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  1. #1
    GMM
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    New Bike Question

    I am thinking about trying some endurance events this year. Been riding for a long time, but have never done serious endurance riding. This November I did a group ride where we climbed 7,000 feet and I felt like I had a little left in the tank when we were finished. So I started thinking it might be fun to train for and enter a couple events in 2013. I also need a new bike. I can only afford one. It has to do double duty with fun trail riding as well. Currently ride a 28.5 lb racer-x. No lightweight with dropper post and 6.75 lb frame. I also ride it on the road.

    So with that background. I am thinking either a 26" full suspension bike which I can obviously get to 25-26lbs or a 27-28ish lb FS 29er (maybe a Tallboy LT). I kind of hate to go here (don't want a 26 vs 29 flame war), but would like to hear from the endurance experts as to what is more important after say 4 - 6 hours in the saddle, weight or momentum of bigger wheels. The weights I listed are realistic for the type of builds I will be putting together. No light weight hard tails for me. I'm not looking for podiums. Oh, I'm in Northern California. So there will be plenty of climbing.

  2. #2
    I don't huck.
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    I am not sure why you are looking at such a long travel bike for endurance stuff. Do you need 140mm of travel or just want it? The LT is a good choice if you go that way. It pedals well.

    I built and rode a Salsa Spearfish that was 25lbs and was all I ever wanted for that kind of riding.

    I think you will find that the bigger wheel size begins to pay big dividends when the day gets long and you are just rolling across the country. It trumps all the other minuses IMO. Just get good, light wheels.
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  3. #3
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    Specialized Epic..

    I've got a Specialized Epic 29er Marathon.. I LOVE it.. Best bike I've ever owned!!

  4. #4
    GMM
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtroy View Post
    I am not sure why you are looking at such a long travel bike for endurance stuff. Do you need 140mm of travel or just want it? The LT is a good choice if you go that way. It pedals well.

    I built and rode a Salsa Spearfish that was 25lbs and was all I ever wanted for that kind of riding.

    I think you will find that the bigger wheel size begins to pay big dividends when the day gets long and you are just rolling across the country. It trumps all the other minuses IMO. Just get good, light wheels.
    I'm not sure I need 140mm of travel-- I certainly don't for endurance racing, but I want a bike that will be suitable for endurance and also handle the more technical riding I enjoy in northern california (e.g. Tahoe, Downieville). My 100mm travel Racer-X has served me well for a long time. So I know I can live with 100mm. However, I did demo a couple of 140mm travel bikes, and instantly upped my game in riding tech trails. Since newer bikes (i.e. carbon) are so much lighter, the 140mm travel bikes didn't hold me back while climbing, but I wasn't riding for 4+ hours eithers. Thus, the question on this board. I probably should have asked a much more straight forward question: Which is more important a couple of lbs of bike weight or weel size?

    I take a look at the Salsa Spearfish.

  5. #5
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    The Anthem X29er is a great platform for what you are looking for. It has great suspension for all types of riding. It has won numerous races including Super D races.
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  6. #6
    GMM
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    Ok, so the consensus is low weight and big wheels. short travel 29er. Should have guessed. Thanks everyone.

  7. #7
    I don't huck.
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    The Spearfish may not meet your needs based on only 80mm or rear travel. But the Anthem X or a Titus Racer X 29er...Epic 29er, Tall Boy AL, etc. Those are pretty useful bikes. A Tall Boy with a 120 fork hits a pretty good middle ground as long as you like VPP. Oh, the JET9 has to be in there too.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    The Anthem X29er is a great platform for what you are looking for. It has great suspension for all types of riding. It has won numerous races including Super D races.
    Trance 29ers are out. We've had a few converts from Anthem 29ers show up at the local night ride. The Trance is a bit heavier, but a wheel swap could put you in the 25lb range. And you get that fancy dropper post you've always wanted. I hear they climb the steep stuff better than the Anthems as well. I own an Anthem 29 and feel it's a plenty for what/how I ride. Best solution - test ride them both.

  9. #9
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    I would go with whatever you like the best for all around riding. Training is so much more important than equipment. I completed leadville faster on my Turner 5 spot than my 29er carbon flash.

    If I were going to have one bike, it would be a shorter travel 29er just based on the feel of the bigger wheels rolling over obstacles. It would be interesting to check out the new Pivot Mach 429 as well. But if you prefer the feel of 26 or 27.5 inch wheels, that is the way to go.

