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  1. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    1. Enduro races are not times up hills. You have a time you need to get to the check point but it is Sloooow.
    You'd agree though that if they made it timed and part of your final score rather than simply a time limit that an XC bike would probably fair better or at the very least not any worse than a typical 160mm enduro rig?


    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    Is this the 9.8 frame or the 9.9 all carbon?

    Weight with pedals
    Interested to know this part as well. Seems easier to get my hands on a 9.8 frame (or well the complete bike to upgrade parts from) than a 9.9 and it's only a few grams heavier and sans the kashima which I am not sure that I need anyway.

    Starting to get sold on the idea of a 120/100 top fuel with a dropper as my one bike quiver. I like beefy wheels though (like 2.6 beefy for trail killing) and I'm not sure i'd be able to stretch the shoes over a 2.4 on a TF.

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    I watched some BCBR last summer, and there was everything from steep XC hardtails to Knolly Wardens (150/160).
    Any of those wardens land on the podium?

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    Any of those wardens land on the podium?
    Maybe if there were only 3 people who were entered/finished in a particular category.
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  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    You'd agree though that if they made it timed and part of your final score rather than simply a time limit that an XC bike would probably fair better or at the very least not any worse than a typical 160mm enduro rig?




    Interested to know this part as well. Seems easier to get my hands on a 9.8 frame (or well the complete bike to upgrade parts from) than a 9.9 and it's only a few grams heavier and sans the kashima which I am not sure that I need anyway.

    Starting to get sold on the idea of a 120/100 top fuel with a dropper as my one bike quiver. I like beefy wheels though (like 2.6 beefy for trail killing) and I'm not sure i'd be able to stretch the shoes over a 2.4 on a TF.
    If they did, enduro would look very different than it does now. The bikes would be different, and the people winning the races would be different, too.

    Yes, of course an XC bike would fair (far) better than a 160mm enduro bike if the race courses included uphill sections. But, aside from very brief uphill spurts during long, downhill segments, they don't include any climbing stages.
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  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    Yup, I have an Anthem 29 which is 100/100. I've taken that bike everywhere and point it down hill as fast as it will go.

    I bought an XTC carbon Hardtail frame to race most of the easiest stuff. I finding myself riding this bike everywhere anyways. including the gnarly stuff. Its just so much fun to ride and the acceleration is addicting. It was perfectly comfortable hitting a 5 foot drop this past. I was going 18 mph mind you which helps, but the idea is you can do it. I wouldn't roll off a 5 footer at 2 mph and "drop to flat."



    1. Enduro races are not times up hills. You have a time you need to get to the check point but it is Sloooow.

    Don't be sad you have options.

    The only thing about an XC that cant descend is the person on the saddle. Tires are a limiting factor because physics. That's a cheap fix!

    Look at any strava segment on any trail you ride. the top 20 is going to be filled with Fast guys on big bikes and Fast Cross country racers. I don't want to go posting a bunch of strava segments to prove a point, But if you look at any trail, that's who is on it. You probably just don't know who these people are yet. Texas is pretty pedally even downhill segments. Fitness goes a long way.

    Look at the local enduro series. Many of the features in those races that are the most challenging are cause by people not being able to have enough speed to clear a double or a gap. Tell me how an XC bike doesn't actually improve this situation. Sure there are segments with drops, that you would prefer more travel, but they can be ridden on an XC rig.


    There are Gnarly stage races where Trail bikes are good to have and protect your body. I would still take the XC bike for the ease of climbing. I won the 1 lap at the Lake Georgetown - Dragon Slayer on my anthem 100/100. The guys that won the three lap were on steel single speed hardtails.



    Is this the 9.8 frame or the 9.9 all carbon?

    Weight with pedals
    9.9 XTR pedals

  6. #106
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    Seems this thread has gone in favor of the XC bikes. I'm going to say it doesn't matter...

    Keep the cockpit long enough for good power transfer, and run a decently fast tire, and a trail bike will be of little to no disadvantage in an XC race.

    I had plenty of decent results racing regional events in the pro/open class aboard a 130 mm / 140 mm trail bike, and trust me, it's not like I'm making up lost time with talent. Even on shorter races and smoother courses it did fine. AND I had a bike to competitively race enduro with merely a tire, and maybe stem swap.

    I came to realize that with decent tires and fit, the bike isn't going to make a difference. So I choose the bike that is the most fun to ride for the area that I live. I will say that I happen to be on an XC bike now...with a dropper and 120 mm fork, but I have no delusions that it's any faster than the 120/130 travel bike I was on last year. It's just more fun for where I live now.

    For the op and the region he is riding, an XC bike does sound like the more fun option. But he shouldn't be thinking that it will necessarily be any fast.

  7. #107
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    I'm generally faster on my XC bike (100mm HT) vs the trail bike (140mm FS). If I have to pedal and climb more than I get to descend...I'll take the XC bike. If I'm doing more gravity oriented riding...then I'll use the trail bike. I've got some DH PR's that I set on my XC bike that I can't beat on the trail bike. My XC bike is also 19.7 vs the 30.5lbs trail bike.

  8. #108
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    Regarding weights of a Top Fuel.

    Here's some specs:
    - Top Fuel RSL frame set (all carbon) Size 21.5
    - Pike 2018 120 (with remote)
    - Mavic XA Carbon Pro wheel set (around 1580g)
    - Eagle XX1 complete
    - TL Ultimate brakes
    - Ashima rotors
    - Enve RSR 760 bar
    - 70mm stem
    - ESI grips
    - ProCraft seat post (rigid, 188g)
    - Phenom Pro saddle
    - XTR pedals (race version)
    - Barzo 2.25 up front and Mezcal 2.35 in rear

    Weight: 24.15lbs

    This is with dual remotes for the suspension and the Vittorias are not the lightest tyres.

    I'm about to order a Bikeyoke and I will do my best to stay below 25lbs.

  9. #109
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    My wife believes her new Kona Hei Hei is the perfect blend of XC fast and trail shredding she's ever ridden.
    How much of a disadvantage XC versus Trail Bike - Racing-img_0926.jpg

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Padre View Post
    My wife believes her new Kona Hei Hei is the perfect blend of XC fast and trail shredding she's ever ridden.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'm thinking if I build a Top Fuel like this it may fit the bill.

    Considering a TF 9.8 (or maybe a 9.9 if inventory becomes available soon enough and funds are there)
    switching the kovee wheels for line pro 30's
    switching the pro seatpost for a drop line
    switching the 100mm step cast for a 120mm 34
    switching the tires for something closer to 2.4" with decent cornering

    Might try the 100mm fork though for a bit and see how much I like it first tnough and if I really need the extra 20mm of travel.

  11. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    I'm thinking if I build a Top Fuel like this it may fit the bill.

    Considering a TF 9.8 (or maybe a 9.9 if inventory becomes available soon enough and funds are there)
    switching the kovee wheels for line pro 30's
    switching the pro seatpost for a drop line
    switching the 100mm step cast for a 120mm 34
    switching the tires for something closer to 2.4" with decent cornering

    Might try the 100mm fork though for a bit and see how much I like it first tnough and if I really need the extra 20mm of travel.
    Why would you throw heavy wheels with questionable reliability on an XC bike?



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  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Why would you throw heavy wheels with questionable reliability on an XC bike?



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    The Line 30s are about 50g lighter than the kovees and have a wider rim so they would provide more support for sidewalls and allow me to run slightly wider and admittedly slightly heavier tires for when I just want to ride trails. I can always go back to lighter tires for XC when I need to.

    Or is this logic flawed?

  13. #113
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    What is Just ride trails? I am not sure if you know this, but XC in texas is trail riding as fast as you can.

    I ride the same tires regardless. You don't want to train and learn the handling of your bike then switch to some peashooter race tire for a weekend. That is a recipe for failure.

    Some of our rockier trails actually hook better with Ikon front and rear, vs a more aggressive front.

    I would MUCH rather build up a 25-26m Carbon wheelset to i9s for al of the rocky technical moves you have to make n places like Brushy. That's what I have, and they are 1600 grams built to take a thrashing.
    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    I'm thinking if I build a Top Fuel like this it may fit the bill.

    Considering a TF 9.8 (or maybe a 9.9 if inventory becomes available soon enough and funds are there)
    switching the kovee wheels for line pro 30's
    switching the pro seatpost for a drop line
    switching the 100mm step cast for a 120mm 34
    switching the tires for something closer to 2.4" with decent cornering

    Might try the 100mm fork though for a bit and see how much I like it first tnough and if I really need the extra 20mm of travel.
    Not to tell you what to do with "your build," but those wheels are totally unnecessary. All you need is a 2.35. I don't know any 2.4s that are worth a darn.

