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  1. #1
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    When Riding Rigid Gets Stupid?

    I just raced in my first 12 hour event, 12 Hours of Sundance. Rode for 12 hours 35 minutes and put in 14 laps, which was about 112 miles and 14k vert. Longest race before that was about 6 hours and 62 miles with 11 k vert.

    I've never really felt the need for a suspension fork until this last race. Yeah other races hurt, but not like this one. Brake bumps the size of small moguls were the main issue. I feel pretty good considering, but my pinky is still numb from the repeated smashing. The main issue for me is cost of a suspension fork and the maintenance that comes with them.

    At what point have others drawn the line? I understand that a 25 hour buffed out course would probably be fine, whereas a 25 mile XC event with a super technical course could beat you up really bad. Just interested in what others think about riding rigid. Lately I really haven't seen an advantage to riding rigid. I think I would climb about the same(with remote lockout) as I currently do, but be able to descend a good amount faster.

    Thanks for listening to my blog

  2. #2
    CB2
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    I broke and hyper-extended my thumb over Memorial Day weekend. I had been an all rigid all the time kind of guy. My first two races after the injury I lost a lot of time in the second half due to fatigue (amazing how much your hand can wear you out). So I tried a suspension fork for my next race, and was much more consistent in the latter half of the race (and I won). I did the last two races of the series with a suspension, and it continued to go well.

    But today was my first day rigid since the beginning of August and it was awesome.
    I have 7 months now to HTFU for next season.

  3. #3
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    I am going thru similar issues as well.

    Just put on a Reba to my Jabberwocky after riding it rigid for the last year. Race coming up in couple of weeks that I rode same course rigid in Jan and got my ass handed to me. Figured the advantage of the Reba would be worth.

    First couple of rides I have been flying. Equaled my PR's from couple years ago that I havent been close to in a while. Dropped from an 18 to a 17 because I felt like I could push it a little more on the flats using the fork. My climbing times have been about the same, but can really feel the weight on any techy stuff with the 17.

    Going out to pre-ride the course this weekend with the fork on and see how it goes.

    Weird that I feel like I am cheating?! Miss the rigid fork in some ways, but the downs have been nice, plus ability to push it through rock gardens is awesome. Will put the rigid back on after the races at rough courses.

  4. #4
    Pedaler of dirt
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    I love the fact rigid riders today are learning some of the lessons us old mtbers learnt 20 years ago. Rigid sucks!
    It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required.

  5. #5
    fnar fnar brrraaaaap
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    Suspension is in fact a great innovation

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by marzjennings
    I love the fact rigid riders today are learning some of the lessons us old mtbers learnt 20 years ago. Rigid sucks!
    "horses for courses". Any bike can be not enough or too much for a given trail, even whatever bike your soft, holier-than-thou butt rides

    I ride both setups on my current frame. Some trails are better with rigid, some are better with a susp fork

  7. #7
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    I haven't ridden my bike with a suspension fork, but I'm pretty sure I would be switching back and forth. Mostly using the sus fork for endurance races or technical xc races and riding rigid otherwise. I understand there is probably a perceived feeling that youre going slower uphill in general and uphill through tech sections, but does it really translate to a slower time?

    Going to pick up an 80mm F29 and see how it goes. For right now I'm going to spend a week recovering, think overtraining might have got its ugly hands on me.

  8. #8
    Phatt Tire Luva'
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    So, I'm gonna come at this from the other side. But understand - I do not race... and if that had been in the cards - well, suspension might be well worth it.

    Before I make any comments - I'd be curious to know why not have both... and swap out what you need - when you need it?!?!

    Also of note: What kind of rigid are we talking here? I'd be very surprised if one of those Niner Carbon front-ends didn't make a considerable difference.

    Anywhoot:

    I've been riding SS on my EMD which has a 100mm F29 upfront. I almost always ride it locked out - when I ride it as a SS setup. Undoubtedly, there is a huge difference between having suspension up there and not. I personally feel that there is a great deal more terrain feel & flow with it as a rigid bike. Also, it is my personal preference to have rigid on a SS - as I also think it handles much better than having suspension. Anyway, I had decided to measure the amount of travel the fork was undergoing - even when it was locked out. Because remember, even though most suspension forks today have lock-out capability - almost everyone also has a blow off valve so that you don't destroy the internals.

    So - after leaving her locked out... I decided to do the ol' sag measurement gauge. Set a marker (i.e. - o-ring or zip tie at the base of the stanchion insert). Ride a bit - take a measurement. Thought she had to be moving a good half inch or so... even in lock-out mode. But imagine my surprise when I measured almost full travel!!!

    Having the soft front end can be nice in some terrain, particularly technical & screamin' DH. But there is a tremendous loss of performance when the road points any other direction than down... even when running a lock out.

    Just my $.02...

