Transition Smuggler vs. YT Jeffsy

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6/10/2018 11:50 PM

Anyone have any thoughts on these bikes? I'm in the market for a versatile 29er full suspension bike since I'm not sure where I will be living in the near future. These 2 are all that I really want to shell out money for at the moment.

In short:

Transition
-has sick geo and would be more durable and easy to maintain
-Price is $3400 (with a generous 15% off at the factory)
-it has a worse fork and dropper post in my opinion
-Better drivetrain
-looks cooler and has room for a full water bottle

YT
-Unknown geo since I can't test ride one anytime soon
-Price is $2900 (with shipping)
-Worse drivetrain and seat
-Small awkward to access water bottle

Help a botha out fellas, I hope that canyon decides to make a 29er version of the spectral soon!!!!


Transition Smuggler vs YT Jeffsy

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6/11/2018 7:51 AM

I just picked up a Jeffsy frame for myself. I’m wanting to run a coil shock and the jeffsy has some of the most progressive suspenion rates that’ll cooperate with a coil shock and my weight, 230lbs. Riding style, body weight, shock preference should have a big influence on what you choose. linkagedesign.blogspot.com has some great suspension analysis to help with th decision.

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6/11/2018 8:07 AM

What kit and frame are you getting with the Smuggler for $3400? I personally would go for the Smuggler. The fork/dropper (either of them) will be adequate to get you rolling. It's far easy to trade up for better parts than it is to be stuck with a frame you do not like.

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6/11/2018 8:31 AM

FWIW I have the same spec Jeffsy 29er, never ridden a Smuggler. The jeffsy rips, I bumped the fork up to 150mm and have used it for racing both xc (with the fork at 140) and enduro fork bumped up to 150). This bike is a blast to pedal on the local xc loops but I have also been taking it to lift access DH. If versatility is what you are looking for I would definitely recommend the Jeffsy.

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6/11/2018 9:09 AM

I'm going to second what fowleezy said. I got a Jeffsy about a year and a half ago and its truly my all-mountain bike. I've had a blast riding mellow XC trails in my local park, riding gnar in Pisgah and riding lift assisted DH at both Whistler and Snowshoe. It pedals well and handles everything I can throw at it. The frame is super solid and the pricetag allowed me to customize it with components and colors of my choosing (not saying it needed it, but I really enjoy researching, choosing new components and making it all work). I also slacked it out to 150 and am considering trying my DVO Diamond at 160 for bigger days.

Like krisrayner, I'm a bigger guy at 6'4", 230lbs. Jeffsy works great for me.

Its a rad bike and I couldn't be happier with it.

My wife rides a transition scout and loves it too. Looks like you've narrowed it down to two great choices. Good luck!

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6/11/2018 10:01 AM

You should consider easy access to warranty departments as well;
Transition ahead of the game with geo and probably have better warranty coverage at your country

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FUN

6/11/2018 10:04 AM

Recommend the Smuggler! I’ve had the SBG aluminum version since last fall and the new geometry makes all the difference. Don’t get caught up with the frame weight (yep, it’s heavy) or tire clearance (Clarence - a DHR WT fits fine with good mud clearance). The bike is has a very solid feel and the revised suspension gives better traction and still climbs better than the first gen Smuggler (which I owned as well). I considered going with a Jeffsey last year but I’m glad I passed on it - the new geo of the 2nd gen Smuggler was worth the wait. I live in the eastern US - the bike has been good for the trails close to home but feels great where the hills turn into mountains.

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6/11/2018 10:33 AM

nick.malyshenko wrote:

You should consider easy access to warranty departments as well;
Transition ahead of the game with geo and probably have better warranty coverage at your country

Warranty access is huge. I purchased a Jeffsy 27 earlier this year. I submitted a warranty request nearly a month ago, and I'm still waiting on some kind of resolution from YT. Communication has been so lacking that I recently requested to return the bike for a refund. I wish I had a Smuggler about now.

