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  1. #1
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    Long travel 29er shootout

    150mm and above rear travel only.

    I'm working on a round-up! Here's my list of bikes that are at least 150mm rear travel. Anything I'm missing?





    Santa Cruz Hightower LT
    Intense Carbine
    Evil Wreckoning
    Specialized Enduro 29
    Marin Wolf Ridge
    Trek Slash 29
    Norco Range
    Orbea Rallon
    Niner RIP 9 RDO
    Whyte S-150
    BMC Trailfox




    Any requests, suggestions?
    Last edited by fc; 1 Week Ago at 09:26 AM.
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  2. #2
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    The new NS Snabb plus 150
    Rocky Mountain Instinct
    and of course the Transition Sentinel.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

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    Would be interested to hear how the really long and slack 140mm bikes (Transition Sentinel, Pole, Nicolai, GG Smash) compare to the 150-160mm bikes you've listed.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid Duffman View Post
    Would be interested to hear how the really long and slack 140mm bikes (Transition Sentinel, Pole, Nicolai, GG Smash) compare to the 150-160mm bikes you've listed.


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    Probably quite similarly. I'm foreseeing a lot of "Gets up the hills OK, but really comes alive on the descent."

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    Orbea Rallon for the win !!!!
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Any requests, suggestions?
    Deleted

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    Quote Originally Posted by 410sprint View Post
    Pivot Firebird and Pivot Mach 6.
    Pay attention ....Long Travel 150mm+ 29'ers
    18' Orbea Rallon
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    So that's actual travel?
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Why not reach out to Brian on here and try to get a hold of one of his Tantrum test mules?
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  10. #10
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    isn't the spesh enduro supposed to have 165mm rear travel?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    150mm and above rear travel only.

    I'm working on a round-up! Here's my list of bikes that are at least 150mm rear travel. Anything I'm missing?......Any requests, suggestions?
    Hi fc,

    How about the Lenz Lunchbox and/or the Lenz Fatillac?

    Thanks for asking!

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  12. #12
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rynee View Post
    isn't the spesh enduro supposed to have 165mm rear travel?
    160mm is the final determination now. Kinda confusing that one.
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  13. #13
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    [for NorCal trails]

  14. #14
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    FC, all I can say is MUST BE NICE!

    Are you going to try to measure actual travel, and if so, how? My Prime is rated at 135mm. I measured the straight line distance from the axle center hole at full extended to full compressed and came up with 137ish mm, pushing down fairly hard on the bottom out bumper by hand.

    If you do the actual measurements, maybe do it after the test rides so as not to prejudice the riders.
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    I think you mean BMC Trailfox, not Speedfox. Speedfox is 120 or 130 front and rear
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_joe View Post
    I think you mean BMC Trailfox, not Speedfox. Speedfox is 120 or 130 front and rear
    Yes, for sure, Trailfox. I rode the Trailfox a long time ago and looks like they haven't really changed it aside from offering wild colors only.

    hmm....
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    Quote Originally Posted by JACKL View Post
    FC, all I can say is MUST BE NICE!

    Are you going to try to measure actual travel, and if so, how? My Prime is rated at 135mm. I measured the straight line distance from the axle center hole at full extended to full compressed and came up with 137ish mm, pushing down fairly hard on the bottom out bumper by hand.

    If you do the actual measurements, maybe do it after the test rides so as not to prejudice the riders.
    What is the best/easiest way to measure actual travel (that is mm accurate)?
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  18. #18
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    2018 kona process 153

    (yea they have a 29er model)
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    Pivot Mach 6, Ibis Mojo 4.
    Do the math.

  20. #20
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    Any roundup of long travel 29ers must include the Nukeproof Mega 290.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    Pivot Mach 6, Ibis Mojo 4.
    This is a 29'er shootout only Lone Ranger.
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  22. #22
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    Yeti 5.5, obviously.

  23. #23
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by euroford View Post
    Any roundup of long travel 29ers must include the Nukeproof Mega 290.
    Seems to qualify. Any good that bike?
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suns_PSD View Post
    Yeti 5.5, obviously.
    NOT 150mm travel or more.
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  25. #25
    fc
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    Here's a revised rear travel video at full compression.


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  26. #26
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    Do they tend to measure just the vertical distance the axle travels or do they measure the actual path the axle travels to determine travel?
    Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    What is the best/easiest way to measure actual travel (that is mm accurate)?
    Good question. I'm not sure if there is an official way, but in my case I flipped the bike over, and adjusted the seat to tilt the bike until the position of the axle when suspension extended was directly over the position of the axle with suspension compressed. Then just used a metal yardstick and made a mark for the axle center in each position, and measured the distance between. If you really want to split hairs, the wheel doesn't travel in a straight line between the 2 points, but I digress.

    I suppose the other way would be to adjust the seatpost so that the front and rear wheels are level with each other. Then measure the height of the axle in each position and record the difference. Likely to be a lesser number, since the wheel path is going to generally be rearward.

    In the end, all that matters is how the bike rides. But I can be a geek at times.
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  28. #28
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    2018 Scott Genius. 150x150 29er . Should be one of the lightest on the list while still slaying DH.


