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  1. #1
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    Leadville 100 - What bike?

    Three years trying and I finally got it. Now I just wonder what bike will be best. I know this course has a lot of fire/dirt road and not much in the way of technical, so for anyone with experience..... Hard Tail 29er or FS 29er. I have a new Giant Anthem X1 29er which is a great bike and I raced it at 24 hours Old Pueblo. I don't have a HT yet, but seriously considering pulling the trigger on one that I can get to around 21.5 lbs or so. I want to make sure I take advantage of the power to weight ratio as much as possible. However, my concern will be my body holding up over the 100 miles. I do tend to have some lower back issues. Not sure if that would be amplified with a HT over 100 miles or if this course is non-technical enough that I would be okay. It seems a no brainer that I would be faster on the HT.

    Thoughts/Advice?

  2. #2
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    The lightest HT you have access to.

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    Anthem 29er sounds great from what I understand. In order for a hardtail to make sense, especially for a 100 miler, it would have to be super-super light. Scott Scale for example. I think it gets below 21.5 even in 29er version. Edge/enve wheels help if you can afford them - but you'd be able to use them on your other bike, too, so that is good. I don't think anthem to hardtail transition will hurt the lower back as much as being careful about seat - to - handlebar heigth difference. Probably you should match your current bike, i.e., if you are currently even don't get a hardtail with a 2-inch drop (handlebars lower). That would put more pressure on the lower back. You'd also have to get a more plush seat, I'm not sure what seat you have but a fairly-hard seat on a fs bike may not work on a hardtail for 10 hrs.

    Maybe don't get a hardtail - just get the Edge wheels . Its about the same price as some new bikes. I think the Anthem on PP3 is pretty stiff, no? So, then its just a weight thing.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by KERKOVEJ
    The lightest HT you have access to.
    the lightest HT you have that's not a cx bike.

    Mudge

  5. #5
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    closest thing to a CX, but not i really don't know...just basing this on observation...

  6. #6
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    I'm debating between the following for leadville, but also want versatile bike I'll enjoy for several years. I'm 168lbs, but will be down to 162lbs by race day.

    Anyone have any experience with these? Preferences and Why?

    Specialized Epic Expert

    Trek EX 9

    Giant Anthem x1

  7. #7
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    I'm into Pb ville for the first time as well. I'm planning to ride my scandium Air9 at about 23.5 lbs although I'm really interested in the Spearfish as a possibility. I've never had a FS bike but I'm thinking it would lowere the rate of fatigue over that kind of course.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by happylandings
    I'm into Pb ville for the first time as well. I'm planning to ride my scandium Air9 at about 23.5 lbs although I'm really interested in the Spearfish as a possibility. I've never had a FS bike but I'm thinking it would lowere the rate of fatigue over that kind of course.
    A Spearfish might be a great bike for endurance mtb events, but Leadville isn't rough enough that it would make a positive difference to have a FS vs HT. An Air9 (or similar lightweight HT 29er) w/ the right wheelset is about as good as you could ask for.

    With the right gearing, you could ride 95% or so of Leadville at full speed on a monstercross rig, IMO.

    Mudge

  9. #9
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    Here are my observations over the last few years at 100 milers.

    The top guys are always on full suspension bikes. I asked Bishop at SM100 one year, 'No 29er Flash?" He laughed at me and said 'no way, that's crazy'

    What did he ride last year at PB100? Yep 29er Flash HT. The course just does not need a FS bike.

    With that said. Lance broke the record on a 26 inch FS bike, then the last year LL beat his record on a 26 inch FS bike (both on the trek top fuel) ,however JHK also beat Lance's record on a 29er Superfly HT.

    So on a course where 29ers should shine (everyone calls this a road race) you have two roadies riding 26inch FS bikes to record breaking victory.


    What does this all mean? Nothing!!!

    Ride what you like, a bike choice, unless you bring a 35lb down hill rig, is not going to be the difference of an hour on your time.

