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  1. #1
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    Full Suspension Recommendation Wanted

    I am currently riding an XL inbred rigid ( 6'3" 235lbs) and have decided that I will go to a full suspension bike but am not sure how much travel I should go for.

    I was afraid the efficiency loss would be great but from what I am hearing from others who made the switch it is not signicant and being over 40 I think it is time to enjoy a smoother rider.
    Pretty much ride rooty single track , not much rock. I want something to smooth out the downhills.

    I have been thinking about a RIP9 , Jet 9 , GF HIFI Deluxe or rumblefish, Specialized Camber. Availability at local shops is pretty limited . None stock XL 29er full suspention bikes. The camber is the only Specialized still available by order.

    So are the lower travel XC performance oriented bikes like the Camber/Jet 9/HIFI adequate or should I get more travel ? I will not be racing. I do want as efficient a climber as I can get but also want a rugged bike and smooth ride at my size ( conflicting requirements).

    I like long a stretched out geometry. I have a layed back thomson seatpost and long stem on my inbred . The camber has the greatest ETT so I am leaning towards the Camber but it has a 100mm front fork, standard 1-1/8" head tube and triad II shock so it seems a lower spec bike that others.

    The RIP 9 sounds like the perfect bike but will be pretty costly to build unless I can reuse my existing parts. I have a brand new 100mm Manitou minute 29er fork I could use if the 100mm travel would not screw up the geometry ? If I could use my fork and switch over much of my existing Sram X7/9 drivetrain components I could get a reasonable cost build with a good frame.

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  2. #2
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    I think the 100mm travel mark is a sweet spot for a good mix of capable descending and fairly efficient climbing, so Camber, Tallboy and Anthem X 29 would be bikes I would be looking at. I haven't ridden a Tallboy with a 120mm fork, but after riding one with a 100mm fork, I think I would prefer a 120mm fork for trail riding on that bike (JMHO).

    The Spearfish looks interesting too, but I haven't even seen one in person, let alone ridden one.

    100mm rear travel is pretty nice on 29" wheels, but if you want something with longer legs, RIP, DW Sultan, Stumpjumper FSR and the Rumblefish would be some to check out.

  3. #3
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    The Jet9 and the AnthemX29 are going to be more efficient climbers than the camber. Specialized created the brain to counter the bob in the FSR, unfortunately you have to upgrade to the epic for that. The lockout and platform work decently, but it is by no means as efficient as Niner's CVA or Giant's Maestro full open.

    I see that the Tallboy was not mentioned because it looks like you are trying to keep the cost down. You can consider the Tallboy Aluminum frame in comparison to the Jet9 but with more suspension completely, and the Anthem8 but with more fork capability and more plush suspension.

    I ride the carbon and I have take Jeffj's preference for a 120mm fork on the tallboy for general/trail/xc riding as fact. I don't think I would like the Tallboy as much with the 100mm. It is absolutely perfect with the 120mm. Some say the front end comes up, but I tend to stand and spin, and when I sit, I am on the nose of the saddle which does all that needs to be done to keep the front end planted.
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  4. #4
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    Out of your list, I've ridden the HiFi Deluxe, Rumblefish and Spearfish. I have not ridden a Tallboy, because I fear the lust would be too great.

    If you want the raciest of those three, go Spearfish. It feels the most flickable.

    I went with the Rumblefish. The hype about DRCV is all true. The rear on it feels like it has 1-2 inches more travel than it actually does...because you can effectively use all of its travel without pogo-ing. I have my rear shock set up at a lower pressure than I thought I'd be using...and if I use an o-ring or zip tie to measure rear travel on the gnarliest trails around here (IL, so don't get your hopes up), it turns out that I'm bottoming out on the biggest obstacles...but I never feel it. The bike is amazingly easy to control, the geometry is great (surprisingly compact for a 29er), and every mm of travel is useable. I love mine.

    I will say that the best money I ever spent was getting a set of Easton Havens and Maxxis Ikon EXOs. Totally changed the bike's feel and handling. It climbs like the dickens now.

  5. #5
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    I have a RIP and love it!! Climbs like no tomorrow, fast on the downhills. But like you said cost. The new carbon Giants in my op is the best bang for the buck. 29er with a nice component group for 2500 to 3500 out the door!!! Cant beat that!!.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawfarm
    Out of your list, I've ridden the HiFi Deluxe, Rumblefish and Spearfish. I have not ridden a Tallboy, because I fear the lust would be too great.

