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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnson

Salt Lake City, Utah

Connor Johnson's Bio

Howdy! I am an Expert Gearhead who specializes in skiing (resort & backcountry touring, I don't discriminate in my powder hounding), mountain biking, hiking & camping. When I'm not getting lost in the woods, you'll catch me tinkering with my bikes, snappin' photos, and eating burritos.

All of the photos in my reviews are either my own or one's that friends have shot of me enjoying the gear! Check out my latest adventures on my Instagram @connorjuliusjohnson

For any gear questions or adventure advice, give a shout to cojohnson@backcountry.com or call me at 801.204.4547

Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on November 2, 2017

Great Gear Range on Gravel Bike
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I was looking to drop the front derailleur on my beater CX/Gravel/Commuter Diamondback Haanjo trail and realized I could make my current Ultegra 11sp rear derailleur work with a Wolftooth Roadlink and this SLX 11-40 cassette. I went with the SLX to save a little dinero, even though its a bit added weight.

For the record, my drivetrain previously was a FSA 2x crankset, an Ultegra front and rear (medium cage I think) derailleur, and a 11-32 cassette. I went to the Rival 1 crankset, an SLX 11-40 cassette (Item #SHI00C1), and a Wolftooth Roadlink (Item #WFC0006). I'm running it with a Sram 11sp chain and it works flawlessly. I do wish the Ultegra derailleur had a clutch to keep chainslap down a bit on rougher CX terrain, but the shifting itself works flawlessly with the Wolftooth Roadlink.

If you have any questions on whether or not this is right for your derailleur or updating your drivetrain to a 1x, don't hesitate giving a shout and I'd be happy to help! My direct line is 801.204.4547 or you can reach me at cojohnson@backcountry.com

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on November 2, 2017

Makes a 11-40 cassette work W/  1x Crank
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I was looking to drop the front derailleur on my beater CX/Gravel/Commuter Diamondback Haanjo trail and realized I could make my current Ultegra 11sp rear derailleur work with this Roadlink.

For the record, my drivetrain previously was a FSA 2x crankset, an Ultegra front and rear (medium cage I think) derailleur, and a 11-32 cassette. I went to the Rival 1 crankset, an SLX 11-40 cassette (Item #SHI00C1), and a Wolftooth Roadlink (Item #WFC0006). I'm running it with a Sram 11sp chain and it works flawlessly. I do wish the Ultegra derailleur had a clutch to keep chainslap down a bit on rougher CX terrain, but the shifting itself works flawlessly with the Wolftooth Roadlink.

If you have any questions on whether or not this is right for your derailleur or updating your drivetrain to a 1x, don't hesitate giving a shout and I'd be happy to help! My direct line is 801.204.4547 or you can reach me at cojohnson@backcountry.com

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on November 2, 2017

Great Bang For Your Buck 1x Crankset
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Looking for a 1x crankset for a gravel or cyclocross bike that isn't going to break the bank? Look no further, the Rival 1 has it all and does a great job with it. I was looking to drop the front derailleur on my beater CX/Gravel/Commuter Diamondback Haanjo trail and the BCD & bolt pattern on the FSA 2x crankset was funky, meaning I decided a GXP threaded bottom bracket & the Rival 1 crank was my solution. It isn't a carbon crank, but I don't need one.

For the record, my drivetrain previously was a FSA 2x crankset, an ultegra front and rear (medium cage I think) derailleur, and a 11-32 cassette. I went to the Rival 1 crankset, an SLX 11-40 cassette (Item #SHI00C1), and a Wolftooth Roadlink (Item #WFC0006). I'm running it with a Sram 11sp chain and it works flawlessly. I do wish the Ultegra derailleur had a clutch to keep chainslap down a bit on rougher CX terrain, but the shifting itself works flawlessly.

