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  1. #26
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    older guy looking for FS 29er advice

    Quote Originally Posted by beastmaster View Post
    Older! 55 is older than every year prior to it, but looking at most Cat 1 or Cat 2 MTB race results, the 50-60 year olds are faster than most of the 40 year olds and almost all of the 30 year olds! Not always the case, but if you're fit going into your 50's, watch out!
    It's because at 50 their kids are out of the house and their wives want them out of the house!

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeZee View Post
    IMO anything over 100mm is overkill (for XC).
    IMO - I've found that to be wildly incorrect.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by squareback View Post
    Older guy needs much more sweep in the bars than a Niner flat top.
    The Flat Top Carbon has 9 backsweep. I sure like mine and I am 55 just like the OP.

  4. #29
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    There are really three categories of bikes to choose from, not two.
    The third is hardtails with rear compliance.
    Like rear suspension designs pedaling and descending very differently, frame material and construction for compliant hts gives you different rides.
    The right bike could be all you want for trails your stiff ht handles now.
    You get enough comfort and the increased performance potential from lighter weight(in some cases). Steel, titanium and carbon bikes are out there. They aren't being marketed by the big manufacturers as a category so riders have to investigate and evaluate them on their own.
    Spec doesn't offer a single option in this area.
    Giant has nothing.
    Trek has the excellent carbon Superfly models. But they don't include a single specific word about their rear compliance and comfort in their descriptions. Just the phrase "great Trek carbon feel". They should expand the marketing beyond fast race to include race comfort endurance like the Domane carbon road bikes. Probably over 90%+ of riding is not racing.
    And there are many more hardtails out there.
    Last edited by eb1888; 07-30-2014 at 08:07 AM.

  5. #30
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    When it comes to hardtail ride quality, one man's 'compliant' is another man's 'flexy', just as one man's 'too stiff' is another man's 'comfy'. And it's more than just rider weight that matters. Riding style and terrain also play a role. With all the various manufacturing techniques out there today, the material is not as important as what they do with a given material. I have ridden titanium bikes that beat me to death, and aluminum bikes that felt like they were made with wet dish towels. You just have to shop around and ride 'em all to find the bike with the right amount of 'compliance' for a given rider in a given situation.

    A well designed carbon or titanium seatpost can also help soften the ride of a hardtail (at least when seated). The diameter of a seatpost can also help. I know some people don't like the idea of using a shim on a seatpost, but I haven't had any issues when using them properly.

    There is even a way to get a more comfortable ride from an aluminum seat post. Rather than riding with a 30.9mm or (worse yet) a 31.6mm aluminum (like a Thomson) post, I will use a 27.2mm post with a shim (that is 4" in length), and it will ride more comfortably. The more it extends from the frame, the more comfortably it will ride.

    High volume tubeless tires will also add some compliance to the ride of a hardtail, not to mention 29" wheels vs. 26" wheels.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj View Post
    When it comes to hardtail ride quality, one man's 'compliant' is another man's 'flexy', just as one man's 'too stiff' is another man's 'comfy'. And it's more than just rider weight that matters. Riding style and terrain also play a role. With all the various manufacturing techniques out there today, the material is not as important as what they do with a given material. I have ridden titanium bikes that beat me to death, and aluminum bikes that felt like they were made with wet dish towels. You just have to shop around and ride 'em all to find the bike with the right amount of 'compliance' for a given rider in a given situation.

    A well designed carbon or titanium seatpost can also help soften the ride of a hardtail (at least when seated). The diameter of a seatpost can also help. I know some people don't like the idea of using a shim on a seatpost, but I haven't had any issues when using them properly.

    There is even a way to get a more comfortable ride from an aluminum seat post. Rather than riding with a 30.9mm or (worse yet) a 31.6mm aluminum (like a Thomson) post, I will use a 27.2mm post with a shim (that is 4" in length), and it will ride more comfortably. The more it extends from the frame, the more comfortably it will ride.

    High volume tubeless tires will also add some compliance to the ride of a hardtail, not to mention 29" wheels vs. 26" wheels.
    Very true. Every bike I have ridden that is marketed as having "compliance" is overly flexy. Some people really under build their carbon frames. The previous generation carbon Superfly was awful in this regard. I haven't ridden the new one, but it was built lighter and has even more "compliance", which I would think would offer even more out of plane flex. You can look at the Trek FS bikes (fuel, SFFS) and see the same thing....the aluminum versions ride stiff and precise, the carbon versions have distracting out of plane flex for me, although others, maybe lighter people, love them. It is something to consider.

  7. #32
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    Having read your original post, I really think you'd be doing yourself a disservice not checking out the thumper closeout deal that switchback bikes is offering. A bunch of us have built them up and I think I speak for all the thumper guys when I say the bike has very much exceeded our expectations. Scott, tnt owner, will work with you personally to ensure you end up with exactly what you need at an extraordinary value. Check out 29er | 27.5 | FSR Full-Suspension and drop Scott an email. He'll even likely set you up with a complete build at a better dollars-to-parts level value than is available by any of the bigger companies. I'll upload a photo momentarily

  8. #33
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    Re: older guy looking for FS 29er advice

    Under 29lbs with dropper post and decently heavy rims and tires. I've got it set up at 130mm f/r and it climbs as well as my '12 scott spark carbon that was 6 lbs lighter. And the fsr rear suspension eats up chunk like nothing else.


