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  1. #1
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    160mm TRAVEL: Anyone using all of it?

    I'm debating between 140mm of travel and 160mm on my next full suspension.

    140mm opens up many more options, most of them pedaling very well. Take for example, the 2014 Norco Sight Carbon 7.2. At $3545, it's cheapest full-carbon full-suspension trail bike on the market. It also includes a dropper post, 142x12 rear axle, shock with climb switch, and at 25lbs is probably the lightest 140mm full suspension bike for its price.

    20mm isn't really noticeable in the grand scheme of things, and Steve Smith winning the Air DH on the 140mm Devinci Troy proves that you don't need lots of travel to rip.

    That being said:

    Do you guys who are running 160mm use all of your travel on anything but a DH course or the biggest of jumps?

    Even if you do or don't, can you also list the type of terrain and state that you ride?
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  2. #2
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    I use about 90-95% of my travel on pretty much every ride. Thats with 152mm of rear travel on my SB66. You pay for it, why not use it. Bottoming out and using all your travel are two different things. My lyrik on the other hand, I cannot get the last 20mm of travel out of it, but that seems to be a common thing.

  3. #3
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    Geometry, grsshopper...

    ...geometry is way more important than travel. All of of the AM, Enduro, Rally bikes or whatever they are profitably called these days have moved to variations of the slack head angle (68-66 degrees), steep seat angle (73-74 degrees). This set up allows you to mow over everything and climb well to get there in the first place. Having 10-20 mm more of travel is not going to make a huge difference. However, bikes generally with more travel are going to be beefier and be able to take more of beating. Only you can decide if this important in your routine riding efforts or where you hope to ride.

    Personally, I ride a bike with 160/150 travel front and rear. I use all of that travel nearly every ride as I am bigger rider (195 lbs with gear) and I ride aggressively. I could likely get something that weighs less, but my bike never holds me back. I may not win most KOM's, but I also don't give a sh*t and even though I can climb just fine I am there for descending payoff.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    20mm isn't really noticeable in the grand scheme of things, and Steve Smith winning the Air DH on the 140mm Devinci Troy proves that you don't need lots of travel to rip.

    Even if you do or don't, can you also list the type of terrain and state that you ride?
    I ride a 160/150mm Rocket, now, my old Prophet started as 140/140 then grew to 160/160 with a couple of mods. On all three builds I've had the suspension bouncing off the stops. Even across 'small' rock gardens you can use all the travel and wish for more, you just need to be going fast enough.

    On balance I prefer 160/160, all other factors being similar (like with the Prophet) it makes a small but noticeable difference. Mainly you notice it when you get it wrong and the extra travel gives you more leeway before spitting you over the bars. Over a day's riding I find the extra travel less tiring too, the weight is more than counter balanced by extra control.

    Having said that, tyres, damping, geometry and fit make a much bigger difference to how a bike feels on steep/technical trails. If it's between a 140mm bike that feels 'right' when you're on it and a 160mm bike that doesn't the 140 wins easy, no amount of travel or tech can make a bike that feels skittish or doesn't fit you work.

  5. #5
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    My hubby rides a 150/170 and uses all of it on every ride. We ride in Sedona and Phoenix, very chunky rock and technical stuff. I ride a 150/150 and wish I had a little more, but not enough to take the weight penalty, as I am a weakling. He had the option to build up any bike he wanted and his setup works amazing for the terrain we ride. We do a lot of pedaling, both long sustained climbs and steep technical climbs. Geometry is key, IMO.

  6. #6
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    Geometry is important, I agree. That said, my bike has pretty slack geo for an am bike, and I still manage to use most or all of the 160 mm on the majority of my rides, whether at the bike park or on the trails.
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  7. #7
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    160/146mm. Riding mix of chunky/technical to bumpy/rocky desert xc here in Phoenix. I can easily use most all of my travel on my Lyrik coil on even simple 2ft drop. It just depends on if I land like hack or not. Even on quick G-outs I can use most of my travel. I suspect if I had a 140mm Lyrik (no such thing) it would be the same.

    FWIW I went to the 160 fork on my 575 not so much b/c I felt I needed extra travel but b/c I wanted the slightly higher bottom bracket and slacker H/A. Like others have said, geo is key. FWI I ride in ~140mm mode much of the time. Only crank it out to 160 for sustained downs and/or slow techie d/h stuff.

  8. #8
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    I think that the industry marketing guru's have convinced everyone that more travel is better and we all need to ride 160mm AM bikes. I think that there are some areas of the country/world where it's called for on your average rides (as stated above) but in many parts of the US 160mm AM bikes are overkill. I wonder if people would really misss the extra travel if they rode the same trails on similar geometry frames but with 130/140mm rear travel. I will admit that I love my 35mm Lyrik and notice the difference dropping down to a 32.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post

    Do you guys who are running 160mm use all of your travel... ?
    Seriously!?!? YES! even on my xc rides there is usually a G-out or small drop that gets me pretty dang close

    IMO 10mm of fork travel makes a pretty noticeable difference, so for me 20mm is huge.

