Day 2 at Outdoor Demo was a little tougher to find those playful bikes that feel at home grinding up long steep climbs or tackling rougher sections of trail with competence. Here are a few that I found.
2016 Devinci Troy – 27.5, 140mm travel
The Troy was one fine riding bike that felt plush and pedaled really well even though it was fitted with Schwalbe Magic Mary and Hans Damph that are really slow and heavy tires for a trail bike like this. These tires won’t be on production models, so it would be interesting to give the bike a try with different rubber. I liked the Santa Cruz 5010 I rode yesterday much better than this bike even though it had a little less travel at 130mm.
Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert – 29″, 140mm front, 135mm rear
This is a bike I rode last year and liked, and thought I would like this one even more with all the updates. The bike pedaled well, but didn’t feel very plush in the rough. I think this is due to Specialized’s shock choice vs the higher volume Fox Evol’s and Rock Shox Debonair’s that are being spec’ed from other companies. Colors and graphics were kinda boring. For a 29er I much prefer either the Rocky Mountain Instinct or Transition Smuggler I rode yesterday over this bike.
Marin Rift Zone 9 – 29″, 120mm front, 110mm rear
The Rift Zone pedaled as well as the Stumpy and felt nearly as good in the rough with 25mm less rear travel. The KS LEV dropper post was really on the short side given the Roft Zone’s short seat tube. Longer legged folk may need a post swap with more drop to achieve full extension. The BOS fork seemed pretty nice, but a little overly active when standing. I’d prefer a Pike or Fox 34.