Def recommend the Devinci.


      • #203751

        Nice find! Maybe I should start watching pinkbike for deals…….

    • #203742

      I feel that the $2500 to $3500 priced bikes have all that anyone but pros need, I have demoed a bunch of bikes this year and am about to move up from my Giant Stance. There are a lot of good bikes in that range that I like, but for me the Giant Trance felt the best. Specialized Camber is also nice and Cannondale Habit was nice, both a few dollars more than the Trance. Both Santa Cruz and Pivot bikes I rode were nice also, but were up in the $4500+ range before they had what I was looking for. Rocky Mountain bikes didn’t fit me at all and I didn’t test ride a Trek or any other bikes. I was really drawn to the Foes Racing Mixer, but couldn’t find one to test ride on the East Coast, and they are a little pricey too. Watch for fat tire festivals to demo bikes. They usually demo they higher end models but frame geometry and suspension linkage from the low end to high end on the same model doesn’t change, and for me that is the big thing, everything else can be upgraded down the road.

    • #203743

      Good thread. I agree that it’s not necessary to spend $5K for a good bike. Of the brands/bikes mentioned thus far, I’d probably steer toward one of the Cannondale Habits (or Bad Habits). Does Cannondale make the best bikes on the market? Perhaps not, but I think they make very respectable bikes that represent a really solid value for the price point. My current go-to bike is a fully rigid Cannondale Trail SL 29er singlespeed. Love it. BTW, REI currently has a couple models of the 2016 Cannondale Habit on sale. The link goes to the Habit Alloy 5 (for just $1650) but there’s at least one other Habit on sale too. For that price, you can buy two. 😉

    • #203752

      I feel like test rides are so hard to come by out here on the East coast. Where do you guys find out about demo days? The nearest shop to me is a Giant retailer and to be honest not that impressive of a shop. I typically drive an extra 10-15 miles if I need a shop.

    • #203807

      I rode my Stumpjumper FSR 29er in New Jersey and it felt alright. I actually was rather surprised to find such a great trail for the area – climbs, descents, moss-covered chunky rocks and it was all fun.

      you might wanna try trail model from Giant – their suspension gets a lot of good reviews and bikes usually priced in the reasonable area

      • #204047

        “I rode my Stumpjumper FSR 29er in New Jersey and it felt alright. I actually was rather surprised to find such a great trail for the area – climbs, descents, moss-covered chunky rocks and it was all fun.”


        I’m curious, where did you ride in NJ?

    • #203813

      There are literally a 100 or more bikes you’d be stoked to have as your new ride.  The technology, suspension and refined nature of the parts hanging off the frames these days is nothing short of amazing.  I work in the cycling industry and ride a lot of bikes(both medium and high end mtb’s) and am stunned with how well so many different bike models and brands ride!  First and foremost the bike needs to fit you well, this would be my top priority.  As for demo’s, go to the various brand websites and facebook pages.  There you’ll find information on upcoming demos.  You’re likely looking at Spring before you find one to participate in though.  Some brands partner with their dealers for test rides, while others are active in regional demo events where lots of brands demo all at once.

      Sounds like you like the 29er platform and based on your other comments its a good fit for your local riding scene and style.  29ers are having a bit of resurgence in that they are being built to handle a wide range of terrain(shorter chainstays, slacker head angles, longer toptubes, longer travel, etc) and riding styles.  This is not an endorsement or recommendation, but personally I’m having a blast on the 27.5+ platform.  Ton’s of traction both up and downhill with the ability to run insanely low tire pressure makes a 135mm travel frame feel bottomless when set up correctly.  Yes, they wheels and tires are a bit more sluggish than a narrower or smaller profile 29er but the fun factor goes up exponentially for my riding style and local terrain(live in Reno, NV and ride Lake Tahoe/Downieville trail systems with big climbs and big descents).  I agree that the $3-4k MSRP price point is the sweet spot for the best frames with decent enough components to enjoy the trail(think carbon frame with SRAM GX or Shimano SLX)

      I’d recommend combing Craigslist ads for a certain radius(say 200 miles around your home) and look for new or near new bikes.  This way you can physically inspect and ride the bike you’re potentially going to buy beforehand.  I’m always in the market to buy or sell bikes/frames and see some very good deals on high quality bikes that are new or nearly new for a fraction of the original MSRP.  Pinkbike and MTBR classifieds are also good resources.  People get hurt, have good intentions of riding, buy the wrong size, etc this can always lead to good deals on new equipment.  Dealers also post on Craigslist trying to unload previous year models which are usually the same or very similar to the current year. You could always buy that SC Hightower with the SRAM GX build and upgrade as parts wear.

      Don’t over analyze and don’t second guess your purchase once completed, just ride and enjoy this fantastic sport!






      • #203864

        Thank you for the great reply. I can’t wait to get out and enjoy some full squish again!

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