If you have any questions on whether or not this is the right crankset for you, what bottom bracket you'll need with it, or updating your drivetrain to a 1x, don't hesitate giving a shout and I'd be happy to help! My direct line is 801.204.4547 or you can reach me at cojohnson@backcountry.com

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on November 2, 2017

Aggressive 29" Shred Rig
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The Following is back! I'm 5'11" and have a 32" inseam - the demo I rode was a medium, but made me realize that even with the MB (more better)'s increased reach, I would absolutely go to the large. I'm currently riding a SB5.5 as my daily driver bike so much of this review is having it compared to that (I know its not a direct apples to apples comparison, but also a 29'er, just a bit more travel than the Evil Following). I rode this on a XC style ride putting some serious miles, in some full on shuttle DH laps, and a few rides of between the two.

What I liked About the Bike:
- I will say that Evil Bike's DELTA suspension takes a bit of getting used to. I'm coming off Yeti's Switch Infinity & DW Link bikes that are a touch more lively feeling. This is feels more like a DH bike and I'd imagine what a downhiller's trail bike would want to look like. It grows on you though, by the end I wanted more and more and was sad to return the demo back after the greater part of a week of riding.
- The climbing of the Following is decent. I wouldn't say its the most efficient bike out there, but I will say that the climbing is good enough for the downhill capability that this has.
- Going back into the DH capability - for 120mm of travel in the rear, this rig rides fantastic. While its definitely not going to ride as well as well as a full on downhill bike, it certainly can keep up as the runt of the litter. It'll eat up bumps and rock gardens (I was thankful for the 29" wheels on this) and rips on mid size jumps.
- I like the integrated chain guide, slick to have on the bike.
- (This is from my review of our own build of the Following MB item #EVB000B, but going to keep it if you're looking for an idea of what components to spec your bike with). The components were on point - this is how I'd like my own bike to be spec'd. GX Eagle really is one of the best bang for your buck drivetrains out there right now - just felt crisp and on point. The Reverb felt great, especially with the 1x lever on it. Sram Roam 50 Carbon wheels were solid - no flex as can happen with aluminum 29'er wheels and seemed burly enough for getting rowdy. I rode this with a 130mm fork and think that's what I'd do if I were to build up a Following MB from the frame up myself. I have never been a fan of Schwalbes due to slashing sidewalls & puncturing tires and lo and behold I managed to puncture both the front and tire - at least Schwalbe is consistent, right? I'd say throw on some Maxxis Minions and have no fears.

What I didn't like:
- It does take a bit of getting used to. I didn't hop on and immediately love it, which I feel like a lot of Evil Bike owners do.. I grew to love it for sure, but takes a bit of a learning curve I suppose.
- I don't think the suspension sag set tool works as well as it should. I had to fiddle with the air pressure a few times to get it actually dialed.
- Emphasizing my dislike for the the Schwalbe tires - the Nobby Nic is a trail tire (and I was excited to try out the new Addix tire compound) and it did not live up to my expectation. Luckily, I'd be happy to help out swap out the tires for you before we even ship the bike out to you!

If you are wondering if this is the bike for you or are looking to build up a custom build on the Following MB, don't hesitate giving a shout and I'd be stoked to get you on an Evil of your own! My direct line is 801.204.4547 or you can reach me at cojohnson@backcountry.com

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on November 2, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The Following is back! I'm 5'11" and have a 32" inseam - the demo I rode was a medium, but made me realize that even with the MB (more better)'s increased reach, I would absolutely go to the large. I'm currently riding a SB5.5 as my daily driver bike so much of this review is having it compared to that (I know its not a direct apples to apples comparison, but also a 29'er, just a bit more travel than the Evil Following). I rode this on a XC style ride putting some serious miles, in some full on shuttle DH laps, and a few rides of between the two.

