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  1. #1
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    Best Sedona bike?

    A theoretical question for you all. If you could pick one bike (specific model, or just general criteria) for Sedona's black-diamond trails, what would it be?

    I ask because I've ridden several of these trails over the course of a few visits (from LA), but am not sure what the ideal bike would be. Plenty of travel front and rear seems good, but is there a "too much" amount? What characteristics make a bike good on technical climbs?

    In LA, I want a more or less enduro bike--grind out a long climb, get it over with, and enjoy the descent. Sedona's technical ups and downs are very different from that though (and waaay more fun).

    Your thoughts?

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    I would recommend any of the following: Pivot Firebird, Pivot Switchblade, Pivot 5.5, Ibis HD4, Ibis Ripley, Santa Cruz Hightower, Niner, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Switchblade2 View Post
    I would recommend any of the following: Pivot Firebird, Pivot Switchblade, Pivot 5.5, Ibis HD4, Ibis Ripley, Santa Cruz Hightower, Niner, etc.
    In other words, the big guns. Noted!

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    130-140mm trail bike is perfect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotth72 View Post
    130-140mm trail bike is perfect.
    I think a 29er helps to. The bigger wheels ride a lot better on the Sedona terrain.

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    Enjoy my Hightower on 2.8 treads (DHF/Rekon) in Sedona regularly. The traction is pretty insane. As noted above mid travel trail bikes are good, something with a higher BB is helpful. I run 170 cranks and wouldn't want any lower of a BB.

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    ah, points well taken about 29" and a not-too-low BB. thanks!

  8. #8
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    A red one.
    I'd rather be hated for what I am, than loved for what I'm not......Dolemite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdss View Post
    A red one.
    Sort of a chalky--almost dusty--matte red-orange? Like a cross between 2018 Santa Cruz 5010 red and 2018 Santa Cruz Tallboy orange? Yeah, I could see that working well. I run my chain in that color when I ride there, and it seems to work well, although the longevity is only so-so.

  10. #10
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    Im the wrong person to ask about the "best" bike for Sedona... I only ride the North and West sections.... And I do that with a geared hardtail which does well..

    I will say, single speeding sedona is not ideal... Its a horrible place to single speed..

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    Quote Originally Posted by RajunCajun44 View Post

    I will say, single speeding sedona is not ideal... Its a horrible place to single speed..
    Respectfully disagree.
    I've ridden SS all over Sedona (including SBFL a few times) and had a great time. I would say that SS is not "optimal" for Sedona. But definitely not a horrible place to SS.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RajunCajun44 View Post
    Im the wrong person to ask about the "best" bike for Sedona... I only ride the North and West sections.... And I do that with a geared hardtail which does well..

    I will say, single speeding sedona is not ideal... Its a horrible place to single speed..
    So effing wrong... Great place to single speed since it works a very different set of skills that benefit you so many other places. Low cadence, super high torque, tech skills while at redline, etc. It's the training corner of the quadrant plot (power vs cadence) that most people ignore...much to their demise.

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    Well. It sure didnít take long for a Sedona thread to go south. Sorry OP. It seems to be a curse. Watch. You will see what Iím taking about

  14. #14
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    Just don't expect a DD casing tire at ANY of the local bike shops. They'll all tell you it's not necessary. Especially the asshole that works in back at bike and bean. Then when you blow up the EXO casing you bought at retail less then an hour ago they don't care at all about trying to hook you up and offer to order a DD high roller for the low low price of $130 with next day air...

  15. #15
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    We're obviously all different and this thread is a perfect example of that...as you can see by my signature, I own 140mm travel bikes in both 27.5 and 29". Before I went to Sedona, I also had a Pivot 5.5 with 2.6 tires. I've ridden all (3) bikes in Sedona over the past 7 months.

    Unlike stunkbro, I prefer the 27.5 bikes in Sedona.

    Unlike gasmanxj, I've tried and kicked 2.8 tires to the curb. I did like the 2.6 tires on the 5.5 when going down but I can feel the added weight on climbs. No thanks. I'll be happy with 2.35 & 2.4 tires for now.

    In my opinion, you absolutely do NOT need DD casing on your tires. I'm 205 lbs and have never had so much as a single flat in Sedona on standard casing tires. Fort *me*, the weight of DD casings is a complete no-go unless I go ride volcanic trails in Iceland.

    I will agree with street doctor on the complete "indifferent" service and demeanor at Bike n' Bean.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    So effing wrong... Great place to single speed since it works a very different set of skills that benefit you so many other places. Low cadence, super high torque, tech skills while at redline, etc. It's the training corner of the quadrant plot (power vs cadence) that most people ignore...much to their demise.
    I just got "excited". Be there early next week on my SS. Ill try to sleep till then.

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  17. #17
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    There are no wrong answers, of course. Around LA I see rigid SS bikes and Firebirds/Nomads on the same trails. Never a unicycle--I dunno if that scene has completely petered out at this point or not.

    I wondered if the rolling terrain and technical climbs might make people prefer a little less travel/length/slackness/burl, but it sounds like people mostly ride what they want to ride, and enjoy it.

    At 135 lbs, I'm easy on tires, and I haven't flatted there yet, but 100 miles of Sedona trails chewed the hell out of the Hans Dampf I had on the back wheel--most of the knobs were ~half torn from the casing by the end of the trip. (I have a DH maxxgrip DHF on the front whose tread held up well; it's a pound of extra tire--bought the wrong one online, and am determined to use it up.)

  18. #18
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    I understand Kenda is developing a new Kevlar bead tire with a nice thick sidewall to hold up in rocky terrain. Fat Tire Dave has been testing the wire bead version and said he thinks it will be the durable tire that tire geeks are looking for.

  19. #19
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    Not a pivot 429SL, was way overwhelmed on Highline and Hangover. I survived, but given the choice, would not do it on a 4" travel XC race machine.

    5-6" is a very comfortable number. Did that for years there. That covers 99.99% of the terrain there, so you can ride the downhills/drops/tech sections. There are a lot of steep punchy climbs there too, so you need some decent climbing ability and these take their toll over a relatively short amount of miles. With that much solid rock, coil shocks are recommended too for the best traction and compliance.