    Assuming you are riding technical trails at pretty quick speed in PA, I suspect if youre not getting full travel it could be a fork setup/tuning issue. it really took me a lot of years to connect up all the things i thought i knew about how suspension should operate and how to actually tune it to get that....and I'm a bit of a tinkerer.

    having said that those carbon sights do look pretty slick. I wouldn't be able to ride how I currently ride on the more aggressive trails I have around, but im sure it would rip on 3/4 of the trails I ride (southeast/western NC)

  10. #10
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    Regarding rear travel...
    what about the tendency for many frames to blow through the mid stroke? What about the spring curve and how bikes are designed to ramp up at the end of the stroke? Does no one think that these two variables effect how much travel you really need?

    I'd hedge a guess that a shorter travel bike would handle nearly as well in many situations.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    Do you guys who are running 160mm use all of your travel on anything but a DH course or the biggest of jumps?
    Sure.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnigro View Post
    Regarding rear travel...
    what about the tendency for many frames to blow through the mid stroke?
    True: Avoid bikes that do that. good for climbing but rob you of confidence on the way down... I assume youre referring to some of the mini-link models, but I wonder if some of the newer models have tuned this out. I guess I could agree that if you have crappy performing suspension, less of it is better

    Quote Originally Posted by mnigro View Post
    What about the spring curve and how bikes are designed to ramp up at the end of the stroke?
    the last bit of curve is to prevent bottom out, and it is better to not be in that zone for most of your ride. its really pretty simple physics if you have well tuned suspension. the goal is to have the least amount of force impacting the rider's center of gravity and wheels' contact on ground without having so much travel that the bike wallows or reacts slowly to rider inputs....and IMO for hard trail riding, that magic number is closer 150-160.

    I think a lot of these guys that are downsizing in short travel bikes are doing it for the fun factor...understandable; im interested but not convinced. However, it seems pretty clear that nobody is riding hard terrain as fast on their TRC than on their nomadc (I'm sure someone that JUST bought a TRC will come in and say otherwise)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnigro View Post
    I think that the industry marketing guru's have convinced everyone that more travel is better and we all need to ride 160mm AM bikes. I think that there are some areas of the country/world where it's called for on your average rides (as stated above) but in many parts of the US 160mm AM bikes are overkill. I wonder if people would really misss the extra travel if they rode the same trails on similar geometry frames but with 130/140mm rear travel. I will admit that I love my 35mm Lyrik and notice the difference dropping down to a 32.
    I couldn't agree more. And unfortunately it is pretty easy to get swept up in all that especially when its being rammed down your throat multiple times a day lol

    FYI I ride a 140mm frame with 150mm forks with a 66° head angle and a 71.5° seatpost angle

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    RTB, I ride an el guapo and an ASR5. Honestly, for most of my riding the asr5 is plenty of bike. I never bottom out that bike unless its a 3 to flat drop, etc. The El G is nicer with the Lyrik but if I can source a 140mm Pike at some point, fingers crossed, then my ASR5 would be my only bike. I'm in Atlanta but if I was in Phoenix or the NW it would be a different story.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnigro View Post
    what about the tendency for many frames to blow through the mid stroke?
    Yes no.

    Blowing through the travel is primarily because the shock isn't valved correctly (or as correctly as it could be), usually because whoever set up the OE contract picked a pre-set tune out of a book rather than thrashing out a custom set up with the manufacturer (although many brands do).

    In that case talking to a suspension tuner can get a bike feeling like it has 'more' travel than it did before, certainly more stable travel.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnigro View Post
    RTB, I ride an el guapo and an ASR5. Honestly, for most of my riding the asr5 is plenty of bike. I never bottom out that bike unless its a 3 to flat drop, etc. The El G is nicer with the Lyrik but if I can source a 140mm Pike at some point, fingers crossed, then my ASR5 would be my only bike. I'm in Atlanta but if I was in Phoenix or the NW it would be a different story.
    I'm with you on all that (I know an EG can be built light but that's besides the point).

    What I was trying to get at in my first post is that the main reason I ride a very overbuilt bike is that it is near perfect for the most aggressive riding that makes up for about 30% of my ride time and is also the stuff I tend to enjoy the most

    If I never wanted to goto bike park or do some burly point to point shuttles, I would be the same.

    Im actually planning to eventually swap the build on my am hard tail over to a carbon trail bike with 120/130 rear travel. Now I will also admit that I rode a bike park with a guy on a killer B and he was faster but he's also a former dh racer and I'm just a "soul rider" haha

  17. #17
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    Like eatdrinkride I'm running a 160mm fork in my 575. I wouldn't go back to anything less. And I do you most all of it. Fox has been making their fork air springs more linear and the benefit is being able to use all the travel without running ridiculously low pressure as was once the case.

