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Seeking advice on obtaining a mountain bike (cross country)

elemmac

Angel Diva
- diamondback release 3
- orbea occam M30
- scott genius (this seems more like a trail but was assured it rides like a cross country)

A few thoughts on these, just looking at specs alone. The Diamondback appears to have a leg up on the Orbea, as far as drivetrain and brakes go. If prices are equal, you're getting better components for your money with the Diamondback. But it looks like the Orbea is a carbon frame (I couldn't find an actual description though). If this is accurate, you're getting a better frame with the Orbea. With that being said, I don't know anything about Orbea frames and how durable they tend to be. You didn't mention which Genius is available, so tough to compare that one.

I agree with what others have said about the Genius being a trail bike, however, all three of these are definitely trail bikes (not just the Genius). They're all 140mm travel, with a 34mm fork and a decent amount of slack. They are very comparable as far as geometry goes.

I have ridden a Genius for the past 4 years (upgraded last year, but still own the Genius, because it's amazing and I'm attached haha). I will say it is an amazingly versatile bike. It has the necessary suspension lock outs, a half lock for more cross-country style rides and a full lock for pavement/dirt roads. I know the old models could take either 27.5 wheels or a 29 with a rear axle adjustment (not sure if this is still a feature in the newer ones). It also has a low/high chip that makes it run quite a bit different. High if you want more cross country, low for more trail/enduro style riding. I always rode mine in Low, and never had issues climbing or riding flatter, cross-country style terrain.
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I don't mean to throw more confusing terminology into the mix, but lately I've seen the word "Downcountry" thrown around for short-travel bikes that also descend well. Here's a cool piece that mentions some bikes and talks about the category.

I think it's great that there are so many different types of bikes, and that they are all so GOOD. It seems similar the explosion of ski types in the past decade or so; it may make things more complex at the outset, but ultimately it's such a boon to have so many great options!
 

echo_NY

Angel Diva
That is amazing SallyCat. Just read it!

I think the scott genius is the 930 looking at the store website. I will go test though and come back with the actual model

Head angle are 66 and 67 for the release 3 and genius 930.

Orbea bike: here are the specs from the store website. Head angle at 77:

It's the perfect bike for someone who wants the confidence of an enduro bike wrapped up in a light and efficient trail bike. It's an ideal bike for folks who find themselves pushing up and down trails that aren’t on any map and just as stable and comfortable spending the day riding the lifts at the park. If your favorite rides begin or end with headlamps, an ice chest and great friends and if you are looking for that bike to help take you the next level of riding with confidence and control, then the Orbea Occam should be your bike.

A beautiful blend of efficient climbing and confident descending make this one of the best trail bikes on the market.

Shock Fox Float DPS Performance 3-Position Evol custom tune 210x50mm
Fork Fox 34 Float Performance 140 3-Position QR15x110
Crankset Shimano SLX M7100 32t
Handlebar OC1 35mm 12mm Rise 780mm
Stem OC1 3D Forged 35mm interface 7º
Shifters Shimano SLX M7100
Brakes Shimano MT501 BR520 Hydraulic Disc
Cassette Shimano SLX M7100 10-51t 12-Speed
Rear derailleur Shimano XT M8100 SGS Shadow Plus
Chain Shimano M7100
Wheels DT Swiss M-1900 Spline 30c TLR 15/110mm CL
Tyres
Tyres
Pedals N/A
Seatpost OC2 Dropper 31.6m
Saddle Fizik Taiga S-alloy rail
Front Hub
 

elemmac

Angel Diva
Head angle are 66 and 67 for the release 3 and genius 930.

Orbea bike: here are the specs from the store website. Head angle at 77:

On their website it shows the head angle at 66 degrees (77 is the seat tube angle)...77 would be a STEEP head tube angle, almost unsteerable on trail. This was one of the things I looked at when saying that the three bikes you've listed are very comparable.

