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  1. #1
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    One bike for every course or depends on the course

    For your endurance races do you compete and train aboard the same bike as your "traditional" xc events? Or do you have one bike for this sort of course and one bike for that sort of course?

    I competed on a lightweight carbon 29 HT last year. For discussion purposes lets say it was 20.5 pounds. Whether it was a 1.5 hour or 4 hour race that 29HT was chosen over my 24 pound short travel FS which was supposed to be the bike of choice for longer events (4 hours is a relative comparison in my books, next year a "longer race" could be an 8+ hour goal), but relegated to a backup bike when not on a road bike or that light HT.

    After a 2013 season of highs and lows (more learning experiences than great memories, truth be known) the reality was reinforced that my bike options had nothing to do with my results. When I dnf'd it wasn't because of wheel size, when I had a great day it wasn't because of bike weight. As many can attest to, it was about training and refueling and mental fortitude. The drool and sweat and dried salt traces on my stem and helmet straps looked the same no matter the bike.

    A non-riding friend asked, while looking at all the crap in my garage, "why don't you just have one bike, say a 22 pound FS 29er for all your off-road endurance races instead of an expensive 29er HT here and an expensive FS bike there which you didn't race once?"

    Hmmm, good question. Save money keeping two race bikes running, become one with 1 bike for all situations, be appropriately geared for terrain. I do a vast majority of riding on a road bike, everything else spread throughout several mtb. Maybe I should start thinking of shrinking the quiver of knobbies and go with ONE, say, a super lightweight short travel FS for all mtb races whether an A race of multi hours or a shorter early season B race.

    Sponsor obligations aside, have any of you done this or thought about wiping the bike option slate clean and using just one race tool?

  2. #2
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    poor folk don't have options. they just ride and have fun on whatever bike they own. and yes i could ride my spearfish on all courses, short, endurance, technical, not technical.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobiesmith View Post
    poor folk don't have options. they just ride and have fun on whatever bike they own. and yes i could ride my spearfish on all courses, short, endurance, technical, not technical.
    So reading between the lines, and wit, you're saying he should get a 80-100mm travel fs 29r?
    Wait,who did he tell you that?....

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    So reading between the lines, and wit, you're saying he should get a 80-100mm travel fs 29r?
    I would agree, except you may want to modify it to say, " a 100mm travel FS 29er that pedals well".

    There a lot of choices of bikes fitting that description that can be built up in the 26-27 lb range that can easily double as an XC or endurance XC bike or even Trail bike based just on tire selection.

    Just saw this article, it describes exactly the sort of bike I'm talking about:
    Product Review - Pivot Mach 429 Carbon
    Last edited by mudge; 09-12-2013 at 12:37 PM.

  5. #5
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    I have 5 bikes. My favorite is my 23lb FS 29er. It works for everything. I've done the 20lb HT route and the 120mm FS 29er route. I like the light, short travel FS better than anything.

  6. #6
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    Interesting. I have that super light compliant 29er carbon HT. It's such a favorite that my 120mm 650b FS will be sold soon. Mainly a fit/comfort issue plus I don't need 120mm even if it's quality. I'm on the fence about a 100mm front/rear 29er which would weigh about 2.5 pounds more. I'd say 90% of my trails are smooth, fast and flowing which the HT loves, but there are some long nasty rides and races out of area which a FS is beneficial.

    Is there a point where your HT is considerably faster in races? Up to Hour #whatever? Or does the stop watch show lap times are no slower on your 23 pound FS?

  7. #7
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    My 22.5 lb 100 mm 29er was 99% as fast as the 20.0 lb hardtail I had before it. I always wish for FS after hour 2.

    5% of the time terrain makes the FS faster, and when it's needed, it's quite a bit faster. My all time favorite bike is that 100mm 29er. Currently on a 130mm-140mm 29er at 24.0 lb. I can say that all three bikes are equally as fun.

    If you race, a superlight 100mm 29er is the way to go. Getting dialed on one bike adds more pace than a 2 lb lighter bike, for me anyway.
    Race Reports, PreRide Reports, and General Rambling:

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  8. #8
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    Usually the perfect number of bikes to own is "one more than what you own today".

    Right now, I only keep two bikes in my garage. I have a mountain bike and my commuting bike. I race on my mountain bike.

