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  1. #1
    inner peace to make peace
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    New question here. carbon HT or carbon XC FS?

    Let's assume that you already have a AM trail bike (140~160mm), then what would you want for a dedicated XC race bike (let's also assume that XC racing is your main sport: a 19# HT or a 21# XC FS? This is a hypothetical question about YOU, not what you'd recommend for others, please.
    Last edited by TrailNut; 11-18-2009 at 11:44 AM.
    “Everyday is a good day,” from the Blue Cliff Records, Yun-men (864-949 AD).

  2. #2
    LMN
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    Depends on many things, including but not limited too
    1) what your XC courses are like
    2) your technical skills on a hardtail
    3) you climbing style

    Personally I have a hardtail XC bike but will switch to dually fairly soon. My wife has a really nice carbon dually that she is going to give me as soon as she gets her new one.

  3. #3
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    I went with a hardtail, i personally couldnt justify having to full suspension bikes that have less than an inch of travel difference. Plus i feel the hardtail makes you a better rider in the sense of choosing lines and riding smooth. I tend to just plow through the trail and let my suspension handle the terrain, so thats just me.

  4. #4
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    I have both and race on both, depending on the trail. If the course has long rough sections without a lot of climbing, I'll ride the FS, since I can plow through the roughness and maintain my speed better. If the course is smoother with lots of climbing, I'll ride the hardtail since it's lighter I'm generally faster on it. If the trail is something between those 2 descriptions, I do practice laps on both bikes and just see which one I feel more comfortable (faster) on. I've even timed myself doing "race pace" laps on both bikes, on the race course, to make my decision.
    "Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation".

  5. #5
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    The full-sus bike is more versatile and may very well be faster than a hardtail on trails that most people would consider "hardtail courses".

    A hardtail 29er might split the difference.

  6. #6
    LMN
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    Quote Originally Posted by flargle
    The full-sus bike is more versatile and may very well be faster than a hardtail on trails that most people would consider "hardtail courses".

    A hardtail 29er might split the difference.
    Recently we have been doing some comparisons between a dually and hard tail through the use of a power meter. The trail we have been using is one in which I think would greatly favor the HT.

    So far the results have shown no measurable difference between the HT and FS. In the first set of trials the HT was faster (8:30 vs 8:42) but power output was higher (238 watts vs. 230 watts)

    Note: both bikes had the same components and the same tires.

  7. #7
    CB2
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    For ME, I'd go with a HT.

  8. #8
    AZ
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    Horses for courses , I need both .

  9. #9
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    If limited to one bike for racing I would go with the carbon FS. It would be ridable on all courses. With the technology in newer shocks and forks they can set up stiff if desired. Then opened up a little for the ruffer courses. If I were going to choose a carbon FS at this point I would look at the GF Super Fly 100.

  10. #10
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    Yep, GF Superfly 100.

  11. #11
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    ... and if we just ... pick one

    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS
    Horses for courses , I need both .
    now now pick one, for the Norba Nationals
    “Everyday is a good day,” from the Blue Cliff Records, Yun-men (864-949 AD).

  12. #12
    AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe
    Yep, GF Superfly 100.

    If I have to pick one.................................

  13. #13
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    i want and will get a gary fisher superfly 100 as soon as i can test ride one!
    I just like riding my mountain bike.

  14. #14
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    my notion

    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    Recently we have been doing some comparisons between a dually and hard tail through the use of a power meter. The trail we have been using is one in which I think would greatly favor the HT.

    So far the results have shown no measurable difference between the HT and FS. In the first set of trials the HT was faster (8:30 vs 8:42) but power output was higher (238 watts vs. 230 watts)

    Note: both bikes had the same components and the same tires.
    thanks!

    that reflects my hunch...it's still too close to tell, so it's still a personal preference on most NORBA/Leadville (not Downieville) type XC courses. it's still not about the bike, but about the "engine/handler" (On "real" rough XC trails XC FS' great, of course).

    my preference is still a HT for bike with less then 140mm of travel when most of the time is spent climbing, esp. on fireroads. I also like the feel of a HT when descending roughs...feels like I know how fast I'm doing (then again, i enjoy the sensations of recoil and report from firearms and bows ).

    29 or 26 is still a personal taste and budget trade-offs: nothing's conclusive, but when wins on Downievile AMs or DHs on a 29ers I may pay attention.

    For me, a two bike stable is an uber-light HT race bike and then a choice b/w either an AM 160mm bike or a full-DH 180mm bike.
    “Everyday is a good day,” from the Blue Cliff Records, Yun-men (864-949 AD).

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    In the first set of trials the HT was faster (8:30 vs 8:42) but power output was higher (238 watts vs. 230 watts)
    I've been thinking about this a bit. I don't know if watts to the pedals is the best control for this sort of experiment. A lot of the effort expended in mtb racing doesn't reach the pedals.

    Not arguing one way or the other, just sayin'.

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    I just built up a 19.5 lb carbon hardtail and it has transformed riding for me. I'm amazed at how nimble it feels, how quickly it accelerates, and how easy it is to move around on the trail on fast descents. to get the best line. I'd gladly give up the rear suspension for this.

  17. #17
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    I've decided, after racing a HT, that I would want a FS bike. Eventually when the funds are gathered I will get one.

