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  1. #1
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    Anyone ride both a Sultan and a RFX?

    I know this is really a question know one can answer since I'm looking at DWL bikes and nobody's ridden an RFX, but anyways...

    Based on experience with the non-DW bikes, which one is going to climb the chunky stuff better, the big wheeled bike or the one with more travel?

    I own a 29er and a few 26" bikes and while I do like the 29er a lot, I'm not married to the concept and a 160mm bike with 2.5 tires will be yet another experience to have.

    Technical climbing is what I'm all about. I like to ride up things that nobody else can. It makes me smile the most.

    Whatcha think?

  2. #2
    FM
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    I've never ridden a 29'er, but there are a few local technical climbs I've been able to climb on my RFX, that I've never been able to clean on lighter bikes with less travel, despite years of trying and gradually declining fitness

  3. #3
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    I have ridden a sultan for 2.5 years & owned an RFX (up until a couple months ago) for over 5 years. The Sultan is easily the better climber in any regard...chunk in particular. I only have a couple weeks on the DW-Sultan, but it is easily the superior climber, in every way, over the other 2.


  4. #4
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    I had a 6-Pack from late 2004 to early 2008 and have had an RFX since then, and I have also owned a Sultan for almost 2 years. My experience has been exactly the opposite of what JNC outlined.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  5. #5
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    Tscheezy Question

    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    I had a 6-Pack from late 2004 to early 2008 and have had an RFX since then, and I have also owned a Sultan for almost 2 years. My experience has been exactly the opposite of what JNC outlined.
    Sorry to de-rail here.

    Tscheezy,
    How do you like your new RFX?
    How does it compare to the old 6Pack/RFX?
    Any pics of the setup?

    Thanks,
    TG

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jncarpenter
    The Sultan is easily the better climber in any regard...chunk in particular.
    Correct.

    Also, on any long, chunky ride, I would finish with less leg fatigue on the Sultan than on the RFX.

    But on the really chunky downhill stuff, the Sultan is not quite as uber-smooth as the RFX was, when I had it set up with a CCDB and 36 Van RC.
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  7. #7
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    29er for sure....

    Quote Originally Posted by juan_speeder
    I know this is really a question know one can answer since I'm looking at DWL bikes and nobody's ridden an RFX, but anyways...

    Based on experience with the non-DW bikes, which one is going to climb the chunky stuff better, the big wheeled bike or the one with more travel?

    I own a 29er and a few 26" bikes and while I do like the 29er a lot, I'm not married to the concept and a 160mm bike with 2.5 tires will be yet another experience to have.

    Technical climbing is what I'm all about. I like to ride up things that nobody else can. It makes me smile the most.

    Whatcha think?
    Trying to clean tough, technical climbs is my thing as well.

    I have neither a Sultan or an RFX but have a FS 29er and have had multiple long travel 26" bikes.


    Lower speed maneuvering through rough stuff is where 29ers really shine. The big wheels simply don't get hung up on big rocks like a 26" wheel (that's why 24" rear wheels fell out of favor on DH rigs). To further tilt the scale in favor of the big wheels, longer travel bikes wallow in slow speed, big rock territory.

    Traction is far better on a 29" wheel.

    Hobby-horse. Longer travel bikes "hobby-horse" on steep climbs. The rear end sinks way low and the fork fully extends. You end up with the worst possible effective climbing geometry. Most will agree you can get "feel" of more travel out of a 29" wheel without having that extra travel. So you get the benefits of the travel without the hobby-horse drawback on climbs.

    Acceleration. Maybe the 26" bike wins on a smooth surface, but trying to accelerate over chunk is a different story. I'd say thats a wash. Fortunately, you need relatively less speed to roll over chunk with the big wheel compared to a little wheel. Furthermore, long travel almost "requires" a good head of steam when navigating chunk, because, like I said before if you just plod along, you'll get bogged down in the travel.


    None of this is to argue that a 29er is better, just that it's better in this particular arena.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo
    But on the really chunky downhill stuff, the Sultan is not quite as uber-smooth as the RFX was, when I had it set up with a CCDB and 36 Van RC.
    Wait'll you try ver. 2!


  9. #9
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    Rode the sultan, ride an RFX.

    The sultan felt like a big XC machine, not goofy-big where I couldn't control it, but it had more XC traits, head angle, and feel. It rocked on technical XC trails, but it wasn't nearly as good for descending down the same trails when only the downhill direction was considered (such as a steep chute or technical obstacle). No doubt the 29er wheels can roll over some serious stuff, but the rest of the bike did not inspire confidence down sedona's steep chutes, whereas the spot seemed a better machine for the same.

    Both the RFX and the Sultan will claw up nasty loose climbs, the sultan maintains better momentum on climbs, so while maintaining traction it can easily "outclimb" the RFX, plus it is usually a lighter bike, but once again when the trail turns predominantly down I'd rather be on the spot or RFX. They can be whipped back and forth so much easier and are just a hoot to ride. The sultan is no slouch, but just not the same game. For some bigger/taller riders a sultan may be a better fit, but if you really want to look at something that may be similer to the RFX/Spot look at the Lenz 5 or 6" travel bike with a big enough fork to give a nice slack head angle.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    Rode the sultan, ride an RFX.

