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

Thanks very much for that. It seems like a stellar bike and their write up on the shock settings (trail mode?) sound really good.

I can’t demo it and am coming off a 10 year old XC full suspension bike. I hope it’s racy enough :grimacing:.

Do you find the lock out and dropper easy to use together? When I first saw them I foolishly thought it was all under the bar. With the dropper lever over the bar I’m worried it it’s too busy a cockpit to utilise at race pace?

I don’t have any issues using the dropper or the lockout levers. I used the lockout pretty often at the race I did a few weeks ago with no issue. The race wasn’t technical enough that I was using the dropper much.

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Specialized Stumpjumper review here. Gets pretty high marks.


Another good head to head review here

  • specialized stumpjumper
  • giant trance x
  • ibis mojo
  • Actofive p-train
  • salsa blackthorn
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been rocking the pivot mach 4sl with the 120 setup for a year. this thing is incredibly capable. big drops, big rocks. crazy what a 120 mm can do. i also have a big enduro bike (hightower lt) and realize you are leaning more trail and less trail country. but saying all this as i am a HUGE fan of the DW suspension. i think thats part of my enjoyment on the bike. the pivot pops and snaps and plays is the only way i can describe. as opposed to a more smooth(?) feel on VPP. i hear the same description of the Trail 429 and plenty of dudes rocking that bike here in Phoenix on SoMo. if i could have only one bike it would be the trail 429 i think.

i’ve heard Jon at TR on the podcast say similar things about yeti (pop, snap, playfull). i’ve never ridden a yeti though.

would recommend trying the bikes and finding the feel you like.


This website is pure gold for understanding suspension design/characteristics

Thanks @stevemz


Half-new bike day. This is a new 2021 frame replacing my old 2017 frame. Trek Fuel.

All the components were moved over from my old bike. The 2021 Fuels are specced with a 140mm fork. So I swapped out the air shaft from the old 130mm to a 140mm. Same 130mm rear travel as my old frame. This frame is longer and slacker than my old bike.

This 2021 frame is noticeably more beefy that the 2017 frame. So it comes in a little heavier than my previous bike. 26lbs fully built up. Not bad for a 130/140mm travel trail bike. It’s lighter than the stock 2021 bike because I have lighter wheels and tires.

I haven’t ridden it yet. So will be interesting to see how the longer slacker bike rides on the downs. Anti squat on this frame is apparently 10% higher vs the old Fuel, so it may even pedal better up the hills also.

We’re at least a couple of months away from trail riding in the Colorado mountains. Good thing I have a week trip to Sedona planned for April. I might even try squeeze in a Moab trip later in March. A friend of mine is riding the Unbound Gravel 350 miler, so wants to get a bunch of long rides in for training. Calls for a White Rim ride methinks!


I remember reading that the Fuel was 25 pounds for 130/130 but it just seems ridiculously light to have a 140/140 bike weighing in at 26.

Well done!

Steve starts giving side eye at his brand new XC bike that barely weighs under 26 pounds


It’s a size Medium. So that helps.

The wheels are very light - 24mm internal width DT Swiss carbon rims. DT Swiss 240 hubs. So likely lighter than the 30mm rims specced on most XC and trail bikes today.

The tires are also light - 2.4 XR4 on front. 2.3 Cross King on the back. So XC tires, not trail tires.

34mm fork (vs. 36 on many other trail bikes).

The drivetrain is XX1, so light cassette, chain ring and carbon cranks.

Other things that help include press fit BB, shorter travel dropper, carbon bars and stem, foam grips

And no sealant yet on the tires. That’ll add another close to 1/2 lb.

I should add that I’m not really a weight weenie. :grin:. These are the components that came stock with the bike when I originally bought it.


I stopped weighing my Ripley when I saw 29 lbs… :joy: Ain’t no fly weight but it’s fun. 140/120

Riding with dudes who have a 1 w/Kg higher fitness level and 21 lb EVOs… good times. :+1:


Are you running the Fuel in the high or low BB position?

Mine came set up in the low setting. I was going to switch it to high, but figured I’d try a few rides with it in low.