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  18. #18
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    A good shock tune can make a 140mm bike feel like a 160mm bike.
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  19. #19
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    Yes, I run a 160/170 bike and yes I use all of the travel. I would agree that "most" people don't need this much travel, but the pedaling penalty is almost zero these days. Unless you are racing XC the difference in getting up a hill with 160 vs 140 travel is essentially nothing. With that in mind why wouldn't you run a 160 bike?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkley View Post
    A good shock tune can make a 140mm bike feel like a 160mm bike.
    Very true. I have ridden many 120mm bikes that felt like they had much more travel than other bikes with 140+ travel. Quality not quantity. Try a bike. Buy a bike. Do not by a bike by the type of suspension and do not buy a bike just based upon the amount of rear travel. Heller, you have couple post about dw links - which is full of the typical dribble and this post, which is also kinda stupid. So what are you trying to get at?

  21. #21
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    You should always use your suspension full travel.

    Basically what I mean, is that ideally, your suspension setting must me adjusted so you use all the travel on the gnarliest point of your ride.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trajan View Post
    Heller, you have couple post about dw links - which is full of the typical dribble and this post, which is also kinda stupid. So what are you trying to get at?
    I'm trying to determine which bikes I should search out to try and ride.

    I guess where you're from you can walk into any bike shop and test ride a bike from any manufacturer on the planet. Where I'm from, I can't do that. I have 4 local bike shops, 3 of which don't even know what 650b is, and most don't carry any bikes over 100mm.

    To make matters worse, you usually don't have the ability to ride the bike you can afford. I've ridden a Intense Carbine 275 for a whole day, unfortunately as much as I liked that bike, I can't really afford it.

    I am really tired of the very common American consumerist response of "stop talking about it and just buy one." That my friend, is retarded. I like doing my research. I like asking my stupid questions, and I like to sort through the "dribble" that is internet discussions. No matter how relevant or pointless it may be.

    You obviously do as well, considering you've got 1,200 some odd posts.
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  23. #23
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    This is terrible advice, and it gets at the heart of this question (the OP's).

    Even with a fork or shock that has infinite spring rate tuning (many do) AND infinite spring curve tuning (few do), the idea that you should set your suspension up to use all travel on "the gnarliest point of you ride" is dumb. Here's why: Your fork/shock wasn't made for you.
    Your fork/shock wasn't made for your ride (today), which may very likely differ from your ride (tomorrow), which will almost certainly differ from his and her rides.

    Today you are hopping a curb on the way to the market. Tomorrow riding an "all mountain" loop with rocks and roots but no drops >1 m, next week a beginner jump line with all well made landings. You shouldn't bottom out a 160 mm bike any of these places unless you fall off a bridge.

    Set your suspension to feel great as you land to flat in a creekbed, but how does it feel for the rest of your ride?

    All travel is not made the same. Other posters here have said something like "more is not always better", and they are right. More is different.

    With a short (say 80 mm) travel you get basically two behaviors, the travel before the sag point and the travel after. And a rubber bumper at the end.

    The huge benefit of long travel (say 160 mm), is that you can get distinct behaviors in the zero-to-sag, the sag-to-mid, the mid-to 80-90%, and the last 10-20%.

    If you go into your ride (which we always, always have to point out is not as gnar as you think it is) insisting on getting into the last 20% of your travel no matter the terrain, you are sacrificing the performance of the middle (the part you paid so much for in $ and weight) that so many F-ing people complain isn't "supportive" enough.

    See the pattern emerging here? You are buying the same forks that top pros are riding twice as fast as you and jumping four? ten? times as far on. But top pros aren't setting their springs so stiff that they get 3% sag. They like 20ish just as you do. And they weigh about the same, give or take a few beers with supper.

    I gather a lot of you are totally happy w/ your setups and proud of the chunk you ride. Good. But another lot of you are coming back to the trailhead w/ your o-ring or dust line showing 20% clean stanchion and feeling bad about it. You might be very smooth, you might be a bad shopper, you might have rather tame trails, your suspension might be set up right and maybe, just maybe, it is set up wrong. You'll need some different evidence. Until you've gathered that, I wouldn't sweat it.

  24. #24
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    Re: 160mm TRAVEL: Anyone using all of it?

    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    .

    I am really tired of the very common American consumerist response of "stop talking about it and just buy one." That my friend, is retarded. .
    He's from Canada. Those folks really toss around their money.

