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Liked a comment about video Jesse Melamed Just Shut Down the How-To-Ride-a-Trail Video Format 11/16/2020 4:15 AM

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Liked a comment about video Jesse Melamed Just Shut Down the How-To-Ride-a-Trail Video Format 11/16/2020 4:15 AM

Not a fan of his chest mount view.

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Liked a comment about feature Vital MTB Test Sessions: Five Slack, Short-Travel 29er Mountain Bikes Reviewed 11/13/2020 4:43 AM
jbv

have i ever mentioned you guys do a brilliant job? in the looks category, give me that Banshee all day. it seems Banshee is back.

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Liked a comment about feature Vital MTB Test Sessions: Five Slack, Short-Travel 29er Mountain Bikes Reviewed 11/13/2020 4:43 AM
Matt Dogg

amazing work everyone! keep it up! I liked how BT gave his 'add to quiver' bike and his 'one bike quiver' bike. and a massive shout out to Banshee for performing against the plastic, pretty, and pricey bikes.

awesome format and the geo nerdage is sweet too.

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Liked a comment about feature Vital MTB Test Sessions: Five Slack, Short-Travel 29er Mountain Bikes Reviewed 11/13/2020 4:43 AM
scary

I ride these same trails 1-2 times a week. These tires are the minimum tires for out here. Exos get shredded out here, constantly. Exo+ is the bare minimum. Exo+ cushcore is actually the best option

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Liked a comment about feature Vital MTB Test Sessions: Five Slack, Short-Travel 29er Mountain Bikes Reviewed 11/13/2020 4:39 AM
grizzatom

Great comparison. These bikes all look like a bundle of fun. One suggestion would be to show the antisquat curve through the gear range rather than through the travel range. We all pedal in the 15% to 45% sag range 99.9% of the time, which gives us a pretty consistent antisquat value. Seeing how the bikes behave when pedaling at full bottom out or completely unweighted is not very useful. It would be much more significant to see what the anti squat (and associated pedal kickback) does in each gear ratio from a full sprint gear all the way to our slowest grinder gear. This is where significant differences become evident in suspension designs as well.

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Liked a comment about feature Vital MTB Test Sessions: Five Slack, Short-Travel 29er Mountain Bikes Reviewed 11/13/2020 4:38 AM
TRex

We thought about this, and it is a good concern to bring up. In a perfect world, VitalMTB would test different suspension systems on the exact same reach measurements. Or different reach measurements on the same suspension platform. Since that perfect test will probably never happen, the reality is that we're going to have a range of sizing in these tests. Especially now, with shorter seatposts and longer dropper post options, there are lots of people that 'size up' and try more stable/longer bikes. That bigger option might be perfect for riders, or it might not, and the Ibis sizing reflects that real world choice that some riders gravitate towards.

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Liked a comment about feature Vital MTB Test Sessions: Five Slack, Short-Travel 29er Mountain Bikes Reviewed 11/13/2020 4:37 AM
Mike Buell

Also, if we can get 250 people to pre-order and pay in full. I'm sure we could build a Phantom V3 frame that weighs in at only 2.5lbs including shock and axle. Same geo and everything. Only caveat is this frame will only come with a 7 day warranty, and High School NICA rules will be enforced. Both wheel's must stay on the ground at all times. If you so much as pop a wheelie you will be disqualified, and your warranty void.

On the plus side though, you could run over the frame with your enduro bike, and just like a soda can, it will get stuck between your tire and fork and make Moto noises, which is cool. So all won't be totally wasted.

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Liked a comment about feature Vital MTB Test Sessions: Five Slack, Short-Travel 29er Mountain Bikes Reviewed 11/13/2020 4:36 AM
Mike Buell

Very well said Noah, and fully agree. I believe it was Graves who was once quoted at an enduro race saying something along the lines of. You get to choose the parts you put on your bike, parts you trust, you don't get to choose the wight of the bike using those parts.

I can't speak for all the bikes in this test, but since I was personally responsible for picking the spec. on the Banshee Phantom, I feel relatively qualified to offer a little insight on that one. Is it all based on cost vs. weight? Not exactly. Especially if weight isn't priority #1, which for us, it definitely isn't. For example on this particular build, we could have simply changed 2 parts and shaved ~361g (.796 lbs) for the exact same price (based on published weights). Would have got the Phantom down to ~31.1 lbs for no extra money. How? Using the RideFast Livewire Wheelset, which we stock as an option, as well as using the MRP Ribbon SL instead of the RF Hotline and Ribbon Air which we chose to use.

So if all we had to do was use the lighter sibling parts, at the same cost, why did we make the choice to go with the stouter build?

