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  1. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Seems like another obvious "yes" to that.
    Gotcha, makes sense at least!

  2. #202
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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?

    (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.)
    Ok here is how it goes.

    You can race any thing you like (for the most part) and if you win you cat up. Meaning that if you win races an dominate you cat up. If you don't win races in cat 2 because you are on a 35lbs sled even if you are cat 1 material if you have never won in cat 2 you will stay in cat 2.

    BTW.. I know a guy locally that won the Az State championship 40-49 age group on his rigid Singlespeed with 2x3.0 tires. That was in a geared class of course. What does that mean? It means he is fast.


    BTW... you are racing cat 3 then forget about the bike and just ride. Winning in cat 3 is mostly the rider. In cat 2 bike starts to make a difference. In cat 1 at pointy end of things you need top notch bike to keep up. The reason the bikes are important is that difference in rider skill and fitness is less and the difference in bike start to become more apparent.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  3. #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Ok here is how it goes.

    You can race any thing you like (for the most part) and if you win you cat up. Meaning that if you win races an dominate you cat up. If you don't win races in cat 2 because you are on a 35lbs sled even if you are cat 1 material if you have never won in cat 2 you will stay in cat 2.

    BTW.. I know a guy locally that won the Az State championship 40-49 age group on his rigid Singlespeed with 2x3.0 tires. That was in a geared class of course. What does that mean? It means he is fast.


    BTW... you are racing cat 3 then forget about the bike and just ride. Winning in cat 3 is mostly the rider. In cat 2 bike starts to make a difference. In cat 1 at pointy end of things you need top notch bike to keep up. The reason the bikes are important is that difference in rider skill and fitness is less and the difference in bike start to become more apparent.
    All of that makes perfect sense.

  4. #204
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    Before I pull the trigger on my new bike later this week or next, I want to be sure that I have all my ducks in a row. Here are the things you guys have helped me to understand in my threads. I want to be sure my thinking is (at least mostly) correct.

    I would be happy on either bike.

    I like 29x2.6 inch tires for the traction and versatility, but I understand that a smaller volume tire is faster climbing and accelerating which are important in races.

    With my limited amount of time to train (only able to get about 30 miles in a week, half of which would not be trail miles but gravel and stationary)

    The Fuel Ex would be fine on any trail here, and would even be over biked for many of them.

    The Top Fuel would be fine on most trails here but would be underbiked for some (of course with finesse and skill this would be something that could be overcome.)

    The Fuel Ex would likely take more of a beating before damage occurs but both are tough bikes.

    If the Top Fuel was too little of bike for my uses a Fox 34 Step Cast, knobbier tires, and a dropper would get it to where it would be fine.

    If the Fuel Ex was too much bike for my uses there isnít much I could do other than build a lighter set of wheels and remove the dropper.

    The Top Fuel would be faster and help me place (though I know fitness is more important by a long shot) in races. The Top Fuel would also be more likely to win at any non-downhill section of any local trail sections on Strava.

    The Fuel Ex would not be as fast but would be fine especially for Cat 2 and Cat 3 racing.

    If I truly plan to be competitive in Cat 1, assuming some day I can find/get more training hours in, the Top Fuel is my best bet.

    If I truly plan to take down local KOMs, the Top Fuel is the bike that could do it.

    The Fuel Ex would be less likely to take down KOMs (unless downhill) but most KOMs are set by Cat 1 racers on super light bikes anyway so with my level of fitness and lack of serious training time I would be equally likely not reach these KOMs on either bike.

    The Fuel Ex would be ďsaferĒ for me as it would take less skill to avoid catastrophic mistakes (less likely to endo over chunk or down gnarly descents) especially given that I have been riding Fuel Exís for a few years now and am not used to the geo of a true XC bike.

    The Fuel Ex would be the better bet for me if I was hoping to train for, and eventually, this year or next tackle the 80 mile (3 laps on an Epic rated mtb trail) marathon that we have locally here.

    The Fuel Ex would make a more fun ride at enduro lines, and bike parks if I decide to go that route in the future.

    No matter what trail and no matter which bike I choose, there will always be a bike that would perform better for that particular trail and there will always be someone much faster than me at riding that particular trail.

  5. #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    If I truly plan to take down local KOMs, the Top Fuel is the bike that could do it.

    Bikes don't take down kom's, riders do. If you can't kom on a Fuel EX you're not going to do it on a Top Fuel either.

    As mentioned at cat 2 & 3 levels the bike will affect the results very little, if any. The best thing (IMO) would be to demo both bikes and get the one you like the most. I'd get the Top Fuel for sure but I'm not you.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  6. #206
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Bikes don't take down kom's, riders do. If you can't kom on a Fuel EX you're not going to do it on a Top Fuel either.

    As mentioned at cat 2 & 3 levels the bike will affect the results very little, if any. The best thing (IMO) would be to demo both bikes and get the one you like the most. I'd get the Top Fuel for sure but I'm not you.
    Having ridden both I still can't tell. I love different things about each and both are pure eye candy to me. If either bike is equally likely or equally not likely to affect my chances at hunting KOMs or hunting a podium spot in Cat 2/3 then I should probably go with the more versatile Fuel Ex I feel like. If fitness and rider skill is what I need to reach these lofty goals and bike truly doesn't matter then it doesn't seem like I'd be losing out on much.

