Results 1 to 23 of 23
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: centershot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    334

    Short Travel, Good Climbing, Trail Geometry?

    Seems that all the new bikes keep getting more and more suspension travel. While that is nice going down it's not often conducive to going up. I tend to go lots of miles but like the more relaxed 'trail' geometry over the race geometry of shorter travel/more efficient bikes. Is there something out there that is super efficient climbing yet still decent on the downhills - more importantly comfortable for 3-4 hr rides? Looking at Trek Fuel Ex series but not totally sold on them.

    FWIW I currently ride a 2011 Rumblefish with 110/120 mm travel and 2.25 wide Racing Ralphs. About to turn 2,000 miles this season and 10,000 total on it. Time for a new ride!
    I wanna ride!

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    86
    I think the Fuel is a good choice-----others would include Ibis Rip LS, Pivot 429T but probably more $$$$.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    767
    Quote Originally Posted by centershot View Post
    Seems that all the new bikes keep getting more and more suspension travel. While that is nice going down it's not often conducive to going up. I tend to go lots of miles but like the more relaxed 'trail' geometry over the race geometry of shorter travel/more efficient bikes. Is there something out there that is super efficient climbing yet still decent on the downhills - more importantly comfortable for 3-4 hr rides? Looking at Trek Fuel Ex series but not totally sold on them.

    FWIW I currently ride a 2011 Rumblefish with 110/120 mm travel and 2.25 wide Racing Ralphs. About to turn 2,000 miles this season and 10,000 total on it. Time for a new ride!
    The Fuel Ex will go up better than the Rumble and is more efficient, no question....and it goes down WAY better. I’ve had (have new Fuel Ex) both. Now, “super effiecient” climbing? I wouldn’t say that about the Fuel....it’s strength is in technical climbing; but compared to RumbleFish, it is more efficient.

  4. #4
    Ride Fast Take Chances :)
    Reputation: alexbn921's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    1,613
    Tallboy 3. It's the benchmark for short travel trail bikes.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

  5. #5
    Trail Ninja
    Reputation: Varaxis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    4,745
    Fuel EX is an excellent all rounder bike, but it's a big step in the AM direction from what you currently have. Not that is a bad thing, but is not really tuned for comfortable long distance rides as much as other options. It's essentially the highly decorated Remedy 29 (discontinued) made a bit sportier.

    Other bikes that pop up in my head as potential candidates (listed in order):

    Santa Cruz Tallboy LT (discontinued)

    Salsa Deadwood SUS (a bit on the heavy and slow to accelerate side)

    Niner JET9 RDO Plus (note, the 27.5+ version, a bit more on the stable side)

    Yeti SB5+ (once properly setup with good pressure, this bike is like cheating, so much so that it feels sinful)

    Ibis Ripley LS (new version that allows 2.6 tires)

    Shame that the TBLT is discontinued. It really is the most ideal bike that I can think of for your purpose. The Hightower that replaces it is also made on the sportier side, but the Plus version is a good compromise on the comfort side. The younger crowd looking for thrills appreciate the extra sportiness. Other options exist, but they tend to be heavy or have something off like having smaller wheels or built a little too sporty/speed/race focused.

    Bikes like the latest gen Tallboy "3" are built more for fun than comfort nowadays. Bikes are trending towards being more focused for some purpose. Trail bikes are becoming more about being middle-of-the-road on everything. Gone are the extra comfortable XC bikes. Bikes have evolved to take advantage of the DH prowess that advances in suspension, wheels, and other stuff* allow. * adoption of dropper posts, social acceptance of heavier tires

    And then there's this:

    Trek Powerfly FS 9... an ebike that may not be legal on the trails you plan on riding, and a new ownership experience that forces you to (re)learn things, not to mention the current state of social acceptability... its range might handle 3-4 hours, but over time that range will drop (typical battery degradation), as well as in the cold. Cutting it too close though. It'll offer exceptional comfort, a fun fresh experience, and make up for the fitness potential that you lose as you age, but it'll be a beast to lift/carry around.
    Last edited by Varaxis; 1 Week Ago at 12:18 PM.
    We're all on the same ship, and it's sinking.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    2,676
    Bikes have changed a lot since 2011, and if I remember right, the Rumblefish design was already a few years old at that point.
    All the above recommendations are good.
    Try to find a demo near you....you will be surprised.