    I could see where a soft tail or a very efficient FS bike would be nice over the long haul.

    With that said, I have a 29er HT

    I wouldn't be spending money for a PB100 specific bike, seems silly unless you are contending for an overall place.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by heythorp
    I wouldn't be spending money for a PB100 specific bike, seems silly unless you are contending for an overall place.
    Come on, sometimes a guy just needs a bit of an excuse to treat himself to a new toy!

    I have no Leadville experience, but significant Creampuff and Butte 100 experience. I tried a light HT in the Puff one year. It was a mistake for this admittedly older body from the 70 mile point on. It sucked all joy from the experience, and I would not try it again. Returns since then on FS have been a blast.

    If you don't really want to buy a hardtail for other reasons, I would simply ride the Pb-ville on your FS bike this year. Then you'll know for sure if a HT makes sense for YOU next time around.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  11. #11
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    I'll be riding my Stumpjumper Comp weighted weenied down to 24.8 lbs, RP23 rear shock and 650B front. Maybe a pound or two on the heavy side but its my all around bike. I'ts a very efficient climber with the PP on 3. For long races I'll increase my rear shock pressure by 10 or so psi to help eliminate the very little bob that occurs. I can't afford a race specific bike. I wish I could upgrade but its not happening in the next year or so. The bikes I'd consider for a Leadville bike as well as a good all around riding bike would be the Epic 29er and the Santa Cruz Tallboy if I were upgrading.

    I've never been to Leadville but I'm guessing you'll see all different kinds of bikes from super light hardtails to 30lb. full suspensions.
    If you ever see a turtle on a telephone pole, remember he had help getting there. Is there anything beer can't do?

  12. #12
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    I'd like to see someone just bust out and do it on a cross bike.

  13. #13
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    I'm taking my Tallboy as it's what I've got. That said I'm now trying to convince my wife she needs an Air 9... If successful I'll be trying to borrow it. (we're both 5'9" - very convenient)

    That said the Tallboy with XX will be fine and forgiving on such a long course so I'm more worried about the engine than the bike. The Air may be faster overall, the Tallboy smoother and for me a better descender I suspect. I have 2 more Leadville races that week so the less battered I am the better so maybe FS makes more sense.

  14. #14
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    ti
    29er
    HT
    tubeless
    done.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by heythorp

    Ride what you like, a bike choice, unless you bring a 35lb down hill rig,
    I remember seeing a couple riders on downhill rigs when I did my first two in '04 and '05. They still finished, but near the end of the day.

    My three finishes ('04, '05, and '07), were all on hardtails, and '07 was even on a full-rigid steel bike.

    If I were doing Pbville again, I'd go for a Niner Air9 Carbon rigid, with Pythons. You just need the mental toughness to make it.

  16. #16
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    A local guy finished his first Leadville last year. He was in the top 60 overall and riding a single speed Vassago Jaberwocky with a rigid carbon fork.

  17. #17
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    Have done Leadville 7 times, 7 finishes, 2 sub nine on on ti soft-tail the other on FS 29 with carbon wheels. If you have decent mountainbiking skills HT is the way to go. Althought not that technical some might prefer the decent off Columbi
    e (upper), Sugarloaf and St Kevins on a FS. I was completly comfortable on the HT and saddle,
    hands, feet all felt good at the finish. You make time on the climbs.
    In my opinion HT is the way to go.

  18. #18
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    Buy a bike you want to ride. I'm assuming you aren't Levi, JHK or Todd Wells, so you probably won't win. Leadville is only one day. I rode it last year on a 5 spot and had a blast. In full disclosure, I bought a carbon flash 29er a few months ago that I will ride this year, but it has gotten plenty of use and I purchased it before knowing about Leadville
    Are we putting air in the tires today?

