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  1. #1
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    Can't decide what I want in a trail bike....

    I have a 2011 Giant XTC 29er hardtail which I have used to race XC for the past 2 years. I am done racing competitively, and I want to sell my 29er hardtail to buy a trail bike. I live in Western North Carolina and mostly go for long rides with several thousand feet of technical climbing and technical descending. I also like to hit jumps occasionally. I have decided I want a 26 inch trail bike. I have ridden a 29er for the past 3 years, and I am looking for something which I can push harder on corners, is more maneuverable on the descents, and is more fun to jump.

    I thought that I wanted something with geometry similar to a specialized Stumpjumper EVO, which has a 67 degree head tube angle, and 150 mm front and rear travel. However, this past weekend, I rented a 2012 stumpjumper EVO Comp and took it for an epic trail ride to test it out. I am 5'11, right between a size medium and a size large. I rode the medium because the shop only had 29ers in a larger, and I thought a medium might be a little more fun. The bike was excellent on the descents. However, I found on the technical climbs, It was incredibly difficult to stick to my lines.


    I realize that a trail bike is not meant to be the climbing machine that my 29er hardtail is, but this bike was really hard to climb on. I borrowed the morewood trail bike my friend was riding, and it was not nearly as difficult to climb. I do want a bike which is really fun to descend on, but I felt like the head tube was way too slack (67 degrees). I couldnt tell how much of this difficulty was caused by my not being used to the 26 inch full suspension bike and how much of it was actually the bike itself. A 67 degree head tube angle is common on a lot of trail bikes (Yeti SB66, Trek remedy).

    Do you think that I couldn't climb as well as I would like to because the headtube angle was too slack, or just because I wasnt used to the bike? My 29er has a 71.5 degree headtube angle.

    I am thinking I should go for something like a normal stumpjumper FSR, with a 68 degree headtube angle. What do you think?

  2. #2
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    I have tried my buddys 2013 stumpjumper fsr elite 29er with bike brain. It can climb but it is not its forte. Most of the time im in its granny gear. Loses traction on steep climbs. Dunno whether its the bike brain or the 2.3 purgatory tires or too front heavy.

  3. #3
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    The size of bike I prefer is large (19") so when I test ride mediums I tend to sit much more upright than when I'm on a proper sized bike. When you sit more upright, you tend to move your weight balance toward the rear wheel which unweights the bars. When the bars unweight, it becomes more difficult to hold your line while climbing, especially when it gets steep.

    Now I'm not going to claim every issue you have had with climbing on the EVO is due to fit, but I would bet that it would become a little more manageable if you were riding the proper size for your body type. Of course, I prefer a larger bike and your preferences may vary from mine.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  4. #4
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    I agree with zebra. Plus big part of it is that you are not used to the bike geo and travel. Slacker ha is harder to steer but once you get used to it, it's actually make tech climb more fun because you don't need to exaggerate to manual up and over something. Not to mention you'd be rewarded on the way down.

    I also prefer smaller frame when I'm in between the size for trail riding. Opposite on the XC.

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  5. #5
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    Felt

  6. #6
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    575 or SB66

  7. #7
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    If I were you, I would demo a lot before buying. Keep demos long enough to make tweaks. For what it is worth, when I moved from a 150mm fork to a 160mm fork on the same frame I had an issue with the front end wandering. It took a few shake down rides to make proper adjustments. Once I got it squared away, climbed like a mad man.


    I'm in north GA and have a MotoLite and an El Guapo. If I could only have one bike I would split the difference between the two. 68 deg HTA, 140 or 150 front and rear, 20mm TA for stiffness, wide rims, etc.

  8. #8
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    hey, just wanted to add a few points to my above thread. When I moved to the 160mm Lyrik it was on my El Guapo. That bike was designed around a 160 fork so it wasn't like I was slacking it out more than the intended geometry. Prior to that i was running a 150mm Sektor. With the 150mm fork I was clearing technical climbs that I was never able to clear on any other bike. I LOVED how well that bike climbed but wanted to put a proper 160 fork on it.
    First ride on the new fork and the front end wandered, poped up way too easily and on the very steep climbs it was just horrible. This was with the exact same setup as befor with the only 2 differences being an extra 5mm spacer under the stem and the added A2C of about 15mm. I ended up dropping the extra 5mm spacer, dropping the nose of my saddle slightly and sliding my saddle forward around 5-10mm and it totally changed the climbing. I probably just got used to the geometry and moving my body around more on the climbs but regardless, if I had made too quick a decision I'd be back on a 150mm fork on that bike. Glad I took the time to experiment a little.

    I've also been able to tell a significant differece when adding 10 to 15mm in A2C on other bikes. I can also tell if my saddle is just a few mm too high or too low as soon as I start to pedal. Some of us are just more sensitive to these types of changes than others.

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