  7. #207
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    Top Fuel. Again.

    I went with a EX 9 in 2017 and now would have gone Top Fuel. Love the bike and it was an amazing Christmas present from the wife (thus why I wonít sell it) but the Top Fuel would have done just as well and in the areas where itíd be ďunderbikedĒ, could have developed my skill to negate it.

  8. #208
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    Find more time in each day to ride. If you are only riding 30 miles a week, no expensive bike is going to get you to CAT1. Forget buying a new MTB. Just stop asking these questions.

    Buy a super cheap road bike and trainer. Set them up somewhere, out of the way, permanently. Get dressed, ride, get undressed, resume your day/night. I guarantee you can find 30-45min each day to ride.
    Death from Below.

  9. #209
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Find more time in each day to ride. If you are only riding 30 miles a week, no expensive bike is going to get you to CAT1. Forget buying a new MTB. Just stop asking these questions.

    Buy a super cheap road bike and trainer. Set them up somewhere, out of the way, permanently. Get dressed, ride, get undressed, resume your day/night. I guarantee you can find 30-45min each day to ride.
    Thereís the winner.

    Iíve made much more progress with my health and fitness with a 2001 Trek road bike, a 2017 Edition Kickr, and discipline with my TrainerRoad plan.

  10. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by zgxtreme View Post
    Top Fuel. Again.

    I went with a EX 9 in 2017 and now would have gone Top Fuel. Love the bike and it was an amazing Christmas present from the wife (thus why I wonít sell it) but the Top Fuel would have done just as well and in the areas where itíd be ďunderbikedĒ, could have developed my skill to negate it.
    Makes sense. Like it has been mentioned it's easier to "trail" up an XC bike than it is to vice versa. I'm not too concerned with ending up with a bike that I can't ride at certain trails.

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Find more time in each day to ride. If you are only riding 30 miles a week, no expensive bike is going to get you to CAT1. Forget buying a new MTB. Just stop asking these questions.

    Buy a super cheap road bike and trainer. Set them up somewhere, out of the way, permanently. Get dressed, ride, get undressed, resume your day/night. I guarantee you can find 30-45min each day to ride.
    I'm not trying to get to cat 1. I'd be happy with working my way up over the next year to being competitive at the cat 2 level. I like the challenge of trying to do so with limited training time.

    That being said I can (at least try to) do that on either bike. During race prep I know I can push that 30 closer to 40 or maybe 50 miles especially during the summer. I just can't maintain it all the time, or at least I don't have plans to do so. Reasons are mostly personal, but it's not a lack of effort kind of thing.

  11. #211
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    Before I pull the trigger on my new bike later this week or next, ..
    The Fuel Ex would not be as fast but would be fine especially for Cat 2 and Cat 3 racing.

    If I truly plan to be competitive in Cat 1, assuming some day I can find/get more training hours in, the Top Fuel is my best bet.

    If I truly plan to take down local KOMs, the Top Fuel is the bike that could do it.
    ..
    Dude. I am so confused with all this. If I get it right you are a CAT 3 racer struggling to get 30 miles of training during a week and you currently have a Fuel EX? Did I get that right? If so just race the Fuel Ex for a season or two and when and if you cat up to cat 1 then buy a top fuel in the latest guise for the year. Don't try to buy jack shite right now. Just ride and train and race.

    Personally I just bought a new bike. My first FS 100mm XC bike. But I have been racing off and on for a few years and riding alot. I get 4000 miles a year and most weeks are 40 to 80 miles and 3000 to 8000 ft of climbing. Just coming to the end of my first full season of local sprint race in Cat 2 Singlespeed. 2 1st, and 2 2nd in 4 races with two more to go. Should be able to win season points championship. I have done it by really focused riding to ensure every mile is valuable to my fitness and skills and by pre-riding every course. Most on the Sunday after the race since I can't ride every weekend due to family. Still I have been able to make it work. Next year off to Cat 1, but will go geared on my new Epic. It is a long process to get there and I think I am finally at the point where the bike is important. Even so I just hope to not get wasted to bad in Cat 1 next year. Podium ha... no chance.


    Point is just go and ride and race and worry less about the bike. It is not what is going to hold you back right now.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  12. #212
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    If your goal is to be competitive in cat 2 xc racing just get the Top Fuel and be done with it. You could be competitive in that category with either bike but the Top Fuel is the better tool for the job so you won't have to dwell on whether or not the bike is holding you back.

    I agree that quality time in the saddle is most important but a new ride can inspire you to do just that, especially a sweet bike like the Top Fuel. Wish I had one

    I know a couple of (busy) guys who are riding less than 4 hours a week but are still very fast by most people's standards so it can be done.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  13. #213
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    If I truly plan to take down local KOMs, the Top Fuel is the bike that could do it.

