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  1. #1
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    FR rigs that pedal well uphill?

    I'm looking to sell my AM but am not in a position to throw down $4k+ on a new rig. I'd love to hear anyone's recommendations on solid dh/freeride setups from the recent past that climb. Anything from '11, '12, or '13

    I'm over the "climber-that-descends" and would like a "downhiller-that-climbs."

    I have only ever ridden uphill for the specific purpose of going downhill, but my local spot demands some serious climbing. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
    Last edited by dirtyBob; 08-14-2014 at 12:00 PM.
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  2. #2
    YYZ
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    SX trail is what I'm thinking about. A used 2011/12 version.

  3. #3
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    My Norco Aurum '13 spec climbs pretty well though I've tweaked it to suite with 11-36 10spd rear (expanded to 11-42) using Zee FR mech and a 30T narrow-wide front ring.
    I also dropped in a pair of 650b Pike RCT3 forks to lighten up the front and help with twisty single track. These gave a minor drop in A2C and BB height which is still above the axle line so no worse than most am rigs. The seat angle is still pretty relaxed and as I like seated climbing I've fitted a Reverb seat post but the reach still works out ok for me and is similar dims to what I would get if spanking the cash on an enduro bike (like a YT Capra?).. Lots of haters regarding this setup but I have to say its climbs as good if not better than my previous Reign X did and is now similar in weight . Why did I do this ? it was in the shop at a great price and rigs with the kicked out HA I wanted weren't that available (locally) or affordable at the time (and maybe still aren't) .

  4. #4
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    The SX Trail can handle the descents, for sure. It is a bit of a chore to climb on though. About as bad as most full DH bikes I've ridden. It needs to go on a serious diet if you plan on climbing anything substantial. If you can find one used, get a Canfield One. Amazingly good at climbing, and 8in of bottomless goodness is ready and waiting for the descent. Best 'dh bike that climbs' that I've ever ridden by a long shot. I took mine on an 8mile climb (6-12% grade with no real rest spots), and it handled it just fine.
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  5. #5
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    Norco Truax or Enduro Evo should work well.

  6. #6
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    Canfield One.

  7. #7
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    I ride a Banshee Rune and it climbs very well. Granted its a 6inch bike and while I have no hands on experience with the new banshee darkside i would take a look at that! Uses the same linkage design as the Rune.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by charging_rhinos View Post
    The SX Trail can handle the descents, for sure. It is a bit of a chore to climb on though. About as bad as most full DH bikes I've ridden. It needs to go on a serious diet if you plan on climbing anything substantial. .

    I've got a different opinion. My '12 SX weighs a hair under 36 pounds. I don't consider that "heavy." My last big bike, an SC Bullit w/ an Avalanche DHS shock and Monster T -- now that bike was a pig! The SX pedals insanely well, but that's a different factor than weight -- though I suspect a pretty big reason why my climbs have gotten faster. I do very serious climbing; (1800 ft vert in 3 miles; 3500 ft. vert in 5 miles, for an example of two local trails) and I only push the thing on sections where you would push any bike (I have a long history riding and racing XC in addition to DH -- I know what can be climbed and what can't).

    The thing with the SX (or any FR/Light DH bike, for that matter), is that you need to ramp up the compression on your rear shock to preserve any steepness you can get out of your head angle. I turn my Fox up 11 clicks before climbing; it takes as many seconds to dial that in. Next, you need to flatten the seat (not angled back DH-style) and it needs to be pushed forward on the rails so that your weight is a little more forward. Those last two adjustments make a HUGE difference in how it climbs -- especially if you stay seated at all times (which I'd recommend; standing up and cranking is a waste of energy in 90% of climbing situations).

    I've been riding my SX for two years now and doing the same climbs for many, many years. I am faster on the SX than I was on my '08 RM Slayer which weighed about 4 pounds less. I am not in better shape -- if anything, I should be getting slower in my "old age" - lol. Anyway, I have owned quite a large number of bikes; XC/DH/All-mountain and everything in between, and my SX has given me by far the best ratio of climbability to DH performance to date.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by S Dub View Post
    I ride a Banshee Rune and it climbs very well. Granted its a 6inch bike and while I have no hands on experience with the new banshee darkside i would take a look at that! Uses the same linkage design as the Rune.
    I ordered a darkside and plan on building it up as a downhiller-that-climbs with a dropper post, should have it sometime next week. After mashing the pedals on someone's legend and spitfire I was sold, hoping the darkside is somewhere between those two. Everyone praises the canfield one, but they don't make them anymore. The canfield balance looks cool if your okay with 160 travel. Also, the 650b / 26 and geo adjustable changeable dropouts on the darkside seem awesome.

