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  1. #1
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    Looking for something lighter and more nimble

    Hey all,

    Been riding my Rumblefish 29er 21" for a season now, and for the most part I love it. The frame feels a wee bit on the too big size when the trail gets technical, but for more open stuff I can ride it all day. As the season winds down for most people there are new and used deals everywhere, so I am thinking of adding a bike to the quiver.

    I ride in "eastern" conditions in Pennsylvania with lots of roots, rocks, and for some reason every trail seems to involve jumping lots of logs. I'm about 6'3" and 200 lbs, and have a back that will nag me when the trail gets rough on a rigid bike (well on my cross bike and old rigid 26" anyways).

    I am thinking a 100mm travel XC 29er, a HT 29er, or even a full 26", might be a nice complement the RF for when I know I am only going to be riding the tight stuff.

    What would be a good, nimble bike to add considering I already have a super plush all mountain 29er?

  2. #2
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    Canfield Yelli Screamy

  3. #3
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    Nimble 9

  4. #4
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    nimble 9 or yelli

  5. #5
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    Lighter/nimble

    It sounds like you want a bike with a more active suspension. I have ridden many of the suspension types and for all day riding in rocks and roots I would try a 4-bar design, like an Ellsworth, Specialized, Rocky Mtn. and several others. The nimble part for me is the SC Tallboy or Tallboy LTc. I ride on very rocky trails and standing and powering over rocks on long rides doesn't work for the longer rides. I'm sure there are other bikes that do rocks well also.

  6. #6
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    anything from canfield is not going to be nimble or light, regardless of the name.

    get the performance access xl 29er. cheap, strong and light. very nimble as well.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ascarlarkinyar View Post
    anything from canfield is not going to be nimble or light, regardless of the name.
    Really? Which one have you owned?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumblefish29er View Post
    Hey all,

    Been riding my Rumblefish 29er 21" for a season now, and for the most part I love it. The frame feels a wee bit on the too big size when the trail gets technical, but for more open stuff I can ride it all day. As the season winds down for most people there are new and used deals everywhere, so I am thinking of adding a bike to the quiver.

    I ride in "eastern" conditions in Pennsylvania with lots of roots, rocks, and for some reason every trail seems to involve jumping lots of logs. I'm about 6'3" and 200 lbs, and have a back that will nag me when the trail gets rough on a rigid bike (well on my cross bike and old rigid 26" anyways).

    I am thinking a 100mm travel XC 29er, a HT 29er, or even a full 26", might be a nice complement the RF for when I know I am only going to be riding the tight stuff.

    What would be a good, nimble bike to add considering I already have a super plush all mountain 29er?
    Your Rumblefish is going to be comparable to my SJ FSR. When I rode the Tallboy it was almost like getting back on a 26er. It was much more maneuverable that the SJ.

    Heck, if you get it with the 120mm fork you may find for PA,MD riding it's a good do it all bike.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Really? Which one have you owned?
    the nimble(got rid of it) and have friends that got suckered into the hype of the yelli.

    short chainstays make the bike not nimble when the front fork is pushed out like a chopper bike. frame weight was very disappointing as well. if your looking for a slow handling 29er heavy jump bike, thats about all it was good for.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ascarlarkinyar View Post
    anything from canfield is not going to be nimble or light, regardless of the name.

    get the performance access xl 29er. cheap, strong and light. very nimble as well.
    :what:
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ascarlarkinyar View Post
    the nimble(got rid of it) and have friends that got suckered into the hype of the yelli.

    short chainstays make the bike not nimble when the front fork is pushed out like a chopper bike. frame weight was very disappointing as well. if your looking for a slow handling 29er heavy jump bike, thats about all it was good for.
    Guess there's no accounting for taste. While I agree it's not "light," (my heavy-duty build for AZ terrain with 2.4 tires and a dropper is 29 pounds) it pedals much lighter than its weight. As for nimble, I absolutely and completely disagree with your assessment. I've owned about a dozen (give or take) 29ers and the YS is the closest to handling like a 26er of any big-wheeler I've owned or ridden. I can hip-steer this thing all day without even thinking about it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Guess there's no accounting for taste. While I agree it's not "light," (my heavy-duty build for AZ terrain with 2.4 tires and a dropper is 29 pounds) it pedals much lighter than its weight. As for nimble, I absolutely and completely disagree with your assessment. I've owned about a dozen (give or take) 29ers and the YS is the closest to handling like a 26er of any big-wheeler I've owned or ridden. I can hip-steer this thing all day without even thinking about it.
    Ditto. And my two buddies who ride 26" instantly fell in love with my Nimble after just one ride.

