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  1. #1
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    XC racing: Jet 9 or Air 9?

    I'm sure this subject has been discussed but I can't find it in the search. I'm trying to decide on an Air 9 or Jet 9 for XC racing over rooty courses, hills but not a lot of sustained climbs (Florida). I also do endurance races like the ORAMM and 6-8 hour stuff.

    I'm curious if anyone has both of these bikes and have done time-trial testing.

    I'm a full suspension guy, but I don't know if the Jet-9 will be too heavy for full-on, expert level XC racing. Thoughts?

    BTW, if I got an Air 9 I'd most likely use a Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost. All my hard tails in the past have had suspension seatposts. It adds .75 lbs.

  2. #2
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    I do endurance events (50+ miles) on my RIP. It seems as though you value comfort. Go with a Jet. There is no reason you can't reasonably build it under 26 lbs. (or less). I live and ride in Fl. also. Comfort is king on endurance events.
    "No good deed goes unpunished"

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    I have owned both and just sold the air9. The jet is fast and comfortable. It descends better and it climbs like a monster. My vote is the Jet9 all the way. I am faster on the jet in everything but smooth flat terrain. The Air9 is loads of fun but you feel every bump and you are much more tired after a long ride.

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    I'm definitely leaning toward the Jet. I've been on full suspension for several years, so my riding style is adjusted to it.

    Several years ago I did time trail tests on a hard tail 26er and a heavier (by a couple of pounds) full suspension 26er, and I was faster on the full suspension. Maybe if I lived/raced in an area with lots of sustained climbs my results would be different.

  5. #5
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    I have both and my preference is to ride the Jet unless...
    - It's a smooth hard pack course
    -There are lots of out of the saddle climbs

    I haven't done any "time trial" testing and won't until the leaves drop on my local course. If the course isn't closed it is just too dangerous to fly around blind corners now.

    This has been posted many times but compares 26 HT vs 26 FS vs 29 HT.

    http://singletrack.competitor.com/20...l-is-dead_3050

    If you look at the 26 HT vs 26 FS numbers I'd pick less watts used with more speed anyday. Guessing the same would apply to 29 HT vs 29 FS. Note that these guys didn't test like they would race. Doesn't look like there was any out of the saddle climbing which would favor a HT.
    Last edited by riding29; 06-23-2010 at 10:00 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by riding29
    This has been posted many times but compares 26 HT vs 26 FS vs 29 HT.
    Did you mean to include a link to a specific test?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ride4burritos
    Did you mean to include a link to a specific test?
    Yeap - thanks. Added it above.

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    Quote Originally Posted by riding29
    Yeap - thanks. Added it above.
    Good stuff! I'd love to see a Jet-9, Mach 429, or SC Tallboy thrown in that test. I'm sure it'll happen soon.

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    Thanks for the link. Good info.
    Pedal Dammit!

  10. #10
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    Well, I weighed my Air9 Large 1620g.
    Just went to collect my new Jet 9: 2940g in large.
    Both without headset, bare frames with dera-hanger.
    Jet with Fox rp23 and links.
    Fastest will be the lighter bike, perhaps on longer time events the Jet might be better.
    Question is: after 4, 5, 6 or more hours???
    I'd still choose a wider tire for more comfort.
    Btw, racing isn't about comfort, it's about winning

  11. #11
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    I have both and think the Jet is very slow when climbing! So slow I think I will sell the bike. It kinda feels like you are dragging a weight behind you. I had to stop and make sure my brakes were not rubbing... and they were not.
    Studies show 100% of people die. Might as well have some fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dikkie
    Fastest will be the lighter bike, perhaps on longer time events the Jet might be better.

    Btw, racing isn't about comfort, it's about winning
    No, fastest will be the bike you can go faster on. My FS weighs 3-4 more pounds than my HT. With the same tires I'm faster on the FS in all conditions except fireroads and completely buff trails. I pick up a ton of time being able to consistently put the power down over bumpy areas.