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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Yes, for sure, Trailfox. I rode the Trailfox a long time ago and looks like they haven't really changed it aside from offering wild colors only.

    hmm....
    I don't think the trailfox has been updated in a few years.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    150mm and above rear travel only.

    i'm working on a round-up! Here's my list of bikes that are at least 150mm rear travel. Anything i'm missing?





    santa cruz hightower lt
    intense carbine
    evil wreckoning
    specialized enduro 29
    marin wolf ridge
    trek slash 29
    norco range
    orbea rallon
    niner rip 9 rdo
    whyte s-150
    bmc trailfox




    any requests, suggestions?
    niner wfo

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Structure View Post
    2018 Scott Genius. 150x150 29er . Should be one of the lightest on the list while still slaying DH.


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    I see. Definitely in. That 29er looks cool. Not so much in 27.5 as I've never seen a bike that was compatible for 29 and 27.5. Usually 27.5 Plus, but most have stopped doing that.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghoti View Post
    Do they tend to measure just the vertical distance the axle travels or do they measure the actual path the axle travels to determine travel?
    Should be vertical distance.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Seems to qualify. Any good that bike?
    I'd say the best, but i may be biased
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinnybex View Post
    This is a 29'er shootout only Lone Ranger.
    Duh...
    Do the math.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by euroford View Post
    I'd say the best, but i may be biased
    Do you have it? Are you a dealer? I rode the old Genius bikes and they were not that good for Trail or All Mountain.

    Lighter than this bike?

    Long travel 29er shootout-p1010067.jpg
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    150mm or more is somewhat arbitrary. Yeti Sb5.5 and Sentinal should be in that list based on usage. If you want to draw a line somewhere I'd say it should be > 140mm (5.5 inches)

    Or if you want to be more vague, say an EWS-ready 29er.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Do you have it? Are you a dealer? I rode the old Genius bikes and they were not that good for Trail or All Mountain.

    Lighter than this bike?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Stock build? What size is that? Pretty impressive.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhsavery View Post
    150mm or more is somewhat arbitrary. Yeti Sb5.5 and Sentinal should be in that list based on usage. If you want to draw a line somewhere I'd say it should be > 140mm (5.5 inches)

    Or if you want to be more vague, say an EWS-ready 29er.
    Arbitrary says who? It's a 150mm SHOOTOUT. It's his thread where he said at least 150mm of travel. He drew a line and that is at 150. Sorry 5.5 and sorry transition, but you came up short 10mm for this. You must be 10mm taller if you want to get on this ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev. 14 View Post
    Arbitrary says who? It's a 150mm SHOOTOUT. It's his thread where he said at least 150mm of travel. He drew a line and that is at 150. Sorry 5.5 and sorry transition, but you came up short 10mm for this. You must be 10mm taller if you want to get on this ride.
    I dunno, I don't see the point, what if brand X has a bike that's 147mm? If you want to compare long travel gravity oriented 29ers 150mm is an arbitrary number. There are plenty of 140mm bikes (those two being examples) that rip downhills more than some 150-160mm travel bikes.

    Now if you're saying "well then what about something like a stumpjumper (135mm travel)", I'd say that doesn't make it into the group, as there is a more DH oriented model the enduro. Same with following vs the wreckoning. Seems fairly clear to me. Anyone who is buying a bike based on simply the amount of travel is a fool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bhsavery View Post
    I dunno, I don't see the point, what if brand X has a bike that's 147mm? If you want to compare long travel gravity oriented 29ers 150mm is an arbitrary number. There are plenty of 140mm bikes (those two being examples) that rip downhills more than some 150-160mm travel bikes.

    Now if you're saying "well then what about something like a stumpjumper (135mm travel)", I'd say that doesn't make it into the group, as there is a more DH oriented model the enduro. Same with following vs the wreckoning. Seems fairly clear to me. Anyone who is buying a bike based on simply the amount of travel is a fool.

    The point is many have said 140mm is the sweet spot for 29er rear travel. More than this requires compromise that negatively effect the ride . Testing 150mm or more will see how much this is true, or how bike companies have figured something out around the compromises.
    Last edited by Cerberus75; 1 Week Ago at 06:57 AM.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Do you have it? Are you a dealer? I rode the old Genius bikes and they were not that good for Trail or All Mountain.

    Lighter than this bike?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I confess to some bias. The engineer who designed current Slash is in my posse of trail work diggers and volunteers. Quite a few MTBR posters would not like his theories or another's in our posse of diggers and riders - a suspension parts rep to the industry. They think too many "over bike".

    That we have these long travel 29rs is interesting to me because I've seen and see prototype frames, wheels and tires for a few years. The industry gets teased for only trying to sell stuff but I've witnessed the sincere work to improve speed and control. It was particularly entertaining when a few non-XC racer Trek employees I know went to wheel sizes associated with XC racers.

    My epiphany was when one of my Trek associates stuck me on an effort to make the same bike and tire models with different wheel sizes and had me repeat the same trail loop. I realized it was only getting used to axle height. I realized the 29r made tight turns and had more traction in two places on that loop.

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  42. #42
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    How does this list not include the Kona Process 153 29er?

    Long travel 29er shootout-153.jpg

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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    The point is many have said 140mm is the sweet spot for 29er rear travel. More than this requires compromise that negatively effect the ride . Testing 150mm or more will see how much this is true, or how bike companies have figured something out around the compromises.
    Citation needed: "as many have said". That sounds like a very subjective statement. Why not base it around like I said gravity oriented longer travel 29ers. You could take an XC suspension design and make it 150mm of travel, that wouldn't put it in the same category as a wreckoning.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Do you have it? Are you a dealer? I rode the old Genius bikes and they were not that good for Trail or All Mountain.Click image for larger version. 

