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  1. #1
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    Da Sultan Demo...

    Ok, so I'm not one for "fads" and thats exactly what I thought the 29er idea was, a fad. For years I non-verbally, secretly, have ridiculed the idea of road sized tires, and have in generaly been dismissive of the whole thing. Now, I began to hear good things from people I trust and respect, so this winter/spring, we got a few 29er demos, Spiders and Sultans, specifically.

    I'm not much of an XC rider, in fact, I wasn't much of an XC rider when thats all I did. Since getting bit by the DH/FR bug a few years ago, XC has taken a back seat. However, we are in Maine, and with such a short DH season (its about 45-54 minutes on average, as Maine seems to be the only place on the Earth suffering global cooling...), if you like to ride bikes, you pretty much have no choice but to do XC/Trail riding. Always looking for something to make that bit of torture called climbing bearable, I decided to bite the bullet and take the Sultan out for a few spins to see what it is like. First thing I noticed was damn, it feels high, second thing I noticed was, damn, this thing is fast. Built up with a Reba at 100mm, some standard Bontrager/Truvativ/Avid stuff, it came in at a respectable 31 pounds. Not bad for what I'd consider a middle to low end build (X.7, Juicy 3's, etc.) 4" of travel feels like 6", and with the required Gravity Dropper post, this is a very versatile and reasonably priced, build. For the first few days, I rode some very easy trails, nothing too technical until I got used to being clipped in again, and in a much steeper than DH, position. At first, it was a little unnerving riding for the first time in 3 years, with a 71 degree head angle, but surprisingly, I haven't once gone over the bars, even on the technical stuff that I eventually got around to.

    Over the last few weeks, I've learned to "trust the wheels", so to speak, and let it simply roll over things smaller tires took much more expertise to negotiate. I haven't really felt that starting out in technical sections has been a problem, and although some I've spoken to seem to feel that the granny/granny gear combo isn't enough on extremely steep ups, I've had no problems with that at all. In fact, the Sultan is the single greatest thing to happen to old, fat, lazy, lift service addicted, DH lovers, since the invention of the portable oxygen tank.

    My only problem with 29" tires, so far, is I haven't really tried to do any jumps or drops with the bike. Not even so much as a little one, have I tried, and its certainly not the bike, its my confidence level in the head angle. Eventually, I think I'd like to try a longer fork on the bike to bring the head angle to 69 degrees or so, if possible, but that would bring the bottom bracket even higher. There has to be a good balance there somewhere. I think something adjustable in the 4-6" range would bring this bike from what I would consider a top XC type bike, into a versatile all mountain rig.

    The Spider 29er should be back from an extended demo soon, so I'll definately have to give that one a go too. So far, well, I'm a convert in the 29er revolution.

    Here's a pic of the rig after tonight's hellishly sloppy, wet, ride, that I still ended with a huge smile on my face. Any thoughts from the Sultan faithful that would assist me into getting the most out of, and in turn, explaining the best possible uses for, the Sultan, would be greatly appreciated.
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  2. #2
    Bodhisattva
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    Welcome aboard Esquire.

    I think Sultan does better with taller forks. I've been running the WB F135 for the past year and it does the job well. Rock Shox is releasing a 120 u-turn Reba with Maxle shortly which should be a winner. I've hit 4'+ drops and my bike sucked them up well but I think that's about Sultan's limit. Take a look at Panaracer Rampage tires which are a great combo of width, traction & rolling resistance.

    Enjoy.
    Life....the original terminal illness

  3. #3
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    I'd probably go with that 120mm fork from Rockshox if I were to get a Sultan (if I see a good one for sale, I'm done for) but it seems that the Sultan is one of the more slack 29ers. Most other 29ers that look interesting are even steeper.

    Keep us posted after a few more rides, Esquire. I'd be curious to see what you think once your brain and body adjusts to the Sultan. The first few rides are bound to feel a bit awkward for most.

  4. #4
    not so super...
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    send it to me and I'll test it and get back to you with my thoughts
    Nothing to see here.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by esquire
    Ok, so I'm not one for "fads" and thats exactly what I thought the 29er idea was, a fad. For years I non-verbally, secretly, have ridiculed the idea of road sized tires, and have in generaly been dismissive of the whole thing. Now, I began to hear good things from people I trust and respect, so this winter/spring, we got a few 29er demos, Spiders and Sultans, specifically.

