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  1. #1
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    Do it all hardtail frame opinions. meta HT? Dartmoor primal?

    Hi guys

    I'm looking for a do it all winter hardtail frame, to use as a hack bike through the winter. Something that can climb well, but handle the steep techy stuff. Also, I don't want something with a BB too low that I'm crank striking all the time, id rather compromise

    I've been looking into the commencal Meta AM HT, has anyone got any experiences with this bike?

    Or

    Was thinking of waiting a month or so, untill new stocks of the dartmoor primal become available,which is considerably cheaper.

    I've got around 300 to spend, and some 27.5 boost wheels waiting to be used. And potentially some fox 34s.

    Any suggestions welcomed. Thanks alot

  2. #2
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    No one have any experiences/suggestions then?

  3. #3
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    For me, for an "all around" HT, neither of those 2 would be good, they are just too slack and won't climb what I consider good and will require a lot more work in tight, twisty stuff, but everyone has different definitions of what they consider good for climbing, descending and general riding. For me I'd be looking for a HT bike with a HTA no slacker than 66.5 degrees with a 130mm fork, chainstays no shorter than 16.9" and a BB drop of no more than 50mm for 29" wheels.

    But, it sounds like you just want to make it up to the top without suffering too much to enjoy the downs, and if that's the case then I'd say either will work well, they do both however have a bit lower BBs than it seems you want and I think that's something you're going to be hard pressed to find these days AND get the other features you're looking for.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  4. #4
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    have ridden cup, marathon and light enduros on a mondraker vantage over the last 3 years. key to that bike climbing like it does is the seat tube angle.

    Mondraker adds to the top tube instead of lowering the head tube angle to lengthen the bike out and it works amazing. your more streached out than you are on a similar "enduro" hardtail like the nukeproof scout, so you can weight the front wheel and climb better, and generally move around much more.

    the downside of the seat tube angle is you have to run it with a dropper. the more vertical the seat tube angle, the harder it is to get behind the seat in a pinch.

    unfortunatley my vantage frame has seen a bit too many years and i have to replace it. not an easy task given the stupid bike manufactures that change standards nonstop for no reason. try and find a 142 rear 27.5 frame these days....

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies guys. Good advice, I'll bear this in mind,thankyou both.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    For me, for an "all around" HT, neither of those 2 would be good, they are just too slack and won't climb what I consider good and will require a lot more work in tight, twisty stuff, but everyone has different definitions of what they consider good for climbing, descending and general riding. For me I'd be looking for a HT bike with a HTA no slacker than 66.5 degrees with a 130mm fork, chainstays no shorter than 16.9" and a BB drop of no more than 50mm for 29" wheels.

    But, it sounds like you just want to make it up to the top without suffering too much to enjoy the downs, and if that's the case then I'd say either will work well, they do both however have a bit lower BBs than it seems you want and I think that's something you're going to be hard pressed to find these days AND get the other features you're looking for.
    I've experimented with this a lot. I'm a hobbyist frame builder

    -head angle in isolation has almost no relationship to climbing
    -front-center relates to climbing in that a long bike arrives at the next obstacle sooner. If you have a series of ledges it can be problematic, if you have a choppy climb it can be beneficial.
    -fork travel is a detriment while standing. If you're (mostly) seated the fork has very little weight on it and the travel can be useful or annoying from moment to moment.

    The rear end affects climbing much more. You want your weight to be juuuust forward of the rear tire patch on the steepest climbs. So chainstay length and seat angle are much larger players, and a great design in a S can be shit in XL.

    ...But as they say, opinions are like buttholes.





    For me, the dartmoor's combination of the quite short chainstays and moderate seat angle sounds like a poor choice for steep climbs, at least in the l/xl sizes. (small people are a mystery to me) Overall the dartmoor is a more responsive/nimble thing, while the commencal is a faster bike and better climber... until tight terrain dictates you go 5mph. At least as far as frame geo.


    I don't know what's out there in the market right now.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    I've experimented with this a lot. I'm a hobbyist frame builder

    -head angle in isolation has almost no relationship to climbing
    -front-center relates to climbing in that a long bike arrives at the next obstacle sooner. If you have a series of ledges it can be problematic, if you have a choppy climb it can be beneficial.
    -fork travel only comes in to play while standing. If you're seated the fork has very little weight on it and the travel can be useful or annoying from moment to moment.

    The rear end affects climbing much more. You want your weight to be juuuust forward of the rear tire patch on the steepest climbs. So chainstay length and seat angle are much larger players, and a great design in a S can be shit in XL.

    ...But as they say, opinions are like buttholes.





    For me, the dartmoor's combination of the quite short chainstays and moderate seat angle sounds like a poor choice for steep climbs, at least in the l/xl sizes. (small people are a mystery to me) Overall the dartmoor is a more responsive/nimble thing, while the commencal is a faster bike and better climber... until terrain dictates you go 5mph. At least as far as frame geo.