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6/11/2018 11:04 AM

If you were considering the carbon versions of each, I'd go Smuggler all day every day. Enough travel, better geo.

But with aluminum, i think the Jeffsy is the clear winner. The alu Smuggler is heavy as fook. I did an aluminum Sentinel demo and also weighed both the alu Smuggler and Scout at the shop. They felt pretty damn heavy in the parking lot and the scale confirmed that. The Sentinel was awesome with literally the only drawback being the weight. The Smuggler frame is 1/2 pound lighter but that Sentinel would need to lose 2-3 pounds to be a contender for me (thankfully the carbon version does weight that much less).

If better geo, sizing, and riding a bro-brand with hopefully better customer service all trump weight, then go Smuggler.

If it were me and I didn't need to make an immediate choice I'd either: 1) save up for the carbon smuggler, or 2) wait for the next gen Jeffsy as literally every one of it's direct competitors now has better sizing and geo. I do like the kinematics tho.

If it were me in your shoes right here right now... I'd go with the Jeffsy. Just make sure it fits, they run a little short, at least the 29ers do.

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6/11/2018 11:40 AM

I don't have any experience of YT, but I can tell you that warrantying a Transition was really straightforward for me. I've only bought 1 Transition and warranty'ed it twice.
Never asked any questions other than proof of purchase each time and had a new frame to me within 2 weeks both times

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6/11/2018 12:25 PM

Been on a carbon Smuggler for a couple months now and I have nothing but awesome things to say about it. The perfect bike for my local trails. Slapped a 150mm 36 on the front and went bonkers. Happy to answer any questions you may have.

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6/11/2018 12:34 PM

I test rode a jeffsy and was not inpressed. I tested one in Sedona last year and my biggest complaint was it was not nimble at all. It felt like a boat in tight stuff, great in high speed stuff. I also demed a Intense Primer that same day on the same trails. The Primer was loads better when it came to being nibmle. Maybe not as stable in fast stuff as the Jeffsy but plenty stable. I did a lot of looking and number and it really came down to the foork offset that made the jeffsy ride the way it did compared to the primer. So be aware of fork offset and how it effects the ride on both.

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6/11/2018 3:50 PM

Thanks for the feedback guys, I am back in Bellingham and believe I will take a smuggler out for a demo and see whats what. After testing the patrol the other day I realized that the weight doesn't really matter so much when you have an eagle setup!! Sucks that the YT guys choose not to spec eagle on their bikes but I guess that might be a reason they are able to get the price so low.

@Tristan Mayor and bracken, thanks for the feedback on the warrant procedures that you've been through. That puts things in perspective. I really respect a company that takes care of their customers and that is worth more $$ in the end.

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6/11/2018 4:25 PM

I have ridden both bikes pretty extensively.

The Jeffsy is too progressive. Even at 40% sag, I had trouble getting through the travel. As a result it kind of beats you up. I rode both the 29er and 27.5 and they settled deep into their travel when climbing and create a super slack effective seat tube angle. Even with the climb switch. I had to warranty a shock on a Jeffsy through YT....it was pleasant and easy, but it did take a solid 4 weeks.

Smuggler has better small bump, isn't as brutally progressive (in fact it's fairly linear) and has an excellent climbing position. I'd go, Smuggler, every time. Don't let travel numbers fool you, this bike definitely rides bigger. I rode the aluminum GX build...it was no featherweight, but it wasn't too heavy. The Novatec hubs are garbage though.

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6/11/2018 4:25 PM

astrizzle wrote:

Thanks for the feedback guys, I am back in Bellingham and believe I will take a smuggler out for a demo and see whats what. After testing the patrol the other day I realized that the weight doesn't really matter so much when you have an eagle setup!! Sucks that the YT guys choose not to spec eagle on their bikes but I guess that might be a reason they are able to get the price so low.

@Tristan Mayor and bracken, thanks for the feedback on the warrant procedures that you've been through. That puts things in perspective. I really respect a company that takes care of their customers and that is worth more $$ in the end.