What I liked About the Bike:
- I will say that Evil Bike's DELTA suspension takes a bit of getting used to. I'm coming off Yeti's Switch Infinity & DW Link bikes that are a touch more lively feeling. This is feels more like a DH bike and I'd imagine what a downhiller's trail bike would want to look like. It grows on you though, by the end I wanted more and more and was sad to return the demo back after the greater part of a week of riding.
- The climbing of the Following is decent. I wouldn't say its the most efficient bike out there, but I will say that the climbing is good enough for the downhill capability that this has.
- Going back into the DH capability - for 120mm of travel in the rear, this rig rides fantastic. While its definitely not going to ride as well as well as a full on downhill bike, it certainly can keep up as the runt of the litter. It'll eat up bumps and rock gardens (I was thankful for the 29" wheels on this) and rips on mid size jumps.
- I like the integrated chain guide, slick to have on the bike.
- The components were on point - this is how I'd like my own bike to be spec'd. GX Eagle really is one of the best bang for your buck drivetrains out there right now - just felt crisp and on point. The Reverb felt great, especially with the 1x lever on it. Sram Roam 50 Carbon wheels were solid - no flex as can happen with aluminum 29'er wheels and seemed burly enough for getting rowdy. I rode this with a 130mm fork and think that's what I'd do if I were to build up a Following MB from the frame up myself. I have never been a fan of Schwalbes due to slashing sidewalls & puncturing tires and lo and behold I managed to puncture both the front and tire - at least Schwalbe is consistent, right? I'd say throw on some Maxxis Minions and have no fears.

What I didn't like:
- It does take a bit of getting used to. I didn't hop on and immediately love it, which I feel like a lot of Evil Bike owners do.. I grew to love it for sure, but takes a bit of a learning curve I suppose.
- I don't think the suspension sag set tool works as well as it should. I had to fiddle with the air pressure a few times to get it actually dialed.
- Emphasizing my dislike for the the Schwalbe tires - the Nobby Nic is a trail tire (and I was excited to try out the new Addix tire compound) and it did not live up to my expectation. Luckily, I'd be happy to help out swap out the tires for you before we even ship the bike out to you!

If you are wondering if this is the bike for you, are looking to swap any components out, or interested in placing an order, don't hesitate giving a shout and I'd be stoked to get you on an Evil of your own! My direct line is 801.204.4547 or you can reach me at cojohnson@backcountry.com

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on November 2, 2017

Compact Awesomeness
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm 5'11" and and 175lbs. I ended up with the large - I likely could have gotten away with the medium also, but the fit of the large works well and isn't too tight fitting. I use this for trail running, mountain biking, hiking, and its great for travel as it packs up tight.

Pros:
- Its seriously small when its packed up - it packs into its own pocket. Its barely bigger than the size of an avocado. Its easy to pack into itself, but has room that makes me think it could be even smaller if need be.
- The hood is great and can fit up and over a beanie no problem.
- Like Kyle mentions below, it does fit in a fanny pack for mountain biking just fine. I'll one up him as I use the smaller Dakine Hot Laps pack and still have room for a tube, tools, and snacks in addition to the jacket. This is a cold wind / sporadic weather jacket that you can pull out of a nook of a backpack.

Cons:
- No other pockets than the small chest one, which I suppose is why its such a small jacket.
- Its got a DWR coating, but isn't a technical jacket.

Let me know if you have any other questions with it on intended use or sizing and I'd be happy to help! My direct line is 801.204.4547 or my email cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'd be happy to help!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs. I rode a large and it was spot on for sizing. I rode on mostly flow trails with some chunky bits and jumps.

What I liked about the bike:
- I had a Santa Cruz Blur LT (v2) back in the day that I absolutely loved and the 5010 2.0 reminds me of an upgraded & new version of it. This brings back nostalgic, awesome memories on a similar handling bike.
- I'm a fan of the geometry of this bike; its fast and snappy, but I wouldn't be nervous taking it on more technical descents either. Its slack enough with the 67 degree headtube angle and its 5" of travel can get you through most rowdy stuff. I'd also be pretty happy pulling a full day ride in - this is like the Bronson's little brother that can also pack a punch.
- Pedal all day on this bad boy. Its pretty much the only thing it won't be able to do for you! The VPP3 suspension is efficient and I left the rear shock open when pedaling.
-Components are a great bang for your buck. Raceface Aeffect R with Novatec hubs with Maxxis rubber, GX Eagle drivetrain, solid Fox suspension, and Guide R brakes. Can't ask for anything that performs better than that.