  9. #34
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    Just finished mine yesterday and shakedown will happen tomorrow. Quick and dirty bathroom scale weight was 30# exactly.

    Untitled by renofizz, on Flickr
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  10. #35
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    Finding a real compliant hardtail that works for you on your trails is a challenge. I demoed my SF 9.8 for 5 hours over two days at a Factory Demo on my home trails. Very lucky. For me it's the real deal. I already have a 27.2 setback titanium post that makes a small contribution. But the main terrain problems I ride standing with no seat post help. What does make a good contribution in cushioning is a 30mm inside wide wheel. The added volume and lower necessary psi change a 2.2 fast rolling tire into one with 25% or so more air to help soften things up. I almost now have too much cushion.

  11. #36
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    I am an older rider and the one piece of advice is look at trail oriented bikes. There are a lot of bikes to look at and some are race oriented with quick steering and fast response. A good friend bought one that was more race type and he is having issues with too quick steering on rougher trails. I ride Santa Cruz but there are others with a good general trail geo. My TBc was good at 4" travel and my TBLTc is great at being easy to ride and forgiving on rough trails. Most manufacturers make race type frames and a general purpose trail frames. I would recommend the later.

  12. #37
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    Best thing is to demo as many bikes as you can. Ask each of your local shops if they have demo days coming up and also research the bike manufacturers' websites and facebook pages for their demo day schedules. You'll likely figure out pretty quickly by riding how much travel you'll need and how much weight you want to put up with and what make/models feel the best to you. Best of luck and have fun with your search!

  13. #38
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    Another vote for the Spearfish. Its been my go to bike for the last year+. Does everything I need it to do . Very fast, super comfortable and climbs like a rabbit. XL frame built right and weighs in around 26+ lbs. Not sure what type of riding you're doing, but the spearfish handles any trails I have around my area. Havent done any epic rides but have done a few in the mid 30 miles with no issues at all.
    Seeking MB-2 Fork (19.3), Ritchey FD post silver 26.8

  14. #39
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    I'm about same age as OP, and also looking to upgrade to FS from my Marin Pine Mountain HT. I live in NorCal near some great single track and like to enjoy the downhill sections after climbing up. Not into flinging the bike off anything higher than a foot or so, but I do like to carry speed through the technical/rutty sections, which on my HT results in me riding a jackhammer.

    I was talking to another "old guy" who recently picked up a carbon FS 650B bike, after having ridden HT as well - and he was loving it. He liked the wheel size, the handling, the light weight, and especially the FS. He told me to just do it - won't be sorry.

    Seems like carbon 650B bikes are flavor of the month lately - if anyone has any recs on trail-oriented setups for those (120-130mm front) I'm all ears. Perhaps this might be an option OP should consider too (if the $$$ isn't more than he was going for).

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by tammin View Post
    I'm about same age as OP, and also looking to upgrade to FS from my Marin Pine Mountain HT. I live in NorCal near some great single track and like to enjoy the downhill sections after climbing up. Not into flinging the bike off anything higher than a foot or so, but I do like to carry speed through the technical/rutty sections, which on my HT results in me riding a jackhammer.

    I was talking to another "old guy" who recently picked up a carbon FS 650B bike, after having ridden HT as well - and he was loving it. He liked the wheel size, the handling, the light weight, and especially the FS. He told me to just do it - won't be sorry.

    Seems like carbon 650B bikes are flavor of the month lately - if anyone has any recs on trail-oriented setups for those (120-130mm front) I'm all ears. Perhaps this might be an option OP should consider too (if the $$$ isn't more than he was going for).
    Here's one who drank the 650B Kool Aid and said it sucked...

    I drank the Koolaid and it sucked!!!

    I've never tried a 27.5. At my height, it would be the same problems/issues as the 26" kiddie wheels. It's interesting to read all the posts about trying to make a HT work. Been there, done that. A fully is the way to go.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj View Post
    The Flat Top Carbon has 9 backsweep. I sure like mine and I am 55 just like the OP.
    I'm 53 and my ENVE Sweep Carbon flat bars are also 9 degree back sweep and I love them.
    It's not about age it's about preference.
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  17. #42
    aka Manzanita Tom
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    Thanks for that input - interesting (altho maybe not much help, as I am if anything a bit more confused than I was before! Doh!).

    At 5'11", I'm not feeling like a bear on a tricycle on my 26" HT. Just looking for something in a FS bike that is about the same weight as my HT, and offers a bit of an advantage in terms of rolling over stuff while not giving up maneuverability on tighter single track technical sections.

    That other thread you pointed to was illuminating. What I don't understand about geometry and sizing would fill a book.

    Anyway, research continues.

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