    What often happens to me is that a few months of riding per week the wear on my bike is such that many of the parts are on the edge of worn out. Last week just a few days before the Fools Gold 100 mile race I noticed my rear brake pads were nearly worn out and I had to call around to several bike shops to get a replacement set at short notice. The rear tire was also pretty bare but I was not really all that "race" focused so I did not both replacing it. The race went well but next year I want a dedicated race bike.

    I only ride/race steel single speed so for me I think three or four bikes is the ideal number the number might grow to five or six but for now I am telling my wife that three is all I "need".

    Having a dedicated race, training, and commuting bikes makes a lot of sense because it would allow the rider to race with ultra light race equipment. I don't want to train on light stuff. Normally light stuff is expensive and fragile. Using durable components on the training bike makes sense. The training bike can run older tires, worn brake pads, chains, etc. Having two bikes let's you pass down many of parts subject to wear.

    In terms of "racing", a lot depends on your goals, budget, and style. For me I only race the single speed category. For the geared categories, ultralight hardtails are likely the best choice if you have the skill needed to ride them. Suspension makes sense if you need and/or prefer the blunted experience but costs go way up.

    If you train and race on the same ultralight full suspension bike you need to worry about wear on the various parts of the system. Most 22 pound full suspension bikes are really race day type durability and not made to handle the abuse of lots of training rides.
    Mark Farnsworth
    http://febikes.wordpress.com, Raleigh, NC

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by febikes View Post
    Most 22 pound full suspension bikes are really race day type durability and not made to handle the abuse of lots of training rides.
    Many are, but it sounds like selling both would open up quite a budget. In which case you can get durable AND light.

    I also would rather train on fragile equipment than race on it. I'd much rather have a breakdown in training than in a race, where so much time and money is invested in just lining up...

    If the budget is modest, I agree with your thoughts. I also feel for modest budgets, buying as light of bike you can afford is important...where a 29er HT or even a 26er hardtail makes sense.
    Race Reports, PreRide Reports, and General Rambling:

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  10. #10
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    I ride a singlespeed 80% of the time training. It's just funner.

    But for endurance races I ride a carbon jet9 with carbon lefty fork. Comes out to 22lbs and can't be beat as far as comfort and reliability. Weight is close enough to my hardtail which never gets ridden.

  11. #11
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    Re: One bike for every course or depends on the course

    I also race singlespeed, but have a FS carbon fun-time bike.

    One reason I race the SS on long races (12 hrs, 100 miles, etc.) is that there is simply less stuff to break. It's also lighter to push up the mountain. Then there's the whole thing about singlespeeders being hardcore and drinking lots of beer.

    It really is a run what you brung situation. I do think that if you have a dedicated race bike, you should train on something similar, yet heavier. Then your raceday bike will feel easier when you strap on the number plate.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by febikes View Post
    Usually the perfect number of bikes to own is "one more than what you own today".

    Right now, I only keep two bikes in my garage. I have a mountain bike and my commuting bike. I race on my mountain bike.

    What often happens to me is that a few months of riding per week the wear on my bike is such that many of the parts are on the edge of worn out. Last week just a few days before the Fools Gold 100 mile race I noticed my rear brake pads were nearly worn out and I had to call around to several bike shops to get a replacement set at short notice. The rear tire was also pretty bare but I was not really all that "race" focused so I did not both replacing it. The race went well but next year I want a dedicated race bike.

    I only ride/race steel single speed so for me I think three or four bikes is the ideal number the number might grow to five or six but for now I am telling my wife that three is all I "need".

    Having a dedicated race, training, and commuting bikes makes a lot of sense because it would allow the rider to race with ultra light race equipment. I don't want to train on light stuff. Normally light stuff is expensive and fragile. Using durable components on the training bike makes sense. The training bike can run older tires, worn brake pads, chains, etc. Having two bikes let's you pass down many of parts subject to wear.

    In terms of "racing", a lot depends on your goals, budget, and style. For me I only race the single speed category. For the geared categories, ultralight hardtails are likely the best choice if you have the skill needed to ride them. Suspension makes sense if you need and/or prefer the blunted experience but costs go way up.

    If you train and race on the same ultralight full suspension bike you need to worry about wear on the various parts of the system. Most 22 pound full suspension bikes are really race day type durability and not made to handle the abuse of lots of training rides.
    Light and expensive very rarely equals fragile. The carbon and titanium parts on my bike will most definitely last longer than their cheaper steel and aluminum counterparts.

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