Well, to Vital's credit they do a great job of making sure these tests are a very level playing field. We didn't know who the testers were going to be, we didn't know where they were testing or how they would be riding the bikes. So I chose the spec I would would want for my personal bike at the $5K price target, as simple as that. I bounced this spec off Keith, our engineer to make sure it was his choice as well, and that is what we shipped. We were less concerned with having a lower weigh in, and more concerned with providing the stoutest, and best performing package we could offer at this price. We also had a feeling the Vital testers might just push the boundaries of what a short travel 29 can comfortably do. After seeing the riding video, I’m glad we sent what we did! Steve, Brandon and Courtney all Shred, and Phoenix is rough!

Now since there are the other options, you could personally choose the lighter spec. Or go aftermarket and go crazy. Nothing wrong with that. Though if this was my personal bike, and this was my max budget, I wouldn't change a single thing. Also if I had a little extra money to spend, I still wouldn't change the parts mentioned above as they don’t get any better than that, for me. Don’t touch my satisfying high powered brakes and 180mm rotors (they’d probably be 200mm rotors on my personal ride).

I personally want those stout wheels and fork. I'm 190 lbs, and a washed up ex Pro DH racer that isn't always as smooth as I might pretend to be. Honestly the only parts I would consider changing if I had some money burning a hole in my pocket would be the Cassette and Cranks, as these are the only places I see any weight savings possible without sacrificing in areas I feel are more important. Though as Noah mentioned, would this even be noticeable? Would it make the bike any more fun?

All 5 of these bikes could be sub 30 lbs pretty easily. Lighter tires, wheel’s, drivetrain upgrades, probably in that sub 28 lbs if you really went for it, even without spending any more money if you just shopped lighter duty parts, but why? I’m sure the testers had a lot more fun confidentially riding 5 bikes for a week without catastrophic failure. Smashing gnarly rocks, hitting the fun lines etc. I want to ride my bike hard all the time, not just for a week, and I don't want failure when I'm on a riding holiday if that can be avoided. Ever. Would rather eat some taco's and drink some beers after the rad day of riding, rather than go shopping for a new rear wheel because I chose a super light XC race option, that now looks like said taco...

So if this confuses you, and you personally feel like you would pick a lighter package, and those lighter parts. There is noting wrong with that, your bike, your choices. I’m just going to go out on a limb and make the assumption, that even though we are both riding bikes, we’re kinda playing different sports. No one is has to be right or wrong. We just ride for different reasons and have different equipment needs.

End of the day, biggest smile while riding wins. Everyone should choose the bike that does that for them.

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Liked a comment about feature Vital MTB Test Sessions: Five Slack, Short-Travel 29er Mountain Bikes Reviewed 11/13/2020 4:35 AM
NoahColorado

My advice to people: do not weigh your bikes - unless you're trying to build up a hill-climb specific bike. There have been a lot of tests and studies about bike weight, and the consensus is, it doesn't matter nearly as much as people think it does. For some reason, we all still think trail bikes should be ~28lbs, it's been that number for as long as I can remember. It was that number when I worked at shops - before we had dropper posts and tire choices beyond: folding, wire bead, or DH. When forks had 30 or 32mm stanchions. When we had had two or three chainrings, but we had 11-34 cassettes. We think that just advances in materials and manufacturing can make up for all the parts we've added to our bikes, their substantially greater capability, and the required overbuilding manufacturers have to do for parts and frames because everyone is taking everything to bike parks these days and generally subjecting them to more abuse (I'm guilty).

When you weigh your bike, regardless of what the scale says, when you're suffering up a climb you'll inevitably think "it's because my bike is heavy." It's not because you've been spending too much time on the internet, are generally out of shape, or you're just having an off day, it's your bike's fault. The placebo and, more applicably, "nocebo" effect are real, and they will definitely influence your enjoyment more than a pound or two on your bike.

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Liked a comment about feature Vital MTB Test Sessions: Five Slack, Short-Travel 29er Mountain Bikes Reviewed 11/13/2020 4:34 AM
jeff.brines

I kind of touched on this below. I do agree the bikes are heavier than we'd like to see, but the truth is these bikes are still running the same parts as your heavier longer travel bike such as...

Tires; you could get away with EXO, but with less travel its arguable (especially in the desert) you need more tire to keep from flatting! I know I would
Rims to accommodate said tires (30mm internal width, designed to handle abuse)
Fork chassis that are 35mm(ish)
Real brakes (the Banshee had DH brakes; and why not!? You are still going fast)
Drivetrain
Handlebar
Stem
Dropper
bla bla bla

The only place these bikes will be lighter is smaller eye to eye shocks and maybe the fork. The frames have to be as strong with rally-worthy geometry simply because they are designed to be jumped, smashed and pushed. Hell, these frames are probably fatigued more than your longer travel frames in that they find shock/fork bottom more often than your standard 6" bike.

Again, I'm with you, I want these bikes to be 25-27lbs; the weight of bikes like the Mondracker downcountry bike or the Trek Top Fuel. But that's really more of a pipe dream than reality at the moment.

This feature has 60 comments.