I rode a Jeffsy last year and loved it. Super fun in all terrain. Your comment about Eagle being better than the YT drivetrain isn’t accurate IMO. The 9-46 11 speed cassette YT uses with Shimano parts has more range than Eagle and is way lighter. If you use a 30T ring with the 46 rear cog it’s just as low a gear as a 32T ring with an Eagle 50 cog and you get more ground clearance. Tuning Eagle can also be a pain, where this 11 speed drivetain is super easy. I’d choose XT or SLX with the e13 cassette over Heavy GX Eagle any day.

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6/11/2018 4:29 PM
Edited Date/Time: 6/12/2018 7:34 AM

Lot of thoughts here...

First, you really can't go wrong either way. As a "professional" product tester, one thing I keep coming back to is just how good the bikes are these days. There was a time when there were a handful of bikes that were head and shoulders above the rest. Now, its more about getting the right bike for you, or even buying the right category of bike. (Hint, you don't need a Nomad to go ride buff single track!)

Either bike will likely require an "adaptation period" where you'll have to get it setup for you, tweak things, and ultimately learn to ride the bike as it asks. Which bike fits you better? That is something only you know as there are so many variables that go into that right down to how you are built (your proportions). There is some objective data we could put around this, but it sounds like you'll be buying either bike with minimal time on it. (more on this below)

I'm not saying suspension design/tune doesn't matter, it does, but there is a lot a person can do to manipulate this to his liking. Volume spacers, tune changes, or just upgrading the shock to something better can all have crazy effects on how a bike "feels".

This brings me to my most important point. Bikes are sometimes like diets. What works for one wont work for another, and nobody can really be sure if anything works in one ride. Some of my favorite bikes I *hated* the first time I rode them, even the first week I rode them. Little things can make a big difference, right down to the biggest variable - you.

...but yeah, back to my first comment, both bikes are kick butt and you'll have a blast either way. If I WERE to chose, I'd go Smuggler no doubt, one of my favorite bikes of all time, even in the heavy(ier) aluminum trim. YMMV.

PS: If there is one attribute I care about the least when buying a bike its frame material followed second by bike weight. That's a rant for another time thought




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6/11/2018 5:23 PM

Hey dog. All i can say is i just bought a patrol this season brand new. I literally couldn’t be happier with it. It felt spot on from day one. When i have my dropper slammed it feels like you’re sitting in a tank. Point it and go. Climbs so much better than I thought, since the weight was one of the biggest downsides I could find in reviews. I built mine with a zee 1x10 drivetrain and it still climbs like a champ

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6/11/2018 8:17 PM

I have owned a 2018 aluminum Smuggler GX since October and I have had more fun on it than any other bike I have owned. Also, since owning it, I have progressed skill-wise more than any other similar time period since I started biking. Solid build, no fuss, just a party in the woods. I have never ridden a Jeffsy so for all I know that bike is rad too.

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6/11/2018 9:28 PM

Sorry to hi-jack the thread but I would want to know before I spent my hard earned $. I was also ready to buy and strongly considering a Jeffsy until I got to demo the Pole Evolink 140. Wow, it was another level of fun with stability and speed down like no other bike I've ridden (including the YT Capra) and climbed so comfortably too. I immediately ordered one and am waiting for it to ship as I type The Pole Evolink and Machine, (& the Nicholai and Mondraker bikes) are the next generation of mountain bikes! The geo looks crazy on paper but on the trail it's magic! The Evolink runs 29" or 27.5+ with tire clearance up to 3.0 and 142 or 148 boost so it's kinda future-proofed. Cheers & good luck with the decision. Oh, if I had to choose between the Jeffsy and Smuggler I'd choose Jeffsy for sure

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6/11/2018 10:14 PM

jeff.brines wrote:

Lot of thoughts here...

