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  1. #1
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    Sometimes, it is about the bike...2012 Stumpjumper content.

    I had an epiphany of sorts the other day while demoing a 2012 Specialized S-works Stumpjumper FSR, the details of which I'll share below. The point of this thread is to get some feedback/input to define exactly what it is I experienced and for me to take that info and use it when considering other 29ers to purchase.

    I'll state in advance that brevity is not my strong suit, my apologies. If you get annoyed by long posts skip to the end for the summary.

    The Backstory:

    Some personal rider/bike info that I think will be helpful: I'm a rather large, athletic, but very slow clydesdale. My main ride is a 2006 Speshy Enduro with a 170mm travel coil-over rear, Fox 36 Talas, DH wheelset and tires, etc. The trails I ride are typically hard-pack or slightly loose, often tight and twisty, sometimes (very) rooty and occasionally rocky. Very rarely are they highly technical, and if so only for very short sections. I'm way over-biked for 99%+ of my riding, but I recently moved from an area that was significantly rockier where the longer-travel 26er had it's advantages, particularly on the extended chunky downhills. I've been considering lesser travel bikes to suit my terrain, but current finances and the fact that my beefed up Enduro is functional and relatively bomb-proof have dictated I stick with what I've got.

    The Set-up:

    The Stumpjumper was spec'd as on the website, Sram XX/XO drivetrain and carbon everywhere. It was easily the lightest full-suspension bike I had every ridden and initially I was a bit nervous about cracking the damn thing in half. The tech set the fork and shock pressures, and we did the auto-sag...that's actually a really cool feature. At 295lbs I was not too heavy for the air suspension, but my guess is that I'm pretty close to the maximum those components can handle. I asked about the Roval wheelset being able to handle my weight, noting that I had read some of the sets have a 240lb weight limit. The tech stated that it would not be an issue. More on that later.

    As I was rolling out I found the need to bring the saddle height up by a couple of inches, which is when the tech noted that I had the bike whose Commander post was not functioning properly. That was disappointing, I was looking forward the checking out the performance of that post.

    The Ride:

    The first 10 minutes on the trail were spent getting used to the shifting (Sram vs. Shimano rapid rise on my Enduro) and getting comfortable on the bike. I found the cockpit positioning pretty good, but at just shy of 5'11" I think I am on the short end of those who should be riding a large frame. FWIW, my Enduro is a large, too. I think a slightly shorter stem on the Stumpy would've made me slightly more comfortable. I was very happy with the stable bike/rider position, I felt at home immediately. Despite the slightly long cockpit I adjusted right away to the "in the bike" sensation the bike provided.

    Just for comparison I timed myself on a typical, fairly easy loop, one I had ridden only a couple of days earlier on my Enduro so my performance on that trail was pretty fresh in my mind. This particular trail weaves up and downhill as is circumnavigates a lakeside ridge. There is no extended climbing for more than a couple of minutes, but many repeated up and downhills. On the Stumpy I immediately noticed I was accelerating up some of the rises that I usually must gear down to climb over. About a mile in I realized I had just breezed up a climb that two days earlier I had to stop to catch my breath not once, but twice! At the time I didn't fully realize the significance, but in retrospect that is pretty amazing.

    In no time I made it to a short alternate jumpline which the Stumpy handled smoothly, but it was obvious that jumping is not the bikes strong suit. It was stable in the air and the suspension handled the landings off the ~2' booters fine, it just did not feel flickable at all. Not a big deal from my perspective, if I'm going jumping I'd be taking a different bike.

    When I reached some sections of techy climbing that I usually have trouble with, I ended up climbing past two other riders. Never in my life have I passed someone else while climbing. I was amazed. Since I spent a decent amount of time in 22/34 while climbing on my 26er I had anticipated having issues with slightly higher granny gearing on the 29er, turned out not to be an issue at all. Again...amazing.

