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  1. #1
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    FS that rides like a HT

    I've ridden HTs most of my life, but find myself craving a FS trail bike lately. I've owned 3 FS bikes; 2 short travel and a 4" rear travel. I loved the short travels because the rear ends were designed very stiff, had response and feedback of a HT but had some give when riding over rough stuff at speed. The 4" bike had full carbon rear triangle and the linkage didn't have a support arch, even with a RP23 shock I hated it because the rear wheel just felt unresponsive, and sold it after a few months. I'm not one who cares for sag, I always kept the front and rear susp adjusted for a heavier rider than myself.

    My top candidates at this point are the RM element- for many years it has said to have a HT feel, and newest models have great reviews, even though its 120mm. Followed by SC BLUR XC and Superlight. I think the rear triangle and linkage of the Santa Cruz will be appreciated, but I've only ridden one briefly and it felt a little spongy. I'm open to other ideas, but only if it can fit a 650b on the rear. And I'm somewhat on a budget.

    So what other suggestions might I look at, and what are the opinions of the ride style of these 3 bikes?

  2. #2
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    FS that rides like a HT

    Stick to hardtails and run a bigger rear tire at lower pressure.
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  3. #3
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    FS that rides like a HT
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  4. #4
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    FS that rides like a HT

    ^^^this, stick with HT. May be a rigid fatbike since you are not using the suspension front or rear. That's gotta be fun too.


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  5. #5
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    My carbon ht will only fit a quasimoto, but I'm tired if that thing, going to swap parts over to my alum which fits a fatter tire and that should help out, but I don't think it will cure my craving for a new ride.

  6. #6
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    FS that rides like a HT

    What other FS do you have? Shorter than 4"?


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  7. #7
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    I first had a GF Sugar, 3" and it had an aluminum brake arch which made for a very stiff and predictable rear. The only downside was low tire clearance. Cracked that frame and it was replaced with a '04 frame, which had 4", full carbon stays and no arch- better tire clearance but it always felt noodly and not as stable in aggressive riding. Pedaling efficiency wasn't the issue, but it didin't hold lines and flick the way I was used to.

    I solid it quick, then bought a Fango softail which has some super precise handling and overall performs great for 1.25" travel. I've since moved to an area with more rocky and mountainous terrain, and while I have no trouble keeping up with the bigger bikes going down the rough stuff, my mind is just fixed on something that will soak up all the rough stuff on long descents. And I'm really overdue for a new ride.

  8. #8
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    Re: FS that rides like a HT

    The Sugar is an awesome bike. Very crisp FS for XC.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoban View Post
    The Sugar is an awesome bike. Very crisp FS for XC.
    Yes the early models were. Too bad they only fit a 2.0 rear tire.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob_co2 View Post

    I solid it quick, then bought a Fango softail which has some super precise handling and overall performs great for 1.25" travel. I've since moved to an area with more rocky and mountainous terrain, and while I have no trouble keeping up with the bigger bikes going down the rough stuff, my mind is just fixed on something that will soak up all the rough stuff on long descents. And I'm really overdue for a new ride.

    Love my Ripley

    Most bikes would blow your mind nowadays with pedaling efficiency and plushness, but you have to properly transition from HT or softtail to FS. Let the bike do the work and set up the sag correctly.

    Initially, I was going to suggest the 4" bikes but really you are ready for a 5-5.5". Too many good ones out there.

    4" travel
    Blur XCC, racer x, pivot Mach 4, turner flux, superlight, anthem, etc.

    5"-6"
    Mojo SL, mojo hd, 5spot, Mach5.7, trance x, Titus FTM, blur lt(c), nickel.

    All of these bikes can climb and descend very well, not like a HT but better in many ways. I don't want my FS to ride like a HT, that's why I have HTs for different kind of fun. Get out there and do some demos. Have fun.

  11. #11
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    dw link suspension bikes are really good for climbing or specialized bikes with a brain (but the brain is finicky). The turner sultan was my favorite bike when I demoed bikes but sadly I couldnt afford it.

  12. #12
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    I think you'd enjoy a Scott Spark. I have been no hardtails for a few years now and I am much faster and more comfortable when I can stand for short climbs. The Spark was perfect for this. Every other FS bike I've ridden will move the suspension when you stand and climb.

    Three shock positions.

    Locked-Seriously, locked. I only use this on the road since the middle position is so effective.

    Short Travel-Reduced travel, firm platform damping. I use this position most, you don't feel the suspension moving under you. But it does move on the bumps that would really jack your back on HT. The suspension does not move from standing and cranking.

