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  • Best Santa Cruz for all day trails
  • joebristol
    Full Member

    It’s all personal opinion this – and you can change that with time and experience too. There’s no right answer.

    I was happy on my 150f / 130r travel full suss. I’d probably be mostly happy on a Tallboy. I’d probably be happier more of the time on a Hightower but probably find a mega tower a bit too steamroller (old MT) on too much of my riding.

    Hightower seems to hit that inbetween all round trail riding spot for me – won’t be too steamroller on blue pedally trails – but at the other end wouldn’t beat me up too much on uplift days.

    weeksy
    Full Member

    This is why we all need multiple bikes 😀

    nickc
    Full Member

    Meaning groomed, smooth trails with the odd feature?

    Glencoe has a black trail that I’d think a half-competent rider could get down on Hightower that you’d struggle to do on a Tallboy. But that’s an extreme example. Lots of trails that are black now, are so because they’re not groomed, and I think those style of trails and trail centres or uplifts riding is becoming less popular and used because long travel bikes are now all-day pedal-able bikes. and the folks building places like BPW revolution and so on are realizing that

     I guess my stance would be something along the lines of “no more travel than you need”, but other people can make different choices

    Yeah, my choice is “as much as I can get”

    oikeith
    Full Member

    The problem will be once you return from Morzine .. The MT will shine like a superstar out there but unless doing big old downhills on the return back to Blighty you may find it a little “too much”

    I only have the one MTB, I decided to go big enduro rig so I had a bike that would be great for the trails I want to ride be that Alps, Welsh or Scottish Valleys but accepted it may not be the best choice for my home trails, having the bike helped my mindset to always want to visit these place whenever I had the chance.

    Occasionally to overcome any dullness of the more local trails I ride, I’ll add some more air into the fork and shock to give it a firmer base for pumping and jumping.

    joebristol
    Full Member

    Admittedly, I don’t really know what ‘red and black trails’ actually means. Trail centres? Meaning groomed, smooth trails with the odd feature?

    Just on the above, just because it’s a trail centre doesn’t mean all the reds and blacks are ‘groomed’ with occasional features.

    Yes some trail centres – the likes of Swinley – have red trails that aren’t very difficult and are quite smooth in general. I’d say ‘Degla is similar in that the reds aren’t very challenging or actually that interesting.

    I don’t particularly like the red at FOD – but it’s not groomed and is covered in loads of roots.

    My experience of CYB is 2 of the black trails (MBR and the bull thing) and they 100% weren’t smooth. I rode them both back to back on a 170/160mm Bird Aeris 145LT and felt really beaten up by the end of the day. Would not have wanted to ride that with a chunk less travel.

    Trail centres do vary in their grading vs each other – so to blanket class them all the same is a bit disingenuous.

    Superficial
    Free Member

    I rode my first trail centres in about decade last weekend so I’m not the right person to comment really. When people say trail centre, I picture high volume hard-packed singletrack trail with the odd rock ‘feature’ every 10-15m. Like you say, perhaps the places I rode (Whinlatter, Grizedale) were not representative, but my 5010 was overkill there. Unless there are some trail centres with loose rocks the size of melons, I don’t understand why you’d want a monster-truck bike. People are free to make different decisions, of course.

    In general, I think people make poor decisions about bikes, and go for longer travel that they think they might one day benefit from at the expense of the riding they do 90% of the time. But who am I to have an opinion on other people’s decisions? MTB is just for fun!

    joebristol
    Full Member

    @superficial

    I think you would need to visit some more trail centres before making that sweeping judgement (I’ve not been to the ones you mention though). I also don’t think you need rocks the size of melons to justify a bit more travel than a Tallboy.

    At the end of the day it’s different strokes for different folks.

    nickc
    Full Member

     I don’t understand why you’d want a monster-truck bike.

    Beacuse they’re riding trails that you aren’t riding, that need those sorts of bikes? But your point; tailor your bike choice to the riding you’re mostly doing, not the other way around, is a sound decision.It sounds like the riding you’re doing doesn’t need long travel.

    👍

    Superficial
    Free Member

    Beacuse they’re riding trails that you aren’t riding, that need those sorts of bikes?

    I doubt that – I ride mostly in the dark peak, so it’s not like I’m riding smooth trails all day. I don’t know what other people class as rough trails. Outside of some of the bigger bike park drops or big jumps that I might skip out of mechanical sympathy, there’s nothing I wouldn’t ride on a 5010. In fact, when it gets to the nearly-impossible-to-ride tech stuff I love, it’s sometimes easier on a shorter travel bike.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think a HighTower is perfect for the peak. 29ers definitely make it easier to cover ground and the extra travel gives you a get-out-of-jail free card sometimes. And I understand that most people don’t get off on riding silly trialsy lines so it’s horses for courses.