    The Stumpy seemed to roll over baby head rocks and roots as well as my Enduro, which I mostly expected. What I was surprised by was it's ability to roll over the several logs and log piles on the trail, the bike seemed to treat those obstacles as if they weren't even there. So smooth, and little body english needed on my part to coach the bike over. It didn't take the loose and leaf-covered descents quite as well as my super-tacky Minion equipped Enduro, but I think with the right tires (read: not beat up and demo worn) and some experimenting with air pressures it could just about keep up.

    On one particularly chunky section of ascending trail (the only section I didn't clean) I got slightly crossed up and heard a horrendous crunching noise from the front wheel. I thought I had taco'd the front wheel of a $1700 wheelset, a definite "Oh sh1t" moment. Upon inspection I couldn't figure out what had happened, rim and spokes were completely intact (no scratches) and as true and taut as when I rolled out of the parking lot. I think that maybe the tire rolled laterally a bit and the rim grinded and slid down and between the rocks. Scared the hell out of me, but no visible damage was done. I completely the rest of the loop without incident, although was a little more cautious than usual on the remaining chunky sections.

    When I got to the finish I took a look at my timer. At first it didn't register, but when i took a second look I realized I had taken ten minutes off my time on that loop. The trail that had taken me 50 minutes to complete only two days earlier on my Enduro I completely in 40 minutes on the Stumpy. I was completely blown away. I still can't believe it. Ten minutes faster, with no stops to take a breather. I did stop three times, once to re-adjust seatpost height, once to check the hopefully-not-taco'd front wheel, and once to chat with another rider about the bike...none of these times were a "must stop" for physiological recovery needs. I think I could've shaved another 4 or 5 minutes without stopping. Unbelievable.

    Summary:

    Pros -
    • Super-fast, lightweight feeling frame and bike.
    • Super-stiff feeling, no flex detected in the front or rear, or at the bottom bracket. Noticeable flex is an issue for me on many bikes, not on this one.
    • Steamrolls obstacles as good as (and sometimes better than) my long travel 26" Enduro
    • Comfortable, stable-feeling cockpit
    • Easy to adjust suspension, was set and forget.


    Cons -
    • The Blacklite Command adjustable seatpost did not adjust.
    • The brakes did not quite have the power I would prefer. Disclaimer - I run Juicy 5's with 210mm rotors front and rear on my 26er.
    • Shifting into the big chainring was sometimes an issue. When it did shift it did so quickly and with a resounding clunk. When it didn't shift I lost momentum and got annoyed. Some of this was possibly user error, or a set-up issue on a beat up demo bike.
    • Tires not as substantial or grippy as I would prefer. Disclaimer - I run Maxxis super-tacky Minions on my 26er.
    • Wheelset is weight restricted to 240lbs. I looked this up after the fact, Dane the demo guy was mistaken when he told me there was no weight limit. I would not have been happy if I had folded a wheel and they wanted to charge me for replacement after giving me the go ahead to ride. Clydesdales be forewarned.
    • Price = $9900.00.


    The lightweight, slightly long-legged Stumpjumper is obviously inherently a much faster bike than my long-travel Enduro. I was 20% faster on the same loop. This difference is phenomenal, and almost seems impossible. My assumptions about the reasons for this, with what I think are the most significant factors first:

    • The 29" wheels carry more momentum down hills, on flat ground and over obstacles, and therefore more speed is carried into the uphill sections allowing more time to be spent in higher gears before downshifting and more uphill ground to be covered at speed.
    • The lightweight wheelset (likely 2+ pounds lighter than my 26" wheelset) accelerates and gets up to moving speed much more quickly with less energy expenditure.
    • The lighter weight bike is easier to manipulate and doesn't take as much energy to manhandle over technical obstacles and up hills.
    • The brain rear shock provided a stable pedaling platform allowing a much more efficient spin without pedal bob.


    At this point I know that a 29er is in my future. I have to sort out what frame and component choices get me the performance that I want (what I experienced on the S-works) with the strength and durability that I need.