    If you want to get even more into the technical suspension aspects, the low-anti-squat designs like specialized horst-links can feel very soft with gobs of traction on the steep climbs, but they also unweight the front end severely and that makes it hard to keep the front wheel down and straight. Some people feel the higher-anti-squat bikes can "hang up" in the tech, but I find around 100% they just don't sink down as much in the tech as the low-AS bikes, where the low-AS bikes kind of get into a feedback-loop where pedaling and encountering bumps brings the suspension deeper where there is even less AS, so it ends up giving you that "gobs of traction" feel, by artificially using more travel than would be used on the same size bump if coasting downhill. If you go for a coil-spring higher AS bike, like a Pivot, assuming the leverage curve can take it, you can have the best of both worlds to a large extent, gobs of traction from the coil spring compliance and great pedaling performance uphill. But most frames don't come with coil shocks and these days they don't even work great on a lot of frames because the designer intended for an air shock, which has significantly different progression characteristics. Still, having ridden Sedona for years on all sorts of shocks, I'd recommend the coil spring by far, 5-6" of travel.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    If you want to get even more into the technical suspension aspects, the low-anti-squat designs like specialized horst-links can feel very soft with gobs of traction on the steep climbs, but they also unweight the front end severely and that makes it hard to keep the front wheel down and straight. Some people feel the higher-anti-squat bikes can "hang up" in the tech, but I find around 100% they just don't sink down as much in the tech as the low-AS bikes, where the low-AS bikes kind of get into a feedback-loop where pedaling and encountering bumps brings the suspension deeper where there is even less AS, so it ends up giving you that "gobs of traction" feel, by artificially using more travel than would be used on the same size bump if coasting downhill.
    You bring up something I find really interesting but don't know much about. Some remedial q's if you'll indulge me.

    Does the Horst-link style design unweight the front BECAUSE of low anti-squat? (i.e., soft, compressed rear = not enough weight transferred forward?)

    Is the Horst link inherently low AS?

    What is the relationship between chainring/cog and AS? Not strictly a ratio thing, is all I can tell from the numbers.

    What is the relationship between AS value and suspension movement--why does AS go down as wheel moves up?

    What is 100% anti-squat? One pedal stroke has zero net effect on the rear suspension? How is the pedal stroke or whatever input defined? How much AS does a hardtail have--infinity, or ?

  21. #21
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    just don't buy a single speed for riding sedona... single speeding sedona sucks...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by RajunCajun44 View Post
    just don't buy a single speed for riding sedona... single speeding sedona sucks...
    ^^^very one sided opinion.

    For anyone reading this thread that is considering taking a SS bike to Sedona, it's a fine choice. I ride a SS bike EVERYWHERE (don't even own a geared MTB)...Gear low (ie, 32-21 or 32-22) since there is no good places to really open up a big gear but all kinds of short ups where more torque keeps you on your bike (as opposed to HAB).
    For max fun factor, social ride, etc, a FS bike I'm sure would be awesome...but hey, I ride a SS so in my list of priorities, "fun" is pretty low.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    ^^^very one sided opinion.

    For anyone reading this thread that is considering taking a SS bike to Sedona, it's a fine choice. I ride a SS bike EVERYWHERE (don't even own a geared MTB)...Gear low (ie, 32-21 or 32-22) since there is no good places to really open up a big gear but all kinds of short ups where more torque keeps you on your bike (as opposed to HAB).
    For max fun factor, social ride, etc, a FS bike I'm sure would be awesome...but hey, I ride a SS so in my list of priorities, "fun" is pretty low.
    I'll disagree here LOL... plenty of places to go fast in Sedona. 30+ on hi line easily (and plenty of need for a DD tire). Speed + square edged rocks = flat tires. You can go fast on Hangover and coming down whatever the single track is next to the jeep road. Adobe Jack area, etc. Pretty much every trail system. If you don't ride fast then you won't ride fast in Sedona. If you like fast descents you'll find them.

  24. #24
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    Arent you only in one gear at a time anyways...

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streetdoctor View Post
    Just don't expect a DD casing tire at ANY of the local bike shops. They'll all tell you it's not necessary. Especially the asshole that works in back at bike and bean. Then when you blow up the EXO casing you bought at retail less then an hour ago they don't care at all about trying to hook you up and offer to order a DD high roller for the low low price of $130 with next day air...
    Quit blaming your equipment and learn how to ride. If you need a DD casing to ride your bike, then bring one with you. Sedona does not owe you a DD casing tire because you can't ride a 160mm 29er without destroying tires. Don't you find it interesting that no lbs from Phoenix to Flagstaff stocked a DD casing tire? There are fast riders here. On EXO casing tires.

  26. #26
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    The one you are on?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotth72 View Post
    Quit blaming your equipment and learn how to ride. If you need a DD casing to ride your bike, then bring one with you. Sedona does not owe you a DD casing tire because you can't ride a 160mm 29er without destroying tires. Don't you find it interesting that no lbs from Phoenix to Flagstaff stocked a DD casing tire? There are fast riders here. On EXO casing tires.
    What is cool about Sedona is that if the local LBS doesn't have a thick casing tire you can order one from Jensen by 1:00 pm and it will be delivered by OnTrac the next day. Not to far out in the future Amazon will deliver it the same day. This will allow lesser skill riders to
    enjoy Sedona trails without having to up their skill level. The handwriting is on the wall.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotth72 View Post
    Quit blaming your equipment and learn how to ride. If you need a DD casing to ride your bike, then bring one with you. Sedona does not owe you a DD casing tire because you can't ride a 160mm 29er without destroying tires. Don't you find it interesting that no lbs from Phoenix to Flagstaff stocked a DD casing tire? There are fast riders here. On EXO casing tires.
    What is cool about Sedona is that if the local LBS doesn't have a thick casing tire you can order one from Jensen by 1:00 pm and it will be delivered by OnTrac the next day. Not to far out in the future Amazon will deliver it the same day. This will allow lesser skilled riders to enjoy Sedona trails without having to up their skill level. The handwriting is on the wall.

  29. #29
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    I'd rather ride my Turner RFX with 6" of travel than my 120mm 29r Ibis Ripley on just about most trails in Sedona except the Dry Creek area. I don't care if it equates to not pedaling quite as fast but it sure is more fun and way more confidence inspiring on the H rides. I also agree with Scott72, I've never run a DD tire and I go plenty fast.

    That said, Sedona (just like Moab) does eat tires. I wouldn't bother bringing a Schwalbe except for the Big Betty or Magic Mary. I run primarily Maxxis and E13. I don't live there but am close so that's some 30 years or ~1000+ rides. Of course, I didn't convert to tubeless until 2005 or so but DD is not needed for most of us. Gotta admit streetdoctor's strava time on HiLine is pretty good so if I was bombing the super steep like he does and a bit of a hack (not saying he is but others are) then why not run a 1500 g tire but bring it with you. Bike shops carry what sells and mostly dh racers run that burly of a tire.

    A SS wouldn't be my choice either but if that's your cup of tea and your strong then why not. The climbs are short and so are the downhills.
    Last edited by rockman; 11-24-2017 at 04:13 PM.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtownmtb View Post
    I've ridden SS all over Sedona (including SBFL a few times)
    what's SBFL, by the way?

    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    I'd rather ride my Turner RFX with 6" of travel than my 120mm 29r Ibis Ripley on just about most trails in Sedona except the Dry Creek area.
    Cool, I appreciate the input, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Gotta admit streetdoctor's strava time on HiLine is pretty good
    Tried Hiline for the first time on my last trip; strava says I topped out around 17 mph. I can imagine that hitting 30 on the same terrain would be slightly tougher on tires, heh. streetdoctor, what's your strava ID?