    The sultan felt like a big XC machine, not goofy-big where I couldn't control it, but it had more XC traits, head angle, and feel. It rocked on technical XC trails, but it wasn't nearly as good for descending down the same trails when only the downhill direction was considered (such as a steep chute or technical obstacle). No doubt the 29er wheels can roll over some serious stuff, but the rest of the bike did not inspire confidence down sedona's steep chutes, whereas the spot seemed a better machine for the same.

    Both the RFX and the Sultan will claw up nasty loose climbs, the sultan maintains better momentum on climbs, so while maintaining traction it can easily "outclimb" the RFX, plus it is usually a lighter bike, but once again when the trail turns predominantly down I'd rather be on the spot or RFX. They can be whipped back and forth so much easier and are just a hoot to ride. The sultan is no slouch, but just not the same game. For some bigger/taller riders a sultan may be a better fit, but if you really want to look at something that may be similer to the RFX/Spot look at the Lenz 5 or 6" travel bike with a big enough fork to give a nice slack head angle.
    Good comparison Jay. . . Was that a V1 or Dw Sultan, did it have a 20mm front axle, etc?

  11. #11
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    We've got at least one large RFX in the Bando stable that you could get some saddle time. I happen to know a friend the knows a cousin....etc

    We're headed out to Red Mesa on Saturday so I could put in a good word for you with Jose. There is some serious technical climbing out there. Similar to some of your favs...doc long and the like, but maybe a tad looser

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by juan_speeder
    Technical climbing is what I'm all about. I like to ride up things that nobody else can. It makes me smile the most.
    No experience on long travel 26" bikes, but comparing 4 and 5 inch travel 26 vs 29 inch bikes, my experience mirrors JNC and Miker J. Chunky technical climbing is one particular area where the 29" platform simply excels. Also, given the DW Sultan's geometry, suspension and travel I imagine it is a stand out amongst 29ers in this regard.

    We are splitting hairs though, it is still mostly rider either way.

    I would figure out what you are going to do the rest of the time on the bike and base your buying decision on that. If it is your passion, you will get that sucker to climb.

    Edit: Consider the upcoming Niner WFO as well. 140mm of travel trumps the Sultan, mini link suspension should be near DW in performance if their RIP 9 is any indication. Could be a good one bike. You will have lots of choices to consider if you wait a year or so.
    I personally ride a Lenz 6" 29"er which I think is a brilliant tech climber.
    Last edited by Enel; 01-08-2009 at 07:13 AM.

  13. #13
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    I remember Mo back at the 06' THC commenting the 29r was not as comforting on the downhill as his other 26" bikes. Uphill was great, rolling was great, but drops or anything requiring commitment bummed him a little. he seemed caged in a way...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn. Biker123
    We've got at least one large RFX in the Bando stable that you could get some saddle time. I happen to know a friend the knows a cousin....etc

    We're headed out to Red Mesa on Saturday so I could put in a good word for you with Jose. There is some serious technical climbing out there. Similar to some of your favs...doc long and the like, but maybe a tad looser
    Thanks for the invite Bryan, but the family and I are doin' stuff up in Santa Fe on Saturday (ever eat at Bobcat Bites? Best burgers in the world.).

    Honestly, because this is such a big $$$ decision, I'll probably order demo bikes from Competitive Cyclist, whenever the DW RFX becomes available, so I can make a well informed decision, because what works for me often isn't what works for the majority (Tscheesy being the outlier).

    I just wanted to put some feelers out.

  15. #15
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    Wouldn't it be cool if Bikeworks got a DW demo. Seems someone stirred the pot a while back

    Seriously, you are in a league of your own when it comes to mashing up some crazy climbs. I have ridden some 29'er hardtails and I am not exactly a slouch. I think they are equally matched when it comes to a rider who has the strength to carry a 35lb rig up a hill (which you should have no problem). The big difference is descending and I always figured you had a hidden talent there...just needed more bike . In any case, whatever you decide, there is not much that will hold you back.

    What happened to the Flux?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn. Biker123
    What happened to the Flux?
    I broke it at the lower shock mount, got an '08 front triangle from Turner, and needed some cash, so I sold it on eBay for more than I paid for it.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shin Music
    Good comparison Jay. . . Was that a V1 or Dw Sultan, did it have a 20mm front axle, etc?
    DW, can't remember if it was standard QR or 15mm.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  18. #18
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    After riding a Sultan for the past 2+ years and a RFX for almost a year I'd give the edge to the Sultan, but with a few caveats:

    -I don't know if it's just the inherently larger gearing of the big wheels or what, but it seems much easier to modulate the torque you're laying down on a 29"er. I tend to think it's more than just the gearing, because I notice it even if using a proportionally smaller gear on the 29"er (e.g. a 22x32 on the Sultan vs. a 22x28 on the RFX). If I use a big enough gear (i.e. stay in the middle ring) on the RFX I don't notice it, but then on extended steep climbs I wear myself out too quickly.