    I'm curious about a couple of things:
    • Would the difference be as dramatic on a heavier, less blingy bike, say the aluminum Stumpjumper Comp with the working man's build vs. the S-works with carbon everything?
    • Just how much of a contributor to pedaling efficiency is the Brain? Can a standard Fox RPx(x) air, with or without propedal (or even PUSHed), come close or exceed the Brain's pedaling performance?
    • How well would the race-light carbon bits hold up to extended use by a large clyde? Are slightly heavier, but tried-and-true aluminum components a smarter choice?
    • Is the difference in perrfomance between the 29er and 26er magnified due to me not being a strong rider? Meaning - the lighter, better performing bike made more of a difference to me than it would've to a strong, highly-skilled rider whose abilities may equalize the capabilities of two dramatically different bikes?


    Any constructive input is welcome.

  2. #2
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    Not to be a D, but all this tells me is that your current bike sucks. $10K will get you a bike that is %5 better than a bike that is $3K, which is %1000 better than your bike for your terrain. It's still not all about the bike though. I ride rigid single speed and would pass you like your standing still. The lesson here is maybe upgrade to shorter travel, but work very hard on your fitness.

  3. #3
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    Nice write up. I think part of your speed increase is due to the "wow this thing is cool and fast" rush that happens whenever a new toy is taken out. I've found that no matter what it is, I'm usually faster on something new, at least initially.

    I'd also credit the wheels for a lot of the increased speed, ease of climbing, etc. I recently built up a HT 29er with ZTR Arch wheels and relatively light Ignitor EXO tires. One of the bikes that I used to ride before that purchase was a dual-squish Turner Burner with boat anchor (but strong) Mavic 819/XT wheels. The difference in acceleration and just keeping my speed up in general is very noticeable... the lighter wheels are way faster.

    As far as the difference between the $10k carbon thing and a more realistically priced bike is concerned... I don't know. I'd be curious to see what you think, but I doubt it's that much. Take out a more, oh, pedestrian version of the same bike on the same loop and see what happens.

  4. #4
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    The 29er is a good choice. Like many I started on a 26er and loved it, but once I went 29er I could rarely get the modivation to do the 26er again. Just personal opinion for me and how I ride I suppose.
    Its good to know atom29 could blow past like you were standing still on his little ss, but as little as that has to do with your post or how it even matters is beyond me.
    A $10k bike has its purpose, and if you can afford it, its not a stupid buy. I just recently got the FSR carbon expert 29er, many say a better buy overall, but it is what it is. I most definately would not turn down an S-Works if I could afford it though, and would love to test ride one. I now have 2 29ers and still have my 26er and am getting faster everyday. The more I climb, the more I like it. Just keep at it and you will get better and faster. The bike you get WILL also help, so get what helps you perform and whats comfy and appealing to you however expensive it is. But its true, fitness is really were its at.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by atom29 View Post
    Not to be a D...
    Why does this statement always seem to be followed by someone being a D?

    ...but all this tells me is that your current bike sucks. $10K will get you a bike that is %5 better than a bike that is $3K, which is %1000 better than your bike for your terrain. It's still not all about the bike though. I ride rigid single speed and would pass you like your standing still. The lesson here is maybe upgrade to shorter travel, but work very hard on your fitness.
    I don't necessarily disagree with you about my current bike "sucking" for my new locale. But I wouldn't have expected such a drastic difference. Sure, there are differences in geometry, suspension travel, wheel size and weight. But with likely difference of only 10 or so pounds in bike weight it makes for only a ~3% difference total (bike plus rider) weight. I wouldn't have expected it to make such a difference for a guy as heavy as I am.

    You essentially say that the $10000 version of the Stumpy is 5% better than the $3000 version. What variable of improved performance are you talking about? The S-works would be 5% faster than the Comp? . This is the type of question I'm most curious about, I would've loved to check that out. The comparison wasn't available.

    I had the opportunity to do a somewhat objective comparison between two fairly different bikes, but with most other variables controlled. My weight and relative fitness is a negative overall, but they are constants for the sake of this conversation. They can and will be improved, but those are battles on another front. The forums here are one of my resources to get answers about the gear.

