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Demo rides for top end trailbikes

layerslayers Posts: 20
edited July 2019 in MTB buying advice
Hi all,

I am upgrading a 3yo Whyte T129 S (first SCR version) and lucky enough to be looking at top end bikes thanks to the Government Bike to Work subsidy.

From reading around I've booked in a demo with an Ibis Ripley, which looks right up my street for trail use / bit of XC. I'm comfortable on blues and can handle everything at somewhere like Swinley, most of mainstream Peaslake but some of the more gnarly trails in Redlands are too steep for me (at the moment) . I'm looking for a light bike that can handle Surrey Hills and mixed use, occasional trips to Wales and XC tours. I want something that can help me improve confidence and technical trails, plus start working on tables to get up to jumping a bit (nothing crazy!).

My question is how many bikes to Demo and how to do it? Coming off the Whyte, which is a great bike but not a top end one, I'm sure all £5k bikes I ride will seem amazing, but I'm thinking I should try a few for such a large purchase. From reading around it seems like Santa Cruz hightower would be a good benchmark comparison and easy to get hold of a demo, but other bikes I'd want to test seem impossible to demo outside of events and tours - any advice on how I can trial a few more and/or how many options I should try to be confident in getting the right bike? How do you guys tend to choose which bike is right for you?

Posts

  • JBAJBA Posts: 2,623
    You need to decide what you will mainly be using the bike for and go from there.
    The HIghtower is a full-on trail bike with 150mm suspension - great for technical trails and bike parks such as BPW but overkill and hard work for 'XC tours'.
    The Ibis Ripley would be a better choice as it has less travel and, in my opinion, is better suited to the mix of riding you list.
    However, a £5k bike will not make you a better rider. You could get something like the Giant Trance 29 1 for less money and spend some of the saving on a skills course. The course will make far more difference than the bike.
    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Bird Zero Mk1 ¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,747
    Bike to work is a tax incentive not a subsidy and its on a hire rate not purchase...

    Where is offering you a 5k bike as a matter of interest? Have you made sure you know what happens at the end of the year?
  • layerslayers Posts: 20
    Point taken on the travel on the Hightower - i wasnt planning to buy it, it's more to get a comparison on the quality of a bike at that cost (and there's one available at the LBS so it's easy) - i'm not sure there's an equivalent SC and that's the closest i could get. I hadnt looked at the Giant for the same reasons you mention against the Hightower - 150mm travel seems ovekill for what i ride. 120/130 seems about right. My worry is that without riding some more top end bikes i wont really have anything to compare it too - any 5k bike is going to be much better than what i'm used to.

    I'm not buying a bike under the impression it will make me a better rider - the reason i mentioned my skill level is to show i'm not looking for some crazy downhill jumper, but something that would cope as i improve and move up to more difficult terrain as i gain confidence, from what i can see the Ripley can do this. Compared to say the YT Jeffsy which looks a bit more burly and designed to be thrown around a bit more rather than a mixed use bike (and impossible to demo anyway as far as i can see).

    Regarding Bike to Work.it effectively is a subsidy. I'm aware of the hire agreement and also of the ability to arrange it so after 6 years the bike is signed over for nothing. The £1k restriction has now been lifted btw, which is what prompted this opportunity to upgrade. Obvs you still need to pay off a considerable sum, but a 42% discount encourages buying a good bike in one rather than upgrading existing (for me anyway).

    Really i'm looking for tips on how you guys get to demo bikes as a group test or compare to each other without waiting for Bike events etc. seem like the people on here have ridden a wide range, so how do you get to try them all?
  • jamskijamski Posts: 737
    You don't try them all, but I guess you can narrow it down a lot based on several factors, then try the ones you have left.

    How about Bird? The Aeris 120 would be perfect for you, although it's not an XC whippet, but you could spec a hell of a bike for £5k. IMO it's the perfect trail bike, a great all rounder.

    Not entirely sure how they work with the cycle scheme though, but they're great guys to deal with so I'm sure they'll help.
    Daddy, Husband, Designer, Biker, Gamer, Geek
    Bird Aeris 120 | Boardman Team 650b | Boardman Pro FS | Calibre Two.two
  • layerslayers Posts: 20
    Thanks will have a look at the Bird, looks easy to demo at Swinley too
  • JBAJBA Posts: 2,623
    layers wrote:
    I hadnt looked at the Giant for the same reasons you mention against the Hightower - 150mm travel seems ovekill for what i ride. 120/130 seems about right.

    Trance 29 is 130mm / 115mm travel.
    Search YouTube for reviews from Clint Gibbs.
    THIS is his latest one.
    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Bird Zero Mk1 ¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009
  • jamskijamski Posts: 737
    layers wrote:
    Thanks will have a look at the Bird, looks easy to demo at Swinley too

    Yep, it's about 20 minutes away. They have a number of different bikes in all the sizes, so you can try them all in a day if they're available.
    Daddy, Husband, Designer, Biker, Gamer, Geek
    Bird Aeris 120 | Boardman Team 650b | Boardman Pro FS | Calibre Two.two
  • layerslayers Posts: 20
    JBA wrote:
    layers wrote:
    I hadnt looked at the Giant for the same reasons you mention against the Hightower - 150mm travel seems ovekill for what i ride. 120/130 seems about right.

    Trance 29 is 130mm / 115mm travel.
    Search YouTube for reviews from Clint Gibbs.
    THIS is his latest one.