    I don't know what's out there in the market right now.
    I've experimented with this a lot too, but with dishing out $$$ buying used bikes and demo'ing stuff around SoCal.

    There's a sweet spot in regards to balanced weight distro and where people like it depends on their riding style.

    - People who like to cruise in the saddle like their bike's natural weight balance forward--think long chainstay and a short wheelbase to keep it maneuverable. If they get out of the saddle, it's to get behind it defensively. Think of the majority of ebike geometry, or much of the old school 29er stuff like the Tallboy LTc and Jones. This style has a common problem with too much weight on the front when standing, so if you try to get too aggressive/forward in a corner, the front is liable to push/wash-out, esp if your fork dives mid-turn (which further shifts weight forward, shortening the wheelbase).

    - People who like to carve out of saddle, prioritizing cornering, like their weight balance a bit more rearward. These are the guys you used to see downsizing on the slackest and shortest chainstay 26 bikes, who are only now discovering the benefit of a long wheelbase with a modest chainstay length in their actual size (XL, XXL), excited by the new wave of geo that has more reach, on top of the slackest HTA. They would've balked at a Bronson with 439CS 5 years ago, but 435 is the soooo good now, now that it's matched with 1225mm WB. They're possibly cautiously eyeing a Pole now too, seeing the greatness of reach, but scared of the wheelbase turning like a bus/limo, waiting for someone to win races on it to "prove it". *sarcasm alert* Huzzah, it's reach, steep STA, and offset that made it possible, not getting the weight balance right! *sarcasm alert* xD

    - People who like to "jib", and a wild ride, like their balance very rearward--think of the shortest chainstays possible and a wheelbase that's only long enough to keep up with their speed. These guys are the ones always bouncing off the ground, but immediately getting back on their feet with a big smile on their face, giggling, shouting that they almost died, in an excited fashion. 415mm chainstays with a 1200mm wheelbase maybe... (see the '18 Cannondale Jekyll 27.5: 420 CS with well over 1200 WB in L and XL) *this geo requires a very skilled and active rider*

    I fit into the middle category. I discovered 2 wheel drifts that would make you feel like Chris Kovarek and Fabien Barel are super easy once you dial in the geo. Being a short guy, I tend to have to look at big long travel bikes to find this elusive sweet spot geo for centralized weight, while tall guys tend to look at short travel bikes. We end up getting similar wheel base bikes for the same trails, but you get people asking why I'm running 150/160 for tame trails that they're running 5" of travel on... they just don't understand this struggle.

    29ers were so bad for us short folk for the longest time. I got excited by the Canfield Riot, and the Honzo, but most brands seem to put the sweet spot in their L size (see Process 111, one of the first 29ers to get it right for this riding style). All the sizes had similar CS, but different WB, so small sizes were forced to ride cruiser style, and taller folks were forced to ride jib (or goofy style, if unintended) sometimes if they chose their "recommended" size, instead of sizing down. Taller folk may have felt betrayed by all the people saying short chainstays are the best, after finding long chainstays are so much better for them on their XXL frames.

    If you want correlation: notice all the guys having the best results of their careers, or coming back from a slump, and how it's connected to new bikes. 435cs combined with 1225 wb: L Spartan 29 (Oton), L Meta AM (Ravanel), L Mega 275 (Hill), M SB150 (Rude)... 430 cs combined with 1208: Loic Bruni on med demo... these are the guys getting interviews, saying how they're so comfortable on the bike and make minimal changes. The guys who are having slumps just blame injury or whatever, are what they call "puzzlers", always looking to tweak something on the bike, like Minnaar extending the CS on his V10, then extending reach, and further lengthening the WB with 29er wheels. Graves moving to Spec seems to have affected his race results. What happened to Jerome Clementz and other Cannondale riders (I believe they all went shorter CS)?

    The proportions I came up with: 430 cs and 1200 wb. Add/subtract 5mm CS for every 25mm of wheelbase added/subtracted. For HTs with long travel forks and slack HTA, you gotta compensate for the front center shortening upon fork compression, so either extend the reach or shorten wheelbase a bit more. So a bike like the Pole Machine would be ideal in size L, since it has 455 CS in all sizes, but only L has a WB of 1325, which matches the proportions I gave. Leo, the founder of Pole, rides a L, so I'm not surprised that size is dialed.

    If I made my own bikes...

    See if you can fit on a
    - M or L Honzo or EPO if your trails call for a shorter wheelbase
    - L Commencal Meta HT AM or L Whyte 909 if you think your trails call for a medium wheelbase
    - A Pole Taival should cover more extreme needs, like high speed flow trails and groomed bike park

    - If you want a fast and wild ride, try the Pipedream Moxie (fitting into the 3rd category), or any of the prior choices in a larger size (except the Pole, which has tuned CS length per size)

    - If you fit into the 1st category, you have a super wide selection, including plus and fat tire bikes (inc. the Jones I mentioned earlier).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ninjichor View Post
    I've experimented with this a lot too, but with dishing out $$$ buying used bikes and demo'ing stuff around SoCal.

    There's a sweet spot in regards to balanced weight distro and where people like it depends on their riding style.

    - People who like to cruise in the saddle like their bike's natural weight balance forward--think long chainstay and a short wheelbase to keep it maneuverable. If they get out of the saddle, it's to get behind it defensively. Think of the majority of ebike geometry, or much of the old school 29er stuff like the Tallboy LTc and Jones.

    - People who like to carve out of saddle, prioritizing cornering, like their weight balance a bit more rearward. These are the guys you used to see downsizing on the slackest and shortest chainstay 26 bikes, who are only now discovering the benefit of a long wheelbase with a modest chainstay length in their actual size (XL, XXL), excited by the new wave of geo that has more reach, on top of the slackest HTA. They would've balked at a Bronson with 439CS 5 years ago, but 435 is the soooo good now, now that it's matched with 1225mm WB.

    - People who like to "jib", and a wild ride, like their balance more rearward--think of the shortest chainstays possible and a wheelbase that's only long enough to keep up with their speed. These guys are the ones always bouncing off the ground, but immediately getting back on their feet with a big smile on their face, giggling, shouting that they almost died, in an excited fashion. 415mm chainstays with a 1200mm wheelbase maybe... (see the new Cannondale Jekyll 27.5)

    I fit into the middle category. I discovered 2 wheel drifts that would make you feel like Chris Kovarek and Fabien Barel are super easy once you dial in the geo. Being a short guy, I tend to have to look at big long travel bikes to find this elusive sweet spot geo for centralized weight, while tall guys tend to look at short travel bikes. We end up getting similar wheel base bikes for the same trails, but you get people asking why I'm running 150/160 for tame trails that they're running 5" of travel on... they just don't understand this struggle.

    29ers were so bad for us short folk for the longest time. I got excited by the Canfield Riot, and the Honzo, but most brands seem to put the sweet spot in their L size (see Process 111, one of the first 29ers to get it right for this riding style). All the sizes had similar CS, but different WB, so small sizes were forced to ride cruiser style, and taller folks were forced to ride jib or goofy style sometimes if they chose their "recommended" size, instead of sizing down.
    Great counterpoint/addition to my response. I don't think mtbs can really be compared across sizes once you're on top of your shit. This is much easier to experience with hardtails, where you can't use the suspension hide the differences. Makes it hard to poll the internet for opinions. I don't agree with all your characterizations or details, but that's probably from being 97th percentile tall and i'm not you... which is the point.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    Great counterpoint/addition to my response. I don't think mtbs can really be compared across sizes once you're on top of your shit. This is much easier to experience with hardtails, where you can't use the suspension hide the differences. Makes it hard to poll the internet for opinions. I don't agree with all your characterizations or details, but that's probably from being 97th percentile tall and i'm not you... which is the point.
    Well, I don't know the 3rd category at all. That's the one you tall guys probably know best. xD

    I'd like to get a Jekyll or Moxie to find out though. I suspect you just have to trust the bike and ride confidently forward, rather than getting defensive and behind. The forward geometry is likely a requirement, to help keep the front on the ground on climbs.

  10. #10
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    Are there any trail hard tails that have 2 bottle mounts in the triangle? Seems like the main reason you would get a hard tail.

  11. #11
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    pole also has a 29er hardtail (taival) coming out this year. no reviews as of yet. but it looks extremly capable for someone who wants a fast ride (up and down hills). mondraker have dropped the vantage in 2019 or i would recommend one.

    guerrilla gravity also have a 29er hardtail called the pedalhead. it's promising as well. but a bit more of the 1.2m wheelbase and no chainstay variety. would be interesting to try a climb with it.

    main reason for hardtails to me is that they are cheaper, much much much cheaper. you can get a cheapo santa cruz alloy, or a pimped out hardtail which honestly would be a faster bike most likely.

  12. #12
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    X2 for the Honzo. I believe frame only is around $450. If you find a 2018 frame now, you can probably get a deal on it.

  13. #13
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    The Honzo is only available frame only in steel. I have a Dartmoor Primal Plus set up as 29". Fantastic bike for the price. My buddy has a Honzo AL that's also a great bike if you can find one. I wanted a Vantage when I bought my Primal but they were unobtainium. Also looked at NS Djambo but liked the lines and geo on the Primal better. This is it as 27.5+.
    Do it all hardtail frame opinions. meta HT? Dartmoor primal?-img_1736.jpg
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  14. #14
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    Kind of regret not snagging a Chromagg frame on JensonUSA that I saw for under $500 (rootdown?). Was the last one and it's not something I expect them to restock.

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