    To each his own but your experience is way in the minority. Just read the Nimble 9 build thread.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumblefish29er View Post
    Hey all,

    Been riding my Rumblefish 29er 21" for a season now, and for the most part I love it. The frame feels a wee bit on the too big size when the trail gets technical, but for more open stuff I can ride it all day. As the season winds down for most people there are new and used deals everywhere, so I am thinking of adding a bike to the quiver.

    I ride in "eastern" conditions in Pennsylvania with lots of roots, rocks, and for some reason every trail seems to involve jumping lots of logs. I'm about 6'3" and 200 lbs, and have a back that will nag me when the trail gets rough on a rigid bike (well on my cross bike and old rigid 26" anyways).

    I am thinking a 100mm travel XC 29er, a HT 29er, or even a full 26", might be a nice complement the RF for when I know I am only going to be riding the tight stuff.

    What would be a good, nimble bike to add considering I already have a super plush all mountain 29er?
    Scott Genius 700 would kill it.

  14. #14
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    I used to ride a Rumblefish, like yours.

    I switched fish, and went to a Spearfish. The Superfish.

    I could not be any happier. 80mm of rear travel--a perfect compromise between a comfortable ride and light weight. Amazing climbing ability. Moves like an extension of your body. I highly recommend it.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by hitechredneck View Post
    nimble 9 or yelli
    A good place to start if the OP decides to try a hardtail.

    IMHO, the short chainstay, slack HA "thing" is legit. I love my N9 and don't think I'll be going back to "traditional" 29er hardtail geo again.

  16. #16
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    BMC SF29 (can be had cheap) or the new FourStroke.
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  17. #17
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    Rocky Mountain 29ers have your name written all over them.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ascarlarkinyar View Post
    anything from canfield is not going to be nimble or light, regardless of the name.

    get the performance access xl 29er. cheap, strong and light. very nimble as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by ascarlarkinyar View Post
    if your looking for a slow handling 29er heavy jump bike, thats about all it was good for.


    don't feed the trolls
    love my nimble 9

  19. #19
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    For a hardtail complement with some rear compliance a ti Lynskey or a Scott Scale Expert or 2013 930 are good options

  20. #20
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    I've got a Santa Cruz Highball Carbon. VERY light frame. Short chainstays and low BB make if feel very nimble and still quite stable at speed. Check out the featured bike on Competitive Cyclist. Good deal, me thinks.

  21. #21
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    I think this is a good example of why your screen name shouldn't be the bike model you had when you created your mtbr account.

    Anyway,I don't know if you'll be able to find a 29er full sus that has a short wheelbase. I had a Spearfish, and didn't really enjoy it. Kinda slow. My latest thinking is that if I get another full sus bike, it will be 650B or 26."

  22. #22
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    I hear where you are coming from, in fact I went to a LBS in search of a Rumblefish. They listened to my issues and the kind of riding I do and recommended the Superfly 100AL Elite, also in a 21 inch frame.
    After reading reviews and carefully checking out all of the components and I think it is a great bike, for the money! More dollars, a lighter bike.
    I currently ride a Cobia HT and I am obviously sold on 29 ers and I think my lower back will love the FS Superfly.

    Take a look!

  23. #23
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    Part of it is my fault....the LBS steered me towards a Hifi deluxe (now called Superfly) in a 19" but it just felt too cramped. In retrospect I could have messed with the stem and had the smaller bike I am looking for now.

    Test rode a Fuel ex 8 not too long ago in a 19.5".......could be the ticket and was offered for a nice deal. Felt faster, but not sure if i actually WAS faster. Also rode a carbon Epic Expert.....was the bomb....but was also 6 grand.