    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    I wouldn't bother bringing a Schwalbe except for the Big Betty or Magic Mary.
    In my case, I have a stockpile of Hans Dampfs--Jenson was selling them in 26" [yep, still on 26", hence this question/thread] for $10 a while back and I overbought. If I don't use them in Sedona I'll never use up the pile! The Trailstar compound has plenty of grip for the rear, and I don't sweat rolling resistance. The Snakeskin casing does just fine at my 135 lbs and "17 mph" ability level.

  31. #31
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    SBFL = Sedona Big Friggen Loop....An Arizona Endurance Series route.
    https://rockyroad5050.wordpress.com/...-friggin-loop/
    50+ mile loop around Sedona. Bring your bikes, DD tires, and SS's...

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by phile View Post
    Tried Hiline for the first time on my last trip; strava says I topped out around 17 mph. I can imagine that hitting 30 on the same terrain would be slightly tougher on tires, heh. streetdoctor, what's your strava ID?
    I'm sure he can speak for himself but he posted in the Does Sedona Suck thread that
    I'm in the top 100 out of 3600 people
    By comparison I am 264/5561 or 7:31/9.6 mph. That's riding somewhat conservatively but cleaning every move. I could definitely knock 30 sec off that but I am 55 with what are obviously declining skills.

    KOM is a sick 4:03 and averaging nearly 18 mph. Pretty much all the strava results less than 6 min are either Pro or ex Pro riders. The point being that if your going to hang it out there that fast on that kind of terrain then DD tires are a good idea. Or, you may have a life-changing experience.

  33. #33
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    My KOM is smaller than your KOM... Really ?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillbo View Post
    My KOM is smaller than your KOM... Really ?
    Nope, not really but surely you get the point that only the 1%'rs require a DD tire in Sedona. Sort of like having a backup parachute for those that skydive. Can you dig?

  35. #35
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    I can dig.

  36. #36
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    The Warhawk. Duh. Thread. Is. Over.

    Last edited by raisingarizona; 11-25-2017 at 11:25 AM.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by phile View Post
    Is the Horst link inherently low AS?
    Kind of, some, but not many, manufacturers have been moving towards flatter anti-squat curves with the horst link bikes, retaining around 90% AS about halfway through the travel, which is a point I use all the time during climbs, going over bumps ,etc. Some of the newer Rocky Mountains, Transitions, a few others, are being designed this way.

    Traditionally, the horst-link has a steep falling-AS profile, older ones starting with a fairly low % of AS, newer ones starting off much higher, trying to give around 100% at the sag point, but again steeply falling off thereafter, which I think is somewhat of a static-view and doesn't translate well to when the suspension is moving around due to bumps, weight shift, more sag, heavier pack, etc. They can be designed "flatter", but IMO, we are just starting to see some of these bikes (as horst-links). More rare, but not impossible. Likewise, just because a bike has two links doesn't mean it has a profile like the newer Yeti bikes or a DW-link, Niner is a good example of something that replicates lower-anti-squat horst link bikes with dual-link setups, and there are other examples.

    A pedalstroke is an acceleration, even when you think you are doing it smoothly, although the less smooth (tired, steep climb, etc.) the more exaggerated it is. 100% AS is enough chain torque to balance this acceleration and create no net movement (bob). More than 100% (old Santa Cruz high pivots, Orange bikes, a few other wacky old designs) drives the wheel down and interferes with bump absorption. Less than 100% allows your accelerations to compress the shock due to rearward weight shift. This theoretical number can be + or - a bit and still give pretty good characteristics, but IME it matters if it's relatively constant in the usable travel, otherwise the pedaling traits vary depending on if you are going over bumps and compressing the suspension, so relatively flat for most of the travel IME is decent. To answer your question, yes, it unweights the front due to rearward weight shift bias. My old Turner RFX with 170mm fork was pretty much unridable on the steep climbs in Sedona without the ETA travel-lock down feature, the bike was a horst link and the front end would be way too light to ride and keep the bike tracking straight with that much travel, it just wanted to loop-out backwards on itself. My new RFX, DW link, also with a 170mm fork, couldn't be more different in this respect. Actually possible to ride up steep chunky stuff with the fork at full extension, which adds a big degree of simplicity to the bike, so you don't have to be working levers and controls for every steep hill (except the dropper post, which we've come to accept as worth it).

    Also, many other manufacturers, like Intense, Yeti, SC, Canfield, and others, are making bikes with fairly flat-AS profiles around 100% through most of their travel, this gives much of the benefit of the DW-link while avoiding patent infringement.

    Even single-pivot bikes like the Evils and Devincis can be designed to have a relatively flat AS profile around 100%, so it's not dependent on horst link, etc.

    The disclaimer is that this is only ONE facet of a bike, the efficiency, and doesn't tell you how good the bike will be at eating bumps, which is based largely on the shock tune, leverage rate through the travel, whether the shock tune matches with that leverage rate, and the type of shock (coil vs. air). Not as many manufacturers as you'd think really have this dialed well, so test rides can be useful, it somewhat optimistic in terms of always being able to test the bike, shock and spec you are considering. Someone might trade a reasonable amount of efficiency for a large increase in bump-absorption. You can get a pretty good idea of efficiency here based on the profiles. Unfortunately, figuring out bump compliance is far more complicated and takes knowing the exact arrangement of the damping orifices and valves, so this is of limited use otherwise, except to identify bikes with wacky leverage ratios that don't match a coil or air shock.

    As an example, my fast 429SL is an XC rocket and while it was better than no-bike in Sedona, I would have gladly sacrificed a good deal of efficiency for bump performance and more travel, although I would put a little more emphasis on keeping the front end down, which is helpful in Sedona due to all the steep climbs.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    ^^^very one sided opinion.

    For anyone reading this thread that is considering taking a SS bike to Sedona, it's a fine choice. I ride a SS bike EVERYWHERE (don't even own a geared MTB)...Gear low (ie, 32-21 or 32-22) since there is no good places to really open up a big gear but all kinds of short ups where more torque keeps you on your bike (as opposed to HAB).
    For max fun factor, social ride, etc, a FS bike I'm sure would be awesome...but hey, I ride a SS so in my list of priorities, "fun" is pretty low.
    The video of you on the SS going down highline would be cool, especially from a following perspective.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  39. #39
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    That part is certainly above my pay grade...but I don't think another bike type would cause me to try it!

