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Top Fuel vs F-Podium vs Trail Pistol vs Mach 4 SL vs Tallboy | 2020 Pinkbike Field Test

Top Fuel vs F-Podium vs Trail Pistol vs Mach 4 SL vs Tallboy | 2020 Pinkbike Field Test


– But then you could use
that as an excuse, though. – Then it is probably better for you. – That’s the perfect downcountry bike. You could be like, “Ah, it’s got a little
skinnier on scary stuff!” “I gotta go around it,
I’m downcountry riding!” (laughing) – Yeah, I guess you need a lot
of excuses riding but yeah. – Yeah, sometimes I do.
– Yeah. – Fragile male ego?
(laughing) – That’s fair. I do have a fragile ego.
(laughing) ♪ I won’t pass too much,
I’ve been with something ♪ ♪ I won’t pass too much,
I’ve been with something ♪ (laughing) – Hey everybody, I’m Mike Levy. We’re here at Pinkbike’s
annual Field Test, and it’s time we talk
about editor’s choice. The category that we’re
gonna talk about now is downcountry, and
what the heck is that? It’s basically trail
bikes with less travel so you have an excuse to go
around all the scary things. Now in this category, we have the Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol, the Pivot Mach 4 SL, Mondraker’s, this is quite the name, – the Podium–
– The F-Podium DC. – F-podium DC.
– What’s the DC stand for? – DC stands for downcountry. And then we also have Trek’s Top Fuel, and then the Juliana Joplin,
also known as the Tallboy. Alright so, you guys have
been riding these five bikes for the last two weeks. Let’s start with the bike that sticks out for you in a good way. What is your favorite of these bikes? Which one would you take home? – Well, I can say that I had the most fun on the Guerrilla Gravity
and the Joplin or Tallboy. Probably because they
did have the most travel, they had, I would argue,
the funnest geometry. But if you wanna limit that
to a downcountry bike, I kinda feel like they’re
kinda pushing the limits for what a down country bike is. And the more I thought
about it, the more I, I have to say that the
Top Fuel grew on me, because I really didn’t like it at first, but it does pedal really, really well. I mean it feels like a cross country bike when you’re pedaling it, it just goes really fast,
and the suspension is weird because it’s so harsh off the top, but I did like how it kinda got better the more you abused it. Like it just wanted you
to throttle on everything, and then it got really fun. – Would you pick the Top Fuel too, or? – I think the Top Fuel could be like, a good bike if you were
doing a BC Bike Race, but if I were just to choose
one bike out of these five I’d definitely go with
the Guerrilla Gravity. – The Trail Pistol?
– The Trail Pistol, yeah. – [Mike] It’s probably two
pounds heavier than it should be you know, in 2019, 2020. – It definitely felt like the most capable bike that we have here. – The geometry, you liked the geometry? – Geometry wise, it
felt, I know its cliche, it just feels like it has more
travel than it does, as well. – Yeah no, fair enough. Is there a bike that surprised you? That you got on and you were like, “Oh, this is a lot worse than I thought” or “a lot better than I thought”? – [Sarah] I’d say I was really
excited about that Pivot and it kind of disappointed me. – [Mike] You got that fancy
electronic suspension on there, don’t you that should’ve made life easier? – [James] It kinda did in some ways but it can’t make up for
the fact that it’s basically a cross country bike, with
longer travel fork on it. – [Sarah] Yeah, I’d be curious to try that bike actually in it’s 100 millimeter front and rear configuration. – Yeah, more as a pure race bike. – Yeah. – It kinda feels like it
should be that way, eh? – Yeah. – It feels like they added a fork later. – Is there a bike that you guys
want to spend more time on, maybe you think like a few more weeks, another month you’d grow to love? Maybe it needs a few
changes, I don’t know? – The Mondraker for me, no question. – Yeah, it’s interesting, eh?
– Yeah, well that bike, I feel like Mondraker
really got the fundamentals of that bike pretty well dialed in. The geometry is really
good, the handling is good, I mean the seat tube is nice and steep and it’s pretty long, it’s got a nice neutrally
slack head tube angle. – It’s easily the coolest
looking bike here. – Definitely the coolest looking bike. And it’s light. I feel like if Mondraker had put on a different suspension tune for the rear and maybe got rid of the
silly, backwards lockout thing that they have, but I
would love to try that bike with a different spec and it sounds like it
might actually be able to, pretty soon.
– Nice. – Which I’m pretty excited about. – Okay, That’ll be interesting. – [Sarah] I mean, I do agree with James that Mondraker had a lot
of things going for it, that being said I don’t want
to spend more time on it, like it wasn’t that much
fun to ride right now. – Why do you think that is? – [Sarah] I just think it still feels a bit too cross country-ish for me. – Okay, so this whole downcountry thing. I feel bad that I put the
name out there (chuckles) and it’s sort of taken off a little bit. It is kinda silly but
do you think, you know, where do you see this going in the future? Are these just trail
bikes, or is there actually some sort of downcountry
thing actually happening? – [James] I like it. I mean, I think there are a lot of places where a cross country bike,
at least the backend anyway, would work really well. – Yeah.
– Because a lot of times you just don’t
need that much travel, but a lot of times, you also want a bike that handles like a
trail bike but is lighter and that’s basically what it is. – It’s kind of like a weird category, because it’s not quite
a cross country bike and it’s not quite something
you could do everything on. – Yeah.
– But it’s, I see it as like an exciting cross,
or an exciting trail bike. – Yeah, I would agree. – [Sarah] Yeah, you can
kind of go fast on the climbs and descents, the
descents are gonna be a little bit maybe sketchier. – [Mike] Or more fun. – [Sarah] But it kinda keeps
you on your toes, yeah! – Or more fun. Less travel, little steeper angles. – Yeah! A lot of times, I think
that can make it more fun. I mean not everywhere. It’s pretty gnarly up
in some of those places. – Yeah, depending on the
trails you’re riding. – Right? – It can either make them more exciting or make them unridable. – But then I could see you
on a downcountry bike, you can go around the things. – Yeah right, like what you see. – Yeah, but I would agree, to me they seem a lot like cross country bikes in spirit. That’s the big thing,
like the Top Fuel to me. That is a downcountry bike. – It is.
– Alright so, one thing that’s pretty obvious when you
look at the bikes out there is the so called downcountry bikes that half of them kinda
seem like trail bikes and half of them seem
like cross country bikes that maybe have been
up-forked a little bit. They come stock with bigger
tires and things like that. None of them, maybe like
the Top Fuel for sure, but they’re not really purpose built for doing that kind of stuff. That’s what it sounds like to me, like, the Guerrilla Gravity sounds
more like a trail bike. – Yeah, I would say that there’s a variety of different ways people have come to turn this into a downcountry bike. It’s either coming from a
cross country background, or more from a trail and kind of some… – But there are definitely
disadvantages to doing it from kind either extreme. Like the Guerrilla Gravity is too heavy, but for other reasons, too. The Tallboy and the Joplin arguably are, I mean, they could be lighter,
28 pounds is pretty good but not really awesome. And then the Top Fuel, they built that as a downcountry bike, and I think it shows, for the most part. And then that Pivot really
did feel like it was a cross country bike
that they just slapped a longer fork on later, and just didn’t work out quite as well. So, that Mondraker kinda ended up being a downcountry specific bike, only because Mondraker’s geometry is
so progressive that they were already doing that anyway. But, I would like to see more company’s do dedicated bikes for that
kinda riding because they are really fun.
– Yeah like, we could combine everything of the lightness of Top Fuel with the angles of the Juliana
and the Guerrilla Gravity that would be the perfect
downcountry bike. So you could really beat
your friends to the top. – Alright so, I think we
all have to apologize for saying downcountry so much. We probably can’t say
it for about a year now. We’re all wrapped up,
you’re not going to hear for a little while. That’s it. If you have any questions,
put em’ down below, we’ll come in and answer them. Stay tuned for more videos,
from Pinkbike’s Field Test. (uplifting music)