  25. #25
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    Snfoilhat, it sounds like you are basically saying that since none of us are as gnar-to-the-core riders as we think we are we shouldn't really care about our suspension performance because we are too weak to utilize it anyway. Haha sorry I know my response is antagonistic...just having fun but that is the gist of your take

    Personally I even find a lot of benefit in small changes to my setup for , say, riding steep physical tech vs smooth trails....small changes but noticeable. And I think I am pretty honest with myself about being decent but not great

    I look at this topic ingereral like: a dialed setup makes riding that much easier no matter if you are steve smith or Joe schmo

    Regardless of anyone's opinions, this turned out to be one of the more interesting threads/discussions I've seen here in a while...good stuff OP

    And as for OP, I am totally convinced you should get the carbon sight...can't go wrong

    EDIT- I will say I am in a rare and annoying echelon of riders since my knowledge about bikes and tuning far exceeds my ability to ride them

  26. #26
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    I would agree the right geometry and fit are prime in this. I had a couple of 140mm bikes but the geometry wasn't what I was looking for. I moved to 160mm because it had the geometry and stiffness I wanted. I dismissed the BLTc because the frame weighed the same as the Nomad. I have a Nomad C and there are things I can ride now that I couldn't ride very well on my Blur LT. It has more to do with geometry than the amount of travel though. I can ride effectively about 90% of what I ride on the Nomad with the BLur LT. I do use all the rear travel on my Nomad regularly. My Lyrik would get all the travel until they upgraded the cartridge to the DH RC2. I have about 10-15mm's left. I keep letting air out to see when I can get all the travel. I ride the Front Range in Colorado, Moab, Grand Junction, Fruita, Curt Gowdy in Wyoming. Lots of choppy tech with some natural drops up to 6'.

    At this point, I would move to a 150mm bike with similar geometry to the Nomad and a 34mm Fox or a RS Pike. I doubt there's anything I couldn't ride on a 150mm bike that I ride on a 160mm bike. I might even be open to a 140mm bike with similar geometry and a 34mm or 35mm fork. The Nomad climbs great for a big bike but its burlier than I need or want. I am pretty sure I can get everything I need or want with less travel and not so over built. Someone mentioned the bikes blowing through their mid range. I do think most manufacturers and shock makers have addressed that. So if I had to buy today I would go with less travel and look at bikes like the Bronson, Mach 6, Yeti SB75 or SB66, Jekyll etc. I'd love to demo the Norco you're talking about as well. For now I will ride the Nomad, its a great bike in every way just more bike than I need. I enjoy it immensely but know I could do what I am doing with less.
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  27. #27
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    So I run a pretty standard set-up on my HD. 25% sag, front and rear. 4 clicks rebound in the front, 12 clicks rebound damping in the rear ( Fox air, front and rear). Zero compression damping.

    I use most of the travel, I could probably ride a smaller travel bike too.

    But here is the reason I went with longer travel: to try new areas and be able to just throw the bike on the back on the SUV and go.
    I have tried out two different area's already this year and have 2-3 more to try.

  28. #28
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    To the OP:

    I have a few bikes, but only use a couple frequently: an Airborne Hobgoblin with 100mm rear travel coupled with a 140mm fork, and a Specialized SX Trail, about 6.5 inches in back, with a 7 inch travel fork.

    I ride these bikes on the same trails (technical, with "moves", jumps, & drops - but not what one would consider "DH") both are fun in their own way, and I use all travel on both bikes.

    When I ride the Hobgoblin, I ride a little "lighter", but still push it fast. I try to pick smoother lines, and I stay away from larger drops (4ft +) but will hit most jumps/gaps/doubles and log rides. I feel quicker on that bike, I feel fresher at the top of climbs, and after the ride. The only place it really holds me back is on very fast downhills that are rough. I CAN push the bike faster on those sections - but I will pay a price in either a flat, broken spokes, rim, etc. So I ease off a bit and am more careful. I know the bike's limits, and occasionally push it beyond but not often.

    The Hobgoblin is a suspension design similar to DW, and climbs excellent by the way. Feels similar to a Giant Trance.

    On the SX trail, climbing sorta sucks. I don't run a platform shock, and without it the horst link bikes don't do so well on climbs. So I really feel like I'm earning it at the top of climbs. But everywhere else, the bike has NO limit to ride within. Jumps, drops, high speed gnarly rock sections - it kills it all without hesitation. I use ALL the travel on that bike when I get to ride it like I want. I have yet to ride the SX trail beyond its limits - if there are any.

    So bottom line - it depends on what and how you want to ride. If you're going to ride and push yourself - and your bikes limits often, I'd go towards more travel. It can be a pain when your bike is holding you back - and it does happen. But if you're not hitting 5ft drops, 20-30ft gaps, or high speed white knuckled chunk, and just riding fun trails lines and tech - you can probably get away with less travel and have a blast.

    My Hobgoblin, though not quite as burly as my SX, is usually my choice to ride *almost* everywhere. I raced the Big Mountain Enduro Angelfire/Taos with it, instead of my SX.

    (By the way - the Stevie Smith thing... Pros don't ride like you or I or others in the forum. They might have similar sag/set ups, but their bikes are tuned for those specific courses by uber talented mechanics. You can't really use the criteria they use to choose their bikes and apply it to what we ride. I read an article a while back where a magazine guy got to ride a pro's dh bike, (Sam Hilll's maybe?) and it was nothing like what he expected, and not how he would ever tune his own bike....)
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  29. #29
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    jhazard,

    I've seen your Hobgoblin a few times. Have you gotten the offset shock hardware yet? If the Hobgoblin was slightly lighter and easier to build to say 26lbs with a dropper, I'd highly consider it.