    And the gear, it seems, makes a much bigger difference than I suspected. Typically if a heavy guy asks about getting a lighter bike, or making his bike lighter, the best answer is to lose bodyweight, because pounds off the engine will make more of a difference than grams off the machine. And this is still true, but my recent experience leads me to believe that there may be more to the machine than is usually considered.

  6. #6
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    I ride an '11 Stumpy FSR, but I purposely chose the Comp version as I like an active rear for climbing and I did NOT want the Brain. However, at your body weight, you may need the Brain to maintain proper sag. I don't know that for certain; one of the techs could probably tell you.

    You're going to get the same overall benefit from the cheaper models.

    I'm mostly just pleased to know that Atom29 is fast. You're awesome, dude.

  7. #7
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    Having ridden both the alu and carbon versions of the FSR, both with equivalent parts selection and one with and one without the Brain, I have some thoughts.

    The carbon is worth the money IMO unless you just shuttle the thing or like to poke along. It is a good difference in pedaling response and actually, overall stiffness, in the carbon version.

    The Brain question is harder to answer as it goes to personal preference. On the alu FSR with the Brain, it pedals really well for a 5" travel bike and still is quite plush. On the carbon one I rode with no Brain, I found it to be too active with PP off on steep climbs, but a recent ride on a Camber with no Brain has pointed towards good characteristics on trail with PP off. Moral? Set up may have been off on the FSR or the bike is just very active with no Brain and the shock open. I don't like very active bikes typically.

    Now whether or not you need the chi-chi parts is up to you. Obviously it will weigh less and that helps make it more fun all around. It depends how fast you want to spend $$. The carbon wheels are pretty killer though.
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  8. #8
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    What's the elevation gain of the loop? If there is significant climbing for this short loop (1000+ ft), the much lighter wheels + XC / worn tires could almost entirely explain the time difference.

    Get an awesome XC set of wheels and tires for your Enduro (Hope Pro II laced to Stans Flow, with a Nevegal DTC or Panaracer Rampage on the front, and a Maxxis Ignitor on the rear). There, I just saved you $9,400.

  9. #9
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    I second the carbon wheels. Otherwise I'm pretty much anti-carbon. But I think at $10 you have surpassed the point of diminishing returns. Is it really twice as good as a $5k bike? Not likely. I mentioned I ride rigid single speed. And my bike weighs 30lbs. And I pass dudes on carbon full suspension bikes all the time on trails that aren't crazy rocky, which is the kind of terrain we're talking about here. The difference is fitness and some skill. Not that many years ago I was running 4:15 miles. Get close to that and you'll be crushing people on a Magna.

  10. #10
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    PCinSC, that's a major improvement for sure, 20% time gain just switching bikes does say, that although the engine is the biggest part of the equation having the right tool for the job also helps. That being said I will never have a $10k US tool, because I doubt I would ever be able to afford it and I just am not into spending that sort of cash.

    As to the difference between the S-Works and Alu version, I had thoughts along what Mtroy just stated in that the carbon might be stiffer and better for a bigger guy where stiffness is paramount. If it were me I'd try to do as the above poster who went for just the "plain Jane" carbon expert, getting the stiffer frame but a much more reasonable price point.

    As to not expecting that big a difference between 2 bikes that weigh roughly 10lbs difference and you weighing so much. Just FYI a 2lbs drop on a bike you will likely feel, if it's in the wheels/tyres you will definitely feel it, so when you drop prob 3lbs or so off the wheel/tyre combo and then a further 7 or so off frame and other parts it's a huge difference.

    End of a long story.....it seems you have found a bike that will encourage you to ride more, if giving a bit less of a workout due to being lighter than your current bike, but even though it will be less work I see it really getting ridden more as it's more enjoyable overall, hence better for you and your fitness. Just try to get a ride on an alu version and the normal carbon and see what's what.

