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Thread: New bike stoke

  1. #1
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    New bike stoke

    Alternate title: Learning how to ride a hardtail on National.

    Disclaimer: I like bicycles. A lot. So it wasn't hard for me to envision a hardtail 29er for occasional use in the sort of riding my group typically does. Combine that with the sweet "new-school" geometry of the Canfield Yelli Screamy and only $650 for a new frame and it appears to be a winner.

    Here's the build spec:

    Frame: Size L, black chrome
    Fork: Manitou Tower Pro 120mm, 20mm
    Headset: Cane Creek 40
    Wheels: Speeddream build, Flow to Hadley
    Tires, Geax Gato 2.3 front, Spec. Purgatory 2.2, both tubeless
    Brakes: Shimano XT with IceTech 180/180
    Cockpit: Deity Dirty 30 bars, Thomson 70mm stem, XT shifters
    Drivetrain: XT cranks 32/22, XT front der. trimmed, BBG bash, Blackspire stinger, KMC chain, XT Shadow + rear der., 12-36 cassette
    Other: KS 5-inch dropper, Silverado saddle, Atac Z pedals


    IMG_0319 by dbozman1173, on Flickr


    IMG_0321 by dbozman1173, on Flickr

    Rode a couple of shakedowns at PMP and took it out to climb/descend National yesterday. Really, really interesting experience. Not "interesting" in the bad sense, but in the sense of a new way of approaching/performing technical riding.

    Aside from riding a 29er SS on mostly non-technical trails, I have no experience riding a non-suspension bike on rocks. What I found, at least for me, is that no rear suspension requires a marked change in technique, particularly for manualing/pedal wheelies up onto and off of obstacles. I tend to load the rear suspension, then straighten my knees and push back, which will raise the front wheel on a suspension bike. Not so on a hardtail, which requires completely different timing (as evidenced by repeated front-wheel-into-rock endos until I kinda figured it out).

    Climbing was really good, particularly since the YS's rear stays are so short, the rear tire is almost directly under your arse. You have to pay much more attention to tire placement and of course you can't do the monkey-humping-a-football suspension loading to bull your way through multiple obstacles (say, the middle line on the Triangle).

    As expected, the real challenge was the fast, chunky, lower third of National. I wasn't as slow as I expected to be, but the hardtail requires a lot of focus, line choice and it absolutely kills your legs, which are soaking up all the impacts.

    As my technique improves, I'm sure it'll be even more fun. Certainly not a replacement for a solid 6-inch bike but a cool and relatively inexpensive "fun" bike to ride on occasion.

  2. #2
    How much further ???
    Reputation: Douger-1's Avatar
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    Really cool. I have been looking at a Transition Trans Am 29er which is a similar AM 29er HT geometry. Its always fun for me to switch between my 26er HT and my Slayer. Two totally different beasts as you say and I always find it a bit rough for the first ride. I tend to over ride my HT on the first ride out as I probably forget I'm not on my Slayer.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  3. #3
    Andrew
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    Nice setup. Hardtails FTW. What's the weight on that?
    2012 Trek Superfly 100

  4. #4
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    I definitely wouldn't say hardtails FTW. Fun, sure, but not a replacement for my Enduro. It's not light, about 29 pounds on my bathroom scale.

    Doug: Yep, couple of current frames with similar geo (YS, Trans Am, Honzo, the Banshee frame). Interesting how these frames with super-short rears and really slack/low geometry can be made to feel like a 26er frame with better wheel rollover.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
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    having only been on FS bikes for about a year after 12 on hardtails (three of those on my 29SS) I think you are pretty spot on. I rode with a bunch of you gravity nuts on Mormon/National a year ago with my SS and between now and then, for trails like that where technical climbing is a must, the HT wins out.

    Getting up stair-steps, boulders and when momentum is precious and hard to come by- the hard tail technique made it much easier for me. Seems like you lose less speed when there is no suspension taking away the kinetic energy.

    Trying to keep up downhill was a chore compared to the FS rigs you all had and got downright scary trying to match pace sometimes as I was really hanging it out there.

    Nice review of the bike and makes me wish I still could afford mulitple bikes right now. For what I plan on doing over the next year or two (longer XC-ish trail rides) the 4 inch FS bike seems to turn the trick, but I do miss the precision climb control of that HT!

  6. #6
    Black and Sticky
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    Agree with your premise of having a HT 29er for occasional use. I built up a Jabberwocky a couple years ago after winning the frame at one of the night rides. Mine is set up 1x9 and relatively light ~24 lbs. I thought I'd miss the granny gear on climbs, but really not so much. Anybody with full squish looking for a second bike just to shake things up should consider doing what you did.