  19. #19
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    Someone has busted it out on a CX bike. Dawes Wilson of Vail, elite older dude who's always been a little of a weight weenie. I asked him about it at the finish line a few years back and he said it was one of the stupidest things he's ever done.
    The race has been won on alot of different platforms and it is always the engine, not the machine. Light is good, but hardtail, soft tail, FS(cross country), 26er and 29er doesn't matter. My fastest was a 26" hardtail when I was young, my fastest lately was a 26er softail. Last year may have been my fastest lately w/o the cut tire at about 20 miles into it and I was on a 29er hardtail. I agree w/ ride what you got, but try to make it lighter. Definitely make it and roll easier w/ good tires.

  20. #20
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    At the end of a long day when your tired and fatigued. I would have thought a FS bike would be easier more forgiving to ride downhill.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitzikatzi
    At the end of a long day when your tired and fatigued. I would have thought a FS bike would be easier more forgiving to ride downhill.
    The downhill sections at the end of the race are no worse than a dirt road. FS is nice, but it's overkill, IMO.

    Mudge

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy13
    I agree w/ ride what you got, but try to make it lighter. Definitely make it and roll easier w/ good tires.
    This is my plan. What tires is everyone running? I'm considering trying out a pair of Racing Ralphs. With the 650B front, my options are limited there. I've been looking for a Racing Ralph in that but nobody seems to have them in stock. Quasi-moto is my next option.
    If you ever see a turtle on a telephone pole, remember he had help getting there. Is there anything beer can't do?

  23. #23
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    He'll be around 18.5lb at LT100.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Leadville 100 - What bike?-img_0042.jpg  


  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckie33
    This is my plan. What tires is everyone running? I'm considering trying out a pair of Racing Ralphs. With the 650B front, my options are limited there. I've been looking for a Racing Ralph in that but nobody seems to have them in stock. Quasi-moto is my next option.
    maxxis cross mark, hutcinson pythons or sb8s are by far the most popular. My cannondale came with the ralphs, but I would be afraid to run them with such a light sidewall.
    Are we putting air in the tires today?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBrider
    My cannondale came with the ralphs, but I would be afraid to run them with such a light sidewall.
    @ Leadville?

    Mudge

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudge
    @ Leadville?

    Mudge
    I would be afraid to ride the standard version down the road tubeless.

    People do tear sidewalls at Leadville. Lots of flat dirt road, but you cover 104 miles, there are sections it could happen. The other thought is that its a lot of effort for one event. If I blew a sidewall at a local race, I would have fun drinking beers with my friends. But it would suck to have it happen there.

    That being said, the Ralph's have been great. I will replace them with crossmarks and convert to tubeless in a few weeks rather than race on them.
    Are we putting air in the tires today?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudge
    @ Leadville?

    Mudge
    No doubt you've done the race enough to know, and are a solid enough rider to ride smoothly on those last decentts. As a mere mortal at the back of the pack though, I'm seeing spots at that point in the race and just holding on. Fs is a nice crutch at that point, at least for me. And, yes, I know many have been quite fast on fully rigid single speeds! There's more than enough rocks on those "dirt roads" to make things interesting when you're beat at the end of a long day!

    And, speaking of light sidewalks, I've double flatted with super light tires there as well. It's easy to be dismissive of the course, but that's an easy way to a dnf... There's a lot that can bite you out there...

  28. #28
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    I'd choose a a great bike hand built in Colorado for a great Colorado endurance race.

    Moots MootoX RSL 29er

    Titanium hard tail perfection. Some light wheels set up tubeless.

    What could possible be better?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by KERKOVEJ
    The lightest HT you have access to.

    what he said. key words are "access to". so don't break the bank with a dedicated PB bike or a bike you will not like to ride except on fire roads. do what is reasonable for your budget and stable.

    a light 26" hardtail race bike can be had real cheap used these days since 29ers have seem to taken over. i bought a 21 lbs cannondale taurine in near new condition for 1500 bucks that i am racing this year. with a wheel change and tires, its at 19lbs now. if it worked for the pros 3 years ago, it can work for me this year.