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    The video of you on the SS going down highline would be cool, especially from a following perspective.
    Been there, done that. On a 26" no less.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotth72 View Post
    Quit blaming your equipment and learn how to ride. If you need a DD casing to ride your bike, then bring one with you. Sedona does not owe you a DD casing tire because you can't ride a 160mm 29er without destroying tires. Don't you find it interesting that no lbs from Phoenix to Flagstaff stocked a DD casing tire? There are fast riders here. On EXO casing tires.

    bwahahahahaha that's funny, this must be Scott the angry mechanic that everyone complains about in online reviews from Bike and Bean... I did have a DD with me, shit happens though and I needed a replacement. By your logic all the Enduro/Gravity shops in Moab and Colorado shouldn't stock DD tires either... but they do. They're notoriously sold out, none of us must know how to ride. Can you teach me? Maybe you need some more time to get into riding shape? I'll be back down there early March for the MTB fest. Is that enough time? The mechanic at Absolute (Alex) uses DD's btw, and he actually sold me one he had at home to help me out. I hear he also has a certain KOM... That's customer service.

    P.S. We were doing a little bit of a photo shoot last time I was in town so I didn't get to ride as much as I wanted or how I wanted. When you were boasting about sub 1 minute down hi-line you certainly weren't talking about yourself and must have been talking about Lars? I think I outweigh him by about 60lbs? I'm sure he does great on EXO. Maybe that's why it looks like he had a mechanical at the Ho Down in Moab and finished last? Mechanicals suck, most definitely kept him off the podium. Luckily I didn't have such luck and did pretty well. Either way he's faster then me down hiline, but only by seconds and he's a local. You shouldn't boast with other peoples accomplishments though, bad form and just solidifies what all the google reviews say about you at your place of employment
    Last edited by Streetdoctor; 11-25-2017 at 10:22 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    That part is certainly above my pay grade...but I don't think another bike type would cause me to try it!
    Oh...

    A theoretical question for you all. If you could pick one bike (specific model, or just general criteria) for Sedona's black-diamond trails, what would it be?
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    My god mountain bikers take themselves entirely WAY too seriously.

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    Great points...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Kind of, some, but not many, manufacturers have been moving towards flatter anti-squat curves with the horst link bikes, retaining around 90% AS about halfway through the travel, which is a point I use all the time during climbs, going over bumps ,etc. Some of the newer Rocky Mountains, Transitions, a few others, are being designed this way.

    Traditionally, the horst-link has a steep falling-AS profile, older ones starting with a fairly low % of AS, newer ones starting off much higher, trying to give around 100% at the sag point, but again steeply falling off thereafter, which I think is somewhat of a static-view and doesn't translate well to when the suspension is moving around due to bumps, weight shift, more sag, heavier pack, etc. They can be designed "flatter", but IMO, we are just starting to see some of these bikes (as horst-links). More rare, but not impossible. Likewise, just because a bike has two links doesn't mean it has a profile like the newer Yeti bikes or a DW-link, Niner is a good example of something that replicates lower-anti-squat horst link bikes with dual-link setups, and there are other examples.

    A pedalstroke is an acceleration, even when you think you are doing it smoothly, although the less smooth (tired, steep climb, etc.) the more exaggerated it is. 100% AS is enough chain torque to balance this acceleration and create no net movement (bob). More than 100% (old Santa Cruz high pivots, Orange bikes, a few other wacky old designs) drives the wheel down and interferes with bump absorption. Less than 100% allows your accelerations to compress the shock due to rearward weight shift. This theoretical number can be + or - a bit and still give pretty good characteristics, but IME it matters if it's relatively constant in the usable travel, otherwise the pedaling traits vary depending on if you are going over bumps and compressing the suspension, so relatively flat for most of the travel IME is decent. To answer your question, yes, it unweights the front due to rearward weight shift bias. My old Turner RFX with 170mm fork was pretty much unridable on the steep climbs in Sedona without the ETA travel-lock down feature, the bike was a horst link and the front end would be way too light to ride and keep the bike tracking straight with that much travel, it just wanted to loop-out backwards on itself. My new RFX, DW link, also with a 170mm fork, couldn't be more different in this respect. Actually possible to ride up steep chunky stuff with the fork at full extension, which adds a big degree of simplicity to the bike, so you don't have to be working levers and controls for every steep hill (except the dropper post, which we've come to accept as worth it).

    Also, many other manufacturers, like Intense, Yeti, SC, Canfield, and others, are making bikes with fairly flat-AS profiles around 100% through most of their travel, this gives much of the benefit of the DW-link while avoiding patent infringement.

    Even single-pivot bikes like the Evils and Devincis can be designed to have a relatively flat AS profile around 100%, so it's not dependent on horst link, etc.

    The disclaimer is that this is only ONE facet of a bike, the efficiency, and doesn't tell you how good the bike will be at eating bumps, which is based largely on the shock tune, leverage rate through the travel, whether the shock tune matches with that leverage rate, and the type of shock (coil vs. air). Not as many manufacturers as you'd think really have this dialed well, so test rides can be useful, it somewhat optimistic in terms of always being able to test the bike, shock and spec you are considering. Someone might trade a reasonable amount of efficiency for a large increase in bump-absorption. You can get a pretty good idea of efficiency here based on the profiles. Unfortunately, figuring out bump compliance is far more complicated and takes knowing the exact arrangement of the damping orifices and valves, so this is of limited use otherwise, except to identify bikes with wacky leverage ratios that don't match a coil or air shock.

    As an example, my fast 429SL is an XC rocket and while it was better than no-bike in Sedona, I would have gladly sacrificed a good deal of efficiency for bump performance and more travel, although I would put a little more emphasis on keeping the front end down, which is helpful in Sedona due to all the steep climbs.

    Everything you've posted up there is excellent. Great advice with regards to pedaling and climbing performance. However, there seems to be a slant toward crediting AS more than it deserves, IMO.

    A year ago I would have agreed with your AS sentiment 100%, but now I think when it comes to climbing on a mountain bike, on real mtb trails (i.e. not buffed roads), AS may not be the biggest part of the pie chart (and maybe that's not even what you are really saying, but seems to me like you are). I'm leaving things like geo and tires out of this and focusing just on suspension.

    What you say about low AS bikes (Horst links primarily) is very true, and a hinderance to climbing in certain situations. But, when properly executed I now believe they are probably the best climbers on real trails.

    Long travel bikes are one situation where low AS bikes don't climb well. They behave exactly how you describe. I would not own a long travel, low AS bike and use it for trail riding. What constitutes "long travel", ? , but I'd say almost anything with over 135mm out back.



    Improper leverage ratios/curves and air shocks...

    Low AS bikes, like you mentioned dip into their travel on steep climbs. When they hit their mid-travel zone on a steep climb they can become very wallowy for a few reasons. One, air shocks often don't offer good mid-stroke support like a coil can. And, well unfortunately almost everyone riding a trail bike is running an air shock. Two, the bike's leverage ratio in the mid-travel zone may be weak. Three, which I suspect you'd agree with, is most riders are on dampers that don't offer enough LSC damping as most people buying bikes are looking for "parking lot plushness", not "rough trail control". Combine these factors, and add them to a long travel horst link, with low AS, and yes, you have a horrible climber. Eliminate those issues and you could have an amazing climber, assuming proper tires and geo.

