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  1. #1
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    Ideal suspension travel for Front Range??

    Assuming we are talking about a full suspension bike here, what have you found from experience is the optimum amount of travel for our front range trails? Mostly hard climbs and steep descents. I know the answers will vary and yes I searched and didn't find a similar thread. I choose to post this here because I value my fellow local riders opinions on this topic as we ride the same trails. Thanks for any input.

  2. #2
    Ride Like the Wind
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    I got the Talas Fox fork that is adjustable from 100mm,120mm to 140mm.I use the 120mm the most,although the 100mm works great for climbing and the 140mm works great for downhill.

  3. #3
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    What kind of trails are you riding? What's your budget?

    If you are talking about general XC trails, there is no "optimum" it's entirely personal style and feel. Bike geometry and the components have more to do with how a bike performs then it's suspension's travel distance.

  4. #4
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    Today's trail bikes are great and getting better. You should be able to find a 5-6 inch bike which climbs well and kills the descents. Some which come to my mind are the Trek Remedy, Ibis Mojo SL or HD, Turner DW 5-spot, Pivot Mach 5.7, Yeti ASR-5, Yeti 575. Obviously there are others. Personally I would demo a bunch of bikes on actual trails. If you're patient, you may want to attend Outerbike in Moab next fall. I'm on a Ibis Mojo SL which has 5.5 inches of travel. It climbs like a goat. However, I sometimes wonder if the HD would have been a better choice.

  5. #5
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    6"...

  6. #6
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    Good input so far. thanks. I never hear anyone say they wish they had less suspension. I'm not as interested in specific bike suggestions as I am what experience tells you about amount of travel that works best for you. I mostly ride around Lyons, Loveland, Boulder trails. Lots of climbing as you know.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by flightlevel29er View Post
    Good input so far. thanks. I never hear anyone say they wish they had less suspension.
    There are LOTS of people who make that statement, you can see it in the hard tails they ride.

    I switched to a hard tail for XC myself.

    FS will soak up a lot if your technique is crap, otherwise you really don't need it in the rear for XC stuff. The difference in climbing with a FS and hard tail is a very very big expanse.


    My downhill rig is another story all together, but that's downhill.


    Like someone else said, go demo a bunch of bikes.

  8. #8
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    I only have an inch (but my wife loves me anyway) and it does everything I need. I run a 80mm or a 100mm fork on this frame.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9
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    I have been happy with my 4 inch bike- better with my 5 inch- wasn't happy with my 5.5 inch bike and love my new 6 inch bike- in short it's not all about travel more about how the bike fits you- aka demo demo demo
    With 6 inches it's hard to go wrong but only you can tell-

  10. #10
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    sgltrak - what the heck is that?!


    exactly saxen, geometry and design play way more into it then that one particular aspect. And that's not even getting into what kind of rear shock, which makes a huge difference as well.

  11. #11
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    I didnt mention that both my fork and shock lock out,which is how I ride it most of the time in 120mm.Also,I would add that the only real time I use the 140mm is if I know I got a downhill all the way back to the car,other wise I enjoy just riding the trail in 120mm.140mm to me anyway is FOR downhill and too much travel to trail ride.Dont like the bike moving around too much on it's own,just more details when I really just want to relax and jam down the trail..The more I get to ride,the more I think less travel is better....

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by flightlevel29er View Post
    I never hear anyone say they wish they had less suspension.
    I'm pretty happy with zero suspension (unless you wan to count the pnuematic suspension of the tires), but I'm weird.
    "Fact is only what you believe; fact and fiction work as a team." Jack Johnson

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pabs View Post
    I'm pretty happy with zero suspension (unless you wan to count the pnuematic suspension of the tires), but I'm weird.
    no, you're a rider

    it's fun to have suspension sometimes

    it's fun to not have suspension sometimes

    the "industry" sure wants you to have suspension though

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrJosiah View Post
    sgltrak - what the heck is that?!
    ugh, newb