    Something else on the kom's, most segments are around 3-5 minutes and there are plenty of them where I'd choose the EX over a Top Fuel. Problem is unless you have several bikes and are a segment hunter you don't have a choice.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  14. #214
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    I'm not trying to get to cat 1. I'd be happy with working my way up over the next year to being competitive at the cat 2 level. I like the challenge of trying to do so with limited training time.

    That being said I can (at least try to) do that on either bike. During race prep I know I can push that 30 closer to 40 or maybe 50 miles especially during the summer. I just can't maintain it all the time, or at least I don't have plans to do so. Reasons are mostly personal, but it's not a lack of effort kind of thing.
    My judo instructor used to say, "Everyone wants to be champion until they find out what it takes." You've got personal reasons for wanting to do it your way, fine - everyone's journey in this life is their own. Just don't be surprised with the lack of success from the effort you didn't put in.

  15. #215
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Dude. I am so confused with all this. If I get it right you are a CAT 3 racer struggling to get 30 miles of training during a week and you currently have a Fuel EX? Did I get that right? If so just race the Fuel Ex for a season or two and when and if you cat up to cat 1 then buy a top fuel in the latest guise for the year. Don't try to buy jack shite right now. Just ride and train and race.


    Personally I just bought a new bike. My first FS 100mm XC bike. But I have been racing off and on for a few years and riding alot. I get 4000 miles a year and most weeks are 40 to 80 miles and 3000 to 8000 ft of climbing. Just coming to the end of my first full season of local sprint race in Cat 2 Singlespeed. 2 1st, and 2 2nd in 4 races with two more to go. Should be able to win season points championship. I have done it by really focused riding to ensure every mile is valuable to my fitness and skills and by pre-riding every course. Most on the Sunday after the race since I can't ride every weekend due to family. Still I have been able to make it work. Next year off to Cat 1, but will go geared on my new Epic. It is a long process to get there and I think I am finally at the point where the bike is important. Even so I just hope to not get wasted to bad in Cat 1 next year. Podium ha... no chance.




    Point is just go and ride and race and worry less about the bike. It is not what is going to hold you back right now.


    You are correct but I am not buying a new bike to necessarily be faster or to make up for my lack of skill. I am just somewhat in the biking industry now and because of that I have an awesome buying opportunity to essentially get on either new bike at very little financial loss to myself at all. I will likely however not have this buying opportunity again after it's gone so I am trying to make sure that the bike I get makes sense at least for my next few years of riding. I know the bike won't hold me back, only thing holding me back right now is personally life issues keeping me out of the saddle way more than I'd like. Trust me though, nothing would make me happier than to hit up the 30+ miles of amazing trail right down the street from my house each afternoon. Would if I could!

  16. #216
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Point is just go and ride and race and worry less about the bike. It is not what is going to hold you back right now.
    Totally agree but op seems set on one and sometimes a new bike can inspire one to ride more so if money's no big deal (I can't relate) then I guess why not?
    I brake for stinkbugs

  17. #217
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    IMHO, you're over-thinking this and making too much of the differences between each bike and what they will do for you. IIRC, you haven't raced yet. So you may not like it at all. Or you may find that you do like it, but you don't have the necessary time to train adequately to perform at the level you want to make it worthwhile.

    At an entry level, you can race either bike. As you state, no one bike will be perfect for all conditions. There will occasionally be times you wish you had the other bike. So what? If you use the right tool (bike) for the job (trails you most often ride) you shouldn't be disappointed. Buy the bike that is right for you now, not what a future unknown you would want. It might take 3-4 years to be Cat 1 and by that time you would want a new bike anyway.

    Honestly, it's time to shit or get off the pot. Don't become one of those riders who would rather talk about bikes than ride bikes. Both bikes will be great. Each one will occasionally leave you slightly disappointed BUT you can still have fun even if you aren't winning races and getting Strava KOM's.

  18. #218
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    Quote Originally Posted by king_dave72 View Post
    IMHO, you're over-thinking this and making too much of the differences between each bike and what they will do for you. IIRC, you haven't raced yet. So you may not like it at all. Or you may find that you do like it, but you don't have the necessary time to train adequately to perform at the level you want to make it worthwhile.

    At an entry level, you can race either bike. As you state, no one bike will be perfect for all conditions. There will occasionally be times you wish you had the other bike. So what? If you use the right tool (bike) for the job (trails you most often ride) you shouldn't be disappointed. Buy the bike that is right for you now, not what a future unknown you would want. It might take 3-4 years to be Cat 1 and by that time you would want a new bike anyway.

    Honestly, it's time to shit or get off the pot. Don't become one of those riders who would rather talk about bikes than ride bikes. Both bikes will be great. Each one will occasionally leave you slightly disappointed BUT you can still have fun even if you aren't winning races and getting Strava KOM's.
    I hear ya man! Trust me I'd rather be on a bike any day, any hour than on this forum chatting away and over analyzing but when I can't get out and ride, talking about it helps quell the passion in the mean time. Or maybe it makes it worse, who knows!