    Oh, and lets not forget the most important part... the motor.



    Two years ago I would have written off any 275 with less than 150mm rear travel, or 29ers with less than 130, and thus low AS bikes were off my radar. Since then I've learned quite a bit, and am way better off for it.

    I suspect you will see the design/sales pendulum swing back to bikes with less travel, and better geo, for use as every day trail/AM bikes. Bike that can climb as well as descend. Bikes with steeper seat tubes will counter wallow on steep climbs. The advent of 2.6" tires which have great roll and traction will boost the capability of shorter travel bikes. Better dampers, including the resurgence of rear coil shocks, will do the same for these bikes. Bikes like Transitison's Scout and Smuggler, and Knolly's Endorphin are prime examples. These bikes can work, and climb, very well with a low AS design. Knolly runs AS, where I think Transition not so much. As an aside, the suspension feel of Knolly's Endo with a coil is magic. It captured that elusive suspension feel I've been looking for for many years. On the downs it behaves just like the suspension on my DH bike - stuck to the ground with an amazing amount of control. Yet, when on the pedals, it snaps forward as well as any high AS bike I've ever owned.


    What I am curious about is how long the popularity of these "enduro" style bikes will last. The long travel breed with at least 160 front and back. For the core trail rider who enjoys a good techy climb as well as a descent, I can't see these bikes as being the answer. Skills combined with a shorter travel rig with a proper damper and rubber is a much more effective tool for every day trail/AM riding. Then again, probably depends more on you local trails. I'm lucky to have an amazing, huge, old school gnar DH/mountain for my DH bike that takes care of my DH fix. Then, excellent trail riding with both techy ups and downs for my AM fix.
    Last edited by Miker J; 11-26-2017 at 08:38 AM.

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    To set the record straight(er), In a thread titled as such by the OP, I have no business at all in giving advice on the best bike...I got all excited when RC44 voiced his very one sided opinion about SSing in Sedona....it's the ONLY type of bike i have ridden there and yes, have walked some of the stuff (like the chute on Hiline). So my only point is, got a SS? don't avoid Sedona! Still awesome and fun.
    Carry on...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    To set the record straight(er), In a thread titled as such by the OP, I have no business at all in giving advice on the best bike...I got all excited when RC44 voiced his very one sided opinion about SSing in Sedona....it's the ONLY type of bike i have ridden there and yes, have walked some of the stuff (like the chute on Hiline). So my only point is, got a SS? don't avoid Sedona! Still awesome and fun.
    Carry on...
    It's a hella a lot more fun than not riding in other places, for sure!
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Everything you've posted up there is excellent. Great advice with regards to pedaling and climbing performance. However, there seems to be a slant toward crediting AS more than it deserves, IMO.
    One of the points I was trying to make was that there's more to it than just the efficiency, as you are also pointing out. In Sedona and some similar AZ places, I found keeping the front end down on the steep climbs was just as important as efficiency. They may kind of go hand-in-hand, but it doesn't matter how much traction you have if the bike is doing a wheelie backwards

    When the first DW Turners came out (they were not first-gen DWs though), I demoed them in Sedona. They were nice, very direct "pedal stroke and you move forward"-feeling, gobbled up the sharp rocks at the moderate speeds I was going, including on the uphills. What I didn't get though was a bunch of low-speed support and the amazing ability to provide this stability while still eating the high-speed impacts (sharp-edged rocks) like my at-the-time custom Avy Chubbie provided, on my horst-link RFX. It wasn't as efficient, but it would eat the chunk a lot better than those first air-shocked turner DWs. I definitely preferred the RFX. I don't think that is necessarily a turner thing (that was like at least 10 years back now) or even a DW thing, but there has been the idea that since the DW balances your AS with your pedaling, you don't need "extra" compression damping to make it pedal better. While I agree with this, what I don't agree with is the low-compression tunes that basically make the bikes bob and dive everywhere else, like when you hit the brakes, ride through a turn, hit a g-out, preload for a drop, come off the backside of a bump, and so on. The "wobbly no-low-speed compression open-settings" that most manufacturers seem to prefer these days are horrible, at least to anyone who has experienced tuned suspension that is stable and able to still eat the chunk.

    Now, riding tuned coil and air shocks, I don't think this is a DW trait, just an OEM shock trait, as it applied to my previous bike, a Specialized Enduro 29, just as equally. Manufacturers seem to love 3 settings, open-blows-through-travel, trail-kinda-a-jackhammer-but-tolerable-if-the-trail-is-smooth and jackhammer-only-for-road-climbs. You can have "trail" or even firmer and still eat the bumps up as well as "open" with a tune.

    So another thing to consider is if you are spending thousands for a bike, it's possibly a good idea to set aside a few hundred to get the shock tuned, it'll usually help significantly and in my experience, a good tuned shock is vastly superior to any OEM shock, especially when you consider all the latest and greatest that is advertised to eat the bumps and clean your oven while reading the paper. You may want to judge a certain bike by how the suspension feels, and you should to a large extent, but you can usually vastly improve upon it with a custom tune as well. So if you feel that a bike is "hanging up", it may be nothing more than the factory restriction on high speed damping or some other similar parameter.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    got a SS? don't avoid Sedona! Still awesome and fun.
    Noted! And amen.

    Thanks for the insights, Jayem and Miker J. A question for you and anyone else--do you value the stability of a longer bike (in Sedona and in general)? Is there an approximate speed above which stability becomes more important? I feel like if stability were the be-all and end-all of high performance, racecars wouldn't be mid-engined.

    Regarding anti-squat, is it independent of how much force is being applied? (i.e., does 100% AS exactly cancel out pedaling forces regardless of whether you're sitting and spinning vs. standing and mashing?) When a bike is referred to as an efficient pedaller but not so plush, is that a direct reflection of its AS curve?

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    One of the points I was trying to make was that there's more to it than just the efficiency, as you are also pointing out. In Sedona and some similar AZ places, I found keeping the front end down on the steep climbs was just as important as efficiency. They may kind of go hand-in-hand, but it doesn't matter how much traction you have if the bike is doing a wheelie backwards

    When the first DW Turners came out (they were not first-gen DWs though), I demoed them in Sedona. They were nice, very direct "pedal stroke and you move forward"-feeling, gobbled up the sharp rocks at the moderate speeds I was going, including on the uphills. What I didn't get though was a bunch of low-speed support and the amazing ability to provide this stability while still eating the high-speed impacts (sharp-edged rocks) like my at-the-time custom Avy Chubbie provided, on my horst-link RFX. It wasn't as efficient, but it would eat the chunk a lot better than those first air-shocked turner DWs. I definitely preferred the RFX. I don't think that is necessarily a turner thing (that was like at least 10 years back now) or even a DW thing, but there has been the idea that since the DW balances your AS with your pedaling, you don't need "extra" compression damping to make it pedal better. While I agree with this, what I don't agree with is the low-compression tunes that basically make the bikes bob and dive everywhere else, like when you hit the brakes, ride through a turn, hit a g-out, preload for a drop, come off the backside of a bump, and so on. The "wobbly no-low-speed compression open-settings" that most manufacturers seem to prefer these days are horrible, at least to anyone who has experienced tuned suspension that is stable and able to still eat the chunk.