Looking up the Genius 930, it's a fantastic bike, good components and a carbon frame. However, I did realize that they changed the travel since I had my bike...mine was 140mm, they've bumped it up to a 150mm travel and a 36mm fork. This is probably overkill for what you're looking for...fun bike that can handle everything, but the 36mm fork starts to get a bit heavy. So if you don't need it for the riding you plan on doing, I would steer towards the other two.

But...if they're all at the same shop, or in the same area, it couldn't hurt to get on all three and try them out. If nothing else, you may be that much happier with the one you choose, knowing it's the best out of 3, instead of the best out of two.
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
I don't mean to throw more confusing terminology into the mix, but lately I've seen the word "Downcountry" thrown around for short-travel bikes that also descend well. Here's a cool piece that mentions some bikes and talks about the category.

I think it's great that there are so many different types of bikes, and that they are all so GOOD. It seems similar the explosion of ski types in the past decade or so; it may make things more complex at the outset, but ultimately it's such a boon to have so many great options!

DH and I were laughing about "Downcountry" the other day. I think it sounds good - that's more my style. It's literally the opposite of his mentality - I think he's modified every bike he's owned to add additional travel. But yes - if you can figure out what you like, there is something out there for you. :smile:
 

echo_NY

Angel Diva
OK it was a warm spring day today! I went and tested the Orbea Occam M30 and the Scott Genius 940.

They have 930 on the website, but this was a 940 that they had in stock.

Some thoughts I had:
the Orbea Occam M30
It was gorgeous and a nice bike. there is a way to ride the shocks firm, medium and soft for both front and rear shocks. I didn't notice much change between them when switching. They adjusted the pressure to my weight. But it doesn't lock out completely and you can tell when riding.

The gearing I didn't love. It felt a little not great shifting up and down. It didn't allow for large differences between the top and the bottom range -- which concerned me. I would hear it shifting and feel it too -- and it did not feel smooth... which I tend to hate on a serviced bike. It should shift like a dream I would think. Some of that comes down to the shop, they have some control over that (all control?) and it definitely didn't shine in shifting.

It rolls right over the bumps and crushes anything in its path which was cool. i think more a result of the 2.6 inch 29-ers. The drop seat was super easy to use and smooth. Great feature! love that.

The Scott Genius 940
-- Also gorgeous and amazing bike. it had the same drop seat that the Orbea did. what a great feature...! it allows to completely lock out the shocks and become a fully rigid bike. wow it was super responsive when I did that. I could lean into banking turns and that thing would just let me do it with ease. So amazing. It also has 3 settings of how much give to allow in the shocks.

The shifting was flawless and it went up and down, no problem at all, super smooth and easy. Also the shifting range, top to bottom, was much wider for shifting which makes me think I can really lower for the ups and crank it for the downs. The bike had 29s on them, and it just flew with each pedal stroke.

Summary
I didn't get to take either up and down hills or thru natural terrain. I used dirt, curbs, drains as "features"...in parking lots. What can you do :shrug:

I put a down payment on the Scott. It did everything I would want from it in a parking lot, so hopefully will do well elsewhere. If I decide not to go with it, I can use it toward servicing my Surly in case I decide not to go with it. And the shop is close to me which is great.

Tomorrow I'll go and check out the Diamondback Release 3. It's about an hour drive. Apparently very much worth a visit as it's one of these old school bike shops in Vermont and it's just worth a visit for the experience... they say it will feel like I went back in time.

I thought it would be closer to squeeze in a visit today, alas, not so. Eager to see what I'll find tomorrow!
 

echo_NY

Angel Diva
I'm re-reading what everyone wrote with a better understanding of what is meant. Definitely have a lot to learn. I just came across pinkbike's youtube tutorials. I had taken some classes before on bike handling that went over handling on roads, dirt, etc. But it's been a few years since I took them and could use some refreshers on what I can try when I get out there. I'm so relieved. For awhile I was thinking I wasn't going to get on a mtn bike this season due to the shortage...!
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
That Scott is a fantastic bike!

There are normally an abundance of women's clinics around Vermont in the summer, especially up around E. Burke. I hope that things can get somewhat back to normal in that regard this season.