    You compare the SX Trail vs the 100mm Hobgoblin, and while I think you did an excellent job of comparing how use both bikes, the SX Trail is a fair bit different from the new breed of 160mm "Enduro" bikes.

    It's those advances in design and reduction in weight that have me wondering if something like a Range Carbon would be a happier medium considering I've already got a hard tail.
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  30. #30
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    I did get the offset hardware, knocks a degree off the head angle - really enjoy how it rides for the all mountain kind of stuff. Just want more travel in the back.... (but then again, it's really billed as an XC bike, so...)

    My SX is not that far off from a 26" Specialized Enduro, geo wise. Not exact, but closer than you might think. I've considered selling the SX because its a little over-built for what I ride (heavy!) and climbing is a drag. The Enduro 26" is close enough geo-wise, and I know it tough - If I had the cash today I'd get one and probably turn my Hobgoblin back in to an XC machine.

    But I get your point. I think if you've got a hard tail already, then why not get the most bike you can (short of a DH bike), rather than an in betweener? That Range looks pretty slick, it can't be too heavy either. You might not use all the travel, but at least its there if do need it, and assuming you got terrain that the bike will appreciate (like, you don't live in Indiana or Oklahoma or someplace flat )
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  31. #31
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    OP, in response to one of your comments about local LBS and bike availability... if I was going to drop $3k on a bike I'd be very open to taking a road trip and spending a few hundred to test ride some bikes I can't find locally. Just a suggestion.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    I'm trying to determine which bikes I should search out to try and ride.

    I guess where you're from you can walk into any bike shop and test ride a bike from any manufacturer on the planet. Where I'm from, I can't do that. I have 4 local bike shops, 3 of which don't even know what 650b is, and most don't carry any bikes over 100mm.

    To make matters worse, you usually don't have the ability to ride the bike you can afford. I've ridden a Intense Carbine 275 for a whole day, unfortunately as much as I liked that bike, I can't really afford it.

    I am really tired of the very common American consumerist response of "stop talking about it and just buy one." That my friend, is retarded. I like doing my research. I like asking my stupid questions, and I like to sort through the "dribble" that is internet discussions. No matter how relevant or pointless it may be.

    You obviously do as well, considering you've got 1,200 some odd posts.
    Ok, than tell us where you ride and how you like to ride. No one is telling you to shut up and buy. On the contrary I am telling you to ride lots of bikes and make your own decision. Most of what people say on bikes, is biased crap. Trust yourself. Don't judge a bike just on suspension design or even the travel. If you ride a 160mm bike on your trails and love it, even if you only use 140 mm of travel, go for it. I also would never spend over $200 on anything I could not try. Hell, I ask for samples of $50 steaks!

  33. #33
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    Trying stuff is not always feasible, I know when I was searching for my ride, it just wasn't a possibility at all. I live in a tiny town, so I drove to some bigger towns, still struck out in every way possible. Sometimes we just have to ask a ton of questions and get a ton of feedback, weigh thru it all, and blindly make a decision and pray it's right. 99% of everything I buy is sight unseen and purchased with feedback from forums like this. I've been where this OP is, every answer helps just a little.....

  34. #34
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    Re: 160mm TRAVEL: Anyone using all of it?

    Hey Op - I have a firebird with 167mm rear and 180 front, i definitely use all of it. I bottom out a few times a ride on rather modest 3-5 ft jumps/drops here in Santa Cruz demo forest. I also can get all the travel working for me on medium size rock gardens around here and Sierras (nothing i would consider worthy of a real pro level 'DH course').

    For comparison, my other bike is a asr5 with 140 rear, 150 front and i definitely notice a difference, it's much harsher on those same trails. But, it's not designed to be a plush bike.

    Sent from (redacted by nsa)

  35. #35
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    Upset

    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    I'm trying to determine which bikes I should search out to try and ride.

    I guess where you're from you can walk into any bike shop and test ride a bike from any manufacturer on the planet. Where I'm from, I can't do that. I have 4 local bike shops, 3 of which don't even know what 650b is, and most don't carry any bikes over 100mm.

    To make matters worse, you usually don't have the ability to ride the bike you can afford. I've ridden a Intense Carbine 275 for a whole day, unfortunately as much as I liked that bike, I can't really afford it.

    I am really tired of the very common American consumerist response of "stop talking about it and just buy one." That my friend, is retarded. I like doing my research. I like asking my stupid questions, and I like to sort through the "dribble" that is internet discussions. No matter how relevant or pointless it may be.

    You obviously do as well, considering you've got 1,200 some odd posts.
    your stupid questions arnt getting you very far. Your other troll thread (the DW one) went south fast . What did you learn from it? This one is just as stupid. Do you expect anyone to say no i dont use all my travel. I ride around on lock out....