  10. #10
    GMM
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBrider View Post
    I would go with whatever you like the best for all around riding. Training is so much more important than equipment. I completed leadville faster on my Turner 5 spot than my 29er carbon flash.

    If I were going to have one bike, it would be a shorter travel 29er just based on the feel of the bigger wheels rolling over obstacles. It would be interesting to check out the new Pivot Mach 429 as well. But if you prefer the feel of 26 or 27.5 inch wheels, that is the way to go.
    Thanks EBrider! Since you're in NorCal, I want to be able to ride places like Tahoe and Downieville and still do an endurance race on the same bike. I hear you on the motor. My bike felt a lot lighter last year because I rode a lot more. So your advice actually makes a lot of sense. I think I'll just choose whatever I think is most fun.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMM View Post
    I am thinking about trying some endurance events this year. Been riding for a long time, but have never done serious endurance riding. This November I did a group ride where we climbed 7,000 feet and I felt like I had a little left in the tank when we were finished. So I started thinking it might be fun to train for and enter a couple events in 2013. I also need a new bike. I can only afford one. It has to do double duty with fun trail riding as well. Currently ride a 28.5 lb racer-x. No lightweight with dropper post and 6.75 lb frame. I also ride it on the road.

    So with that background. I am thinking either a 26" full suspension bike which I can obviously get to 25-26lbs or a 27-28ish lb FS 29er (maybe a Tallboy LT). I kind of hate to go here (don't want a 26 vs 29 flame war), but would like to hear from the endurance experts as to what is more important after say 4 - 6 hours in the saddle, weight or momentum of bigger wheels. The weights I listed are realistic for the type of builds I will be putting together. No light weight hard tails for me. I'm not looking for podiums. Oh, I'm in Northern California. So there will be plenty of climbing.
    There is nothing wrong with using your Racer-X for endurance events.
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  12. #12
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    size matters.

    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    There is nothing wrong with using your Racer-X for endurance events.
    That's true, the Racer-X was pretty much the standard racer boy/endurance rig 6 or 7 years ago. From my vantage point as a bike shop guy in the CO mountains back then, the racer-x was eclipsed by bikes like the Blur and Yeti ASR. Then the 29ers started really getting traction with endurance people. Not at first though. They were very popular around here starting a decade ago, but racers weren't really going with bigwheels until lighter ones started coming out.

    The Racer-X is still a perfectly good race/endurance rig, but a man who wants to buy a new bike and can afford a new bike should buy a new bike.

    And that's all I have to say about that.

    Re: 26 vs 29, I think a variable is your size. I am a 29er bigot for myself, but part of the reasoning is simply proportions. I am 6'1" and ride either Large or XL frames depending on effective top tube. I like the way the big wheels roll, but I also see a 26" bike that's fitted to my size with the bars at the height I like, and proportionally it's just wrong. Looks like a shopping cart.

    I know lots of smaller people like big wheels too, and I totally understand. But I think if you're 5'4" and 135 lbs and will ride a small frame, the proportions of 26" wheels work relatively better than for bigger primates. I really think the physics of a gorilla like myself rolling over a gap makes the big wheel more of an advantage.

    YMMV.
    Last edited by TomP; 01-03-2013 at 07:58 AM.
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  13. #13
    GMM
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    All good points everyone. 85% of the time the Racer-x isn't holding me back, but it is old now and I've demo'd enough bikes to know technology has improved substantially. For instance, I demo'd a santa cruz TRc, also a 26" FS bike, but it's lighter with more suspension and is better up and down. TomP, I'm 5"11 and have demo'd 29ers. I like them and 26 ers both, I know weird. Both Talboy and LT were fun. My original question was really would the extra weight of a 29er be more than offset by the roll over capabilities in endurance races. Thougt I would ask the experts on this forum, which also seem to be more civil than others.

    Since I will be racing for fun and owning one bike, I like EBrider's point of choosing the best all around bike. A Specialized Epic or Salsa Spearfish would probably be better specific race rigs, but I think I will buy something more trail bike oriented.