    For reference....I just built up a Trek Farley EX and put 29+ wheels on it.
    The 120 travel re:aktiv setup pedals better that my 29 100 mm travel race bikes( Lenz Leviathan and Pivot429) from 5 or 6 years ago.

    You also want to match the bike to the trails you ride. I always scratch my head when I see someone on a 170mm travel bike on super buff trails.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Velobike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    6,603
    Quote Originally Posted by centershot View Post
    ...Is there something out there that is super efficient climbing yet still decent on the downhills - more importantly comfortable for 3-4 hr rides?...
    About 10 years ago I took a bike to a local circuit we use for a 24 hour race. I took 2 forks, one rigid, one very expensive suspension.

    I timed the climbs and the descents, and did this several times swapping the forks on alternate laps.

    What I found was that I was much faster up the climb on the rigid, and faster on the descents on the suspension. However the gains on the climbs with the rigid exceeded the losses on the descents.

    Hence i standardised on the rigid fork.

    It may be different with current forks, and if my riding was downhill oriented, I'd use suspension.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 57º36' Highlands, Scotland

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    253
    There's not a thing in the world wrong with the Tallboy or Fuel Ex, I test rode both and liked them a lot. But for me, when I rode the Devinci Marshall it just felt like it was made for me. So I bought it and love it every time I ride it. YMMV

  9. #9
    Formerly of Kent
    Reputation: Le Duke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    8,220
    Scott Spark. 120/120, 67 degree HTA. Efficient up, fast down.
    Death from Below.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: k2rider1964's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    2,377
    Tallboy, Ripley, 429T...all very capable bikes. However, just because others like them doesn't mean you will. Go out and demo as many bikes as possible but make sure they are set up the way you like them otherwise the comparison isn't worth a whole lot.
    2017 Intense Primer
    2016 Santa Cruz 5010

  11. #11
    Just a flesh wound
    Reputation: Prophet Julio's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    2,169
    Santa Cruz 5010 is a really nice bike. The Pivot Switchblade is another, really nice bike. They are both slack and they do not have a ridiculous amount of travel.
    My name is Chris and I ride a Prophet 650b with a Lefty.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Posts
    66
    The suggestion to test ride as many bikes as you can is a good one. In my case, I didn't, but that's because the 2017 Fuel EX 9.8 was a really good deal, so, although I did test ride it, I couldn't compare it to other bikes. That said, I did read as many reviews as I could, compared how the riders who wrote them apparently rode, and realized it would be more than enough bike - for me. I'm really enjoying it so far...

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: flipnidaho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    6,934
    Evil Calling

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    461
    You might be surprised how well many of the longer travel bikes pedal these days. Lots of folks I know riding 6" travel bikes like the Bronson, Rocky Mountain Altitude or Ibis HD4 on all day backcountry rides.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    715
    Camber by Specialized is 120/120. I like the Tallboys a LOT but the stack is ridiculously low.

  16. #16
    Trail Ninja
    Reputation: Varaxis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    4,745
    Might be worth checking out the Trek Stache for the 29+ experience. The Salsa Deadwood SUS won't ride similarly, but you'll get an idea of the traction and general ride quality 29+ gives.
    We're all on the same ship, and it's sinking.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,906
    It doesn't seem like an age specific issue but some in my posse have bikes mentioned here and I have the 2017 Fuel EX where '17 and '18 are radically different from the past Fuels or an old bike.

    Most all bikes are great these days. If the Fuel EX stands out that would be "Reaktiv" shock models. I tried a lot of bikes and that shock gives the bike a best of all worlds design. It's plush when needed, firm when needed, and more pumpy than a lot of suspension frames without having to flip the shock lever to stuff.
    ƃuoɹʍ llɐ ʇno əɯɐɔ ʇɐɥʇ

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    417
    Scott Spark 900? Non-RC?

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation: centershot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    334
    Thanks for the opinions. Local shop has a left over EX7 in my size. Think I'll demo it and see what happens.

    As for the trails I ride, well they vary greatly. Local trails are smooth and buffed with some big rocks and sand here and there. An hour north of me is Sun Valley, trails of all varieties exist up there, steep backcountry, smooth buffed, long, short, a little of everything. What kind of messes with the works is that I like to ride to work and home most days also. Ends up being 10 miles or so of asphalt paths and a few little dirt trails. I know another bike would be the ticket but the wife thinks one 2-3K bike in the garage is plenty! N+0. lol. The local shop I like has Trek and Salsa, local shops I don't care for have Specialized, Scott and Giant, within an hour or two drive I can get anything (although at resort prices). Would certainly prefer to stick with the Trek/ Salsa dealer that I have done business with for 30 years.
    I wanna ride!