    And, hard tails are out....even though I am pretty sure I could be faster and attack on the shorter rides, my back would not forgive me.

    I like what I read about the Spearfish....finding one to test is another issue.
    Last edited by Rumblefish29er; 10-22-2012 at 06:51 PM.

  24. #24
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    I bought a 2013 santa cruz superlight 29 and love it! It has the same geometry as the tall boy and i find it to feel neutral handling, comfortable and turns well. i ride the rocks in nepa too. Think you should check them out! by the by i'm 6' 225 lbs and my lower back doesn't like the hard tail either, got a large and it fits well you might need a xl
    Last edited by t0pcat; 10-22-2012 at 08:14 PM. Reason: addition
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  25. #25
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    For a HT, the original Surly Karate Monkey is very nimble. Check out the geo. it is steel and unfortunately a bit porky weight wise, but not bad. I wish they made the same bike in aluminum.

  26. #26
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    Solid, dialogue-filled thread.
    For my relevant two cents, I'll say that I just went from a HiFi29 (crashed and killed) to a 2012 Superfly Al frame, swapping over best parts from a few bikes. Considering my most common terrain in W PA--tight singletrack, quick, switchbacky ascents and descents, lots of log crossings, some trails with lots of little boardwalks and drops-- it's perfect. [I just moved from Philly, where I lived right by the Wiss, rode much of E PA, Maryland, etc., and I don't think I would've regretted the move to the Superfly Al had I done it back there... For me, the 4" travel I got on the HiFi, combined with the rather loose rear triangle, wasn't a great combo. Coming from a DH background, I just wanted to push it too hard and fast over obstacles and down]. Now, I love the responsiveness, accellerating much more quickly, flicking hits and hilltops...the HiFi seems VERY sluggish in retrospect. It was.

    Also, I'm happy with how well the Superfly Al holds up to fairly brutal trail conditions; that is, I was worried that the feature-full trails would beat it (and me) up too bad, but it seems to be holding up nicely. Though, I am ~165, 5'11". I was considering a Cromag Surface or Banshee Paradox in the short term for "crash replacement" (with plans for an S-Works hardtail or Highball in the spring), but I'm glad I got Superfly...and surprised.

  27. #27
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    ascarlarkinyar may have a point on super slack fronts, even with short tucked in rears. Many of the so called 'best' 29er bikes seem to have settled on HTA's of ~70.5°. This seems to make for a fast enough front, nicely responsive and in the long-term, fun bike.

    OP - the likes of the RM Element sounds a decent bike to get on the shortlist, I'm looking at one for an efficient fun, and fast bike

  28. #28
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    So you went to a HT, or you went to the SFly 100 AL (full susp 29)?


    Quote Originally Posted by bisicklay View Post
    Solid, dialogue-filled thread.
    For my relevant two cents, I'll say that I just went from a HiFi29 (crashed and killed) to a 2012 Superfly Al frame, swapping over best parts from a few bikes. Considering my most common terrain in W PA--tight singletrack, quick, switchbacky ascents and descents, lots of log crossings, some trails with lots of little boardwalks and drops-- it's perfect. [I just moved from Philly, where I lived right by the Wiss, rode much of E PA, Maryland, etc., and I don't think I would've regretted the move to the Superfly Al had I done it back there... For me, the 4" travel I got on the HiFi, combined with the rather loose rear triangle, wasn't a great combo. Coming from a DH background, I just wanted to push it too hard and fast over obstacles and down]. Now, I love the responsiveness, accellerating much more quickly, flicking hits and hilltops...the HiFi seems VERY sluggish in retrospect. It was.

    Also, I'm happy with how well the Superfly Al holds up to fairly brutal trail conditions; that is, I was worried that the feature-full trails would beat it (and me) up too bad, but it seems to be holding up nicely. Though, I am ~165, 5'11". I was considering a Cromag Surface or Banshee Paradox in the short term for "crash replacement" (with plans for an S-Works hardtail or Highball in the spring), but I'm glad I got Superfly...and surprised.

