MBA peeve of the month: Riders who
are more concerned about color matching
their bikes to their car than they are about
performance and finding the right machine
for the job.
NO RIDE BEFORE HE BUYS
Q: Looking to replace my 2007 Rocky
Mountain ETSX- 70 XT that I ride in nasty
conditions in upstate New York. Narrowed
the search to the Rocky Mountain
Thunderbolt 770 and the Turner Flux
Expert. I don’t have any bike shops in my
area that carry these bikes, so I can’t easily
check them out. What do you think?
—Mike, who has to buy on
A: It really stinks that you can’t demo the
bikes you want to buy. It is so much money
to spend on something you don’t get to try.
That’s a bummer.
We have not ridden a Thunderbolt, but
Rocky Mountain knows how to build great
bikes. They are known for their durability in
tougher conditions (they are designed in the
woods around Vancouver).
The Turner Flux does not have any flaws.
It is a great bike that we had a blast riding.
That’s why it is so bad that you can’t ride
them. Your decision would come down to
which bike feels best to you.
So, please understand it is not a cop-out when we say you can’t go wrong with
either of these bikes. Our suggestion would
be that once you have made your decision,
stick to it. Don’t second-guess yourself and
ride the other bike at a later time.
MAYBE A THIRD OPTION
Q: I wanted to know your opinion:
Specialized Stumpjumper FSR EVO 26 or
Yeti SB66c? I ride open trails, loose terrain,
not much downhill, mostly cross-country,
with occasional climbs and descents. And,
I’m 5-foot- 9.
—Julio, who might want to look
in a different direction
A: That’s a tough call. If you’re looking
for an aggressive trail bike, either one will
suit you very well; however, for your riding,
we think you may want to look at something
else to really get the best experience. The
Stumpjumper EVO and SB66c are both
bikes that love to rip downhills, but they
aren’t going to pedal as well as many short-
er-travel trail options. If you aren’t too con-
cerned with having a bike that’s an absolute
blast for more aggressive downhill trails, you
might be lugging around too much bike with
one of these options.
For mostly cross-country riding, you
want to check out a cross-country-specific
bike or a short-travel trail bike. Many riders are surprised by how capable a 4- or
4.7-inch-travel 29er can be on downhills
while absolutely flying up climbs. If you want
to split the difference between the more
aggressive bikes you mentioned and a full-
blown cross-country bike, check out these
trail bikes: the Specialized Camber Evo 29
(reviewed in this issue), Trek Fuel EX 29,
Yeti SB- 95 and Giant Trance 27. 5.
CAN THE ENDURO DO IT ALL?
Q: I need a confident, do-it-all-bike that
can get me through the downhills and
rough trails fast but can also get me to the
top and allow me to go out for occasional
long cross-country rides too. I read that the
Specialized Enduro weighs 32. 3 pounds, so
I weighed my bike and it’s 31.1 pounds with
Wellgo flat pedals. Although it’s not light,
my bike is fine for me on climbs. Could the
Enduro 29er be my one-and-only, do-it-all
—Mo, who doesn’t mind the long
grind for some downhill fun
A: It sounds like you want suspension
performance more than weight savings,
so we’re going to give you the thumbs up
for the Enduro. It’s certainly not the fastest
climbing bike, but if you lock out the rear
shock, stay in the saddle and pick a nice,
light gear, the Enduro will get you there. The
reward certainly comes on the downhills
with this bike.
The geometry of this bike is dialed,
thanks to a totally rethought rear triangle
and suspension linkage that allow the
Enduro to have a much shorter chainstay
length than any of Specialized’s other
29ers. This is one of the best-handling
29ers we’ve ever tested for the gnarly trails
and enduro-style rides that you do. This
bike really changed what we thought was
possible in the realm of long-travel 29ers.
DEALS ON 26-INCH WHEELS
Q: Ride a 2004 Specialized S-Works
Epic. Yep, that’s right. It’s time to upgrade.
Now I’m 44 years short of 100, but I do
fairly well for my age. I don’t do jumps.
I don’t bomb down mountains. I do ride
aggressively and enjoy epic singletrack
rides. So, is an endurance bike more than I
really need? Am I adding unneeded weight
and expense? Would I be better off going
with a 26-inch-wheeled trail bike?
—John, who will love how much
better bikes are in 2014 than they
were in 2004
A: We asked our resident 40-years-
short-of- 100 rider to field this one, because
you guys sound similar. “I find the enduro
bikes are overkill for what we like doing,
John. A dual-suspension bike with around
4 inches of travel rolling on 27.5-inch or
29-inch wheels does everything you and I
need going down the mountain and helps us
clear climbs we would end up hiking on an
“You will find some amazing deals on
26-inch-wheeled trail bikes now, because
they will be gone from the high-end trail
bike lines in the next few years. Actually,
they are pretty much already gone except
for the closeouts. After riding 27. 5 wheels
for trail riding, I just don’t want to ride 26ers
anymore. You will find the larger wheels
make you a better rider at slower speeds—
you have to commit on a 26er, whereas you
can roll stuff on the larger wheels.” ❑