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    905
    Quote Originally Posted by centershot View Post
    Thanks for the opinions. Local shop has a left over EX7 in my size. Think I'll demo it and see what happens.

    As for the trails I ride, well they vary greatly. Local trails are smooth and buffed with some big rocks and sand here and there. An hour north of me is Sun Valley, trails of all varieties exist up there, steep backcountry, smooth buffed, long, short, a little of everything. What kind of messes with the works is that I like to ride to work and home most days also. Ends up being 10 miles or so of asphalt paths and a few little dirt trails. I know another bike would be the ticket but the wife thinks one 2-3K bike in the garage is plenty! N+0. lol. The local shop I like has Trek and Salsa, local shops I don't care for have Specialized, Scott and Giant, within an hour or two drive I can get anything (although at resort prices). Would certainly prefer to stick with the Trek/ Salsa dealer that I have done business with for 30 years.
    With as efficient as bikes with decent travel have become. I'd retire your old bike to a commuter. And go test some of the newer bikes. Most mentioned here will peddle great.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    158
    When I asked a short while ago lots of the guys indicated they actually went longer as it improved riding comfort.

    I went from a carbon 100mm travel race bike to a Whyte T130, I updated the wheels and tires to more XC rather than AM. also went from 2x10 to 1x12

    On one of my long climbs I lost one minute, I’d try short and mid travel before you decide.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    3,665
    If you want more moderate travel and good suspension, anything DW will be a good choice. I'm partial to Devinci, a Canadian brand that builds their aluminum frames in Canada.

    The two bikes to check out are the Django and the Marshall.

    The Django can be had in 27.5 or 29, lots of build choices including frame only. 67.5 HTA, 74.5 STA, 427mm CS, 120mm DW, specd for a 140mm fork but can be run shorter.

    The Marshall (previously badged as the Hendrix) is a 27.5 plus bike that can run 29" wheels as well, I ride this bike set up with an overshocked rear (125mm) and a Pike 130mm up front. Low Setting 67.3 HTA, 74.8 STA, 435mm CS, stock rear travel is 110mm DW.

    Personally, I'd lean toward the Django for a bit more cush out back (120mm is not that much), then run a 130m fork which will net you a 68deg HTA.

    I've ridden a lot of DW suspensions, they are awesome for climbing and descending, never need to lock them out, my preferred choice for long days in the saddle.

    You might want to consider 27+ for additional traction, cusion, while maintain the rollover of the 29" wheels.

    If you're an old guy used to riding full suspension, I'd never steer you toward a hardtail as a primary bike for long days in the saddle.

    An off the grid bike to consider would be the Trek Farley EX, a full suspension fat bike that can run 29" wheels, 27+, and fat wheels. A couple wheelsets and you'd have a bike for all seasons. The Farley EX is a DW bike.

    Take a look at Norco, their Optic is a sweet 29er.
    A now discontinued bike is the Kona Process 111. worth buying if you can find a NIB.
    Also look at the Transition Smuggler, Whyte T-129, and Specialized Camber.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    3,665
    One person's long travel is another person's short travel.

    I ride 150mm travel FS and a 140mm travel hardtail. I'd take another 10-20mm on the FS, but I'd never consider my bikes as having short travel.

    Short travel is 100-120mm rear, 120-130mm front.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prophet Julio View Post
    Santa Cruz 5010 is a really nice bike. The Pivot Switchblade is another, really nice bike. They are both slack and they do not have a ridiculous amount of travel.

Similar Threads

  1. Climbing: short vs long travel bikes
    By singletrackmack in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 52
    Last Post: 04-20-2016, 11:07 PM
  2. Geometry of a DH frame with short travel
    By nickt in forum Downhill - Freeride
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 07-23-2015, 01:41 PM
  3. short travel, slack, short chainstay FS
    By r1Gel in forum 29er Bikes
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 07-24-2013, 08:33 PM
  4. Long travel or short travel?
    By Loll in forum 29er Bikes
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 08-09-2011, 01:44 PM
  5. Sustained Climbing or Climbing Repeats? What to do.
    By vetprowanab in forum XC Racing and Training
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 06-18-2011, 11:06 AM

Members who have read this thread: 117

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •