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  1. #1
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    how much travel...with a curveball!

    So I'm getting ready to start piecing a bike together for next season. I know that sounds funny b/c this season isn't over yet, but I'm very broke and it's going to take some time.

    So I was riding at one of my local trails (Sandy Ridge for you PNW peeps), and I noticed that my current bike w/ 120mm of travel seemed to leave me feeling beat up more than normal. I haven't decided if that's b/c I was riding harder and therefore more worn out or if the trails themselves are getting a bit rougher. Anyways, it got me thinking. My initial reaction was "wow, I need a bit more travel." Then as I let the wheels turn, I began to question where it is a matter of amount of travel or quality of travel...

    With that brief background info, here's my question: What's going to help make the best all-rounder/quiver killer? Do I go with 5-ish inches of travel with a coil (think Banshee Spitfire)? Or do I go 7-ish inches of travel with an air shock (think Yeti ASR 7)? These are a little on the extreme end of things but I'm trying to make a point. Is this even a fair comparison? I know it all boils down to personal preference and I will through my leg over anything I can to gain any perspective. What's difficult is finding the 5er + coil since that is usually a custom set up and not one found on factory bikes.

    So I'm coming you guys. Tell me what you know. Tell me what bikes or frames you would suggest. I'm sure a lot of you don't have both ends of this perspective, but I'd like to hear what you DO know. Throw wrenches in my theory. Tell me I've asked a really difficult question to shed light on. I don't care, just inform me.

    I'll leave you with my intentions on my build. I need a bike that climbs fairly well. I don't need it to be XC fast just somewhat efficient. It's going to be my one bike for everything (minus dirt jumping, I've got that covered). It needs to be able to handle trails like Sandy Ridge, Post Canyon (the XC stuff, I'm not a great jumper/dropper...yet) that are smooth to rocky/rooty with the occasional jump and small drop. I ride hard and fast (at least I *think* I'm relatively fast) So help me find the back bone for this bike.

  2. #2
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    I would personally get something in the 150-160mm range. I have owned a spitfire, blur lt2 (current), nomad, delirium, and quite a few others. I would suggest getting something like a nomad, rune, mojo hd, chilcotin, etc. These bikes will pedal good enough to get you to the top but be a lot more fun on the down and can handle some freeride abuse once you start really enjoying what post canyon has to offfer (i love that place).

    I have learned the hard way that there are always sacrifices when trying to build the one bike. For my riding style a bike like a spitfire or blur just isn't enough to handle the DH/FR stuff. Something like a nomad or rune will be only slightly worse at climbing but will greatly increase the fun on the DH.

    The top two of the ones i listed above that I would suggest for you would be either the mojo HD or the knolly chilcotin. The knolly has adjustable geometry and it is slack and low like the spitfire but with more travel and quite a bit beefier. The mojo hd can run 2 different rear shocks so you can have it be either 140 or 160mm travel. That way you could adjust the travel to your riding. Unfortunately those two bikes are also really expensive.

  3. #3
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    you mention quality of travel, and that having different shocks was optional. but you dont mention what you currently ride, with what shock.

    for instance, if you are on a fauxbar with propedal (what I was riding till I swapped the shock) then there are many options for improvement that might not involve even a new bike. This would be a quality improvement over quantity improvement.

    or say you were on a turner 5spot with a pushed float rlc.... then we may need to look into MORE travel.

    personally, I find the trend lately is to go for more and more travel, and is a bit silly for what people really ride. roots and some rocks dont need more than 120mm of travel. problem is most people are not riding quality suspension, so more is used instead.

  4. #4
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    I want to say the before you consider climbingbubba's suggestion, maybe eval your intended purpose. I have no idea what those trail you mentioned are like. But to me, it sounds like you're a prime candidate for a Blur LT, instead of the Nomad (I have both).
    Think about the scale of things like this:
    Nomad - can handedly deal w/ smooth flowy jumpline trails at places like Whistler and Trestle where as the Blur LT wouldn't be my choice for these areas.
    Blur LT - climbs like a billy goat...WAY better than the Nomad...and can DH about 90% that of the Nomad...meaning I'd take drops up to 5 ft to good tranny w/ the Blur, 6ft w/ the Nomad.