    -I think the Sultan does better on really loose stuff (elongated shape of contact patch probably comes into play here), while the RFX might have the edge on wet, slippery rocks/roots (where low pressure tires that can wrap themselves around the obstacles are crucial). In any discussion of technical climbing tire selection cannot be ignored, and the RFX certainly has the advantage there. You just don't have the option of putting DH casing UST tires on a Sultan and running them at 20 psi, should you be so inclined.

    -The '08 RFX with an Avalanche Chubbie provides a ridiculous amount of rear traction, and the very stiff rear end helps you take advantage of it. Except for the phenomena mentioned above, it brings the RFX as close to a 29"er for technical climbing as any 26" bike I've ridden.

    -I haven't ridden a DW Sultan (as of today ) But then again, no one has ridden a DW RFX.

    In summation, technical climbing has always been my favorite trait of 29"ers, but the performance of the RFX has just about made this a draw for me. If you can only have one then you're probably better off comparing other aspects, like overall bike weight (do you want a bike that weighs in the upper 20's or low to mid 30 pound range?), how much strength/travel do you really need, etc.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by juan_speeder
    I broke it at the lower shock mount,
    My point exactly! Go with the bigger bike. Besides you may be the first to pull the trigger (around these parts) on the D-dub RFX when released. But what to do until then? Maybe pick up a used RFX in the meantime and do a trade in when they new ones start rolling out. I am seeing them as low as $800.

  20. #20
    Daniel the Dog
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    Personal choice

    The RFX is going to have a lot more travel and able to handle tight, technical terrain a lot better; however, the Sultan is going to float over some rocks and stuff that would create problems for the RFX. Go ride a 29er. The RFX will climb better because the wheels smaller and lighter. I like 29ers because I find them comfy but still own a Spot that I like very much....

    Jaybo

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaybo
    The RFX is going to have a lot more travel and able to handle tight, technical terrain a lot better; however, the Sultan is going to float over some rocks and stuff that would create problems for the RFX. Go ride a 29er. The RFX will climb better because the wheels smaller and lighter.
    I'm not trying to be too big of a douche, but I'm not certain that I agree with anything in your post.

    I'd bet that the wheelbase on the RFX and the Sultan is almost the same, and the RFX has a 3 degree slacker head tube angle (which more than compensates for the decreased trail of a 29" wheel), so why would it handle tight terrain better?

    Also, if one were to run rims and tires appropriate to each frame, why would the RFX wheels be lighter?

    Why does a smaller wheel climb better? In my experience the larger wheel climbs tech better, but I'm trying to determine if that can be at least partially offset by more quality travel.

  22. #22
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    FLEXY

    Everyone knows the XC Highline climbs better than both of them
    Just riding a muddy trail. . ..

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  23. #23
    Daniel the Dog
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    Not huge

    Quote Originally Posted by juan_speeder
    I'm not trying to be too big of a douche, but I'm not certain that I agree with anything in your post.

    I'd bet that the wheelbase on the RFX and the Sultan is almost the same, and the RFX has a 3 degree slacker head tube angle (which more than compensates for the decreased trail of a 29" wheel), so why would it handle tight terrain better?

    Also, if one were to run rims and tires appropriate to each frame, why would the RFX wheels be lighter?

    Why does a smaller wheel climb better? In my experience the larger wheel climbs tech better, but I'm trying to determine if that can be at least partially offset by more quality travel.
    And for most guys wouldn't be a big deal; however, 29ers are slower to spin up to speed and more laborious on longer climbs. The die hard 29ers like Carpenter are going to mock me but oh well...it is a bulletin board and opinions are us. Go ride both and lets us know what you think. Good luck. No douche taken

    Jaybo

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaybo
    And for most guys wouldn't be a big deal; however, 29ers are slower to spin up to speed and more laborious on longer climbs. The die hard 29ers like Carpenter are going to mock me but oh well...it is a bulletin board and opinions are us. Go ride both and lets us know what you think. Good luck. No douche taken

    Jaybo
    Its an interesting debate, Jaybo!


    Ride what ya enjoy fer sure! think I'd like to try a big wheeled HT one day, I may have changed my mind on FS big wheels though especially with dwl coming on board not because its bad but because of whats its does for the for the others!

    Looking at results in SS competitions where 29ers an 26ers compete in elite classes together here, I find it interesting that the 26ers are still coming out on top, I was surprised at that, well that has been the results here to date, see what happens in 09 Nats!

    No doubt the debate will rage on
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  25. #25
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    Paging dirtbag and tiSSer....

    These guys have first hand knowledge... From both sides of the story I bet...

    Bueller? Anyone?

    I am in the "I like lighter bikes" camp. I ride my lightly built Spot 2x as much as the "heavy" RFX. That of course is really dependent on terrain.

    bobo

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