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  1. #1
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    Anyone race XC on a 5+ inch travel bike ???

    Brief background: I have been posting to this forum since it started and have seen a Thread about " What race bike should I buy" every other month! Now here I am in need of a new race bike and I can't figure out what to get I've been racing a BLUR XC for 4 years and I live in NOR CAL, race expert, and will be 50 next season. Also my first of 2 kids starts college next year, so I can only get one bike, but I want 2. Most of the races out here are not technical, but a couple are and some of my riding in the summer is on rocky technical trails.
    My dilemma is this: Do I get another Blur XC ( carbon) or something like BLT Carbon or an IBIS MOJO SL.? I had made up my mind to get the Blur xc with a 120mm fork. Then my friend let me borrow his BLT for a few days, WOW! It just goes through rocks and bumps, and like everyone told me it is just plain MORE FUN. I know the IBIS is also a great bike. I have spent hours specking out the parts and there is a 1-2 pound penalty for going with the BLT or the IBIS. I've been racing for 8 years and know 1-2 pounds is not a huge deal, but on a long climb it is a big deal. ( I'm 6' and 150 pounds so don;t tell me to lose a couple pounds) With the extra travel I will make up the time on a course like Downieville, but not other courses.
    So, has anyone else made the switch to doing XC races on one these new sub 25 pound 5+inch travel bikes?
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  2. #2
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    I'm racing sport on my 4" rear, 5" front ventana. It is running heavier than the 25 you mention, I suspect is mostly in my 819 wheels with XT weight hubs. I won my last race sport class on a fairly technical course. I smoked people going downhill. The climbs and flat it did fine. The biggest thing for me is suspension setup. I climb standing on my single speed a lot so it is important to be able to stand on my race bike. I would love to have even better suspension setup so I could do less for standup climbing.
    Oh sh!+ just force upgraded to cat1. Now what?
    Best thing about an ultra marathon? I just get to ride my bike for X hours!

  3. #3
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    How about a bike with 29" wheels. At 6' tall,you would would be a good fit.

  4. #4
    Always Learning
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin
    ( I'm 6' and 150 pounds so don;t tell me to lose a couple pounds) With the extra travel I will make up the time on a course like Downieville, but not other courses.
    So, has anyone else made the switch to doing XC races on one these new sub 25 pound 5+inch travel bikes?
    Superfly 100...

    How about a new sub 25 pound 4" travel 29"er? 24.2 lbs in medium/25 lbs in large stock. A little tuning and 23 - 24 not a problem.

  5. #5
    LMN
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    I haven't switched for racing myself, but I do a lot of riding on 5 and 5 bike.

    I don't see any reason as to why you can't race well on a bike with a bit more travel. I don't think it will improve your racing but it will be more fun. The trick is to pick the right bike.

    I have ridden a ton of different dualies and my thoughts on suspension design have changed over time.

    I use to think that an active design was the way to go but I find in order for those bikes to pedal well, you either need something like the Brain or you have to run a lot of Pro-pedal. Basically to make them pedal well you have to comprimise their bump performance.

    The single pivot bikes I have ridden (Santa Cruz superlight, Orbea Occam) pedal amazing without having to use a compression damping feature.

    Recently I have been switching backand forth between an Occam and Norco Faze (non-active and active designs) the suspension on the Occam is superior on about 90% of the trail. The only place where I like the Norco more is under hard braking where I am setting up for a turn, and on very technical climbs with set-ups. I think the Norco is better in these situations because of shorter chain-stays.

    Ohh if you are going to go with a 5inch bike, get a fork with adjustable travel. It makes a huge difference.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wrench Monkey
    How about a bike with 29" wheels. At 6' tall,you would would be a good fit.
    Thanks for the idea, I do not want to turn this in to another 26 vs 29 er. I'm only comparing 26inch fs bikes for racing
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  7. #7
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    Ibis...