    Now, riding tuned coil and air shocks, I don't think this is a DW trait, just an OEM shock trait, as it applied to my previous bike, a Specialized Enduro 29, just as equally. Manufacturers seem to love 3 settings, open-blows-through-travel, trail-kinda-a-jackhammer-but-tolerable-if-the-trail-is-smooth and jackhammer-only-for-road-climbs. You can have "trail" or even firmer and still eat the bumps up as well as "open" with a tune.

    So another thing to consider is if you are spending thousands for a bike, it's possibly a good idea to set aside a few hundred to get the shock tuned, it'll usually help significantly and in my experience, a good tuned shock is vastly superior to any OEM shock, especially when you consider all the latest and greatest that is advertised to eat the bumps and clean your oven while reading the paper. You may want to judge a certain bike by how the suspension feels, and you should to a large extent, but you can usually vastly improve upon it with a custom tune as well. So if you feel that a bike is "hanging up", it may be nothing more than the factory restriction on high speed damping or some other similar parameter.


    Yeah, my estimate for your affinity for higher AS designs may have been my own stuff transposed on to you. My bad. I use to think they were the end all be all.



    Agree with you on the value of a proper shock tune. As a matter of fact, it was many of your older posts that had me finally "come around" to appreciate the value in a properly tuned shock. As I said above....


    ...which I suspect you'd agree with, is most riders are on dampers that don't offer enough LSC damping as most people buying bikes are looking for "parking lot plushness", not "rough trail control"...


    Something I've come to recently appreciate - maybe the biggest factor in how suspension behaves - is the leverage ratio/curve, or at least matching the LR with the correct damper. Assuming posted curves are close to accurate, the feel of many of the bikes I've got to sit on does in fact match up with what one would suspect by just looking at their LR/curve and damper.


    Pretty sure that amazing feel I get out of my current trail bike and well as my DH rig is that perfect mix of a properly tuned damper and its LR/curve. I'm also pretty sure the inherent properties of a coil shock weigh in heavily. I've been spoiled, but also enlightened, by how good a properly damped bike can run. And by "run" I don't only mean on the downs, I also think this applies very much to climbing behavior.


    As an aside, instead of the routine service on my Boxxer this year, I'm likely putting the coil back in and replacing the Charger damper with an Avy cart. It's pricey, but I'm not up for servicing that darn Charger damper every year. The spring side is no big deal, but sending it out for a full rebuild due to the stock damper has been a hassle and is pricey itself. Hopefully I'll get a fork that is easier to maintain and feels better as well (not that I had too much issue with the stock damper - but sometimes you don't know what you don't know).


    As always, thanks for the good advice.



    Ride on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phile View Post
    Noted! And amen.

    Thanks for the insights, Jayem and Miker J. A question for you and anyone else--do you value the stability of a longer bike (in Sedona and in general)? Is there an approximate speed above which stability becomes more important? I feel like if stability were the be-all and end-all of high performance, racecars wouldn't be mid-engined.

    Regarding anti-squat, is it independent of how much force is being applied? (i.e., does 100% AS exactly cancel out pedaling forces regardless of whether you're sitting and spinning vs. standing and mashing?) When a bike is referred to as an efficient pedaller but not so plush, is that a direct reflection of its AS curve?


    Longer bike...

    Riding mostly in the tighter confines of the NE woods I was always a fan of bikes that felt more nimble. One could easily assume a shorter bike would then be better. But, as mtb geo has moved away, thankfully, from its roadie roots and TTs and reach are stretching out, I've come to like that much better. My current large trail bike is the longest I've owned with a reach of 18.3" and I find it handles everything perfectly.

    Think of the differences between any bike, new or old geo, when it comes to riding a large, medium, or small. Did the large bike handle that much more sluggishly than the small? That was rarely the topic of real debate. Does 1 or 2 inches in the wheelbase really make that much difference in determining if a bike is nimble or stable? I don't think so. I think tires, tire pressure, and dampers, and angles make a bigger difference. Overall bikes with longer reach and top tubes are a better idea for almost all mountain bike, IMO.


    AS...

    Yes to the first part. So so to the second part.

    First part, yes, it is dependent on how much force is being applied to the pedals.

    Second part... the actuation of the shock moving through the stroke while riding, even on smooth terrain, is contingent on a lot more than effects from squat. On a smooth road climb, on my very low AS bike, with the shock "open" I get no more "bob" than my very high AS bike, even with hard pedaling.

    Riders who "stab" at the pedals with a powerful out of the saddle pump are going to send the rear shock through its travel no matter how much AS is built in.

    Weight shifts from out of the saddle efforts, or from body position on steep climbs, are going to send the rear shock through its travel no matter how much AS is built in.

    Proper damper set up and LR/curves play as much, if not more role in managing "bob" than AS, IMO. That is what I was getting at in my post.

    Both Jayem and I agree that proper amounts of high quality LSC are very effective with dealing with the issue of unwanted shock movement, and IMO, especially "bob" or squat. Problem is getting "proper amounts of high quality LSC" is not so easy. As Jayem alluded to above, the switches found on many dampers, with their Climb-Trail-Descend modes, quite frankly suck the big one. That applies to Fox stuff and to SRAM's RCT3 set up on their Pike. Personally, I like the feel of Cane Creek's Climb switch, but rarely use it - even on my low AS bike. And, I personally seek out the steepest, most challenging climbs - I dig tech climbing as much as descending. Shocks that allow one to dial in their own settings are definitely a move in the right direction for the rider who knows what they want. I like the adjusters on Cane Creek's Inline Coil. I think they work and allow me to dial in what I want.


    The whole concept of what makes a bike an "efficient pedaler" is multifaceted to say the least. Are you asking a rider on buffed out trails or someone who only climbs fire roads to get to the descents. My low AS bike is a very efficient pedaler as it's suspension cycles so easily that it is rarely hung up while riding our extremely rocky trails. It would be like asking what is more efficient, a cyclocross tire or a 2.6" mtb tire. It really depends on a lot of variables.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    That part is certainly above my pay grade...but I don't think another bike type would cause me to try it!
    Ray,
    I would not do the lower steep part of hiline descent on my hardtail bikes (geared or SS), but I did almost clean it on my 5" Solo with dropper post. I am sure I could clean it with a bit of practice. You skills are at least as good as mine and argue better. So with the right bike you could clean it I believe. But you have to want to clean it. That said I know your ride style and I don't think you would even want another bike.

    As for what to ride in Sedona.