    Hans Dampf is plenty fast rolling in the hard compound. For rear, I would just run a 2.35 IKON EXO and call it a day.. You can put both of these on your Kovees. If you cant make this combo rail, its you and not the bike. Its a great combo for Austin trails for someone who wants to go fast and tear up downhills but can manage a little progressive rear drift. These are both very large 60mm wide tires that have a ton of volume to support our rocks.

    When we traveled to the Sedona and Santa Fe, I threw a 2.35 Magic mary on the front of my wife's Specialized ERA wuth Roval control carbons which are a similar width to Kovee. The profile is good and those tires rail. If you need more traction than this, lord help you.

    I think your are letting the Bike blogs and parking lot talk get to you and convince you need something that you don't. You do NOT want or need to haul around a 2.6 on our terrain. you will either get 1. an unreliable tire 2. a 1000 gram beast.


    BTW Lets' ride!

  14. #114
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    That makes sense. Would the extra rim width hurt me though in any way if I run 2.35 Ikons? The wheels I could get a decent deal (considering selling the kovees) and they have 2x the POE and better hubs though I could convert the Kovee's to 2x as well fairly easily with the kit Trek sells.

    Not so much bike blogs as the most fun tire I have ridden on our trails here so far has been the 2.6 nobby nic and right now I am rolling on the 2.4 Xr4 which is decent enough to enjoy as well. I admit though that I do not have very much experience on anything thinner than a 2.35 since my Marlin 5 6 years ago.

  15. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    That makes sense. Would the extra rim width hurt me though in any way if I run 2.35 Ikons? The wheels I could get a decent deal (considering selling the kovees) and they have 2x the POE and better hubs though I could convert the Kovee's to 2x as well fairly easily with the kit Trek sells.

    Not so much bike blogs as the most fun tire I have ridden on our trails here so far has been the 2.6 nobby nic and right now I am rolling on the 2.4 Xr4 which is decent enough to enjoy as well. I admit though that I do not have very much experience on anything thinner than a 2.35 since my Marlin 5 6 years ago.
    Sorry, I made more edits to my post above. It takes forever because IE doesn't like to take all of the letters I type when editing.

    Yes, Too much rim width will square off your tire.

    If you want to run that tire for fun, Build up a spare wide front, but don't do that to your rear! You can build up a light strong wide front wheel for 200 bucks. I would still encourage you to try out a good Enduro front tire before going down this rabbit hole. if you REALLY need traction, give the Magic marry Trailstar a go. You don't need all that volume.

    I hear that 2.6 No No is fun. The old one was really light. I hear the Addix one is quite a bit heavier but who knows. My fun tire like I said is a HD at around 21 PSI. Im 200 pounds loaded up. Its a more aggressive tire than the XR4. Mine weighs 805 grams in pace star.

  16. #116
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    I consider the fuel ex as a trail race bike. The top fuel is a xc race bike. If I only had one bicycle that had to do everything I would go with the fuel ex. A lot of 650b bikes similar to the fuel ex are now being marketed as XC bikes. They fly in rooty twisty trails like you find in the southeast and on the east coast.

  17. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    I consider the fuel ex as a trail race bike. The top fuel is a xc race bike. If I only had one bicycle that had to do everything I would go with the fuel ex. A lot of 650b bikes similar to the fuel ex are now being marketed as XC bikes. They fly in rooty twisty trails like you find in the southeast and on the east coast.
    I can't recall the last time I saw an adult male on a 650b XC bike.

    They still make those things?

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  18. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I can't recall the last time I saw an adult male on a 650b XC bike.

    They still make those things?

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    Schurter was winning on 650b 1.5 years ago.

    If you count smart sizing, yes, they do still make them. Scalpel Si, Top Fuel, for example. Mach 4 is one of the few I can think of that are wheel size specific that might still be worth a look.



    Sounds like the OP's looking at the category in which the Yeti ASR, Element BC Edition, and maybe the Camber, Hei Hei, Salsa Spearfish, Canyon Neuron, Liteville 101, and old JET9 are trying to market to.

    I demo'd that Hei Hei and it had an old school trail bike feel, but was very pedal efficient. It zoomed, and was not upset at all by the rough, but didn't feel confident nor encouraging. It covered distance deceptively easily--very good at chasing fast riders. I prefer the feel of a Yeti ASRc for XC style riding that is capable. It was very encouraging, wanting to go at a faster pace, daring you to go faster downhill, until you were held back by the traction (braking/cornering). It made me take charge, going off on my own. Didn't get one since I like social rides and I know it'd feel impatient with all the regrouping.

    You can make a Top Fuel more burly if you like, but I generally find when someone does that, that's when they start not liking it any more and look for something else that they actually wanted--something that was designed to be that way from the beginning.
    We're all on the same ship, and it's sinking.

  19. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    Schurter was winning on 650b 1.5 years ago.

    If you count smart sizing, yes, they do still make them. Scalpel Si, Top Fuel, for example. Mach 4 is one of the few I can think of that are wheel size specific that might still be worth a look.
    I'm being serious. The last time I saw a 650b XC bike was during a collegiate XC race in the fall of 2016. It was a Giant, because their team got sweet deals on them.

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  20. #120
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    OP:

    If I were you, I'd see if you like racing before you drop $5-10k on a new kind of bike that is better suited to a kind of riding you might not enjoy.

    Best solution: Find some fast tires, throw them on your current bike, reduce your sag by 5%, enter race. Don't buy a new bike until you've determined that you actually enjoy XC racing. It isn't for everyone, and there's nothing wrong with that.
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  21. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by party_wagon View Post
    I consider the fuel ex as a trail race bike. The top fuel is a xc race bike. If I only had one bicycle that had to do everything I would go with the fuel ex. A lot of 650b bikes similar to the fuel ex are now being marketed as XC bikes. They fly in rooty twisty trails like you find in the southeast and on the east coast.
    The fuel ex isn't going to do anything that the top fuel can't do. The top fuel will just do everything faster all told. And uh a fully rigid bike flies thru the rocks and roots around here in the proper hands and when yer off of the Internet. The koolaid is strong here....

  22. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    then switch to some peashooter race tire for a weekend
    Agree, and awesome term!
    Whining is not a strategy.

  23. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    The fuel ex isn't going to do anything that the top fuel can't do. The top fuel will just do everything faster all told. And uh a fully rigid bike flies thru the rocks and roots around here in the proper hands and when yer off of the Internet. The koolaid is strong here....
    Cmon... both bikes in stock form, the Ex is more stable/ faster on descents. My 16' Ex with 120mm front & rear at 23lbs also handles and climbs as well as any top fuel of the same weight. The difference in geo of the frames is miniscule. I love both bikes; no need to place the top fuel on a higher pedestal.

  24. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by splitendz View Post
    Cmon... both bikes in stock form, the Ex is more stable/ faster on descents. My 16' Ex with 120mm front & rear at 23lbs also handles and climbs as well as any top fuel of the same weight. The difference in geo of the frames is miniscule. I love both bikes; no need to place the top fuel on a higher pedestal.
    Having spent time on both I disagree. For all out overall speed and efficiency everywhere I do put the top fuel on a higher pedestal.

  25. #125
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    I wish trek still made the 2016 fuel ex! I never had one, but I would think that would be a great all around bike.... The frame weight is about about the same as the top fuel but has 120mm of rear travel. Crazy they only made if for one year!

    The current fuel ex's weigh a little more and have more travel.. They are more of a trail bike for sure... My friend has a 2018 Fuel Ex 9.9, he races his top fuel in xc, endurance and rides the fuel ex for training and fun.

  26. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    Having spent time on both I disagree. For all out overall speed and efficiency everywhere I do put the top fuel on a higher pedestal.
    Could be some model year confusion going on?

    Having ridden all three, I'd rank them as follows, fastest to slowest:

    XCO: Top Fuel, FEX 2016, FEX 2017/18

    XC Endurance: FEX 2016, Top Fuel FEX 17/18. Unless very rugged, where 17/18 FEX wins.

    Trail: FEX, either version, depending on your preferences and local trails. Top Fuel last. Not I'm NOT saying bad, just beneath the other two.
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  27. #127
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    They are all "trail" bikes.

  28. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    Could be some model year confusion going on?
    No.

