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  1. #1
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    All Mountain vs. Free ride dual suspensions

    I am finding conflicting reports as to how these categories compare and to their actual purposes.
    Which one of these types bikes should strong enough to take 5-6 ft drops regularly yet compliant enough to ride on flat trails too? Pedal effieciecy is a must, as some climbs will be completed with it.

    I recently looked at a Kona Abra Cadabra and they stated its a XC which further confuses me.

  2. #2
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    Get a 5-6" bike. AM.

  3. #3
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    High end adjustable forks and shocks have a damping range that can be firmed up for big drop landings and softened up for more compliant trail riding without going so big.

    More travel can take bigger drops easier, but the frame must be heavier to take the harder beating. The trend for 5 inch is getting pretty light weight for enduring very many big drops.

    The 6 inch travel VPP and DW and near DW's pedal very well for trail riding and climbing and you have the strong frame and slack angles to take big drops. Ride and compare weight, handling, and mtbr rider reviews of durability.

  4. #4
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    I totally agree with the other comments.

    I don't do drops, but I can talk to pedalling. I have a 5.5", 27.5 lb Ibis Mojo that is more efficient uphill than my 2002-vintage horst link XC bike. I haven't had it on lift-serve downhill trails and don't expect it to be as forgiving as my Gemini, but it eats up all-mountain downhill runs. I have a 40 lb, 7", Cannondale Gemini freeride bike that I use for downhilling. The suspension and shocks aren't nearly as high-end as the Mojo, and it's got a pretty heavy-duty build-up. It's great downhill but it is a pig to pedal up hill. If there isn't a chair lift, I won't ride this bike.

    The Santa Cruz Nomad and Ibis HD are two examples of bikes that have been ridden on the trails AND raced downhill.

  5. #5
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    Of course, as our comments have to be VERY VAGUE, just like the OP's request for information. Garbage in = garbage out.

    Some other pertinent information:
    Riding style
    Riding experience
    previous bikes
    weight
    area where you ride
    budget

    etc etc etc


    Every bike in this category will claim to be a good climber and a great descender. Many who own the bikes will chime in with usually favorable reviews. It is the nature of the beast.

    Get out there and ride some bikes, only sure-fire way to know bud.

  6. #6
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    am and fr are really being blurred together with some of the more recent bike offerings.

  7. #7
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    The Ibis Mojo HD and Spec. Enduro have seen some action in pro downhill races.

  8. #8
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    Pretty much any modern bike with 5"+ rear travel and designed for 140 to 160mm fork will serve you well. There is also no need to go all fancy with carbon and flavor of the month linkages. More "FR" or "DH" oriented offerings would be often designed to be used with a coil shock, if desired, which I think works well for "AM" riding just as well, if you do not mind an extra pound of weight.

    Otherwise - we do not know your riding, preferences, budget, terrain etc. to give any meaningful advice, not that we can do that anyway.

    Just do not forget an adjustable post with a remote - and possibly an adjustable travel fork (TALAS, Wotan, Lyrik U-turn...) if you want to climb a lot..

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul
    am and fr are really being blurred together with some of the more recent bike offerings.
    Bleh, they have been for years! Look at the Terremoto, old RFX/SixPack, the not-so-old Remedy even had 160mm out back. Not to mention the Heckler, Prophet (MX), etc.

    What I think we are seeing is people have progressed some in skill and are coming back down in travel for the same duties that people used to be on 8"/DC forks for. Riders have gotten smoother, features have become more dialed, and most of all, suspension quality on a 6" bike now has really come a long way.

    If the OP chimes in with a bit more about his particular riding situation, perhaps the guidance would be better.

  10. #10
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    Giant Reign. Own it, ride it, beat it. Love how it climbs, takes drops/jumps great. Can run a 170-180 fork on it (even ran a dual crown for a while). I have an older model - 6.7 inch travel. Climbs great, no pedal bob - platform shot not necessary, but does improve the ride a bit. Feels like a light, flickable version of my Faith.

    Specialized Enduro - 05 model, similar to SX Trail. 5 inches travel. Jumps, drops great. Pedals different than the Reign, not sure if its better or not - it does require a platform shock to reduce pedal bob. (I'm used to the Reign, so I am biased to it). New Enduros may be different/better. I dig mine though.
    Airborne Flight Crew

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhazard
    Giant Reign....- 6.7 inch travel.
    Sounds like a Reign X

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharacterZero
    What I think we are seeing is people have progressed some in skill and are coming back down in travel for the same duties that people used to be on 8"/DC forks for.
    That, and single crown forks, tapered steerer and all, getting way, way stronger and lighter then they used to be.