"Liz and Leah's Upper Valley Ladies Rides" Facebook page will connect you to some great women's rides around the WRJ/Lebanon area. It's always great fun to ride with their groups.
 

echo_NY

Angel Diva
Test rode the Diamondback Release 3
It’s a nice ride. Shifting was great. Responsive. Had the setting firm, medium, soft on the shocks too. Also had a drop seat for the descents. It was better set up than the Orbea, but the geometry felt too... off. The geo on the Orbea was slightly better and the scott too. I liked it but was less impressed.

I got to test ride a Kona hei hei with 29” — I thought it was definitely very much more race-y.

Great bikes. But definitely going with the scott genius.
F44443F4-65D0-4206-BAB3-B8E2DFE05CD0.jpeg17C876C1-D04C-4CBC-A15B-6A3FD2465018.jpeg
444F36A4-59EE-47D0-91C9-1DC0C40AA5E0.jpeg
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Yeah, the Hei Hei is pure cross country; a beautiful bike. A friend rides one and indeed, he is a racer.

That D-back is funny; I don't think I'm terribly snobby/picky about bike components, but there's no way I'd pay that much for a bike that didn't have internal cable routing.

Congrats on finding a great bike in a tough year!
 

echo_NY

Angel Diva
I thought that was weird! The external cable routing, that is. I would expect it on my surly crosscheck, when I bought it it was in the 1300 range in cost and steel. Wow they’ve come down in price to $899!

So I think the Diamondback is aluminum. The scott I believe has a carbon frame. It’s not as lightweight as I would like but it’s pretty fast. Surprisingly.

After our drive thru Rochester VT (love the town...!!!) and Waitsfield and Warren, stopped by for lunch. Then headed to Waterbury to pick up the scott genius.

I rode home after picking up the bike, lube, and getting the suspension adjusted. The husband and kid drove back.

The ride was about 12 miles from Waterbury to home. Beautiful! I realized I do need the seat a touch higher.

Yes I’m glad to have found a killer bike in such a time of scarcity...!
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Thought of this thread today on a long gravel bike ride. On the way home, I decided to duck into the woods and ride about 3 miles of singletrack that'd just opened for the season. I'd ridden the gravel bike on some pretty tame MTB trails before, but this was a longer ride on slightly more rugged trail. I thought it would be fun/interesting, plus the trail pops out right above my house, so it would save me a boring 1/2 mile pavement climb home.

Conclusions from the ride:

1. Not having suspension was much less of an issue that I thought it would be. It was easy enough to pop the front wheel up over roots and rocks, and loose arms and legs made for decent suspension at moderate speed.

2. Not having wide bars WAS an issue, though. Holy moley, the twitchy instability of the steering control was unnerving in places. I did a lot of foot-dabbing in the more "techy" sections.

3. It turned out to be a really cool forced exercise in good riding position and habits. With no dropper post, no suspension, and crazy-narrow bars I really had to pay attention and shift/use my body position constantly; I assume that means that good mountain bike design has made me a bit lazy and inattentive as a rider.

I might make a point of doing this more often; it will probably improve my MTB riding and it was great fun.

Screen Shot 2021-04-25 at 7.40.58 PM.png
 

geargrrl

Angel Diva
Our old XC bikes (late 90's era) had that kind of geometry and narrow bars, lol. We take our gravel bikes on singletrack around here to link up some gravel rides. Different and fun and definitely a feeling of accomplishment.
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Our old XC bikes (late 90's era) had that kind of geometry and narrow bars, lol. We take our gravel bikes on singletrack around here to link up some gravel rides. Different and fun and definitely a feeling of accomplishment.

Oh yeah, the trails I ride were built in the 90s and you can tell by the NARROW tree gaps and tight corners. I've definitely found myself staring at the sky a few times after clipping a tree with my 2017 handlebars. :eek:

I used to tease the trail builder about the tree gaps after he bought a modern bike, but he likes to point out that as time goes on, they'll only get narrower, lol.
 

echo_NY

Angel Diva
Here’s the hei hei, forgot to attach the photo. Just of the rear cassette...!
 

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