58 thoughts on “Top Fuel vs F-Podium vs Trail Pistol vs Mach 4 SL vs Tallboy | 2020 Pinkbike Field Test”

  1. Well, at least we didnt get a new tire size this time around.
    Allso, xmas is coming and still no trail or enduro bikes?
    I honestly dont really care all that much about those companies wanting to create the next useless hype, so…
    (Theres a fine line between having to pay the rent, and being a shill, you know?)

  2. The downcountry term is just going to further confuse an already confused group of mountain bikers. There's no benefit to it.

  3. Yes!! I want a XC bike that’s a bit more capable on decent’s. I’m a downhiller/enduro rider at heart, but going XC for some endurance racing.
    Which one is the best XC with a bit more downhill capability???
    Thanks

  4. I really like pinkbikes video's but please don't let these two do any more videos I can't make it halfway through they've got no personality!

  5. I'm looking for a new frameset but I can't really find many options that fit my criteria. I want to use 650b and I have a 140mm fox 34 so I could up that to 150 I suppose. Have a 31.8 dropper. The commencal tr is the only thing that seems to fit my spec that I can find, would prefer a threaded bb but that's not to much of an issue. Anyone have any suggestions of other bike? Metal over plastic. Thanks.

  6. these downnn country bikes might make more sense if they were reviewed by riders with a XC background instead of trail/enduro riders… as a former XC racer myself i can’t say enough about how much fun these downcountry bikes are comparing to them xc bikes… in my mind these are great choices for ppl that want their bikes to have a bit more capabilities than their current xc bikes.. with that being said converting a full sus xc bike to one of these is easy and relatively cheap, a fork a dropper and maybe stronger brakes do it all… if someone were to look into buying a whole new/different bike a trail bike makes more sense to me

  7. what are the group's thoughts – why wasn't a Yeti SB100 included in the round-up? Seems like the folks at Yeti purposely developed that bike for 'down country'…..