  19. #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    Before I pull the trigger on my new bike later this week or next, I want to be sure that I have all my ducks in a row. Here are the things you guys have helped me to understand in my threads. I want to be sure my thinking is (at least mostly) correct.

    I would be happy on either bike.

    I like 29x2.6 inch tires for the traction and versatility, but I understand that a smaller volume tire is faster climbing and accelerating which are important in races.

    With my limited amount of time to train (only able to get about 30 miles in a week, half of which would not be trail miles but gravel and stationary)

    The Fuel Ex would be fine on any trail here, and would even be over biked for many of them.

    The Top Fuel would be fine on most trails here but would be underbiked for some (of course with finesse and skill this would be something that could be overcome.)

    The Fuel Ex would likely take more of a beating before damage occurs but both are tough bikes.

    If the Top Fuel was too little of bike for my uses a Fox 34 Step Cast, knobbier tires, and a dropper would get it to where it would be fine.

    If the Fuel Ex was too much bike for my uses there isnít much I could do other than build a lighter set of wheels and remove the dropper.

    The Top Fuel would be faster and help me place (though I know fitness is more important by a long shot) in races. The Top Fuel would also be more likely to win at any non-downhill section of any local trail sections on Strava.

    The Fuel Ex would not be as fast but would be fine especially for Cat 2 and Cat 3 racing.

    If I truly plan to be competitive in Cat 1, assuming some day I can find/get more training hours in, the Top Fuel is my best bet.

    If I truly plan to take down local KOMs, the Top Fuel is the bike that could do it.

    The Fuel Ex would be less likely to take down KOMs (unless downhill) but most KOMs are set by Cat 1 racers on super light bikes anyway so with my level of fitness and lack of serious training time I would be equally likely not reach these KOMs on either bike.

    The Fuel Ex would be ďsaferĒ for me as it would take less skill to avoid catastrophic mistakes (less likely to endo over chunk or down gnarly descents) especially given that I have been riding Fuel Exís for a few years now and am not used to the geo of a true XC bike.

    The Fuel Ex would be the better bet for me if I was hoping to train for, and eventually, this year or next tackle the 80 mile (3 laps on an Epic rated mtb trail) marathon that we have locally here.

    The Fuel Ex would make a more fun ride at enduro lines, and bike parks if I decide to go that route in the future.

    No matter what trail and no matter which bike I choose, there will always be a bike that would perform better for that particular trail and there will always be someone much faster than me at riding that particular trail.
    Jeezum crow, guy. I was competitive on a 900.00 rigid steel Kona unit SS in cat 1.

    You need to ride more to be competitive. Blah blah blah bike jibber jabber. Just ride and mix in some serious intensity. Cat 2/3? Not to be a dick, but t shirts and toe clips are fine there lol.

  20. #220
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    Sure, I get that. I imagine you are swinging back and forth between each bike. One day excited about the Top Fuel, the next leaning towards the Fuel Ex.

    Of course, everyone has their own biases here on which one you should buy.

    Looking forward to the day when I will read what you buy and how the new ride is.

    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    I hear ya man! Trust me I'd rather be on a bike any day, any hour than on this forum chatting away and over analyzing but when I can't get out and ride, talking about it helps quell the passion in the mean time. Or maybe it makes it worse, who knows!

  21. #221
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    Quote Originally Posted by king_dave72 View Post
    IMHO, you're over-thinking this and making too much of the differences between each bike and what they will do for you. IIRC, you haven't raced yet. ... Buy the bike that is right for you now, not what a future unknown you would want. It might take 3-4 years to be Cat 1 and by that time you would want a new bike anyway.

    Honestly, it's time to shit or get off the pot. .
    Completely agree.

    I have never felt "under biked" on my 29er HT Single speed on any race course. Certainly there are places a SS HT is not ideal, but that is really the nature of singlespeed. That said I have some times on rocky downhills faster than my buddy on his Spec Enduro 29er. So there is so much that is down to the rider. I don't see any places in XC race courses where a Top Fuel would be not capable as compared to a Fuel Ex. There are places on general rides where a Fuel EX with a dropper will give you more confidence than a Top Fuel, but for the most part that very rare in races. If racing is what you want then the Top Fuel is better. It is race bike after all and can still be ridden alot of places fast. If you just want to ride around and shred the Gnar every now and then and "session" crap and occasionally do a race them the Fuel EX is probably better.

    The point is just pick a bike and go with it. Sounds to me that you want to race and thus the Top Fuel is the bike to get. Just remember that taking the Top Fuel in places were it might be under biked just give you a chance to work on skills development. I have been riding a HT for so many years that getting my 5010 with 130F/125R 68 deg HA and a dropper it feels like a DH bike. However taking that 5010 simple "XC trails" results in a boring ride. Everything is too easy, so I reserve it for the really nasty stuff most guys bring 6" travel 66 deg HA bikes on. I did a 2day Enduro on this bike it performed really well. Maybe not as well as longer travel bike, but I held my own on some really gnarly stuff.