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    I've had my Mega 290 since March, ridden it all over CO, the desert and the PNW/whistler. I'd pick it over that trek any day. We had a guy with one of those on our recent PNW/Whistler trip, nice bike for sure, but i'd still pick the nuke.
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    Subscribed. Interested in the Rallon as my next bike. Would have liked to see the hightower LT be a redesign from the ground up rather than a hightower highbred.

    Would also like to see an "aggressive" 135-140mm rear travel 29er trailbike shootout as well as that seems to be the stated hot bike market.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    The point is many have said 140mm is the sweet spot for 29er rear travel. More than this requires compromise that negatively effect the ride . Testing 150mm or more will see how much this is true, or how bike companies have figured something out around the compromises.
    Agreed. The SB5.5 and Sentinel are fully within the spirit of this shootout, but hey, I don't make the rules.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

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    Quote Originally Posted by 06HokieMTB View Post
    Agreed. The SB5.5 and Sentinel are fully within the spirit of this shootout, but hey, I don't make the rules.
    Or to put it another way, Evil Following and Scott Spark are both 120mm travel. So they should be in comparisons as the same bike right???

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhsavery View Post
    There are plenty of 140mm bikes . . . that rip downhills more than some 150-160mm travel bikes. Seems fairly clear to me. Anyone who is buying a bike based on simply the amount of travel is a fool.
    First of all, rip downhills more than 150-160mm bikes? Who says? Who determined that "fact"?

    Who said they are buying a bike because it has 150mm of rear travel alone? Maybe one wants a bike in the 150 and up range, well there are some seriously good bikes, Hightower LT, Slash, Wrecker, Enduro, Carbine, etc., doesn't make them a fool for shopping for one.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post

    Would also like to see an "aggressive" 135-140mm rear travel 29er trailbike shootout as well as that seems to be the stated hot bike market.
    Agreed

  50. #50
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    The Yeti butthurt is strong... (I love it- hahahahahaha) and no, a 5.5 with 140mm does not feel the same as a a bike (the new enduro) with 160mm travel. Sorry, thanks for playing. Ridden both, completely disagree.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhsavery View Post
    Or to put it another way, Evil Following and Scott Spark are both 120mm travel. So they should be in comparisons as the same bike right???
    I think the point trying to be made here is that these arbitrary travel numbers mattered more back in the day to describe bikes. Modern bikes and geometry have gotten so good that the numbers mean less; a well known example you mentioned is the Evil Following, it has only 120mm of travel yet reviews ACROSS THE BOARD describe it as being as good or better at downhill than many others far more travel.
    If sticking to 150 is merely a way to categorize the shootout and avoid having too many bikes, thats fine, but getting hung up on the numbers is a bit outdated, IMO.

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    140mm would be a great category but that seems to only be a handful of bike companies that make a true 140mm travel bike. 29ers seem to stick with short 110 to 135mm travel and match them to 140mm forks with very few that even make a 135mm rear. Just my 2c
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    Would also like to see an "aggressive" 135-140mm rear travel 29er trailbike shootout as well as that seems to be the stated hot bike market.[/QUOTE]

    I'd like to see this too, a lighter, not as long(wheelbase) bike that is matched with a 140-150 fork.
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  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streetdoctor View Post
    The Yeti butthurt is strong... (I love it- hahahahahaha) and no, a 5.5 with 140mm does not feel the same as a a bike (the new enduro) with 160mm travel. Sorry, thanks for playing. Ridden both, completely disagree.
    Rules are rules and 150mm is the minimum travel requirements set for this shootout that FC has created so the Yeti SB5.5 and Sentinel are no go's. Btw, I rode my Rallon for the first time today and all I can say here is it's Really Really capable and I'd easily say it go go toe 2 toe with anything in production today regarding descending capabilities and also it's ability to pedal pretty damn good to get you to your next bomb into the steep Gnar with that steep 75.5 / 76 degree STA.

    I'll have a detailed review in the Orbea Thread after a few more days of testing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluidworks View Post
    I think the point trying to be made here is that these arbitrary travel numbers mattered more back in the day to describe bikes. Modern bikes and geometry have gotten so good that the numbers mean less; a well known example you mentioned is the Evil Following, it has only 120mm of travel yet reviews ACROSS THE BOARD describe it as being as good or better at downhill than many others far more travel.
    If sticking to 150 is merely a way to categorize the shootout and avoid having too many bikes, thats fine, but getting hung up on the numbers is a bit outdated, IMO.
    The Evil Following is not anywhere close to being capable to go H2H with any single bike in this shootout and I'd even go as far as saying it's the most overhyped bike I've ever ridden. Just because Luke Stroebel pink bike wheelied the bike and can boost every single trail feature known to man doesn't mean 95% of the riders that love Mountainbiking can even come close. Luke could ride a Huffy and Shred.

    Please be realistic with these comments because no single 120mm-130mm travel bike will bail your ass out like these true LT 29'ers in this shootout will.....just the facts
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinnybex View Post
    Rules are rules and 150mm is the minimum travel requirements set for this shootout that FC has created so the Yeti SB5.5 and Sentinel are no go's.
    Agree. And FC should carefully measure vertical travel for each qualifying bike and exclude the ones that don't actually have 150mm travel.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    Subscribed. Interested in the Rallon as my next bike. Would have liked to see the hightower LT be a redesign from the ground up rather than a hightower highbred.