  30. #30
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    .

  31. #31
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    I rode a FS Cannondale Rush last year and remember parts of Columbine being so rough that my vision was seriously blurred and all I could see was where I was on the path. I could have headed straight for a boulder and wouldn't have known it. I'm 44 and was a 152lbs race day. I'm not saying a FS bike is a necessity, but I sure enjoyed mine that day.

    That being said, I just ordered a Scalpel Ultimate. 8 lbs lighter than my Rush. Like someone said previously: It's not so much the bike as it is the engine and rider guiding it. But, lighter certainly helps on the long long climbs.

    Tires: I was on the fence between a lighter weight tire or sticking with my tried and true Maxxis Crossmarks. These tires have never let me down nor left me stranded on the side of a trail. Going a little heavier, I stuck with the Crossmarks. No issues. I know people who DNF because of flats or lost a lot of time fixing multiple flats. This race is a lot of money to get into and travel to for many of us. In my opinion, that extra weight is well worth it. I will likely swap out the Schwalbe's with Crossmarks on my Scalpel

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillBillies
    I'd choose a a great bike hand built in Colorado for a great Colorado endurance race.

    Moots MootoX RSL 29er

    Titanium hard tail perfection. Some light wheels set up tubeless.

    What could possible be better?

    Something that didn't cost $7000???

  33. #33
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    At Leadville 08 I rode a Moots Ybb, 29r. In 09 I rode my Moots SS UNO hard tail. A hard tail is the way to go. I got a black sheep SS full rigid with Faith fork last fall and was hoping to take it to Leadville this year but I didn't make the cut.

  34. #34
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    What about 2X10 for Leadville

    I'll most likely use my new Air9 for leadville but I was planning to build it up with X9 2x10 gearing with the lower combination up front (28-39?). I haven't ridden one yet but I'm thinking I'll like it as most everyone I've talked to does. Opinions?

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by happylandings
    I'll most likely use my new Air9 for leadville but I was planning to build it up with X9 2x10 gearing with the lower combination up front (28-39?). I haven't ridden one yet but I'm thinking I'll like it as most everyone I've talked to does. Opinions?
    If you're a pretty strong climber, you may well do okay with a 28x36 combo for all but the toughest climbs (top of Columbine and Powerline). If you're at best a moderately okay climber, by the time you get to the hard bits near the top of Columbine you'll be pushing your bike along with everyone near you (no way to ride when there are 300 people in front of you walking in the trail), and my experience is that once you're pushing your bike it really doesn't matter what gear options you have. If you're a strong enough climber to get to Columbine before the barney train forms, you're probably strong enough to handle that gear.

    Even if you're in the top 20, you'll probably walk Powerline no matter what gearing you have, so again it won't matter if 28x36 is all you've got.

    Mudge

  36. #36
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    why the 'King' ride 26?

    Lance rode both 26" and 29'er while training for L-Ville, why would he opt for the 26" FS? Couldn't be out of sponsorship obligations because he rode a 29'er HT some even before Gary Fisher merged w/Trek. Also, I believe that's what Levi chose.

    I noticed Chris Carmichael was sporting a 29'er HT in his attempt to go sub-9, which he did after a few tries. Also noticed that a majority of the top finishers were on 29'ers.

    I've done L-Ville 3 times, and of course there are tons of 29'ers. However the winners have always chosen 26" FS. Why?

    Seems like if 29'er HT was the fastest, that's what the winners would be riding.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by l0ngsh0t
    Lance rode both 26" and 29'er while training for L-Ville, why would he opt for the 26" FS? Couldn't be out of sponsorship obligations because he rode a 29'er HT some even before Gary Fisher merged w/Trek. Also, I believe that's what Levi chose.

    I noticed Chris Carmichael was sporting a 29'er HT in his attempt to go sub-9, which he did after a few tries. Also noticed that a majority of the top finishers were on 29'ers.