  29. #29
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    I switched over to the SF HT. In a sense, my post above is a little prosaic paean to my happiness with riding HT, after riding mostly full squish for a long time. [It started when I took my old Spesh P2 dirtjumper out on the Wiss one day, and loved it...esp after the ~Valley Green hill going counter-clockwise...]

    I bet that you could borrow a bud's HT, or demo one, maybe from Wolverton's in Reading. Might as well try it, if you're looking for nimble.

  30. #30
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    I know I posted this in the 29er forum, but I find it interesting only 1 or two people made any mention of a FS 26er.......is it that there are now 29er option that handle well enough?

    There are a couple of great deals around here right now.....an '11 Trek Paragon and an '11 Trek Fuel ex 8.......any one care to comment on these bikes in the context of handling/comfort?

  31. #31
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    From my individual standpoint, I started mountain biking with a 26 er, then upgraded to a 29 er and would never go back. Just my opinion!

  32. #32
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    Stumpjumper EVO ht......check it out.

  33. #33
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    Funny--I was riding with a friend the other day who has a new Fuel Ex 8 ('12 or '13), and we swapped bikes for about ten miles during an all-day ride. I wasn't trying to dissect the ride, and had a blast; but I did have the same impression I've had in the past when going "back" to a 26" FS after riding a 29r, and it's the common one, though I can only testify for my own soul: the 26" descends better than 29", especially on techy terrain. For me, that's been the case always. On the other hand, a 29" FS or HT climbs better, and descends, possibly, better and faster on flowly smoother stuff (for a few reasons that you can pretty easily find out), and the 26" will be more flickable/huckable on hits, which I'm into. [Though, I did ride a carbon Tallboy LT awhile back, and the thing was quite tossable... I hear the same about the new Rocky Mountain Element and Scott's new Genius 29r... and their 710 (the 27.5" tire bike mentioned above, which makes sense, though it does feel pretty "trendy").]

    To answer your question more directly, though: Yes, 29r engineering has gotten better, and even the FS are quite "light and nimble." And the sage still says: You must ride it before you know for yourself.
    ...especially on your most common riding trails. ...If I lived in W North Carolina right now, I'd be saving up for a new Cannondale Jekyll, or something wilder.

  34. #34
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    In the (often) tedious and innane debate about 26" or 29" being "better", you find some sense here and there. I just stumbled on this, and I mostly agree:

    >>The 29er does not require the skill set that a 26er rider has to develop to have a good time. The wheels make for a far more forgiving bike and slow up the handling enough to make it harder to make a mistake. Experienced riders will have a tough time giving up their 26ers, because once you have developed the skills, the 26er is a lot more fun to ride. It responds to pumping the trail; it springs out of G-out situations; it bunny hops subconsciously, and it dances around the trail like a puppy let off its leash.

    Our analogy is like surfing on a longboard versus a shortboard. The longboard floats the surfer better, is easier to paddle into the wave, and turns slower but with more stability. Once a surfer builds his skill, he is more likely to go to shorter boards that are harder to get into the wave and more skittish but far more fun.

    The experienced rider will have more trouble deciding between the two. One of the wrecking crew noted, “29ers do all the boring parts of mountain biking better than the 26er, while the 26er makes the most of the fun.” Another wrote that the 26er was “...more fun and in touch with the trail.” But when pushed, both riders chose the 29er. Why? Because you have to take all the different trails you ride and factor in the amount of time spent “shredding” versus the amount of time spent JRA (just riding along). If the JRA percentage is as high on your rides as it is on ours, get the SL 29 2.<<

    26er Versus 29er: The Shootout You've Been Asking For | News | mountain-bike-action

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumblefish29er View Post
    I know I posted this in the 29er forum, but I find it interesting only 1 or two people made any mention of a FS 26er.......is it that there are now 29er option that handle well enough?