What I didn't like about this bike:
- Not much that I didn't like. My riding style might get myself into some more technical terrain regularly, so might throw on a 140mm fork, but other than that there isn't much to change.

If you spend most days rippin' singletrack and are about pedaling (as opposed to shuttle days, etc) and like an aggressive, nimble bike, look no further. Overall just a fun trail bike! Let me know if you have any questions or would like help doing a custom build, reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'll get you dialed!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs. I rode a large and it was spot on for sizing. I rode on mostly flow trails with some chunky bits and jumps.

What I liked about the bike:
- I had a Santa Cruz Blur LT (v2) back in the day that I absolutely loved and the 5010 2.0 reminds me of an upgraded & new version of it. This brings back nostalgic, awesome memories on a similar handling bike.
- I'm a fan of the geometry of this bike; its fast and snappy, but I wouldn't be nervous taking it on more technical descents either. Its slack enough with the 67 degree headtube angle and its 5" of travel can get you through most rowdy stuff. I'd also be pretty happy pulling a full day ride in - this is like the Bronson's little brother that can also pack a punch.
- Pedal all day on this bad boy. Its pretty much the only thing it won't be able to do for you! The VPP3 suspension is efficient and I left the rear shock open when pedaling.
-Components are a great bang for your buck. Raceface Aeffect R with Novatec hubs with Maxxis rubber, GX Eagle drivetrain, solid Fox suspension, and Guide R brakes. Can't ask for anything that performs better than that.

What I didn't like about this bike:
- Not much that I didn't like. My riding style might get myself into some more technical terrain regularly, so might throw on a 140mm fork, but other than that there isn't much to change.

If you spend most days rippin' singletrack and are about pedaling (as opposed to shuttle days, etc) and like an aggressive, nimble bike, look no further. Overall just a fun trail bike! Let me know if you have any questions or would like help doing a custom build, reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'll get you dialed!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

5010 Be Nimble, 5010 Be Quick!
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs. I rode a large and it was spot on for sizing. I rode on mostly flow trails with some chunky bits and jumps.

What I liked about the bike:
- I had a Santa Cruz Blur LT (v2) back in the day that I absolutely loved and the 5010 2.0 reminds me of an upgraded & new version of it. This brings back nostalgic, awesome memories on a similar handling bike.
- I'm a fan of the geometry of this bike; its fast and snappy, but I wouldn't be nervous taking it on more technical descents either. Its slack enough with the 67 degree headtube angle and its 5" of travel can get you through most rowdy stuff. I'd also be pretty happy pulling a full day ride in - this is like the Bronson's little brother that can also pack a punch.
- Pedal all day on this bad boy. Its pretty much the only thing it won't be able to do for you! The VPP3 suspension is efficient and I left the rear shock open when pedaling.
-Components are top notch. Raceface Arc 27 wheels (granted I rode it with the Enve m60's) with Maxxis rubber, X01 Eagle drivetrain, solid Fox Elite suspension, and Guide RSC brakes. Can't ask for anything that performs better than that.

What I didn't like about this bike:
- Not much that I didn't like. My riding style might get myself into some more technical terrain regularly, so might throw on a 140mm fork, but other than that there isn't much to change.

If you spend most days rippin' singletrack and are about pedaling (as opposed to shuttle days, etc) and like an aggressive, nimble bike, look no further. Overall just a fun trail bike! Let me know if you have any questions or would like help doing a custom build, reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'll get you dialed!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs. I rode a large and it was spot on for sizing. I rode on mostly flow trails with some chunky bits and jumps.

What I liked about the bike:
- I had a Santa Cruz Blur LT (v2) back in the day that I absolutely loved and the 5010 2.0 reminds me of an upgraded & new version of it. This brings back nostalgic, awesome memories on a similar handling bike.
- I'm a fan of the geometry of this bike; its fast and snappy, but I wouldn't be nervous taking it on more technical descents either. Its slack enough with the 67 degree headtube angle and its 5" of travel can get you through most rowdy stuff. I'd also be pretty happy pulling a full day ride in - this is like the Bronson's little brother that can also pack a punch.
- Pedal all day on this bad boy. Its pretty much the only thing it won't be able to do for you! The VPP3 suspension is efficient and I left the rear shock open when pedaling.