    Ah, looks much more like it. Thanks. Must have been looking at the 27.5.
  • joshy2joshy2 Posts: 19
    I have to say I was wondering the same recently. I'm curious to try the Intense Sniper and Yeti SB 130 (both of which incidentally might meet the OP's criteria) but both seem pretty difficult to demo.
  • layerslayers Posts: 20
    If you're in London, Moose Cycles has a Yeti sb130 in large to demo.

    I've lined up demos with the Ripley and an Evil The Following MB direct with a couple of bike shops. Time to hunt down a the Giant and maybe a Santa Cruz 5010...
  • JBAJBA Posts: 2,623
    Giant have a fleet of demo bikes that can be delivered to your nearest Giant dealer. Contact the shop and ask them to get one in for you.
    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Bird Zero Mk1 ¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 1,986
    The Whyte T130 is all the bike you will need. And you don't need to spend anywhere near £5k to get a cracker!

    I haven't looked recently at prices, but the T130C RS should be a fair bit less than £4k. What a cracking bike! I' ve had one. :):)
  • layerslayers Posts: 20
    The Whyte 130 looks like a great spec for the money but it's not as light as the others, I'll see how the 29ers go first, but thanks.
  • tom_howardtom_howard Posts: 792
    Is it just me that finds it funny that there is a tax relief scheme (it definitely isn’t a subsidy) for people who want to buy £5k+ toys to tool round a trail centre for a laugh, but not for someone on minimum wage who would like to buy a basic but functional bike as transport to be able to go and earn that minimum wage? How often do you intend to ride it to work OP?
    Santa Cruz 5010C
    Deviate Guide
    Specialized Sequoia Elite
    Pivot Mach 429SL
    Trek Madone 5.2 Di2
    Salsa Mukluk Carbon
    Specialized Turbo Levo Expert 29er
  • joshy2joshy2 Posts: 19
    layers wrote:
    If you're in London, Moose Cycles has a Yeti sb130 in large to demo.

    Thanks..I wasn't aware of that shop and it's near me.
  • layerslayers Posts: 20
    I'm not defending the government policy, but if they are happy to give me a huge discount, I'm certainly taking the opportunity. I do cycle to work anyway, but I do that on an old cyclo-cross bike fwiw.
    The bike to work scheme has been a hugely exploitable loop hole for ages years, they are doubling down now by lifting the £1k limit. If the government wants to give tax relief to cyclists I'm all for it. Certainly better than a lot of the stuff they spend their money on, such as the arms industry and bailing out banks, especially when spend is channelled via a LBS as this purchase will be.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,747
    Just to clarify, the limit hasn't be lifted, there was never a limit.

    The issue was that you need a consumer credit licence to loan more than £1000 (which some did before),however C2W has never been a loan and as such the CCL should never have been relevant, this has now been accepted as having always been the fact!

    It goes to show how ill thought out the scheme was, half the assumptions treated it as a HP and the other half as a rental.

    For clarity, if a C2W bike isn't used for that purpose for the majority of its use (it doesn't say number of rides or distance as the parameter) its tax evasion - an criminal offence.

    Personally I think a laudable concept has been handled and implemented really badly within the machines of government.
  • layerslayers Posts: 20
    According to the specialists I'm dealing with, using the bike to commute 12x in a year is sufficient, but they say they have never heard of a case being checked.
  • eric_draveneric_draven Posts: 1,182
    layers wrote:
    The Whyte 130 looks like a great spec for the money but it's not as light as the others, I'll see how the 29ers go first, but thanks.
    Have you checked the S120 for 29er version of a T130,again not the lightest in class but seems to be getting some cracking reviews https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi4JmIVfbcE&t=614s
  • kirkymtbkirkymtb Posts: 32
    You already seem to have a perfectly good bike for the riding you mention. Improving your riding skills rather than spending big money on a bike would seem the more sensible option.
    My MTB blog...https://wordpress.com/view/mountainbiker.home.blog
    Boardman FS Pro 2016. Whyte PRST 4 2004, Whyte JW 4 2004 :D
  • layerslayers Posts: 20
    Hi all, quick update on this - had the Ripley over the weekend via my LBS and put in about 60km over Surrey Hills and Swinley. It's a superb bike. The climbing position is incredible and the bike is very light. Once the post is dropped on the downhills, it really flies, but it's noticeable how it's a bike you ride actively rather than the Whyte, which you kind of hand off the back of as it bombs down the trail. All in all i rely liked it but the seatpost angle meant you're over the bars a lot when pedalling - it needs adjustment to ride it well.

    I also demoed the Santa Cruz 5010 from Pedal and Spoke for comparison and I really, really liked that. Unfortunately I can't demo the Evil the Following due to work commitments, but I think due to a great deal I've found on a 5010, my mind is made up.

    Conclusion to this thread from my point of view - if you want to demo a top end mountain bike, find your local dealer and go into the shop in person (none of them respond very well to emails) - have a chat with them about what you're riding and they are pretty good advising on the ranges they have and what will suit you BUT make sure you speak to a few people, as you get conflicting advise and comments depending on what the individual's opinion is and what their shop specialises in, so it's always good to speak to a few.

    Now, does anyone want to buy a Whyte T129 SCR :)
  • layerslayers Posts: 20
    https://forum.bikeradar.com/viewtopic.php?f=40089&t=13106732

    Whyte is now up on the Classified boards if anyone fancies a T-129
  • MidnightMidnight Posts: 80
    ???


    The moment I decided to spend over £3k I decided to build a custom bike, surely when you buy a pre built you are still buying what you are "told" to buy, I wanted what I wanted not what suppliers said I should have ???
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