    Would also like to see an "aggressive" 135-140mm rear travel 29er trailbike shootout as well as that seems to be the stated hot bike market.
    The Rallon is Top Class and I'll have my comments soon about the strenghts and what may be minor weaknesses soon. I might include some ride footage as well and I'll compare the Rallon to my Yeti SB5.5 but I can tell you the Yeti is the more efficient pedal bike and the Yeti accelerates and carries speed a bit better. The Rallon doesn't even break a sweat on steep and techy descents or just general Gnar and it is a great bike to grind out those long climbs on because you can just seddle in and spin...also keeps climbing traction really well and just floats up and over ledges and tricky burst climb sections just fine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhsavery View Post
    150mm or more is somewhat arbitrary. Yeti Sb5.5 and Sentinal should be in that list based on usage. If you want to draw a line somewhere I'd say it should be > 140mm (5.5 inches)

    Or if you want to be more vague, say an EWS-ready 29er.
    Agreed, SB 5.5 should be in the mix if we consider the intentions of bikes in this range...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev. 14 View Post
    First of all, rip downhills more than 150-160mm bikes? Who says? Who determined that "fact"?

    Who said they are buying a bike because it has 150mm of rear travel alone? Maybe one wants a bike in the 150 and up range, well there are some seriously good bikes, Hightower LT, Slash, Wrecker, Enduro, Carbine, etc., doesn't make them a fool for shopping for one.
    The thing is, most of the companies that are putting out the 150-160 29ers, already have a 130-140 bike...So they are building bigger bikes to apeal to people who need (or think they need) more travel.
    I have a Canfield Riot, it's 140mm love the bike. I do use all the travel. I'd they put out a 150-160mm bike I'd be inclined to try it. If they made it in a size small.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Streetdoctor View Post
    The Yeti butthurt is strong... (I love it- hahahahahaha) and no, a 5.5 with 140mm does not feel the same as a a bike (the new enduro) with 160mm travel. Sorry, thanks for playing. Ridden both, completely disagree.
    Don't disagree at all, but also think the 5.5 rides more confidently on the downhill than the Niner RIP 9 RDO which has more travel. Not quite sure what having more travel "feels" like unless you're talking about two identical suspension systems. You can't just look at rear travel numbers to decide how well a bike rides or what type of riding its for. I guess if the point of the comparison it compare bikes with similar travel numbers, that's fine. Just don't think that is as compelling a comparison as comparing something like "Enduro-focused DH primarily 29ers" or something to that effect.

    And for the record I'm not even a yeti guy, just using that as an example.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duffman1976 View Post
    Agreed, SB 5.5 should be in the mix if we consider the intentions of bikes in this range...
    The amazing thing about the Yeti SB5.5 is that Yeti doesn't sit in their war room and think "We need to make the longest travel 29 Enduro bike because that's the trend" They make bikes that have that lasting impression of how much fun and stoke factor you get from getting outside and pushing yourself to the limit.

    If there is one truth about what's trendy is that Specialized was ahead of the curve and really defined what a long travel 29'er can do and they continue to redefine and innovate the Genre. Although I'm not a fan of the company and won't spend my money on their products there's no denying the fact that the E29 is legendary and will continue to be.

    The Yeti is such a well rounded bike but in the days of sub 66 degree Head angles on 29'ers it's just not going to be able to be quite as comfortable as this new crop. Does the SB5.5 pedal better than the new crop...you betcha, does it's 140mm travel feel deep and useable and composed....Absolutely....is it going to be as composed as the Wrecker or Intense Carbine in the steep stuff....No way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhsavery View Post
    Don't disagree at all, but also think the 5.5 rides more confidently on the downhill than the Niner RIP 9 RDO which has more travel.
    The reason the SB5.5 is so solid lies in it's balanced ride feel. The bike isn't too long nor is it too short in the wheelbase and the chain stays are just about perfect. Front center is perfect for the average sized riders body so when your in the attack position you perfectly in the bike over the bottom bracket and the suspension can do it's thing. Obviously fit can be ruined if you get crazy with your cockpit or saddle position and you can really muck things up.
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    Since we are beating up on the SB5.5... I'll concur that its not on the same level as the 150mm+ bikes. It pedals great, is an awesome trail bike, and probably one of the best climbing 29ers around, but I think it falls short of the well described "Enduro-focused DH primarily 29ers" category. I'd compare it more closely to the Evil Following, when I think the bikes the OP is digging up for this review are more like the Evil Wreckening, where the comparison between the two bikes from one manufacturer is pretty clear.

    I think if you went on a group ride with four guys and included an SB5.5, Following, Wreckening and a Mega 290, everybody would have fun ridding the same trail. but back at the lot over the post ride beers the consensus would be pretty clear as to which two were the climbers and which two were the descenders.

    I guess the only bike to break the mold in my opinion would be the Transition Sentinel, geo wise they clearly intend it to be a very rowdy bike on the descents, but they also felt this could be accomplished with a little less travel. Having hung out at Transition HQ and ridden Galbraith last week, I think it makes sense. You really have to earn your turns over there, but the descent payout for that effort is generous. It makes sense that they would produce a bike with the minimum amount of workable travel necessary to make use of that aggressive geometry for their style of Party N the Woods.
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    Quote Originally Posted by euroford View Post
    Since we are beating up on the SB5.5... I'll concur that its not on the same level as the 150mm+ bikes. It pedals great, is an awesome trail bike, and probably one of the best climbing 29ers around, but I think it falls short of the well described "Enduro-focused DH primarily 29ers" category. I'd compare it more closely to the Evil Following, when I think the bikes the OP is digging up for this review are more like the Evil Wreckening, where the comparison between the two bikes from one manufacturer is pretty clear.

