Forum home Mountain biking forum MTB buying advice

Direct or not direct

Good morning all,

After a period of time away from the sport, over the last 6 months I have got back into it and loving it.
I think it is about time I upgrade my 2008 Santa Cruz 26” wheel Chameleon to a full suspension.

I tend to ride single track / all mountain, ride to the top and back down again, longer days our. I also live near a bike park which I plan to get my back side too.

Thing have changed a lot since I bought my bike, wheel size alone. I’m thinking 27.5 might be the better option for me but I need to get out and try 29’s too.

Having started my research, the direct bikes are really jumping out at me, being

YT Jeffsy
Canyon Spectral
Radon trail

It is a little concern that I cannot try these.

However I love my Santa Cruz.

Is it worth the extra money and going for a Santa Cruz, or for my level or riding would one of the above be just as good for a 39 year old none completing chubby lad!

The nukeproof reactor also spiked my interest

What’s people’s experiences on the above bikes?

Looking at spending about £3k it I can get it passed the Mrs!!

Thanks in advance

Posts

  • reaperactualreaperactual Posts: 978
    edited June 2020
    All good high end bikes. I do personally like and rate Santa Cruz bikes as one of the best. Direct sales are good and work out cheaper the only problem is with warranty claims.

    I've no first hand experience but my friend had a YT Capra and experienced cassette issues, an E Thirteen I think.

    He had to send it back to Germany to be fixed under warranty and once shipping costs and the time it takes are factored in it's not a free fix, in fact the second time the same issue arose he bought new and fixed the problem his self which worked out cheaper and was done much quicker than sending it off.

    Read of similar warranty and email or phone contact headaches with these direct sales companies for Canyon bikes on forums too.

    Much better buying from a dealer as a point of contact if anything goes wrong. Just something to be aware of.

    Don't worry about the Mrs. I replaced a bike with a new one and it's stored in my kitchen. The first one was bright orange the new one was bright blue and the Wife didn't even notice for three months!😂👍
  • Thank you for the input. That is a valid point I had not considered.
    Something to consider for sure.

    I do have a real soft spot for Santa Cruz. My chameleon has not missed a beat. But I don’t want to be blinded to them and miss other good bikes too.

    Especially my level of riding too
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,311
    If you cannot try the bikes, how do you know they will fit you? The specific geometry varies from manufacturer to manufacturer on the same nominal size of bike. Foe example, I was very keen to get a Canyon Spectral but found that the Large was too short and the XL too tall. One of the Yet bikes I was looking at was too long in a Large and too tall in the Medium.

    The answer is to know what geometry suits you. Consider the bike you ride now and get the geometry chart. Look for Reach and Stack dimensions and compare them with the three bikes above. Also take into account the experience of one Forum member on here very recently who was considering changing the frame on his bike for a medium instead of a Large because only his tiptoes touched ground (when he had the saddle at what he considered to be the correct height). He had not appreciated that the height of the BB is constant throughout the range. What he really needed was a different frame all together, one with a lower BB height.

    I did the geometry comparison on several bikes and it worked for me except on the YT Capra. My problem there was that with the dropper post fully extended, and with the dropper body fully inserted into the seat tube, the saddle was 10 mm too high. What is the problem, I hear you ask? It's a dropper, drop it! But on the move it is difficult to drop a saddle by 10mm, my 4rse is not calibrated like that. I thought I could live with it, I couldn't. In the end the problem was solved for me when the Reverb dropper failed after a few months. This enabled me to replace it under warranty with a 125mm travel instead of a 150. Sorted!

    You can compare geometries to rule a bike in or out, but in the end the only real test is to ride one.
  • Thank you for your input and again it is another concern where the direct are concerned
    It is looking that the cost saving on direct are outweighed by the risk

    As in just getting back into riding, and my chameleon is 08 custom build I cannot really compare to modern gel frames
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,311
    I have bought several bikes off the 'net without having the benefit of a ride beforehand, but as I said earlier, I did the geometry review, and I knew what I was looking for. In addition you can read reviews and only buy ones that are 4 or 5 star, in which case you should be OK. Apart from a cracked frame, I can pretty much fix anything else myself that is likely to go wrong, or it would be cheaper overall to get if fixed at the LBS. If it was another major component failure, like a fork or a dropper, then I have gone direct to the manufacturer.