    You don't recognize Mr. Moots?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrJosiah View Post
    sgltrak - what the heck is that?!
    This

  16. #16
    t.i.t.s.ceo/FR amoeba rep
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgltrak View Post
    Yep the tried and true YBB!

    however my susp. choice is simply 20psi!
    I'm a cowboy on a steel horse i ride!

    the blog

  17. #17
    Rigid in Evergreen
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    Suspension is overrated... it gets hyped up by the manufacturers so they can keep you on the "Keeping up with the Joneses" treadmill.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by KarateChicken View Post
    no, you're a rider

    it's fun to have suspension sometimes

    it's fun to not have suspension sometimes

    the "industry" sure wants you to have suspension though

    I can't believe you posted about "The Conspiracy"

    I know the black helicopters will be at your house shortly and will all have the "S" logo on them.

    Good Luck!

  19. #19
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    I think suspension is fun so for me, that's what I ride. 4" travel 29er or 6.5" travel 26er. Both climb well and are fun on the downhill.

  20. #20
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    I have a FS bike, but don't tell anybody, ok.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by topmounter View Post
    Suspension is overrated... it gets hyped up by the manufacturers so they can keep you on the "Keeping up with the Joneses" treadmill.
    29" wheels too. Bike manufacturers love to hype the latest thing because many people want to have the latest thing. That's not necessarily bad, it just is, but it has nothing to do with what's "ideal"

    There is no "ideal" suspension travel. You can do just fine with 0, or a HT, or a soft tail, or a 4" bike or more. You can have fun on all those things and they all involve trade offs. Where you lie on the trade off balance is dependent on your style and preference.

  22. #22
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    Hardtail and 120-160mm up front. Lock it out on the ups and full tilt on the down.

    "Go that way, really fast..."

    Though, it is all doable on anything: reference, but listen to this while watching the video.

  23. #23
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    Interesting, I had never seen that particular Moots.

    There is a guy who rides a SS Moots around here (hardtail) that just demolishes.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by saxen View Post
    I have been happy with my 4 inch bike- better with my 5 inch- wasn't happy with my 5.5 inch bike and love my new 6 inch bike- in short it's not all about travel more about how the bike fits you- aka demo demo demo
    With 6 inches it's hard to go wrong but only you can tell-
    Ditto, that's exactly how I felt with my bike progression. I now have an SC Nomad 2 and there are only a couple of long XC rides each year that I wish for something with less travel and for everything else I can't wait to ride it over and over and over.
    Narrow is the path to life, few are those who find it.

  25. #25
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    At one time I owned a Turner 5.5 Spot (5 1/2" travel) along with a Gary Fisher Sugar 2 from year 2000 with 2 1/2" travel. I called it my "hardtail with cush". It had sat unridden for about two years.

    I really liked the Spot but it just climbed sluggishly. Descents were magical. One day I pumped up the Sugar's tires and Cane Creek shock and took it to Heil. Man was it fast. Turned out its minimal travel just took enough of the edge off the bumps to make it lightyears better than a straight hardtail. I planned right then and there to take it out more often.

    Then I blew up the shock on the way back to my truck and never replaced it. Shucks. I did sell the Spot and got a 4" 2007 SC Superlight and the fun re-began all over again.
    So it seems to me to be, this thing that I think I see.

  26. #26
    GL1
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    Three years ago I was racing the WP series and on a carbon HT. I would time everthing and thought that anything over 25lb or so was a downhill bike.

    Then, I backed off on the racing and started really just enjoying trailriding, technical stuff, etc. I went to a fuel...then pretty quick to a Nomad as I was pushing the envelope with drops etc on the fuel. As soon as I got the Nomad I knew I had found what I was looking for.

    If I was still timing myself and racing the Nomad would be a bit of an anchor but overall with my goal now just being to get out and have fun... it climbs great and then what a reward coming down! Like wilsonblur, once in awhile for some FR trails I know it's more bike than needed but if you can only have one arrow in your quiver and your goal is to get grins everytime you go out, the All Mtn bikes are hard to beat. So yeah, my favs would be Nomad, Firebird, Mojo HD...