    Day to day I love my 29 SS HT. Rides great and handles so much well. The Epic is just pure speed. Up down rocky or smooth. The 5010 is for playing around trying to ride stuff that scares most people. Numbers wise my 5010 and Fuel Ex are not that dis-similar. If I had only one bike it would be the Epic as it fun all over, but there might be few places I might not try, but that is only small bit of my riding. Even then I but I could put a dropper on the epic and it would do surprisingly well. Not sure I would both Enduro racing it even with a dropper.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by king_dave72 View Post
    Sure, I get that. I imagine you are swinging back and forth between each bike. One day excited about the Top Fuel, the next leaning towards the Fuel Ex.

    Of course, everyone has their own biases here on which one you should buy.

    Looking forward to the day when I will read what you buy and how the new ride is.
    I've made up my mind probably at least 5 times a day on this decision. I'll bite the bullet soon though as the opportunity will eventually pass if I don't!

    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Completely agree.

    I have never felt "under biked" on my 29er HT Single speed on any race course. Certainly there are places a SS HT is not ideal, but that is really the nature of singlespeed. That said I have some times on rocky downhills faster than my buddy on his Spec Enduro 29er. So there is so much that is down to the rider. I don't see any places in XC race courses where a Top Fuel would be not capable as compared to a Fuel Ex. There are places on general rides where a Fuel EX with a dropper will give you more confidence than a Top Fuel, but for the most part that very rare in races. If racing is what you want then the Top Fuel is better. It is race bike after all and can still be ridden alot of places fast. If you just want to ride around and shred the Gnar every now and then and "session" crap and occasionally do a race them the Fuel EX is probably better.

    The point is just pick a bike and go with it. Sounds to me that you want to race and thus the Top Fuel is the bike to get. Just remember that taking the Top Fuel in places were it might be under biked just give you a chance to work on skills development. I have been riding a HT for so many years that getting my 5010 with 130F/125R 68 deg HA and a dropper it feels like a DH bike. However taking that 5010 simple "XC trails" results in a boring ride. Everything is too easy, so I reserve it for the really nasty stuff most guys bring 6" travel 66 deg HA bikes on. I did a 2day Enduro on this bike it performed really well. Maybe not as well as longer travel bike, but I held my own on some really gnarly stuff.

    Day to day I love my 29 SS HT. Rides great and handles so much well. The Epic is just pure speed. Up down rocky or smooth. The 5010 is for playing around trying to ride stuff that scares most people. Numbers wise my 5010 and Fuel Ex are not that dis-similar. If I had only one bike it would be the Epic as it fun all over, but there might be few places I might not try, but that is only small bit of my riding. Even then I but I could put a dropper on the epic and it would do surprisingly well. Not sure I would both Enduro racing it even with a dropper.
    All true, which is why (at the moment!) I am leaning towards the TF

  23. #223
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    I've made up my mind probably at least 5 times a day on this decision. I'll bite the bullet soon though as the opportunity will eventually pass if I don't!



    All true, which is why (at the moment!) I am leaning towards the TF
    Since itís an opportunity that will pass, if itís TF now, then Iíd place the order and call it a day and begin the new journey.

    At this rate, will make a final decision moments after the opportunity has passed!

  24. #224
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    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.
    That race you went to...my friend blew everyone away on a single speed hardtail, well he got 3rd.

    What you saw was not an XC race, it was a Bro day put on by the endurbros at an XC course they have cut up to build enduro lines. That thing doesnt even hint at what an XC race is like. Nor does it give you any sample of what racing is like.

    You have dragged your feet the whole time and missed almost every opportuunity to race a race to even see what it was like. You raced 3 stages of an enduro race with connector trail in between. OF COURSE the fuel EX felt like the right bike!

    WTF, man?


    I dont even know where to start with all this. We are all in this endless loop of trying to help you out. You are clearly ignoring all advice and asking the same questions over and over. Let me try to give you more local perspective and address all of your challenges.

    Dragon slayer:
    I beat the Riders that showed up on 130/130 bikes. Some of these guys are faster than me at regular XC races. I was on a 100/100 bike. Dont think that just because it has some big jagged rocks that a Fuel EX would be faster.

    The winners of the triple were on single speed Steel hardtails with 120 forks.

    Long rides:

    The last thing you want is a new fuel EX for long rides. that bike is annoying as f&^k to pedal around and you will hate yourself if you knew what it was like on a better bike.

    Is this long enough for you?
    https://www.strava.com/activities/752872901

    The Enchilada Buffet each year covers many trails of Austin in 1 big ride. the "winners" are Fast, on XC bikes and occasionally there are a few single speeders with the first finishing group doing this thing in just over 7 hours flat.

    KOMs:

    Do you even KOM bro?

    Do you know when Koms come? When you are a racer or train like one. when you have worked hard to improve your hours and ride fast, you stop trying for KOMS and you just get them. Sometimes you get them without trying. sometimes you get them when you decide to "go hard for a bit"

    Does it feel good to take a KOM, and then look at the ride of the guy you took it from to realize they road that pace for 2-3 hours straight? So you can ride 1-3 minutes as fast as any expert racer can go non stop. Its humbling once you realize this.

