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  1. #1
    The White Jeff W
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    What makes a bike a good rock crawler?

    Curious to see what folks think. What build and geometry are best suited to riding chunky terrain, from baby heads to boulders.
    No moss...

  2. #2
    Nat
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    Suspension travel, light hands, and speed.

  3. #3
    Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw-13 View Post
    Curious to see what folks think. What build and geometry are best suited to riding chunky terrain, from baby heads to boulders.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
    Thatís a huge span of terrain youíre talking about.

    What makes a bike a good rock crawler?-12aed4be-c6a2-4386-890b-4b8ddda8162a.jpg

    What makes a bike a good rock crawler?-d50a04c1-8b3a-42b6-bb8a-c291b1b1a6bc.jpg

    Which would call for huge geometry and build differences for proficiency.

    Just saying.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  4. #4
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    Full suspension and lowest tire pressure you can go w/o killing your rims. Works.
    Keep trying to do the awesomest thing you've ever done.

  5. #5
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    Not exactly what the OP asked for, but the Hightower 27.5+ I demoed could seemingly crawl over anything we encounter in the southern Appalachians with those 2.8 tires. If I could have only changed the wheelset out to 2.4s for normal riding, it would be in my garage now.

  6. #6
    Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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    Itís the motor.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  7. #7
    The White Jeff W
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Itís the motor.
    I see. I'll just take my road bike then.

    Obviously you can ride any bike anywhere but there's gonna be some bikes that are better than others at certain disciplines.
    No moss...

  8. #8
    Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw-13 View Post
    I see. I'll just take my road bike then.

    Obviously you can ride any bike anywhere but there's gonna be some bikes that are better than others at certain disciplines.
    A quiver killer is what youíre looking for. From pebbles to boulders and everything in between. It does everything well but is not the best at one discipline.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  9. #9
    Your Best Friend
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    A dual short link, full suspension. 150-160mm of travel. 67 degree head angle. 29er. Short stem, 800mm handlebars. 2.4 inch tires. Dropper post.

    Specific enough ?

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
    I'm a mountain bike guide in southwest Utah

  10. #10
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    For long rock rides, upper body strength/endurance is the key...along with a 5ish inch travel full suspension 29er.

    Be prepared to stand while pedaling a lot.

  11. #11
    Nat
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    Flat pedals!

    No wait, clipless.

  12. #12
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    If you're rolling through it downhill at speed, then it's mostly the more typical of late longer bike with short stem, steep HTA etc. It won't climb as well, but IMO I wouldn't let that effect my choice of geo too much.

    If you're pedalling through the rough, especially technical step-ups and pinch climbs, but also through chunky stuff on the flats, then you'll probably want to focus on something that has relatively active suspension (i.e. low anti-squat) so that it doesn't get hung up and you can stay seated. These bikes however will suffer on smoother trails/climbs - they'll bob when you mash the pedals, and therefore rely on the shock to provide a pedalling platform instead, often requiring you to flick a switch/lever.

    Unfortunately most bike shops really don't understand this basic stuff and keep on selling the wrong suspension designs to people for how/what they ride in their area.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by manodpickr View Post
    Not exactly what the OP asked for, but the Hightower 27.5+ I demoed could seemingly crawl over anything we encounter in the southern Appalachians with those 2.8 tires. If I could have only changed the wheelset out to 2.4s for normal riding, it would be in my garage now.
    Change the wheelset? Just put on smaller tires, if needed. 10 MM is not a huge difference.

  14. #14
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    It's the motor, and some grippy tires.

  15. #15
    Fanny Pack Mafia
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    29+

    It's the best when it comes to rocks IMO. Huge rollover and a big contact patch!

    Edit: geo wise, my Krampus is the only one I've owned. Add a dropper and your in business.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  16. #16
    Professional Crastinator
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw-13 View Post
    Curious to see what folks think. What build and geometry are best suited to riding chunky terrain, from baby heads to boulders.
    If I'm "rock crawling" (interpreted by me as slow, chunky, no momentum, full body English, pedal-striking, there-is-no-line rock crawling) my fatbike seems to rule all others: 120 Bluto (or not), high bottom bracket, massive traction, large tire diameter.

    If you are doing more descending, where momentum and probably steering comes a lot more into play, I'd have to guess at a FS 29er - but I've never ridden one.

    I've tried 29+ but it didn't wow me.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Change the wheelset? Just put on smaller tires, if needed. 10 MM is not a huge difference.
    To run both 27.5+(2.8) on rocky rides, and 2.4 on tight singletrack, I'd rather use another set of wheels vs constantly changing tires. For me, less than 5 mins to change the wheelset, at least 30 to change out the tires. You must have your own mechanic, or a lot of time on your hands.

    The 2.4s dropped the bb by about 3/8" (actual measurement)on an already low bb.
    The 2.8s were wide, heavy and sluggish on tight single track. But they really floated over the rock gardens.

  18. #18
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    The person riding it...
    2019 Yeti SB5C
    2018 Intense Tracer
    2017 Intense Primer

  19. #19
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    A proper height BB helps. "Low & slack" isn't the best choice for slow rock crawling.

  20. #20
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    Perhaps a little off trail from some. I like a short chainstay hardtail 27.5+ with a steep head tube and 100mm fork travel. Good flats are important. I like low profile knobs on flexy tires with some squish, but I'm not running anything near the lowest air pressure I can get away with. I'm pretty happy with my Kona Fat bike, but the Surly Nates aren't ideal and I'm running Odin bars which would be better purposed elsewhere. As coke mentions, a little higher BB is key in some situations, also a really solid freehub. Ratching while climbing can tear a lesser hub to shreds.

  21. #21
    beater
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    If I'm "rock crawling" (interpreted by me as slow, chunky, no momentum, full body English, pedal-striking, there-is-no-line rock crawling) my fatbike seems to rule all others: 120 Bluto (or not), high bottom bracket, massive traction, large tire diameter.

    If you are doing more descending, where momentum and probably steering comes a lot more into play, I'd have to guess at a FS 29er - but I've never ridden one.

    I've tried 29+ but it didn't wow me.

    -F
    What makes a Jeep a rock crawler? It took 16 posts to get there, but this is the first thing I thought. I've been riding 29ers exclusively for 12 years, and while I think my current one is is the most best all-rounder, it's not as good a rock crawler as my older, taller, steeper ones. That's a one-trick pony for me, though.

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