First, you really can't go wrong either way. As a "professional" product tester, one thing I keep coming back to is just how good the bikes are these days. There was a time when there were a handful of bikes that were head and shoulders above the rest. Now, its more about getting the right bike for you, or even buying the right category of bike. (Hint, you don't need a Nomad to go ride buff single track!)

Either bike will likely require an "adaptation period" where you'll have to get it setup for you, tweak things, and ultimately learn to ride the bike as it asks. Which bike fits you better? That is something only you know as there are so many variables that go into that right down to how you are built (your proportions). There is some objective data we could put around this, but it sounds like you'll be buying either bike with minimal time on it. (more on this below)

I'm not saying suspension design/tune doesn't matter, it does, but there is a lot a person can do to manipulate this to his liking. Volume spacers, tune changes, or just upgrading the shock to something better can all have crazy effects on how a bike "feels".

This brings me to my most important point. Bikes are sometimes like diets. What works for one wont work for another, and nobody can really be sure if anything works in one ride. Some of my favorite bikes I *hated* the first time I rode them, even the first week I rode them. Little things can make a big difference, right down to the biggest variable - you.

...but yeah, back to my first comment, both bikes are kick butt and you'll have a blast either way. If I WERE to chose, I'd go Smuggler no doubt, one of my favorite bikes of all time, even in the heavy(ier) aluminum trim. YMMV.

PS: If there is one attribute I care about the least when buying a bike its frame material followed second by bike weight. That's a rant for another time thought




I agree with your comment about not caring what material it is made out of, I have ridden both AL and Carbon back to back and I would be fine with either these days. As far as weight goes, I"m not going to be an XC racer in the near future but I feel like with the eagle you could pedal a DH bike up any fire road with ease. Besides, the extra weight of the Smuggler could actually work to make a rider more fit in the long term, just depends on how you want to look at it.

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6/11/2018 10:17 PM

shenrie2 wrote:

I have owned a 2018 aluminum Smuggler GX since October and I have had more fun on it than any other bike I have owned. Also, since owning it, I have progressed skill-wise more than any other similar time period since I started biking. Solid build, no fuss, just a party in the woods. I have never ridden a Jeffsy so for all I know that bike is rad too.

Thanks for the insight, I am really looking to find a bike to help me progress skill wise as well. Yours is the same build that I want to pick up too! I'm just curious about the brakes, I haven't ridden sram/avid brakes in a while....any consistency issues?

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6/11/2018 10:24 PM

I rode an aluminum demo Jeffsy 29 for 4 or 5 weeks last spring while waiting for my Jeffsy 27 CF to arrive. I think the Jeffsy works well for bigger guys (I'm 210lbs before gearing up), the progressive rear end helps avoid harsh bottom outs. Not sure about lighter dudes.

As another person posted above, the e13/Shimano setup is actually bigger range than Eagle so with the right chainring you get the climbing range plus better ground clearance and Shimano shifter which is better than SRAM IMO.

I will say the stock Rock Shox Deluxe shock is a bit meh in rough terrain and longer descents, ever since dropping a Vorsprung Luftkappe in the Pike the rear end has felt a bit outgunned. Might stick a DVO Topaz on there.

I demoed the old Smuggler once for one run, was impressed by it and it was quite nimble feeling but it's a totally differnet bike to the new SBG one.

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6/11/2018 10:28 PM

astrizzle wrote:

Thanks for the feedback guys, I am back in Bellingham and believe I will take a smuggler out for a demo and see whats what. After testing the patrol the other day I realized that the weight doesn't really matter so much when you have an eagle setup!! Sucks that the YT guys choose not to spec eagle on their bikes but I guess that might be a reason they are able to get the price so low.

