Mountain Biking - LBS Recommendation Surprise
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Getting the boy a full suspension mountain bike. Entire family has taken up the sport, he is the only one left with a walmart/Sports Authority bike even though he displays the most talent, so i figured i would upgrade him. Called a few bike shops around to see what they had and ran into a Giant/Specialized dealer with a couple of 2008 Trance 2s and Stumpjumper comps in the boys size. The Giant Trance 2 come in about 150 dollars cheaper so i figured this should be relatively easy and quick with a good deal inevitable. However, to my surprize we get there and despite the shop being very busy we have two store employees working with us. Much to my surprize start telling him that the stumpy is a far better bike then the Giant and he will be able to take the hills far quicker on the stumpy than the Trance. Before even riding them he is kinda convinced that the stumpy is the ticket. Me owning one as well did not help the matter at all. So i dont really feel he gave the Giant much of a go. Know it is not the 150 dollars as much as having him get a bike that suits him. Kinda feel that he (17 years old) who is kinda impressionable to begin with, has probably swayed to one when i dont know if that was solid advance or an oppurtunity to move a slower moving product line.
So anyone have any input on comparing these two bikes. I know for 2009, Mountainbike Mag gave the shootout to bikes in the price range to the Giant Trance 2 with the stumpy comp close second. Search on the forum shows pretty decent feedback on both. I was thinking as he likes to hop it and jump (small hits like rocks, humps, etcc,..no extreme air) that the maestro suspension i read so much about my be a better bet. Anyone have any time on these bikes and can provide any type of comparison feedback or pros on cons of either that they would like to share. I love my stumpy, and know he can not go wrong with a stumpy comp, and maybe it is how things transpired that has been hesitating to pull the trigger, but i am surprized that the stumpy comp would get that much more of a glowing recommendation then the Giant Trance 2. The boy took two spins around the parking lot on the trance and got off, rode the stumpy for like 10 minutes which they couldnt determine which size best fit him until they found that they didnt have a large and medium was a far better fit anyway. That really made me uneasy and therefore no bike purchase that day. He is about 5'10" and 17, with probably a little more growing to do. Had a chat with the boy and he said they were both OK, but he probably liked the stumpy better...gave no reason why. Again, any feedback or insight would be appreciated. When I asked the LBS employees why the glowing report on the stumpy compared to the Trance...only response was that though they both have fox shocks, you can lock out the stumpys and they believe that you can take downhilling far faster on a stumpy. This sound right, if so, i am cancelling my subscription to the mags as they are somewhat inconsistent with this. Anyway, would love to hear your comments on the bikes....thanks.
05-18-09, 07:26 AM
FWIW, I would try hard to find a large Stumpy for your son to test out. I am 5' 9 1/4" in my riding shoes. I have several medium Specialized bikes (including a Stumpy). Lately I've felt like I might want to step up to a size large. I'm not saying your son should ride a large. I just think it'd be worth his time to test-ride one.
It sounds like your LBS really put the hard-sell on your son. Did they articulate any specific reasons for the Stumpy being better than the Trance? If you go back, and if they are still pushing the Stumpy so hard, then make them defend their position. If the best they can do is tell you that the Stumpy is "better", then they have nothing. Press those salespeople for some details.
Are there other shops nearby that you can visit with your son? Visiting some other shops and hearing some other opinions might help your son gain some perspective.
05-18-09, 08:18 AM
First off, I'm sorry to hear you had that experience. Working in a shop it makes me sad when people share things like that.
That is a typical response from the "Big box" shops. I may be biased, as the shop I'm at is a small mom and pop, but they should have placed your son on what would best suit his riding style, how fast he is taking to it, and what he felt best on, not what was more expensive, or based on brand.
We sell giant and fuji as our two big names. We also carry soma, but only keep the cross stuff in stock. we get "incentives" from fuji if we sell there stock, but all of us never push them. If someone likes the giant better, we place them on that. They might get something from Specialized if they sell more of them. Its experiences like yours that make people shop elsewhere, and why we have good business right now. There is a trek, GF, Kona shop in town, and you can't imagine the amount of people come to us talking about the pushy attitude and bad service. People even come to us from across the county and over the state line for our customer based service, not our brands. May even be why the "other" shop is going under.
Are there any other shops you can look in? The trance 2 is a nice ride, we sell a lot of them, but there may be more out there better suited for him. Does he like to go big? Do you think he may want to compete one day?
05-18-09, 11:10 AM
I did extended test-rides on the '09 Giant Trance X2 and '09 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro and ended up buying an '08 Stumpjumper Pro.
The Hayes Stroker Trail brakes on the Trance X2 were the worst hydraulic disc brakes I've ever ridden; tons of noise and very poor modulation/control. In addition, I wasn't terribly impressed with the Maestro suspension. Coming from road bikes, I'm very sensitive to pedal-induced bob. The X2 didn't bob as badly as some of the full-suspension bikes I've tried but it was enough to annoy me. I think that part of the problem was the RP2 shock, which seemed to have only two settings: Bob and Lethargic. An RP23 might have allowed me to adjust the ProPedal platform damping to the point where the Maestro suspension would have worked better. An RP2 shock with the "low" compression tune might also have worked better for me than the "medium" compression tune on the shock I rode. Finally, the Fox F120 RL fork seemed a bit harsh. It was the only fork I've ridden that had the new 15QR axle, but I couldn't tell that made any difference in the ride. Tuning on the F120 RL is limited to rebound damping, air pressure, and lock-out threshold adjust. When traveling down trails that looked flat, it seemed that every minor surface imperfection was transmitted directly to the handlebars. I actually like a fork that feels a bit firm, but I thought the F120 RL on the Giant Trance X2 was just a touch too firm. I don't really like Shimano's RapidFire shifters, so the Trance X2 lost a couple of points there too.
