Been in brain lock about buying a mountain bike. My good buddy “Brad”: finally gave me a push. Here are some of his words of wisdom below. There are quite a few Santa Cruz Blurs now on ebay as the early adopters are getting their next bikes. The powercoat lists for $1300 and the anodized for $1500, so if you can get a frame for $1,000 or so that’s a pretty good deal.

You should really buy one. they are so much fun. it sounds like you’ve done a lot of research. have you talked to the guys at “downhill zone”: i’ve found them to be the most knowledgable guys in town for mountain biking.
With this new vpp design and new shock designs (stable platform), there are new bikes coming out all the time.
i would think you want a trailbike with 4-5″ travel. with the new designs, you can get a 5″ travel bike that rides great, like a 3″ bike used to. I don’t think you’ll be doing stunts or drops or jumps — which would steer you to a beefier, heavier bike (5-7″ travel).
the bikes on my short list for a trail bike would be the blur with 5th element shock, an ellsworth truth (which I have), and a turner 5 spot. the blur is 4.5″, the truth 4″, and the 5 spot 5″.
i really like intense bikes too. the spider xvp though is supposedly more of a race bike than the blur. there was a head to head review in mountain bike action that i think i still have if you want. i heard intense is coming out soon with a more trail oriented vpp. but it took them so long to get the spider out, i wouldn’t hold my breath. the downhill zone guys though would know — they are well connected with intense (a few are sponsored by intense).
the intense tracer is nice but it’s only 3″.
for components, i’d go with xt, hayes hydraulic disk brakes, and either xt or chris king hubs. standard stuff that will perform great and is not too expensive. Mountain bike stuff wears out or you crash and break it, so it’s less appealing to go xtr to me (plus i’m undecided on the new xtr shifting). disk brakes are great — especially around here where it’s wet.
For fork, with a 4″ bike you want a 100mm fork, like a fox or a manitou super air. I am not a huge fan of rock shox anymore. Marzocchi is also good but their best are more freeride oriented. the marathon sl is a good fork.
The best thing though is to talk to the dh zone guys if you haven’t already. they know their stuff and can help you pick the best frame and parts.

One response to “Mountain Bike Review”

  1. Rich N. Avatar
    Rich N.

    Check out Ventana as well, I just purchased one this past summer and am truly enjoying it. Purchase through, they have a great bike sizing tool.

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