@Tristan Mayor and bracken, thanks for the feedback on the warrant procedures that you've been through. That puts things in perspective. I really respect a company that takes care of their customers and that is worth more $$ in the end.

covekid wrote:

I rode a Jeffsy last year and loved it. Super fun in all terrain. Your comment about Eagle being better than the YT drivetrain isn’t accurate IMO. The 9-46 11 speed cassette YT uses with Shimano parts has more range than Eagle and is way lighter. If you use a 30T ring with the 46 rear cog it’s just as low a gear as a 32T ring with an Eagle 50 cog and you get more ground clearance. Tuning Eagle can also be a pain, where this 11 speed drivetain is super easy. I’d choose XT or SLX with the e13 cassette over Heavy GX Eagle any day.

I will admit that eagle is not objectively better than the shimano XT setup, I just feel that way from my short time spend using it thus far. However, I will say that I feel the transition between gears is much smoother on the eagle compared to shimano. The low end gears are noticeably more chunky than the eagle which IMO affects the bike's ability to pedal up technical terrain. When there is a smoother transition between gears it usually stops a rider from getting thrown off balance due to the drivetrain's abrupt momentum changes.

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6/12/2018 4:51 AM

Don't have an opinion on the YT because I haven't ridden one but man I love my Smuggler. I have ridden a lot of bikes and so far it is my favorite.

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6/12/2018 7:14 AM

Astrizzle: If you are open to direct to consumer brands, you should consider the Canyon Spectral. It is the same category as Jeffsy and Stumpjumper. I'm not sure your size, but these bikes are slightly on the longer side...between a Jeffsy and a Smugler. I just Demoed one the other day. Very sporty and nimble. 28.5lbs in XL for the CF9. (I would go CF8.0 cuz it has wider tires). It is only 27.5, no 29er option. Climbs extremely well and is a super responsive bike. I would put in the "trail" category. It is not an Enduro bike. Anyway, check it out. Not quite as economical as YT, but close and it has Eagle GX.

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6/12/2018 7:40 AM

Bang for the buck, you can't beat the YT IMO. If easier access to warranty support and actually carrying a water bottle are important then I'd go with the Transition. YT can take a while but you can get a hold of someone within 24hrs and once you establish communication they get back to you pretty quickly.

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6/12/2018 7:41 AM

Also something I keep seeing mentioned here is the drivetrain....

Maybe I'm in the minority here, but Eagle was one of the least important "evolutions" for me. The only time I find myself in the pie plate is on huge vertical days with crazy steep climbs.

If I was more of an "adventure" rider (always looking for 5-10K+ days) maybe I'd have more appreciation for it. But most of my rides are 1500-3000K and I rarely even find myself in the 42, let alone 50. I generally run a 32 or 34 up front. Out of the bikes I've had with Eagle, I've probably spent a combined 30 minutes in the 50 tooth out of hundreds of hours of riding.

11 speed worked awesome and was significantly lighter than Eagle. Just food for thought.

My point is, everyone rides different but a bike's drivetrain, at this point, is basically an afterthought to me. They all work pretty damn well. I'd ride/race all of them without any hesitation at this point.

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6/12/2018 7:46 AM

MatadorCE wrote:

Bang for the buck, you can't beat the YT IMO. If easier access to warranty support and actually carrying a water bottle are important then I'd go with the Transition. YT can take a while but you can get a hold of someone within 24hrs and once you establish communication they get back to you pretty quickly.

I wish the YT support scenario you describe was my experience. At this point, I'm starting to wonder if they're still in business. Since they've gone dark on my support ticket (no response since May 23, despite me sending multiple reminders), I'm going to try other methods of contact now, to see if I can reach someone who can help me.

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6/12/2018 7:50 AM

MatadorCE wrote:

Bang for the buck, you can't beat the YT IMO. If easier access to warranty support and actually carrying a water bottle are important then I'd go with the Transition. YT can take a while but you can get a hold of someone within 24hrs and once you establish communication they get back to you pretty quickly.

bracken wrote:

I wish the YT support scenario you describe was my experience. At this point, I'm starting to wonder if they're still in business. Since they've gone dark on my support ticket (no response since May 23, despite me sending multiple reminders), I'm going to try other methods of contact now, to see if I can reach someone who can help me.

