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  1. #1
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    Will i miss squish if i go hardtail in central oregon?

    I live in bend and the vast majority of my riding is in the phil's complex or out of the snowparks in the summer. Sometimes i got to mckenzie or umpqua. I'd like to do occasional trips around like idaho, WA, BC, etc but the reality is that happens very rarely.

    I've been riding an old (like 1999) stumpjumper FSR with upgraded shock/fork since i started seriously mt biking (~10 years). I want something new and i'm thinking hardtail 29er.

    I've never owned a hardtail and i'm a little nervous about it, but our trails are pretty damn tame. I'm thinking i'll enjoy the hardtail responsiveness and efficiency. From talking to friends and reading on here, i'm convinced i'll like the hardtail most of the time. But people talk about not liking them for longer rides. I've been enjoying getting more fit and taking longer and longer rides. To date my longest rides have been a little over 30 miles and most rides are in the 12-25 mile range.

    Sounds like a 2.35+ 29er tire run tubeless at a little lower pressure will be fine. My old FSR isn't exactly super plush anyway, and of course i stand up anytime things get rough. I'm thinking i won't miss it.

    I may be able to keep the old specialized since it isn't really worth anything, but I can't afford to have two newer bikes.

    PS - I once switched off briefly with a guy and rode his HT 26er with a thud-buster seatpost. It was way more plush than my FSR for small bumps.

    PPS - I will not consider full rigid. That's just crazy. I had a bad experience riding a rigid fork and have zero interest in that.

  2. #2
    Afric Pepperbird
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    Yes, you can survive on hardtails.

    But I'm 44 years of age, and ol' man Time is catching up to me. I prefer the comfort of Full Squish on my mostly 20-30 mile rides.

    Plus, let's not compare apples (a '99 FSR - even upgraded) with oranges (a modern day FS). Modern day FS has wonderful "responsiveness and efficiency", if done right.

  3. #3
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    Right, i realize my old bike is not exactly representative of current 26 FS bikes. Although, the RP3 and recon i put on it a few years ago made a huge difference.

    I'm 31 and still do pretty well as far as not getting beat up and sore.

  4. #4
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    Best of Both Worlds

    How about a 29er full squish?

  5. #5
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    can't afford one with any kind of decent componentry. In fact, i can't afford a good, new HT either. I'm looking for a used one.

    900-1200 bucks to spend. 1500 tops. I'm gonna have to scrounge. I don't want basement level components and most of the stuff on my old bike is too old to bother swapping over, or too old to even be compatible.

  6. #6
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    HT works fine. Got a 29er HT last year and love it. Go plenty fast with it. FYI never had a full squish, just rented one a couple of time. The 29er really does smooth things out a bit. Yes it is not a full squish, but it is smoother than a 26 HT.

  7. #7
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    I'm totally sold on the 29 HT except i'm still a little nervous about how people with a quiver of bikes say that they often choose something else for longer rides.

  8. #8
    I should be out riding
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    Quote Originally Posted by TroyS600 View Post
    I'm totally sold on the 29 HT except i'm still a little nervous about how people with a quiver of bikes say that they often choose something else for longer rides.
    the question to ask those people is what would they choose if they could only have one bike for everything. 29 HT would be a good choice for bend trails IMO.

  9. #9
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    I only have one bike. Don't like short rides. Prefer 25 miles or more. Working on fitness to handle 30 +. Last few rides put Maxxis adrent 2.4 on front and 2.25 out back and lowered the PSI. Love it.

  10. #10
    Metalheadbikerider
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    Do the wise thing.

    Cautiously take the input from others as it is a very subjective topic, and then test ride as many bikes as you can. There should be plenty of people who are willing to let you take a test spin on 26'ers and 29ers on a local trail.
    Support mtb'ing in the Portland area, join NWTA with your dollars, hands, and/or voice. nw-trail.org

  11. #11
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    do it

    I can't think of anywhere better suited for a 29er hardtail than central Oregon.
     
    Sometimes I say stupid things

  12. #12
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    Do you enjoy going down, as much as the climb? If so, I would look at a more modern FS. I just put a HT together and while nice, man are they more punishment on the backside.

    I just helped my buddy decide on a 2011 Kona this am. almost 5" of travel, 28lbs, and around $1300 new.
    Bend, Oregon

  13. #13
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    I'll second what Free-Agent said. If you ask 100 mtbers this question, you'll get 100 different answers. But to answer your question, and with your budget in mind, IMO, you could easily get away a HT in Oregon. And with $1500, you can have a very solid ride.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  14. #14
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    Sold my 29"er FS last year, after realizing that I was reaching for the 29" hardtail at least as often. Both in western and in central OR. Part of why I would choose the hardtail was its versatility in carrying gear for light touring, or because conditions were really crappy. Also, my HT has 2 water bottle mounts whereas my fully had zero, and although I don't always mind carrying weight on my sweaty, aging back, I don't like not even having the option of putting the water (or headlight battery) on the bike. I do realize I'm not in the majority on that last point. YMMV.

    I think thuren has a good point about descending. If the primary thrill of mountain biking for you is a fast, thrilling, adrenaline-filled descent, with a well-damped suspension helping keep the rear tire planted so you can descend faster, and you don't mind the compromises of a FS bike for that, then a fully is definitely going to have the advantage.

