Dirt Rag Magazine

First Look: Six $2,500 trail bikes spend a week in the Shenandoah Valley

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Jeremiah Bishop showing us the locals know how to have fun.

The leaves have changed and are falling fast, the mornings are met with frost, and the sunscreen is packed away. The days are growing shorter and the riding season is becoming shorter still. But before winter begins to blow its icy breath upon the landscape, we have a lot more riding to do.

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Chris Scott is the driving force behind Shenandoah Mountain Touring and the Stokesville Lodge.

With a lot of product testing still to be done, we packed up the ol’ Dirt Rag van and headed south to Stokesville, Va., to meet up with Chris Scott and the gang from Shenandoah Mountain Touring. Bunked up at the Stokesville Lodge, we brought a gaggle of trail bikes to ride this week that will likely be bike shops’ bread and butter come spring, all ringing up the register at about $2,500.

See the bikes and more after the jump.

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The Stokesville Lodge is the perfect headquarters for a week of exploring.

If you’re not familiar, Stokesville is snuggled up along the shoulder of the George Washington National Forest, just a short drive from Harrisonburg, Va., a Bronze-level IMBA Ride Center. The Lodge is an insanely gorgeous A-frame house that can easily sleep a dozen trail-weary mountain bikers who want access to hundreds of miles of singletrack straight out the front door. Shenandoah Mountain Touring sweetens the pot, with custom tours and guide services available, as well as hosting events like the Stupid 50, Shenandoah 100 and Wilderness 101.

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Harrisonburg itself is home to the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition, a non-profit dedicated to advocacy for both road and mountain bikers in the valley and on Massanutten Resort property. If you’re looking for a sign of the club’s dedication, look no further than the 2,000 Hour Trail, so named because of the number of volunteer man-hours it took to build.

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The trails in and surrounding the Shenandoah Valley can be pretty demanding of both men and machine, but we’ve been mightily impressed with the collection of bikes we’ve brought. While it’s true that we are often spoiled with rides on fancy carbon superbikes that cost as much as a nice used car, you can get an impressive amount of bike for $2,500. Each will get a full review in an upcoming issue, but for now, here’s a quick look at the quiver. Note: some parts you see pictured may not be stock, as we switched out some handlebars, stems and seatposts based on fit and personal preference.

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Norco Fluid 9.1

  • MSRP: $2,275
  • Travel: 120mm
  • Wheelsize: 29
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore, XT 10-speed
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore
  • Fork: Fox Float 32 CTD Evolution
  • Shock: Fox Float CTD Evolution

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Jamis Dakar XCT 650

  • MSRP: $2,400
  • Travel: 130mm
  • Wheelsize: 27.5
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore 10-speed
  • Brakes: Shimano M-445
  • Fork: X-Fusion Velvet
  • Shock: X-Fusion O2 RL

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Mongoose Teocali Expert

  • MSRP: $2,500
  • Travel: 150mm
  • Wheelsize: 26
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X5, X7 10-speed
  • Brakes: Avid Elixir 1
  • Fork: Rock Shox Sektor
  • Shock: Rock Shox Monarch

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Specialized Camber Comp 29

  • MSRP: $2,600
  • Travel: 110mm
  • Wheelsize: 29
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X5 10-speed
  • Brakes: Tektro Gemeni
  • Fork: Rock Shox 30 Gold
  • Shock: Rock Shox Monarch RL

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Santa Cruz Heckler

  • MSRP: $2,600
  • Travel: 150mm
  • Wheelsize: 27.5 10-speed
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore
  • Brakes: Avid Elixir 1
  • Fork: Rock Shox Sektor Gold
  • Shock: Fox Float CTD

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Diamondback Sortie 1

  • MSRP: $2,700
  • Travel: 125mm
  • Wheelsize: 29
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Alvio/Deore/SLX 9-speed
  • Brakes: Shimano M-445
  • Fork: Fox Float 32 CTD Evolution
  • Shock: Fox Float CTD Evolution
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