I wouldn't be put off by the DRCV shock myself, it's really easy to get working great on the 2012 Fuel EX. Probably the best air suspension I've ridden actually.
Too many options - Which trail bike?
I have to say that I wasn't impressed with the Fuel EX when I test rode one. Nor were the two mate who were riding with me that day. I booked a Fuel EX9 & a Stumpjumper FSR to test. The FSR widdled all over the Fuel EX IMO.
It went up stuff better, down stuff better, gripped better, gave me loads more confidence & we spent ages trying to get the suspension to work how we thought it should on the EX, but it just felt really harsh all the time. We didn't do anything to the suspension on the Stumpjumper, but it just seemed to get on with it.
Also wanted to try a Zesty but nearest demo bike was ~300 miles away!
Zesty is fsr, so.
I have to agree to an extent that a "knowable" suspension design with a good shock and tune will easily outperform a ludicrous gimmick on the shock or suspension. It's part of the reason Orange bikes are so popular, is that it's very easy to tune suspension for them.
Feel your pain
I Recently replaced my 06-07 stumpy fsr comp
Demo'd loads of different bikes and in the end the whyte t120s and stumpy were the clear
Favourites, also had a trance x2 on loan whilst my neighbour was offshore
Decided on a stump evo comp in the end as I wanted a bigger bike
For light dh / and harder riding
I'd have been happy with any of the 3 bikes above
I think a lot of the bikes mentioned are in fact pretty similar- the important thing IMHO is getting the suspension set up right for you. Some bikes this seems dead easy, others its a little harder. Buy one that fits and take the time to properly set up both fork and shock and it'll be brill
I'll say simply this; I was in the exact same position as you last year and settled for the Lapierre Zesty 314 (2011 model) on a recomendation.
650 off-road miles later in the Scottish Highlands, and I can honestly say it has been superb! It climbs, drops, and has taken everything I have thrown at it on the chin.
It's a year old next month, and only now starting to show any signs of wear (about to replace rear casette, chain, front ring, and service the shock and forks).
I use a Saracen Ariel 140mm for everything, by some standards on here its fairly crude....bit heavy, single pivot design etc....but its bombproof, it soaks up my ham fisted attempts as DH and Gravity Enduro but also allows me to pootle about for several hours cross county on a relaxing sunday afernnon....i love it, its a keeper.
If you can still find the original 2011 batch bikes they are also gobsmackingly cheap, you wont find a bad review on them either:
£1300 quid for this bike!.....i paid £1500 at the start of this year, i can see them going for close to a grand by the years end....superb and highly recommended.
OP, haven't read he whole thread but two comments (sorry that they are a bit cliched)
1. There are very few BAD bikes out there, at least among well known brands
2. Horses-for-courses - I have demo-ed bikes that have great followings but feel like wheelbarrows to me and vice versa. There really is no substitute for trying.
The last demo day I did highlighted the incredible range of opinions on the same bikes on the same runs! The only one that achieved a consensus was the Spesh camber which everyone liked. Otherwise there were two very distinct camps - those who suited a more XC style set up and those who suited a more trail/AM version.
I was surprised to find that where I fitted in, was the opposite of what I thought! So the message about demoing is clear for me.
Good luck with the purchase!
Scott Genius does everything well, no need to look at any other bike.
The normal thing to do is to just buy one based on a kneejerk uninformed preference, then convince yourself it's definately the best bike in the world, and way better than all those bikes you've never ridden.
@northwind works for me
At last I made the plunge, it came down to financials in the end, obviously it had to be a pretty decent bike as well. I could not get my first choice of the Norco Sight 2, looked closely at the Zesty 314 but for value for money I went for the Camber Expert, I got a very good deal on the 2012 model. It's not as exotic as the Zesty but it 's supposed to be a great bike and I am now off to give it a blast.
Thanks to everyone for all their advice.
Enjoy it mate; looking at the reviews, I don't think you could go wrong with that one.
Enjoy the new ride! Before I tried the Camber I had imagined that it was merely a poor man's stumpy. In fact, I think it is a better ride than the stumpy and fits a part of the market that lots of people ride in. As I said, it was the one bike in a big range that got the thumbs up from everyone who rode it.
The same bike flew past me last night!! One review summed it up nicely:
This type of bike is exactly what a HUUUUGE section of the 29″er riding, pie chart statistic is made for….ride it with your buddies during the week (the ones with the 5-6” travel 26″ers) and then do an Epic trail ride on Sat to get ready for the team 12 hour race next weekend.
Not sure how to PM "clatter" but might be interested in the camber for sale if you can post.
For me i would always buy second hand as when i bought new i was always concerened about damaging the bike so i sold the yeti 575 (looked nice) and bought a cannondale prophet with lefty in mint condition for £375 wow i love this bike! It still looks great rides awesome and only weighs in at 28.5lbs. I had a garage with 4 bikes in xc, freeride etc, now i only have one.
If i had to pick a new one from your list it would be the camber.
Cheers and goodluck with your choice.
Ah, good choice! I just got a Camber Pro, and it's definately better than all those bikes I've never ridden
Just got back from riding the Camber and what can I say...
It maybe down to new bike enthusiasm but I was only supposed to be going for a gentle ride as just over 4 weeks ago I put my shoulder out hitting a tree. That didn't happen, I whipped up the first piece of heavily rooted single track climb, the traction was immense.
As for the equally heavily rooted descents, I think I may now have to get my eyes lasered so that I can see further ahead. The bike flew and gave me the confidence to relax and keep off the brakes. Box ticked √
Through the single track sections it was very agile and allowed me to whip through the tight turns. Another box ticked √
Don't get me wrong, it's not a HT and the bike does feel more sluggish than my HT (marginally) but that was expected and I will easily be able to make that up in the descents and technical climbs. For me it definitely was the right choice to get 120mm travel, I think 140mm may have felt like too much of a drag.
I would recommend this bike, one pleased punter
Really interesting comments / feedback. Toying with the idea of a fs for the first time to save my beaten up back.
I have a steel Kona Blink ht at the moment which rides well enough but is a tad weighty. I am tempted with a camber comp, anyone got one?
I am a bit of a Spesh fan from my road biking plus there are some decent deals on the 2012 models but thought I would see if I could get some owner feedback first.
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