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  1. #1
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    Anyone went from a 160mm rear travel bike to 130, what can I expect?

    Hello, any of you went from a 160mm rear travel bike to a new generation 130mm, what did you experience? I ride fairly technical rooty/rocky trails with small jumps/drops (max 3-4 feet).

    My current rig (Nomad V1) for the last 10 years has a coil shock so I'm not sure how much travel I really use on my rides. In front my 160mm fork uses most of it's travel but I'm not concerned about the front since my new bike will still be a 150-160mm front. I'm tempted by the new gen of trail bikes like the Yeti SB5 and the Evil Calling.

    So anyone switched to less travel lately? Is the rear end skipping and bouncing all over the place on rocky trails? What can I expect?

  2. #2
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    I dropped rear squish and am now on a 135mm travel Knolly Endorphin and am loving it! Climbs great, super flickable, and descents like it have 150mm of travel. Not only that but Knolly has amazing customer service. Good luck

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BanzaiRider View Post
    So anyone switched to less travel lately? Is the rear end skipping and bouncing all over the place on rocky trails? What can I expect?
    My previous two bikes were 155mm [Pivot Mach 6] & 160mm [Nomad V2]rear end travel AM bikes. My current bike is a 130mm travel Knolly Endorphin with a 150mm fork. I ride coastal BC steep techy trails, but we don't do uber high speeds here.

    90% of the time I don't have a problem or notice anything negative due to the reduced travel. I think that's due to a few reasons: 1) I was riding MTBs back when everything was rigid so picking good lines is second nature. This ain't no plow bike. 2) The Knolly 4x4 suspension ramps up fast and makes the most of the 130mm it has. 3) This is a shorter travel bike with a aggressive geo similar to the older AM bikes I was riding.

    The 10% of the time I have noticed some negatives have all been on higher speed trails with enough chunk that doing some plowing was unavoidable. When that happens the 130mm rear end can only deal with so much and starts skipping over the top of rocks and roots.

    I should note that a 130mm bike doesn't ride as smooth/plush as a longer travel bike. In general that's not something that bothers me and in some ways I like the more active/sporty feel, but if you have back problems or any issues where getting beat up a little more is a problem that could be something to consider.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  4. #4
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    Yeah 130mm definitely isn't as plush. There's a few trails where I do miss the extra travel but for most of my riding the 130mm rear suffices and bike feels more efficient and nimble. Helps to make the tamer trails more fun.
    Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

  5. #5
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    I went from a 160mm travel 2016 reign to a 135mm travel hightower. Love the switch in all aspects. High speed big hits are a bit more rough then they used to be, but overall that's a small give back considering all the other gains i've gotten.

    Overall, I'm way faster.

  6. #6
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    Ya, I went from a Knolly Chilcotin and acquired an Endorphin - I ride the Endorphin almost exclusively now.

    It is only on the really steep technical descents that I may miss the extra travel. Everywhere else I do not miss it at all.

  7. #7
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    Yeah, what they said up there ^.

    More fun.

    My Endo is the best riding trail bike I've owned.

  8. #8
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    Iíve ridden a Megatrail for the past two years and recently built up a Following to complement it. Thereís a bit of overlap between the two but the feel is completely different. Expect better response on the pedals and a firmer overall feel, but thatís not to say I find the Following harsh at all. The bigger difference for me is in how the two bikes like to be ridden. The shorter travel bike likes to be driven 100% of the time, through holes, over rocks, etc. The MT will float a lot better at speed as long as you stay loose.

    Basically, expect to give a bit more input, as well as receive it from your trails.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BanzaiRider View Post

    My current rig (Nomad V1) for the last 10 years has a coil shock so I'm not sure how much travel I really use on my rides. In front my 160mm fork uses most of it's travel but I'm not concerned about the front since my new bike will still be a 150-160mm front. I'm tempted by the new gen of trail bikes like the Yeti SB5 and the Evil Calling.
    The travel difference is small potatoes compared to the geometry. Look at wheelbase and front-center of your nomad- i bet you'll find everything you're interested in has a longer wheelbase and a MUCH longer front-center. New bikes are made to be faster than their predecessors.

    The geometry change is going to be massive and require some retuning of your riding. You'll need to relearn how to corner and where to put your weight under heavy braking. Overall the OG Nomad was too far 'back' and i think most bikes available now are about right, or a bit too forward. It's for the best, but a ride or two isn't going to be enough.

    Suspension has improved a lot in the last decade; 130mm of quality travel is as easy on the body as 160 used to be. Still less travel, so it will behave differently.

    You can move the bottom out bumper and see how much travel you're using on a coil shock.







    Ignore wheels initially; compared to the changes in geometry and suspension wheels are almost irrelevant. 29ers gained traction despite their initially goofy geometry, but 650b rode a geometry revolution to ubiquity.

    With modern geo and suspension forks now is a better time than ever to rock a long travel hardtail. 5 rides to adapt and there's no pain and it's crazy fun. If you're too soft for that it's still mostly true for short travel modern suspension bikes. We live in good times.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
    Mikhail Kalashnikov

  10. #10
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    One great option is the Guerrilla Gravity Shred Dogg. It has 135 or 145 mm travel in its two modes (trail/gravity) for a sporty trail bike.

    If that travel arrangement doesn't work out, then you can put a longer shock on it, lengthen the fork travel, and you have a 165 mm travel Megatrail without buying a new bike. Very nifty stuff.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  11. #11
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    All very useful info, thanks to all of you. Geometry is clearly the biggest factor. When I look at the geometry of my old Nomad compared to today's bikes it would probably be defined today as a short and steep but plush trail bike. A lot of new bikes with 130mm rear have slacker head angle than my 160mm Nomad. Who would have predicted that, when my Nomad was released in 2006 people were calling it a mini DH bike and laughing at me on regular trails!!!

