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  1. #1
    rmi is offline
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    Jan 2010

    Does more suspension always mean a "plusher" ride (for aggro XC/ light AM)?

    Hey all:

    Not a biking noob, but I am thinking about getting my first FS bike soon. I like to ride fast when possible, like to challenge myself on every ride, like to climb and descend, and like to have fun biking. I wear T-shirts and use platform pedals (to give you a flavor of what type of rider I am). I don't race and don't plan to (but love riding faster than the spandex-jersey clad pro-racer wannabes I pass on the trail). My current stomping grounds is northern GA, but I travel to NC to ride too. I don't huck off jumps or ride drops, but would like to ride more aggressively within reason.

    I have been looking at 120-140 mm travel bikes. Specifically, I have had my eye on some of the lower end Fuel EX's, Trance X's, FSRxc's, Fuji Reveal's, and Specialized Pitches. Although I shouldn't really spend more than $800 (yeah, I have my eyes on Craigslist every day), I am willing to spend around $1,500 and maybe even $2000 (I think).

    As I get older (approaching 30), I definitely feel like my body takes a beating on my hardtail. I know that a FS will help this some. My question is: Does the extra 20mm of travel between a 120 and a 140 bike really matter if I am not doing big drops? Should I be more concerned with geometry than with travel in this range?

    I just want a do-it-all bike that I can have for many years and be happy with.

    Thanks in advance for any advice- Ryan

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    LOL. I love the people who insist on passing folks in spandex. Anyone who can swipe a credit card can wear a full team kit, and a race is only a race if both people in it agree it is.

    I wouldn't let the 20mm be a huge factor in choosing a bike. Ride all those models you listed. Try as many different things as you can on a test ride - riding up a hill, riding over curbs or speed bumps, wheelies, manuals, riding down a stair set, etc. etc. You'll probably shorten your list considerably.

    Most of those bikes are targeted at what it sounds like your task is - I'm hearing cross-country but not racing. The Pitch is an exception. It's more of a freeride bike. In my area, WA, a lot of people ride and love Enduros; I think the Pitch is a lower-pricepoint version of that platform. Certainly you can still pedal it uphill, but you might have a little more trouble climbing singletrack.

    Some food for thought about suspension travel... dirt jumpers are all about catching air, and they've managed to get the companies to build them 60-100mm coil forks, which are often set to be very, very stiff. Meanwhile, the guys with triple crown forks, at least on days when they're competing, pre-jump rollers and soak up hits in an effort to get less air. Suspension is really for keeping the wheels in contact with the ground. More of it lets you ride faster and ignore larger obstacles, but the rider has a lot more suspension travel than the bike when it comes to landing a hit.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
    SS Pusher Man
    Reputation: mtnbikej's Avatar
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    Sep 2001
    7,148 is the QUALITY of the travel, more so than the QUANTITY of travel.
    I resolve to constantly assert my honest opinion on anything and everything - whether it is requested or not.
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  4. #4
    I push my bike up hills
    Reputation: BMeX's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    Might want to check out the head angles on those models you listed, I'm learning right now (the hard way) just how important it is.

  5. #5
    Picture Unrelated
    Reputation: zebrahum's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Go out and ride some bikes. It's the only way you will know. Make sure the shop sets up the suspension sag for you and go pedal some bikes. There are huge differences between bikes of the same travel when it comes to feel, let alone bikes with different travel. For example, the 140mm Transition Bottlerocket is not even close in trail feel to a 140mm Specialized Stumpjumper. Both great bikes, both completely different despite the travel numbers.

    So, go ride everything in your price range that you can get your hands on. Buying new is always better than used for someone who is new to bikes; as it comes with a warranty and usually comes with a period of free service. This is because you can be sure the bike isn't completely ragged out and being pawned off on someone who doesn't know any better.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  6. #6
    meow meow
    Reputation: b-kul's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikej is the QUALITY of the travel, more so than the QUANTITY of travel.
    exactly. a dailed bike with 100mm will feel way better than a bike with awkward geo and 160mm.

  7. #7
    rmi is offline
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    Jan 2010
    Great advice, everyone. Thanks. I got to get out and ride some of these bikes soon.


  8. #8
    mbtr member
    Reputation: scottzg's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    What everyone is getting at is that you can look at the amount of travel to give you an idea what the bike is all about, but it's just an indicator. 29" wheels, head angle, and top tube length are other indicators that in isolation don't really tell the whole story, even if people want them to.

    Everything you listed except the pitch are 'trailbikes;' they're decent climbing, decent descenders w/o being really great at anything. The pitch is a better descender than them- it's more upright, it's slacker, it keeps your weight further back, and the suspension is tuned to be mushier and plusher. If you don't mind a litttle more ponderous bike on the climb, the pitch is more fun to bounce down steep chunky hills and jump.

    I ride a hardtail, and it's a sled. Very comfortable and confident on the downhill, not really that fun to climb with, but tolerable.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
    Mikhail Kalashnikov

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