    If you want the raciest of those three, go Spearfish. It feels the most flickable.

    I went with the Rumblefish. The hype about DRCV is all true. The rear on it feels like it has 1-2 inches more travel than it actually does...because you can effectively use all of its travel without pogo-ing. I have my rear shock set up at a lower pressure than I thought I'd be using...and if I use an o-ring or zip tie to measure rear travel on the gnarliest trails around here (IL, so don't get your hopes up), it turns out that I'm bottoming out on the biggest obstacles...but I never feel it. The bike is amazingly easy to control, the geometry is great (surprisingly compact for a 29er), and every mm of travel is useable. I love mine.

    I will say that the best money I ever spent was getting a set of Easton Havens and Maxxis Ikon EXOs. Totally changed the bike's feel and handling. It climbs like the dickens now.
    Just out of curiosity....why would you set up the rear with lower pressure to blow through the travel. I mean I have my TB set up by my weight and I have never bottomed out, but I can once in a while knock the o-ring off the shock piston. The way they design these shocks to avoid damaging them is to make the very end of the shock stroke very progressive to avoid bottoming out..that's by design so company isn't prematurely warrantying shocks within warranty.

    I agree with good wheels and Ikons, they are a great addition and can change the whole characteristic of the ride.


    Also @ 3500, you can have a Carbon Tallboy with decent components as well. I don't know what comes on a 3500 Anthem.

    The most interesting thing I have found is that almost everyone that owns an Anthem loves it because it performs well given their budget. For those that can afford a Tallboy, love their tallboys with the exception of the couple cases where those people are just too used to hardtails, and are not really open to new things. The reaction would be the same for the Anthem. Nearly everyone would make the suggestion "If you can afford the Tallboy, get it" Money is the only object keeping more people from owning one. A friend who I built up a Jet9 for just before Christmas rode my Tallboy for the first time last Saturday...he didn't want to give it up...as in he would not give me the tools to swap pedals out. The Jet9 is a highly regarded XC bike...he didn't develop his opinion by mistake or being misinformed. 2 hours on the bike and he was sold. The interesting thing is, he is putting me up while I move...could be as long as a year...and getting me a job..he's going to save me well more than I will be giving him because I am his friend. I want to buy him a tallboy, and I feel its the right thing to do...just have to figure out how I am going to make that happen.
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  7. #7
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    Find a Pivot dealer and try the Mach 429.
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  8. #8
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    I just went through the same process as the op. I have ridden hardtails for years and love an efficient climbing bike. My budget was $2,500 and my short list was basically an Epic 29er and a Spearfish.

    My wife told me not to worry about the budget and get the right bike for me. As a result I test rode a Tallboy and an Epic carbon expert. The Tallboy comments are right on. It is a fantastic ride but alot of $$. It also has a more active suspension that will be familiar to others coming off a FS bike. For me it felt a little too cushy.

    The Epic carbon expert with the brain front/rear felt much better climbing. Descending it has a firm feel yet has all the travel I need. It is by far the best climbing fs bike I have ever riden. Climbing was number one on my criteria and suspension was number two. I broke the budget and bought the Epic. After 8 hard climbs I am very happy with my decision.

    My recommendation is to try the Spearfish and the Epic comp. I feel they are two of the best all around xc bikes out there.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by PEIGUY
    The RIP 9 sounds like the perfect bike but will be pretty costly to build unless I can reuse my existing parts. I have a brand new 100mm Manitou minute 29er fork I could use if the 100mm travel would not screw up the geometry ? If I could use my fork and switch over much of my existing Sram X7/9 drivetrain components I could get a reasonable cost build with a good frame.

    Comments
    The RIP is a great bike, but forget about running 100mm up front. You'll want 120 or 140mm - so that means a fork upgrade (get a TA with tapered steerer tube while you are at it).

    Some nice deals going on for the RIP at Big Kahuna...


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiahh
    Find a Pivot dealer and try the Mach 429.
    Ever notice that the Pivot 429 in terms of conversation has been casted into the shadows?..There really isn't much talk about it, but it really is a good bike.