    Almost forgot, wave nicely at Atom the stud as he passes you, as it's nice to speak to people like that, they prob don't get much in that way in terms of human kindness and interaction
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  11. #11
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    There isn't a direct correlation between weight and speed in mountain bikes. There are some threads here that explain the advantages of heavier wheels and bikes as explained by some of the most verteran members of the mountain bike community. So what then is all the money getting you other than a big pile of fancy carpet fiber?

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    Almost forgot, wave nicely at Atom the stud as he passes you, as it's nice to speak to people like that, they prob don't get much in that way in terms of human kindness and interaction
    You forget that the context of the thread is speed and where it comes from, not how much you stand around talking to people. They funny thing is I'm the one that doesn't care how fast he's going. That's why I don't bother having a race bike. I just ride to have fun and just happen to be decent at it. I'm always surprised when I cruise by someone that looks like they are ready for XC World Cup. I would have to assume the people riding carbon race bikes are the ones worried about how fast they are going.

  13. #13
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    And yet you were compelled to inform the world about how fast you are. Strange

  14. #14
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    Only to make a point. Because in theory my bike is really slow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PCinSC View Post
    I'm curious about a couple of things:
    • Would the difference be as dramatic on a heavier, less blingy bike, say the aluminum Stumpjumper Comp with the working man's build vs. the S-works with carbon everything?
    • Just how much of a contributor to pedaling efficiency is the Brain? Can a standard Fox RPx(x) air, with or without propedal (or even PUSHed), come close or exceed the Brain's pedaling performance?
    • How well would the race-light carbon bits hold up to extended use by a large clyde? Are slightly heavier, but tried-and-true aluminum components a smarter choice?
    • Is the difference in perrfomance between the 29er and 26er magnified due to me not being a strong rider? Meaning - the lighter, better performing bike made more of a difference to me than it would've to a strong, highly-skilled rider whose abilities may equalize the capabilities of two dramatically different bikes?


    Any constructive input is welcome.
    To answer the above questions:
    S-Works vs Comp: Yes the S-Works will be faster. Difference...too many variable to accurate say. The #1 variable is going to be the lighter weight wheelset. The weight difference of the bike will probably be #2. The suspension setup will probably be #3. The bike weight and suspension setup could swap positions if the suspension was way off.

    Brain effectiveness: IMO the Brain can be equaled with the proper non-brain rear shock. A good RP23 with Pro-pedal would suffice. Your biggest hurdle is weight. Most shocks are not designed around a guy your size. An air shock will be at it's lower end of performance with you weight. Going custom shock may be the best bet. If you are thinking that, call PUSH and ask them, I'm sure they will tell you exactly what you need.

    Carbon bits: Carbon can be stronger than AL. In the case of S-Works carbon parts, I'm guessing the design intent for those is weight 1st, strength 2nd. That being said I would not recommend a S-Works build kit for you if you want long term durability. A small variable that could help out is running larger volume tires at lower pressures to help aid the impacts of bumps which would relieve some stress on the components. A carbon frame is a good choice, but the carbon parts should be more AM oriented for you IMO.

    29 vs 26: Yes, the less experienced and technically capable rider will benefit from 29in wheels more than an advanced rider. There are a lot of variable here too, trail conditions/type being high on that list. There are just certain types of trails a 29er shines on, and you may be on that type of trail. I think for a big guy, a 29er is the obvious choice.

    Other thoughts. I have both an Enduro and Epic (26in). The weight difference is about 5-6lbs depending on what wheels I have on the Epic. I too have a trail that takes me about 50min on my Enduro. I can knock off 5min riding my Epic with it's heavier wheels (Flow's) which are only slightly lighter than my 819's on the Enduro. The difference is purely acceleration rate and speed up hills. I would consider myself an advanced rider with great cardio/strength so it is really about the bike. As I mentioned early, the biggest difference on the S-Works Stumpy vs your Enduro is the lighter weight wheelset, and that alone could easily knock off quite a bit of time on your lap. The effectiveness of the 29in wheels might also have helped.

