The "do-it-all" trail bike - options and opinions?

A good review here that talks about the shock tune.

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I’ve had a few “low BB” bikes over the years, and I’m a stubborn rider who maintains a 175 crank length. Some riders are will to adapt their pedaling technique slightly to enjoy a more stable and planted bike in most instances. From what I understand the Mid-Atlantic is nothing but flat rocky trails so I understand why this might be a bigger deal on your particular trails. There’s no shortage of weirdly technical trails in my neck of the woods either though. Bike park and enduro culture is certainly pervasive and seen in bikes geometry over the last 5 years or more. There’s still more XC oriented trail bikes out there though, and calling the new school geo unrideable is going to be a tough sell to most riders; whether they need that aggressive geo or not.

We have the Appalachian mountains and hills also.

thinking about building a Signal Peak. Wondering if you could share your thoughts about it and how you built it up. Anything you would have done differently if you did it again.


I’ve been really happy with my Scott Spark 940. 130/120 mm travel. 3 way lockout on both shocks adjusted with one lever. The bike climbs really well and still feels pretty racey.

2 weeks ago I did a 20 mile XC race on a Saturday and the Green/Blue trails at a downhill park on a Sunday and was really happy with the performance at both.

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That’s probably true if you live east of the Appalachian Mountains but, just to the west, those mountains can have 1000-2000ft descents that are wildly rooty and rocky. And if you really wanted to you wouldn’t be out of order riding a full enduro bike on.


Where do you ride? Have you found the knock block to be an issue?

I’m in Philadelphia so that area generally. Knock block is a non issue while riding, I have never been limited by it. The only time I find it annoying is if I miss a turn on the trail and then try to turn the bike around in reverse while still on it, it leads to a very wide turn and can be annoying

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I’m looking at the exact same bike currently, but my main priority is still racing/the pedally stuff. Do you think it is lively enough to be an XC/XCM bike?

I’ll probably change the front fork to 120mm if I go for it, that should bring the geo right in line with the other down country bikes.

Yeah I cast way too broad of a net with my comment there. Mid-Atlantic has a ton of different topography, don’t know why but I always think it’s referring to New England alone and I recognize that NE has plenty of elevation as well. I’m in Western North Carolina and typically ride Pisgah almost exclusively, you’re right - there’s no shortage of 1-2K descents and even bigger in Appalachia. Feeling lucky as I type this!


Yeah it’s definitely got a ton of variety. I would even count Pisgah as the Mid-Atlantic region. But after moving to Michigan last year after years at Virginia Tech I am really missing the amazing riding in that region.

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I would second this, never notice it while riding. Not really sure what it really adds, never really seen a benefit to it

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Adds a stopper to keep your fork crown from hitting your frame

oh, I know why it’s there, just not sure it provides much use. I’ve got another MTB without it, and never missed it

I’ve been super happy with it. It climbs hard technical stuff better than any of the other bikes I’ve spent time on (Lux and La Sal Peak) and overall I’ve been totally psyched on the geometry. I sometimes wish it was a degree slacker in the head tube, but then it wouldn’t climb as well…

I originally built it with my DVO Sapphire fork at 140, setup quite plush. The DPS shock is perfect for the bike and if you run it with 30% sag it’s also really plush. I “raced” a DIY single track 100-miler the day after I finished the build. It uses all the toughest trails around me and connects them with about 40mi of roads and I put up a very respectable time, only 17min slower than a top level pro who was on his race bike. So the thing can ride XC well, especially if trails are rough and can take advantage of the great suspension.

For downhills, I was less pleased with the DVO/Signal Peak combo. It was fine but the steep-ish headtube combined with plush fork meant I got in trouble if I pushed the front end hard in turns. I could probably have solved that with more pressure or LSC in the fork, but I got a Trust Message fork cheap and put that on there and it’s transformed the bike. I’m putting up my best enduro segment times on it, significantly faster than on my La Sal Peak with coil 160mm fork. For straight downhill I’m sure the La Sal would still win, but the combo of downhill and pedaling performance of the Signal Peak is pretty astounding. I think I could have achieved similar results with an angle set and any stiffer fork.

It’s not a light frame. 2920g in Large with shock and bolts. I had it at about 28.5 lbs total with my race build. Now it’s 29-30lbs depending on the tires I’m running. I wouldn’t buy it as a pure XC race bike, but for racing super gnarly trails and still being a heck of a trail bike I don’t know that there’s much better out there. Maybe the new Epic Evo!

It’s more to protect the frame for trek’s warranty department than to add a benefit to the rider. Unless you don’t have a warranty on it, then it could save your ass, or break in a crash anyway :man_shrugging:t3:

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To add to the build details a bit:

I went with AXS X01 drivetrain and love it. Not worth the price for many but at 20% off it’s not much more than mechanical. 170mm cranks at 6 feet tall for pedal clearance. I can’t go back to 175.

I did SRAM G2 RSC brakes, but I’m moving those to my Lux once I get the frame back and putting Quadiem DH G-Specs on the Signal Peak. G2 were OK but the way I ride it I found I want Code level stopping power.

I used Rekon 2.6/2.4 all summer and was super impressed with them. Using DHF/DHR II now since I flatted a Rekon and it’s wetter/leafier now. Those plus Cush core in the rear has really added to the weight and detracted from the rolling speed of the bike. I’ll go back to Rekons next year, probably 2.6 front and rear.

Seat tube length is kind of high but I can still fit a 180mm OneUp dropper at 6 feet tall on a large. Seat tube angle is kind of slack but I have my seat slammed forward all the way and it gets me over the BB nicely. Stack is pretty high but I like that for comfort, and still run 15mm of spacers below a -6 stem so there’s some room to slam it more if you like to be low.

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^^^Second on the AXS, been super happy with my X01 wireless. Dumped the bike on a ride and bent the hanger but derailleur was A-OK, new hanger and shifts perfect without adjustment. Also kicked a rock or two up into it, all good

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Honestly I’m not great for comparisons because I’m coming from a 10 year old hardtail with very old school geometry and 26" wheels. I’ve also done about 30 minutes on a Canyon Lux during a demo day with no real opportunities to climb/descend. The Lux definitely felt like a racier bike than the Spark, but the Demo also had carbon wheels.

The shock adjustment on the Spark works really well and the bike pedals very well. If you stand and sprint it will still bob, but under all other circumstances it pedals like a hardtail.

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