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  1. #1
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    Moving Out that Way - Bike / Quiver Selection?

    I'm moving to Seattle in a few months. I've been living in the Washington DC metro area for about four years. I've gotten into MTBing here, and have done a fair bit of regional XC and 100-mile racing (Shenandoah Mountain 100, Wilderness 101). I now have a baby and my MTBing is no longer competitively focused and mostly for fun when I have the time.

    Most of my riding has been in Appalachia (WV, Virginia, PA) and is characterized by either rocky twisty singletrack or fire/jeep road. Lots of babyhead action and slow rock crawling, but no big drops and not a ton of elevation gain / loss relative to what I expect in Washington. I've only had a hardtail 29er with a 100mm travel fork and it has served me well here.

    My bike got stolen and I'm in the market for a new one. Knowing that I'll be living out that way soon, I'd like to buy a bike that is appropriate for the riding opportunities there.

    Will sticking with a hardtail 29er and not having a "trail" / "all mountain" / "cheesy marketing term" bike with longer travel mean missing out on good trails near Seattle or in the region?

  2. #2
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    transition covert fits the "fun" mtn bike category pretty well. Pretty sure you can pedal it along an all day epic in the mtns one day then go learn to hit drops and jumps at King County's Duthie Hill Mtn Bike park the next. My trail bike is an 06 spec enduro. I use it for trail riding and generally just having fun. When the time comes it will be replaced with a covert.

  3. #3
    Dream Design Dig Repeat
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    You can ride pretty much whatever you want and have a good time out here. I'd say that if you could enjoy a 100 miler on your hardtail, then you can enjoy a hardtail anywhere.

    Our trails are a lot less rocky than some of what you ride. We tend to never have rocks except on downhill sections. There's just nothing like Gambrill here where you're pedaling over sharp rocks on the flat sections. Roots are our thing, so stickier rubber for winter (by that I mean everything but June - Sept) is nice so you don't spin out climbing over a root.

    I do think people use a little more travel and run a little slacker geometry here than other parts of the country. It might just be a local culture thing, but I also think it's because our biggest and best rides tend to have long descents with a few technical sections, and have a little more relaxed geometry gives you a little more control. Even the hardcore hammerheads don't tend to ride pure xc race bikes out here.

    If you want to dabble in jumping and some of our super technical "almost freeride" trails, then a do-all (is that all mountain???) fully with 6" travel would be a fun choice.

    But I would stick with the kind of bike you already like. Maybe go 1 notch slacker or more travel, but be true to your riding style. We have great year-round riding out here!
    Issaquah & Seattle real estate agent. Buy or sell a home with me and I donate $500 to Evergreen MTB Alliance
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  4. #4
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    5 or 6" inch full suspension would be vote if you want to have access to the greatest variety of trails. I mean you CAN ride any bike on any trail, but a lot of stuff out here is pretty rough with rocks and roots. And since 8-9 months of the year the trails are wet or slick, the added suspension seems to help keep things grounded more.

    I knew I was moving to Seattle from Chicago a few years ago, so I upgraded my HT Stumpjumper for a 5" Enduro at the time, and I was very glad I did. Lots of smooth or less technical stuff out here that the HT would do fine on, but once you've hit all that and want to explore the steeper and rougher trails that are the most fun out here, the full suspension and more travel really comes into it's own and lets you go for longer rides while getting beat up less.
    Tarekith.com

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  5. #5
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    Thanks all. You're confirming my prior beliefs. I'm not interested in bigger jumps or more aggressive "freeride" style experiences.

    What I'd really like is to have two MTBs - one hardtail XC type bike, and one 5" dual suspension type bike. What I'm hearing is that I won't exactly be starving for terrain to ride the hardtail on, but at some point it will be a limiter in terms of taking in the variety available.

    Thanks y'all.

  6. #6
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    You may even convert that HT to a SS or 9spd for a winter bike...
    I have a Covert and can't say enough about it. Local company as well which helps when help is needed. It's my do-all quiver of one. But, there are indeed enough "stock" bikes in the 5-6" range that will fit the bill. Especially with some sort of lockout/pro pedal shock option. So, I'll concur with previous posts....

  7. #7
    Squeaky Wheel
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    ^^ what Borneo said. I've got a SS hardtail that is a blast to ride at most of the close to town places. Then I've got a 5" dual-squish bike that is great to ride everywhere else.
    If I could only have one bike out here it would be a 5" all-mountain rig.

  8. #8
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    I think the idea of having both a hard tail and a 5-6" FS isn't a bad one IMO. While in the Seattle area you can ride whatever floats your boat, but if you decide to hit The Real Mountains for an all day epic on a weekend the latter bike is the flavor most will choose.

    If y'all want to know where the rocks in Washington are hanging out, I know where they are, lol... check out the Manastash for all the chunder anyone would ever want. :P
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  9. #9
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    I had a HT 29er and a 6" for the past couple years. Most lowland trails (ridable all winter) are very HT friendly, and the rest of the stuff is ideal on a 5"-6" bike.

    A buddy of mine moved out here from VA 2 years and he was amazed how different the trails are. Lots of nice loam and dry, dusty ,rocky is rare unless you head to the eastern part of the state.
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  10. #10
    FM
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    Quote Originally Posted by jared_j View Post
    Will sticking with a hardtail 29er and not having a "trail" / "all mountain" / "cheesy marketing term" bike with longer travel mean missing out on good trails near Seattle or in the region?
    Welcome!
    The rider is always going to set the limits, not the bike, right?

    Anyways, a burly AM 29'er hardtail (Like the canfiled yelli screamy) does awesome out here- low/slack & beefy enough for fast descending and some AM/ lite FR, but still efficient for long rides.

    If you can do a 2-bike stable, that and an AM/enduro bike would be a great combo. Wheelsize is a can o'worms, but unless you plan on doing a lot of jumping I'd go 27.5 or 29.

  11. #11
    Just roll it......
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    I'd say, run what you brung.

    I'd wait to get here and then decide if your underbiked, overbiked or just-right-biked. I often find the bike I ride depends on A. who I'm riding with and B. where I'm riding that particular day.

    I'm lucky to have a quiver, but if I didn't I'd have a slack 5-6" travel bike....which is my current do-it-all type of bike that I can downhill in a pinch or take on 6 hour deathmarches.

    EB

  12. #12
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    Are you moving to the city of Seattle?, or nearby? The trails nearest your home will be the ones you frequent, especially with baby in the house. Which trails are nearest your house may be a factor. -Jim

  13. #13
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    Personally I run a 6" covert, and a hardtail 29er yelli screamy. Covers me for everything pretty much. Although whistler pushes the covert a bit...

  14. #14
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    The Puget Sound area has a pretty good cyclocross scene, with 2 points series starting in September. If you count the races in Olympia and Bellingham, there's maybe 20-25 races? You may want to put a cx bike on the list of potential bikes too. Cyclocross is a good way to stay interested and fit through the fall into early winter, and early fall weather is often beautiful here.

  15. #15
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    I have a Trek Fuel EX 29er for XC riding and a Santa Cruz Heckler for everything else. I love the EX 29er, but if I had to have only one bike it would be the Heckler or something like it. Most of the guys I ride with are on 150mm-160mm bikes, but a couple of the guys ride 29er hardtails.

  16. #16
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    Ride a Giant Reign 0 for everything, except Whistler.
    Rent a downhill bomber for my annual trip there.
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