    I think if you went on a group ride with four guys and included an SB5.5, Following, Wreckening and a Mega 290, everybody would have fun ridding the same trail. but back at the lot over the post ride beers the consensus would be pretty clear as to which two were the climbers and which two were the descenders.

    I guess the only bike to break the mold in my opinion would be the Transition Sentinel, geo wise they clearly intend it to be a very rowdy bike on the descents, but they also felt this could be accomplished with a little less travel. Having hung out at Transition HQ and ridden Galbraith last week, I think it makes sense. You really have to earn your turns over there, but the descent payout for that effort is generous. It makes sense that they would produce a bike with the minimum amount of workable travel necessary to make use of that aggressive geometry for their style of Party N the Woods.
    The Evil Following isn't even close to being as capable as the Yeti SB5.5 in any regard and it's strength lies in its playfulness for a 120mm 29'er. Then you get to the real issue which is a poorly balanced bike " way to rearward biased" with a STA that is very difficult for some to get on with without having to slam the seat all the way forward and still have issues. The people that love that bike obviously find the positives in what Evil thought up but if you look at the Geo Evil used for the calling they decided to build a truly balanced trail bike which by all accounts they have.

    The Sentinel I'm sure is amazing and that bike will far outpunch it's numbers with what those Bellingham geniuses have cooked up.

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    I think it was inevitable that people would discover that long-travel 29ers are awesome once they started building them.

    I'm hoping to understand someday why more available travel is a bad thing. It may not be needed, but what's the downside? If you've got a good anti-squat suspension, short stays, and a tuned or tunable shock and fork (including tunable for spring rate ramp-up), what's the problem? The bike should stay high in the travel while pedaling, and even on milder downhills. Big hit or drop to flat comes along, the extra travel is there.

    It's true that an overly plush or wallowy suspension can be a buzz-kill. But that's just a suspension tuning issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    How does this list not include the Kona Process 153 29er?

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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    Subscribed. Interested in the Rallon as my next bike. Would have liked to see the hightower LT be a redesign from the ground up rather than a hightower highbred.

    Would also like to see an "aggressive" 135-140mm rear travel 29er trailbike shootout as well as that seems to be the stated hot bike market.
    Right on. The old Rallon was a good one for sure so those guys know what they're doing beyond their core XC wheelhouse.

    I almost bought my test Rallon many years ago because I loved the bike and that steep head angle and lowww bb. Heavey though and BOS woes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JACKL View Post
    Agree. And FC should carefully measure vertical travel for each qualifying bike and exclude the ones that don't actually have 150mm travel.
    If I can accurately measure to the mm, I would.

    There's 15 bikes now on my list so it is getting big very quickly. I can do an appendix on the ones the didn't make it but are in the spirit.
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    If you guys are considering 140mm long travel, then you must add the GG Smash!

    (preferably with a 160 fork, but that's just me)
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  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    Subscribed. Interested in the Rallon as my next bike. Would have liked to see the hightower LT be a redesign from the ground up rather than a hightower highbred.

    Would also like to see an "aggressive" 135-140mm rear travel 29er trailbike shootout as well as that seems to be the stated hot bike market.
    Yeah, this could be another shootout. My personal bike is a Switchblade so I know the category well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhsavery View Post
    150mm or more is somewhat arbitrary. Yeti Sb5.5 and Sentinal should be in that list based on usage. If you want to draw a line somewhere I'd say it should be > 140mm (5.5 inches)

    Or if you want to be more vague, say an EWS-ready 29er.
    No, they shouldn't. 150+mm 29ers are where it's at, what's pushing the boundaries. This doesn't mean a 140mm 29er is bad, but we've had those for years. 150mm or more in a viable 29er is relatively new ground.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    No, they shouldn't. 150+mm 29ers are where it's at, what's pushing the boundaries. This doesn't mean a 140mm 29er is bad, but we've had those for years. 150mm or more in a viable 29er is relatively new ground.
    Yep. I'm looking forward to this shoot out of 150 bikes. I already know (and own) the formerly long travel 135-140 29ers can be great.


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    I think the determining factor should be 160mm Forks, different suspension designs require different amounts of rear travel to work correctly. The reason the Yeti fanboys would be bummed about not including the 5.5, is the knowledge that the 5.5 would outperform the majority of the bikes that are being considered in the shootout, even on the downs.

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    As someone who owns both a short travel and mid travel 29er FS, I can tell you the difference that 25mm of travel makes to how the bike feels is HUGE. My Phantom with 105mm of rear travel and good trail geo is an excellent bike, will handle a lot, just takes the rider to have the cahones to do it, but you also get a lot of feedback and really have to ride it to get that. My Prime with 130mm rear travel on the other hand, will take much more abuse than I think most can throw at it and it doesn't take as much rider input or skill as the Phantom, and compared to the Phantom going down a rough, rocky, rooty descent, the Prime feels like a Caddy and the Phantom like a WRC rocket.

    Quote Originally Posted by JACKL View Post
    ............I'm hoping to understand someday why more available travel is a bad thing. It may not be needed, but what's the downside? If you've got a good anti-squat suspension, short stays, and a tuned or tunable shock and fork (including tunable for spring rate ramp-up), what's the problem? The bike should stay high in the travel while pedaling, and even on milder downhills. Big hit or drop to flat comes along, the extra travel is there.