  29. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by HacksawReynolds View Post
    No.
    I just meant with regard to the 2016 and 2017/18 FEX bikes being VERY different.

    Love the 17/18 as a trail bike, but the 16 was hands down the best endurance racing bike I've ever had.
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  30. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I can't recall the last time I saw an adult male on a 650b XC bike.

    They still make those things?

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    My friend Ben raced 2016 on an Orbea Oiz. He replaced that with a Scott Spark. Anecdotally, I finished closer to him on the Spark than on the Oiz (even beat him on the Spark). I say anecdotally because I'm pretty sure I'm faster now than I was then, so it's not a true comparison.

  31. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    My friend Ben raced 2016 on an Orbea Oiz. He replaced that with a Scott Spark. Anecdotally, I finished closer to him on the Spark than on the Oiz (even beat him on the Spark). I say anecdotally because I'm pretty sure I'm faster now than I was then, so it's not a true comparison.
    Having watched some of his race stream videos, I'd say that Ben has some, ahem, interesting theories about bike setup in general. Not to say that he doesn't make it work for him, but I find myself disagreeing with him pretty often.
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  32. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Having watched some of his race stream videos, I'd say that Ben has some, ahem, interesting theories about bike setup in general. Not to say that he doesn't make it work for him, but I find myself disagreeing with him pretty often.
    I usually don't ever think much about the set up of other bikes. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses and sets up their bikes to suit. Though, most of my bike set up is based on my budget than preference...

  33. #133
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    Just as a comparison.

    My Santa Cruz 5010 I bought used with 2.4 Highroller (front) and 2.35 Hans Dampf(rear) and the stock alloy wheels WTB ST i23. The bike was fun as my burly gnar bike, but felt slow anywhere but down. It is heavy at 29lbs, but also sluggish.

    Recently I got a deal on set of WTB Asym i35 wheels. Despuite being 35mm internal vs 23mm they were lighter. I put a 2.6 Forekaster and 2.6 Rekon (rear) on the bike. The tires just barely fit in the rear. First right the bike got so much faster. I feel like the old tires were very draggy and were holding me back. With 2.6 size and 15psi front and 22 rear I get more grip than I had with beefy tires. That said the bike is still not as fast as my XC HT bikes which are several pounds lighter, but tire type does make a difference.
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    Rc bike are more use ful then trial bike and I know that a XC bike can double as a trail bike with little issue but at the same time I mostly, like 90% of the time, my rides are on the trails by myself. I'd also be nervous that the RSL might get beat up with too much trail usage
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    Degreaser

    I know that a XC bike can double as a trail bike with little issue but at the same time I mostly, like 90% of the time, my rides are on the trails by myself. I'd also be nervous that the RSL might get beat up with too much trail usage
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  36. #136
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    Riding and having fun on the trails is what life is about for me. Racing or going for PRs on a light and super stiff steep Geo XC bike may be what motivates those guys and to each his own. Ride what makes you ride. Nobodyís keeping track and evaluating you.
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    If I currently have a Ex 9.8 and rarely use more than 85-90% of my rear suspension, usually around 75% (and that's at 30% sag) I would likely be fine on 100mm of the Top Fuel?

    I rode last two times at a somewhat rugged trail (deception at Brushy Creek) with my fork in firm and only used maybe 90-95mm. Thinking that I would be fine 100/100 and might not need to put a 1lb heavier Fox 34 on it.

  38. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I'm being serious. The last time I saw a 650b XC bike was during a collegiate XC race in the fall of 2016. It was a Giant, because their team got sweet deals on them.
    Not many options. They are trying to find some as well in the 650b forum

    27.5 FS XC Bike - what still exists?

  39. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    If I currently have a Ex 9.8 and rarely use more than 85-90% of my rear suspension, usually around 75% (and that's at 30% sag) I would likely be fine on 100mm of the Top Fuel?

    I rode last two times at a somewhat rugged trail (deception at Brushy Creek) with my fork in firm and only used maybe 90-95mm. Thinking that I would be fine 100/100 and might not need to put a 1lb heavier Fox 34 on it.
    Seems like you've answered the question.

    But, again, why not just throw on some lighter, faster rolling tires and see if you actually enjoy XC racing before throwing $5-8k at a new bike?

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  40. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Seems like you've answered the question.

    But, again, why not just throw on some lighter, faster rolling tires and see if you actually enjoy XC racing before throwing $5-8k at a new bike?

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
    Because I am rather vain when it comes to things like this and I rather dislike the idea of not being on a race bike for my first race. Silly I know, but that's the monster I am. The nagging "this would or could be better if your bike wasn't so slack, heavy, and overly plush" would eat me up.

    And hypothetically I like to think that I have a more disposable income than I actually have.

    It's also sounding like, with the lack of bike parks and overly technical trails that I would likely enjoy a XC dually more on my local trails than I do my trail bike.

  41. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    Because I am rather vain when it comes to things like this and I rather dislike the idea of not being on a race bike for my first race. Silly I know, but that's the monster I am. The nagging "this would or could be better if your bike wasn't so slack, heavy, and overly plush" would eat me up.

    And hypothetically I like to think that I have a more disposable income than I actually have.

    It's also sounding like, with the lack of bike parks and overly technical trails that I would likely enjoy a XC dually more on my local trails than I do my trail bike.
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    I am the new owner of a '17 closeout 9.8 Top Fuel as of lunchtime today. I blame all of you guys. Its going to rain in Austin.


    drdocta, There is a race this weekend at Flat Rock Ranch. It is a bit different because it is a Marathon race, You can enter the Half, which will be a real butt kicker for you probably, but wll give you a very worth while look into racing. Marathon and Half marathon races are mass start (i.e. everyone will start together. Don't start in the front, but don't be in the back either. This race sprints up a jeep road hill for .6 miles before diving into singletrack with exposure with limited room for passing. Pacing will be quite different than for your Fist XC race but you will get to learn some of the nuances, such as passing and not been being able to pass and not go as fast as you want.

    This is one of the best race courses in Texas and will be a blast to Experiment with. You can even stop after the first "lap" fuel up and have a sandwich if you want. There are no expectations because some people are out there just to finish.

    Register: https://www.bikereg.com/2018discomfort

    Here is a video of the XCO racecourse. (the Race this Saturday actually makes a turn and adds in 3 miles of trail at mile 10 or so, then tacks on another 6 miles on the back half. This gives you a general idea of the course and fun.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl9hEkK1h-A

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    Last edited by FJSnoozer; 01-24-2018 at 08:45 AM.

  43. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    I am the new owner of a '17 closeout 9.8 Top Fuel as of lunchtime today. I blame all of you guys. Its going to rain in Austin.
    Great XCM bike, love mine. I went through my '17 TF 9.8 and cut some weight, step by step on my blog. Enjoy the ride!
    -DC, just some XC Bum in Sfla...

  44. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkpowa View Post
    Great XCM bike, love mine. I went through my '17 TF 9.8 and cut some weight, step by step on my blog. Enjoy the ride!
    Awesome! I already read your blog. That was one of the final tipping points. Weight reduction has already begun as of last night. Axles are ordered. Chainring will be swapped. I am a bit to heavy and smashing to do some of the mods you did.

    One discovery: My bike came with Guide Ultimate 4 piston brakes! Anyone have this on theirs? I was going to instantly swap XTs on but I may give these a go for a bit before selling to a SRAM brake fanboy.


    I noticed my hub is 21 or 24 POE? I may have to swap that hub out immediately for an i9. It looks like the 2018 Kovee Pro models come with 54.


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    This has been an interesting and enlightening thread to read through. There has been lots of good information shared about the differences between these two bikes, and even the different styles of bikes. I have gathered that sometimes we "want" something, in this case the OP seemed to really be leaning to the EX even though many people posted the Top Fuel would serve him well, and look for the push to take the leap but don't always get it.

    Having looked at both of these style bikes for the future, though I'm enjoying my recent intro into MTB and my HT at this time, I have got some good information and will be better informed. This is just one more way that I am starting all over coming from road to MTB. Thanks for all of the good information, from the bikes to racing XC.

  46. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I can't recall the last time I saw an adult male on a 650b XC bike.

    They still make those things?

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    Hey!! That hurts.

    I love my 27.5 Oiz, the 29er one isn't bad either.
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  47. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    Awesome! I already read your blog. That was one of the final tipping points. Weight reduction has already begun as of last night. Axles are ordered. Chainring will be swapped. I am a bit to heavy and smashing to do some of the mods you did.