    My personal pick is short/mid travel FS bike for all around use. For a fast time on Sedona BFL I would grab by 29er HT Geared. For a more "fun" ride I am fine on my 130/125 Santa Cruz Solo with a dropper. Some areas are very fun on 29er HT and on SS I bet, but I have never taken my SS up there.

    As for cutting tires... That can happen anywhere even on smooth trails.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

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    I hope you don't mind me resurrecting this thread for some bike advice.

    I'm head to Sedona and Phoenix in a few days for a week of riding.

    I have a Chromag Primer hardtail with 27.5x2.8 Minions and a 160mm Lyrik at 65į HA. I also have an older Intense Tracer 26" 160mm trail bike that I've been keeping alive on life-support, built up with a modern Pike on an angleset, 1x11 drivetrain, etc.

    I like to ride the hardtail around everything but the bike park here in Whistler. I think I'm a pretty confident rider and send everything on the hardtail. It's definitely more tiring and physical than a 6x6, but I enjoy being stubborn.

    That being said, I imagine Sedona rock isn't as forgiving as Whistler dirt.

    I have no doubt the 6x6 will handle it all, but I've read about lots of punchy ups-and-downs in Sedona which would make me pine for the hardtail.

    Any suggestions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by raisingarizona View Post
    My god mountain bikers take themselves entirely WAY too seriously.
    U know it is getting cold up north and Sedona season is in full swing when the wierdos are out in numbers cruising the red rocks and spraying on the MTBR.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davecheng View Post
    I hope you don't mind me resurrecting this thread for some bike advice.

    I'm head to Sedona and Phoenix in a few days for a week of riding.

    I have a Chromag Primer hardtail with 27.5x2.8 Minions and a 160mm Lyrik at 65į HA. I also have an older Intense Tracer 26" 160mm trail bike that I've been keeping alive on life-support, built up with a modern Pike on an angleset, 1x11 drivetrain, etc.

    I like to ride the hardtail around everything but the bike park here in Whistler. I think I'm a pretty confident rider and send everything on the hardtail. It's definitely more tiring and physical than a 6x6, but I enjoy being stubborn.

    That being said, I imagine Sedona rock isn't as forgiving as Whistler dirt.

    I have no doubt the 6x6 will handle it all, but I've read about lots of punchy ups-and-downs in Sedona which would make me pine for the hardtail.

    Any suggestions?
    Yes, the hardtail will be more tiring and physical, but you're used to that--no problem. My takeaway from replies to this thread was that there's no reason not to ride what you normally enjoy riding. And the rolling terrain and short techy climbs definitely reward an efficient bike.

    I haven't ridden at Whistler or in BC, but based on my SoCal experience, Sedona is much more like SoCal trails than like the SoCal DH resort or Mammoth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phile View Post
    Yes, the hardtail will be more tiring and physical, but you're used to that--no problem. My takeaway from replies to this thread was that there's no reason not to ride what you normally enjoy riding. And the rolling terrain and short techy climbs definitely reward an efficient bike.

    I haven't ridden at Whistler or in BC, but based on my SoCal experience, Sedona is much more like SoCal trails than like the SoCal DH resort or Mammoth.
    I see. Thanks for your input. On a hardtail, I tend to be a little more conservative while riding blind, which might be a good thing considering the exposure I've seen on some Sedona trails. Steep and gnarly is a lot of fun and near as makes no difference to me with or without rear squish.

    I can't wait. Looks like a week of temps in mid-60s coming up.

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    The Primer will be great in Sedona if you like roughing it on a hardtail. I ride a Honzo with 140mm up front and have a blast.

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    So I've been riding all over Sedona for several days now and I'm pretty happy you all pointed me to the hardtail. Thanks! The Chromag Primer is eating up everything I can throw it down, including the rowdy bits on Hiline, Hogs, etc. I'm ever thankful for the lack of squish as I begrudgingly do all of the technical climbing necessary to reach these goods.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davecheng View Post
    So I've been riding all over Sedona for several days now and I'm pretty happy you all pointed me to the hardtail. Thanks! The Chromag Primer is eating up everything I can throw it down, including the rowdy bits on Hiline, Hogs, etc. I'm ever thankful for the lack of squish as I begrudgingly do all of the technical climbing necessary to reach these goods.
    Rad! Iíve been here for a few days and had been sort of worried Iíd given you the wrong adviceóthe trails are rougher than usual from lack of rain. Glad youíre rocking the right bike. If you run into a group that includes a short guy with beard on an old-looking brushed-aluminum Giant Trance with a 160mm fork, say hi!

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by phile View Post
    If you run into a group that includes a short guy with beard on an old-looking brushed-aluminum Giant Trance with a 160mm fork, say hi!
    Seems like the appropriate place to include a photo of said guy on said bike rocking some Broken Arrow side-action. Fun riding with ya, phile!

    Best Sedona bike?-phile_broken_arrow_side-action.jpg

  60. #60
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    That's a sweet pic!

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    That's a sweet pic!
    It is indeed, although I can't take credit for it. Another friend in our group had the idea to lay down under that ledge and take some snaps. I think the timing was pure luck, as it was at the last second when phile announced that he was going 4-2-Flat from an awkward near standstill not far from the edge. He pulled it off nicely!

  62. #62
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    The best bike is the bike you enjoy riding the most.

    Two friends just returned from riding out there. One on a 150/135 29", the other on a 180mm 26". They both had a blast, and loved the riding. The bikes were never the hindrance in their abilities to climb or descend, that was all about their own personal skill and risk/reward levels.

    When I go, I'm taking my 160mm 29" bike, because it's the one I like to ride the most.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimN View Post
    Seems like the appropriate place to include a photo of said guy on said bike rocking some Broken Arrow side-action. Fun riding with ya, phile!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks, Jim. Amazing trip.

    My extensive field research suggests that the best bike for Sedona is:

    2008 Giant Trance X
    127mm rear/160mm front (Manitou Mattoc)
    2-degree Works angleset
    26" x 29mm rear (2.35" Hans Dampf Trailstar)
    27.5" x 35mm front (2.5" DHF WT Maxxgrip)
    ghetto 1x10 drivetrain w/SLX narrow-narrow chainring

    Anything other than this exact set-up is a serious compromise that will yield reduced fun-having. But if you insist, my colleagues (JimN et al.) researched some second-tier options and empirically proved that these result in only an incremental loss of fun-having:

    Pivot Switchblade (29", Jim's)
    S-Works Epic
    SC 5010
    SC Juliana
    SC Tallboy
    Yeti ASR
    RM Element 50 (antique 26")
    some kind of old Turner with DW-Link
    some kind of old Merlin with SSP (seat stay puck)
    Kona Honzo hardtail [FJ40runr, are you Chris, or are there multiple Honzos out there terrorizing Sedona??]

    Despite our rigorous methodology and careful attempts to control for all external variables, your mileage may vary.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by phile View Post
    Thanks, Jim. Amazing trip.