    If you want my honest opinion on what to buy, I would NOT buy a S-Works bike. That bike is not designed for a guy your size and the bike will suffer in the long run. Go with a medium build level, carbon frame if you can, and work on your fitness level.

    Hope this helps
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  16. #16
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    I love 29ers for a bunch of reasons, some of them arguable.

    But I don't think you can argue that the taller and less experienced/proficient a guy is, the greater the benefit in going from 26 to 29. Just do it (sorry).

    IMO, buy the cheapest carbon version and upgrade components as you go.

    I ride those Roval Carbon Trail wheels and have beaten the crap out of them for a full season. Last night I broke my first rear spoke. Other than that they have been flawless (after replacing the 36t stars with the proven 18t version).

    If you want a bit less travel, consider the Camber Carbon Expert. Rockin bike that is noticeably "less" than the Stumpy, but not quite as race-oriented as the Epic.
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  17. #17
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    The fastest bike is the one being ridden by the fastest rider. Period.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncj01 View Post
    The fastest bike is the one being ridden by the fastest rider. Period.
    And the fastest rider is fastest on the fastest bike. Period.
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    My input here is mostly from the shock perspective. I have an Epic Comp 29er, and honestly I can't imagine riding without the brain after having spent so much time on it. Whenever I go from my bike to other FS rides, the biggest thing I notice is the amount of energy I waste bobbing while I pedal (even if it's not a lot of bobbing) regardless of pro pedal, etc. For me, though, I would love to have a HT to ascend and a FS to descend. If you prefer the extra comfort of a little more rear wheel movement on your climb, then you'd probably be fine with one of the other shocks you mentioned.

    Note that all of this should be taken with a large grain of salt, as I race XC and am a 150 pound college student.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    And the fastest rider is fastest on the fastest bike. Period.
    Very true. Sometimes we get a little nuts with the idea that it is only the engine that counts. Is fitness level the biggest variable? Yeah probably, depends on the situation. Is equipment irrelevent? Ofcourse not. I remember a guy saying on a photography forum that Ansel Adams could out photograph most pro's on a low grade cell phone camera. Ridiculous. You get the best equipment you can afford, and then focus on the engine. After having my fourth child I sold my full suspension 29er, and hardtail 29er, and replaced them with a used Motobecane full rigid ss. The cheap one. I'm enjoying the heck out of focusing on the engine. As soon as I pay off the new car I had to buy I'll probably drop 5 grand on a new full suspension 29er, because it will bring advantages to riding performance that great fitness and my $200 Motobecane can't.

    So I say, go for it if you've got the cash.

  21. #21
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    i agree 29 wheels just want to go. on my stumpy vs my xam i feel like the stumpy jumps at the first pedal stroke whereas the xam takes some coaxing. both had similar wheelsets. as for the shock, the brain is really cool and spec has really nailed the current version. it is really fun on an epic but im not so sure i would like it as much on my stumpy. if you stay smooth on the regular rp23 i think you will be fine (though you may need to get it costum valved at your weight).

  22. #22
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    One thing I didn't address and is being talked about is the shock. If you are going for a shock with manual dampening control/lock out, I think a lot would agree with me when I say look at the RS Monarch RT3 direct from PUSH or looks like you could even use the Monarch PLUS RC3 which would work better I think at your weight instead of the Fox RP23 or such.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    One thing I didn't address and is being talked about is the shock. If you are going for a shock with manual dampening control/lock out, I think a lot would agree with me when I say look at the RS Monarch RT3 direct from PUSH or looks like you could even use the Monarch PLUS RC3 which would work better I think at your weight instead of the Fox RP23 or such.
    Agreed. A custome tuned shock will out perform just about all factory shocks, especially when someone's weight is outside the typical design criteria.

    I've had 2 bikes with the Brain rear. IMO they are good, but I just don't feel like they absord the small hits and really smooth out the trail like a conventional shock does. Heck, the tires absorb small rocks/roots better than my Brain equiped bikes. Does this matter, to me it does especially on long rides!
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    Great feedback guys, it would take forever to address all the specific points raised but I wanted to address a couple of general things.