    I'm not much of an XC rider, in fact, I wasn't much of an XC rider when thats all I did. Since getting bit by the DH/FR bug a few years ago, XC has taken a back seat. However, we are in Maine, and with such a short DH season (its about 45-54 minutes on average, as Maine seems to be the only place on the Earth suffering global cooling...), if you like to ride bikes, you pretty much have no choice but to do XC/Trail riding. Always looking for something to make that bit of torture called climbing bearable, I decided to bite the bullet and take the Sultan out for a few spins to see what it is like. First thing I noticed was damn, it feels high, second thing I noticed was, damn, this thing is fast. Built up with a Reba at 100mm, some standard Bontrager/Truvativ/Avid stuff, it came in at a respectable 31 pounds. Not bad for what I'd consider a middle to low end build (X.7, Juicy 3's, etc.) 4" of travel feels like 6", and with the required Gravity Dropper post, this is a very versatile and reasonably priced, build. For the first few days, I rode some very easy trails, nothing too technical until I got used to being clipped in again, and in a much steeper than DH, position. At first, it was a little unnerving riding for the first time in 3 years, with a 71 degree head angle, but surprisingly, I haven't once gone over the bars, even on the technical stuff that I eventually got around to.

    Over the last few weeks, I've learned to "trust the wheels", so to speak, and let it simply roll over things smaller tires took much more expertise to negotiate. I haven't really felt that starting out in technical sections has been a problem, and although some I've spoken to seem to feel that the granny/granny gear combo isn't enough on extremely steep ups, I've had no problems with that at all. In fact, the Sultan is the single greatest thing to happen to old, fat, lazy, lift service addicted, DH lovers, since the invention of the portable oxygen tank.

    My only problem with 29" tires, so far, is I haven't really tried to do any jumps or drops with the bike. Not even so much as a little one, have I tried, and its certainly not the bike, its my confidence level in the head angle. Eventually, I think I'd like to try a longer fork on the bike to bring the head angle to 69 degrees or so, if possible, but that would bring the bottom bracket even higher. There has to be a good balance there somewhere. I think something adjustable in the 4-6" range would bring this bike from what I would consider a top XC type bike, into a versatile all mountain rig.

    The Spider 29er should be back from an extended demo soon, so I'll definately have to give that one a go too. So far, well, I'm a convert in the 29er revolution.

    Here's a pic of the rig after tonight's hellishly sloppy, wet, ride, that I still ended with a huge smile on my face. Any thoughts from the Sultan faithful that would assist me into getting the most out of, and in turn, explaining the best possible uses for, the Sultan, would be greatly appreciated.


    I sure hope your not wearing red & white checkered lycra!
    Pearl & Paiste, weapons of mass percussion

  6. #6
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    nice story...by the way esquire, will you also be summarizing your experience with an Ellsworth 29er? thanks in advance

  7. #7
    trail fairy
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle
    nice story...by the way esquire, will you also be summarizing your experience with an Ellsworth 29er? thanks in advance
    Which one the FSR ver or DW ver
    Just riding a muddy trail. . ..

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  8. #8
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    Where'd you find a Sultan in ME to demo? I'm in Mass. and have been looking everywhere to find a demo ride rather than plunking down some $$ to Competitive Cyclist to ship me one.
    Quote Originally Posted by turnerbikes
    in fact for trail type bikes I am tired of QR roady shite in general. Lets move on.

  9. #9
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    Bike Boutique

    The Bike Boutique, 2208 US Rt. 202 in Winthrop, ME, come around back, ask for Vinny, hand him a $20.00 and he'll let you in the secret door. Once you are in, there is a series of Raiders of the Lost Ark puzzels and tests, then you are into the inner sanctuary. Grab yourself a beer and have a seat, you made it...

    SSigna, this thing would feel like a boat to you, its a large, otherwise, you are welcome to put on the 6" shoe lifts and take it for a ride.

    Fo, we asked to get an Ellsworth 29er demo, but for some reason were rather rudely told to F$#$%& Off, and they mumbled something about us being lucky we weren't sued. Some people have NO sense of humor. Maybe we'll just repost our investigative journalist stories for all to see, aye?

    120mm fork sounds like a good idea.

  10. #10
    TLL
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    I'll second Sqeaks comment on the Rampage, probably the best do it all 29er tire around. If you want something more AM, go with the WTB Stout--It can take some serious bashing. Just be prepared to pay a weight penalty.