    Personally, after 4 years with a full boinger I realized that it wasn't ideally suited (for me) for my very xc-oriented riding, which don't tend to include a lot of massive downhills anyway ... I don't do a ton of rides where the first 50% is all suffering uphill and the other 50% is bombing for miles back downhill. To me that's less fun than cruising around the woods on a bike. And I missed the efficiency, simplicity and versatility of a hardtail. Again, I acknowledge that I may be in the minority on this.

    As for backside punishment, don't forget about the Thudbuster. No it isn't damped and it won't give you the control/traction advantages of a FS on either climbs or descents. And no it won't probably save weight versus a FS. But it does allow you to preserve the simplicity, maintenance, versatility and efficiency advantages of the hardtail. And you have the option of switching between a rigid post for smoother rides, when you want to really fly, and the suspended post for more technical or fast-descending rides. Oh, and compared to a fancy new full suspension rig it's pretty damned cheap.
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

  15. #15
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    I've done that and I am back on a FS. I ride in Bend a lot too. I think a lower travel FS bike is not only faster up but way more fun going down out there in Bend than a HT. HTs with low air pressure don't track very well, at least not for me, plus get flats a lot. I realize you are on a budget, but you should look at a Turner Flux or Pivot Mach 4 to see what's out there better than any HT.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPDX View Post
    I realize you are on a budget, but you should look at a Turner Flux or Pivot Mach 4 to see what's out there better than any HT.
    Might as well look at Enve wheelsets too....
     
    Sometimes I say stupid things

  17. #17
    Daniel the Dog
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    I had a Kona Unit 29er in Bend and got my butt beat to death but mostly on some of the higher trails. I think a guy should strongly consider a FS bike as they are so much more comfortable in most conditions. This would be a good bike:

    Specialized Stumpjumper 29er comp FSR

    If it fits of course.

  18. #18
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    How about one of those fat bikes? Run low tire pressure and you would have a hard tail squishy ride.

  19. #19
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    Well of course i like the downhill more. That's a given, isn't it? But who sits going downhill (in the steep / rough parts anyway)? Seems like as long as i'm standing, the hardtail wouldn't be that big of a deal. I really do need to spend a little time on one i guess. I realize it wouldn't work as well for world cup downhill, but i have to admit to myself that i live and ride in central oregon, and things are not that gnarly here. Even the high trails are not that technical. My FSR is not exactly plush with it's 80+mm rear travel, i don't think a hard tail would be much different.

    I stopped in at Sunnyside today between jobs and asked if they had a rental/demo 29er hardtail. The only thing they have is a Cobia which the sales guy admitted was a bit of a turd compared to the nicer bikes, and therefore not very representative of what i'm after.

    The bikes i'm considering are things like the Canfield Yelli Screamy or Transition Trans Am 29er which are supposed to be very capable downhillers. I don't want to get into a discussion of specific bikes though, there's no end to that.

    I just feel kind of bad pestering the shops for demos/rentals when i have no intention of buying from them. I guess it doesn't matter since it's a paid rental, it's not like i'm asking for a favor. Still seems weird though.

    I'm interested in that FSR 29er in hood river, seems like a really good deal, but the guy is super unresponsive to communication.

  20. #20
    Nat
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    How about this one? It'll even leave you with $1 to spare from your budget!

    2012 Salsa El Mariachi 3 Bike at WebCyclery.com

    I live in Bend and FWIW I've mostly been riding a 29er hardtail up until I got a 29er rigid last year. I think it's suitable for 90% of the trails here. Once in awhile I wish I had a 6" fully 26er but I'm okay without it.

  21. #21
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    I could get a small ice cream cone too!

    I buy almost everything used. If i buy used i can get a reba or fox instead of recon, better drivetrain, better brakes, better wheels all for the same price. So it has a little cable rub and maybe i need to put new tires on it. No big deal. Case in point, the FSR Comp 29er posted above... not to mention, it's full susp.

    Thanks for the tip though. It's a lot more hassle to buy used, to wait for a good deal to come along on something that meets your needs and isn't worn out, but it's worth it to me.

  22. #22
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    If you're an aggressive rider for whom it is "a given" how much you enjoy the downhill, you may want to strongly consider a FS. Just get a decent platform that will allow for future upgrades of basic components.

    On the other hand, it's not like a good hardtail with a nice fork would suck.

  23. #23
    Afric Pepperbird
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    Like someone mentioned above, a shorter travel FS (say, 4.75 inches) is fine for this area. It's hard to find one of those bikes nowadays where its marketing description doesn't say "Climbs like a mountain goat!". Technology really has advanced to where they do climb rather nimbly.

  24. #24
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    I built up a hardtail (single speed). I find myself gravitating to that bike WAY more often than my full squish.

    Steel frame by the way.

  25. #25
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    I got ahold of that guy in hood river with the stumpy 29er FSR. Was thinking about going to get it so i went down to hutches and rode one up the block and back. Holy crap, that is a a big bike. Felt like a LOT of suspension to me... way too much for 90% of my riding. Glad i tried it. Saved me a lot of driving and money. Also rode an Anthem X 29er while i was there... now that felt nice! Wouldn't be as fun on some fast, gnarly downhill... but would be a lot more fun in the places where i actually ride (as opposed to the places i dream of riding).

    Finally, rode a Superfly Elite (aluminum). That felt pretty good too. I'm still liking the hardtail idea. LOVE the newly announced S.C. Highball aluminum in blue/orange!

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