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Old 01-03-14, 07:27 PM   #1
pbass
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Dilemma: when two rather different bikes both feel like a keeper on test rides....

Have been shopping around for my first mountain bike, and have narrowed it down to two (fortunately, both at the same LBS):

A Trek X-Caliber 6 29'r, and a Giant Talon 27.5 4

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes.../x_caliber_6/#
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...4/14840/66265/

Have only been riding a road bike for the last several years, so the MTB experience is unknown turf for me.
I rode both for a good while, and while it was only on pavement, I liked them both equally, they just felt different as you would expect. Price is about the same. I'm just under 5'8" and while the 27.5 felt a little more "my size" in a way, the 29 Trek felt fine too(though it looked big to me) and really comfy actually (as others have stated, it felt like I was sitting "in" the bike, while with the 27.5, more "on top", yet both were comfortable and hecka fun feeling).
My initial purpose is light trail riding once or twice a week, taking it on camping trips for tooling around wherever we are, and likely using it as a multi-purpose bike around town as well. Nothing aggressive for now--we'll see where it leads of course. I'm in SoCal, and there's plenty of good riding nearby of varying intensity I'm told.
I feel I'd be happy with either one, I even like how they both look--I almost feel like I should flip a coin it's so close. But am I perhaps not considering something given the different wheel size and my intended uses/inexperience with mountain bikes? Should I ask for an off-road test ride? (would be tricky, given the locale of the shop--would have to drive them somewhere).

Any 2 cents appreciated.
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Old 01-03-14, 08:05 PM   #2
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X-Caliber has better brakes and 8-speed SRAM.
Talon has 9-speed Shimano.
The Talon having 9-speed almost makes me want to say that the Talon's drivetrain is better, but really, if you like the feel of SRAM, you'd probably take an 8-speed SRAM over 9-speed Shimano. SRAM vs Shimano is like Ford vs Chevy and iOS vs Android...preference.

Normally, I'm all for smaller wheels. But the fact that you said that you feel like you're in the 29er and on top of the 27.5 makes me say go with the 29er. Reversed from what you normally hear, but you can't argue with how the bike feels. Feeling like you're in/part of the bike will make for better maneuverability than feeling like you're on top of it.
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Old 01-03-14, 08:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Zephyr11 View Post
X-Caliber has better brakes and 8-speed SRAM.
Talon has 9-speed Shimano.
The Talon having 9-speed almost makes me want to say that the Talon's drivetrain is better, but really, if you like the feel of SRAM, you'd probably take an 8-speed SRAM over 9-speed Shimano. SRAM vs Shimano is like Ford vs Chevy and iOS vs Android...preference.

Normally, I'm all for smaller wheels. But the fact that you said that you feel like you're in the 29er and on top of the 27.5 makes me say go with the 29er. Reversed from what you normally hear, but you can't argue with how the bike feels. Feeling like you're in/part of the bike will make for better maneuverability than feeling like you're on top of it.
Thanks for the reply---very interesting. One thing I DID prefer about the 27.5 that I forgot to mention is that it was noticeably lighter than the 29 (I'm 5'8", 130lbs, so not a big guy by any means).
Will be getting back over there hopefully this weekend for one more test of both. Maybe next time "the one" will be more obvious!
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Old 01-04-14, 12:03 AM   #4
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I'd go for the 27.5 as my first choice, I've got a 29er and they don't handle as well as my old 26er, that extra weight in the wheels doesn't seem to want to change direction as easily.
9 speed shimano over 8 speed sram would also be my preference.
The type of riding that you intend on doing is the same as me when I bought my bike, Now that things have got interesting, I think the 29er is not the right bike for me. And being a roadie, you know about weight in wheels.
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Old 01-04-14, 12:28 PM   #5
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I'd go for the 27.5 as my first choice, I've got a 29er and they don't handle as well as my old 26er, that extra weight in the wheels doesn't seem to want to change direction as easily.
9 speed shimano over 8 speed sram would also be my preference.
The type of riding that you intend on doing is the same as me when I bought my bike, Now that things have got interesting, I think the 29er is not the right bike for me. And being a roadie, you know about weight in wheels.
Thanks--again, interesting perspective. I'm going back today to do my little shootout and likely bring one home----I'll report back if I do!
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Old 01-04-14, 07:27 PM   #6
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Well, the Giant 27.5 4 was the winner. Got it this morning and promptly took it out on some nice trails around here and had a blast. Dunno why I waited so long to get a mountain bike! I can see my road bike gathering some dust....
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