    My extensive field research suggests that the best bike for Sedona is:

    2008 Giant Trance X
    127mm rear/160mm front (Manitou Mattoc)
    2-degree Works angleset
    26" x 29mm rear (2.35" Hans Dampf Trailstar)
    27.5" x 35mm front (2.5" DHF WT Maxxgrip)
    ghetto 1x10 drivetrain w/SLX narrow-narrow chainring

    Anything other than this exact set-up is a serious compromise that will yield reduced fun-having. But if you insist, my colleagues (JimN et al.) researched some second-tier options and empirically proved that these result in only an incremental loss of fun-having:

    Pivot Switchblade (29", Jim's)
    S-Works Epic
    SC 5010
    SC Juliana
    SC Tallboy
    Yeti ASR
    RM Element 50 (antique 26")
    some kind of old Turner with DW-Link
    some kind of old Merlin with SSP (seat stay puck)
    Kona Honzo hardtail [FJ40runr, are you Chris, or are there multiple Honzos out there terrorizing Sedona??]

    Despite our rigorous methodology and careful attempts to control for all external variables, your mileage may vary.
    Ha! Perfect wrap-up to this thread. I'll add a little sequence of Chris on the Kona Honzo hardtail out at Secret Slickrock, the day you went off and did some silly rock climbing instead of riding.

    Best Sedona bike?-chris1.jpgBest Sedona bike?-chris2.jpgBest Sedona bike?-chris3.jpg

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    A Honzo in it's element! Not Chris btw, I'm Chase... apparently there are multiple!

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    Came back to Sedona for the festival with JimN and crew (though our Honzo rider brought his Process 111 this time instead). JimN's wife and I are about the same size, so we swapped demo bikes all 3 days, with shuttle service from JimN, which let us fit in 6 different bikes. Getting your hands on your top choices turned out to be really hard, so we ended up riding a variety of bikes, in either small or medium, based on what was available. We rode all 6 on the same trails--Scorpion/Pyramid and Skywalker/Old Post. The bikes were

    Ibis Ripley
    SC Tallboy
    Hei Hei Trail
    Devinci Troy
    Pivot Switchblade
    Norco Sight

    In that order of uphill bias to downhill bias. A lot of the perceived ride comes down to set-up and tuning in this situation, so that's a big wildcard. I started out trying to be pretty meticulous about checking pressures and settings, but gradually just took what they gave us. Some brief thoughts:

    Tallboy: Noticeably efficient. Fun, but not super-fast in the chunk. Maybe slightly more capable than the Ripley on downhills. Would be great for long rides.

    Ripley: I had demoed this in LA, and was curious to try it in Sedona. It was a lot like the Tallboy, but seemed slightly less capable. I had expected to enjoy it more than I did.

    Hei Hei Trail: This was a random pick that surprised us both. It felt efficient, fun, and capable both up and down. The low-tech rear suspension and low-end Revelation fork worked waaay better than I'd have guessed. JimN's wife bought one today (a 2017 Supreme with a better build on closeout at Jenson).

    Devinci Troy: Felt harsh to me. I think it had too much air in the shock and fork--I didn't use much of the travel. It was also a medium, and one of the bigger bikes of the bunch. Neither of us enjoyed it. JimN's wife had her first actual crash in god knows how long (she is an excellent and conservative rider), and I had some sketchy moments in fast corners--I think we both weren't weighting the front enough.

    Pivot Switchblade: This was my favorite. Heavy, at 30.4 lbs for a small, but for me, it was the perfect combo of climbing efficiency and downhill squish. A brilliant Sedona bike.

    Norco Sight: The Sight was amazing on the chunky first half of Scorpion. The fork soaked up everything--you tried to steer around the biggest rocks, but if you missed, it didn't matter--so you could really fly through there. Also extremely forgiving on the brief techy uphill cruxes. Just hooked up, everywhere, all the time. Much more than the Switchblade, though, it felt like a lot of bike. I wouldn't want to lug it everywhere.

    Then on Monday I rode my ancient, crappy Giant Trance and knocked a few seconds off my PR on the Witch Doctor segment on Pyramid (1:04). The bike felt crappy after all the demos, but a 2008 Trance, size small, is a really small bike (even with a 160mm fork), and I felt like I could place it EXACTLY where I wanted it--I could really move the bike around well, in a way that I couldn't with the other bikes. (I also knew it better, and had learned the trail quite a bit--I had only started riding the drop on Witch Doctor halfway through the weekend.) Ultimately, I'm not convinced the "longer" part of longer/lower/slacker is really that useful in Sedona, where you're seldom going THAT fast. Maneuverability seems more important.

    Your mileage may vary!

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by phile View Post
    Hei Hei Trail: This was a random pick that surprised us both. It felt efficient, fun, and capable both up and down. The low-tech rear suspension and low-end Revelation fork worked waaay better than I'd have guessed. JimN's wife bought one today (a 2017 Supreme with a better build on closeout at Jenson).
    Nice wrap-up! Big thanks to k2rider1964 for PMing me a note regarding the Jenson closeout deal! The wife's 2017 Kona Hei Hei Trail Supreme is scheduled to arrive next Monday.

    The happy demoers:

    Best Sedona bike?-phile_demo.jpg

    Best Sedona bike?-tracy_demo.jpg
    Last edited by JimN; 03-08-2018 at 09:24 AM. Reason: add photos

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    Rode a 5010 CS on Chuckwagon/Mescal/Canyon of Fools/Snake today. A nice bike, easy to handle, but I wished I had a little more front travel (130mm), even on these relatively mellow trails. Dunno how much of that was the low-end Fox Grip damper--I've read such varied opinions on it.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by phile View Post
    Rode a 5010 CS on Chuckwagon/Mescal/Canyon of Fools/Snake today. A nice bike, easy to handle, but I wished I had a little more front travel (130mm), even on these relatively mellow trails. Dunno how much of that was the low-end Fox Grip damper--I've read such varied opinions on it.
    My 5010 (with a Pike 140 up front) is the bike I ride in Sedona. I take it from Chuckwagon to Hangover and love the handling.
    2018 Intense Tracer
    2017 Intense Primer
    2016 Santa Cruz 5010

  70. #70
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    I really enjoyed riding the cannondale jekyll. It had plenty of travel to absorb 4-5' drops and switching it to trail mode it ran efficient through mezcal and chuck.

  71. #71
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    Tried a Giant Trance 2 on Hiline/Baldwin/EZ/Shady today. I was impressed that it only weighed .4 lbs more than the 5010 (30.2 vs. 29.8), despite +10mm rear and +20mm front travel, and Al instead of carbon. Great bike except for the slidey OEM front tire (hard-as-nails single-compound High Roller II) and too-short dropper (100mm on small frame). An amazing bike for <$3k. I crashed/walked the 50' crux of Hiline, but that was more the rider's fault than the bike's.

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