I love my Spot Mayhem - very capable at 130/130. What sold me was how stable it was going uphill (feels like a short travel bike). I would highly recommend giving the guys in Golden a visit and trying one out.

Disclaimer - I am in no way affiliated with Spot - just a fanboy.

High for me

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Any experience out there with the new Orbea Oiz TR (TR = 120mm fork)? That frame is light as hell and might be the sweet spot between being light and swift enough for XC racing and still having added capability for trail riding. I have been eyeing the Ripley V4, but despite being relatively light as a trail bike, it’s far from being an XC race weapon.

I’m a 1-bike guy and would probably get something like a Scott Spark 900 Team (or World Cup if I stretch the budget) if I didn’t also want the bike to be my travel companion (including trips overseas) where the terrain might require more versatility. I’ve also decided not to consider brands such as Specialized, Pivot or Santa Cruz because I believe they don’t offer best value - although I am not disputing the quality of those bikes.

Are you talking about the Scott Spark RC World Cup, or the Spark 900 (Trail)?

Both are excellent but quite different from each other obviously. I think the Spark 900 would be a better all around bike if you are more trail focused than XC. That is the Orbea has a steeper HTA and I think the Scott would be a bit rowdier if you want to get more and more technical/gnarly.

I almost ended up on the Orbea, which is super nice and looks the racier of the two potentially. In the end I went to the Spark and shortened the fork to 120mm bringing the HTA to ~67.5°. it’s been awesome for me and much more capable than anything I’ve pointed it at so far. It’s still very fast and efficient but uses a lockout to gain extra efficiency.

I meant Scott Spark RC, because I’m hoping to find a bike below 25 lbs, but which has some additional trail capability. I am assuming you got the non-RC Spark? How much does it weight with the 120mm fork?

If I don’t find a suitable bike close to 25 lbs, I might give up the target weight and then I think the Scott Spark 900 AXS (XO1) looks sweet. But the Orbea frame (M) with shock is 1,740g - lighter than Scott Spark 900 RC frame…

I got a Spark 910 so assuming you are going 900 you may save some weight on wheels/components as well. My bike weighs exactly 13kg with Hunt XC Wide wheels in XL. That’s including a cushcore in the rear.

I have a couple very minor changes to make to save a few grams here and there but I’m pretty happy given its capability and efficiency. I was drawn to the alloy rear triangle for a tiny bit more robustness if I were to ever let it go on a trailer (my last bike had gouges from a trailer shuttle on the seat and chain stays).

I’m going to eventually change out the stem and cushcore for lighter varieties as well as shorten the cables and hoses and steerer. I’m sure I can get it into the 12.8kg range :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:. I’m more XC focused than not but the bike’s increased capabilities is really allowing me to ride more difficult trails and faster on my normal ones, as well as really helping me increase my skill level.

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After 4 months of MTB drought, I did my first MTB ride of the year - and also first ride on my new (or at least new frame) bike.

The first thing I noticed was the steeper seat tube angle, which meant I was higher on the bike vs my prior bike. At first I thought my saddle was too high, but I checked, and it was the right height - so the seat tube angle made the difference.

The 2nd thing I noticed was the slacker head angle, and longer fork (140 vs 130mm). The bike felt more stable going off drops.

I didn’t use the full travel of the fork, and it felt a little too hard, so I’ll air down maybe 5psi next time and see how it goes. I have an extra volume spacer in the fork, so that in theory allows me to run lower pressure while preserving bottom-out performance.

I also noticed that 4 months of not mountain biking left me unprepared for the beating of rocky Colorado desert trails. Just got to get out and ride more I guess!:muscle:

I’ve seen a bunch of YouTube clips of people riding this. It’s crazy.


I took my 2017 Scalpel SE down the Whole Enchilada in Moab. I was so damn cold at the top that I didn’t realize I had the rear shock closed until I was halfway down either. All the bike I need!

That’s Fruita right? That rock wall looks like Horsethief…great trails there. And yes, it’s insane that people can ride that. If you didn’t see it, look up Jeff Lenosky riding up that using trials skills. It’s remarkable

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