    Bob
    "Some people follow their dreams, others hunt them down and beat them mercilessly into submission." - Neil Kendall

  7. #7
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    I think it's pretty likely I'll drop to a 1x10 setup on this once I settle in on a standing pedal technique. We'll see. That granny sure is nice when desperation sets in!

  8. #8
    Prime
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    I don't ride quite as aggressively or have the descending skills as your NCC, but I do get up on Natty and Geronimo and such occasionally. My Firebird almost always hangs on the wall, my Paradox is my main ride. Back in the spring I did the Morman/Natty loop on my 'bird, then repeated it on my Paradox, I was a full 5 minutes faster for the loop on my hard tail 29er. I did a course compare and most of the gain was on the down. I don't do quite as big of drops on the hard tail, but I'm not much of an air guy anyway. Cleanest drop down Corona de Loma was also hard tail 29er.

    I am though waiting as patiently as I can for my new FS 29er frame to arrive, probably will sell the 'bird. Should be posting up my own new bike build soon. Personally, I like the 29" wheels.

  9. #9
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    What new FS frame are you getting?

    I like 29ers, too, but sometimes FS versions get too long in wheelbase and sometimes a little tall/goofy in the tech.

  10. #10
    Prime
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    Banshee Prime, should be shipping mid-October. Already have all my goodies in hand. Fox F34, WTB i23 Frequencies laced to e*thirteen LG1+ hubs, 2012 Saint brakes & Ice Tech rotors, Sram shifters and drive train, XT cranks, the new Saint pedals, Cane Creek 110 headset, KS LEV, Havoc bars/Haven stem. Either going to use the new Speshy 2.3 Butcher 29er tires if they're out in time, or some Hans Damphs.

    Going to have to start hitting the top of the mountain more often.

  11. #11
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    Dang. The photos I've seen look awesome. Should be a sweet rig.

    I tell you, I got the new XT brakes with Icetech rotors and they are incredible. Even moved down a rotor size in front from the Hope Tech M4s on my Enduro. While they're not as bling, the XTs work and modulate just as well and are radically cheaper. Impressed.

  12. #12
    Prime
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    Nice bike, by the way, Blatant. I had considered a Yelli, but the geometry is just a bit more stretched out than what I was wanting to try. As it turns out, my Banshee feels almost perfect, to me. When I got the hankering for a new FS 29er, I looked seriously at the Stumpy EVO and the Transition Bandit29. I was looking for less XCish, more semi-DHish, but that could climb. I've had money down on my Prime since April, it's been a long wait. I like the Bandit better than the Stumpy mainly for the geometry, and I could have gotten a Bandit months ago. But the Prime rear triangle looks indestructable, and I do have a tendency to throw my stuff down in the rocks.

  13. #13
    Prime
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    I would have gone with the XT's just because of past experience, but I just happened to find the Saints at Pricepoint for $150.00 each axle, this was a while back. I've got a 203mm Ice Tech for the front, but suspect that I also may be dropping a size.

    Reports from the prototype riders state that the Prime climbs extremely well, even better than a Paradox or Yelli. And they claim that it just rips going down. I'm excited.

  14. #14
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    Cool. You might be one of the first locals to have one. I'd be interested in giving it a spin if you're so inclined and we see each other on the trail some day.

    FWIW, I really liked the Stumpy FSR 29er I had from a geo perspective, but the rear was way too flexy for what I needed.

  15. #15
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    HT 29er is my everyday ride. I've got a Monocog that I managed to put 8 gears on. I find it goes up an down National just fine, but is seems a bit more hands on than my FS ride. I took it through the center of the triangle heading up, and it was a slow, jumpy ride. There's no powering through it. And there sure is no pre-load to get up onto the high line of the triangle either. For me, it's get the front on, then drag the rear up after me. With the FS, I could kinda hop myself up. I still find it easier than taking the FS 26er up there though, which I accredit to the big tires. I just love those things. Except for when I want to blast down something like National. It's nice having the precise control and bounce in a FS 26er. Every 29er I've been on rides like a tank, which I generally like. Coming down the waterfall is an effort in finesse on the HT as well.
    Today's the day I eat bikes.

  16. #16
    Prime
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Cool. You might be one of the first locals to have one. I'd be interested in giving it a spin if you're so inclined and we see each other on the trail some day.