  13. #13
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    How I ride....

    Well guys, if you can imagine I love drops and gaps 6-8ft and single tracks. I do not prefer to climb too much on my bike, so I believe a DH is not appropriate.
    Im from the Pac NW so I like trail riding but mainly no pedaling 60-70% of the time. I eventually emerge from the forest or bike park and need to ride home or to truck.
    It is imperative i have NO BoBB, and for comfort the seat tube should allow enough room to extend the seat high enough away from the pedals to almost fully straighen my legs for cruise comfort. Im 6ft, 190lbs
    NOTE: I rented a Spec Enduro, we found out the shock was blown, but I couldnt lift the seat high enough, rode the bike around town with my knees knocking elbows= totally shitty experience

    [B] Do you think a Kona Abra Cadabra or Stinky would work for what I want to do? The CoilAir looks actually like the winner multipurpose
    Thanks for you input ALL!
    Last edited by SlickOne; 11-15-2010 at 03:59 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlickOne
    Do you think a Kona Abra Cadabra or Stinky would work for what I want to do?
    From what I have heard the jury is still out on Magic Link whether that's a great gimmick or not, but in any case - I am a believer in coil shocks over air. Among Kona's offerings Stinky TL seems to fit the bill - seems to be an essentially the same bike as my 2007 Coiler, which I like a lot.

    But as far as "bob" - not sure how sensitive you are, does not bother me at all. I like technical climbing, and it works fine. On fireroads, I just try to pedal smoothly. Stock TL comes with a tensioner.

    If I was buying a replacement bike for my Coiler right now - would likely be a Transition Bottlerocket, with DHX Coil shock and Lyrik coil U-turn up front. No uber-duper little links in the suspension though as well.

  15. #15
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    maybe a cannondale jekyll 2011- best of both worlds
    me: "mom dont ride yer brakes "mom: "shut up"

  16. #16
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    Banshee rune? Stout enough to use a 1.5" diameter steer tube, frame looks beefy as well. I'm getting ready to build a Wildcard as my freeride/AM rig, it looks like it'll be a nice all rounder looking at the specs (my build may end up being beastly though...)

    Other thought, have you looked at the steal hardtails? I think they could take the drops and gaps and will pedal well.
    Just another redneck with a bike

  17. #17
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    Sounds like you need something with about 160mm in the rear and 180mm up front. You basically want ant a mini DH bike that can climb. I'd recommended frames like the Intense Slopestyle, Ibis Mojo HD, and Reign X. Get them a nice coil shock in the rear and put a adjustable fork up front. Talas 180 from fox probably be golden for this job (i'd recommend a coil fork, but don't know any adjustable 180 coils). With this setup you'll be able to steepen up you HA for climbs.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2clue
    Sounds like you need something with about 160mm in the rear and 180mm up front. You basically want ant a mini DH bike that can climb. I'd recommended frames like the Intense Slopestyle, Ibis Mojo HD, and Reign X. Get them a nice coil shock in the rear and put a adjustable fork up front. Talas 180 from fox probably be golden for this job (i'd recommend a coil fork, but don't know any adjustable 180 coils). With this setup you'll be able to steepen up you HA for climbs.
    that sounds a bit overkill to me. a stout 6'' bike would fit the bill me thinks.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2clue
    Sounds like you need something with about 160mm in the rear and 180mm up front. You basically want ant a mini DH bike that can climb. I'd recommended frames like the Intense Slopestyle, Ibis Mojo HD, and Reign X. Get them a nice coil shock in the rear and put a adjustable fork up front. Talas 180 from fox probably be golden for this job (i'd recommend a coil fork, but don't know any adjustable 180 coils). With this setup you'll be able to steepen up you HA for climbs.
    I think you got the idea of what I need! I been reading about the new Konas and the one I like is supposed great DH, BUT not a great jumper as it absorbs all the bumps to well.
    I am gonna test out a 2010 Kona Stinky, with a coil and 160mm fork. Cross my fingers, Its actually really hard to get a bike you want from a factory unless cash isnt and option.I cant bring myself to spend over 3000 for a bike Im gonna crash.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlickOne
    I think you got the idea of what I need! I been reading about the new Konas and the one I like is supposed great DH, BUT not a great jumper as it absorbs all the bumps to well.
    I am gonna test out a 2010 Kona Stinky, with a coil and 160mm fork. Cross my fingers, Its actually really hard to get a bike you want from a factory unless cash isnt and option.I cant bring myself to spend over 3000 for a bike Im gonna crash.
    How long are your climbs?

