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  1. #1
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    Ideal Bike for Riding Fair Hill????

    Just curious on this one since I have ridden at Fair Hill a lot and can use it as a baseline for comparison.

    What do you personally feel is the ideal bike for riding these trails? 26 or 29, and how much suspension travel?

    I have my thoughts, but curious to hear what other people think.

    I have not lived in that area for a few years, so I am not sure what most folks are riding out there these days. I think Fair Hill is a great place to ride and offers a good mix of fast and smooth trails, some climbs, roots, etc. so it has a little of everything which is why I ask the question.

    thanks

    Matt

  2. #2
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    HT 29ers are a ton of fun in FH. A 26er HT would do just fine also. It really depends on your preference. There isn't enough tight twisty stuff to make it necessary for you to have a 26er. But there are enough high speed flowy sections to really take advantage of a steam roller 29er. As for suspension. From rigid to 120mm would be fine. I like 100mm or slightly less for FH.

    These are based on personal preference, mostly. But a large number of people are riding Fair Hill in 29er HTs.
    Ricardo aka "El Toro"
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  3. #3
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    yeah...

    When I was riding there I was riding a 26 inch, 100mm travel. I noticed a lot of people starting to ride 29er hard tails....and single speeds. 29ers were just starting to catch on back then so I was not sure if that trend was growing in that area.

    My thoughts are that it would probably be best suited to a 29er, given the roots, etc. As far as HT vs. FS and travel.....I think some some suspension would be valuable. Some of the trails had some chattering roots, but probably not enought to warrant anything over 4 inches.

    My vote would be a 29er with 4 inches of travel.

    But then again, White Clay offers a completely different riding experience. I would think a 26 bike or HT 26/29er would probably be better suited to those twisty trails.

    Thanks for entertaining my question!!!

    Matt

  4. #4
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    Quick story. I roll a 26 squishy w.5" travel. I met a bunch of people that ride FH a lot. In fact they have their own gang. They call themselves the FairHillbillies. They had a lot of fun kidding me about my kid's size wheels. As you can guess, they all ride 29 HT.

    Great guys, and I look forward to riding with them again.

    Tough decision though, what do you ride at freedom park? I imagine you want some travel for the d trail, right?

  5. #5
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    Yes I would agree that the 29er is more ideal for Fair Hill....but not sure why everyone there wants a hard tail. I would definitely opt for suspension there.

    Ha...so you know that I ride at Freedom Park huh? Guess that would be obvious since I live in Williamsburg. Actually I ride a 29er with 4 inches travel. I don't do any of the jumps and free ride stuff there so my bike has more than enough travel. Actually a hard tail would do quite nicely there in my opinion. The trails are fairl smooth and sandy with some minor roots. Lots of fun though.

    The trails in Richmond though are really cool. Definitely 29er FS trails.

    matt

  6. #6
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    I think some of us are influenced by the fact that we are locals and that FS in Fair Hill is, simply, not necessary. There isn't any amount of chunk that requires anything more than XC travel (100mm). Hell, there are guys on rigids all over FH and WCC/MR. It's just not necessary.

    Having said that, you might prefer a FS. That's fine. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm not a great rider by any means but I can get away with riding a HT at Marsh Creek, French Creek, Middle Run, Patapsco, etc. I've run HT in Pisgah, NC. Pisgah being the only place so far where I've felt that I could use some help from a bit of squish but, since I didn't have one, I did it in the GT Zaskar and it was fast, fun, and scary as hell <= just the way I like it.

    I'm not bashing FS. As a matter of fact, in order to have a more educated opinion, I'm demo'ing a 29er FS this week. Last year, I demo'ed the Specialized Epic in Fair Hill for a few days. Great machine but not necessary for me. I guess it all depends on what you want to do, what your riding style is like, and the terrain.

    When I went to French Creek I was in mixed company of HTs and FS bikes. We were all close to the same speed down. I was working more on the descents, the FS guys were working slightly more on the ascents... the usual. There were places where squish was useful on the way up also. But there was nothing I couldn't do on my HT. Hence my decision that HT is fine if you don't mind working your legs as the suspension you're missing.

    Peace!
    Ricardo aka "El Toro"
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  7. #7
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    Good points. On most trails it is true that you can get by with a hard tail. I used to be a die hard fan of hard tails and started riding before any suspension was used on most bikes (to include front suspension). After hurting my back I started riding a FS bike and really like it. I guess I do sometimes miss riding a hard tail on some of the smoother trails I ride. And now that I think of it many of the trails in Fair Hill are relatively smooth. I guess I just remember the one trail I always rode that was a virtual "root garden" and that trail always chattered me pretty well.

    In many ways my Santa Cruz Tallboy is similar to riding a hard tail in that it is stiff and pretty efficient, but not exactly super plush either. Just smooths things out a little more than a hard tail and helps with my lower back a lot.....and yes with your legs not getting quite so fatigued from absorbing the shock the suspension would otherwise absorb.

    Matt

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowler1 View Post
    Yes I would agree that the 29er is more ideal for Fair Hill....but not sure why everyone there wants a hard tail. I would definitely opt for suspension there.

    Ha...so you know that I ride at Freedom Park huh? Guess that would be obvious since I live in Williamsburg. Actually I ride a 29er with 4 inches travel. I don't do any of the jumps and free ride stuff there so my bike has more than enough travel. Actually a hard tail would do quite nicely there in my opinion. The trails are fairl smooth and sandy with some minor roots. Lots of fun though.

    The trails in Richmond though are really cool. Definitely 29er FS trails.

    matt
    I work up and down the coast, and freedom park is a good spot to hit is you are at va beach. Most of the trails there, I agre with a 29 ht. But if you hit any of the gaps, or drops, it's nice to have a little more travel. I also wish i had some guards and a face shield..maybe i would have conisidered that big drop. Freedom is pretty cool.

    I had a 29 ht before, and a couple of bad knees like the squishy better. I would suggest though, that a 29 ht is probably ideal.

    One other thing is I switched to a 1 x 10 , w a 32 up front. Many even roll ss around here. They are a hearty bunch.

    I could use a guide when I'm down at freedom...

  9. #9
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    Feel free to message me when you are going to be in the area. I would be happy to ride out there with you. I ride there most weekends. Do you live near Fair Hill area? I lived in that area for about 4 years--in Havre de Grace and Port Deposit.

    In our area though, I still think Richmond and the James River trail system is hard to beat. Pretty technical and fun.

    Freedom has 5 trails: A, B, C, D, and E. C is the only one with the freeride obstacles. Each trail is kind of different so that adds some nice variety.

    Matt

  10. #10
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    Been riding my bike in Fair Hill since the 70's. Initially on a crappy banana seat bike or a crappy 10 speed to go fishing. Latter, this changed to Stumpjumpers and Rockhoppers and now a Turner 5 spot. Do you need a FS bike? No. Does it hurt? No. There are enough rocks and roots that some squish can reduce fatigue.
    Middlerun is a different matter. A cross bike is all you need there!

  11. #11
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    And, as we argue back and forth, a guy in a unicycle cruises by and hits the singletrack in Fair Hill.

    Ricardo aka "El Toro"
    Team Raging Toro
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