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  1. #1
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    Best bike for this terrain . . . .

    I'm going to be getting a new bike for next year, and I've got the classic dilemma of which style of bike to get. I have a Cannondale Trail SL 1 29er right now and have enjoyed it a lot. It has served me well, but it's going to my son-in-law for next year. My choices are between a Scott Spark FS aluminum 29er or a Scott Scale Carbon HT 29er (that size really seems to fit me well). I ride most types of terrain, but 75% of my time is spent on trails like the one I have linked here (not my video, but I appreciate whoever made it)

    Rippin' Lebanon Hills Singletrack-favorite sections GoPro - YouTube

    I ride to this place, do a lap or two, and ride home - nice 1 1/2 hour ride in total. Most of the stuff I ride is twisty-turny with not a lot of extended uphill or downhill - more like yo-yo type stuff. The second half of the video is probably more representative of the stuff I'll be aiming for next year. It's fairly technical, I'm pretty old, and I have a lot to learn.

    If any of you could take a quick look at the video and maybe toss out an opinion as to which style of bike might be most appropriate for this type of terrain, I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I have a "no internet videos" policy. Do you feel like you get knocked around by your trails? Are there sections that are too rough to pedal through when you're riding flat or trending uphill? Can you demo?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    Nice trail.
    I ride in MI with a trail with some similar features. Everything is bumpier than it shows on GoPro. I ride loops from 1.5-4hrs.
    The bike I am working on getting is a Superfly 9.6. Brakes, wheels and shifters and the cockpit and seat are the changes. The solo air fork will be modded for more small bump compliance. My platinum level dealer has black Friday discounts which may get my order.
    The carbon frame damping is full frame with very good trail feel. Way more fun than fs.
    It is a better choice for my trails than a FuelEx 9.8 carbon. I demoed both on my trail loop at a factory demo in Sept.
    Those are like the Scott choices you listed.
    I've looked at the Scale over a couple years. The rear tire clearance is too small for me at 68.5mm.
    I want to try wider 30mm interior rims. The Trek SF has closer to 80mm clearance, so a serious consideration for me. 5'10.75"/32 on a 18.5.

  4. #4
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    That terrain, if I had my pick....Krampus. FS definitely would seem overkill.
    Oh noes. I'm going to drink the Kool-Aid.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies! I won't be able to demo, although I've ridden a Scale before and found it very similar in configuration to my C'dale. If I get knocked around, it's because of my inexperience and lack of technique (but I'm improving). And, yes, the rock sections on the uphills give me some headaches. While the trails are rough and technical, I haven't felt like I'm getting beaten up - except when I tip over. My goals for next season include doing some longer distances (say maybe 40 miles), improving my rock garden skills, and just getting quicker and more proficient. I won't be doing any jumping or fancy riding.

    My biggest concern is deciding how the weight, quickness, ease of maintenance and level of durability of the HT carbon frame compares with the weight, smoothness, maintenance and greater durability of the FS aluminum frame. My choices are limited to just a few manufactures (Cannondale, Scott, Marin), so I won't be straying from that.

    Again, thanks for the responses.

  6. #6
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    Aluminum and Carbon will eventually break.

    Steel won't.
    Oh noes. I'm going to drink the Kool-Aid.

  7. #7
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    Carbon can be built stronger at a lower weight than aluminum in most cases. Check for manufacturers who have a history of standing behind their warranty and go for a long one if possible. Trek's warranty on carbon is lifetime. With discounts at this time of year I would be surprised if you couldn't get a competitive price on a 9.6.
    Penn Cycle Eagan thinks maybe 15%.
    Last edited by eb1888; 11-25-2013 at 01:42 PM.

  8. #8
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I switched to FS recently. I think a lot of us assume more suspension is about bigger hits. But I think where it really shines is in smoothing rough trails. I was surprised to find I climbed faster on a FS bike at a recent demo. I think it's that it was enough smoother to let me pedal more and that the front end was softer in a way that let me think in slightly larger terms about holding a line. This is actually one of the reasons I don't get into the whole "learn on a hardtail" or "learn on a rigid" thing.

    IIRC, the Spark's a XC bike. So look for it to be designed around letting you pedal more of the time and giving you more consistent traction on descents. It's not going to try to ride your trails for you, and you won't be wasting your suspension travel if you don't ride it off of school buses.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcaino View Post
    Aluminum and Carbon will eventually break.

    Steel won't.
    That's a load of BS. Plenty of steel frames break and there are lots of aluminum bikes out there that have been going strong for decades. Too many people get confused by the fatigue limit property of steel. It doesn't make steel indestructible nor does it mean that an aluminum frame will break in your lifetime. Your rims are made out of... what? That's right Bucko, aluminum. Better replace them right now with some nice steel rims that will "never" break. I'm not going to even go into the whole fear of carbon thing...

  10. #10
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    Lebanon Hills is my favorite place in the state to ride...at least till Spirit Mountain adds a few more trails in Duluth.

    Being that you are 50 years old, if you are not racing, I would recommend a short travel cross country full suspension. I've been forced to ride my hardtail at LH a few times when my FS bike was down for repairs and my low back always felt worse after a ride on the hardtail...which sports a 100mm fork and a suspension seatpost btw.

    Since I don't race, the weight penalty of FS is not an issue to me; and the comfort gained more than makes up for it IMO. I like to ride agressively also and when I do get in over my head in the rough stuff, the FS bike is much more forgiving of bad line choices.

    Another benefit of FS is reduced wheel damage. My hardtail bike's rear wheel needs a little truing after every few rough off road rides. My FS bikes on the other hand have rarely ever needed any truing.

    For all the reasons mentioned above, my hardtail has been relagated to mostly street/road commuting.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcaino View Post
    Aluminum and Carbon will eventually break.

    Steel won't.




    Not an accurate statement.

  12. #12
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I broke a steel chainstay a couple years ago.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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