    I don't know that a 140mm/180mm split on the 180TALAS would ever feel good on a climb.

    I'd say an adjustable seatpost is a lot more relevant if you aren't doing fire-road type climbs.

  21. #21
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    Let your replacement and maintenance budget make your decision.

    You can afford to replace broken wheels and shocks? Get something light.

  22. #22
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    Forgot to add, you're going to probably need a adjustable seat post too. Look into the new ones that can do 5 plus inch drops. This will be key to helping with climbing and also allow you to ride with no stops. Flow!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlickOne
    [B] Do you think a Kona Abra Cadabra or Stinky would work for what I want to do? The CoilAir looks actually like the winner multipurpose
    I thought you said you had to have NO BoBB?
    Nobody cares...........

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_martel
    I thought you said you had to have NO BoBB?
    And?

  25. #25
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    You want and like to not pedal 70% of the time, which sounds like a DH bike to me, but at the same time you want NO pedal bob, as well as a comfortable ride for the other 30%, not just something you just have to "deal with" to keep going. I don't think a coil shock in the rear is what you would want. You aren't going to be able to get very many rear coils to act locked out. Also, I think 180 up front is more than you even need, yes it would be nice for the drops and downhill, but definitely not needed, and that size would NOT be a COMFORTABLE ride up at all, it would be something that you would being putting up with. Which doesn't sound like you want that. I think you could find a great 160mm fork that would do the trick for going up, over, across, and down just about every portion of the mountain.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldGlory
    You aren't going to be able to get very many rear coils to act locked out.
    Baloney. Coil shocks are available with many more tuning options then most air shocks. Including "platform" etc. And why do you want locked out suspension for technical climbing? For non-technical climbing, just sit and spin - he is not going to hammer it out of the saddle all the time.
    Coil shock is the way to go - if the frame is designed with it in mind.

  27. #27
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    Ok I guess I should rephrase that. Yes, coils are becoming much more tunable. You should be able to get some good compression to get it to act as ProPedal, but with absolutely no bob, I don't think coil would be the way to go. For myself I think coil is the way to go, I like to be able to eat up everything on both the way down and up. I am not worried about the extra weight of a coil, as well as the extra energy that is said to be wasted with not using some sort of propedal for technical riding. I agree with Curmy's earlier comments about getting an adjustable fork. And the adjustable seatpost would be great if you do a lot of up, down, up, down rides, but if it is just up to the top, and then back down and you don't mind stopping at the top and again at the bottom to adjust the seat, then it is just a wasted expense, which you can just put toward something else. (unless you can get one on the bike when you get it then perfect)

  28. #28
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    I feel like just about any bike marketed as am will pedal great. Suspension movement on tech climbs is a benefit, and on smooth climbs, learn how how to spin.
    Tire choice will have a bigger impact than propedal on overall energy use.
    And like everything else, you have to make a compromise.
    Personally, I choose to run 2.5 Minions and suck up the climbing/ rolling penalty for the downhill performance.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldGlory
    You want and like to not pedal 70% of the time, which sounds like a DH bike to me, but at the same time you want NO pedal bob, as well as a comfortable ride for the other 30%, not just something you just have to "deal with" to keep going. I don't think a coil shock in the rear is what you would want. You aren't going to be able to get very many rear coils to act locked out. Also, I think 180 up front is more than you even need, yes it would be nice for the drops and downhill, but definitely not needed, and that size would NOT be a COMFORTABLE ride up at all, it would be something that you would being putting up with. Which doesn't sound like you want that. I think you could find a great 160mm fork that would do the trick for going up, over, across, and down just about every portion of the mountain.
    Luckily you only need one shock, and there is one that is readily available and works very nicely, he's sorted!