    First off, I totally agree that improving fitness in priority number one. This thread is not about that. All I can do now is ride as much as I can, and padlock the fridge shut. Insult me if you wish, or just wish me luck in my quest for a six-pack and (visible) diamond-hard quads. Just don't be a D about it.

    That said, the fitness level or riding speed of other people is completely irrelevant to the conversation. My weight and fitness were a constant in the comparison. One or both of those things may improve in the future, but the questions about a bike to bike comparison don't change dramatically. The majority of the folks responding understand this, but if you don't understand why please don't clog up the thread unnecessary responses.

    Another thing I'll mention, I'm not really an inexperienced rider. I've been mountain biking for six years or so, and have traveled a lot to ride many different trail systems: a half-dozen spots in GA, a trip to Nevada and Utah, Kingdom Trails in VT, my old stomping grounds Rothrock and Allegrippis in Central PA, trails in NY/NJ and downhilling at Diablo and Seven Springs. So I'm not really a beginner rider, I'm just really slow. How beneficial my decent bike handling skills are given my sub-par fitness is a valid questions, my little anecdotal experience shows that the bike can make a big difference in both areas (handling and speed).

    I have no intention of purchasing the S-works model of the Stumpjumper. I agree with those that have said that bike is built with a "light, then strong" prerogative, not the best option for a clyde. Plus, even if I had $10k to drop on a bike, I wouldn't. My goal is to figure what bike build can be accomplished for less (significantly less) money and still retain the factors that seemed to result in improved performance.

    I'm not married to the Stumpjumper, or Specialized in particular. I've demo'd a Titus Racer X and Pivot 429 in the past, and enjoyed them. I'll be looking to catch a ride on other bikes in this travel class as the opportunities come up: Rumblefish, Rip9, etc. Almost all of these bikes will be heavier than the S-works I rode, I'm very curious how they will match up.

    Some input so far:

    • A (strong) Carbon frame may be a good idea - lighter than the equivalent aluminum frame, and probably stiffer.
    • Lightweight wheels make a big difference. Still a question mark is how lightweight is reasonable for me. The Roval Control Trail SL set that was on the S-works is not an option, The Control Trail with aluminum rims may be just fine. There is only ~3/4lb difference in weight between the two...not sure how significant that would be on the trail. I have a Hope Pro II rear hub, and a DT Hugi hubset on hand so I could build up a quality wheelset with appropriate rims, probably not as light as either of the Rovals.
    • The Brain is good, a custom-tuned air shock may or may not work just as well. I had a Pushed Fox Vanilla RC on my Turner RFX and enjoyed its performance. I had bad luck with the Fox DHX Air on my Enduro and had repeated bouts it getting stuck down before I retired it in favor of a coil-over. A air shock tuned for my weight is a sensible option, but I wouldn't mind having a warranty on the shock for a while after purchase (an aftermarket mod will void that). All options are on the table.

    Question for you all: is anyone else surprised by the 20% faster ride time on the lighter 29er? Or is that what most people would expect?

  25. #25
    I don't huck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCinSC View Post
    ....Question for you all: is anyone else surprised by the 20% faster ride time on the lighter 29er? Or is that what most people would expect?
    I would expect that from a bike that allowed you to ride with more confidence or be faster on or whatever, but I would hesitate to say that only 29" wheels were the 20% advantage. Now, in my case, I have been on 29ers for so long now, that I bet I would be slower if I swapped back to a small wheel until I re-tuned myself again.

    Hard to say why you were so much faster. Regarding wheels...carbon is really neat for some things. Very stiff for the weight, etc. But there are places a slightly heavier wheel feels pretty good on a trailbike. It stays on course better and is more stable IMO. Of course, a pig of a wheel is not good either. The wheels on the Camber Expert (alu nice Rovals) feel just fine. Taken as a whole, carbon wheels do what they say they will do, but I would not bleed money to own a set unless my career or race results depended on it.
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