What short travel 29er trail bike?

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  • What short travel 29er trail bike?
  • Premier Icon flange
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    Now then

    I’ve recently sold my Chameleon and want something with a bit of bounce in the rear. I live in Tunbridge Wells so bar the odd trip to Sheffield and Wales, most of my riding is either Bedgebury or the SDW. I’ve always got on better with full sussers so I’m looking at the shorter travel end of the market.

    Have given some serious thought to a Stage 4, however the lack of waterbottle mounts is a bit off putting (I don’t like riding with a pack). Also their full builds are a joke price wise but I’m happy to build it up myself. Other options are an alloy tallboy, built up similar to a stage 4, or maybe a Fuel EX 8 which comes in a fair bit cheaper.

    I’ve got a budget up to about 3.5k, I’d prefer 29er and don’t really need anything over 130mm of travel. I’m also not really into the long/low side of things, tried a Cotic and it just felt a bit much for where I live (although ideal for the peaks).

    Any ideas?

    Premier Icon Tracey
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    Might be worthwhile throwing your leg over a 29er Stumpjumper ST.

    Hob Nob
    Member

    The Fuel is a bloody good 29″ trail bike IMO. But I would try one for sure, as they are a bit lower and slacker than Trek advertise.

    I still really like mine, now it’s back in its light weight trail bike setup, it’s just a really good MTB.

    But I do have a bigger, long travel bike for racing on now, to make life easier 🙂

    Premier Icon howsyourdad1
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    Carbon 2018 Transition Smuggler i reckon

    Premier Icon mccraque
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    Which Cotic did you try? The FlareMax was a hoot in the Surrey Hills.

    If I was in your shoes I’d be having a very goods look at the new 29 Giant Trance.

    I have the no not available 650b Anthem with 130mm forks and find it a perfect trail bike for similar riding that you describe and I think the new Trance is just a grown up version of it.

    Premier Icon transporter13
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    Have a look at the whyte s120👀

    dickie
    Member

    I rally enjoy my alloy Transition Smuggler.
    What about the 120mm forked version of the Canyon Lux – takes two water bottles.

    cymohndee
    Member

    So many fantastic choices here. Scott Spark has to be on your list as well…. The Merida 120 too. Me? I love my Evil Following MB. I really recommend demoing them though. Some bikes I thought I’d love didn’t connect when I actually rode them, others were a very pleasant surprise. They all feel different.

    Premier Icon roverpig
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    I much prefer my longshot flaremax to the smuggler I had before. But if you found the cotic too long then the smuggler might be ideal for you. It’s a great bike and at least the previous versions weren’t as extreme 8n terms of length as many of the newer offerings.

    I had a 26” trance back in the day, which was a great XC/trail bike. The new 29er does indeed look great, but I think it’s getting as long and slack as all the others now.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
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    Evil Following v1 – fantastic short travel XC and trail bike.

    Premier Icon thepurist
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    I’m mid way through a similar search at the moment and the Whyte S-120 is probably leading the pack at the moment.  But I still a few yet to try – Aeris 120, Trance, Stumpy ST, Canyon Neuron…

    sammers
    Member

    Just ordered a Marin Rift Zone 3. It’s ‘only’ 2k but with a wheel upgrade it should be all the bike I need. I also considered a Cannondale Habit and Giant Trance 29 but the Marin got great reviews and looked better value.

    Premier Icon bungalistic
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    This Merida just got a decent review – https://www.pinkbike.com/news/merida-one-twenty-8000-review.html

    I’ve got a alu smuggler, it’s a little heavy with poor rear tyre clearance but it’s good fun.

    snotrag
    Member

    The lack of bottle cage mounts is, your quite right, annoying, but I’m putting up with it (back bottles are a good solution).

    However I am super pleased with my Stage 4, which I built up considerably cheaper than Oranges off the peg bikes.

    I’ve got Fox Performance Series 34s with the Grip Damper, GX 1×11, Hope brakes, Mavic Trail Elite wheels etc. I love it.

    My size Large frame fits me just right with a 125mm dropper, and is reasonably long in the TT without being quite Cotic long.

    A Flaremax would have been my other favourite contender but the Orange was a lot cheaper with a Fox Shock.

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/HGtDGD]_20180520_213935[/url] by simonholehan, on Flickr

    Premier Icon stewartc
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    I recently bought a complete 2017 SC Tallboy C from my LBS for roughly 2,500 GBP. Its a mk3 so has the current geometry but has the 2017 color scheme so a bargain to be had. Even after upgrading the forks to MRP Ribbon Air (set to 130mm) and Flow Mk3 wheels it still falls under your 3.5k target.
    Its an absolute blast, so much so I’m considering selling my Firebird as it now hardly gets ridden.

    jet26
    Member

    Intense primer or sniper worth a look. Have demo’d the primer and a mate has one – goes like a scalded cat for a bike with that much travel, up and down.

    Sniper meant to be fantastic too if speed important, although not ridden one yet…

    Premier Icon Clink
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    2 mates have Primers and love them. I have an Orbea Occam 29er which is 120 rear, 130 front – great bike and light.

    corroded
    Member

    Tallboy 3 would get my vote – some great deals about, perhaps because a new Tallboy/Hightower might be on the way this year. They are a lot of fun.

    zer0c00l44
    Member

    Cannondale Habit 3 carbon great looking bike and good spec for £3300

    Premier Icon prawny
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    I’m tempted by one of them rift zone 3s too. They’re on £1500 from Pauls. That’s mental.

