Time to go slack?
So I have been tossing around the idea of swapping out my rides for a few weeks and wanted to know what you guys thought. I currently have a 2006 26" Jamis Exile XC with a few upgrades and a 29" Dawes Deadeye rigid SS with a whole mess of upgrades. I have had the Jamis for about 7 years i think and the Deadeye for about 2. Both bikes are built pretty much for XC use, and I find that neither of them really feel or handle like I want a bike to. I do find that the Deadeye feels and fits better though. I don't feel confident in descending on either bike, they just feel twitchy at speed and I don't feel like I can get over the rear wheel enough to be in a proper position. My jamis frame is a 21" and my deadeye is a 19" and they are just annoying making turns sometimes. I want something that inspires confidence, will do go down equally well as it will climb, and is simply more fun to ride.
So I was looking into selling whatever I don't want off those two bikes and building up a slack HT 29er. I am looking for something with around 140mm of front travel and more of all mountain geometry. I also don't want to pay $700 for just the frame when I am going to need lotsa other parts too. So far I have looked at the Canfield Yelli Screamy, Banshee Paradox, Kona Taro, On One 456, and DB Mason.
I am 6'3" with a 34" inseam and about 210lb. I ride in upstate NY, mostly tight single track with lots of rocks, roots, and mud but I am looking to branch out and start making some more intense rides.
Now comes the interactive part!
Are there any other frames/bikes that I should look into?
Does this sound like a reasonable path (or should I just ride what I have)?
Will the bikes be fun for the region I ride?
Should I just put on more spandex and become a roadie?
Thoughts and comments welcome!
And for all you peeps in the Yelli cult a reply more than "I love my Yelli!" is appreciated
Originally Posted by Sparticus
I'm in Saratoga Springs and ride mostly at SMBA in the same conditions you describe. After building up and riding a variety of rigid, HT, and FS rigs over the years I settled on a first gen Canfield Nimble 9 HT SS. You can set it up from 100-140mm in the front. I ride mine at 100mm and have no issues on drops or descents as the geo is very confidence inspiring. It handles switchbacks a lot better than my former 29ers (Fantom, VooDoo Dambala, SIR9) and is basically a point and shoot bike. It's very easy to loft the front over obstacles. It's a good climber as well. The frame has been changed for 2013 but after comparing both, I stuck with the first generation as I liked the looks and it was lighter. The dropouts are super easy to set up and they hold position so you don't have to mess with them unless you're changing ratios. Alas, the frame was $700 so maybe you can look for a gently used one. I'm 6'3 and ride an XL frame with Arch EX wheels, Fox RL fork and I splurged for a ti post. It's met all my expectations in a 29er and I've used it for downhilling at Kingdom Trails which it handled nicely as well, just don't get too crazy on the tabletops. The steel frame is very comfortable as well.
I think you'd enjoy a slack HT, they are fun bikes. The options you have there are good, but I'd add Cotics in either wheel size (I liked the Soul and BFe that I had and the Solaris looks like a nice bike, though a bit less short and slack than a Honzo/Nimble 9), or maybe a Transition Transam. I also think the Niner ROS9 looks good, but it's fairly expensive and has an EBB which personally I'd never use.
Another option (and the one I have now) that I'd recommend is the Singular Buzzard-fairly short stays, slack head angle, and steel. It's a good, honest bike. Not sure what pricing or availability would be in the US though...
Once you go slack - you never go back!
I think your thinking is right on, except for the "Not pay $700" part. I mean you can get a Banshee Paradox for under $700, but not by much and all the rest are in the same ballpark - BikeBling has the V1 Paradox for $600,and Jenson has the V2 for $658 and direct from Canfield a Yelli is $650. Only other option is to look for something used.
I agree your plan sounds like a good one. I vote for the Yelli Screamy as I have one that I built. It's amazing fun.
Mine has a 120mm fork. Lofting the front wheel is no problem, even when climbing. It climbs easily and inspires much confidence on the descents, either fast or technical. It feels at home in the air and it's easy to get it there or keep it on the ground when you want to.
Best of all, when you show up for a ride all the full sussers look at you like you've brought a knife to a gun fight until you leave them in the dust. "But it's a hard tail..." is a phrase I hear often and I'm usually the only person with a hard tail or a 29er. But that's OK, because the other riders leave educated.
However the Yelli, like most 29ers with super short chain stays, limits your front drivetrain options. A 3x is possible with the right sizes but it's not ideal. A few 2x setups will fit with minimal effort. Nearly all 1x setups fit no problem. Wider tires can interfere with the front derailleur but it can be modified to work.
I avoided all those issues with a 1x10 setup and I don't regret it.
Here's my bike: Canfield Yelli Screamy - bluedragonx's Bike Check - Vital MTB
Last edited by BlueDragonX; 07-22-2013 at 07:32 AM.
Reason: broken link
Link doesn't work :/
Originally Posted by BlueDragonX
I had never considered the Nimble 9. From what I have seen, it seemed like a bike that is better suited and more frequently built and ridden as an XC ride where a yelli would be set up more for AM/trail. I will def look into that too.
I think I am definitey going to make the switch. I was out riding some rather challenging trails this weekend and got the hell beaten out of me on some of the techy downhill sections. The bike is simply not made for it and made it more scary than fun lol.
My LBS carries Transition, Banshee, Kona, and Niner so I am going to try and get on as many of the bikes we are discussing before I make a decision. I am pretty excited to change things up though. Time to get a new toy and new excitement!
Thanks for all the input!
Originally Posted by Sparticus
I think I fixed it: Canfield Yelli Screamy - bluedragonx's Bike Check - Vital MTB
The Nimble 9 has very similar geometry to the Yelli (they're very close). It's as much an AM frame as the Yelli. It's more an issue of personal preference.
The N9 is steel so will be heavier but has sliding dropouts allowing it to more easily be set up SS. The Yelli is aluminum, lighter, and has a tapered head tube. They both have similar issues when it comes to finding double or triple chainrings that fit.
I'm sure I could do everything I do on my Yelli with an N9 instead. I just prefer the Yelli.
Well OP I understand where you come from. I love the connection you get with your bike on HTs so I always had a HT and loved them. The last 2 years however we moved into an area where it is much more rugged and my 26'' XC hardtails weren't really fun to ride in these conditions. So last winter I decided to move to bigger wheels and longer travel with slack geometry. I opted with a Chromag Rootdown and I absolutely love it... so much that I didn't even set up my AM full suspension bike yet and I don't think I'll ride it this season. My new HT is plenty capable to handle all I can throw at it and it's a delight to ride. So yes, I think if you want to ride aggressive and for fun, slack HTs are awesome. Be sure to have short a stem, wide bars and you will find a smile on every corner and technical section. I would recommend steel because it's more compliant and comfortable.
As others have mentionned however, expect to pay 700+$ for a frame. My Rootdown was 800$ shipped and your other options will be around the same prices. I opted for Chromag based on the fact they have a good reputation, the price was good, they are canadian (no import fees for me) and they have been very responsive by e-mail (plus you speak directly with the owner, Ian Ritz).
I switched from a 26'' full suspension and went on to try a hardtail/29er and also got the Chromag Rootdown. Awesome bike and surprisingly more fun to ride. running 1x10 setup and its so quiet and clean. Now my girlfriend wants one....no regrets! VERY fun ride.
sorry aside from my prejudices I would check out the Kona bikes...they look pretty sick. The explosif! or the new transam!!! even hotter!
I vote SEAT DROPPER. Report back....
"The mind will quit....well before the body does"
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