    Thanks everyone for your input.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMM View Post
    My original question was really would the extra weight of a 29er be more than offset by the roll over capabilities in endurance races. Thougt I would ask the experts on this forum, which also seem to be more civil than others.
    In my experience, it does. However my 26 bike is older, heavier, super squishy suspension and a very slack head angle. My 29er weighs considerably less, is a hard tail with race geometry. The 29er feels faster, but my times according to strava aren't that significantly different. It would be interesting to two more similar bikes with different wheel sizes.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMM View Post
    ...85% of the time the Racer-x isn't holding me back, but it is old now and I've demo'd enough bikes to know technology has improved substantially... demo'd 29ers. I like them and 26 ers both, I know weird.
    ...
    Since I will be racing for fun and owning one bike, I like EBrider's point of choosing the best all around bike. A Specialized Epic or Salsa Spearfish would probably be better specific race rigs, but I think I will buy something more trail bike oriented...
    I think what EBBrider said is spot on. You gotta like your bike. And it's gotta be comfortable and handle the way you want (that's actually part of being comfortable IMO). You're looking for fun and not podiums, I'd recommend finding a bike that you like #1, and something that's relatively light and efficient #2.

    The 29-650b-26 thing can be a religious battleground. I have been on 29 exclusively for 10 years. I'm not going to be changing that. But opinions are like the small opening between one's buttcheeks--everybody has one. Mine is that whatever puts a smile on your face is the right choice.

    Like I say, you better like it. If you're going to do this you two will be spending lots of quality time together.
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  16. #16
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    A fun bike doesn't necessarily mean it's a slow bike. I have a few decent seasons experience in XC races (sport class) on my HT 29er, and I am regularly impressed by how fast guys can be on big heavy squishy trail bikes.

  17. #17
    Happy Trails
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    I just upgraded from 2008 29-pound RacerX 29 to a new 23 pound Cannondale carbon Scalpel and am cleaning sections I could not get before, and saving 2-3 minutes per hour on familiar XC loops. YMMV but I can't believe how much better the new stuff is.

  18. #18
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    Just lighten your racer-X. The racer-x isn't really far behind on technology. Mine weighs 24 lbs. Just spend your money on more CARBON!

  19. #19
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    Unless you just really want a 29er, that's cool too. I like em both.

  20. #20
    GMM
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    Yeah, think I want a 29er, but I'll keep the RX. It still enjoy it a bunch on twisty single track.

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    Have you thought about buying used, and buying two bikes instead of one? You might be able to get both a trail bike and something more suitable for racing slightly used for the same price as one new bike. After pricing out new FS bikes, I went into sticker shock, but still didn't want to sell the bike I already had. I got an Anthem X 29 2 for $1500 slightly used, but in great shape.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golden_Monkey View Post
    Have you thought about buying used, and buying two bikes instead of one? You might be able to get both a trail bike and something more suitable for racing slightly used for the same price as one new bike. After pricing out new FS bikes, I went into sticker shock, but still didn't want to sell the bike I already had. I got an Anthem X 29 2 for $1500 slightly used, but in great shape.
    Yes, the thought has crossed my mine w carbon bikes now easily into the $5 -$6k range.

  23. #23
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    I am riding S-Works Epic 29er since the beginning of last season. While I realize a bike of that cost is not palatable for everyone, I can chime in on the 29er and and the four inches or suspension travel requirements for racing XC. The big wheels are great for the most part, and especially if you are doing any longer races where there may be some fire roads or flats in the mix. Because once up to speed you can hold great momentum and higher speeds. And I wouldn't say they will slow you down in the tight stuff. Of course that depends on your technical skills and I don't want to start the whole debate about that either.

    I don't know your budget, but you should be able to get a decent 29er in the 25-26lb ranges without blowing your life savings.

    Good luck!
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    Check out the Niner Jet9 RDO. I have mine set up with a 120mm Fox fork and love it for long rides, long races and thing in between. I've done some 70 milers on it and just finished third in Cat2 at the first round of the Arizona state series. It sits at 25lbs right now with a mix of parts and heavy trail bike tires.

  25. #25
    GMM
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    Quote Originally Posted by azpoolguy View Post
    Check out the Niner Jet9 RDO. I have mine set up with a 120mm Fox fork and love it for long rides, long races and thing in between. I've done some 70 milers on it and just finished third in Cat2 at the first round of the Arizona state series. It sits at 25lbs right now with a mix of parts and heavy trail bike tires.
    Congratulations on 3rd place! RDO is a nice bike.

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