    I've done L-Ville 3 times, and of course there are tons of 29'ers. However the winners have always chosen 26" FS. Why?

    Seems like if 29'er HT was the fastest, that's what the winners would be riding.



    ahem, ..."The King" is Dave Wiens. 26 HT .

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by rubystreet
    ahem, ..."The King" is Dave Wiens. 26 HT .
    The King, 26" HT, first and foremost 'cause he's sponsored by a bike manufacturer that doesn't even make a 29er.

    LA may have chosen a 26" FS over a 29" HT 'cause he wasn't sure he could handle the HT for that distance, but I doubt it. It's one thing for him to ride a Fisher during local/regional mtb races (Trek wouldn't really mind, they owned Fisher anyway), but when he's doing what has turned into a humongous marketing opportunity with the whole world watching, I'm sure beyond a shadow of a doubt they insisted he ride a Trek.

    Mudge

  39. #39
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    I rode Racing Ralph 2.25 UST last year. I'd ride something faster rolling if I were to get in again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mudge
    The King, 26" HT, first and foremost 'cause he's sponsored by a bike manufacturer that doesn't even make a 29er.

    LA may have chosen a 26" FS over a 29" HT 'cause he wasn't sure he could handle the HT for that distance, but I doubt it. It's one thing for him to ride a Fisher during local/regional mtb races (Trek wouldn't really mind, they owned Fisher anyway), but when he's doing what has turned into a humongous marketing opportunity with the whole world watching, I'm sure beyond a shadow of a doubt they insisted he ride a Trek.

    Mudge
    so do you think that, at L-Ville, a 26" FS is as fast as a 29" HT? or do you think the bike makes much difference there?

    i did 9:35, and not doing it this year but someday i'd like to take a crack at < 9. so i'm wondering how much difference, if any, a 29" HT might make on my time.

    (i understand that extra training will make the most difference, but i'm strictly talking about the equipment here)

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by l0ngsh0t
    so do you think that, at L-Ville, a 26" FS is as fast as a 29" HT? or do you think the bike makes much difference there?

    i did 9:35, and not doing it this year but someday i'd like to take a crack at < 9. so i'm wondering how much difference, if any, a 29" HT might make on my time.

    (i understand that extra training will make the most difference, but i'm strictly talking about the equipment here)
    I'm saying that for LA, he could've won it on a cruiser, and he knew it so he didn't pitch a fit when Trek insisted he ride a Trek and not a Fisher.

    As for everyone else, those who are not trying to win but rather just trying for their best possible time, a 29er HT w/ the right wheels/tires is absolutely a better choice, unless you've got some sort of back problem that won't let you ride a HT at all.

    I can not recall a single section of the course where a 26" wheel would be better than a 29" wheel, nor any section where a 29" wheel would be any sort of handicap at all.

    Mudge

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    Rode PB'ville in 2009. Barely sub 9 hrs, I rode a carbon FS 26er with Racing Ralph Front and Stan's Raven Rear. (Santa Cruz Blur XC Carbon). The bike had XTR stuff and Stan's Race wheels. It came in about 22 lbs with bottle cages, computer, everything.

    I really think it depends on what you are comfortable with. You just have to ride your bike a massive amount to get ready for this kind of thing. In my opinion, there are no really hard mtn biking parts of the race. You could do it on a rigid, and some do (I wouldn't want to). In the last two years I've spent too much money switching around bikes to find what I like. I may still again ........

    I think if I was going to ever do that race again, I would choose a Carbon 29er with some give (Scott Scale 29er ???). Also, I would put on REALLY light wheels. If you are going to blow money on a new bike, buy yourself some Stan's Race wheels as well. On the long climbs, light wheels make the difference for me.

    Now, if you want to talk a REAL mtn biking course, try the Breck 100 ....... (I can't see doing that one on a cross bike!)