    One discovery: My bike came with Guide Ultimate 4 piston brakes! Anyone have this on theirs? I was going to instantly swap XTs on but I may give these a go for a bit before selling to a SRAM brake fanboy.


    I noticed my hub is 21 or 24 POE? I may have to swap that hub out immediately for an i9. It looks like the 2018 Kovee Pro models come with 54.


    I think my Guide Ultimates have replaced my XTR Race brakes as my favorites (just barely). Not much heavier, and I can run 160mm rotors on the Guides and get equal power to the XTR Race with 180mm rotors. My newer Ultimates have been trouble free, but I had a set of Guide RS brakes that had issue seizing in hot temps and direct sunshine.

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    Thatís the right way to build up a ďDo it allĒ rig. Short travel but with i30mm rims. I would choose this over a longer travel with narrow i26mm rims, any day.
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  49. #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    Awesome! I already read your blog. That was one of the final tipping points. Weight reduction has already begun as of last night. Axles are ordered. Chainring will be swapped. I am a bit to heavy and smashing to do some of the mods you did.

    One discovery: My bike came with Guide Ultimate 4 piston brakes! Anyone have this on theirs? I was going to instantly swap XTs on but I may give these a go for a bit before selling to a SRAM brake fanboy.


    I noticed my hub is 21 or 24 POE? I may have to swap that hub out immediately for an i9. It looks like the 2018 Kovee Pro models come with 54.

    Yes, the old Kovee Pros are a lower POE and not upgradable to 54/108 like the new hubs. They're fine for a stock wheelset, but I'm looking to upgrade to a nicer set for 2018.

    Guide Ultimates are nice, you'll notice a huge difference in modulation coming from Shimanos. They'd pair nicely with some Ashima rotors IMO. It's all personal preference, but my Levels have been flawless for the last year+. As soon as they get dodgy I'm going to Hopes, but hasn't happened yet...
    -DC, just some XC Bum in Sfla...

  50. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkpowa View Post
    Yes, the old Kovee Pros are a lower POE and not upgradable to 54/108 like the new hubs. They're fine for a stock wheelset, but I'm looking to upgrade to a nicer set for 2018.

    Guide Ultimates are nice, you'll notice a huge difference in modulation coming from Shimanos. They'd pair nicely with some Ashima rotors IMO. It's all personal preference, but my Levels have been flawless for the last year+. As soon as they get dodgy I'm going to Hopes, but hasn't happened yet...
    Trek Chat told me they were 24 POE and not upgradeable. They did say I could retain the warranty on the rim for 2 years even with a new hub laced in. So I will probably lace in a high end rear hub when I have time.

    I am a little nervous about using Ashimas. Not that I brake much, but I am concerned about Rock strikes. We have lots of loose 3-5" limestone that kicks up and likes to tap spokes and downtubes. I was also concerened about my 50 mph trips down some of the street hills, but the review says they stay cool and don't fade the way standard rotors will. I currently run Magura Storm SL which are halfway between an Ashima and XT.

    I a

  51. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardmtnbiker View Post
    Thatís the right way to build up a ďDo it allĒ rig. Short travel but with i30mm rims. I would choose this over a longer travel with narrow i26mm rims, any day.
    That's what I am toying with, since i29 rims ideal width is around 2.4 inches and I plan to run at least 2.35 all purpose XC shoes on it. I could swap out the kovee's for line pros which are 90grams lighter and have a wider profile with twice the POE for a minimal upgrade cost.

    Just crunched all my data from last year (23 recorded rides) and it looks like on the 130/130 Fuel Ex my travel has been...

    Fork - (15-20% sag)
    87mm max used on my least technical ride
    114mm average max used on all rides
    130mm max used on my hardest ride

    Suspension - (25-30% sag)
    79mm max used on my least technical ride
    103mm average max used on all rides
    117mm max used on my hardest ride

    So I'm thinking that 130/130 is more than I need. I rarely went over 115mm on the fork and rarely over 95mm on the rear even when at my saggiest and roughest riding. Now I'm just considering if I should keep everything stock and have a nice light 100/100 XC machine or if I'd have more fun on the trails if I added the light trail carbon wheels, 120mm fork, and a dropper. It would be probably 2-2.5lbs heavier if I make these trail converts which doesn't seem that bad since I am keeping rotational mass relatively the same. But at the same time the lighter the better, so argh!!!

  52. #152
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    Do you use a Shockwiz?

    Le Duke asked you before why you wanted to replace with wheels with a known issue. I looked into this. apparently there are several people with bad layups in the rims which have cracked at least the first batch of rims. Again, nothing that isn't covered by warranty, but a pain. I was curious about these for the one I just bought as well. I would look elsewhere.

    Most 2.4s are not 2.4 or are barely 2.4. Many of the 2.35s are 2.4. Some 2.2s and 2.3s are YUUGE. So making a blanket statement that you like to ride 2.4s shows you haven't seen all these variances yet.

    Trailizing an XC bike shouldn't add more than 2 pounds.
    Dropper adds 300g over stock Pro seatpost
    F34 with Kabolt ~ Updated 300 grams over performance Sc fork
    2.35 HD and Ikon rear. 250g over XR1
    If you decide to drop the remote that's (-150g)

    1.6 pounds to get rowdy. You might even decide to race like this, because its fun. I would just pull the dropper off if convenient.

    Updated to reflect verified weight of SC performance.
    Last edited by FJSnoozer; 01-26-2018 at 08:14 AM.

  53. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    Do you use a Shockwiz?

    Le Duke asked you before why you wanted to replace with wheels with a known issue. I looked into this. apparently there are several people with bad layups in the rims which have cracked at least the first batch of rims. Again, nothing that isn't covered by warranty, but a pain. I was curious about these for the one I just bought as well. I would look elsewhere.

    Most 2.4s are not 2.4 or are barely 2.4. Many of the 2.35s are 2.4. Some 2.2s and 2.3s are YUUGE. So making a blanket statement that you like to ride 2.4s shows you haven't seen all these variances yet.

    Trailizing an XC bike shouldn't add more than 2 pounds.
    Dropper adds 300g over stock Pro seatpost
    F34 with Kabolt ~ 150g over performance Sc fork
    2.35 HD and Ikon rear. 250g over XR1
    If you decide to drop the remote that's (-150g)

    1.25 pounds to get rowdy. You might even decide to race like this, because its fun.
    Fox SC forks are 3 pounds. F34's are 4 pounds. Kabolt axle saves about 40 grams. I've had and weighed a bunch of each.
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  54. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by BmanInTheD View Post
    Fox SC forks are 3 pounds. F34's are 4 pounds. Kabolt axle saves about 40 grams. I've had and weighed a bunch of each.
    The Factory is 2.98, the performance is 3.65 or 1657 g on Fox's website. Weight difference should be around 150 grams between the performance with the QR and the f34 with a kabolt.



    Edit: found this searching images. Perhaps fox is overstating the weight of the performance series for sales purposes

    https://esmtb.com/fox-32-stepcast-fa...e-peso-precio/


    If that was the case, the difference would be 300-330 g

  55. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    Do you use a Shockwiz?

    Le Duke asked you before why you wanted to replace with wheels with a known issue. I looked into this. apparently there are several people with bad layups in the rims which have cracked at least the first batch of rims. Again, nothing that isn't covered by warranty, but a pain. I was curious about these for the one I just bought as well. I would look elsewhere.

    Most 2.4s are not 2.4 or are barely 2.4. Many of the 2.35s are 2.4. Some 2.2s and 2.3s are YUUGE. So making a blanket statement that you like to ride 2.4s shows you haven't seen all these variances yet.

    Trailizing an XC bike shouldn't add more than 2 pounds.
    Dropper adds 300g over stock Pro seatpost
    F34 with Kabolt ~ 150g over performance Sc fork
    2.35 HD and Ikon rear. 250g over XR1
    If you decide to drop the remote that's (-150g)

    1.25 pounds to get rowdy. You might even decide to race like this, because its fun.
    Haven't gotten my hands on a Shockwiz, I just record my PSI/Sag/Used travel with each almost each.

    I just get the best deals on Bontrager products and that's their only carbon rim with ~i30. A few buddies have them and haven't had any issues but good to know that many have. I'd have to find out if they've been improved since the first batches. (I'd like to assume they have)

    For the tires when I say 2.4 I just mean that I want to like to ride the highest volume tire that fits. It's probably vain of me but I like soaking up as much chatter and having as much traction as I can through my rubber. I understand though that I can go XC on plus tires or DH casings. Trust me though I have seen the insane variances, so I mean measuring to a true 2.4 not so much what's printed on the tire.