    The sad fact is you have to buy blind. bikes are about personal preference. You wont know what you need or want til you got lots of saddle time.... I say go big since you already have a 29er hard tail.

  36. #36
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    You can get to 100's of bike shops within 6 hours from anywhere in PA.

    I live in the Atlanta area. Here, most shops are all about 29rs and primarily sell either trek, specialized or giant. But if I drive 70 miles i can get to a shop that sells Yeti and Santa Cruz. Hell, I've driven 90 miles just to get some insoles in my shoes because that's how far the nearest shop was that had what I needed to test out.

    If I drive 3.5 hours I can get to shops that carry Pivot and Ibis.

    OP, try looking at the dealer lists that sell the brands that you're considering and make the investment to prevent a multi-thousand dollar mistake.

  37. #37
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    Btw, another option is to find a good deal on a used bike that you think you really might want. If you made the wrong decision, sell it for what you paid and start over. I've done that too when I thought a Chumba XCL was the bike for me. I ended up losing nothing but $75 shipping and some time riding around on a new-to-me bike for 40 miles.

  38. #38
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    There are only two Norco dealers in Pennsylvania. Getting a good demo ride at either will be challenging.

    By comparison, there are 5 Pivot dealers, one I pass on my way to work, but I doubt he'd ever have a Mach6 in stock, and if he did I doubt he'd let me ride it.

    Giant will be easier, I've got those right around the corner, but again, will they let me cart off a bike to my local trails?

    There is a local Devinci dealer, but I've never seen a Devinci on their floor, so again riding one will be difficult.

    Truthfully it is likely I will have to buy blind, at least to get the model I want.

    Reason I asked if people were using all of their travel is because I've seen quite a few for sale/classified ads where people say (about their 160mm bike) "selling because this is too much bike for me." Obviously those who aren't selling their bikes are pushing harder or have a better setup.
    GIS/GPS Pro using ArcFM for Utility Mapping - Always willing to connect with other MTBers in the industry.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilsonblur View Post
    I would agree the right geometry and fit are prime in this. I had a couple of 140mm bikes but the geometry wasn't what I was looking for. I moved to 160mm because it had the geometry and stiffness I wanted. I dismissed the BLTc because the frame weighed the same as the Nomad. I have a Nomad C and there are things I can ride now that I couldn't ride very well on my Blur LT. It has more to do with geometry than the amount of travel though. I can ride effectively about 90% of what I ride on the Nomad with the BLur LT. I do use all the rear travel on my Nomad regularly. My Lyrik would get all the travel until they upgraded the cartridge to the DH RC2. I have about 10-15mm's left. I keep letting air out to see when I can get all the travel. I ride the Front Range in Colorado, Moab, Grand Junction, Fruita, Curt Gowdy in Wyoming. Lots of choppy tech with some natural drops up to 6'.

    At this point, I would move to a 150mm bike with similar geometry to the Nomad and a 34mm Fox or a RS Pike. I doubt there's anything I couldn't ride on a 150mm bike that I ride on a 160mm bike. I might even be open to a 140mm bike with similar geometry and a 34mm or 35mm fork. The Nomad climbs great for a big bike but its burlier than I need or want. I am pretty sure I can get everything I need or want with less travel and not so over built. Someone mentioned the bikes blowing through their mid range. I do think most manufacturers and shock makers have addressed that. So if I had to buy today I would go with less travel and look at bikes like the Bronson, Mach 6, Yeti SB75 or SB66, Jekyll etc. I'd love to demo the Norco you're talking about as well. For now I will ride the Nomad, its a great bike in every way just more bike than I need. I enjoy it immensely but know I could do what I am doing with less.
    Maybe i'm wrong but looks like all you had to do was getting an angleset headset for you Blur LTc

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by ride the biscuit View Post
    True: Avoid bikes that do that. good for climbing but rob you of confidence on the way down... I assume youre referring to some of the mini-link models, but I wonder if some of the newer models have tuned this out. I guess I could agree that if you have crappy performing suspension, less of it is better


    the last bit of curve is to prevent bottom out, and it is better to not be in that zone for most of your ride. its really pretty simple physics if you have well tuned suspension. the goal is to have the least amount of force impacting the rider's center of gravity and wheels' contact on ground without having so much travel that the bike wallows or reacts slowly to rider inputs....and IMO for hard trail riding, that magic number is closer 150-160.

    I think a lot of these guys that are downsizing in short travel bikes are doing it for the fun factor...understandable; im interested but not convinced. However, it seems pretty clear that nobody is riding hard terrain as fast on their TRC than on their nomadc (I'm sure someone that JUST bought a TRC will come in and say otherwise)

    x2.. a good shock tune is what's needed.. and 150mm is borderline not enough rear travel to have the last bit set up with proper bottom out control
    ...