  11. #11
    Bite Me.
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    [QUOTE=esquirel
    Over the last few weeks, I've learned to "trust the wheels", so to speak, and let it simply roll over things smaller tires took much more expertise to negotiate.[/QUOTE]
    That right there is the key - 120mm is a must IMO unless you are devoting the bike solely to XC riding. Welcome to the kool-aid stand brother.
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

  12. #12
    Toby Wong?
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    Quote Originally Posted by esquire
    In fact, the Sultan is the single greatest thing to happen to old, fat, lazy, lift service addicted, DH lovers, since the invention of the portable oxygen tank.
    hilarious
    lets not make it a religion, it is recreation

  13. #13
    Powered by ice cream.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel
    I think Sultan does better with a slacker head angle.
    Corrected for clarity

    Welcome aboard Esquire. Hilarious write up. Best use for the Sultan is producing grins in nearly all riding conditions.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  14. #14
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    Esquire, I hate to break it to you but that thing took a 3 and 4 footer during its recent vacation down south here. A bit more travel would be appretiated thought and it didn't really feel right doing the backyard jumps.

    Its a huge change going from 24/7 riding slack, low bikes to this. Right tool for the right job!

  15. #15
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    Shut your pie-hole...

    Quote Originally Posted by Chiefy
    Esquire, I hate to break it to you but that thing took a 3 and 4 footer during its recent vacation down south here. A bit more travel would be appretiated thought and it didn't really feel right doing the backyard jumps.

    Its a huge change going from 24/7 riding slack, low bikes to this. Right tool for the right job!
    You shut your da$@# pie hole man, you clip in all the time, so there's no getting used to it. In fact, you clip into everything from what I can tell. I think there's a set of crank brother pedals attached to the gas pedal in your Subaru, a set on the side of your toilet for leverage, and a set on the back of your wife's calves.... Give me a little time to reclaim my confidence with Time's without reclaiming my title of "hilarious standing still fall over guy".

    A little slacker head angle is necessary, but I'm not sure it even needs more travel in the back. Maybe a bit more, but I think for its purposes, 4" is enough. See, now I'm using the quote you always use with your wife, I guess I should have footnoted. Glad to hear the Sultan can take the drops without snapping, that is good news.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by esquire
    A little slacker head angle is necessary, but I'm not sure it even needs more travel in the back. Maybe a bit more, but I think for its purposes, 4" is enough. See, now I'm using the quote you always use with your wife, I guess I should have footnoted. Glad to hear the Sultan can take the drops without snapping, that is good news.
    I agree(except about the wife part). The travel in the front needs to be bumped up. I was uncomfortable with the feeling during aggressive XC which is the only thing keeping me from drinking the Kool aid and pushing me towards a more conventional set-up. Maybe this is a feeling that goes away after you log more saddle time. Anyway nice bike.

    Flat pedals are for people who can't master all of the clipless bad habits like I have. Just like the saying goes about skiers on downhill bindings vs telemark...

    "Free your heel, free your mind. Lock your heel, solve the problem!"

  17. #17
    trail fairy
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    Quote Originally Posted by esquire
    You shut your da$@# pie hole man, you clip in all the time, so there's no getting used to it. In fact, you clip into everything from what I can tell. I think there's a set of crank brother pedals attached to the gas pedal in your Subaru, a set on the side of your toilet for leverage, and a set on the back of your wife's calves.... Give me a little time to reclaim my confidence with Time's without reclaiming my title of "hilarious standing still fall over guy".

    A little slacker head angle is necessary, but I'm not sure it even needs more travel in the back. Maybe a bit more, but I think for its purposes, 4" is enough. See, now I'm using the quote you always use with your wife, I guess I should have footnoted. Glad to hear the Sultan can take the drops without snapping, that is good news.
    haha great thread esquire, he dosen't drive for dear Mr IMBA does he sorry couldn't resist


    Originally Posted by esquire
    In fact, the Sultan is the single greatest thing to happen to old, fat, lazy, lift service addicted, DH lovers, since the invention of the portable oxygen tank.
    You and Taps are so on, I need some serious whipping back into shape, thats exactly how I see a Sultan in my future, course I need to make it to 50 first, thats a long way off the rate I'm going

    Just riding a muddy trail. . ..

    MAXXIS 4C!
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  18. #18
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    Well...