    I know someone's obvious excuse is "We spend more time riding them than talking about them", but really I think there is just either lighter options, or less expensive options. Its a great bike, but I feel it sort of failed to find its place in the market to shine.
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  11. #11
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    What about the Rocky Mountain Altitude 29er?
    Some reviews say it a great climber and stable on descents.
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  12. #12
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    I'm not sure if you have checked to see if the XL Epic is available. If it is I can recommend it as a great bike. I went from a tnt sultan to an epic comp and was completely happy. In fact I loved the Epic so much I just purchased the S-Works epic frame as my new bike. It was XL and it arrived at my LBS 6 days after I ordered it.
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  13. #13
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    To the OP, coming from a fully rigid bike, any full suspension bike is going to feel less efficient and smooth out the trails considerably. First off, buy something that fits you, because all the carbon and bike bling is useless when you're not comfortable. All of the bikes are your list are excellent choices, test ride whatever you can get your hands on and pick your favorite.

  14. #14
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    The Jet 9 is my pick short travel climbs like a montain goat very fast steering just enough travel to smooth out the trail my build was Shimano SLX ZTR wheels the through axel on the Reba realy stiffens this bike up I can stand and mash climbing a blast to ride CVA keeps the rear wheel planted Im luvin this thing
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  15. #15
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    Ever notice that the Pivot 429 in terms of conversation has been casted into the shadows?..There really isn't much talk about it, but it really is a good bike.

    I know someone's obvious excuse is "We spend more time riding them than talking about them", but really I think there is just either lighter options, or less expensive options. Its a great bike, but I feel it sort of failed to find its place in the market to shine.
    My Pivot is built up as a trail bike. My TB hasn't proven it's worth on rocky and rooty trails for an extended period of time at my weight. I continue to have a love/hate relationship with it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver
    Just out of curiosity....why would you set up the rear with lower pressure to blow through the travel. I mean I have my TB set up by my weight and I have never bottomed out, but I can once in a while knock the o-ring off the shock piston. The way they design these shocks to avoid damaging them is to make the very end of the shock stroke very progressive to avoid bottoming out..that's by design so company isn't prematurely warrantying shocks within warranty.
    Yeah, that's not exactly what I said. I didn't say I was setting it up soft to "blow through" the travel. I said I was setting it so that on my gnarliest jumps, I was using 100% of the useful travel...not feeling a bottoming-out, but knocking the o-ring off the piston. Because of the DRCV's linear response, you don't feel the buildup. Like any shock, you do feel bottoming out. But thanks for the question.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver
    Just out of curiosity....why would you set up the rear with lower pressure to blow through the travel. I mean I have my TB set up by my weight and I have never bottomed out, but I can once in a while knock the o-ring off the shock piston. The way they design these shocks to avoid damaging them is to make the very end of the shock stroke very progressive to avoid bottoming out..that's by design so company isn't prematurely warrantying shocks within warranty.

    I agree with good wheels and Ikons, they are a great addition and can change the whole characteristic of the ride.


    Also @ 3500, you can have a Carbon Tallboy with decent components as well. I don't know what comes on a 3500 Anthem.

    The most interesting thing I have found is that almost everyone that owns an Anthem loves it because it performs well given their budget. For those that can afford a Tallboy, love their tallboys with the exception of the couple cases where those people are just too used to hardtails, and are not really open to new things. The reaction would be the same for the Anthem. Nearly everyone would make the suggestion "If you can afford the Tallboy, get it" Money is the only object keeping more people from owning one. A friend who I built up a Jet9 for just before Christmas rode my Tallboy for the first time last Saturday...he didn't want to give it up...as in he would not give me the tools to swap pedals out. The Jet9 is a highly regarded XC bike...he didn't develop his opinion by mistake or being misinformed. 2 hours on the bike and he was sold. The interesting thing is, he is putting me up while I move...could be as long as a year...and getting me a job..he's going to save me well more than I will be giving him because I am his friend. I want to buy him a tallboy, and I feel its the right thing to do...just have to figure out how I am going to make that happen.
    I rode both and ended up with the Anthem. At $3500, you get the top of the line AX1 with a much better spec than the $3500 Tallboy. Obviously, with the Tallboy you get that amazing carbon frame, but it actually weighs more than the AX1 because of the parts spec.

    Now, if I had gone up in price and bought the more expensive Tallboy, I would have been in heaven. So, like you said, money was the only reason I didn't pick the SC.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubdryver
    Ever notice that the Pivot 429 in terms of conversation has been casted into the shadows?..There really isn't much talk about it, but it really is a good bike.

    I know someone's obvious excuse is "We spend more time riding them than talking about them", but really I think there is just either lighter options, or less expensive options. Its a great bike, but I feel it sort of failed to find its place in the market to shine.
    Eh, things wax and wane... I think the Pivot is one of - if not THE - best bike out there today. Obviously, for me, it is the best, but in general, I think it's just an amazing design. Unfortunately, it is expensive... and I think that keeps a lot of people from getting one.