    I was under the impression that the 34 was about a whole lb heavier than the new SC 32's at the same level. Which I'm hopeful is wrong as a 1lb penalty for only 20mm more travel and a slightly stiffer fork doesn't feel as worth it.

    But mannnnnn if it's under 1.5lbs more total I'd probably race it. "Ride what your race" or whatever is starting to sound like a very attractive mantra to live by.

  56. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    The Factory is 2.98, the performance is 3.65 or 1657 g on Fox's website. Weight difference should be around 150 grams between the performance with the QR and the f34 with a kabolt.



    Edit: found this searching images. Perhaps fox is overstating the weight of the performance series for sales purposes

    https://esmtb.com/fox-32-stepcast-fa...e-peso-precio/


    If that was the case, the difference would be 300-330 g
    Most of the weight difference from a SC Factory to a SC Performance IS the Kabolt axle, 40 grams of it. So if you subtract it from the F34's weight, you gotta subtract it from the Step-cast's weight too. It's about a pound difference however you wanna slice it, give or take 30-40 grams. There ain't no way there's THAT much difference in weight between the SC forks. That Performance weight you listed above must be for the F32 (non-step-cast).
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    That's what I am toying with, since i29 rims ideal width is around 2.4 inches and I plan to run at least 2.35 all purpose XC shoes on it. I could swap out the kovee's for line pros which are 90grams lighter and have a wider profile with twice the POE for a minimal upgrade cost.

    Just crunched all my data from last year (23 recorded rides) and it looks like on the 130/130 Fuel Ex my travel has been...

    Fork - (15-20% sag)
    87mm max used on my least technical ride
    114mm average max used on all rides
    130mm max used on my hardest ride

    Suspension - (25-30% sag)
    79mm max used on my least technical ride
    103mm average max used on all rides
    117mm max used on my hardest ride

    So I'm thinking that 130/130 is more than I need. I rarely went over 115mm on the fork and rarely over 95mm on the rear even when at my saggiest and roughest riding. Now I'm just considering if I should keep everything stock and have a nice light 100/100 XC machine or if I'd have more fun on the trails if I added the light trail carbon wheels, 120mm fork, and a dropper. It would be probably 2-2.5lbs heavier if I make these trail converts which doesn't seem that bad since I am keeping rotational mass relatively the same. But at the same time the lighter the better, so argh!!!
    Only 23 rides?
    I agree on getting a Top Fuel and adding i29 wider rim high end wheels and a Fox32 120 to and some playfulness and slack it out a little. But donít believe the Marketing hype that i30mm rims can only mount 2.4 tires. I have 2.25 Racing Ralphís on my i30s now and the work perfect and are really light fast climbers.
    But seriously 23 rides, unless thatís monthly then why bother racing, itís not enough time on your bike. Get a lighter XC racer bike but get more bonding time on the trails.
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  58. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by BmanInTheD View Post
    Most of the weight difference from a SC Factory to a SC Performance IS the Kabolt axle, 40 grams of it. So if you subtract it from the F34's weight, you gotta subtract it from the Step-cast's weight too. It's about a pound difference however you wanna slice it, give or take 30-40 grams. There ain't no way there's THAT much difference in weight between the SC forks. That Performance weight you listed above must be for the F32 (non-step-cast).
    I guess you didn't look at the link. Clearly fox is over quoting the weight of performance:

    Actual weight on scale:
    29 SC Factory vs performance 1.367 gramos 1.442 gramos
    Boost Kabolt vs 38 gramos 79 gramos

    F34s are around 1785 in the configuration.

    Again, upgrading an OEM bike with a performance with QR to a Kabolt 34 will add 300-330.

    I know we aren't realy arguing, I am us being accurate

  59. #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by BmanInTheD View Post
    Most of the weight difference from a SC Factory to a SC Performance IS the Kabolt axle, 40 grams of it. So if you subtract it from the F34's weight, you gotta subtract it from the Step-cast's weight too. It's about a pound difference however you wanna slice it, give or take 30-40 grams. There ain't no way there's THAT much difference in weight between the SC forks. That Performance weight you listed above must be for the F32 (non-step-cast).
    Thought so, seems like a lb difference makes it not worth it so much. Less than an inch more travel for a ~5% increase in weight and it's all focused on the front end. More difficult to climb and lift the front end when larger obstacles come up.

  60. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardmtnbiker View Post
    Only 23 rides?
    I agree on getting a Top Fuel and adding i29 wider rim high end wheels and a Fox32 120 to and some playfulness and slack it out a little. But donít believe the Marketing hype that i30mm rims can only mount 2.4 tires. I have 2.25 Racing Ralphís on my i30s now and the work perfect and are really light fast climbers.
    But seriously 23 rides, unless thatís monthly then why bother racing, itís not enough time on your bike. Get a lighter XC racer bike but get more bonding time on the trails.
    23 recorded rides. I don't bust out the calipers and psi gauges for every ride I do.

    Yeah my buddy rides on the the i29 with XC boots and loves the extra support the wider profiled rims give his average sized tires.

  61. #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    I guess you didn't look at the link. Clearly fox is over quoting the weight of performance:

    Actual weight on scale:
    29 SC Factory vs performance 1.367 gramos 1.442 gramos
    Boost Kabolt vs 38 gramos 79 gramos

    F34s are around 1785 in the configuration.

    Again, upgrading an OEM bike with a performance with QR to a Kabolt 34 will add 300-330.

    I know we aren't realy arguing, I am us being accurate
    Not too bad then, would make the f34 still have value at least if it's not too much significantly heavier.

  62. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    23 recorded rides. I don't bust out the calipers and psi gauges for every ride I do.

    Yeah my buddy rides on the the i29 with XC boots and loves the extra support the wider profiled rims give his average sized tires.
    Thatís makes sense now, Iím a big fan of #widerisbetter and I just recently built up a set of i26 Velocity Blunt SS rims to use on a new gravel bike build with Kenda Flintridge 700x40 tires and it looks and rides great!
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    Starting to get sold on the idea of a 120/100 top fuel with a dropper as my one bike quiver.

    For my local trails, I don't need 130/130.
    A 120/100 TF with i30 wheels sounds like the perfect bike.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How much of a disadvantage XC versus Trail Bike - Racing-trek.jpg  


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    So after another ride with firmed up suspension, limiting how much travel I would be using I managed to have an enjoyable and speedy ride while keeping travel under about 100mm front and rear.

    Is it a safe assumption that a full suspension XC bike is just as capable as a trail bike for trail riding, the only real advantage that a trail bike brings is that the extra plushness makes for a slower but more smoothed out ride? Basically when it comes down to trail riding XC = faster and Trail = smoother (more comfortable)?

  65. #165
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    I suppose that it depends on your definition of "trail riding". I have no clue what that is.

    A 130mm bike will be better able to handle rougher terrain than a 100mm bike. Probably faster, more confidence inspiring and more comfortable on rough terrain. But, it doesn't sound like you have that where you live.

    The best way to find out is to demo a bike.



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  66. #166
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    So after another ride with firmed up suspension, limiting how much travel I would be using I managed to have an enjoyable and speedy ride while keeping travel under about 100mm front and rear.

    Is it a safe assumption that a full suspension XC bike is just as capable as a trail bike for trail riding, the only real advantage that a trail bike brings is that the extra plushness makes for a slower but more smoothed out ride? Basically when it comes down to trail riding XC = faster and Trail = smoother (more comfortable)?
    Yes definitely.

  67. #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    Is it a safe assumption that a full suspension XC bike is just as capable as a trail bike for trail riding, the only real advantage that a trail bike brings is that the extra plushness makes for a slower but more smoothed out ride? Basically when it comes down to trail riding XC = faster and Trail = smoother (more comfortable)?
    Exactly, in fact, same thing with downhill bikes. The only reason those guys ride those monster rigs is because they wimps who just want to float down the mountain instead of riding it with skill and picking good lines like a real man. Seriously though, there is a reason the Top Fuel has 8mm pivot bolts and the Fuel EX has 12mm. Where you will start breaking those 8mm pivot bolts is doing drops and jumps. For light people who are smooth riders, already know how to get air and don't push the bikes limits, no problem. For anyone 170 lbs and over, not the smoothest, trying to learn how to do jumps and drops, you'll be replacing pivot bolts on the Top Fuel regularly, and maybe damaging the frame more.