    I have a Mojo SL, it is an awesome bike for fun rides, and it is very light, but I am going to be doing endurance racing next season and am not going to be riding the Mojo. I am 48 BTW. The Mojo is very plush through the midstroke of the travel, this makes for a bike that is a blast to ride downhill, and in the rough, but the pedaling performance and steep climbing performance suffers a little in my opinion. I am not saying anything against the Mojo-for what it does it is probably the best bike out there, I just want something a little racier.
    I am probably going to switch to a Yeti ASR5 carbon for next season. This bike is designed to run a 120 mm fork, and has 127 mm of rear travel, but the key difference between the Yeti and Mojo is that the Yeti is designed to have a firmer suspension in the midstroke for very efficient climbing. For me the Yeti ASR5 will be the best "one bike quiver" for all my riding and endurance racing. There is some very good info on the ASR5 at Yetis website.

  8. #8
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    Hey Rick, I know you are stuck with the one bike dilemma, you probably ride and train more then you race, so fun would be a priority.You already have a four inch bike so you know what that is like. Five inches +- is a lot of fun, especially where you ride-train at (Downeyville). I can tell you the Mojo climbs like goat in techy stuff, much better than a hard tail. The tire stays glued to the trail. I could go on bla bla bla.... On a flatter less technical XC race course you could firm the suspension up a little bit, take a spacer out to lower the bars and put some fast tires on. I hope time permits you to demo both the Mojo SL and the Blur LT. I think there are less maintenance issues with the suspension links on the Mojo. I hope this helps.
    milesW

  9. #9
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    I'm racing with a Fuel EX 9.9. It is 23.5 lbs. with ZTR 355 wheels, light tires, and eggbeater pedals. It also suits my riding style, which is basically to run over just about everything. So it is probably a lot faster bike for me than trying to ride a hardtail.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by miles wadsworth
    Hey Rick, I know you are stuck with the one bike dilemma, you probably ride and train more then you race, so fun would be a priority.You already have a four inch bike so you know what that is like. Five inches +- is a lot of fun, especially where you ride-train at (Downeyville). I can tell you the Mojo climbs like goat in techy stuff, much better than a hard tail. The tire stays glued to the trail. I could go on bla bla bla.... On a flatter less technical XC race course you could firm the suspension up a little bit, take a spacer out to lower the bars and put some fast tires on. I hope time permits you to demo both the Mojo SL and the Blur LT. I think there are less maintenance issues with the suspension links on the Mojo. I hope this helps.
    Thanks for the great information Miles. I hope to get back up to Downieville in the next couple weeks and ride the Mojo Sl that they have there.
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  11. #11
    Singletrack Slayer
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    I just raced on my 09 Diamondback Sortie Black, 5 inch travel 26 lbs bike. Fast as hell and climbs great, sure can kick ass on the dh's. It is a personal preference, but I have always been a long travel guy.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Anyone race XC on a  5+ inch travel bike ???-dsc01020.jpg  


  12. #12
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    A few 5" bikes come to mind Rick - knowing your style, build, and some "history" help here...

    1 - SC Carbon Blur: Supposed to awesome, runs circles aroundAwesome, light, stiff, and somehow way more plush than previous non-LT Blurs. Looks great, has a water bottle mount, and the guys at SC stand by there stuff.

    2 - The Yeti ASR-5, seems like a winner, and will be in contention as my next bike with the Blur Carbon. The ASR has treated me well, I loved riding the 575 and could see making THAT a race day bike with some light parts - but with the ASR-5 out there, one gets their Yeti cake and can eat it too. Again - listen to Matt / Used2Bhard about these two bikes.

    3 - One of the blingy Specialized StumpJumpers, perhaps? Light, efficient, supple, fast. They fit/feel right to a lot of folks, and simply feel not quite right to others. In y opinion, worth a test ride.

    Others - Ibis Mojo SL never 'did it' for me - but lots of folks love 'em. The cool design is starting to look a little old, and the no-bottle-mount frame always kept it off my list.The new wave of Treks look great too (though I hate to admit it). One bike I'd like to try is a Felt Virtues...


    Ahh... so many amazing bikes out there!
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  13. #13
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    Thanks for sage advise as usual Glen. Also, damn you for mentioning the Yeti, looks like a nice bike and is lighter then the BLT & MOJO SL, thanks for making things more confusing!
    I spent the weekend riding a BLT and loved it!! I want more then 4 inches of travel. You see very few Yeti's here in NORCAL, and I do not know of online place where you can build them up , custom, with the parts you want.
    You mentioned you were thinking of a blur for your next bike, XC or LT?
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  14. #14
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    Check the Titus boards, Duckman races and wins with his 5 inch ML. He is even using a 140mm fork.

