Added a comment about product review What Does Vital Think? The New Santa Cruz MEGAtower 3/19/2019 8:40 AM

Companies like SC and Specialized provide a lot more testing and tuning that can't be seen. They are tuning ride qualities, specific frame stiffness vs flex characteristics, etc. Compare that to other smaller companies that are just going to the point of "it won't break". That last 5% adds significant cost, sometimes way beyond the engineering costs of the basic frame.

So does SC provide value? Absolutely, it may not be value that everyone wants to pay for though. A Camaro ZL1 1LE is as fast as a Porsche GT3 and half the cost. Are there differences? Yep. Do both provide tremendous value? Yep. Does everyone appreciate the value of each? Nope.

YMMV

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Added reply in a thread Specialized Goes Sort-Of Direct - Click and Collect 3/16/2019 3:58 PM

Not sure when it started, but I know for a fact since I pulled mine from the box along with five others. It is now called a "pro build" and the shops receive a set amount of revenue direct from Specialized for each build. It is a significant amount of ... more »

Added reply in a thread Specialized Goes Sort-Of Direct - Click and Collect 3/16/2019 10:10 AM

The high end Specialized bikes are shipped as frames and built from scratch so it really depends on the level of bike purchased for the level of effort on the shop side. The problem with this model is that they are still not price competitive with Canyon ... more »

Added a comment about photo What's Stock, What's Not? Adrien Dailly's Lapierre Spicy 3/15/2019 11:16 AM

Have you actually ridden a slack HA trail/enduro bike? Currently ride a 63.5 HA SJ Evo and it climbs better than most bikes I have ridden. The only reason it is not at the top is that VPP is a little more efficient than Horst Link.

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Added a comment about video FINALLY! Atherton's New Downhill Bike Fully Revealed 3/6/2019 8:29 AM

This has been my setup for a while. If you ride a lot of chop or rough tracks it provides a lot more grip. You definitely lose pop though.

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Liked a bike check Bold Unplugged Volume 1 custom build 2/23/2019 1:38 PM
Liked a comment on the item Specialized Stumpjumper EVO vs. Stumpjumper - See How They Compare 2/22/2019 8:40 AM

FWIW, this is something I really did want to do to the bike but for obvious reasons I wasn't allowed to do. Like I said, I had to omit the whole BlackBox shock from the review, so long shocking with a coil *absolutely* would have been out. (though I have a suspicion this is what Jared...more

Liked a comment on the item Specialized Stumpjumper EVO vs. Stumpjumper - See How They Compare 2/22/2019 8:40 AM

Interesting you mention both long shocking it and a coil - that's precisely what I've done. I'm running a 216x63 Vivid R2C Coil, 3mm off set bushing and in the low position on my 275 S3, giving the same "effective position" as the standard shock in the high setting. Stroke is limited...more

Added a comment about feature Specialized Stumpjumper EVO vs. Stumpjumper - See How They Compare 2/22/2019 8:38 AM

I weight 180 and race Masters 40-50, but would have been 4th in Expert at my last race. Have been top 5 at National Championships in the recent past. Also top 5 on almost every Strava segment locally against fast Pro's. I live in San Diego which has a crazy amount of high speed chunk on the local trails. Chris Powell in the Jeremy McGrath video posted up a few days ago is one of my teammates and I am usually 5-10 seconds behind him on DH segments for comparison. The trails in that video are some of the smoothest I ride.

No offense taken, context is important.

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Added a comment about feature Specialized Stumpjumper EVO vs. Stumpjumper - See How They Compare 2/22/2019 8:31 AM

I agree 100% on integrated HS. We lose so much geometry flexibility with integrated, it sucks. I think a longer travel fork with the rear in the High position would make a big difference in BB height. Could probably gain close to 10 mm. Can't wait for the carbon version in the next month or so, hopefully they raised the BB on that setup.

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Liked a comment on the item Specialized Stumpjumper EVO vs. Stumpjumper - See How They Compare 2/22/2019 8:25 AM

I'd wager I am more critical of bikes than most testers. The funny part is this review was literally supposed to take place over one week in the desert and turned into an entire spring, summer and fall. Which was good. It really let me suss out performance of both bikes, and compare...more

Added a comment about feature Specialized Stumpjumper EVO vs. Stumpjumper - See How They Compare 2/21/2019 7:09 PM

First off great review. I have both of the bikes tested plus an HTLT as well and would echo your experiences in climbing. The Evo is very underrated in this area and it absolutely crushes the climbs. I find that the steep seat tube means that I don't have to fight to keep the front wheel on the ground which takes a surprising amount of energy and core strength. I constantly laugh at people that say slack bikes can't climb well. It is all about the SA, not the HA.

Regarding descending, my experience does not mirror that of Brines. My typical descents are steep, rocky and fast to the point that a certain multi time world cup overall winner was riding them with his DH bike recently (obviously much faster than me!) . The Evo is absolutely the fastest bike I have ever ridden on these types of trails (I have never owned or even ridden a true DH bike). It could be a riding style difference or tire setup, but it is by far my favorite for these (and most other) trails. As a side note, I like my bikes very plush because we have so much loose chunk and chunder around here. We are constantly clawing for traction. I had the compression damping on my HTLT X2 significantly reduced along with installing an ACS3 coil kit in the front so it is not that I am used to bikes being stiff. One final piece is that I run CushCore front and rear with fairly low pressures to make my bikes even more supple which could contribute to my different experience as well.

Overall this is one of the best comparison tests I have seen and I am stoked to see actual criticism of the bikes instead of the "everything is great" that most reviews give. Every bike and design choice is a compromise so what works for some people won't work for other. Keep putting out the great content!

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Added a comment about feature Specialized Stumpjumper EVO vs. Stumpjumper - See How They Compare 2/21/2019 6:52 PM

I own both of these bikes right now plus a HTLT. My builds are a little different since I have the SWorks SJ and have put XO1 on the Evo along with SC carbon wheels so take my comments with a grain of salt that it is not an exact comparison.

My experience is that the Evo SLAYS steep rocky sections a "mach chicken" with the stock suspension. I ride a lot of these types of trails and the Evo is by far my favorite bike I have ever ridden for those types of trails. I have set PR's on every steep/fast section even over my HTLT with a custom tuned X2 and Fox 36 with a Push ACS3 kit. I have over 1K miles on those same trails with the HTLT and less than 150 on the Evo to put it into perspective. Will type up more on a separate post, but do not be afraid of the Evo for these situations. BTW also won the first Enduro race of the year on it by quite a bit. It pedals fantastic.

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Added a comment about video Jeremy McGrath and Friends Shredding 2/19/2019 9:25 AM

Powell just ripping!

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Added reply in a thread EWS Doping Thread Disappearance 11/12/2018 3:09 PM

Blanket statement here, but you had a high growth area in cycling and racing that was unmonitored for YEARS. I personally do not believe for a second that the sport was clean in the early days up until the association with UCI started recently. There ... more »

Added a comment about feature Vital Ride Report: Downieville and the Second Gold Rush 7/16/2018 2:28 PM

Definitely a bucket list area. So much good stuff around there, but you can ride the standard race course descent for days and not get bored. The full XC course is a soul crusher if you decide to do the climb as well. If you haven't been, go!

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