  68. #168
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I suppose that it depends on your definition of "trail riding". I have no clue what that is.

    A 130mm bike will be better able to handle rougher terrain than a 100mm bike. Probably faster, more confidence inspiring and more comfortable on rough terrain. But, it doesn't sound like you have that where you live.

    The best way to find out is to demo a bike.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
    For Perspective: Two of the three trails he mentioned riding are too technical to hold an XCO race on. Well one has a grass roots limited participant Ultra-Marathon, but the guys winning this are on steel SS hard tails anyways.

    Brushy: https://youtu.be/MLX88uT1Ufc?t=1m37s

    Goodwater IMBA Epic: https://youtu.be/fb3cpRI_sIg?t=3m15s

    The third is singlespeed hardtail wheelhouse.

  69. #169
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    For Perspective: Two of the three trails he mentioned riding are too technical to hold an XCO race on. Well one has a grass roots limited participant Ultra-Marathon, but the guys winning this are on steel SS hard tails anyways.

    Brushy: https://youtu.be/MLX88uT1Ufc?t=1m37s

    Goodwater IMBA Epic: https://youtu.be/fb3cpRI_sIg?t=3m15s

    The third is singlespeed hardtail wheelhouse.
    Not sure I'd agree with that assessment. Some of the courses for Transylvania are rougher in appearance than that. Plenty of big rocks in addition to the smaller stuff, too.

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  70. #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithcreek View Post
    Exactly, in fact, same thing with downhill bikes. The only reason those guys ride those monster rigs is because they wimps who just want to float down the mountain instead of riding it with skill and picking good lines like a real man. Seriously though, there is a reason the Top Fuel has 8mm pivot bolts and the Fuel EX has 12mm. Where you will start breaking those 8mm pivot bolts is doing drops and jumps. For light people who are smooth riders, already know how to get air and don't push the bikes limits, no problem. For anyone 170 lbs and over, not the smoothest, trying to learn how to do jumps and drops, you'll be replacing pivot bolts on the Top Fuel regularly, and maybe damaging the frame more.
    Didn't really consider the pivot bolts. I am usually 175 loaded up, I'm not the smoothest yet and I am still learning how to drop and jump at speeds that provide a reasonable amount of air. I don't want to worry about damaging anything out of my trails, but then again our drops and jumps here are fairly small (usually 1-3 feet in most places).

  71. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Not sure I'd agree with that assessment. Some of the courses for Transylvania are rougher in appearance than that. Plenty of big rocks in addition to the smaller stuff, too.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
    Is Transylvania an XCO race or a stage/ultra race? I'd be interested in traveling to something as technical in a race format.

    I'm not here to get in a pissing match over who has the hardest trail, because this is not one of them, but I don't think you understand the magnitude of Deception trail. There are so many features in there that people downright couldn't ride UP. That specific trail does not have but 3-4 Drops which would be highly problematic for an XC race. It would be a complete chit show in an XCO format. 75% of people, if not more, would be off their bikes about 20 times in a 6 mile lap. I would invite you to come ride if you are ever down.

    These are just the two trails that the OP said are his regular trails. Central Texas gets a lot more severe than this.

    A fun way to hit a bunch of trails in 1 day would be to come ride the Enchilada Buffet if you are looking for any trips later in the year. Enchilada Buffet | The total Austin mountain biking experience.

    It wont hit anything crazy, but its a cool event.

  72. #172
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    FJ any chance you could put the main central Texas (or Austin area) trails in order of descending difficulty? Are there any trails here that you'd say a Top Fuel (out of box with new tires) should not be ridden on? I know that depending on skill any kind of bike can theoretically be ridden on any trail but there are some situations where it would just straight up be an unfun and dangerous idea to ride the wrong bike.

  73. #173
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    The need to get off your bike and walk is a factor in determine if a trail is good for XC race, but has little bearing on what bike you need to ride it. There have been plenty of trails where I have gotten off the bike and on descents or climbs for short sections or maybe longer ones on my HT bikes. Some have features that you need trials skills to clean and others are just a half mile of nasty chunk at the end of 55 mile ride. Yeah maybe you could ride it, but why kill yourself in last mile or two of a big ride.

    I guess the point is just because there might be few nasty trail features it does not mean you have to have big bike. You can either take it easy or just walk it. Walking 50 yards of 25 mile ride is no big deal. Now walking 3 miles of 15 mile ride rather sucks.

    Now I don't know central Texas, but even here in Arizona there are few trails it would be dangerous to ride a Top Fuel. There are plenty of dangerous trails, but most of that danger is from the rider not the trail. There are trails it would be easier to ride a slack big travel bike, but even then if you crash it maybe worse as you will be going faster. There are trails where taking the wrong bike can make the ride less fun, but that also applies to dragging a big heavy bike up a hill too.

    One more example.
    I took a 7" free ride bike and 5" trail bike down the same trails in Sedona. These were black diamond and double black diamond trails. I hated the 7" free ride bike. It was too big and soft to climb anything and going down I was limited by my bravery more than the bike. The 5" trail bike could climb well enough to not take the fun out of things and on the downhill could ride anything I did get too scared to ride. Some stuff is just stupid hard and high penalty for failure. Just because the bike can handle a 6ft drop to flat does not mean the rider can. There was no level of bike that would get me to try a few moves there. However the bike I did bring was enough to match my bravery. On that same ride I had my trail bike were guys on Top Fuel, Superyfly FS (Top Fuel from 1 year earlier) and Santa Cruz Tallboy. I rode a few more of techy descents that they walked and I rode a few a bit faster, but in the end given the course of the entire ride all the bikes did fine.
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  74. #174
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    FJ any chance you could put the main central Texas (or Austin area) trails in order of descending difficulty? Are there any trails here that you'd say a Top Fuel (out of box with new tires) should not be ridden on? I know that depending on skill any kind of bike can theoretically be ridden on any trail but there are some situations where it would just straight up be an unfun and dangerous idea to ride the wrong bike.
    I could take a stab at it, but the fact is, the many of our trails are not on a public map and not to be named. All of the Difficult trail systems have alternative trails within them to stay away from anything big, or you will figure out pretty quickly when to back out or hike a bike. Not many B lines but alternate trails. Trail builders/stewards frown upon building bypasses or B lines and causing erosion and widening of trails.


    This is Highly Subjective and keep in mind some next to each other could easily swap places or be equal.

    Ascending:
    Warda-Bluff Creek
    Walnut
    Slaughter Creek
    Reimers
    SATN
    Rocky Hill
    Muleshoe
    St Eds
    Greenbelt "Main trail"
    Ken's
    Pace Bend
    Lakeway Mountain
    Thumper
    Flat Creek
    Brushy (including Deception, Gnargasm and all of the good stuff)
    Goodwater - Lake Georgetown Full loop
    Reveille Peak (Including all loops and Super D) (Has beginner loops)
    City Park
    Greenbelt Back Trails


    Go have fun, you can ride all of this^^

    Those in bold could have you opting out of a few drops in select spots if you find your way to those.

    You will feel underbiked at Cat Mountain (freeride 512 membership) and a few of the unmentionable trails if you want to ride every line and drop. Doesnt mean you cant go ride out there and have a blast. I rolled through Cat mountain on a 40 mile ride and took down a few top 10s on some downhill where I didnt have to hit big features. There is some big stuff out there.

    Some of these trail systems have Enduro lines being built on them which if ridden on their own would push the difficulty up and may have you off the bike for a few large features. Most all of the Newer enduro lines have a B line option. Odds are its not the bike that would make you skip these, but the fact that you have to go to work on monday. I am not using Enduro as a description of a style, there are actual races going on, or the freeride crew is constructing features and leveraging natural topography for something you would probably want a 6 inch travel bike for anyway.

  75. #175
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    Awesome thank you guys again! This is all good information. Almost ready to pull the trigger on making the switch over to a Top Fuel. Having a bike that can race and still handle any of our local trails (most with ease and probably preferable to the Ex) is looking better and better the more information I receive. Now to get the wife on board with the purchase...

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    And now, while waiting for Trek to put out another zero percent interest deal with the Trek Card, I am starting to lean towards the Fuel Ex again.

    Here's why...

    Was thinking of getting a Top Fuel 9.8, putting a Fox 34 120mm, a bonty drop line 150mm post, line 30 wheels and some 29x2.6 rekons on it for trail usage (opting probably for 2.35 ikons for most xc) which would put the Top Fuel at 26.6 pounds, not too shabby, fast and even gnarly chunk would feel pleasant enough.