    Open-Very little damping, full travel. Not the best performing setup around for descending, but way faster than a HT on super rough descents and saves your energy too.
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  13. #13
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    Spot on! I feel like I'm well equipped for XC and even aggressive XC with my current fleet. Now looking for something than I can enjoy some chunky trails on, rather than just survive them. Want a fun bike, but not freeride/trail, something that still has an that familiar XC feel. The blur XC sounds capable, but maybe a little too fancy. And most bikes listed are on the high end price, even for used. e.
    I'm getting antsy and very close to clicking the button on the element

  14. #14
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    I was in the same boat as you and went with the superlight. Single pivot design pedals well, lightish, and short wheelbase. Have not been disappointed yet.

  15. #15
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    If you are on a budget, used Racer X is the way to go. It can't do a 650b, but it's got arguably the best pedal efficiency you are going to find for a FS bike on a budget. The Horst works very well in this regard and you really have little financial risk if you buy a used one and then sell it if you don't like it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by hken2 View Post
    If you are on a budget, used Racer X is the way to go. It can't do a 650b, but it's got arguably the best pedal efficiency you are going to find for a FS bike on a budget. The Horst works very well in this regard and you really have little financial risk if you buy a used one and then sell it if you don't like it.
    I agree, aside from the Spark, the Racer-X is the only full suspension bike I've ridden that you can hammer on like a hardtail.
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  17. #17
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    Re: FS that rides like a HT

    Consider demoing a yeti asr5c. Suspension stays pretty solid till you need it. Not a plush bike, but very responsive stiff chassis.

    Also, I haven't ridden the yeti asr (its 4inch little brother) but if the asr5 feels too soft & loose, the asr might be the ticket.

  18. #18
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    Its the fox float shock, it gives a vague crappy rear suspension feeling... especially if you're looking for something supportive and stiff, you dont want a fox float back there! Basically any shock is better, monarch is a good choice. Xfusion is getting good reviews. Most piggyback shocks will offer much much better support and rear suspension performance as well.

  19. #19
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    Have you checked out a Cannondale Scalpel? It has a pivotless rear.

    The other possibility is the Specialized Epic. It relies on complex rear shock that stays pretty stiff until you hit something that needs movement.

    Otherwise, I'm a big fan of high quality steel hardtails. That with a high volume tire and you'd swear you had a few inches of suspension.
    Just get out and ride!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob_co2 View Post
    Spot on! I feel like I'm well equipped for XC and even aggressive XC with my current fleet. Now looking for something than I can enjoy some chunky trails on, rather than just survive them. Want a fun bike, but not freeride/trail, something that still has an that familiar XC feel. The blur XC sounds capable, but maybe a little too fancy. And most bikes listed are on the high end price, even for used. e.
    I'm getting antsy and very close to clicking the button on the element
    If you want something fun and more trail like IŽd focus more on geometry first, try to find frames that are more slack with head tube angles of 68/69. A FS bike that is more XC wonŽt be as fun or give as much confidence as a HT that is slacker.

    Blur XC might not be a bad choice its less steep than most HT XC bikes but it will be very close, if you are looking for fun I would consider a TR but thats expensive, Heckler would be a good budget bike but you want something that pedals like a HT.

  21. #21
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    Check out a Salsa Spearfish; I rode a hardtail SIR 9 single speed for years, so i understand the idea of standing and hammering. I have been very impressed with this bike. Just enough suspension to soak up the chatter and take the edge off of small hits.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob_co2 View Post
    I've ridden HTs most of my life, but find myself craving a FS trail bike lately. I've owned 3 FS bikes; 2 short travel and a 4" rear travel. I loved the short travels because the rear ends were designed very stiff, had response and feedback of a HT but had some give when riding over rough stuff at speed. The 4" bike had full carbon rear triangle and the linkage didn't have a support arch, even with a RP23 shock I hated it because the rear wheel just felt unresponsive, and sold it after a few months. I'm not one who cares for sag, I always kept the front and rear susp adjusted for a heavier rider than myself.

    My top candidates at this point are the RM element- for many years it has said to have a HT feel, and newest models have great reviews, even though its 120mm. Followed by SC BLUR XC and Superlight. I think the rear triangle and linkage of the Santa Cruz will be appreciated, but I've only ridden one briefly and it felt a little spongy. I'm open to other ideas, but only if it can fit a 650b on the rear. And I'm somewhat on a budget.

    So what other suggestions might I look at, and what are the opinions of the ride style of these 3 bikes?
    I ride an old RM Element....I put an RP23 first ride out of the garage I said to myself geez this rides like a hardtail...

    I hear the new elements are even stiffer when locked out.

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