What I didn't like about this bike:
- Not much that I didn't like. My riding style might get myself into some more technical terrain regularly, so might throw on a 140mm fork, but other than that there isn't much to change, but let me know and we can get it exactly to what your dream build is!

If you spend most days rippin' singletrack and are about pedaling (as opposed to shuttle days, etc) and like an aggressive, nimble bike, look no further. Overall just a fun trail bike! Let me know if you have any questions or would like help doing a custom build, reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'll get you dialed!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

5010 Be Nimble, 5010 Be Quick!
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs. I rode a large and it was spot on for sizing. I rode on mostly flow trails with some chunky bits and jumps.

What I liked about the bike:
- I had a Santa Cruz Blur LT (v2) back in the day that I absolutely loved and the 5010 2.0 reminds me of an upgraded & new version of it. This brings back nostalgic, awesome memories on a similar handling bike.
- I'm a fan of the geometry of this bike; its fast and snappy, but I wouldn't be nervous taking it on more technical descents either. Its slack enough with the 67 degree headtube angle and its 5" of travel can get you through most rowdy stuff. I'd also be pretty happy pulling a full day ride in - this is like the Bronson's little brother that can also pack a punch.
- Pedal all day on this bad boy. Its pretty much the only thing it won't be able to do for you! The VPP3 suspension is efficient and I left the rear shock open when pedaling.

What I didn't like about this bike:
- Not much that I didn't like. My riding style might get myself into some more technical terrain regularly, so might throw on a 140mm fork, but other than that there isn't much to change, but let me know and we can get it exactly to what your dream build is!

If you spend most days rippin' singletrack and are about pedaling (as opposed to shuttle days, etc) and like an aggressive, nimble bike, look no further. Overall just a fun trail bike! Let me know if you have any questions or would like help doing a custom build, reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'll get you dialed!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs. I rode a large and it was spot on for sizing. I rode on mostly flow trails with some chunky bits and jumps. I did ride the carbon version but can give some good perspective if you're considering the bike!

What I liked about the bike:
- I had a Santa Cruz Blur LT (v2) back in the day that I absolutely loved and the 5010 2.0 reminds me of an upgraded & new version of it. This brings back nostalgic, awesome memories on a similar handling bike.
- I'm a fan of the geometry of this bike; its fast and snappy, but I wouldn't be nervous taking it on more technical descents either. Its slack enough with the 67 degree headtube angle and its 5" of travel can get you through most rowdy stuff. I'd also be pretty happy pulling a full day ride in - this is like the Bronson's little brother that can also pack a punch.
- Pedal all day on this bad boy. Its pretty much the only thing it won't be able to do for you! The VPP3 suspension is efficient and I left the rear shock open when pedaling.
-Components are a great bang for your buck. WTB wheels with Novatec hubs and Maxxis rubber, a 1x11 drivetrain, Fox suspension, and even a dropper post on their R build. Can't ask for anything that performs better than that.

What I didn't like about this bike:
- Not much that I didn't like. My riding style might get myself into some more technical terrain regularly, so might throw on a 140mm fork, but other than that there isn't much to change. The Level brakes are ok, if i were concerned on having a more aggressive bike I might consider bumping up to Guides or something heftier.

If you spend most days rippin' singletrack and are about pedaling (as opposed to shuttle days, etc) and like an aggressive, nimble bike, look no further. Overall just a fun trail bike! Let me know if you have any questions or would like help doing a custom build, reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'll get you dialed!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

5010 be Nimble, 5010 be Quick!
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'm 5'11" and 175lbs. I rode a large and it was spot on for sizing. I rode on mostly flow trails with some chunky bits and jumps.