    It’s the ‘need’ in your sentence that I disagree with because it implies that the better, more hardcore, gnar-shredders need a bigger bike. You must be THIS rad to get one etc. Yes, modern bikes can give you more travel with less of a weight penalty than ever before. BUT the longer travel (in and of itself) can make the bike less engaging.

    I think you would need to visit some more trail centres before making that sweeping judgement

    Sorry I wasn’t trying to make any judgement on trail centres! I was just answering the OP’s question as I understood it! If I’m wrong (or even if I’m not!) then feel free to ignore my opinion.

    earl_brutus
    Full Member

    V1 hightower here – trail centre monster that climbs impeccably and is good for hammering down confidently on most downhill – though can get a bit out of its comfort zone in really rough/steep – and for that I have a megatower. V2 Hightower is designed to be a bit more aggressive with that extra travel and might better suit your purposes.

    nickc
    Full Member

    Outside of some of the bigger bike park drops or big jumps that I might skip out of mechanical sympathy, there’s nothing I wouldn’t ride on a 5010. In fact,

    Doesn’t this kinda hit the nail on the head though, you’re pretty much saying that there’s stuff in your own riding spot that you’re avoiding because you current bike just isn’t enough.

    when it gets to the nearly-impossible-to-ride tech stuff I love, it’s sometimes easier on a shorter travel bike.

    Again it depends doesn’t it? For picking your way down a section maybe, but for others the joy is doing it fast and for that you’ll need mor travel.  But again, you’re previous comment is spot on, pick the bike for the riding you do most of, If your LBS mechanic hates you because you keep bringing in your broken wheels and blown shocks to fix; then to mangle Chief Brodie “You’re gonna need a bigger bike”

    prezet
    Free Member

    Pretty much the old Hightower but with a glovebox from initial impressions. Shame they don’t seem to have modified the shock tunnel to allow for coil.

    joebristol
    Full Member

    Pretty much the old Hightower but with a glovebox from initial impressions. Shame they don’t seem to have modified the shock tunnel to allow for coil.

    Seems a bit of a missed opportunity that. Coil on my Sentinel is really nice and plush on the jank vs the Float X that it came with.

    Superficial
    Free Member

    Seems a bit of a missed opportunity that. Coil on my Sentinel is really nice and plush on the jank vs the Float X that it came with.

    Yeah, and also strange since the 5010 is coil-compatible. Apparently it’s to do with seatpost clearance issues and honestly I’d prefer a 200mm + dropper to a coil shock option (that personally I probably wouldn’t ever use).

    If I’d just bought a V2 HighTower I wouldn’t be too upset by this latest update.

    Akers
    Full Member

    Pretty much the old Hightower but with a glovebox from initial impressions.

    It would seem that the big changes we’ve seen to geometries over the last few years are slowing to small increments once again.
    The cynic in me wonders what the ‘big thing’ the industry will come up with, to get us all buying new bikes.

    nickc
    Full Member

    The cynic in me wonders what the ‘big thing’ the industry will come up with, to get us all buying new bikes.

    Does Santa Cruz have that much control over you then? They release a new bike and you just hand over your card?

    chakaping
    Free Member

    The cynic in me wonders what the ‘big thing’ the industry will come up with, to get us all buying new bikes.

    It’s ebikes. It’s already happening obvs, but there will be proportionally more “half fat” options coming, I predict.

    These SC threads aren’t the same without inbeforemike and nobeer leaping to their defence, eh?

    razorrazoo
    Full Member

    It’s ebikes. It’s already happening obvs, but there will be proportionally more “half fat” options coming, I predict.

    I agree on this.  There’s plenty of money to be milked in the ebike market drip feeding updates.

    These SC threads aren’t the same without inbeforemike and nobeer leaping to their defence, eh?

    Says the resident Orange defender in chief 😉

    honourablegeorge
    Full Member

    Akers

    The cynic in me wonders what the ‘big thing’ the industry will come up with, to get us all buying new bikes.

    Still expecting eBikes to drive gearbox innovation. Motors already have gearing, and bikes have gearing, there’s weight and complexity to be saved by combining the two in one sealed unit and ditching the derailleur

    chakaping
    Free Member

    Says the resident Orange defender in chief 😉

    I’ve partially moved to Starling now, but otherwise guilty as charged.

    Not sure anyone can defend Orange pricing though.

    Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    Joebristol – I don’t particularly like the red at FOD – but it’s not groomed and is covered in loads of roots.

    Funny, neither the blue or red are especially interesting, but ai thought the roots were its redeeming feature!

    tomhoward
    Full Member
    Being under-biked is fine, right up until the point that it isn’t.