    Downhill KOMs come when you MTFU and let off the brakes. Letting off the brakes of course means you must pair handling skills to control that speed without washing out. We have very few pure downhill trails here that aren't pedally. AGAIN Fitness wins out on lots of our downhill trails if you are trying to best your friends.

    Ive taken down my fair share and am right up there with my friends on Big enduro bikes on the down who race expert open in enduro. ITS NOT THE BIKE.

    Weight:
    Your weights are all jacked, so I wouldnt make any decision based off whatever math you are doing. Too many factors in it. Spreadsheet math does not work in real life for bikes. My Top fuel will be Sub 25 pounds with a dropper and Fox 34 Stepcast, with 2.35s which just got announced 3 days ago.

    a 25 pound fuel EX will NOT be as fast as a 25 pound Top fuel on full XC course. its pedaling efficiency which comes in to play. Steering will also be a factor and the fuel EX feels sloooow in the super twisty stuff lined with Junipers we have here on almost EVERY trail.

    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).
    You cant do this, it is not how it works and they wont let you.

    As Le Duke said, people who are actually fast, dont do it. I dont even get much thrill out of Cat 2 podiums or races where other fast people show up. Its ONLY fun if you beat fast people or people that could beat you on any given Sunday.

    EVEN if you move to Single speed division here, you have to race your license, so there is no sandbagging going on and you will get whooped.

    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?

    (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.)

    You dont know what you will want, because quite frankly, you havent ridden it. Tastes change. You are planning a bike that you may not even need. That 2.6 may not be a better tire than a better 2.35, but you have no idea because you dont have the stacks of tires that some of us have gone through and you arent riding 5-10K miles per year that a lot of the people giving you advice do.

    Was your skills improve, you need less tire. You gain the skills over time to manage racier tires and be fast on any bike.

    When I started racing, I gained a lot of speed in the first 3 months from:
    1. losing 10-12 pounds
    2. Volume of training (going to 6 -8 average hours per week from 3-5)
    The next 6 months:
    3. Free speed - learning to carry lots of speed in corners, Lay off the brakes, brake late, conserve energy etc.
    The rest has come with:
    4. getting 6-12 hours a week and learning how to get the best bang for your buck form your hours.
    5. Pacing and recovery. (It will take you 20+ races to really begin to learn how deep you can go and how quickly you can recover) Interval training with a power meter is paramount for this IMO. Heart rate can help, but is unreliable in our summer heat.

  26. #226
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    All else fails, buy a procaliber 9.6, and have both bikes.

    Either way, ride more, get far faster than any bike could ever make you.

    Ride with really people and really see where some of their speed comes from. They will tow you into PRs all while chatting it up with you while you are hanging on for dear life.


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  27. #227
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    If you buy a trail bike and you're even vaguely serious about XC racing, you'll eventually buy an XC bike. You make time on uphills. Weight, efficiency, and agility matter a lot. The Fuel EX is a lot of things, but IMO, a race bike it isn't. The frame weighs too much and the linkage soaks up too much pedaling effort.

    If you buy an XC bike, you may decide it's good enough on the trails not to bother with anything else. This is highly bike-dependent. I think the Pivot 429SL and Scalpel make good trail bikes. The Epic, not so much. Never had a leg over a Top Fuel, but it sounds like it's in the mold of the Epic.

    Part of my XC bias is that, as a guy with a long inseam, droppers level the downhill playing field. I'm not any faster on the chunk with trail bikes, they just ride better. You can steamroll all sorts of crap on an XC bike when it's free to move under you.

  28. #228
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    Top fuel is nothing like an EPIC. The floating pivot rides at the other end of the spectrum near a DW link 429 SL with better more playful geometry. I went from another DW link/ maestro bike to this and it is extremely smooth and fast in the chunk.
    Last edited by FJSnoozer; 04-13-2018 at 08:12 AM.

  29. #229
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    Top fuel is nothing like an EPIC. its the other end of the spectrum near a DW link 429 SL with better more playful geometry. I went from another DW link/ maestro bike to this and it is extremely smooth and fast in the chunk.
    Isnít the Epic slacker than the TF and 429 SL?




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  30. #230
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Isnít the Epic slacker than the TF and 429 SL?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    There is a lot more to the way these three bikes ride. As you know that a few degrees of Head angle. If you arent scared to bomb down hill or off a little 2-3 foot ledge with anything 70+ degrees, the Head angle really isnt what makes these bikes.

    The new Epic has no soul. Its annoying, its not intuitive , it doesnt react well to rider input. There is no smooth load, pop, unweight. It is not a fun bike. Its just a fast bike.

    The 429SL, has a traditional HTA, long chainstay, but a nice plush DW design that does extremely well in really rowdy trails. Its stable.

    The top fuel is buttery smooth. Once I got the suspension dialed in, it was a true game changer. Yes, it was as I was ramping up for Season, but on all rocky trails, I was shaving major time with a lower PE. I do have to run more air in the rear than spec'd for my riding style. 170 PSI at 198 pounds geared up with hydration.