    I would at least enterain the idea of having two front-ends that you could swap out (as it would take no time at all) depending on your venture. Particularly if I was that serious that I'd be racing enduro on a SS.
    Ciao,

    -A-


    “Beer, if drank in moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit and promotes health”

  9. #9
    meatier showers
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    Personally, I have a rigid SS and a hardtail SS. I ride 'em both.

    But not at the same time.

    I love 'em both.

    But not on the same trails.

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  10. #10
    what the quan?!
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    I am new to the whole SS Rigid 29er world and I must say- it is quite rough! Maybe I am just too used to my AM rig which is a nice plush Yeti 575.

    Possibly it could be the fact that my SS Rigid is not a carbon fiber forgiving dream, but ugh- i am uncomfortably sore afterwards. Originally I bought my SS Rigid 29er as a city rig which I am loving every second of; however, I have taken it off road about a dozen times now and I must say it leaves much to be desired.

    Sure I learned how to ride on a rigid mountain bike about 20 years ago (just like marz states) but it just doesn't feel as enjoyable as it did back then. Maybe it had something to do with me being a young teen- being able to take the abuse!

    Anyhow, riding my SS Rigid offroad to me feels rather masochistic and I probably won't be doing it again. Props to Jtrue though, you either have balls of steel or you're just a glutton for punishment!!

  11. #11
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    I did suspension for the longest time ever this summer, and I really enjoyed it. Climbs sorta suck, as I do not have remote lockout and I don't always get my hand down fast enough. Two things troubled me- I stopped picking great lines all the time because I didn't have to, and sloppiness always gets you, and I didn't ride with the best form at all times, because, again, I don't have to. Wet hit in Orygun, and so my suspension isn't needed as much- I feel like I'm moving as fast as a turtle- so I'll be putting a rigid fork back on.

    When I decided I liked my suspension fork I spent an afternoon setting up my rigid and suspension forks with the same brakes and dialing them in. I timed a couple changes at around 5 minutes, thinking I would use the fork best fitting for the ride, but it is summer and being able to really fly is worth leaving my favored rigid at home.

    I'll likely ride suspension this weekend, then rigid for the next seven or eight months and love every second of it. Then I remembered I probably could manage to get my cross bike through most of the winter trails without much more trouble.... Choices are good?

  12. #12
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    Simplicity here. I got one bike with one gear! I ride!

    Don't get me wrong I was going to replace my old squish with a new one but the funds weren't there at the time so I simply got a nicer rigid front. I can say that I typically pick better lines and have learned to blast pretty fast down hill with it. Could I be faster, sure, more than likely. But as umarth indicated, I will be faster because I am taking straighter lines that aren't necessarily better lines.

    If I had the funds, I would have two very close to identical bikes, one with squish and one with out. But that just isn't in the cards right now.
    Last edited by 1SPD; 09-21-2010 at 08:36 AM.

  13. #13
    SP Singletrack rocks
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    J if your at all concerned about maintenance go rock shox. also with the rockshox forks you can have a remote lock out which is super nice.

    One thing I will say is I dont have one, but the thru axle forks just feel faster once you get in rough stuff. I know that complicates things but sometimes adding weight makes you go faster. Keep the heavy Haro for a backup though.

    the other thing is with your current set up, you can probably change frames, get a suspension fork and get the bike lighter.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    ITwo things troubled me- I stopped picking great lines all the time because I didn't have to, and sloppiness always gets you, and I didn't ride with the best form at all times, because, again, I don't have to.
    To me, those are two pluses. I'm frequently not feeling great, am tired, missed my lunch, etc., and a suspension forks gives me that extra margin before my bike bites me. On good days it still lets me still pick the good line and with good form. It also allows me to try different lines without fear of retribution.

  15. #15
    meatier showers
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    To me, those are two pluses. I'm frequently not feeling great, am tired, missed my lunch, etc., and a suspension forks gives me that extra margin before my bike bites me. On good days it still lets me still pick the good line and with good form. It also allows me to try different lines without fear of retribution.
    +1. I'm more adventuresome with my sus fork on.

    Yet I'm still a good line picker, even after all these years of riding with one. No brag, just fact. Maybe that's because the first 10 years I rode mountain bikes, I rode rigid. Whatever. The sus fork def brings something substantial to the table.

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  16. #16
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    To me, those are two pluses. I'm frequently not feeling great, am tired, missed my lunch, etc., and a suspension forks gives me that extra margin before my bike bites me. On good days it still lets me still pick the good line and with good form. It also allows me to try different lines without fear of retribution.
    Let me clarify- if I get up to the top of the hill and only see that they are 3 inch rocks and roots all the way down, I just disregard and go with suspension. Lots of fun, but not always something you can manage without losing cerebral consciousness on a long ride with a rigid.

    It is nice just to get through a tech section despite a poor line, but I feel like I'm doing it more than I did last summer and I think that is tied to knowing I can get away with it. But I hate making mistakes like that, so rigid doesn't reward me, and I need whipped into some shape.