  15. #15
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    with 2.2 660-gram tires my Stumpjumper is in the mid 27 pound range. The only changes from stock are the beefier tires, Thomson post, and Crossmax wheels. Brain shock works, it is really cool because you can stand and hammer without blowing through suspension. Standing and climbing feels a bit awkward on it, but downhills are freakin' awesome. I went with the SJ vs Epic because while I really like racing, I didn't want a race bike for the alpha bike. I have no regrets, but I'm also a mid pack Cat 2 guy. If I was chasing podiums or wins, I would have gone more racey.
    Last edited by ewarnerusa; 10-27-2009 at 08:07 PM.

  16. #16
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    I know of a guy who races a Santa Cruz Nomad with a fox F36 in cat 1. He managed a win in one of the most technical courses and deepest fields in the state (over 30 racers in his age group). His time put him about mid pack in pro. Of course same guy did the same thing on a rigid single speed the two years before.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for everyone's input, please keep it coming! The Scott Spark RC seems like it could do everything. I do not know anyone that owns one. The reviews are mediocre.
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  18. #18
    I love Pisgah
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    Well Merlin, This season I used the Motolite in...

    2 of a 4 race 12 hour series(2 man). We won the series.

    Also won the 50+ Sport class in the Ga state series(9 races), but only used the ML in a couple.

    2nd overall in the Drama Queen 35 miler.

    3rd(open 50+) in the super techy Snake Creek Gap TT(17mile) last late winter.

    Works well in techy/longer races where the longer travel is appreciated where one can sit longer and such, less fatigue on descents, etc...and that all adds up. The main drawaback to me would be in tight twisty singletrack XC type course(we have many here in the SE forests) where the slower handling might be somewhat of a liability. But even that is debatable. Otherwise it rocked.

    Weight fwiw with 5.5/5" travel was 22.7lbs(Olympics, Karma, Next LP cranks, 4Ti Eggs, Ti riser bars, etc).
    Mootsman also raced the Ibis this season in XC mostly (21lbs!) and loved it.

    At the Dirty Spokes 12 hour at Tribble Mill this summer. I like it better then my 22lb Spider. Did I just say that...?
    "I've breathed the mtn air, man" Johnny Cash

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  19. #19
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duckman
    Well Merlin, This season I used the Motolite in...

    2 of a 4 race 12 hour series(2 man). We won the series.

    Also won the 50+ Sport class in the Ga state series(9 races), but only used the ML in a couple.

    2nd overall in the Drama Queen 35 miler.

    3rd(open 50+) in the super techy Snake Creek Gap TT(17mile) last late winter.

    Works well in techy/longer races where the longer travel is appreciated where one can sit longer and such, less fatigue on descents, etc...and that all adds up. The main drawaback to me would be in tight twisty singletrack XC type course(we have many here in the SE forests) where the slower handling might be somewhat of a liability. But even that is debatable. Otherwise it rocked.

    Weight fwiw with 5.5/5" travel was 22.7lbs(Olympics, Karma, Next LP cranks, 4Ti Eggs, Ti riser bars, etc).
    Mootsman also raced the Ibis this season in XC mostly (21lbs!) and loved it.

    At the Dirty Spokes 12 hour at Tribble Mill this summer. I like it better then my 22lb Spider. Did I just say that...?
    Thanks for the information Duckman! For all the years I have been on MTBR, your bikes are always 2-3 pounds lighter then mine! Looks like a nice ride and congratulations..
    Ride to eat, Eat to ride.

  20. #20
    mutaullyassuredsuffering
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    pivots

    Quote Originally Posted by glenzx
    2 - The Yeti ASR-5, seems like a winner, and will be in contention as my next bike with the Blur Carbon. The ASR has treated me well, I loved riding the 575 and could see making THAT a race day bike with some light parts - but with the ASR-5 out there, one gets their Yeti cake and can eat it too. Again - listen to Matt / Used2Bhard about these two bikes.
    Sure Glen, drag me into this...