    Good luck-

  43. #43
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    I'd say lighter the better, no matter the wheel size. Remember, this is the bike with which you will be hiking buddies.

    If you can afford a light weight 29'er HT that isn't going to break, go for it!

  44. #44
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    Tell Lance that

    Quote Originally Posted by mudge
    The downhill sections at the end of the race are no worse than a dirt road. FS is nice, but it's overkill, IMO.

    Mudge
    I do hear you it is mostly double track. I would do it on a 26er because they climb better...

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    Never done a 100miler endure yet, 64mile max recently I did it on my Rigid cause my FS was having issues rather than risk breaking down. It was good fun Rigid made the very none technical for 99% of it ride more fun but...

    I'd go FS out of choice, especially with 50% more distance, slap some extra air into the rear shock, run it on a higher RP23 setting and you'll be fine, well better than rigid, atleast you can soften it off.

    Also you could / can / really want to, run a smaller faster rolling tire in the rear at a higher pressure to stop it dragging, where as HT for comfort you'll want big and soft as you can and it'll drag.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turveyd
    Never done a 100miler endure yet, 64mile max recently I did it on my Rigid cause my FS was having issues rather than risk breaking down. It was good fun Rigid made the very none technical for 99% of it ride more fun but...

    I'd go FS out of choice, especially with 50% more distance, slap some extra air into the rear shock, run it on a higher RP23 setting and you'll be fine, well better than rigid, atleast you can soften it off.

    Also you could / can / really want to, run a smaller faster rolling tire in the rear at a higher pressure to stop it dragging, where as HT for comfort you'll want big and soft as you can and it'll drag.
    Most suspension designs, well.. at least well-engineered suspension designs work best at a particular sag setting and trying to make it work better by increasing the pressure seems counterproductive.

    Also, for years now the science behind rolling resistance has shown that higher pressures do not lead to lower rolling resistance.

    Pump up your shock and over-inflate your rear tire, and all you'll get is a poor-pedaling bike that'll beat you up.

  47. #47
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    How about tubeless? I am doing to 50 this year and bought a C Dale Flash 1 26", my stan's will be here this week but should I run it tubeless?

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudge
    Also, for years now the science behind rolling resistance has shown that higher pressures do not lead to lower rolling resistance.
    I can definitely feel much more drag climbing a smooth hill between 20psi and 30psi. 30psi feels much easier and 20psi feels like I'm dragging an anchor.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dictatorsaurus
    I can definitely feel much more drag climbing a smooth hill between 20psi and 30psi. 30psi feels much easier and 20psi feels like I'm dragging an anchor.
    All that means is that for your particular weight and choice of tires, 30psi isn't 'too high' and 20psi is 'too low'. Besides, what feels fast isn't always fast.

    For any given tire there's an optimal pressure for a given rider weight. My comment about higher vs lower pressures and the effects on rolling resistance is a general rule that flies in the face of common misconception and is for the vast majority, counterintuitive.

    Take that tire that feels good at 30psi and try it at 45psi. In that scenario, you'll see that lower is better, because your higher example is clearly too high. Or, try it at 25psi vs 30psi. Maybe the 20psi is just way too low, but if you bring it up just a little you'll find a sweet spot.

    As for the OP, if he's at all like most folks I've heard prescribing higher pressures for better rolling resistance, whether on road bikes or mtbs, his idea of high psi is well above the 30psi that you found so nice. Keep it in perspective.

  50. #50
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    I've raced Leadville 10 times. Various 26er FS bikes and a 29er HT. There is no question in my mind that the best bike for the race is a 29er HT. Non-technical course, and the big wheels felt faster. You give up a little on the downhills, but more than make up for it on the rolling stuff. You won't win or even seriously improve your time on the downhills, and I personally climb better on the 29er.

    2x10 was great for the course. No question - Tubeless. Semi slicks work well. Even in years when the rain came, I never had need for heavier knobbies.

    FWIW

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