    But now...

    Toying around with the idea of dropping a little bit more money and going with the Fuel Ex 9.9 instead of the 9.8 that I currently have and getting a bonty xxx post, and some 2.35 ikons for race days would net me a 130/130mm bike with a total weight of 24.6, two pounds lighter than the trailerized Top Fuel. Granted yes it is a lot more money spent but I can also get a slightly better deal on the 9.9 to make up for it. The HT angles would be a tad slack at 67.7 instead of ~69-70 of the Top Fuel.

    After really thinking hard on this purchase and what I plan to do with it does it seem like a 120mm Top Fuel with beefy wheels would fit the bill or would a Fuel Ex with a xc kit likely fit better for me?

    What I want to do is race competitively in XC races around central Texas, I want to compete in the handful of endurance races around here, and I want to climb the leader-boards on strava for my local trails.

    I just want to beat this question to death so I don't have any regrets after the purchase. Also entering my first "race" this weekend on my Ex 9.8 to see if I even like racing in general.

  77. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    And now, while waiting for Trek to put out another zero percent interest deal with the Trek Card, I am starting to lean towards the Fuel Ex again.

    Here's why...

    Was thinking of getting a Top Fuel 9.8, putting a Fox 34 120mm, a bonty drop line 150mm post, line 30 wheels and some 29x2.6 rekons on it for trail usage (opting probably for 2.35 ikons for most xc) which would put the Top Fuel at 26.6 pounds, not too shabby, fast and even gnarly chunk would feel pleasant enough.

    But now...

    Toying around with the idea of dropping a little bit more money and going with the Fuel Ex 9.9 instead of the 9.8 that I currently have and getting a bonty xxx post, and some 2.35 ikons for race days would net me a 130/130mm bike with a total weight of 24.6, two pounds lighter than the trailerized Top Fuel. Granted yes it is a lot more money spent but I can also get a slightly better deal on the 9.9 to make up for it. The HT angles would be a tad slack at 67.7 instead of ~69-70 of the Top Fuel.

    After really thinking hard on this purchase and what I plan to do with it does it seem like a 120mm Top Fuel with beefy wheels would fit the bill or would a Fuel Ex with a xc kit likely fit better for me?

    What I want to do is race competitively in XC races around central Texas, I want to compete in the handful of endurance races around here, and I want to climb the leader-boards on strava for my local trails.

    I just want to beat this question to death so I don't have any regrets after the purchase. Also entering my first "race" this weekend on my Ex 9.8 to see if I even like racing in general.

    Top fuel

  78. #178
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    I don't know anything about the trails you ride. My general advice is to buy the bike for the trails you ride most often and to suit the type of riding you like to do.

    If you haven't raced yet, you should race at least a few times to discover if you like it before making a big purchase like this where a factor in your decision-making is whether you will race. Imagine if you don't like racing ... what type of bike would you want then? Alternatively, you fall in love with racing ... that might lead you to more of an XC bike.

    In the end, you're looking at two top quality bikes. You probably won't go too wrong with either one. But I think knowing whether or not racing is for you is an important distinction.

    This also probably won't be the last bike you buy. Your preferences might change away from racing, you might move to an area where the trails are different, or (gasp) bike technology/design changes... and suddenly you're looking at a new bike again.

  79. #179
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    Quote Originally Posted by king_dave72 View Post
    I don't know anything about the trails you ride. My general advice is to buy the bike for the trails you ride most often and to suit the type of riding you like to do.

    If you haven't raced yet, you should race at least a few times to discover if you like it before making a big purchase like this where a factor in your decision-making is whether you will race. Imagine if you don't like racing ... what type of bike would you want then? Alternatively, you fall in love with racing ... that might lead you to more of an XC bike.

    In the end, you're looking at two top quality bikes. You probably won't go too wrong with either one. But I think knowing whether or not racing is for you is an important distinction.

    This also probably won't be the last bike you buy. Your preferences might change away from racing, you might move to an area where the trails are different, or (gasp) bike technology/design changes... and suddenly you're looking at a new bike again.

    Excellent advice. If you're more focused on racing, less technical terrain and going uphill the Top fuel is more than enough bike.

    EX would be the ideal bike if you're looking to push your technical abilities and go on more all day rides for max comfort. Regarding the technical /learning curve type of riding I'd almost suggest a less expensive bike to learn on, you're likely to ding it up/crash quite a bit just getting your skills up to speed.

  80. #180
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    Build a 27.5 bike with used or closeout parts. They really aren't any slower than 29. You can build a 22lb hardtail for like $1500. You could also buy used and try it. If it sucks you just sale it for what you paid for it. I make fantastic money, but I still get a kick out of getting a bike with a 6k msrp six years ago for a grand in decent shape.

  81. #181
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    Look at the new Intense Sniper. Comes in two variants, 100/100, 22lb xc rocket or 120/120, 25lb fast as you are capable of riding, killer trail bike. The geometry is spot on too for hitting some gnarly descents at mach chicken, compared to any other xc or even trail oriented bikes.

  82. #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucythefin View Post
    Look at the new Intense Sniper. Comes in two variants, 100/100, 22lb xc rocket or 120/120, 25lb fast as you are capable of riding, killer trail bike. The geometry is spot on too for hitting some gnarly descents at mach chicken, compared to any other xc or even trail oriented bikes.
    I was going to say the same thing. Based on my calculations my Trail should come in slightly under 23lbs.
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  83. #183
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    Well just got back from my first "race". Actually was a time trial on a course that was a blend of enduro climbs/descents and a small amount of XC trails. Only 3.5 miles long but mostly climbing and descending on really technical trail.

    It seemed like and felt like I was on the right bike. With the jumps and dives and drops that where there I felt like if I was on a steeper bike with less travel I may have died being over my head. Even on the 130/130 of the Ex some parts shook my confidence.

    The other bikes there where a blend of everything, saw some XC duallies, some enduro rigs, some other trail bikes, and a plus rigid.

    With how much I appreciated the dropper snd extra plush on the downs and through the gnar, I'm just not sure that with my current skill level that I could manage a short travel bike at race speeds with confidence.

    I am back leaning towards the Ex 9.9 now, maybe with rekon 2.6s or ikon 2.35s. Would be around 25-26lbs with light wheels. Switching to a carbon post would put me under 25 if needed.

    Lots of great suggestions from bikes that I would love to have (Scott and intense namely) but I can only score good deals on Trek and not really any other company, maybe specialized.

    Really thinking, with my skill level just not there yet and with some of the races here being that gnarly that the Ex may be right for me. Especially if I want to do long distance rides or more of the really technical rides. Also if I am always hunting for KOMs (not really successfully but for fun) a trail bike would be good for that right? Especially since some sections are mostly tech or downhill.

    Going to try a more traditional race format most likely in a couple of weeks to get some more experience with racing too. Right now though I am feeling like I would rather be slightly over biked for some races than to end up slightly under biked for others.

  84. #184
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    Just another question, if I can be happy being competitive in Cat 3 and eventually Cat 2, and if my trail rides consist of me trying to always get a (or as close to a) KOM as I can on everything up and down, techy and flat, a trail bike is literally designed for that purpose right?

    Like, a nice light trail bike wouldn't be holding me back at all for either of those purposes? I know that a XC bike is more likely to get a climbing KOM and I know that I will be faster and more likely to podium on a XC bike but a trail bike will still be able to get other KOMs with enough effort and if I don't get a podium in Cat 2 or 3, that's on me and not my bike (especially if it's a sub 27lb bike)?

    I'm not saying that I'd personally ever get a KOM or a podium but someone who reaches peak fitness and skill, on a typical trail steed, would be able to race non-cat 1 competitively and competitively chase KOMs on most sections of (especislly gnarly) trail.

  85. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    Just another question, if I can be happy being competitive in Cat 3 and eventually Cat 2, and if my trail rides consist of me trying to always get a (or as close to a) KOM as I can on everything up and down, techy and flat, a trail bike is literally designed for that purpose right?

    Like, a nice light trail bike wouldn't be holding me back at all for either of those purposes? I know that a XC bike is more likely to get a climbing KOM and I know that I will be faster and more likely to podium on a XC bike but a trail bike will still be able to get other KOMs with enough effort and if I don't get a podium in Cat 2 or 3, that's on me and not my bike (especially if it's a sub 27lb bike)?