  10. #10
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    thanks very, very much for the detailed suggestions guys. most appreciated. helps cut down on wasted research
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  11. #11
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    I would seriously look into the Canfield The One used....that bike surprised me....it climbs very well like an XC bike but handles the descends like a DH bike....very very good lite DH bike.

    Maybe DFT can chime in on his.....he hitting plus 10 foot drops (maybe your scale 15 but I say 10) and climbs the craziest stuff he can find
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by YYZ View Post
    SX trail is what I'm thinking about. A used 2011/12 version.
    The other posts have it right, the SX and enduros in general are pretty poor-climbing bikes. Many DH bikes are better. The SX has better geometry and the ability to take 2 rings or whatever, but apart from that it's not a great bike for going uphill. My turner highline was actually surprisingly good at pedaling uphill with it's pivot location and one ring up front. At the time I had a bike similar to an SX trail (same suspension type) and it would compress going uphill with each pedal stroke, feeling like a wet-sponge rather than accelerating with each pedal stroke. I have an enduro now and obviously I didn't get it for it's pedaling prowess, but for other features. You can do a lot better in terms of what you are asking for. SX is nice for a slopestyle bike/lighter/nimble DH type bike, not very good if you have to climb though.
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  13. #13
    NWS
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    My 2011 Canfield Jedi bobs if I stand up to climb, but I stay seated it climbs perfectly well. So I keep my butt on the seat. I run a 34t ring up front and an 11-36 cassette, and a 5" dropper post, and I put street tires on my all-mountain bike.

    The Jedi just gets a short rigid post with a less-cushy seat for lift-served riding.

  14. #14
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    Actually, yea the old Highlines are pretty good and can be found cheap.

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    canfield theone or knolly delirium, knolly chilcotin,,, all great climbing /pedaling/decending bikes.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by kazlx View Post
    Actually, yea the old Highlines are pretty good and can be found cheap.
    Yeah but they're a bit portly...I have one built more DH (angle set and Fox 40) that I'm trying to unload.

  17. #17
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    just drove 11 hours to check out a medium Canfield one tomorrow morning. I'm 6 ft and like a little smaller rig (remnants of growing up on a bmx) got my fingers crossed. regardless, again, I'm most grateful for all the suggestions.
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  18. #18
    dft
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    did you check out the One.
    indeed its a great bike, descends like a DH bike and climbable.
    i have mine setup heavy (39 pounds or so) but can still climb it.

  19. #19
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    oh lordy she's lovely. pretty much came like this. i stuck a dropper post, riser bars and some crampons on it. first ride on it and it climbed crazy-well and just pr'd a dh i've ridden a billion times. so, SO stoked. thanks for all the help gents.
    FR rigs that pedal well uphill?-image.jpg
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  20. #20
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    Welcome to the "Clan" dirtyBob... you will enjoy the ONE. That looking like a 2011 model. You can fit 650b wheels on it using tires like nobby nicks or Rocket Rons if you are wanting to.. Ran mine with 650b and Pancetti tires for a while... rode nice.. welcomed the extra BB height. But went back to 26" due to wanting more aggressive tires
    Enjoy
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  21. #21
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    As rsullivan said, welcome to the family, DirtyBob!! That is a very sexy machine you have there. Most fun I've ever had on a bike has been on my One. It does everything a DH bike should be able to do, as well as what it shouldn't be able to do. Crushes everything.
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  22. #22
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    my two cents now that i'm a month in (from my blog Briones Bum)

    "documenting this riders transition from a trek fuel ex9 to a canfield brothers 'the one'."

    I was pretty bummed that I had bought the wrong bike. More than that, I’d travelled across the western United States on my anniversary (yes my wife is that cool) because it was the only medium Canfield Brothers “the One” that I could find for sale in the west. Rare bike. Limited opportunity. And I’d even test ridden it in the guy’s cul de sac. Should’ve ridden it in the mountains near his house! was what I was thinking as I pedaled up my local climb with 7+ inches of front travel squishing with each pedal stroke and my knees feeling uncomfortably close to the bars.