    I'm trying to find a deal on a Marz 55 RC3 Ti for my Nomad, and move its Fox 36 Float to my Blur LT. Considering the description of your riding style, and that the Blur LT is the class of bike that's being used very successfully in the Super D races, unless you're a 200+lbs clyde, it should be plenty enough bike. BTW, I'm 200lbs geared up, and I use a BLTc as my trail bike. I'm upsizing the fork to get a bit more BB height and a side benefit of slightly relaxed HT angle. The Float 32 RLC on there now just doesn't have the fine tuning of the old RC2 of the 36.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pau11y View Post
    I want to say the before you consider climbingbubba's suggestion, maybe eval your intended purpose. I have no idea what those trail you mentioned are like. But to me, it sounds like you're a prime candidate for a Blur LT, instead of the Nomad (I have both).
    I agree that the blur does climb better than the nomad to some degree but mine were set up with close to the same build specs and would say the difference is small. With that said, what shock are you running on your blur? i have the stock rp23 that came on the 09's and the bike feels dead. I am actually not liking it because it has no pop whatsoever. I had bought it to be a lively trail bike that can jump well but it just feels dead off jumps.

    The reason I suggested the bikes I did was because I have ridden post canyon. If he sticks to what he says he rides and doesn't want to progress into what post canyon has to offer then he would be fine with a blur but post canyon has some impressive stuff. The jumps range anywhere from 3 feet to 30 feet and drops up to 15ish feet with everything inbetween. Most of it is smooth and flowy but I would want the extra beefiness of a 6" travel bike (if not 7" even) to bail you out and give you extra confidence to hit the bigger stuff.

    When we went up last year one of the people in our group had a rune with a coil shock and a float 36 and he was killing it up there. Might be another good option.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the suggestions fellas! I am currently on an '09 Giant Trance (Fox RP2 and 32 RL). It does really well on most everything I'm ridding but here and there I'm wishing for a bit more...something. Dichotomous seems to share my mentality that *quality* of travel what needs to be discussed. I do want to progress at Post Canyon and other places like it, even hit up bike parks one day (I'd rent for that). I just know that I find a lot of trails around here in the PNW to be pretty smooth with a little chunder peppered in. I will admit that even before I wrote the first post I'm leaning towards less travel with a coil shock. I still am in need of perspective though, is a coil shock really going to make that much of a difference on a 5-6 inch travel bike? Keep it coming...

  7. #7
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    it really depends on the leverage ratio on the short 5-6" travel bike. the higher the leverage ratio, the higher the air pressure needed, and the more stiction in the air shock, and the better the coil will feel in comparison. the converse is true on lower leverage ratio bikes.

    i would suggest something like a vivid air, mazocchi rc air, or x-fusion vector air when they come to market in november. they push more oil, so they have proper compression circuits, there is much less of a weight penalty compared to coil, they have better air seals and are less prone to stiction than a slot rp2 or similar, and all in all perform nearly as well as a coil, saving you the PITA of switching a shock all the time.

    just my .02

  8. #8
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    5-6 inches of travel is the current sweet spot for going up and down hill, but it probably doesn't require a coil...and they probably rely on the progressive air spring to prevent bottoming and damaging the frame.

    I think the DW-Link bikes (Ibis/Pivot/Turner) are the heat, but they're expensive. Even with an air shock the travel on them feels smooth, soft and bottomless.

  9. #9
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    I love my ASR 7 but there are so many great bikes out there it's hard to say what's best for you. Have you had a chance to test ride any bikes? Maybe there's a demo van coming by your location soon? The 7 climbs very well for such a big bike, it really doesn't feel much different than any 5" bike I've had a chance to ride until you point it down the hill. At that point it gets ridiculous really fast; it's just a straight up fun bike. It's kinda tall and kinda long but for what I do that's perfect. It's also a bike that some people don't fit well with its tall standover.

    We can tell you about our favorite bikes all day long but in the end no one can tell you what bike you're going to feel most comfortable on. You need to at least pedal some bikes around parking lots if you can't find a demo day. Know anyone in the area that has a bike you can swap for a run?
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  10. #10
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    well you are currently on a dw link, so thats pretty much top end for quality, now you look to both shocks. might be that a longer front will help with some impacts and slacken the head angle a bit to help. possibly a rear shock with a longer stroke length will give you a touch more travel (if your rear doesnt hit the frame of course). I did this with mine, went from 2.0" stroke to 2.25" stroke, 5" to 5.6" and doesnt hit.

    I guess I'm playing the side of the coin to keep the bike and mod it, versus a whole new bike, enough people will advise you that route, I'll stick to this one, so take my posts with that in mind.

    if you feel the frame is stiff enough and not flexy and squirly over these jumps, then maybe add travel, or get better shocks bolted on. if it feels flexy and squirly, might be better to go new frame.

    and dont forget about tire size. going up in width will give you more cushion and confidence, and better gyroscopic stability in the air as well.

    so basically, what do you have for shocks bolted on, front and rear. what tire size. heck, HOW do you feel more beat up, like in what way?

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