    Of course this is for my riding style; I almost never come out of the seat to climb. YMMV.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExigeS
    I have both and think the Jet is very slow when climbing! So slow I think I will sell the bike. It kinda feels like you are dragging a weight behind you. I had to stop and make sure my brakes were not rubbing... and they were not.
    Interesting, I find the jet climbs very well. What setting was the rear shock on? What pressure are you running for your weight?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MightySchmoePong
    No, fastest will be the bike you can go faster on. My FS weighs 3-4 more pounds than my HT. With the same tires I'm faster on the FS in all conditions except fireroads and completely buff trails. I pick up a ton of time being able to consistently put the power down over bumpy areas.

    Of course this is for my riding style; I almost never come out of the seat to climb. YMMV.
    Perfect answer, I am the same way.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExigeS
    I have both and think the Jet is very slow when climbing! So slow I think I will sell the bike. It kinda feels like you are dragging a weight behind you. I had to stop and make sure my brakes were not rubbing... and they were not.
    I don't find that at all,My Jet9 climbs great.

    I find that there are alot of people that keep saying that the HT just feels faster
    & yes it would, it is closer to its limit & will feel a bit more alive !! & that is great if your a slow rider because you get to feel a bit of what its like when you go fast on a FS bike.

    When racing the stop watch rules not what a bike feels like.

    Yes there are some very good riders that can win on a HT but the bulk of people would be faster on a FS.

    HT are like the ugle people at the pub There is alot more of them but that doesn't mean that that is what you should have

    If you are however that weak a rider that 3lb will make you think that the brakes are holding on ,It is fair to also assume that you won't have the power to get the FS bike fast enough to get the most out of it.

    I gave up on road bikes years ago.
    Last edited by muzzanic; 06-24-2010 at 12:14 AM.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ev52
    Interesting, I find the jet climbs very well. What setting was the rear shock on? What pressure are you running for your weight?
    Ok, OK, I am not giving up yet. I had the rear shock at 100 and had pro pedal on. I weight 150lbs. I am going to crank it up and go for another ride to see how she performs. I have a AIR and RIP and am probably expecting the JET to climb the same way.
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    I have not compared a 29er HT and 29er FS, but I can say I am much faster on my 29er rigid than my 26er FS, including racing on it. The Niner rigid is so much more efficient climbing that any deficit on the downhill (if there even is one) would be completely offset on a course with decent amounts of up and down.

    Am I more beat up and tired on the rigid after a race, perhaps, but less so w/ the big wheels and tubeless. I don't mind being beat up as long as I am fresh enough during the race to give my all. I've never finished an MTB race and not been completely toasted afterward anyway.

  18. #18
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    I am doing a 12 hours race tomorrow (with one teammate) so I will take both bikes and see what times I can achieve on each. The course has lots of climbing. Stay tuned!
    Studies show 100% of people die. Might as well have some fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ExigeS
    I am doing a 12 hours race tomorrow (with one teammate) so I will take both bikes and see what times I can achieve on each. The course has lots of climbing. Stay tuned!
    Now THAT's what I'm talkin' about. Sweet!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExigeS
    I am doing a 12 hours race tomorrow (with one teammate) so I will take both bikes and see what times I can achieve on each. The course has lots of climbing. Stay tuned!
    So how'd it go?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ExigeS
    I am doing a 12 hours race tomorrow (with one teammate) so I will take both bikes and see what times I can achieve on each. The course has lots of climbing. Stay tuned!
    And the results are...