    But, as other people had testified that this was the light dh bike that could actually climb, and people my height (6ft) said the medium was good if you like a smaller rig, I went all in. I forced myself to forget how things used to be by selling my other mountain bike, a Trek Fuel EX9 (had to replenish some of the house downpayment fund I’d used to get the Canfield. Again, yes, my wife is that cool).

    And after one month and a 20mm stem change... I love this bike like no other steed I’ve ever owned.

    Yes I instantly lost almost 3 minutes on a regular 18 minute climb- the bike is at least ten pounds heavier and has more travel than anything I’ve ever owned before. Yes I still have visible bruising on my right butt cheek from getting thrown sideways due to a pedal strike on a downhill three weeks ago- it has a lower bottom bracket than anything I’ve ever owned before. And yes, at first, when I hit road or xc stuff on my way to the real dh, it felt like the slack front end was a chopper that wanted to flop to the side at the slightest provocation making me doubt my purchase. But man… you point that thing downhill and lordy oh lordy. Sweetness ensues.

    What I have found is that regardless of the fact that I have to work a little harder for that peak, I should’ve been riding a “downhiller that pedals” as soon as one was invented. This Canfield is so perfectly suited to my style of riding that I feel I’ve cheated myself for years. I’m 42 and I now feel like I’m in a rush to hit all the “big spots” before I don’t want to hit the big spots anymore.

    If you’re at all like I was- on the fence about the type of bike you’re riding because you’re looking for a bike that slays the downhill, but you have to be able to pedal up your local steepness… spend no more time thinking. You love to jump and huck the bike off stuff? Me too. Love to slide and charge down -45 degree slopes? Same. Go get that Canfield (the One has been replaced by the Balance which you can set up with 650s or 26” wheels). Added bonus was that I just took it to Skeggs for the first time and it was so, so fun on what turned out to be the flowiest xc singletrack I’ve ever ridden in my life. It was roller coaster smooth, with lots of rollers and poppers to get air on, and the One handled it beautifully.

    One caveat: if you’re already the slow climber in your group, you might consider adding an additional riding day to your weekly regimen to offset the time you’re going to loose in the transition from the bike you should have been able to pedal well in the first place. Your buddies will wait if they’re really your buddies, but let’s not be impolite eh?

    My mantra as I climb now is, “I give a *%$# about an uphill. I give a %$&# about an uphill.” Which really is synonymous with- while a little more emphatic than- the mantra I’ve lived by for two decades: “I only ride up TO go down.”

    The good thing is that now… I’m doing it on the right bike.
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  23. #23
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    So glad you like it!! I love mine too. It was a bit of a surprise on my first ride, and it took some time to get used to the very slack and soft nature of the bike while climbing. At first I was just like you, wondering if I had made a mistake. Then I got to the top and pointed it down. No mistakes had been made. I've been fortunate to have ridden a lot of different bikes in the past decade, and the One is the funnest bike I've ever ridden, bar none. Holy crap it's awesome! The Canfield Clan: We have more fun when we ride.
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  24. #24
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    Awesome. I feel the same way about my SX Trail. I, too have owned a lot of different bikes over the last twenty years or so. I had to sell both my beloved SC Bullit and my RM Slayer for my SX Trail, and was a bit apprehensive when doing so. Weight-wise it was somewhere in between, and I was risking it a bit by committing to one bike, considering all the climbing I do. I couldn't be any happier.

    Your comments about increasing your fitness regimen are spot-on. No matter how a FR/DH bike pedals, there is the fact that they weigh 35+ pounds. There's no skirting around that issue other than plain being willing to do the work. Once you get used to it, the benefits of greater stability, more travel, and overall better handling are worth the extra work to guys like us. I catch a lot of flack from my dad and uncle who ride more XCish bikes. Truthfully, I can't keep up with them on flatter, more moderate climbs where the average speed is around 10 mph. That's not the kind of riding I do, however (or at least care about...I'll get to the top when I get to the top, kind of thing). On steep climbs, I can lead the way to the top. On the way down, they don't keep within sight of my dust trail. Sure, some trails don't require 2.5" tires, a 65 degree head angle, nor 7" of travel. But it's sure nice to have it when you need it. I tend to seek out trails for which my type of bike is necessary.
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  25. #25
    YYZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtyBob View Post
    The good thing is that now… I’m doing it on the right bike.
    What is your opinion on your Bombers?

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