    I have been lucky so far. :)
  • I have bought several bikes off the 'net without having the benefit of a ride beforehand, but as I said earlier, I did the geometry review, and I knew what I was looking for. In addition you can read reviews and only buy ones that are 4 or 5 star, in which case you should be OK. Apart from a cracked frame, I can pretty much fix anything else myself that is likely to go wrong, or it would be cheaper overall to get if fixed at the LBS. If it was another major component failure, like a fork or a dropper, then I have gone direct to the manufacturer.

    I have been lucky so far. :)

    Thank you. I am reading plenty reviews. The MBR trails bike 2020 both direct and shop bought has been useful. I will continue reading and maybe see if I can find someone with a spectral jeffsy and a radon to try
    Along with the more common brands.

    I will have to try a bronson and a Hightower just to be sure but I fear I will be getting bottom of the range for the top of my budget
  • danlightbulbdanlightbulb Posts: 701
    When i was looking for a full suss a couple of years back, Bird bikes were really rated here. Not mentioned yet?

    In the end I didn't want to spend that much, but if you're budgeting £3k I'd certainly have a look, unless the guys here advise otherwise - perhaps the brand has changed since I last looked?
  • reaperactualreaperactual Posts: 978

    When i was looking for a full suss a couple of years back, Bird bikes were really rated here. Not mentioned yet?

    In the end I didn't want to spend that much, but if you're budgeting £3k I'd certainly have a look, unless the guys here advise otherwise - perhaps the brand has changed since I last looked?

    Your right danlightbulb, agreed, definitely worth a look.👍 they get overlooked because they aren't all over the internet like other brands.

    Bird Aries would be a strong contender in this price range. Lots of different build specs to choose from and think they can do custom builds too.👍



  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,311
    When you are out and about, keep an eye open for the type of bike you are looking for and engage the rider in conversation. Admire the bike, you are thinking of getting one, what do they think, how are they getting on and so forth. Ask your detail questions, but express concern about sizing or the fit. Ask if you may sit on it. They rider may offer to let you ride a few hundred yards. If they do, do not abuse it by disappearing round the corner!!! Stay within sight.

  • When you are out and about, keep an eye open for the type of bike you are looking for and engage the rider in conversation. Admire the bike, you are thinking of getting one, what do they think, how are they getting on and so forth. Ask your detail questions, but express concern about sizing or the fit. Ask if you may sit on it. They rider may offer to let you ride a few hundred yards. If they do, do not abuse it by disappearing round the corner!!! Stay within sight.

    Steve that was also in my mind to, I hope at nearly 40, a profession and the profession I am in I’d be classed as a trust worthy sort. I certainly wouldn’t be riding off
    But yeah I will keep my eyes open, near to where I live in Barnard Castle I see a fair few treks and Santa Cruz but not a single direct sale bike.
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,311
    When you are out on a bike, and in your biking gear, nobody can tell what profession you are in or whether you are trustworthy. From my appearance, I would not blame people for thinking me to be an impoverished ragamuffin on a stolen bike!

    But once we get to exchange a few words they will see what a diamond pillar of society I really am! B)
  • Well just been to my local shop, and had a little ride of a Hightower in large, a stump jumper in medium and a Whyte s150 in medium.

    The medium felt better with the 29’s. There is such a big difference to my 26’s.

    I certainly won’t be rushing into buying anything without being fully sure
  • Still struggling with this one. I’ve not found any one with the direct bikes locally to have a good look at.

    Keep coming back to Santa Cruz either a bronson or a hightower, but I’d be looking at the alu frame, probably the R build. When you compare that to the same value direct bikes, which are carbon with better components, I get stuck.

    I’m not sure I will actually feel much difference between the carbon and alu frames but I maybe wrong.
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,311
    Carbon frames are lighter than their equivalent alu, but not all carbon frames are the same. Even Santa Cruz I believe has two different carbon frames, one is heavier than the other; guess which is the more expensive?

    I am on my third carbon frame. The first was a YT Capra and I crept about on it at first, concerned that I might beak it. Stupid really as they are as tough as old boots, they just have different failure modes to alloy. Then I bought a Whyte T130C RS, another fantastic bike! By this time, I was into carbon frames and just rode totally normally. I wish that I had never sold that bike. I now have a Focus Jam2 9.6 NINE, which is a CF framed 29er.