  31. #231
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    FJSnoozer's longer post felt so good. This whole saga has got to be in the MTBR hall of fame for most obnoxious. But I can't stop reading the new updates.

    I'm on board with the hardtail + keep current fuel ex idea.

  32. #232
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Isnít the Epic slacker than the TF and 429 SL?




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    The 2018 Epic is 69.5 and therefore slacker. I will say my Epic feels as efficient pedaling as my carbon 29er HT. Downhill it is fast since the rear end suck up so much crap even with the brain in firm. When I demoed a 429SL it pedaled well, but it never felt "wow" fast. Strava times also confirmed that. I wanted to like Pivot since they are local to me, but I never quite did. I am however super happy with Epic given its current build spec and I have set a couple KOM, few top 10's and many PRs on segments I have ridden for years. Those were long segments, short segments, climbs, descents, rolling terrain etc.
    Joe
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  33. #233
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    ..
    The new Epic has no soul. Its annoying, its not intuitive , it doesnt react well to rider input. There is no smooth load, pop, unweight. It is not a fun bike. Its just a fast bike. ..
    I have no idea what load, pop and unweighting is. I personally have 90% of my miles on HT bikes so my perspective is different. I would guess therefore my idea of "fun" is different from yours. (Not saying either perspective is wrong, just different)
    Joe
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  34. #234
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    I have no idea what load, pop and unweighting is. I personally have 90% of my miles on HT bikes so my perspective is different. I would guess therefore my idea of "fun" is different from yours. (Not saying either perspective is wrong, just different)
    I am talking about loading suspension and popping off or hucking a drop lip or jump? The brain actively hesitates as you do this. I unweight and lift the rear a lot so it does not touch the object that would kill momentum. I use a lot of "Punches" off boulders baby heads and rock slabs. Its just not conducive to my style and it wasnt faster for me. I couldnt wait to get off the bike. Then I rode a rigis XTC back to back on the trail and had a blast.

    I would rather ride my Carbon hardtail over the epic.

  35. #235
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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    I am talking about loading suspension and popping off or hucking a drop lip or jump? The brain actively hesitates as you do this.
    Honestly I have never been able to "load the suspension". I have heard of people taking about it, but have never mastered it or frankly even tried. I just ride all my bikes over stuff. That is not to say I don't try to get the bike over features on the trail or try to pop off stuff, but I never expect and active response from the rear. One of my friends tells me about getting to jump and "loading the rear" to get it pop off stuff and just look at him strange. Don't really even understand why or what that would do. I do understand taking weight off the tires. I still have less than 800 miles on any full suspension bike getting any spring back from the rear is not something I am used to.

    What I like about the Epic is that it feels alot like my HT bikes, but more plush in the rocks and I ride it the same way. My Santa Cruz 5010 is nice, but always feels different especially climbing. I think this is because I don't load the rear suspension to any benefit.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  36. #236
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcro View Post
    FJSnoozer's longer post felt so good. This whole saga has got to be in the MTBR hall of fame for most obnoxious. But I can't stop reading the new updates.

    I'm on board with the hardtail + keep current fuel ex idea.
    I'm still icing the burns from that one but I'll gladly accept my trophy or jacket that goes with my thread being inducted to the hall of fame.

  37. #237
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    I'm still icing the burns from that one but I'll gladly accept my trophy or jacket that goes with my thread being inducted to the hall of fame.
    I will say you have a good attitude! It's really just the number of times you keep asking the same questions when you've gotten excellent advice repeatedly that gets to me. And the fact that you're already riding a Fuel Ex 9.8, which for all intents and purposes is the same bike as the 9.9, so this is all redundant from the start. You know better than anyone whether or not that is the right bike for how you want to ride it. I get that geeking out about gear is related to but separate from riding bikes, but this saga is on another level!

  38. #238
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    He does have a good attitude! Great even! But the vacillating is excruciating! I'll be damned if he vanishes into the ether never to tell us what he buys - or doesn't buy anything new at all! :-)

    Anyway, I suspect he's making too much of each bike's pros and cons. The TF won't handle descents well, the Fuel Ex won't climb well, etc. I never realized he was already on a Fuel Ex. In my mind, it's simple: buy the Top Fuel because you already have the other one. Plus, since he's focused on racing and performance he should lean towards an XC bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by pcro View Post
    I will say you have a good attitude! It's really just the number of times you keep asking the same questions when you've gotten excellent advice repeatedly that gets to me. And the fact that you're already riding a Fuel Ex 9.8, which for all intents and purposes is the same bike as the 9.9, so this is all redundant from the start. You know better than anyone whether or not that is the right bike for how you want to ride it. I get that geeking out about gear is related to but separate from riding bikes, but this saga is on another level!