    I tried moving up the bottom out bumper "trick" this weekend and turns out I'm using all or most of my travel and the trail I did wasn't the worst I ride. I think I'll have to make sure I demo a 130mm rear travel bike before buying one, don't want a skipping/bottoming all over the place surprise! Maybe I'm just too used to plow through every thing with my Nomad.

  12. #12
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    Went from an SB66 with a 160mm marz 55 to a SC tallboy3....Everything about my riding got faster and more fun. No regrets at all.

    The TB3 does chatter a bit more than the SB66 when the going gets rough, but the lighter weight, and momentum gain from shorter travel has improved all aspects of my riding. The TB3 feels more like controlled chaos over rough terrain, whereas the SB66 felt like a trophy truck....I miss the tactile feel of short travel bikes...the long travel SB66 kind of muted the trail
    2018 Santa Cruz Tallboy
    Southern Maine

  13. #13
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    I went from 160 rear to 0 rear travel. Love it

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BanzaiRider View Post
    I think I'll have to make sure I demo a 130mm rear travel bike before buying one, don't want a skipping/bottoming all over the place surprise! Maybe I'm just too used to plow through every thing with my Nomad.
    You don't really have to worry about that- designers have known for a long time how to build a frame where most/all the travel is available but you won't crash in to the bottom. Some people (or suspension designs) are exceptions, and they need to tweak their suspension accordingly, but it's just a matter of tuning the suspension unless you're riding a totally inappropriate bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by terrasmak View Post
    I went from 160 rear to 0 rear travel. Love it
    hehe i do the same. I swap between a burly 160mm bike and a 130mm hardtail. I enjoy the big bike, and it's faster on the downs and i hit bigger features... but i have so much more fun on the hardtail. The climbs are easy! The flat sections feel like descents! The descents are still awesome, and now there's more crap to jump and the technical bits are a bigger rush!

    In my head i know hardtails are goofy slow masochist rides... but hell if they're not more fun and less masochistic overall.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
    Mikhail Kalashnikov

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post



    hehe i do the same. I swap between a burly 160mm bike and a 130mm hardtail. I enjoy the big bike, and it's faster on the downs and i hit bigger features... but i have so much more fun on the hardtail. The climbs are easy! The flat sections feel like descents! The descents are still awesome, and now there's more crap to jump and the technical bits are a bigger rush!

    In my head i know hardtails are goofy slow masochist rides... but hell if they're not more fun and less masochistic overall.
    Slacked Hardtail with 160 travel front, itís really not that slow. I even do session with it at downhill parks, sure Iím a little faster on my 160 travel FS and my fingers are happier holding on, but itís a giant BMX bike

  16. #16
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    It's all about the mood.

    Long wheelbase for when you want to be fast, sailing on the wind, carving stuff in flowing arcs. Your eyes are far ahead, seeing the goal, and your objective is to take the fastest route there.

    Short wheelbase for when you want to pick your way on the trail, zig-zagging and hitting whatever feature that your eyesight picks up and considers a playful feature. Trade speed for high maneuverability, including acrobatics. Less worried about the clock, and more interested in showing off your style to others.

    Less travel for more challenge, in case the level of trail technical difficulty is low, especially if you happen to be skilled and in shape. This risks slowing yourself down in order to give your body time to react to the terrain. It's possible to be slowed down to the point where going too slow makes it even harder to stay on the bike, perhaps from losing balance/momentum. If that happens, and you crash, and end up with fear and/or trauma, you should consider obtaining more capability in your bike and/or your body/skillset.

    More travel for forgiveness, packing capability in the bike, lest you go in too reckless/unprepared and injure yourself. This risks making the ride dull and boring, if the bike proves to be too capable (like cheating). Good choice for challenging routes, or for venturing into the unknown, riding blind.

    Combine these any way you want. If you lack variety in your local trail system, you can refresh the experience of well known trails by simply taking a different steed out. Horses for courses. People's moods and styles and desires change. These guys have quivers. I don't know who manage to ride often on the same rig and not get burnt out by it, feeling the itch for something new, especially if they're riding the same trail. If they have one rig, they're typically trying out new tires, changing their pace, or hanging out in a different position in a group, or something else to change things up...

    I've been through the entire spectrum. I had good memories on a few bikes in particular, SJ FSR Evo and the RM Thunderbolt that replaced it (hit by car), and a Yeti SB95 and the Ibis Ripley that replaced it. These all had short wheelbases and were really rad to ride, due to the air shocks and the wheelbase contributing to a playful ride. The 29ers were very capable on top of being playful, able to compete on times. I've tried doing a 2 bike quiver to cover each end of the spectrum, with a ROS9 handling playful days and Enduro 29 handling speedy days, but it was hard to ride them to their limits if I were swapping between them. I think the closest thing I had to a 1-bike quiver was a super blinged out 5" FS 29er that was super light yet super capable and efficient, with the key difference was it being lightweight. That by itself made it more "agile" feeling than the 27.5 bikes, yet gave up nothing on the speed side. That and I couldn't spend any more on it, since I was broke and it really didn't need any thing else. It's only fault is that it was costly whenever anything broke on it, and that I eventually burnt out, seeking something different. That and it spoiled me, making it difficult to be satisfied by much else.
    We're all on the same ship, and it's sinking.

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