< And like I said, they want you to ride their bikes. Companies like Kona, Trek and Spec couldn't care less.
It will be interesting to see what happens.... early on, Kona was like Transition. They developed some pretty cool stuff without big R&D backing.
What do you think the odds of sell-out are? I bet if I offered a group of a dozen dirt-bags a mountain of cash along with royalties in perpetuity, for the use of their CAD files, they'd probably think twice about their commitment to a rider-owned business plan.
I like Kona but their custy relations suck as far as I can tell.
I really don't know about Transition. I'm willing to bet if someone was going to try to buy them out, it would have happened already. Perhaps if they really start to challenge the likes of the big boys, a big offer may come... I'm hoping they'd walk away, but by that time they may have had enough of what the bike industry has to offer.
I've talked to these guys a bit, and they seem like they've had their share of headaches from their suppliers but so far they've kept their shirts on and have grown.
I think the fact that they've started their own component line shows that they mean business and won't be walked on. The components are nice, but not cheap. Same can be said for their bikes. They do seem to be moving to the internet supplier business model though. I don't know if they'll dump their dealers altogether, but they might just let them die on the vine by offering the same product direct, for less. I bought my first Transition from my LBS. My current one was from them. So anyway, that may change the way they do business in the future and keep them from the big boys. Perhaps they'll be able to undercut them one day like YT and Canyon can.
I don’t know if mid fat tires are just a fad but friends who’s opinions I really value that ride really hard and work in the industry tell me that they don’t corner as well as a 2.3 to 2.6 dh tire. If you are into DH or enduro cornering is pretty much the holy grail. Heck, it’s the shit no matter what kind of riding you’re doing.
I’d look at 29ers Harv. The new batches are looking hot with mid travel but fun, slack geometry. I keep hearing (again from friends that I really respect the opinions of) that most companies are putting out really good and capable bikes now. It seems like suspension design and geometry has pretty much been dialed by the industry overall.
Pivot has some sick looking rigs this year and the new Specialized Stumpjumpers I hear are really fun.
Yup... been riding chairs, ropes, and bars to ski since 78. I don't plan on stopping until I absolutely have to.... hopefully I can make it another 45 years or so. There is a special place in my heart for all chair lifts... I love them like you love your 2nd best friend.
Don't get me wrong, I think lift serviced MTB riding is a fantastic opportunity for ski area development, and since I love ski areas just as much as chairlifts, I would never say that it should not be done.
I guess this is where I need to retract my previous statement to say "My bike does not belong on a chair lift"... for all the other lazy-assed, compulsive thrill seeking couch potatoes, who can't handle a healthy dose of suffering in their recreational pursuits... more power to them.
My overall recreational philosophy is in the process of evolving. As my body ages, lessening my risk of injury enhances the overall experience for me. My drive for an adrenaline inspired thrill has pretty much dried up. Conversely to my thoughts about my bike, with skiing I think I might ride the lifts more rather than less. In April, I had a difficult experience in the back-country on skis that made me reconsider my drive for powder and solitude. I have since decided on not going out touring alone or with strangers... it's always best to have backup, but you also need to know and understand the risk tolerance of the people you're taking those risks with.
Despite the nay-sayers upthread, I think a FS mid-fat (as in 27.5+) is a great choice for geezers like him and I. After test driving a top-of-the-line Salsa Pony Rustler a while ago on some technical local trails, my mind was blown by how stable the bike was and how I could confidently clear trail obstacles that had eluded me on other bikes. (as in landed on my ass). A friend who is a way more serious rider than I, and a bit older, came to the same conclusion and immediately bought a somewhat cheaper version, the Rocky Mountain Sherpa. Neither of these bikes is in Harv's budget limit, thought the current base model Pony Rustler is close.
The other bonus to the 27.5+ bike is that you can, assuming money is no object, buy a set of 29er wheels to slap on for those days on the the fast trails. And go rent a DH bike for the two days a season you might do that.
I don't want to be a naysayer to any bike, but based on what the OP asked about, I think a 27.5 with conventional tires and 5-6" of travel would be the best all-around bike to be able to ride XC and DH. He hasn't responded, so perhaps he's lost interest.
Why do I recommend what I did? Because MC09874359833? did? No. I had been lurking this forum and when I saw this post, that was the first bike that popped into my mind. It's been on my radar as a cheap, very capable bike for pretty much anyone, but especially those with a limited budget. $2500 is nothing to sneeze at, but in the bike world, it's a fairly limited budget. I build my own bikes and I'm not bragging, but rather crying, when I say I start around $4k. But I know exactly what I want to put on them rather than be at the mercy of the bean counter specifier.
So why 27.5? Because they are strong, have a plethora of good, wide tire options and usually most frames will fit them, and they feel natural to most everyone. Some people struggle with 29ers even though there are a ton of monster truck, big travel 29 Enduro bikes out there now, this is just the latest fad. I'm sure they are all great, and fun bikes, but I know some will go back to the wheels they feel comfortable with. It's the same thing in UCI DH racing. The pros there are finding there really isn't enough of a benefit either way go away from what feels comfortable. In XC, 29ers rule the roost, but we aren't talking about racing bikes here. This is recreational riding. I'm a 29er guy but it took me a long time to really feel comfortable on them, and to be honest, I'd jump on a 27.5 any day and feel more comfortable hitting jumps and railing berms. So anyway, if you find a 29er that you really like, and have ridden it and it feels great, go for it, but if you are on the fence and you can't test ride, you might want to err more conservative. Especially if you are considering using it for park days - that will seriously test your comfort zone.
Why 6" of travel? Because for riding at 25+ mph at a bike park, you'll want it. Because riding with the smaller wheels with less rollover you won't even notice that, it'll still monster truck everything. Because suspension designs are so refined now, even the long travel bikes pedal well and don't weigh much more. Because having 6" of damped travel is FAR, FAR better than 5" of damped travel and 1" of bouncy plus tire in terms of real control. Because 2.6 tires, if you choose to use those, are friggin' huge as it is, and you can buy ones with a lot more aggressive tread patterns.
Why take your own bike to the bike park? Because you'll feel more comfortable on it and progress on it for riding trail. Because when you break it, you'll know its weak link and make it better. Because you'll figure out how to set your own bike up. Because unless you are a dedicated DH rider, you probably won't get any more out of a 8" travel bike going a couple times a year, and if you do, it won't translate to the limits on your trail bike.
BIkes in this range have become so capable and cover such a wide range, that if you have an interest in DH and still want to ride trail, you should consider getting something that can cover all and do all pretty well. And if you progress to the point where you push the ability on a bike like this, then you are ready to buy a DH bike. If you get to a point where you feel bored on your local trails or get tired of pedaling a 30 lb bike uphills, buy a carbon hardtail. But until then, this will cover all your bases for way less money than 3 bikes.