  22. #22
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    Ok, sorry for the delay. TO recap it was a 12 hour race and I had 1 partner. We alternated laps. The course was about 10 miles with lots of hills (steep, long and technical) as well as roots and lots of loose sand. It was 95% singletrack with a few jeep trails mixed in. The temp was pushing 100 degrees all day! I rode 5 laps. The first 3 were on my AIR and the last 2 were on my JET. The only reason I didnít alternate/switch before lap 4 was I was sooo tired and needed to drink a ton between laps that I didnít have the strength or time to switch my number from one bike to another. The result times between the 2 bikes were relatively the same. The only difference to me was it was nice to switch to a full suspension bike after 30 miles on a hardtail. I didnít see any difference in time at all. Most laps were between one hour and one hour 11 min. To me the limiting factor was ME and how I felt on each lap. BOTTOM LINE Ė both bikes are a great choice and it all depends on what you like! Sorry I donít have any definitive results for you! If you have any questions let me know.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails XC racing: Jet 9 or Air 9?-cranky-monkey-2010.jpg  

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  23. #23
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    Hope the race was fun Jason!?

    Glad to see you used both bikes. Does the Jet feel better with the rear shock at a much higher PSI then you would normaly run it at?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by WeatherMan
    Hope the race was fun Jason!?

    Glad to see you used both bikes. Does the Jet feel better with the rear shock at a much higher PSI then you would normaly run it at?
    The higher PSI does feel better but the JET still doesn't climb as good as the AIR - IMO.
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  25. #25
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    Daully will never climb like a HT, imho. I will admitt that when I am technical climbing I do do better on the Fly 100. More compliance and less slip on rocks and logs.

  26. #26
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    I like to stand and hammer on most climbs and because of this the JET doesn't seem to comply with me.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExigeS
    The result times between the 2 bikes were relatively the same. The only difference to me was it was nice to switch to a full suspension bike after 30 miles on a hardtail. I didnít see any difference in time at all. Most laps were between one hour and one hour 11 min.
    That sounds like a big difference in times. Can you post the times for both bikes. Consideration certainly should be given to the fact that you rode 30 miles before you got on the jet.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by riding29
    That sounds like a big difference in times. Can you post the times for both bikes. Consideration certainly should be given to the fact that you rode 30 miles before you got on the jet.
    Times are below. It should be pointed out that I was running different tires on the Air and Jet. On the Air I was running Crossmark rear and Ignitor front and on the Jet I was running Stans Ravens front and rear. I believe the Ravens roll much faster that than the Crossmark/Ignitor combo. It should also be pointed out that I had a good rest between my laps 3 and 5 because my partner hit the wall and turned in a 1:32 lap. This also gave me the ability to refuel and rest longer that at any other point in the race.

    In general I believe the results are inconclusive.

    Laps Ė
    1. 1:02 (Air)
    2. 1:03 (Air)
    3. 1:16 (Air)
    4. 1:15 (Jet)
    5. 1:11 (Jet)
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExigeS
    Times are below. It should be pointed out that I was running different tires on the Air and Jet. On the Air I was running Crossmark rear and Ignitor front and on the Jet I was running Stans Ravens front and rear. I believe the Ravens roll much faster that than the Crossmark/Ignitor combo. It should also be pointed out that I had a good rest between my laps 3 and 5 because my partner hit the wall and turned in a 1:32 lap. This also gave me the ability to refuel and rest longer that at any other point in the race.

    In general I believe the results are inconclusive.

    Laps –
    1. 1:02 (Air)
    2. 1:03 (Air)
    3. 1:16 (Air)
    4. 1:15 (Jet)
    5. 1:11 (Jet)
    Yes as you said you are in the area of guess work, It would be easy for the hardtail riders to say that the hard tail was faster.

    Also give'n that your 3 lap fell off so much as you were getting tired & then started getting faster on the Jet9 even with more miles on your legs all be it after a rest the FS guys could say the Jet was faster.

    Even if the HT was the faster (im not saying it was ) I wouldn't mind betting that the times you did on the 4th & 5ft on the jet would have been faster than you would have done on the HT.

    On the 12 hour races that I do I'm the only 1 in our group that rides a 29er FS bike & my times drop off very little over the day & the other guys drop off quite a bit & there fitness would be better than mine & I would start of about 3 min faster over 8 km.

    So that said the 29er FS bike looks after your body better than others.