What I liked about the bike:
- I had a Santa Cruz Blur LT (v2) back in the day that I absolutely loved and the 5010 2.0 reminds me of an upgraded & new version of it. This brings back nostalgic, awesome memories on a similar handling bike.
- I'm a fan of the geometry of this bike; its fast and snappy, but I wouldn't be nervous taking it on more technical descents either. Its slack enough with the 67 degree headtube angle and its 5" of travel can get you through most rowdy stuff. I'd also be pretty happy pulling a full day ride in - this is like the Bronson's little brother that can also pack a punch.
- Pedal all day on this bad boy. Its pretty much the only thing it won't be able to do for you! The VPP3 suspension is efficient and I left the rear shock open when pedaling.
-Components are top notch. Santa Cruz Reserve wheels (granted I rode it with the Enve m60's) with Maxxis rubber, X01 Eagle drivetrain, solid Fox Elite suspension, and Guide RSC brakes. Can't ask for anything that performs better than that.

What I didn't like about this bike:
- Not much that I didn't like. My riding style might get myself into some more technical terrain regularly, so might throw on a 140mm fork, but other than that there isn't much to change.

If you spend most days rippin' singletrack and are about pedaling (as opposed to shuttle days, etc) and like an aggressive, nimble bike, look no further. Overall just a fun trail bike! Let me know if you have any questions or would like help doing a custom build, reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com and I'll get you dialed!

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

You'll Be Faster Than Ricky Bobby
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm 5'11" and have an 32" inseam. I'm often in between a large and a medium size, but usually opt for a large. I went with a large SB5.5 frame (though I did pair mine with a 35mm length Raceface Atlas stem with 10mm of a spacer under the stem) and it fits spot on. I built my SB5.5 from the frame up so my build differs slightly from this, but this is going to be a fantastic bang for your buck bike.

What I like about the bike:
- Fast is the name of the game. Not sure if its overall geometry of the bike, the 29" wheels, or just stoke level, this goes fast.
- Pedaling efficiency is top notch. I did throw an Fox X2 on my bike, but would like to try out the DPX2 shock, but I'll climb with it wide open and it does great. It seriously climbs great. I've been very impressed with it - have put in several 5000ft days of climbing and it does great.
- The bike is a monster truck. Eats up descents and floats over rock gardens.
- Though I did build my bike up from the frame, its not far from what this build is - an Eagle drivetrain, a Fox Float 36, Guide brakes, a Raceface cockpit. I have been thoroughly impressed with the Eagle 12sp drivetrain - I personally have a 34t up front and the 50t rear bailout cog lets me spin up just about anything while still being able to hammer descents. Guide brakes modulate great and have plenty of power behind them.

What I don't like about the bike:
- Not much. For people in areas that don't have as much chunder or don't need as much travel might not enjoy this bike as it can take a technical section, chew it up, and spit it out for breakfast without batting an eye.
- I had to get used to bigger wheels after coming off of 27.5" for my last two bikes, but after riding for a bit on it the 29" wheels don't feel big at all!

Overall, if you're looking for a wagon wheel bike that just smashes and tears it up on the trail and still feels relatively nimble, this would a great candidate. If you have any questions or would like help deciding if this is the bike for you, give a shout at my direct line 801.204.4547 or email at cojohnson@backcountry.com.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

You'll Be Faster Than Ricky Bobby
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm 5'11" and have an 32" inseam. I'm often in between a large and a medium size, but usually opt for a large. I went with a large SB5.5 frame (though I did pair mine with a 35mm length Raceface Atlas stem with 10mm of a spacer under the stem) and it fits spot on. I built my SB5.5 Turq from the frame up so my build differs slightly from this, but would be happy to help get you dialed!