    As I have found with my Aether 9C recently – the geometry allows a style of riding that allows you to reach the end stops of the suspension.

    whatyadoinsucka
    Free Member

    i had a v2 5010, great bike, loved it,
    hired a bronson v2 for the day and thought it was dull

    moved onto a orbea occam fox36 150 / 140 rear 29er. (covid = lack of bikes et al)
    its definately quicker and longer, rolls over stuff better, not quite as playfull, corners fine.
    can handle a big ride and climb, ok descender .. ride west yorks/peaks and a few enduro’s.
    wouldn’t buy another

    get the bike that you ride 90% of the time, if you can pick a good line you can tend to get away with less travel, but thats not to say riders with big travel aren’t riding harder.

    can you demo the new hightower,

    willv
    Full Member

    have requested a demo on new HT so waiting to hear back.

    My 5010 V2 is from new (6 years or so). 3 sets of bearings, no other issues and its not like it sits in the shed all year, so well used. I’d say i’ve got my moneys worth and would keep my next bike same amount of time if not longer all being well

    joebristol
    Full Member

    As I have found with my Aether 9C recently – the geometry allows a style of riding that allows you to reach the end stops of the suspension.

    I guess that’s the danger with the newer breed of mid travel bikes with enduro ish geometry – same with the optic / reactor / Spur (although that’s less trail perhaps) etc.

    I found the same with my Aether 7 – it was on Antur Stiniog type trails I found the limits of getting battered through the shorter travel. The bike was capable – my battered body not so much. However it was such a good all rounder for 90% of my riding it was the best bike for me. Now on a Sentinel which is 29er and a bit longer travel and it’s definitely more work on pedally / twisty flat stuff but it’s faster / more capable on the tech off piste I’m now doing more of.

    Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    I’ve also moved to something longer travel, in my case an Ibis Ripmo. There genuinely doesn’t seem to be any penalty for packing the extra travel, but its there when I need it.

    minus
    Free Member

    I can’t comment on the specific SC models, but long vs medium travel probably depends on riding style.

    I have a 160mm bike and a 100mm fs xc bike. I don’t think there is anything I couldn’t slowly get down on the XC bike that the 160 would enable, but I would be much faster in rough stuff. Recently I did jacobs ladder down from kinder scout on the 100mm bike as the other was out of action. It was fine, but I had to pick my way down as it gets sketch with speed. I find ploughing down there on the long travel bike more fun. However, my other half likes to slowly pick lines even on her long travel bike didn’t find a shorter bike much worse. For her the shorter bike makes sense as the ups are faster and boring bridleways are more engaging.

    I would suggest demo days. Even if you can’t get SC bikes it will still give a feel for different types of bikes (with the exception of the odd lemon most bikes of a similar type will feel pretty similar).

    joebristol
    Full Member

    @scienceofficer

    Once I found there wasn’t a shorter travel bike in stock frame only and without being a ludicrous price for carbon (A9 / Reactor 290 / Evol Offering / Norco Optic / Vitus Escarpe / SC Tallboy etc) I started looking a bit longer travel alloy. Was thinking Sentinel / Hightower / Ripmo AF.

    Couldn’t find the Hightower alloy with a decent shock included (bottom end inline shock only) so it came down to the Sentinel vs the Ripmo. I think the Sentinel is meant to be the more capable when it gets really rowdy but is still happy to play. I think the Ripmo is a bit less stable at speed but more playful more of the time and probably pedals a touch better. I decided the Sentinel looked nicer and there was one in stock in my size at Shut Up and Ride which is only a few miles down the road. Love at first sight on the frame.

    I reckon the Ripmo AF frame is probably lighter than the Sentinel – you just need to be careful on shock choice if you want to go coil because of the yoke driven nature of the frame. Go DVO as they have a 14mm shaft (oooer) – avoid Fox as they have 9mm and you’ll likely break it. Not sure about all the other makes – apparently there is a compatibility list somewhere.

    northernremedy
    Full Member

    I’ve just bought a hightower v2 as my only Mtb. Firmly mid pack in my annual enduro, enjoy a day at BPW and natural riding round Yorkshire and the lakes. It’s perfect.

    stevextc
    Free Member

    Scienceofficer

    I’ve also moved to something longer travel, in my case an Ibis Ripmo. There genuinely doesn’t seem to be any penalty for packing the extra travel, but its there when I need it.

    But surely that’s the drawback…. ???
    Assuming you ride for fun then having a bike can roll over or off anything isn’t fun..
    Like driving a Ferrari through town perhaps it has some short term appeal

    Joe

    I don’t particularly like the red at FOD – but it’s not groomed and is covered in loads of roots.

