Ever since April, I've been on a quest for my next bike — a new bike, that is. A small problem I have is there are so many good bikes out there. Almost for every bike, I can find people who love it. Before summer, I had gone to a few demos hosted by our local bike shops and also have rented demo bikes on my own. The approach I'm taking is choosing by elimination, but I admit I have been biased. I've been wanting to make Ibis Mojo work for me. It's been really hot lately. My friend Just bought one after having demoed a bunch of bikes. And the bike looks so radical. etc. etc. However, it lost its battle (to win me that is) after I rode it back to back with a Santa Cruz Blur LT and a Specialized S-Works Safire Expert today.
I took these three bikes on the exact same route at Water Dog park in Belmont (see this map for reference): Lake Trail Road to the end (gradual fire road) -> L: John Brooks Trail (including a loose rutted down hill and four short steep pitches, aka Four Sisters) -> L: drop down a shortcut to and turn right on Chaparral Trail -> R: Elevator Trail (A steep rocky climb) -> L: down a short cut to Chaparral to its end (including some very tight downhill switchbacks) -> R: Upper Creek Trail -> L: over to Carlmont area -> R: down Jack Daniel (a rutted, loose, off camber, steep downhill) . In a nutshell, this trail got almost everything.
The Ibis Mojo felt most twitchy on the steep downhill. The Blur LT and Safire felt very stable and gave me a lot of confidence. They all handled climbing equally well, and the Safire and the Blur LTc both descended well for me. For very short steep climb, Safire seems to track its line the best (while I got a little bobbing in both Mojo and LT, which I could easily work on.) But I remember the day before when I rode a Blur LTc, I climbed in the big chain ring for the first time. I felt strong on that bike (emphasis is on "felt"). I was amazed by and loved that feeling. The funny thing was during our three demo rides (all initiated and ended at the bike shop), our friend Derek stayed behind on the fire road climb on the two other bikes he demoed and he flew up (i.e. dropped me) when he was on a Blur LTc. Now he says he has found his bike.
I think I've found mine too.
(For Erik's comment on Tallboy, read this MTBR thread.)
Following photos are from Santa Cruz Bikes website:
Update: So, did I end up buying an LTc? Find the answer in this post.