Curious, what are you looking to get warrantied specifically?

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6/12/2018 7:57 AM
Edited Date/Time: 6/12/2018 8:09 AM

I took a chance and bought a Jeffsy this last Feb. Here was my experience getting the bike and riding the bike so far.

FedEx dropped my Jeffsy 27 Pro today. Ordered last Wednesday, received a shipping notification on Friday and it showed up 6 days later. Probably helps I'm only 1 state north.

I was impressed at the packing, super easy to get everything out of the box and I'll definitely be saving the cardboard if I ever have to ship this or another bike.

I'm very familiar at building bikes so the process was exceedingly simple. The tools they provided were pretty good in terms of quality but ultimately I used my PRO torque wrench and other Park tools tools. I read through the instructions to see if there were any surprises but it was all pretty standard stuff. If anyone on here is considering a YT but hasn't bought D2C before then here are the basic steps for the YT.

1. Unpack
2. Put on bars
3. put on derailleur
4. Put on wheels (comes tubed, see below)
5. Set up suspension
6. Adjust cockpit/saddle height

I ran through the gears in case anything needed adjusting but it didn't, shifts super well. Next I checked the air in the fork and shock, The fork was set around 60psi and the shock was around 150psi. The rear end felt really firm with the shock in the open setting at 150psi so I figured the negative air chamber wasn't equalized. I opted to pull all the air out and set it up from scratch which solved the firm feeling. The fork felt fine but I needed to add air to get the desired sag.

I put on some Raceface crank boots on and then my HT T1 pedals (chromo spindle). The weight with the boots and pedals ended up at 28.8lbs for a size large. The site says 27.8lbs but I'm sure that's without pedals and a smaller size so I was surprised to see only a pound over their claimed weight, especially since the HT's aren't a very light pedal.

I took it out for a short spin to give everything a rundown and no problems to report.

My other bike is a 2013 Banshee Rune. It's set up with a Pike, X2, Saint brakes, XX1 and Maxxis DHF F&R. It is 34lbs without a tube and C02 strapped to the frame. I plan to keep that bike and use the Jeffsy for longer trail rides and back country trips. This is the main reason I went with the Pro model rather than the Pro Race model.

Here are my thoughts after riding the bike for almost 4 months.

Overall I love the bike, it's snappy, light, progressive, pedals well and is a lot of fun to ride. I have taken it on trail rides as well as on our local downhill trails. I'm a bit slower on the Jeffsey than I am my Rune but it's absurd amounts of fun. Given that it's so light and active i just play around and pop over little trail features, on the Rune I would have just smashed into them. The bike jumps incredibly well. I've hit all the larger jumps at Thrillium and it's been predictable. I won't say confidence inspiring because rolling into a big step down is kind of scary with a 34.

The drivetrain is interesting, overall it's fine but it's not nearly as smooth as my xx1 stuff. On multi ring shifts up to the big rings the upper pulley wheel can actually impact the cassette hanging up the shifting. The B tension is as far out as it goes so I just make sure i shift 1 ring at a time. the 46t ring seems to be enough w/ a 32 in front but for super big days i may consider putting a 30 on. The 9t ring on the cassette is pretty gimmicky. The only time i can see the use for it is jamming down a paved road. I think something like this makes more sense on a gravel or road bike set up 1x.

It's worth saying that I did break both of the e13TRS+ rims, to be fair I was riding downhill trails. The rear wheel had 3 dents and 1 crack but still held air and the front wheel bent because I landed super nose heavy and a little too deep and flat off a drop. I emailed e13 and they hooked up a crash replacement of sorts no questions asked I got their carbon rim for the rear and replaced the front rim with the regular TRS+ aluminum. I've since added a Huck Norris to the rear as well. I also picked up OneUp top guide since I had dropped chain a handful of times. The only other mod has been a wolf tooth B-RAD strap to hold my spares on the bottle cage mount since I didn't want the TM3000 bottle.

Hit me up if you have any questions

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I'm Slow