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Big Bear City // California
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You’ll be fine with 27.5, I prefer 27.5 over 29ers.
All the rides I do, mostly heavy XC/ Trail and enduro, all the people I ride with, ride 29ers, I have no problem doing anything they do and believe my bike handles better than all of their bikes and is just as fast over all kinds of terrain.
To stay on subject, Intense has a long history of making grwat bikes and have been the pioneer in lots of tech.
I ride a Turner RFX, and think you should consider other makes and get what you find the best for the riding you do.
Where I live we have an active black bear and mountain lion population. Although I have never seen a mountain lion, I have had several bear encounters which really weren’t that scary.
Awhile back, I attended a symposium on mountain lions( after an attack in nearby Orange county where a man was killed and two women were injured). The mountain lion expert said that the mountain lion is more closely related to the cheetah than the African lion and is the second fastest animal behind the cheetah. He went on to tell what to do if you encounter a lion. A couple of things he brought were, that if you go into lion country, it would not be a bad idea to put patches or stickers of eyes on the back of your hat or helmet, since lions suprise attack from behind in almost all cases. He also stated that bells or whistles actually attract mountain lions, or any cat for that matter because cats are curious by nature.
I have never seen a mountain lion, but have seen fresh footprints and also spotted a dead, halfway eaten deer in a tree and a dead dog in a shallow grave.
When I designed the “Fork Up” back in 1996 for my company at the time, Hurricane Components, there were not any other options for carrying a thru axle fork. There would be those people whom had a $1000 roof rack that would dismantle their bikes and put them in the trunk or back seat. Even then, the Fork Up was not a “hassle” to mount your bike on, what 30 seconds to a minute? So even now, there are easier ways to mount your bike, but I’m betting they are not as secure. The Fork Up is private labeled by both Thule and Yakima as well as Hurricane.
As for bike racks, my new project, MultiTaskR truck bike rack, http://www.exodux.com , we make a rack that addresses the problems that the awful tailgate pad creates, such as shuttle wear on your bikes down tube, which can and will create a stress riser in the frame that can lead to un warranted frame failure or the scratching cause by the constant rubbing on your tail gate. The MultiTaskR truck bed rack by Exodux also has a locking feature, has mounts for all your other hobbies and doesn’t block your back up camera.