    Now that there are lots of good options out there, the Pivot isn't as talked about.
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  19. #19
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    I now have six rides on my Giant Anthem X 29er (XL) and can say that it climbs very well. I'm 6'3.5" 190#. If you are doing a long road or standing, locking the fork and flipping the pp lever makes it almost rigid efficient.

  20. #20
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    I really appreciate the comments so far. My biggest problem is that where I live I cannot test ride any of the bikes.
    The local Trek/Specialized/Giant Dealers have checked inventories in Canada and very few options are available for them to order something in for me. Specialized - only the camber, Giant - nothing, Trek - HIFI waitng to hear abou Rumblefish.

    So if I want a bike I will need to find a dealer and get it shipped. Its a tough way to buy a bike but I am used to it, that is why I tested the 29er waters by building up my inbred myself.


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  21. #21
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    I'm replying to the Pivot comment, but really directed to the OP...

    I'm 6'3, 230lbs, and loving my new Pivot 429. A little time researching will turn up lots of happy Pivot owners... just try to find ONE that isn't.

    You'll find a number of comments about the frame stiffness. Coupled with the dw-link efficiency, this may be that rugged, yet smooth bike that you're looking for.

    Pivots also happen to have a longish top tube, at least by the numbers. XL = 25.75 I'm running my XL with an 80mm stem and loving it, going up and down the mountain.

    I'm coming off a very stiff 26er with 6in travel and a nod toward FR/DH, and I'm very impressed with the Pivot.

    I don't think the name Pivot comes up a lot because of the small volume and few dealers. Spesh / Trek / C'dale are everywhere, and Niners seem more and more common.

    The Pivot 429 is one to consider. I've been putting mine through the paces the last few weekends on trails I've been riding for years on several different bikes, and I couldn't be happier.

    It tracks straight where you point it, like a dh bike when pushed hard in a grippy turn or directed through a rock garden, yet it pedals and climbs like an xc bike. Suspension cush is somewhere inbetween the two, feeling like more than 4in due to the 29er wheels and dw-link.

    This is my first 29 experience and I did not test ride a bunch of other 29in bikes, so I'll be honest with this fact. But I do have a fair amount of 26er history and I did do my homework before my 429 purchase, and I'm very happy.

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  22. #22
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    Nice pic. Thought those brown leaves were a snake at first!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by PEIGUY
    I really appreciate the comments so far. My biggest problem is that where I live I cannot test ride any of the bikes.
    The local Trek/Specialized/Giant Dealers have checked inventories in Canada and very few options are available for them to order something in for me. Specialized - only the camber, Giant - nothing, Trek - HIFI waitng to hear abou Rumblefish.

    So if I want a bike I will need to find a dealer and get it shipped. Its a tough way to buy a bike but I am used to it, that is why I tested the 29er waters by building up my inbred myself.


    I
    Can you try any of the brands suspension designs in a 26er. That's a good start. The rest may just have to come down to the numbers,the spec and your local terrain..

    As for travel. You've got a hard tail now so I suspect you will be happy with 100mm 29er. Since you are using a rigid inbred, maybe you want something on the nervous side.You may find a Anthem X to stable. When you add rear suspension it also increases the capability of the fork as well[ the bike rocks back and fwd under your feet sharing the load].
    I've got the Anthem X 1 and it is pretty capable in all terrain. I also run up to 160mm 26" bikes and for me a 120mm 29er would be good in the really big stuff. Just matter of what you are used to and your terrain.
    That is very trail specific most of my riding is more open trails. I do some trails however were a 120 29er would be cumbersome and a PITA. I suspect as I am a tinkerer I will end up hanging a 120 fork off my AX1.

    PS You will find the latest gen Fox F29 a HUGE improvement over a manitou minute. Also try a more upright shorter stem with wider bars. I'm similar age and been riding over 20 years and I have moved on. Huge improvement.
    Last edited by gvs_nz; 05-23-2011 at 01:36 PM.

  24. #24
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    get a RIP 9

    The RIP 9 is the best bike ever designed for an all around trail bike. It climbs like a goat, desends like an all mountain or light downhill bike and can be raced its so fast and efficient. The Jet is a bit faster but the RIP can do it all. Do yourself a favor and check out the RIP before you compromise.
    29ers are more fun!

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