What I like about the bike:
- Fast is the name of the game. Not sure if its overall geometry of the bike, the 29" wheels, or just stoke level, this goes fast.
- Pedaling efficiency is top notch. I did throw an Fox X2 on my bike, but would like to try out the DPX2 shock, but I'll climb with it wide open and it does great. It seriously climbs great. I've been very impressed with it - have put in several 5000ft days of climbing and it does great.
- The bike is a monster truck. Eats up descents and floats over rock gardens.
- Though I did build my bike up from the frame, its not far from what this build is - the specs on my bike are an Eagle X01 drivetrain, a Fox Float 36, Guide RS brakes, a Raceface cockpit, Turbine dropper post, and Raceface Aeffect-R Wheelset with a Minion DHF 2.5 / Minion SS 2.3 tires mounted on it! I have been thoroughly impressed with the Eagle 12sp drivetrain - I personally have a 34t up front and the 50t rear bailout cog lets me spin up just about anything while still being able to hammer descents. Guide brakes modulate great and have plenty of power behind them.

What I don't like about the bike:
- Not much. For people in areas that don't have as much chunder or don't need as much travel might not enjoy this bike as it can take a technical section, chew it up, and spit it out for breakfast without batting an eye.
- I had to get used to bigger wheels after coming off of 27.5" for my last two bikes, but after riding for a bit on it the 29" wheels don't feel big at all!

Overall, if you're looking for a wagon wheel bike that just smashes and tears it up on the trail and still feels relatively nimble, this would a great candidate. If you have any questions or would like help deciding if this is the bike for you, give a shout at my direct line 801.204.4547 or email at cojohnson@backcountry.com.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

You'll Be Faster Than Ricky Bobby
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm 5'11" and have an 32" inseam. I'm often in between a large and a medium size, but usually opt for a large. I went with a large SB5.5 frame (though I did pair mine with a 35mm length Raceface Atlas stem with 10mm of a spacer under the stem) and it fits spot on. I built my SB5.5 Turq from the frame up so my build differs slightly from this, but would be happy to help get you dialed!

What I like about the bike:
- Fast is the name of the game. Not sure if its overall geometry of the bike, the 29" wheels, or just stoke level, this goes fast.
- Pedaling efficiency is top notch. I did throw an Fox X2 on my bike, but would like to try out the DPX2 shock, but I'll climb with it wide open and it does great. It seriously climbs great. I've been very impressed with it - have put in several 5000ft days of climbing and it does great.
- The bike is a monster truck. Eats up descents and floats over rock gardens.
- Though I did build my bike up from the frame, its not far from what this build is - the specs on my bike are an Eagle X01 drivetrain, a Fox Float 36, Guide RS brakes, a Raceface cockpit, Turbine dropper post, and Raceface Aeffect-R Wheelset with a Minion DHF 2.5 / Minion SS 2.3 tires mounted on it! I have been thoroughly impressed with the Eagle 12sp drivetrain - I personally have a 34t up front and the 50t rear bailout cog lets me spin up just about anything while still being able to hammer descents. Guide brakes modulate great and have plenty of power behind them.

What I don't like about the bike:
- Not much. For people in areas that don't have as much chunder or don't need as much travel might not enjoy this bike as it can take a technical section, chew it up, and spit it out for breakfast without batting an eye.
- I had to get used to bigger wheels after coming off of 27.5" for my last two bikes, but after riding for a bit on it the 29" wheels don't feel big at all!

Overall, if you're looking for a wagon wheel bike that just smashes and tears it up on the trail and still feels relatively nimble, this would a great candidate. If you have any questions or would like help deciding if this is the bike for you, give a shout at my direct line 801.204.4547 or email at cojohnson@backcountry.com.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on September 25, 2017

You'll Be Faster Than Ricky Bobby
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm 5'11" and have an 32" inseam. I'm often in between a large and a medium size, but usually opt for a large. I went with a large SB5.5 frame (though I did pair mine with a 35mm length Raceface Atlas stem with 10mm of a spacer under the stem) and it fits spot on. I built my SB5.5
Turq from the frame up and would be happy to help with your dream build as well!