    The 1 thing that can be said is that the Jet9 is not as slow as you 1st said you thought it was.
    Last edited by muzzanic; 07-13-2010 at 02:07 AM.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by muzzanic
    Yes as you said you are in the area of guess work, It would be easy for the hardtail riders to say that the hard tail was faster.

    Also give'n that your 3 lap fell off so much as you were getting tired & then started getting faster on the Jet9 even with more miles on your legs all be it after a rest the FS guys could say the Jet was faster.

    Even if the HT was the faster (im not saying it was ) I wouldn't mind betting that the times you did on the 4th & 5ft on the jet would have been faster than you would have done on the HT.

    On the 12 hour races that I do I'm the only 1 in our group that rides a 29er FS bike & my times drop off very little over the day & the other guys drop off quite a bit & there fitness would be better than mine & I would start of about 3 min faster over 8 km.

    So that said the 29er FS bike looks after your body better than others.

    The 1 thing that can be said is that the Jet9 is not as slow as you 1st said you thought it was.
    I should also mention that prior to going into lap 5 (my final lap) we were 5 minutes behind placing 5th. If you place 5th you get a pint glass... Sooo I laid is all out and gave everything I had left. This can account for the faster that lap 4 lap time. Either way it is a gray area between which bike is faster. I do agree the FS is easier on the body, especially in endurance events.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExigeS
    I should also mention that prior to going into lap 5 (my final lap) we were 5 minutes behind placing 5th. If you place 5th you get a pint glass... Sooo I laid is all out and gave everything I had left. This can account for the faster that lap 4 lap time. Either way it is a gray area between which bike is faster. I do agree the FS is easier on the body, especially in endurance events.
    Either way you have done the important thing & had fun.
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    This doesn't add to the FS side of things, but here are my lap times from the 25Hr race last Oct. on the rigid AIR w/ carbon fork w/ approximate lap start times. ~ 9 mile lap with 900' of climbing.

    1. 52:05 (start 12 noon)
    2. 53:59 (5:20 pm)
    3. 01:04 (8:15 pm)
    4. 01:05 (12:25 am) this lap was brutally hard
    5. 01:01 (6:45 am) sunrise, most enjoyable lap, serenaded by coyote pack
    6. 53:00 (10:25 am)

  33. #33
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    Really?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coach417
    I do endurance events (50+ miles) on my RIP. It seems as though you value comfort. Go with a Jet. There is no reason you can't reasonably build it under 26 lbs. (or less). I live and ride in Fl. also. Comfort is king on endurance events.
    Seems a bit heavy for an endurance event but I hear you on the comfort.

  34. #34
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    Jet and Climbing

    I'm really struggling with the decision to keep my Jet or not. I agree that it descends fast and rides through the rough stuff with ease while seated. However, it feels like a tank on punchy climbs when out of the saddle. I've noticed the need to drop several gears lower on climbs, when compared to my Ti HT (Blacksheep 29). In fact, I've really noticed the lack of 44 ring use on the Jet, where I use it regularly on the Sheep.

    I haven't comparted lap or race times, but I'm nearly certain I am significantly faster on the HT....so long as the course is super technical and rough. The weight difference between the bikes is about 2.5 pounds, but it feels like much more.

    I was hoping it would feel more nimble and lighter, but the fact is, a 26.5+ pound bike isn't an effective race bike. I have two 12 hour races in the coming months and I'm seriously considering riding the HT, which is unfortunate, as I built the Jet specifically for long endurance races. Hope your experience is better.

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    Interesting to here your perspective. I find it to be very nimble and an efficient climber. However, I prefer to sit and spin at a high cadence. I would be curious to see some lap time diffrences. I thought I was faster on the air9 but it ended up that I was just banged around more and felt faster. I average four minutes faster on a 14 mile loop on the Jet. Good luck at the endurance events!

  36. #36
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    Realy 2.5 lb is not night & day when you are talking HT vs FS

    I think this happens with the Rip9 to it is so good that unless you are pushing super hard it feels like you are riding it slow.