    It's true that an overly plush or wallowy suspension can be a buzz-kill. But that's just a suspension tuning issue.

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    Personally, I feel around 150mm is a minimum for hitting bike parks, yes, you can do with less, but then you usually severely limit yourself in terms of trails in my experience. Yes, I even think this applies to 29ers after doing many park days on my E29er. 29ers roll over wheel catchers great, but travel keeps you from being pounded to hell. At 150mm, the options tend to open up and you still have something that can be ridden as your everyday bike.
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    What I don't get is that the OP has a very capable 29er trail bike in the 135-140mm range. He knows that bikes in the upper end of mid travel can do a lot. But this sounds like the same argument that 100-120mm bikes should be tested against 140mm bikes.... I'd like to see if these new bikes could do better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Personally, I feel around 150mm is a minimum for hitting bike parks, yes, you can do with less, but then you usually severely limit yourself in terms of trails in my experience. Yes, I even think this applies to 29ers after doing many park days on my E29er. 29ers roll over wheel catchers great, but travel keeps you from being pounded to hell. At 150mm, the options tend to open up and you still have something that can be ridden as your everyday bike.
    Completely agree, the current trend in MTB'ing seems to be "flow", which sadly you really don't need any suspension for. I've found this to be true after riding my 200mm travel back to back with my 165mm Enduro 29 and carrying ridiculous amounts of speed on the Enduro (taking the 35' table on rainmaker to flat for example) with minimal effort. Part of this is the 29" wheels vs. 27.5" but it's also not losing a lot of momentum to the suspension.

    I had a SB95 for a few years and resisted a long travel bike because of all the people commenting about it not being necessary or "dumbing down the trail" etc. After buying the enduro what I've found is a lot of this is bullshit. I think a lot of people making these comments are of the XC variety riding on machine cut trail. More suspension allows you to ride these trails no different then any other bike, but also opens up rowdier stuff you wouldn't necessarily want to take your 100mm FS XC bike on.

    This year I primarily rode a '17 E29, and a Tallboy 3. The tallboy definitely climbed more efficiently, but it was also more difficult to control in any technical uphill. I believe the same people that complain about long travel being unnecessary are the same people that want the rear shock to completely lock out and complain about "bob". That "bob" is what makes the E29's rear tire stick to the ground in technical climbing. If it was locked out it would suck just as bad as a short travel bike. More then I wanted to write, but that's my take. $0.02 I'll never not have a long travel 29'er in my stable.
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    There have been countless reviews of the Yeti SB5.5. Is there really a need for another review?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    There's 15 bikes now on my list so it is getting big very quickly. I can do an appendix on the ones the didn't make it but are in the spirit.
    So whats the shootout list at this point?
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    Bike Model tested Rear Travel
    Santa Cruz Hightower LT XX1 Carbon, Reserve Rim 150
    Intense Carbine Factory Build 155
    Evil Wreckoning X01 Eagle 160
    Specialized Enduro 29 Pro 165
    Marin Wolf Ridge Pro 160
    Trek Slash 29 Pro 150
    Norco Range C1 160
    not in house
    Orbea Rallon M-LTD 150
    Niner RIP 9 RDO 4-star Push star 150
    Whyte S-150 Carbon RS 150
    BMC Trailfox 2 150
    NukeProof Mega 290 Pro 150
    Scott Genius Tuned 150
    Kona Process 153 AL/DL 29 153
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streetdoctor View Post
    Completely agree, the current trend in MTB'ing seems to be "flow", which sadly you really don't need any suspension for. I've found this to be true after riding my 200mm travel back to back with my 165mm Enduro 29 and carrying ridiculous amounts of speed on the Enduro (taking the 35' table on rainmaker to flat for example) with minimal effort. Part of this is the 29" wheels vs. 27.5" but it's also not losing a lot of momentum to the suspension.

    I had a SB95 for a few years and resisted a long travel bike because of all the people commenting about it not being necessary or "dumbing down the trail" etc. After buying the enduro what I've found is a lot of this is bullshit. I think a lot of people making these comments are of the XC variety riding on machine cut trail. More suspension allows you to ride these trails no different then any other bike, but also opens up rowdier stuff you wouldn't necessarily want to take your 100mm FS XC bike on.

    This year I primarily rode a '17 E29, and a Tallboy 3. The tallboy definitely climbed more efficiently, but it was also more difficult to control in any technical uphill. I believe the same people that complain about long travel being unnecessary are the same people that want the rear shock to completely lock out and complain about "bob". That "bob" is what makes the E29's rear tire stick to the ground in technical climbing. If it was locked out it would suck just as bad as a short travel bike. More then I wanted to write, but that's my take. $0.02 I'll never not have a long travel 29'er in my stable.
    That's a very strange statement.

    Undamped suspension movement and "bob" don't make a bike climb better. And I don't know anyone who climbs well (fast) who locks out suspension for technical climbing.

    An E29 is probably the last non-FR-DH bike I would pick if I wanted to go up a technical climb with anything resembling speed.
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    FC, I've ridden both the Evil Wreckoning and 2017 Enduro 29 and I own the Yeti SB5.5 and 2018 Orbea Rallon so I'll be curious with this shootout how you feel about the 3 bikes that I have my own ideas about and of course my Yeti. Thank you and you team helping you for investing the time and effort in this project.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluidworks View Post
    I think the point trying to be made here is that these arbitrary travel numbers mattered more back in the day to describe bikes. . . .the Evil Following has only 120mm of travel yet reviews ACROSS THE BOARD describe it as being as good or better at downhill than many others far more travel.
    If sticking to 150 is merely a way to categorize the shootout and avoid having too many bikes, thats fine, but getting hung up on the numbers is a bit outdated, IMO.
    This is egregious. Have you ridden a 120mm travel bike and then ridden a 150mm bike? As others are saying IT DOES MATTER. No reviews would say the Following is "as good or better at downhill that many others" with far more travel. Riding technical bike park downhill, you think "reviewers" would pick the Following over the Wrecker? Is that why some shops call the Wrecker the mistake eraser?