  8. why should I care what these reviewers think about these bikes? are they considered fast or skilled riders? have they ever designed a bicycle themselves or in a team?

  9. I know everyone is constantly talking about this "down country" category, but it seems really straight forward to me. Its about progressive geometry matched with a priority on pedaling/short(er) travel and light weight. These bikes are for people who would normally want/need a traditional XC bike, but want alittle more descending capabilities . You wouldn't buy it for a bike park…just like you wouldn't buy an SB150 to win XC races.

  10. Not gett'n down with this "Down Country" term. How about Down XC or Gnar XC bikes? Maybe Trail Lite? Anyway in a year or so this is where XC bikes will be heading anyway as the courses become more technical.

    Don't go round stuff, smash them with your front wheel and go over, preferably without going over the bars first. 🙂

  11. Downcountry is the perfect category! Mid travel 29ers are all the rage right now. I wish an Ibis Ripley would have been included…it may have won ?‍♂️.

  12. The bike that peaks my interest is the GG Trail Pistol. I’ve been wanting a GG frame but was hoping that they would update to the 157mm spacing.

  13. Why must we go as fast as possible up hill if it's not a race? I'm guilty, I want it all. Do I need it all ? no but I still want it all… 30 years of mtb marketing tells me so… wait a tic

  14. To do a comparison should you not define what the travel is of "Downcountry"? Is it 100mm or 120mm? A Pivot 429 Trail is 120mm which compares better to your other 120mm bikes in this test.

  15. Sarah Moore, by saying "Fragile male ego" you are acknowledging there is a innate difference between men and women, invalidating your stance on transgenderism.

  16. I have a giant anthem 27.5 2018, I is meant to be 110mm r and 130mm f but I bumped it up to 140mm and its "down country" really good pedaling and descending

  17. Please, not another category of bike. These desperate sales tactics really are getting out of hand now. What will be the next latest and greatest product the public don't need but will be told they do need? *Sighs

  18. To summarize: 
    the funnest enduro bike is the one the one most like a downhill bike,
    the funnest trail bike is the one most like an enduro bike,
    the funnest downcountry bike is the one most like a trail bike…

    I think to really evaluate these bikes you'd ned to have done larger single rides on them. This test method effectively just evaluates how well they get you to the top so you can focus on the descent where the benefits of not going with a trail over enduro bike or downcountry over trail bike is on a longer 12-30 mile ride the character of the ride is totally different because of how the bike covers terrain. Sure on just one climb and descent the most aggressive bike will come out on top, but anyone who's ridden an enduro bike on longer rides now has or wants a trail bike. Thanks for the work and providing the entertainment it's been a great series, just some observations for next year

  19. Wouldn't these have just been called trail bikes a few years ago? I thought DC was supposed to be XC bikes that are overforked, and maybe a bit slack. Oh well. I never understood the difference between All mountain and enduro either.

  20. oh i get it! Down country is just a category of trail bike that is at the short travel end of Trail bikes………..

  21. Levy, don't feel bad to put a name to the category that you're trying to describe. I had a RIP 9 form 2010 that filled that niche to a tee. It was perfect for a do-it-all bike for someone who didn't have gnarly downhill yet still had some chunk to ride (like Tucson, AZ). Roots in cross country trails with a love for shredding fast (and possibly loose) trail. It has it's place and I think that with as many categories of mtb as there currently are, down country is here to stay. Own the fact that you were the first to recognize it!

  22. Down Country ? Really and why this renaming of a trail bike ?
    I’ve been mountain biking since 1986 . And started building up bikes to ride on trails in the woods since 1974ish.
    As the xc bike evolved from just a mountain bike there became the trail bike . So now there is a trail bike that was just a long legged xc bike and now you’re trying to call a trail bike a Down Country bike ? Then what is a trail bike ? Exactly, it is a xc bike that’s not a race version and you have now sub categorized the trial bike . The free ride bike is what now ? Because I never here that term anymore. I have a 2001 Kona Stab which was then a free ride/downhillish bike with 150mm travel . It was my trail bike because I liked the extra travel . It was originally 41 lbs and I trimmed her down to 36.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is , do we need more and more subcategories of bike types . You’re renaming the trail bike category for no reason. These bikes are just an xc bike period. Xc doesn’t mean race . Xc is just a mountain bike because you can ride it , get this and it’ll blow your mind……” across country “ . The A in across is kind of how the abbreviation of X came about aka Xc. So these bikes you are testing are really XC bikes just not a race version. So what are they then ? Well that makes them a trail bike .
    Peace

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