    The thing that suprises me it that people a stupid enough to put posts on about the speed of a bike without doing any test on the speed of a bike.

    How much does a stopwatch cost
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yeti 1x1
    However, it feels like a tank on punchy climbs when out of the saddle. I've noticed the need to drop several gears lower on climbs
    Could not have said it better. This is exactly how I feel
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ev52
    I would be curious to see some lap time diffrences.
    See my posts above.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yeti 1x1
    I'm really struggling with the decision to keep my Jet or not.

    I haven't comparted lap or race times, but I'm nearly certain I am significantly faster on the HT..... I have two 12 hour races in the coming months
    Do you have a chance to pre-ride laps one either course? If so muzzanic's suggestion of a stopwatch is a good one and then you'll know. Do more than a 2 hour test ride on each though.

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    Hey Ev52: What setting are you riding on your RP23 (1, 2 or 3)? Others experience?

    muzzanic: To your question, I'm sure Amazon provides a nice comparison of stopwatch prices. Best of luck in your shopping endeavors.

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    Hey Yeti,
    The comparison was with the Jet9 on propedal 2. I have since moved to propedal 1 for everyday rides and 2 at races. The only difference on bikes was the air9 had a fox fork and the Jet has a new reba xx tapered. I have since gotten rid of the air9 and love the jet. It was a little strange when I went back and forth a few times because the jet would feel less nimble then the air. However, I came to the personal conclusion that it was perception since the jet rides so much smoother. After sticking with the Jet for a few weeks solo I can really push it to its limits and feel as fast as ever. My body also seems in much better shape at the end of the day. If you have time I would try to do some time comparisons before the endurance races. Let us know what you find out.

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    Thanks for the feedback EV. I spent 6 hours on the Jet on my last ride and while it felt nice, it continues to feel heavy and sluggish when the trail goes up....at least at race pace. I completely agree on the benefits while seated over a long, endurance type course.

    I plan to race the Jet in a 12 hour event this weekend, but will probably stick to the HT for normal XC races, where getting up climbs quickly is key to being at the front.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExigeS
    The result times between the 2 bikes were relatively the same. The only difference to me was it was nice to switch to a full suspension bike after 30 miles on a hardtail.
    Quantico? I did the same race (3 man team), and brought both mountain bikes - an Air9, 1x9, carbon fork - about 21 lbs - and my Fisher HiFi Pro (26" FS, 120mm travel), not sure the weight but its probably 26 lbs or so. Same tires (race king 2.2) on both bikes. Same result, lap times were 54-56 minutes on both bikes. I could easily tell where one was faster than the other out on course, but over 10 miles the result was the same because the terrain is so varied over the lap between up and down, rough and smooth.

    I also did Bakers Dozen solo (very flat course, nothing technical), and had the same bikes - the Air9 was 3-4 minutes a lap faster than the HiFi however after 6 hours I had to get off of the Niner and switch to the HiFi, the rigid fork had beat my arms and hands into a pulp. I think the 'best' setup would have been the Air9 with an 80mm suspension fork to take the edge off (or just HTFU).

    So... it really depends on the train, and if its varied enough the bike choice may not really matter in the end - anything you gain in going up you may lose going down and vice versa. I'm tempted to add another bike to the collection, but I'm pretty well covered between both of those bikes if I put a suspension fork on the Air9.

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    I went from a Ferrous 29 to a Big Mama and instantly felt like I was cheating, it was just so easy to ride over rough terrain faster. Now that I have had the Mama for a couple of months, I can say the Ferrous was better at smooth climbs and the Mama is better everywhere else. Where I ride the smooth climbs are few and far between, which is the way I prefer it. If I wanted smooth easy terrain, I would ride a road bike.

    Just an observation from our local races, most of the really fast Experts and intermediate guys are riding hardtail 29ers, but almost every Marathon or endurance rider is on full suspension 26 or 29. Hopefully next year I will be in good enough shape for endurance racing.

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