    Roco TSTR coil

  30. #30
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    Freeride bikes have much less of an emphasis on pedaling performance. They are more oriented towards big hit stuff at the expense of pedaling efficiency. There are a few bikes now that are tough enough to take big hits AND still reasonably adept at pedaling, though. Like the VPP bikes from Intense, Santa Cruz, etc. I've seen people slay it on a Nomad.. major big hit territory. I've also seen them trail ridden, and while it's not the best tool for that, it can certainly be done.
    Ocala Mountain Bike Association - www.omba.org

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hellav8ted
    Tire choice will have a bigger impact than propedal on overall energy use.
    Exactly. Folks pay for some allegedly "efficient" linkage arrangement, then slap some heavy, slow rolling tires on it.

    Spend a bit of time and money to find a perfect tire for your riding and terrain. My personal favorite right now for the abusive use is Big Betty model. Rocky and dry terrain.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by essenmeinstuff
    Luckily you only need one shock, and there is one that is readily available and works very nicely, he's sorted!

    Roco TSTR coil
    Elka stage 5. Cane Creek double barrel.

    But Fox and Manitou are also not too bad at all. Enough of adjustments and good damping.

    On my supposedly inferior, as far as "bob", suspension, I just run DHX coil with propedal fully open, and it climbs everything just fine. It is slower then my light bike only due to weight and tire choice - but actually can hook up over some obstacles better then my weenie climber rig.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    Elka stage 5. Cane Creek double barrel.

    But Fox and Manitou are also not too bad at all. Enough of adjustments and good damping.

    On my supposedly inferior, as far as "bob", suspension, I just run DHX coil with propedal fully open, and it climbs everything just fine. It is slower then my light bike only due to weight and tire choice - but actually can hook up over some obstacles better then my weenie climber rig.
    Oh yeah, there are a bunch of shocks that have LSC and work perfectly, but the TSTR is a coil that has a "lockout"... (which quoted txt said wasn't available)

    Oh and climbing in rough, active suspension is what you want.

  34. #34
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    I borrowed from the local shop a Trek Remedy 7 the bike had the nice fox forks and the RP2 (which I had so much problems with before. The propedal actually worked on this bike, although I hate the SRAM X7 shifters....had those on my previous bike.
    Theres a 2011 KONA model showcase at a local shop here in Germany, I think Ill test out the CoilAir, wonder if that shock spring thing is noise.....
    Nothing annoys the hell out of me more than a noisy bike

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldGlory
    Ok I guess I should rephrase that. Yes, coils are becoming much more tunable. You should be able to get some good compression to get it to act as ProPedal, but with absolutely no bob, I don't think coil would be the way to go. For myself I think coil is the way to go, I like to be able to eat up everything on both the way down and up. I am not worried about the extra weight of a coil, as well as the extra energy that is said to be wasted with not using some sort of propedal for technical riding. I agree with Curmy's earlier comments about getting an adjustable fork. And the adjustable seatpost would be great if you do a lot of up, down, up, down rides, but if it is just up to the top, and then back down and you don't mind stopping at the top and again at the bottom to adjust the seat, then it is just a wasted expense, which you can just put toward something else. (unless you can get one on the bike when you get it then perfect)
    bob is more predicated on suspension design than shock selection.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    From what I have heard the jury is still out on Magic Link ...

    Jury has delivered a verdict: Magic Link works decent, pedals decent, weighs slightly too much, and gets more lateral flex than a Venice Beach meathead.
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlickOne
    I am finding conflicting reports as to how these categories compare and to their actual purposes.
    Which one of these types bikes should strong enough to take 5-6 ft drops regularly yet compliant enough to ride on flat trails too? Pedal effieciecy is a must, as some climbs will be completed with it.

    I recently looked at a Kona Abra Cadabra and they stated its a XC which further confuses me.
    That all used to confuse me too until I just started focusing on the color of the bikes rather than who's tougher, the rockers or the goths?

    The rockers are cool because their pants are super tight so you can tell what it is you'll be scrapping with should you decide to venture down that rocky road, pun intended. Each (good) song has a three minute solo and they are the only ones who can pull off Reebok hightops.

    The goths are cool because of their muted colors and spikes and they always smell of some ritualistic candle they just burned in their parent's basement or a clove cigarette. You don't know exactly what you're going to get, but you know it will be fun.

    So what does this have to do with your post? You just need to figure out who you're going to roll with and embrace the rediculousness of the labels imposed by industry folks who probably don't ride anyway.