    Santa Cruz have a good rep for carbon framed bikes, buy with confidence.
  • That’s my point buddy. If I stick with Santa Cruz I can’t afford the carbon frame. If I stick with SC it will be their alu frame
    But if I went with one of the direct bikes it would be carbon for less money or as near as damn it to the alu Santa Cruz
  • reaperactualreaperactual Posts: 978
    edited July 2020
    The basic choices of carbon vs aluminium frames always comes down to weight versus cost in the end, not really any differences in any other aspect.

    If you really want a carbon frame within your budget go with direct sales bike and be aware of the positives and negatives of buying direct.

    If you want a Santa Cruz you will either have to pay more or accept an aluminium framed version with the added piece of mind you get with a test ride and ensuring you get the right size bike.
  • I will have a deeper look at it. But I am not overly bothered for a carbon frame. Once would be nice but it is not a deal breaker. It is more the right feeling bike. I’m a big heavy lad so I can’t see a kilo or two difference making much real world difference to me.

    I guess a more accurate thought I’m having is, is Santa Cruz worth the extra money for the frame?

    I don’t want to be blinded by my love of SC, If that makes sense.

    The direct bikes offer superb value for money but the inability to even sit on one does concern me.
  • Harry182Harry182 Posts: 1,159
    Not sure if you're looking for other options but it may be worth checking out Intense Cycles.

    Intense are a similar bike company to Santa Cruz -- IIRC, both are smaller innovative southern California based setups with pro-racing backgrounds that have also shared design-development in the past.

    Intense do UK direct-to-consumer and have carbon bikes in your price range. Might be the best of both SC/carbon worlds.
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,311
    You do pay a premium for Santa Cruz, it is said. I have no idea if what you get is truly worth that premium because I have never ridden one, nor do I know anyone that has got one. Rarity has a certain cachet for sure. Their rep is high, maybe that and exclusivity is all you get for your extra money.

    Any idea how the second hand values hold up?
  • reaperactualreaperactual Posts: 978
    edited July 2020
    Only seen a couple knocking around while out and about. There is always someone at a trial centre that rocks up on a Santa Cruz, they get attention and catch the eye.

    Steve is probably right that they are more rare in the UK but they are very popular and highly thought of in the States.

    Worth more research to find out what your money actually gets you, exclusivity, quality or both.
  • loltorideloltoride Posts: 439
    I am with Steven I dont actually know anyone with one but regularly see them in wakefield, I must say I love the colors but damn are they expensive.
    So Far!
  • The resale value of them is extremely high. I currently have a hardtail Santa Cruz and have to say it has been brilliant.

    They are expensive and quite frankly I do not know enough about the geo to know any difference.

    A lot more research is required. The 4 bike I Keep looking at

    Sc bronson alu R
    Hightower alu R
    Canyon spectral 8.0 carbon
    Yt jeffsy pro carbon

    Possibly need to open up to other makes too and as I state it does concern me I cannot even sit on a direct bike so buying blind
  • reaperactualreaperactual Posts: 978
    Took me 3 months to decide on a simple hardtail without sitting on one or seeing one in the flesh but found everything I needed to know online one way or another. Don't rush and gather as much information as possible to get a good picture of your top choices which will make the decision a lot easier.
  • Took me 3 months to decide on a simple hardtail without sitting on one or seeing one in the flesh but found everything I needed to know online one way or another. Don't rush and gather as much information as possible to get a good picture of your top choices which will make the decision a lot easier.

    That is great to know, I thought I was over thinking it
  • reaperactualreaperactual Posts: 978
    Relax Pal. It's a considered purchase and a lot of money to spend.

    The truth is I enjoyed the research as much as the first ride on my new bike! 😎👍
  • Yeah I am enjoying it, so much conflicting information too.
    I keep thinking I’ve made a decision and then something else crops up.

    I keep leaning towards one of the two direct bikes as they are so good value for money, but then worry myself I’ve not sat on them.
    Then go back to the Santa Cruz ha ha ha

    I was hoping to test ride both Santa Cruz back to back this weekend but stif are still closed.
  • loltorideloltoride Posts: 439
    I normally would not of had an issue with this prior to Covid but since issues I had with delivery's, returning items and refunds I would go shop route. Although I have never had an issue with children bikes. that are normally ordered online.
    So Far!
Sign In or Register to comment.