  39. #239
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    I have no idea what load, pop and unweighting is. I personally have 90% of my miles on HT bikes so my perspective is different. I would guess therefore my idea of "fun" is different from yours. (Not saying either perspective is wrong, just different)
    Well, to build on that, I'd say a KOM or whatever is meaningless unless you do a lot more testing on a lot more days, otherwise your performance varies for so many reasons out of your control that a faster time on a different bike right off the bat is not evidence of anything. Too much placebo effect and interference to make this a meaningful measurement unless the difference between the bikes is enormous, like a 35lb fat bike.
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  40. #240
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    How about Mike Levy's (Pinkbike) approach of I'd rather have a snappy short travel bike that is overgunned for one minute of every ride than the opposite.

    I at least kinda sorta agree with this, and it would point the OP at the Top Fuel.

    I'm hoping for a few changes for 2019, but that's a whole 'nother thread.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  41. #241
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    I wonder if this guy (drdocta) will tell us which bike he ends up buying or if he will just vanish into the ether. I'm actually curious to know!

  42. #242
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    I'm hoping for a few changes for 2019, but that's a whole 'nother thread.
    Rumor is 120F/100R travel and Knock Block indicating frame tweaks to an EX style downtube along with Epic like geo.

  43. #243
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    Quote Originally Posted by zgxtreme View Post
    Rumor is 120F/100R travel and Knock Block indicating frame tweaks to an EX style downtube along with Epic like geo.
    Sweet. Heard the same. Placed a "soft, rumor-based order" with my LBS.

    While swearing to know nothing, he was glad to take the order!
    Whining is not a strategy.

  44. #244
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    Sweet. Heard the same. Placed a "soft, rumor-based order" with my LBS.

    While swearing to know nothing, he was glad to take the order!
    The usual $3000-$3200 frame msrp?

  45. #245
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    Quote Originally Posted by westin View Post
    The usual $3000-$3200 frame msrp?
    No idea. It's not on his dealer website yet, or at least he isn't talking about it!
    Whining is not a strategy.

  46. #246
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    Jeez..this thread is still alive? I've had similar results on a pure XC bike, a rigid SS, a 130/140 trail bike, and a damn fat bike. It's not about the bike. Ride what's fun for you and don't stress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brentos View Post
    Jeez..this thread is still alive? I've had similar results on a pure XC bike, a rigid SS, a 130/140 trail bike, and a damn fat bike. It's not about the bike. Ride what's fun for you and don't stress.
    Interesting, in the Whiskey Off-Road, which I'm about to race again this weekend, I remember distinctly different bike groups coming down the Skull Valley descent as I was climbing up. The first group were the lightweight XC bikes, we were all headed up, then came the mid-travel bikes, then the longer enduro bikes, then finally some fat-bikes. These were all pretty well segregated into their respective groups, not mixing with the faster groups.
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  48. #248
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    Quote Originally Posted by zgxtreme View Post
    Rumor is 120F/100R travel and Knock Block indicating frame tweaks to an EX style downtube along with Epic like geo.
    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    Sweet. Heard the same. Placed a "soft, rumor-based order" with my LBS.

    While swearing to know nothing, he was glad to take the order!
    Why not throw a 120mm on the current frame and not have to deal with the knock back BS?
    It's one of the routes I was looking at.

    I mean let's be blunt- the knock back marketing is really BS, when was the last complaint about a bike being the front end not stiff enough.

    They solved a non existent problem and add complication.
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  49. #249
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    I thought the main idea behind knock block was preventing the bars, shifters or brake levers from smoking the top tube in the event of a crash?


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  50. #250
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I thought the main idea behind knock block was preventing the bars, shifters or brake levers from smoking the top tube in the event of a crash?


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    I think knock block is marketed as preventing the fork crown from smashing the downtube that was made straight for increased stiffness.

  51. #251
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Interesting, in the Whiskey Off-Road, which I'm about to race again this weekend, I remember distinctly different bike groups coming down the Skull Valley descent as I was climbing up. The first group were the lightweight XC bikes, we were all headed up, then came the mid-travel bikes, then the longer enduro bikes, then finally some fat-bikes. These were all pretty well segregated into their respective groups, not mixing with the faster groups.
    Maybe that was the informal starting order. "If you think a podium is a possibility, line up now (the weight weenie FTP power meter owners on XC bikes)." Then the "if you think this is your best year, but you're not sure and want to make up time on descents, come on up" which is when the 120/130 riders moseyed on up. And so on and so forth. Just different riders with different goals.

    Just guessing.

  52. #252
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    Quote Originally Posted by westin View Post
    I think knock block is marketed as preventing the fork crown from smashing the downtube that was made straight for increased stiffness.
    Zactly.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  53. #253
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    Zactly.
    So you really think the frames needed to be stiffer in the front on a 100mm travel XC bike?
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  54. #254
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    So you really think the frames needed to be stiffer in the front on a 100mm travel XC bike?
    Not sure, just commenting on Trek's reasoning for doing it on the Fuel EX and Slash.

    I guess the Holy Grail is to be unbelievable stiff laterally around the BB, and just right everywhere else. Not sure how to attain this, but I know in MotoGP, they spend millions sorting this out, since at their crazy lean angles and high G's, it turns out that frame flex is essential.

    But only in the right places, in the right amounts. Probably not as critical with an mtb.
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