    I rode a Ripley LS 120mm, some say just as good as the Following, then got on a Switchblade. Night and day difference over technical rock gardens, hucking 4ft drops; the Switchblade was so much more stable. The LS, which is a great bike, couldn't hang on that technical stuff and that sucker would land friggin hard when jumped high. To be honest, I felt the LS was going to get me injured on the downhill stuff. I made that comparison to my Tallboy LTc that has 135mm travel, where the difference can be felt.

    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    Would have liked to see the hightower LT be a redesign from the ground up rather than a hightower highbred.
    Allegedly there is a ground up Hightower LT in development already, the one out now was their quick entry into the 150 class. I would bet SC realized they were losing big time in this really hot segment so they rushed to respond.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skinnybex View Post
    FC, I've ridden both the Evil Wreckoning and 2017 Enduro 29 and I own the Yeti SB5.5 and 2018 Orbea Rallon so I'll be curious with this shootout how you feel about the 3 bikes that I have my own ideas about and of course my Yeti. Thank you and you team helping you for investing the time and effort in this project.
    Tell us your thoughts on the Wrecker compared to the Enduro, the 5.5, and Rallon. Climbing, descending, and agility. Of the bigger travel, which really got you. We know the 5.5 will climb better, it's not even close, but descending and agility for the travel?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    That's a very strange statement.

    Undamped suspension movement and "bob" don't make a bike climb better. And I don't know anyone who climbs well (fast) who locks out suspension for technical climbing.

    An E29 is probably the last non-FR-DH bike I would pick if I wanted to go up a technical climb with anything resembling speed.
    Traction /comfort > Speed uphill. It's a 6" bike...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    That's a very strange statement.

    Undamped suspension movement and "bob" don't make a bike climb better. And I don't know anyone who climbs well (fast) who locks out suspension for technical climbing.

    An E29 is probably the last non-FR-DH bike I would pick if I wanted to go up a technical climb with anything resembling speed.
    I'm with you on this, I thought it and the SJ squats too much in it travel felt like I was using much more energy as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    I'm with you on this, I thought it and the SJ squats too much in it travel felt like I was using much more energy as well.
    Exactly, you can have a bike that's compliant on the climbs and maintains traction without squatting it's ass down like a Specialized does.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev. 14 View Post
    This is egregious. Have you ridden a 120mm travel bike and then ridden a 150mm bike? As others are saying IT DOES MATTER. No reviews would say the Following is "as good or better at downhill that many others" with far more travel. Riding technical bike park downhill, you think "reviewers" would pick the Following over the Wrecker? Is that why some shops call the Wrecker the mistake eraser?

    I rode a Ripley LS 120mm, some say just as good as the Following, then got on a Switchblade. Night and day difference over technical rock gardens, hucking 4ft drops; the Switchblade was so much more stable. The LS, which is a great bike, couldn't hang on that technical stuff and that sucker would land friggin hard when jumped high. To be honest, I felt the LS was going to get me injured on the downhill stuff. I made that comparison to my Tallboy LTc that has 135mm travel, where the difference can be felt.

    Holy hyperbole Batman. You seemed to have missed my point completely. No one is saying that a short travel bike is going to be the downhill (bike park) specific ride of choice. My post was simply regarding that suspension kinematics and geo have improved enough in the past several years to make millimeters of travel less important than they used to be. Hence the increasing trend of people riding "enduro" bikes at parks that previously were riddled with classic downhill bikes, thats all.

    No need for people to keep getting defensive about the Following, it was simply an example of a capable short travel bike. If you would like me to google reviews proclaiming its descending capability as greater than its travel would indicate, I would be happy to..

    EDIT: I'm not looking to derail this thread so I'll say no more about this as I am interested in reading the shootout. Thanks fc for taking the time to do this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    That's a very strange statement.

    Undamped suspension movement and "bob" don't make a bike climb better. And I don't know anyone who climbs well (fast) who locks out suspension for technical climbing.

    An E29 is probably the last non-FR-DH bike I would pick if I wanted to go up a technical climb with anything resembling speed.
    I'm guessing he's confusing bob and active-while-climbing.

    Every Specialized I've ridden have been quite active while climbing. Typically they've done well to maintain traction and claw your way up stuff... if you can get your body position forward enough, because they do like to squat (as has previously been mentioned.)

    It's funny to me that Specialized owned the FSR/Horst Link patent for so long, yet it seems there are many companies that execute the design better than the Big S.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

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    I've just made the move from a 100mm xc/trail bike to a 160f/150r bike. It's one of the ones here on the list. I was worried going into it thinking about weight, wheelbase, reach, pedal strikes, climbing and technical prowess. I have to say that so far I am pleasantly surprised. I'm sure that nearly every bike in this shootout will ride nicely as I'm a firm believer that there are very few bad bikes these days. I'll be watching this with interest. Thanks FC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 06HokieMTB View Post
    I'm guessing he's confusing bob and active-while-climbing.