I found a great deal on an '08 Stumpjumper Pro; it ended up costing about as much as the '09 Trance X2. The Brain-equipped Stumpjumpers seem to be a bit of a "Love It" or "Hate It" design. Personally, I love the fact that the Stumpy feels exactly like a hardtail when climbing! But that's not necessarily a good thing for some: while the design is an extremely efficient climber, it tends to be a bit rough over small, slow-speed hits. It's very much like a hardtail in that regard. You can soften up the shock to minimize this characteristic, but eventually you'll start to feel some bobbing. It never gets as bad as the Trance X2, though. The nice thing is that the Brain is truly a set-it-and-forget-it design; when descending, the inertia valve opens up and the ride is fantastic! Like the Trance X2, the Fox F120 RLC fork on the Stumpy tends toward "firm" rather than "plush" suspension action. The Fox Talas fork on the '09 Stumpjumper Pro was probably the best fork of the three. The F120 RLC on the '08 Stumpjumper Pro was nice because you could use the low-speed compression adjuster to tune away some of the small-bump harshness that seems endemic to the F-series forks. I wouldn't call either the F120 RLC or the F120 RL "plush", but I found I could tune the RLC to the point where it didn't annoy me. Finally, the Magura Marta disc brakes on the '08 Stumpjumper Pro were fantastic! Good power, excellent modulation, and no noise!
Of course, despite the fact that prices were nearly the same for me the '08 Stumpjumper Pro and the '09 Giant Trance X2 really aren't in the same category. Retail on the SJ Pro is $1700 more than the Giant, so you'd expect it to be a better bike. In comparing the '08 Trance X2 to the '08 Stumpjumper Comp, I think you'll find that the '08 Stumpjumper has: better brakes (SJ=Juicy 5, X2=Hayes Stroker Ryde), a better shock (SJ=Specialized/Fox Triad, X2=Fox Float R), and a better fork (SJ=F120RL, X2=F120R). The '08 SJ Comp also has SRAM shifters, which I prefer to Shimano. The '09 Giant Trance X2 has upgrades to the fork, shock, and brakes so it's a more comparable to the Stumpjumper.
It's a shame that the shop seemed more intent on selling a particular bike instead of trying to match a bike to your son's needs. FWIW, here's Mountain Bike Action's review of the Giant (albeit the '09):
Not detracting from a Stumpy at all, it sounds like a solid rig. The LBS I race for is a Giant dealer; but, unfortunately I've never been able to own one - - but the Trance would definitely be at the top of my list if I could divert money away from buying downhill weaponry.
I would not be concerned at all about the Stroker Trails; they are awesome brakes. I never experienced noise or modulation problems with mine in a whole season of hard use racing downhill. I'm on 4-pot Stroker Aces now, but would not hesitate to put Trails on any bike again. As it is, I passed them down to my son who is flogging them on his Santa Cruz Bullit now.
Anyway, I digress. If you have the option at all, I'd suggest going elsewhere. If the initial sale can leave a bad taste in your mouth about a place, you can bet that further dealings down the road are not going to improve things.
wow stroker you provided me more info on those two bikes then the last four bike shops i have seen. I wanted to get the bikes from the one shop as they still had 08s which were very nicely priced...but if i have to fork out for 09 I will. Appreciate the input, I need to get him trying out several different bikes and have him decide from there. Is it better to get a bike that might be slightly to big or slightly to small. I fit great on a medium and from what i picked up from couple bike shops he seems to be right in between. I am thinking maybe a little to big were he may still grow. Appreciate the input, nicely detailed stroker, if anyone has any recommendation other than those two would love to here it. Also, I am not trying to avoid the stumpjumper for him, I love mine and know it is a good bike, just want him to select one that he is comfortable with other then being led to one. Thanks all.
05-20-09, 05:51 AM
Is it better to get a bike that might be slightly to big or slightly to small. I fit great on a medium and from what i picked up from couple bike shops he seems to be right in between.
All the more reason to try different brands. A "medium" Stumpjumper is a 17.5" frame, but a medium Trance is an 18" frame. Basically, different brands use different increments of seatpost size. If you're in between two sizes of one brand that goes up by odd numbers, you may find that it helps to switch to a brand that increments by even numbers.
05-20-09, 10:55 AM
Appreciate the input, nicely detailed stroker, if anyone has any recommendation other than those two would love to here it. Also, I am not trying to avoid the stumpjumper for him, I love mine and know it is a good bike, just want him to select one that he is comfortable with other then being led to one. Thanks all.
Who the heck is 'stroker'?
Not sure what your budget is, so it's hard to know what other bikes might qualify. Some of the Santa Cruz single-pivot bikes (Superlight, Heckler) are in the same price range as the Trance X2 and Stumpjumper Comp. The single-pivot suspension design isn't as sophisticated as Giant's Maestro or Specialized's FSR but with the right shock (e.g. Fox RP23) it could probably work. I'd also look at the Trek Fuel EX bikes, ideally the Fuel EX 7 or above. I'm not a big fan of any of my local Trek dealers so I haven't ridden a Fuel EX, but I've certainly heard good things about them...
05-20-09, 09:20 PM
rode a medium trance x2 and at 5'9 the post at XC height was almost to the max line.. nice bike though ... I'd opt for it over a specialized as I'm not a fan of the brain thing.
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