    It’s a 2h40 drive each way so I usualy do uplift and stick to the DH trails.. but much more fun on a HT and zero fun on a long travel….
    A couple of years ago I was riding the Mega at Dyfi and we stopped off at FoD on the way home.. kids with us so it was all rushed as we were missing uplift so I rode the Mega as it was already assembled. Total waste of a day… I usually set the old MK1.5 to minimum travel if riding a FS at FoD anyway but it just felt totally non engaging on a long travel enduro machine…

    I ended up selling the Mega because I only get to ride stuff enjoyable on a long travel a few times a year… it would have been nice at Glencoe and Fort Bill perhaps and a couple of the runs at Dyfi but that’s a handful of days a year.

    joebristol
    Full Member

    @stevextc

    Yeah I ignore the blue and red at FOD entirely. The red just annoys me with loads of roots without being technically challenging or having any flow to it.

    The DH trails aren’t bad – there’s enough challenge but also flow on them – but the off piste is far more varied and I find more fun there I think. The uplift means you miss out on all the other cool stuff that’s around. If I’m paying for uplift I’m going to BMCC or BPW in the South Wales sort of area. Plus I don’t find the fireroad up the middle at FOD too bad – other thrown the steep bit near the start. I reckon I could pedal up that 10 times ok – did 5 or 6 runs the other day when I only cycled for 3 hours and also did one of the official enduro trails and another off piste run the other side of the road. On a 34lb ish Sentinel that for me is long travel trail / enduro light.

    Could I ride my hardtail down all that stuff – yes – would I enjoy it as much as the full suss – no. I like my hardtail at natural spots like Bourton Combe and for playing round on stuff local to the house. Also ok for long natural bridleway sort of stuff. Anything really tech or fast / rocky it’s full suss all the way.

    chiefgrooveguru
    Full Member

    “Assuming you ride for fun then having a bike can roll over or off anything isn’t fun..”

    I for one much prefer a bike that gets stopped dead by any bumps and implodes when you take it off any drops, which is why I shall be taking my elderly Brompton on my next uplift day.

    Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    Assuming you ride for fun then having a bike can roll over or off anything isn’t fun..
    Like driving a Ferrari through town perhaps it has some short term appeal

    That was my thought process that resulted in the Aether 9c. Perhaps its old skool dogma to think that a bigger travel bike will be more dull, or is it that certain bikes have managed to ascend past the long travel sled feeling?

    I’m certainly long in the tooth enough to have the impression that big bikes are dull unless you’re on big terrain.

    The Ripmo has proved me wrong though.

    It manages to be fun and jibby in standard™ trails without feeling like a sled.

    benos
    Free Member

    The Ripmo has proved me wrong though.

    It manages to be fun and jibby in standard™ trails without feeling like a sled.

    Aside from that bit extra travel, do you find the Ripmo similar to ride to the 9c?

    Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    No, its quite different.

    Although the 9c didn’t feel like a sled, despite having more travel the Ripmo feels less like one.

    benos
    Free Member

    No, its quite different.

    Although the 9c didn’t feel like a sled, despite having more travel the Ripmo feels less like one.

    Thanks. That wasn’t what I expected with the longer stays and travel, but then DW Link is by all accounts a very good pedalling platform, and it’s a light frame for the travel too.

    A Spur and a Ripmo were my expensive ‘either side’ options when I settled on the Bird.

    razorrazoo
    Full Member

    I for one much prefer a bike that gets stopped dead by any bumps and implodes when you take it off any drops, which is why I shall be taking my elderly Brompton on my next uplift day.

    I take you point and am currently scouring eBay for a penny farthing, it should have excellent front wheel rollover but also hook up nicely on the rear to remind me to have fun.

    shortcut
    Full Member

    It’s all different horses for different people I think. For all day riding on trails (what the heck is ‘trails’ anyway) I think the definition is too broad. Do you want to to do big drops, gaps and shred the gnar to the max or ride a lot of trails quickly through the course of the day?
    In the Santa Cruz line up anything from a Blur TR, thru Tallboy, Hightower (new model available) to the Megatower could fit the bill depending on what you want to ride, how long for, how quickly and where your focus is.
    I’m currently enjoying my Transition Spur I will ride most stuff but won’t do gaps and this is more because of my bravery than the bike.

    Superficial
    Free Member

    I’m currently enjoying my Transition Spur I will ride most stuff but won’t do gaps and this is more because of my bravery than the bike.

    I like having shorter travel FS bikes but I found that I would often mince out of drops/gaps/whatever and blame the bike on the grounds that I was “protecting the bike” when of course I was just a bit scared. I had a nice Yeti ASR-5 which I built up very light and it was great fun but I found myself backing out of stuff too much for my liking.

    Rightly or wrongly, I feel like the SC 5010 can handle all that stuff so it’s a sweet spot for me. No excuses, but still small taught enough to be rad. Maybe I’ve been brainwashed by seeing Danny MacAskill/Josh Lewis et al hammering theirs. But hey, if it breaks then it’s got a good warranty.

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