    I'm not saying that I'd personally ever get a KOM or a podium but someone who reaches peak fitness and skill, on a typical trail steed, would be able to race non-cat 1 competitively and competitively chase KOMs on most sections of (especislly gnarly) trail.
    An XC bike is designed for that, too. And is probably better suited for the purpose (up, down and flat) than a trail bike.

    I mean, that's what an XC race is. Going as fast as you can up, down and on the flat.

    And, if someone reaches peak fitness, they aren't racing Cat 2 or 3.
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  86. #186
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    which is why XC bikes are the ultimate trail bikes overall. Off of the Internet. In the real world.

  87. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    Just another question, if I can be happy being competitive in Cat 3 and eventually Cat 2, and if my trail rides consist of me trying to always get a (or as close to a) KOM as I can on everything up and down, techy and flat, a trail bike is literally designed for that purpose right?

    Like, a nice light trail bike wouldn't be holding me back at all for either of those purposes? I know that a XC bike is more likely to get a climbing KOM and I know that I will be faster and more likely to podium on a XC bike but a trail bike will still be able to get other KOMs with enough effort and if I don't get a podium in Cat 2 or 3, that's on me and not my bike (especially if it's a sub 27lb bike)?

    I'm not saying that I'd personally ever get a KOM or a podium but someone who reaches peak fitness and skill, on a typical trail steed, would be able to race non-cat 1 competitively and competitively chase KOMs on most sections of (especislly gnarly) trail.
    KOM chasing and racing are two very different things.

  88. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    Just another question, if I can be happy being competitive in Cat 3 and eventually Cat 2, and if my trail rides consist of me trying to always get a (or as close to a) KOM as I can on everything up and down, techy and flat, a trail bike is literally designed for that purpose right?

    Like, a nice light trail bike wouldn't be holding me back at all for either of those purposes? I know that a XC bike is more likely to get a climbing KOM and I know that I will be faster and more likely to podium on a XC bike but a trail bike will still be able to get other KOMs with enough effort and if I don't get a podium in Cat 2 or 3, that's on me and not my bike (especially if it's a sub 27lb bike)?

    I'm not saying that I'd personally ever get a KOM or a podium but someone who reaches peak fitness and skill, on a typical trail steed, would be able to race non-cat 1 competitively and competitively chase KOMs on most sections of (especislly gnarly) trail.
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  89. #189
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    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    KOM chasing and racing are two very different things.
    But would you agree that a typical XC bike will likely excel better at both over a typical trail bike?

  90. #190
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    An XC bike is designed for that, too. And is probably better suited for the purpose (up, down and flat) than a trail bike.

    I mean, that's what an XC race is. Going as fast as you can up, down and on the flat.

    And, if someone reaches peak fitness, they aren't racing Cat 2 or 3.
    No doubt an XC bike wins in the flats and ups but a more dh oriented bike like an all mountain rig or enduro bike would win on the downs (which I know are the least significant for overall times) right?

    And what I mean is if someone, say a pro cat 1 XC racer, wanted to race a burly trail bike but still have hopes of reaching a podium they'd likely not have much luck in cat 1 doing so but they could probably still kill it in cat 2 or 3

  91. #191
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    But would you agree that a typical XC bike will likely excel better at both over a typical trail bike?


    I wouldn't because strava segments come in all different flavors, if you're going for a KOM on a rough downhill segment you'd definitely be better off using a trail/enduro bike instead of a typical xc bike.
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  92. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I wouldn't because strava segments come in all different flavors, if you're going for a KOM on a rough downhill segment you'd definitely be better off using a trail/enduro bike instead of a typical xc bike.
    Besides those sections though an XC bike would likely be the better weapon though righr?

  93. #193
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    There are a lot of downhills where overall I'm faster on my XC bike. I choose to use my AM bike a lot of the time because it's funner popping off of stuff, but I work harder for that. When it comes to a full on DH bike, it usually takes a pretty darn crazy descent to make me faster on that, as compared to my AM bike. We tend to overestimate what kind of bike we "need" IME for a certain descent. XC racing isn't about being comfortable or the most stable, it's about being the fastest.

    And what I mean is if someone, say a pro cat 1 XC racer, wanted to race a burly trail bike but still have hopes of reaching a podium they'd likely not have much luck in cat 1 doing so but they could probably still kill it in cat 2 or 3
    They'd kill Cat 2 and take it, no question. A PRO racer? Their ability is so far above even the regular cat 1 guys that yes, they can take a trail or enduro bike and smash the Cat 2 category. Even just an elite Cat 1 would be able to do this IME. That's also known as sandbagging and generally looked down on, because the person knows they have the ability to take that field and it screws over the regular Cat 2 guys that thought they were battling it out with similar bikes and abilities.
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  94. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    There are a lot of downhills where overall I'm faster on my XC bike. I choose to use my AM bike a lot of the time because it's funner popping off of stuff, but I work harder for that. When it comes to a full on DH bike, it usually takes a pretty darn crazy descent to make me faster on that, as compared to my AM bike. We tend to overestimate what kind of bike we "need" IME for a certain descent. XC racing isn't about being comfortable or the most stable, it's about being the fastest.



    They'd kill Cat 2 and take it, no question. A PRO racer? Their ability is so far above even the regular cat 1 guys that yes, they can take a trail or enduro bike and smash the Cat 2 category. Even just an elite Cat 1 would be able to do this IME. That's also known as sandbagging and generally looked down on, because the person knows they have the ability to take that field and it screws over the regular Cat 2 guys that thought they were battling it out with similar bikes and abilities.
    Would it be sandbagging if someone purposefully races a Cat lower than their skill on a bike not made for racing? If an elite Cat 1 wanted to race his steel fatty just for funsies in a Cat 2 or 3 for example (assuming of course that there isn't already an established fat bike cat that they could have joined).

  95. #195
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrPaulus View Post
    The Top Fuel is one of the most specific xc race bikes i have tried. It is uncomfortable, steep and twitchy but fast and efficient. I would never recommend it to someone who is doing 90% trailriding as it is not a good trail bike. So if it has to be a Trek then go for the Fuel. If not I think a bike like the SC Tallboy amongst others will be a good choice since it is much more of a XC trailbike than the Top Fuel.
    I just spent the week on bottom rung Top Fuel (8) and honestly, it was a very capable trail bike. Very comfortable, very stable and fast as all get out. This was in the NE USA and honestly, has me re-thinking my every day bike as well as my 29 HT race bike...
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  96. #196
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    Would it be sandbagging if someone purposefully races a Cat lower than their skill on a bike not made for racing? If an elite Cat 1 wanted to race his steel fatty just for funsies in a Cat 2 or 3 for example (assuming of course that there isn't already an established fat bike cat that they could have joined).


    Yes, it's mean spirited to beat up on beginners and it would just add insult to injury for a pro to blow by one on a heavy fat tired sled. Also it's not fair to take a deserving rider off the podium.
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  97. #197
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    Would it be sandbagging if someone purposefully races a Cat lower than their skill on a bike not made for racing? If an elite Cat 1 wanted to race his steel fatty just for funsies in a Cat 2 or 3 for example (assuming of course that there isn't already an established fat bike cat that they could have joined).
    Well, they wouldn't be allowed to do it, even if they wanted to. You can't show a license at registration and magically downgrade because you feel like it.

    I'm guessing most Pro or CAT1 guys would never consider doing something like that. I could show up on a 35lb fat bike and win a CAT 2 race by miles, but it wouldn't be any fun for me. I'd rather go for a long ride with friends than beat up on people like that.
    Death from Below.

  98. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    would it be sandbagging if someone purposefully races a cat lower than their skill on a bike not made for racing? If an elite cat 1 wanted to race his steel fatty just for funsies in a cat 2 or 3 for example (assuming of course that there isn't already an established fat bike cat that they could have joined).
    yes!!!
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  99. #199
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    What if someone really wanted to race like a fatty or enduro bike in an XC setting then? Would they just be SOL forced to pigeon-hole themselves into under performing in a cat that they would normally be competitive in if they were on a more XC oriented ride?

    (Not saying I want to do that or anything and I'm far from even Cat 2 as it is! Just curious and bored on the forums again.)

  100. #200
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    What if someone really wanted to race like a fatty or enduro bike in an XC setting then? Would they just be SOL forced to pigeon-hole themselves into under performing in a cat that they would normally be competitive in if they were on a more XC oriented ride?
    Seems like another obvious "yes" to that.
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