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    That's more a function of a shock than the bike itself. Had a Fox CTD on two very different frames (Ventana Ciclon and Ibis Mojo HD). Guess what? It's md-stroke support sucks on both bikes. There is nothing wrong with either bike: the shock itself just sucks. The CCDB has been an awesome shock and didn't have any issues midstroke, nor does the Monarch Plus.

    As for as much travel as you have, it just depends what you like: I've had 100mm bikes than I've liked more than the Ciclon, but I also like my Mojo HD even more. You have to go with what you like as the overall feel and what you ride. I bottom out my 160mm fork and rear suspension when I'm riding hard and jumping or being aggressive on a DH section. I may not if I'm not riding as confortably or aggressively.
    And wait to you get one of those shocks or an XF on the HD then it will really come alive in every department.

  42. #42
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    Its not about whether you're nar enough have balls bigger than a dump truck, have reactions like Bruce Lee or Jerome Clementz.

    It comes down to rider, preference, needs vs wants or dreams lol feel that,

    Bike setup.

    Ive ridden allot of bikes different suspensions and always wanting to test and ride more, always looking to find the optimum setup and bike.

    In my local area over the last 3 years Ive been lucky enough to test ride a number of 140 and 160mm bikes from the same manufacture, Lappiere, zesty, spicy, Yeti, 575/66c, Ibis HD 140/160, Specialised Evo stumpy/Enduro, Giant Trance/Regin, Santa Cruz, TRc /Nomad, Turner 5Spot to name a few. All well specced, XTR, XO Giant had SLX but still one of my fav setups, it was nice to ride a good performing and looking mid specced group set designed for mtb, Im not a Shimano fan, but I liked the SLX, I did not enjoy the XTR groupsets fwiw.

    Some pretty decent bikes, with similar shocks and forks all setup to suit my riding style, sag reb, comp etc. Note all bikes air front n rear.

    In 90% of my regular trails in our forest my average times on the 140mm options were always faster on all these brands except one! I usually enjoyed being on a 140mm bike for most trails and as we have a lot of fire road in between it felt like 140 was better, sure I suffered at the top end on the longest and roughest of our trails!

    But you choose a bike for the 90% not the 10% you set it up, specc tuning to reflect that and compromise on the 10% best you can.

    Which is why I choose to configure my HD in 140r 150mm fr, which I have been having a blast on for the last 9 months and still better than all the others what ever travel option.

    I always wanted a bike I could setup as a 140 option or 160 option without butchering it or just throwing a big fork on it and upsetting the balance, so this ruled out the 5Spot great bike but I don't enjoy what it does to the frame.

    Giants were great, Reign one of my fav bikes pity about the 26" not getting a 142 rear, I felt flex compared to other 142 thru axle rears, otherwise with a component change and value for money It may have tempted me, I have since got others into this 26" machine, intermediate riders and they love it.

    Other all had strengths and weaknesses but point is the 140mm bike felt better most of the time and my times on the same trail over and over reflected this, for me I had a higher fun factor on some 160 mm bikes, but I also liked the speed and acceleration of some 140mm options in some trails.

    Back to the HD, this bike covers ground fast, I made the switch to full 160mode front and rear, now this bike really hauls, its the first full 160mm bike that slays all my times on all the above bikes including long fire roads flat single track undulating trail, it shouldn't as Im running basically a DH air shock in the rear as well, but I pedal up fire roads easier faster and better, in rails corners smooth nar rooty rutted unbelievable, I cant believe it changed the bike for the better by so much in every way for me. It does everything better than all the rest by a big margin, Im also running a shorter stem than those other bikes 40mm vs 50mm some 140s I ran a 70mm stem as well swapped back n forth.

    Thats where Ill end it as I could go on and on but for me and Im no muptard, I know suspension, tuning and bikes, Im just glad I stayed the course and got an HD under intense pressure to choose other brands, same with the shock, my LBS were great, but I got some jizzing when my Kashima shock was being swapped out for the so called budget brand someone called it.

    I think it looks way better, but more importantly it performs incredibly as does the HD with it in 160mm of travel, this the best air shock Ive ridden including pro or customed tuned, this is stock except for the shim stack change. Ive ridden CCDBa, Roco custom tuned, both really nice on the HD too and I would probably be just as happy.

    Just be honest with yourself on your terrain needs, you can feel some pretty decent bikes struggling in one area or more, sort your fork shock balance first, cockpit if you have room, far too many people still on long stems on too small a frame, and bad suspension settings, then tune it to a higher level if possible.

    Only you can answer how much travel is enough or not..

    Good hunting!

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by BTTR View Post
    Maybe i'm wrong but looks like all you had to do was getting an angleset headset for you Blur LTc
    It was a 1 1/8th" steerer no room for an angle set. The Nomad is much stiffer as well and has longer chains stays which I prefer.
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  44. #44
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    I agree. Great post

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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    I'm debating between 140mm of travel and 160mm on my next full suspension.