    Quote Originally Posted by trailadvent
    haha great thread esquire, he dosen't drive for dear Mr IMBA does he sorry couldn't resist




    You and Taps are so on, I need some serious whipping back into shape, thats exactly how I see a Sultan in my future, course I need to make it to 50 first, thats a long way off the rate I'm going

    I will say this, we have questioned Chiefy's need for a car that is typically driven by someone who has more armpit hair than he does and plays a mean softball...

    The Spider should be back soon (will probably give up the Sultan for a few weeks to compare), so by the time the summer of testing and playing with the big tire bikes ends, I'm either going to have to shave my legs, purchase my first pair of lycra pants, or get a set of bar ends... I'm starting to scare myself, I have to go finish a DHR and let my nuts drop back down.

  19. #19
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    Fork and tires here

    Hey, That Sultan / Rampages / WB F135 combi almost ran over your XC butt while you were kissing the base of that tree with your (previously separated) shoulder. Hell of a place to check QR adjustment, right in the middle of the trail. Get a 20mm front axle.
    Everybody dies, but not everyone lives

  20. #20
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    You know - the new Fox F29 120mm might be a good thing for the Sultan. I don't do the AM thing, XC focused but I'd like a bit more travel b/c I like to make up time during races on the downhill

    Anyway - my current fork is a 510mm AtoC, 100mm travel, the 120 F29 is 521mm AtoC but has 20mm more travel. Drop one or two spacers and my bar height is the same but I've got more travel.......
    Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances. Benjamin Franklin

  21. #21
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    The more I ride my Sultan, the more AM it feels. I take it off of jumps/hucks all the time (tho none over 4-5 ft) and it feels spot on. Firm but not harsh, very precise landings and holding lines. I rode a Slayer before, and the Sultan feels as good, though I sometimes miss the extra cushion up front (I have a White Bros 110).


    Quote Originally Posted by skunkty14
    Where'd you find a Sultan in ME to demo? I'm in Mass. and have been looking everywhere to find a demo ride rather than plunking down some $$ to Competitive Cyclist to ship me one.
    I'm on the Cape. If you're near here or will be down here this summer and want to take my large sultan for a ride, lemme know.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by longshanks
    The more I ride my Sultan, the more AM it feels. I take it off of jumps/hucks all the time (tho none over 4-5 ft) and it feels spot on. Firm but not harsh, very precise landings and holding lines. I rode a Slayer before, and the Sultan feels as good, though I sometimes miss the extra cushion up front (I have a White Bros 110).

    I'm on the Cape. If you're near here or will be down here this summer and want to take my large sultan for a ride, lemme know.

    Thanks for the offer, I will definitely take you up on this (I'm on the south shore) and I have been looking at the WB110 to compliment the bike. I'll drop you a PM sometime, of course you're more than welcome to take my large RFX and thrash it in return.
    Quote Originally Posted by turnerbikes
    in fact for trail type bikes I am tired of QR roady shite in general. Lets move on.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by longshanks
    The more I ride my Sultan, the more AM it feels. I take it off of jumps/hucks all the time (tho none over 4-5 ft) and it feels spot on. Firm but not harsh, very precise landings and holding lines.
    This pretty much parallels my experience on it as well. The Sultan is a very capable bike in a wide variety of terrain....you need only to vary the wheelset or fork selection.


  24. #24
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    For sale...

    Anybody want to buy a Reba 29? I'm going to look into getting a WB135 for it, so as to head off the inevitable "this bike is steep" that I know I'll be getting from the next person that will be demo'ing it. I also have some of the 7mm crown race spacers that I could use as well, that would help a bit. The tires, now that is a good idea, as although these Bontrager's roll quite well, they definately slip a lot in the corners when I'm really pushing it. That is what mtbikerx was talking about, he almost ran over me lying in the trail once after a wash out. Of course it took him a minute or two to catch up, and I was using the time to take my own little break.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by esquire
    Anybody want to buy a Reba 29? I'm going to look into getting a WB135 for it, so as to head off the inevitable "this bike is steep" that I know I'll be getting from the next person that will be demo'ing it. I also have some of the 7mm crown race spacers that I could use as well, that would help a bit.
    I currently have the Manitou 120mm w/ a 7mm CK race & it feels pretty good...I cannot wait to get a real fork (new reba) up front tho

    I really think DT could ease the head angle back a degree pretty safely with the newer crop of forks having more appropriate offsets.


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