What I like about the bike:
- Fast is the name of the game. Not sure if its overall geometry of the bike, the 29" wheels, or just stoke level, this goes fast.
- Pedaling efficiency is top notch. I did throw an Fox X2 on my bike, but would like to try out the DPX2 shock, but I'll climb with it wide open and it does great.
- The bike is a monster truck. Eats up descents and floats over rock gardens.
- Though I did build my bike up from the frame, its not far from what this build is - the specs on my bike are an Eagle X01 drivetrain, a Fox Float 36, Guide RS brakes, a Raceface cockpit, Turbine dropper post, and Raceface Aeffect-R Wheelset with a Minion DHF 2.5 / Minion SS 2.3 tires mounted on it! I have been thoroughly impressed with the Eagle 12sp drivetrain - I personally have a 34t up front and the 50t rear bailout cog lets me spin up just about anything while still being able to hammer descents. Guide brakes modulate great and have plenty of power behind them.

What I don't like about the bike:
- Not much. For people in areas that don't have as much chunder or don't need as much travel might not enjoy this bike as it can take a technical section, chew it up, and spit it out for breakfast without batting an eye.
- I had to get used to bigger wheels after coming off of 27.5" for my last two bikes, but after riding for a bit on it the 29" wheels don't feel big at all!

Overall, if you're looking for a wagon wheel bike that just smashes and tears it up on the trail and still feels relatively nimble, this would a great candidate. If you have any questions or would like help deciding if this is the bike for you, give a shout at my direct line 801.204.4547 or email at cojohnson@backcountry.com.

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Connor Johnson

Connor Johnsonwrote a review of on July 18, 2017

Plus Size Trail Happiness
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I'm 5'11" and about 175lbs. I chose to ride a large and it fit spot on! I rode this on mostly flow trails with some chunky sections. I would love to try out the 29'er version of the Hightower for a true comparison though, but overall really liked the bike.

What I liked about the bike:
- A friend mentioned to me that Hightower's look very similar to a Nomad's suspension design. That is very true as they both use the VPP 3 suspension. It climbs pretty well when the rear shock is left open and rips on down.
- I won't lie, I still have mixed feelings on plus size bikes, but they are seriously growing on me. The amount of traction you have is pretty spectacular and you don't lose too much in terms of speed of the bike. I ran these about 19psi in the front and 20ish in the rear. Some people brag about riding them in the low teens, but if you're riding more aggressively or faster, you'll want to bump that up a bit. This is also where personal preference comes into play, but what I found to work best for my riding style. With all of that said, these corner very well and descending was a blast. I also cleaned some rocky uphills easily with the plus version of the Hightower.
- Making another note on descending with the plus size tires on the Hightower, it feels incredibly stable and planted to the trail, but doesn't love to get airborne. You absolutely can jump, but feels like it takes a bit more effort than a non plus size bike.
- I felt that though the Hightower 27.5+ may not the the quickest to jump, it did feel like one of the faster bikes I've ridden in terms of descending capabilities. The 150mm/135mm is nothing to scoff at and I could rip into berms without any hesitation.
- I rode the CC X01 version, but this Carbon S would be very similar and would be the workhorse equivalent - same geo that hits a better pricepoint at only a touch heavier.
- I like the 150mm fork, makes the bike slack and fun and forgiving when you get into rowdy trail sections. I think if you could swing it, getting this and a pair of 29" hoops (I would run the 150mm fork on 29" wheels, it would slack it out by 0.4 degree and raise the BB by 3.4mm).

What I didn't like about the bike:
- Like said in the pro's for the bike, I'm still not 100% sold on plus tires, but am open to them. I think for myself personally, when psi is dropped to the low teens, you can get a rockcrawler feel, but thats also when the bike gets a touch sluggish in my opinion. I really liked these when bumping the psi up a bit. Tire pressure is something that can make or break (potentially literally for too aggressive of riding with too low of psi). Not trying to get too hung up on that, but something that can make a huge difference in how the bike handles. That said, I love the 2.4-2.6" tire range. I know that isn't a huge difference, but just seems to feel a touch better.

If you're looking for a trail bike that doesn't mind getting rowdy and can handle some big wheels, the Hightower would be a great option for you. Feel free to reach me at 801.204.4547 or cojohnson@backcountry.com if you have any other questions or are interested in doing a custom build!

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