  17. #17
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    As I read most of these posts it seems like its all about personal preference - on this trail or that trail, for speed, how you're feeling that day, etc.

    I simply like the "riding" with a rigid. When I get to that rocky section, I like having to pick my lines or "ride" the front wheel over the rock - pulling up on the front end, shifting body position, putting more force into the pedals, moving the bike over the rock - as opposed to letting a suspension ride over it for me. To me, that's fun. Slower? yes. More fatiguing? yes. Masochistic? maybe. I just prefer that.

    If I was racing, wanted to be competitive, or just preferred speed in all situations, then heck yeah I'd put on a suspension fork.

    Also J, for what its worth, the rest of the bike can make a huge difference. I just switched from a converted 26" tubed rigid to a 29" tubeless SS specific rigid. The difference in fatigue after a 4+ hour ride was AMAZING.

    One more thing J. "25 hour buffed out course" Frog Hollow? Are you doing the 6hr? If so I'll see you there.

  18. #18
    Rider and Wrench
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    It seems that you, JTrue, have already found your breaking point... which is more than I would be willing to endure!

    I don't do anything near as long but for what it is worth I have a rigid steel bike that I absolutely love to ride, for all of the reasons anyone who enjoys riding a rigid bikes already understands- some real some possibly imagine. I also have a full suspension bike so fully comprehend the benefits of suspension especially at times of fatigue. I love the contrast of the two but hands down I use up more energy on my rigid focusing more on the trail, gripping tighter on the rougher descents etc... for some of the very same reasons I love the rigid "feel" they don't mesh with conserving energy (climbing excluded)- It is a not a matter of can or can't I ride the same trails all the time on both bikes and their very different personalities aside I know which one I would pick for the long haul-
    I Just wish I could ride more!


  19. #19
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    After 112 miles in 12 hours, my wrists, hands, neck, back, etc. would be sore, and I have a great suspension fork.
    "I like skinny jeans. Sometimes I wear them to the mall to get an Orange Julius." -Chim Chim

  20. #20
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    I love riding rigid and prefer it over suspension but it is not because I feel that there is ANY advantage to a rigid fork. I just tend to have more fun and enjoy the challenge of it.

    That being said, 12hrs on a rough course is a long time. If you need suspension then "get it".
    Last edited by Flat Ark; 09-21-2010 at 08:59 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by UT Badger
    As I read most of these posts it seems like its all about personal preference - on this trail or that trail, for speed, how you're feeling that day, etc.

    I simply like the "riding" with a rigid. When I get to that rocky section, I like having to pick my lines or "ride" the front wheel over the rock - pulling up on the front end, shifting body position, putting more force into the pedals, moving the bike over the rock - as opposed to letting a suspension ride over it for me. To me, that's fun. Slower? yes. More fatiguing? yes. Masochistic? maybe. I just prefer that.

    If I was racing, wanted to be competitive, or just preferred speed in all situations, then heck yeah I'd put on a suspension fork.

    Also J, for what its worth, the rest of the bike can make a huge difference. I just switched from a converted 26" tubed rigid to a 29" tubeless SS specific rigid. The difference in fatigue after a 4+ hour ride was AMAZING.

    One more thing J. "25 hour buffed out course" Frog Hollow? Are you doing the 6hr? If so I'll see you there.
    Not doing the 6 hr but was planning on doing the 25 hour solo. I'm taking a week off of riding to recover and see how I feel. I currently ride a Haro Mary SS with steel fork, not the plushest setup. Pretty much everything except for the frame has been upgraded. Carbon Bars, Elixirs, Easton XC Ones, Etc. Going to try to build up an AC9 this winter if the funds allow, which should be a nice change. If I can't swing for the AC9, I'll probably build up a One 9.

    Edit: Just to add, I love riding rigid as well under normal circumstances. I think i'll always prefer riding rigid, but throwing on a suspension fork for longer races will just be another tool. Riding rigid for 12 hours, probably wasn't the smartest thing I have ever done, but I'm glad I got through it. Next time suspension fork.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA
    J if your at all concerned about maintenance go rock shox. also with the rockshox forks you can have a remote lock out which is super nice.

    One thing I will say is I dont have one, but the thru axle forks just feel faster once you get in rough stuff. I know that complicates things but sometimes adding weight makes you go faster. Keep the heavy Haro for a backup though.

    the other thing is with your current set up, you can probably change frames, get a suspension fork and get the bike lighter.
    Yeah, holding onto the Haro for sure. Probably not gonna go through axle, since my wheels are setup for QR. Being able to swap parts easily makes more sense to me.

    Let me know what races you are going to do next season out west and I'll join you for a couple. Hoping to move up to pro and ride most ICUP series races. Then race PCP2P, Snowbasin 100k, 12 Hours of Sundance, 25 Hours of Frog Hollow, and maybe throw in something in CO if I have time.

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