    I like the 9er's and can see their advantages for racing and for certain riding styles. The 26" still holds it's own though for fun. I came from a BMX background and I find the 26" more suited to my riding style. I can throw it around more, manual, etc. Heck, I can even take it to the bike park. So to me, more fun and versitile.
    My most brilliant achievement was my ability to pursuade my wife to marry me. - Churchill

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy View Post
    I really liked the Spot but it just climbed sluggishly.
    wow, most people rave about the 5 spots climbing...
    the drugs made me realize it's not about the drugs

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by WKD-RDR View Post
    wow, most people rave about the 5 spots climbing...
    It probably "felt" sluggish but was, in fact, faster.

    2012 Kona Honzo for front range?


  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    It probably "felt" sluggish but was, in fact, faster.

    2012 Kona Honzo for front range?

    I know, I know. But I also had that 2007 5.5 Spot along with the Superlight for awhile. There's a section of about 300 yards of baby heads up near the bench on top of Heil. Coming back over that my Superlight would hammer through, at the end I'd feel invigorated. My Spot, well, it would melt through the baby heads and at the end I'd be near blown-up, i.e., a lot more effort. I could never figure out why. Going up Mt. Falcon, I knew how I should feel because I'd ridden it so many times. On the Spot...like my brakes were on, sort of.
    The only time I felt "at one" with the Spot was on my only trip out to Moab with it. As an overall ride it was unsurpassed. I felt like I could do anything and go anywhere with it, the bike I'd choose for an all day epic. Just not the endless climbing like around here.

    In fact, I could never understand why folks felt the pre-DW Spot climbed so well. Now, 2009 DW link on forward, THAT Spot climbed like my Superlight. I messed myself up in multiple crashes before I had a chance to buy one but I demo'd them enough to know there was a heckuva difference.
    So it seems to me to be, this thing that I think I see.

  30. #30
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    I think it all depends on what type of riding you are going to be doing. Are you going to be doing flat-out XC riding? If so a hard tail 29er with an 80-100mm fork will work just fine. Are you going for all day epics on the rockier trails up high? A 5 inch travel bike might fit better up there. Honestly though, in my experience, you can ride pretty much anything on the front range with pretty much any bike.

    I ride primarily on a rigid 29er single speed all over the front range, and have found it works pretty well over most conditions. When things get rocky -- or the distance gets long -- I'll switch over too my 100mm-forked hard tail 29er. That said, I ride mainly those trails which you mentioned in your follow-up post on my rigid. Even the rock garden at hall ranch isn't too bad, if you don't mind numb wrists at the end of the day.

    As other posters have mentioned, it might be best to just demo, demo again and then demo some more. See what works best for you and your riding personality, and then go for it. We all ride differently, and all have different needs from our bikes. Demo a bunch of stuff on the bike companies' collective dimes and then pull the trigger on whatever works best!

  31. #31
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    I own a hardtail, a 3.5" Giant Anthem, a 6" Giant Reign, and a 7" Freeride bike. I ride the 6" travel Reign most frequently by a large margin, it is a great all around bike. I hardly ever ride the hardtail, as the 3.5" Anthem pedals just like a hardtail, but has suspension for big hits.

    Geometry is a huge factor. The Reign is in the sweet spot for me a 67.5 head angle. I had to buy a longer fork (120mm) to slacken the Anthem out enough to be tolerable. Some people say slack head angles aren't good for climbing, but I don't think those people ride technical climbs.

    Suspension design is also important. Switched from a 5.5" CDale Prophet to the Reign in Jan, and the Maestro suspension is a totally different world, you can be moving super-slowly with the brakes on, and the rear suspension is still completely fluid. There is also very little pedal-bob even without any platform. The differences are very noticeable at slow speeds, but a single pivot feels similar when you're moving fast.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by WKD-RDR View Post
    wow, most people rave about the 5 spots climbing...
    those who ride one of these on the pavement, maybe?


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