  38. #38
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    I have a distant friend with the Abra Cadabra, and his point of view seemed to be that it was a xc bike. He had it built up to around 12kg, and to be honest it's very different to most of the other suggestions here. He did like it though, but I doubt you'll want to be doing any big drops with it.

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    Wow, that picture is really cool. hahaha...

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlickOne
    I borrowed from the local shop a Trek Remedy 7 the bike had the nice fox forks and the RP2 (which I had so much problems with before. The propedal actually worked on this bike, although I hate the SRAM X7 shifters....had those on my previous bike.
    Theres a 2011 KONA model showcase at a local shop here in Germany, I think Ill test out the CoilAir, wonder if that shock spring thing is noise.....
    Nothing annoys the hell out of me more than a noisy bike
    Get a Kona already, seems that you are sold on them!

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul
    bob is more predicated on suspension design than shock selection.
    "Bob" is also predicated on pedaling technique and whether you give a damn about it.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    whether you give a damn about it.

  43. #43
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    lol, I went with a Trek Scratch. She climbs very good, Im very happy.
    http://gallery.mtbr.com/data/mtbr/50...Photo-0119.jpg

  44. #44
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    Nice bike

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlickOne
    lol, I went with a Trek Scratch. She climbs very good, Im very happy.
    http://gallery.mtbr.com/data/mtbr/50...Photo-0119.jpg

    Did you get the Air or the Coil? ........... Sorry I should have looked at the pic... stupid
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharacterZero
    Of course, as our comments have to be VERY VAGUE, just like the OP's request for information. Garbage in = garbage out.

    Some other pertinent information:
    Riding style
    Riding experience
    previous bikes
    weight
    area where you ride
    budget

    etc etc etc
    Yet another example of the snarky non-answer that I see here all too often. A simple question that could be ignored, or answered just as simply yet is barraged with the "there are no categories" and the "its all marketing" unhelpful replies. Guess what, there are categories, and in making decisions, facts are useful. If these sort were to have there way, there would be no NORMs, no BENCHMARKS, we all would have to get weighed, post a resume`, go to an interview, get custom fitted just to ask questions or buy a bike.

    And just so that I don't fall into the same category....op, yes the line has blurred. You will need something like an SC Nomad, over built frame built up lightly with a sturdy single crown fork and rock solid wheels for trail work. I read somewhere that Trek commented that their Remedy was being used for such but was hard pressed to last, ergo the Scratch. A Blur LT could survive the occasional 6 foot jump, but you said ON A REGULAR BASIS. Good luck.

  47. #47
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    Have you looked at Knolly's new Chilcotin that's being released in 2011? At 7.5lb (without the rear shock) it certainly isn't going to win any featherweight titles, but you know this thing will definitely be able to take some abuse!


  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    "Bob" is also predicated on pedaling technique and whether you give a damn about it.
    probably the most important aspect. but i think he was driving at the purely mechanical causes.

  49. #49
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    I recently picked up an '09 Sx Trail. It seems to climb very well. Perhaps that's due to the fsr suspension design? or the DHX 4.0 coil with all it's tunability? or the big clutch tires? I don't know, but it eats through the bumps on any technical climbing and feels almost locked out on a general fireroad spin.

    And it is an absolute animal on the downhill.

    Is this bike an AM bike? A FR bike? probably depends on who you ask, and whether you asked them in 2009 or 2011. Ultimately I don't give a flip.

    I don't pay any attention to the FR vs. AM categorization. If you look back, guys were doing some sick freeride stuff on the original Stinky-five, the Preston FR (4" in the rear!), etc. Now bikes with 160mm or 180mm are considered AM and not FR???

    These niches seem to shift based on the marketing, and there are a ton of choices out there with varying travel and geometry. seems like a general AM bike went from 130mm to 140mm to 160mm back to 150mm and so on . . .

    Just get a bike and have some fun.

    If someone ever asked me what kind of bike I have (AM or FR?) I would just tell them I have a "fun" bike. Why do people keep fretting over these categories????

  50. #50
    Rider, Builder, Dreamer
    Reputation: sambs827's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    1,143
    If you're smooth and/or lightweight, You could get away with a Remedy or a Reign. I can attest to the sweetness of the Remedy with a TALAS 36 up front. I have a 5 foot down, 8 foot out drop I hit on it without bottoming the suspension. Pedals like a champ too.

    Scratch Air seems pretty sweet too. If I had an excuse and a wad of cash...
    Go ride your bike.

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