    Every Specialized I've ridden have been quite active while climbing. Typically they've done well to maintain traction and claw your way up stuff... if you can get your body position forward enough, because they do like to squat (as has previously been mentioned.)

    It's funny to me that Specialized owned the FSR/Horst Link patent for so long, yet it seems there are many companies that execute the design better than the Big S.
    No need to innovate when you're walled by a team of lawyers. Now that the patent is gone, they're going to have to play catch up- but they're used to that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 06HokieMTB View Post
    I'm guessing he's confusing bob and active-while-climbing.

    Every Specialized I've ridden have been quite active while climbing. Typically they've done well to maintain traction and claw your way up stuff... if you can get your body position forward enough, because they do like to squat (as has previously been mentioned.)

    It's funny to me that Specialized owned the FSR/Horst Link patent for so long, yet it seems there are many companies that execute the design better than the Big S.
    I'm not confused. Most people equate an active suspension with "bob" so it was easier to just use that terminology. It plays along with most people wanting a "lock out" and complaining if it doesn't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    I've just made the move from a 100mm xc/trail bike to a 160f/150r bike. It's one of the ones here on the list. I was worried going into it thinking about weight, wheelbase, reach, pedal strikes, climbing and technical prowess. I have to say that so far I am pleasantly surprised. I'm sure that nearly every bike in this shootout will ride nicely as I'm a firm believer that there are very few bad bikes these days. I'll be watching this with interest. Thanks FC.

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    My slogan for this Round Up is "What's the downside?"

    I've gone through a lot of fs 29ers and long travel 27.5s and there was often a big compromise.

    In this latest crop of very capable descenders. There's little downside as most of them climb well, handle well and play well.
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    For me, the downside or potential downside is having a bike that feels like a tank or slug on slower or lesser terrain or makes lesser terrain feel like a bike path requiring no concentration to ride. I think if you can somehow keep the weight between 28-30lbs, and a decent suspension, then not a lot of downside for most, but if you cvan't keep weight <30lbs, compared to a shorter travel bike, will definitely suck more climbing if you like to do more than just throw it in the easiest gear and take forever to get to the top because all you want is the down.

    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    My slogan for this Round Up is "What's the downside?"
    I've gone through a lot of fs 29ers and long travel 27.5s and there was often a big compromise.In this latest crop of very capable descenders. There's little downside as most of them climb well, handle well and play well.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

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    A long travel bike is going to feel like a slug uphill to some extent, so no amount of trickery will make these feel like 4" XC bikes, but with modern features, like moderate anti-squat to keep the front end from coming off the ground like crazy on the steeps, you can climb bikes with more travel than back in the day, and modern geometry makes them rock on the down, without having to resort to some of the goofy-ness like 14.5"+BB heights on previous AM/FR bikes. I remember having to use the Marzocchi ETA all the time with my old Turner 6Pack/RFX, since the front end got so light with 170mm of travel up front when the rear squatted on climbs. Impossible to climb at full travel, but these days, and even more so on a 29er, not a big issue. So, they can strike a decent balance between something that rips on the DH and that is livable on the uphills. With 29, you get the amazing uphill traction and DH roll-over.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streetdoctor View Post
    I'm not confused. Most people equate an active suspension with "bob" so it was easier to just use that terminology. It plays along with most people wanting a "lock out" and complaining if it doesn't.
    Canfield suspensions, for example, do not bob (near perfect anti-squat) but they remain tremendously active while climbing.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

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    Quote Originally Posted by 06HokieMTB View Post
    Canfield suspensions, for example, do not bob (near perfect anti-squat) but they remain tremendously active while climbing.
    I agree, no bob, the rear travels enough to help you up and over and not hang up. Stays high in its travel, so your not laying on your stem to keep the front down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    I'm sure that nearly every bike in this shootout will ride nicely as I'm a firm believer that there are very few bad bikes these days.
    I agree with this. Besides, the rider is more important than the bike anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    160mm is the final determination now. Kinda confusing that one.
    Any 160 travel ebikes in the test? I hear they climb pretty well
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    Quote Originally Posted by 06HokieMTB View Post
    Canfield suspensions, for example, do not bob (near perfect anti-squat) but they remain tremendously active while climbing.
    I think what happens with the horst-link is that it gets itself into somewhat of a feedback loop (steep climb with tech). Many of them (but not all) are designed to have close to 100% anti-squat at the sag point, but that only works in a static environment with no bumps on a totally constant grade. On any trail, your suspension is working all the time, bumps are encountered, the suspension goes into it's travel, I'd say it spends a lot of time around half travel and goes significantly past that when you it a large root or rock while climbing, but at these travel points, there is significantly less than 100% anti-squat, so you sink down, unweighted the front, it gets harder to pedal, so you have to pedal harder, which causes even more squat, and makes it even harder to maintain forward momentum, in this situation, you get "massive" traction and IMO, the rear end uses more travel than it would on the same bump if you were coasting downhill, because you are attempting to pedal (accelerate) at the same time and there isn't enough anti-squat to counter. So IME, it's kind of like having a 6" travel horst-link bike that climbs with the traction of an 8" travel "other" suspension design. I noticed my E29 didn't unweight the front as-bad as my smaller-wheeled bikes, but it still pedaled like a wet-mattress. Remember that acceleration is any pedal-stroke, you are accelerating forward and upwards (while climbing). Steady state velocity is not really possible while on the power due to the bio-mechanical features of your muscles and bones, which is why wheel weight makes so much difference.
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