    FWIW, I really liked the Stumpy FSR 29er I had from a geo perspective, but the rear was way too flexy for what I needed.
    No problem Blatant. It's got to have been more than a year since I've ridden with you guys, my work and free time schedule changed big time. Most of my rides now are solo in the evening during the week, and I just can't bring myself to get up early on weekends so those rides are usually mid-morning or afternoon, again quite often solo.

    I agree with the Stumpy being too flexy, nice frame no doubt but not what I was looking for. I'll probably keep my geared Paradox for the milder rides, although I've thought that a 5" SS could be cool.

  17. #17
    Prime
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    Dag, the newer short wheel base slack 29ers are a definite step up from the Monocogs and El Mariachis. They climb very good, handle nimbly, and are a hoot to descend on. Even though you and freeskier out rode me Sunday, it was a legs and lungs thing, definitely not a tank bike thing.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post

    Here's the build spec:

    Frame: Size L, black chrome
    Fork: Manitou Tower Pro 120mm, 20mm
    Headset: Cane Creek 40
    Wheels: Speeddream build, Flow to Hadley
    Tires, Geax Gato 2.3 front, Spec. Purgatory 2.2, both tubeless
    Brakes: Shimano XT with IceTech 180/180
    Cockpit: Deity Dirty 30 bars, Thomson 70mm stem, XT shifters
    Drivetrain: XT cranks 32/22, XT front der. trimmed, BBG bash, Blackspire stinger, KMC chain, XT Shadow + rear der., 12-36 cassette
    Other: KS 5-inch dropper, Silverado saddle, Atac Z pedals


    BUMP, so you have the specs for Craigslist next week


    Here's the build spec:

    Frame: Size L, black chrome
    Fork: Manitou Tower Pro 120mm, 20mm
    Headset: Cane Creek 40
    Wheels: Speeddream build, Flow to Hadley
    Tires, Geax Gato 2.3 front, Spec. Purgatory 2.2, both tubeless
    Brakes: Shimano XT with IceTech 180/180
    Cockpit: Deity Dirty 30 bars, Thomson 70mm stem, XT shifters
    Drivetrain: XT cranks 32/22, XT front der. trimmed, BBG bash, Blackspire stinger, KMC chain, XT Shadow + rear der., 12-36 cassette
    Other: KS 5-inch dropper, Silverado saddle, Atac Z pedals

  19. #19
    Prime
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    Just an FYI, not meant to hijack. Spesh lists today a 2.3 29er Purg, control and grid. By the end of Sept they are supposed to have a Butcher 2.3 29er, control. Maybe they'll do a grid also??

  20. #20
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    Wasn't able to hit Flag today, so rode National up to the Waterfall. Man, it was a soggy one out there. Absolutely miserable. That said, hit the Waterfall for the first time on a hardtail. It was actually pretty cool. It fact, it was solid. Tiny bit goofy in the last spot of chunk at the bottom, but a fun experience.

    Rebuilt the Manitou Tower with a new coil and it's working pretty well. Can't help thinking I'd like a Fox 34 in 140mm on this rig, but the Manitou is nice.

    By the way, I'm still super-stoked on these new XT brakes and the Shadow+ rear der.

  21. #21
    Prime
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    Been a while since I've done the lower waterfall, jacked my right knee up there pretty bad about a year and a half ago trying one of Grave9's crazy lines. Now, every time I start to roll in, I chicken out. I've ridden everything else up there on the hardtail though. Some is rougher, sure, but it's really only the bigger drops that hurt. Take that Yelli down Corona de Loma, you'll be pleasantly surprised. I haven't done Geronimo in a while, I'll bet a Yelli or a Paradox would make for a fun drop.

  22. #22
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    New frontier today, took it down Upper Cheesegrater out at PMP. Wow, what a blast. This rig tracks like a champ. Does NOT feel like you're riding a 29er at all. Incredible.

  23. #23
    Prime
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    Are you still feeling that the 180mm front rotor is adequate?

    I reread your opening post, and will quote, "Certainly not a replacement for a solid 6-inch bike but a cool and relatively inexpensive "fun" bike to ride on occasion".

    I'll bet that your "occasions" become more frequent, these slacked out hardtail AM 29ers really are a blast.

  24. #24
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    You might be right on that. I keep looking for significant weaknesses and can't find many. I mean, it's a couple pounds porkier than you'd expect, but that's about it.

    I almost always run a 203 front rotor, but I'm perfectly pleased with the 180 on these XTs.

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