    There are a couple of great deals around here right now.....an '11 Trek Paragon and an '11 Trek Fuel ex 8.......any one care to comment on these bikes in the context of handling/comfort?
    I have an 11' EX8. I bought it as a left over last december. It has been a great bike. The stock tires are crap. Switch it to tubeless ASAP. I prefer shimano XT or SLX brakes over the Elixer 5. Not a bad brake but the shimano's have a better feel. I came from a Trek liquid 55. The bike overall is very well spec ed in my opinion. I looked at 29er ht's but mostly impossible to ride a demo one on the local trails. I was having a hard time with the whole ht thing since I have owned FS bikes since 1997. One of my local trails could be fine with an HT but the one closest to me has lots of roots. After riding with some of the local guys with similar skill levels as myself they seem to admire how nimble and flickable my 26" FS is to their 29er HT. They also comment on how I can sit and pedal while they stand and pedal while being beat up by the terrain. I think the 11' EX 8 vs the 12' Fuel has a steeper head tube angle which should make it alittle more sharper handling. What kind of price did you find on the 11' EX8?
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by stygz1 View Post
    I have an 11' EX8. I bought it as a left over last december. It has been a great bike. The stock tires are crap. Switch it to tubeless ASAP. I prefer shimano XT or SLX brakes over the Elixer 5. Not a bad brake but the shimano's have a better feel. I came from a Trek liquid 55. The bike overall is very well spec ed in my opinion. I looked at 29er ht's but mostly impossible to ride a demo one on the local trails. I was having a hard time with the whole ht thing since I have owned FS bikes since 1997. One of my local trails could be fine with an HT but the one closest to me has lots of roots. After riding with some of the local guys with similar skill levels as myself they seem to admire how nimble and flickable my 26" FS is to their 29er HT. They also comment on how I can sit and pedal while they stand and pedal while being beat up by the terrain. I think the 11' EX 8 vs the 12' Fuel has a steeper head tube angle which should make it alittle more sharper handling. What kind of price did you find on the 11' EX8?
    I think I could get it for about $2100.....they were listing for a few hundred more than that when it was current I think.

    I was riding a fully rigid Trek 930 Singletrack (1995) for 17 years, and did all of my learning on that bike. The RF was so much better I could not believe it. Actually got mad at myself for being such an utter hold out....that being said there are a few spots on the trails where I can't quite make the sharp turns and accelerate to get over a log or up a switchback that I actually used to make it up on the old bike.....liking the sound of the Fuel as a stablemate for the RF....

  37. #37
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    I think you should be able to get the bike for less than that. The 11' retailed for about $2400. I have returned to mtn biking only this past year ( I rode alot as a teen) and skipped the hot middle ga summer so for the most part I am new to mtn biking. I only wish I could ride close to the bikes potential. Read some more reviews on the bike on this site under product reviews. 29ers are not the answer to everything. They do some things better than 26ers but relistically they are just the newest thing. Take a look back when FS and front shocks first came out.
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    Are you sure it is not a 2012 EX8? The black paint sceme is almost the same. Main differences are DCRV front fork, 15mm front axel and 1 degree slacker head angle. The 2012 retailed for around $2600. Just for reference I paid $1700 for my new 2011 EX8 last December.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stygz1 View Post
    Are you sure it is not a 2012 EX8? The black paint sceme is almost the same. Main differences are DCRV front fork, 15mm front axel and 1 degree slacker head angle. The 2012 retailed for around $2600. Just for reference I paid $1700 for my new 2011 EX8 last December.
    Good to know.....its def a 2011...so I guess I would need to work them down a bit or get some extras thrown in.

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    Try the Cannondale Scalpel with the new re-designed Lefty fork. Very nimble, fast, and climbs great. It improved my speed and climbing ability big time.

  41. #41
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    Jet9 Carbon or Jet9 RDO would suprise you how fast & capable
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  42. #42
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    The scalpel and I also believe the Jet9 are both XC bikes. I seems he is leaning towards a trail bike and maybe not a 29er.

    BTW I demoed a 2011 cannondale 29er HT with a lefty and really liked it.
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by stygz1 View Post
    The scalpel and I also believe the Jet9 are both XC bikes. I seems he is leaning towards a trail bike and maybe not a 29er.