    140mm opens up many more options, most of them pedaling very well. Take for example, the 2014 Norco Sight Carbon 7.2. At $3545, it's cheapest full-carbon full-suspension trail bike on the market. It also includes a dropper post, 142x12 rear axle, shock with climb switch, and at 25lbs is probably the lightest 140mm full suspension bike for its price.

    20mm isn't really noticeable in the grand scheme of things, and Steve Smith winning the Air DH on the 140mm Devinci Troy proves that you don't need lots of travel to rip.

    That being said:

    Do you guys who are running 160mm use all of your travel on anything but a DH course or the biggest of jumps?

    Even if you do or don't, can you also list the type of terrain and state that you ride?
    If you rode two bikes down a steep rock garden on the exact same line, and the only difference between those bikes was travel, you'd be faster on the one with more travel.

    As far as 140mm vs 160mm, it's not a huge difference. The additional travel gives you a bit more confidence going through technical terrain, and you take a bit less of a beating. One key to remember is confidence = speed. You decide if it's worth it to you or not.

    *A couple of things to keep in mind about the Air DH - it's run on A-Line, which is a wide groomed jump trail, NOT technical riding. Also, jumps don't require a lot of travel.*

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    Oh man, I can't wait. My shop is getting me a price on the Monarch Plus

    Also, it's fun to the ride the HD.. you look at parts of the trail differently, and riding parts of it that before scared me that don't anymore
    2014? with rapid recovery that shock is only good for 1% of the mtb population ya know

    Should be sick, Stripes, allot of Ibis riders will be keen to hear your thoughts on that, great choice

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    160mm TRAVEL: Anyone using all of it?

    The design of the travel matters as well. Some of it is shock setup, but not all of it. In trying out several bikes, even ones of the same name (different years), the difference can be quite obvious. For instance the old Nomad is far more plush than the new Nomad. Taking each at speed down a rocky line I know really well (I've ridden it about once a week for the past few years), while playing with different settings, shows that shock setup can only get you so far. The old Nomad descends way better, for me and my style. Taking a TRc down the same trail results in more of a beating as well, but with a slightly different but familiar feel.

    Switching gears a bit, I wanted a playful short travel bike for milder trails - ones with less chunk, but with just as many opportunities to pop off and play with terrain. I settled on an ASR5, which is a totally different type of bike and suspension feel.

    What have I learned over the last few years? Try the ****ing bike before buying it. E-speculation only gets you so far.

  48. #48
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    I Ride a 2012 rocky mountain slayer in Central Massachusetts and I use 90-100% of my travel on 95% of my rides, I weigh 170 and run PSI for over 200lb person on shock and under 150 on fork in order to balance out suspension compression. Anything under 200psi on my rp23 and it is way too mushy and slow.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    Really? Who says the Monarch Plus is only good for 1% of the population? Only 1% of the population wants to run something other than Fox?

    Absolutely. The Monarch Plus was pretty good on the single pivot Ventana too, so I can see it shine on the Mojo HD.
    Sram it was part of they're marketing for 2014 earlier in the year a bit of a piss take that sort of backfired, its for everyone, but they promoted it pro only haha, internet humour floats of over most including me lol.

    Ya I reckon 2014 Sram is pretty hard to beat in this class right now, I wanted something different and also to see if the secret was true, XFusion imo have it going on, very impressed by this shock, as good as Ive ever owned or ridden.

    Look fwd to seeing you get back on the bike with that shock you will be surprised how big a difference it is!

  50. #50
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    Well, here is my personal experience: more plush travel is more fun! I ride 160/120-160mm travel on my Mojo HD with 36 stantions. I really appreciate Snfoilhat's reply because to be honest I use ~150mm of the fork. But it doesn't seem to be a problem because with the 20mm TA + thick stantions it already feels way more stable through rocky/rooty sections and whenever I huck and land (admittedly, never more than a couple feet) it's like landing on a couch. It's true that most of what I tend to ride has lots of small bumps, and the fork is more dialed for that. The dw-link suspension design, and the way it's implemented on the Mojo HD has 0 bob (no joke! It's amazing....) on the climbs without sacrificing plushness, and shifting the Talas down to 120mm makes steep pitches easier, so there is no reason for me to go with a lower travel fork. I'm not so sure about the suspension design of the Norco - my guess is it won't be as forgiving on the climbs.

    That being said, here are a couple of considerations:
    1) If this is your "one bike to ride everything" bike and you don't live in Sedona or Phoenix or BC, then go for 140.
    2) If you are substantially lighter than the average rider, go with 140 because you probably won't be able to get close to full travel on a 160mm fork without some costly customizations
    3) If this is to be your AM bike and you already have a weight weenie bike for doing rides where you need to climb efficiently, go with the 160 to round out your stable.
    4) If you are more in it for the downhill and never plan to do any long XC rides or races on this bike, then go with the 160.
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