    I have 2 friends who have ridden the new rear end who have thousands of miles on ASR's. One at Interbike on a 5, and the other has been on a new ASR-C. I am basing my experiences on their descriptions and over 10,000 miles I have put on ASR-C, ASR-SL, ASR-SLc's, and another couple thousand on Giant Anthems, Blurs, and Scalpels.

    To me the bikes have 2 different areas where they excel. I used to race a series with long smooth climbs, fireroad traverses, and 2,000 rough descents. It also had short tracks on fireroad where a HT would work, but be a bit too abusive. The Yeti was made for it. It would accelerate like a rocket, climb like a goat, and descend like a bomb.

    When I switched to a series with lots of rough, rooty, loamy, rolling terrain. Instantly, I knew the ASR was not the ticket for me. It skipped and hopped around, and beat me up like a HT. It did not have good traction on steep wet roots. I couldn't take advantage of the Yeti's strengths. I visualize this series having terrain more like what Glen has back east. I was just as fast on my HT and faster on my HT 29'er on those courses. Next I switched to endurance. The races I picked were pretty brutal and again the ASR beat me up. I was in the market for a more plush bike and ended up with the Blur. It was pefect for those new XC races, and endurance. My times on the Blur XC Carbon blew away the Yeti FS, ARC, and my 29'er. I put over 170 miles on it over rough nasty rocks 2 weeks ago, and never had a body ache from the terrain. Bottom Line: If you have lots of traversing ground with roots and rocks, rough rolling terrain, or rough steep climbs, the Anthem/Blur/Titus/etc will be faster and more comfortable.

    The downside the the anthem and Blur that I see is on smoother terrain where a HT would be perfect. I do lose efficiency and acceleration coming out of sharp corners or big-ringing up steep short rises. I don't think I'm slower overall, but the response is more like a trailbike than a race bike. I can't just throw down 1000 watts and have the bike lurch forward. It's more of a steady performer. Having the HT 29'er in my quiver makes up for that loss, by providing a perfect tool for those trails.


    I think you have too judge which design is right based upon your terrain. Niether is a better machine, but they will shine differently. The more active designs will feel slower on terrain like I mentioned at first...ski hill type terrain with lots of service roads and never ending descents where you can unlock the propedal and let her rip. The Blur/Anthem/ whatever will shine when you have to pedal over roots and drop in and out of little valleys and creekbeds with wet rooty climbs out. They will also fare better for endurance. Even with another inch of travel, a single pivot is still a single pivot.
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  21. #21
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    Love your bike

    Well, we all know it's engine that wins the race, not the bike. It does help to love your bike. What are you going to do?
    milesW

  22. #22
    Kneel Before Your Master
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    I just picked up a 2008 Kona Hei Hei. 2.5" travel out back and 80mm in front. Haven't even had a chance to ride it, but it is in the 25lb range. I am hoping this thing is fast, I have had 4"+ travel bikes in the past, but they were around 30lbs.
    Last edited by mbogosia; 10-28-2009 at 06:58 AM.

  23. #23
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    I use a carbon Blur XC with a 120mm Reba team on the front. Amazing bike that can handle the gnarly stuff well but still be race responsive and light. Mine is 21.6 pounds with a 2.4 front and 2.2 rear tire and some fairly raace oriented stuff like 2x9 and stan's olympic wheels. I've been spoiled now.

  24. #24
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    specialized stumpjumper with 5" front and rear. love it for the technical races. i have lightened it up quite significantly, though (a little under 23 lbs). i don't think i'd like to race it if it was at its original weight, which must have been around 28 lbs. i don't think it's the travel that's a problem, especially with lockout... just the added weight of most longer-travel bikes.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by s4gobabygo
    specialized stumpjumper with 5" front and rear. love it for the technical races. i have lightened it up quite significantly, though (a little under 23 lbs). i don't think i'd like to race it if it was at its original weight, which must have been around 28 lbs. i don't think it's the travel that's a problem, especially with lockout... just the added weight of most longer-travel bikes.
    Really? Under 23 lbs for the 5" SJ? I guess I'm a skeptic.

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