    BTW I demoed a 2011 cannondale 29er HT with a lefty and really liked it.
    The Jet9 alloy is a XC bike, The Jet9 Carbon & Jet9 RDO make very good trail bikes as well as being very good at XC.
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  44. #44
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    Are you riding the stock tires? They are incredibly slow and sluggish tires. Try swapping them for something else. I also shortened the stem and lowered it by 1cm and that made the front end far more responsive. These might be cheap fixes that will make you happy with the bike.
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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumblefish29er View Post
    I know I posted this in the 29er forum, but I find it interesting only 1 or two people made any mention of a FS 26er.......is it that there are now 29er option that handle well enough?

    There are a couple of great deals around here right now.....an '11 Trek Paragon and an '11 Trek Fuel ex 8.......any one care to comment on these bikes in the context of handling/comfort?
    For my everyday trail bike, I love a 29er. But there are definitely situations when I still like the small wheels better. I sold my Rumblefish Elite after a season and replaced it with a Stache (hardtail) and I am hoping to pick up a Slash (26" 160mm fr/rr travel) next season.

    That';s my perfect pair for a good start to a stable (still need a dj bike, rigid single speed and dh bike )
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwnhlldav View Post
    Are you riding the stock tires? They are incredibly slow and sluggish tires. Try swapping them for something else. I also shortened the stem and lowered it by 1cm and that made the front end far more responsive. These might be cheap fixes that will make you happy with the bike.
    This is very true advice. I put on a set of the old XR4's with tubes and it made the bike feel like a free ride bike. Hated it!. Used the Bontrager warranty and got a set of Kenda slant 6 and immediatly went tubeless and very happy with the bike. Plus the stans that was put in has saved me a few flat repairs. The Bontrager warranty can only be used on tires purchased and not the stockers. Worth a shot.....


    How tall are you anyway? Not 5'6" and 120lbs on a 29er are you?

    I also think the 29er thing is kind of like fitting your bike i.e. 15",17.5", 19", 21" frame and so on
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    Quote Originally Posted by stygz1 View Post
    The scalpel and I also believe the Jet9 are both XC bikes. I seems he is leaning towards a trail bike and maybe not a 29er.

    BTW I demoed a 2011 cannondale 29er HT with a lefty and really liked it.
    the jet9 is geared towards the XC crowd, but with long chainstays it is a stable descender on rocky trails. remember it's the front suspension that takes the beating on rough trails. it is not a jump/huck bike though. just not burly enough.

    the scalpel is more of an endurance bike and a bit more trusted in rough trerrain, but still not a jump/huck bike. the lefty fork certainly inspires confidence with it's dual crown though.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by ascarlarkinyar View Post
    the jet9 is geared towards the XC crowd, but with long chainstays it is a stable descender on rocky trails. remember it's the front suspension that takes the beating on rough trails. it is not a jump/huck bike though. just not burly enough.

    the scalpel is more of an endurance bike and a bit more trusted in rough trerrain, but still not a jump/huck bike. the lefty fork certainly inspires confidence with it's dual crown though.
    What Jet9 are you talking about ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by muzzanic View Post
    What Jet9 are you talking about ?

    since there are only three jet9 versions. the original welded tabbed, the hydroformed that replaced it and the carbon RDO which all share the same geometry. i am talking about all of them.

    i never had a problem with the original frame, but niner sent out a hydro frame to replace it anyways. the RDO which i rode for three weeks, i could not justify the price for only 3/4 lbs. difference, so i went back to the aluminum one.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by ascarlarkinyar View Post
    since there are only three jet9 versions. the original welded tabbed, the hydroformed that replaced it and the carbon RDO which all share the same geometry. i am talking about all of them.

    i never had a problem with the original frame, but niner sent out a hydro frame to replace it anyways. the RDO which i rode for three weeks, i could not justify the price for only 3/4 lbs. difference, so i went back to the aluminum one.
    I owned the Jet9 alloy, the Jet9 Alloy hydroformed, a Jet9 RDO & have the new Jet9 RDO with new shock & 142x12 rear end.

    I have not owned the Jet9 carbon.

    However the geo isn't the same & if it was do you not think that the difference between 80mm,100mm & 120mm fork would would change the geo ?

    Not to mention that the Carbon Jet9's have 20mm more travel & a different CVA setup.

    So I wan'ted to be clear what Jet9 you had spent time on to form your opion on.

    Because there is a difference in how they ride & shouldn't be grouped together.
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