    My £900 budget for a full suss is swelling somewhat…

    Premier Icon flange
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    Thanks for all the suggestions folks, much appreciated.

    I’ve considered the Smuggler but it sounds like weight could be a bit of an issue? I want to do the SDW in a day and I’d be wary of something heavy and draggy – of course this said I want to ride it in wales and the peaks too, so basically I’m looking at ‘moon on a stick’ type stuff.

    I do really want a Stage 4, it’s just the lack of bottle that puts me off. And obviously I like Santa Cruz because…well, because it’s a Santa Cruz so still considering a Tall boy.

    Snotrag – can I ask how tall you are? I sat on a large Stage 6 and it felt pretty long (I’m 6’2 with long arms and legs).

    Hadn’t considered an intense – will mooch over to their website now and have a look.

    Premier Icon Clink
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    I want to do the SDW in a day and I’d be wary of something heavy and draggy – of course this said I want to ride it in wales and the peaks too, so basically I’m looking at ‘moon on a stick’ type stuff.

    Nope. Carbon Tallboy, Intense Primer, Orbea Occam will all do both types of riding. Modern bikes are great.

    Premier Icon chakaping
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    Smuggler isn’t what you’re after, not a good enough pedaler.
    If not the stage 4 then probably something carbon like the intense.
    Or the new Trance as suggested above.
    Not ridden one but it looks very Smuggler-esque geo-wise.

    jet26
    Member

    Definitely worth a demo on an intense – even the primer pedals and climbs like a rocket, despite being pretty handy downhill. (Think one of their mechanics does easier enduros on one at times).

    Lot of bike for the money now they are direct sale. And no I don’t work for/with them!!

    Premier Icon Kryton57
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    If you’re a medium: https://www.merlincycles.com/intense-spider-275c-expert-build-enduro-mountain-bike-2017-103083.html

    or

    https://www.pedalon.co.uk/acatalog/scott-spark-930.html

    or

    https://epic-cycles.co.uk/orbea-occam – the Occam Carbon TR M30 on that page

    or

    this stunning Whyte S120 C RS – https://whyte.bike/collections/bikes/products/s120crs

    In fact, forget the rest just get the Whyte….

    Image result for whyte s120c rs

    sprocker
    Member

    Scott spark may be worth a look, good angles, reasonable weight. Thread on here a few days ago about them.

    Premier Icon kuman
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    I got my Marin Rift Zone 3 2019 from Biketart sale about month ago and it’s bloody a lot of bike for £1600. So far changed tyres to minions and got longer dropper post and still under £1800. I have clocked 200miles around Cannock Chase in a month and love it.
    If I had 3.5k budget I would probably get Santa Cruz tho.

    Premier Icon Stiggy
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    Whyte S120 is a good shout.

    Premier Icon bigjim
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    Smuggler isn’t what you’re after, not a good enough pedaler.

    well that’s not true

    dickie
    Member

    Smuggler isn’t what you’re after, not a good enough pedaler.

    Mine pedals great, I love riding it.

    Scott spark 👍⚡️⚡️⚡️

    One of my mates loves his Intense Primer – his other bikes are a 26” Ti Slackline (which he now finds annoyingly slow) and a Nomad 3 (which now only comes out for gnarly days). Seems quick up and down and along (on the South Downs as well as elsewhere) and I’ve seen him send the Motherhucker drop in the Surrey Hills which is a good 10’ odd vertical.

    Lots of great bikes in the short travel 29er category for that budget.

    Trek Fuel. Scott Spark. Giant Trance. Transition Smuggler. Stumpy ST. Pivot Trail 429. Ibis Ripley LS.

    Yeti SB4.5? Now discontinued by Yeti so some deals around for C series builds or T series frames. 114mm rear / 140mm front. I like mine. A very versatile bike that’s equally as comfortable dispatching xc rides as well as riding more challenging terrain.

    Premier Icon Cheezpleez
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    I’ve a Smuggler, built up carefully for about £2k all in. It’s certainly not heavy and it pedals just fine. Also goes downhill very well.

    Premier Icon sefton
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    Recently got a trek ex.130 travel.

    Saccades
    Member

    Slightly related, orange Segment ?

    Love my factory edition and drakes cycles in leeds have one in your size for 2900.

    Hope bits, kashima fox bits and sram x01 and ultimate brakes.

    Removes the pricy part of the equation

    mindthegap
    Member

    Another Orbea Occam TR owner here. Very pleased with the bike, climbs really well and great downhill for what I use it for. You can also customise your bike to a degree when you order. Well worth a look in my opinion. I borrowed one of the new stumpjumpers over the summer and it was good but definitely heavy up hill. That was the 150mm stumpy though

    Premier Icon Sir HC
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    Smuggler isn’t what you’re after, not a good enough pedaler.
    If not the stage 4

    Smuggler pedals fine, the Orange on the other hand is terrible. Had plenty of big days out on the smuggler (5000ft, 30miles). I’d bin the monarch shock that comes on it and stick a double barrel IL on it, monarch holds the bike back.

    My Smuggler pedals just fine round Bedgebury.

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