  18. #18
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    It's the engine man... i remember 2008 our first race of the season pro Rickey Federau
    from Canada comes to Seattle and rides what looked like a not so light BMC 4 stroke and manages to Destroy our open field in a super tight and twisty course, and no hills that last longer than 50 sec at the most, as well as not a very rough course at all I've seen guys ride a cyclocross bike at this course, The guy beat some really fast guys(more than 5 min) who have ridden this flat course for years, it was impressive to say the least, that full suspension bike was not holding him back at all on a course you would think a hardtail would be an advantage...

  19. #19
    CB2
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevesbike
    I just built up a 19.5 lb carbon hardtail and it has transformed riding for me. I'm amazed at how nimble it feels, how quickly it accelerates, and how easy it is to move around on the trail on fast descents. to get the best line. I'd gladly give up the rear suspension for this.
    Sauser didn't; his FS is that weigh (which just blows my mind!).

  20. #20
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    I chose the ASR-C, carbon frame w/ 4" of travel. I'm 6'2" so I considered the carbon Alma, but I felt a full suspension would be the better bike in terms of versatility. It was way more comfortable for endurance races, especially on rough courses.
    DO RIGHT AND FEAR NO MAN

  21. #21
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    In that situation, I would chose a short travel fs bike. I would not want a hardtail to be my only choice for racing.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2
    Sauser didn't; his FS is that weigh (which just blows my mind!).
    my bike cost about $7000 less!

  23. #23
    LMN
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    Quote Originally Posted by flargle
    I've been thinking about this a bit. I don't know if watts to the pedals is the best control for this sort of experiment. A lot of the effort expended in mtb racing doesn't reach the pedals.

    Not arguing one way or the other, just sayin'.
    Couldn't agree more. Especially since when I track my heart rate, the peak heart rates are always reached on the descents.

    It would be interesting to track, power, time and heart rate but heart rate is too variable to be of value.

    I have been a huge hardtail advocate for years (despite riding dually on and off since 1993). But I will not lie to you, my tune is changing. The duallies I have ridden recent are very fast. Definitively they are slower then hardtails over certain types of terrain but overall they seem to be easier to ride fast.

  24. #24
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    got to know

    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    Couldn't agree more. Especially since when I track my heart rate, the peak heart rates are always reached on the descents.

    It would be interesting to track, power, time and heart rate but heart rate is too variable to be of value.

    I have been a huge hardtail advocate for years (despite riding dually on and off since 1993). But I will not lie to you, my tune is changing. The duallies I have ridden recent are very fast. Definitively they are slower then hardtails over certain types of terrain but overall they seem to be easier to ride fast.
    LMN gets to ride almost everything and knows what 'fast' is...so what are the dualies that are impressing you so much?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    The duallies I have ridden recent are very fast. Definitively they are slower then hardtails over certain types of terrain but overall they seem to be easier to ride fast.
    They are also more fun to ride fast IMO. And since I only race sport, fun often more important than watts or seconds.


    Like oh my gawsh, I upgraded my bike to a $7500 ultralight masterpiece, and I came in 7/35 in Sport instead of 16/35!
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  26. #26
    LMN
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevemtu
    LMN gets to ride almost everything and knows what 'fast' is...so what are the dualies that are impressing you so much?
    In the past all the duallies I rode sucked on climbs, particularly when they got steep. Unless you set the suspension up really stiff (turned it into a hardtail) you would sag too far into the travel and the bike would be a handful. Modern shock technology, combined with a lot of time dialing in the suspension has just about eliminated this problem.

    Lately I have been impressed on how easy it is ride duallies. They are not faster in particular sections, actually I think when you break down by sections they are slower in most. They don't require the same level of energy or skill to ride fast. Over rough flats you can sit and drive rather then have to stand and float. On rough descents you don't have to pump the bike like crazy to carry speed. On technical climbs you can be a little sloppy. On smooth climbs; well there is not advantage there.

    I honestly believe in a one lap time trail a hardtail is going to be faster (every time I have tested the hardtail has been faster, although the power output is just about always lower on the dually). But over a 1.5hr race, which is done at a whole different intensity then a 15 minute TT, the dually might come out in front.

    Catharine and I have spent a lot of time this fall comparing HT vs. Dually. Right now she still finds the HT faster but we haven't quite hit the set-up right on her dually yet. I would be surprised to see her race her dually at some big races next year.

  27. #27
    LMN
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__
    They are also more fun to ride fast IMO. And since I only race sport, fun often more important than watts or seconds.


    Like oh my gawsh, I upgraded my bike to a $7500 ultralight masterpiece, and I came in 7/35 in Sport instead of 16/35!
    And for most of us that is the most important thing. I ride a lot of trails that are much more fun on my dually then the my hardtail race bike.

    Most of time equipment makes a very small difference. The kind of difference that really only matters if you are making a living racing.

  28. #28
    LMN
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    Quote Originally Posted by pindowngirl25
    It's the engine man... i remember 2008 our first race of the season pro Rickey Federau
    from Canada comes to Seattle and rides what looked like a not so light BMC 4 stroke and manages to Destroy our open field in a super tight and twisty course, and no hills that last longer than 50 sec at the most, as well as not a very rough course at all I've seen guys ride a cyclocross bike at this course, The guy beat some really fast guys(more than 5 min) who have ridden this flat course for years, it was impressive to say the least, that full suspension bike was not holding him back at all on a course you would think a hardtail would be an advantage...

    Rickey is stupidly fast and is arguably the best bike handler ever to race XC. He would have won that race on just about anything.

  29. #29
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    in my limited experience

    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    In the past all the duallies I rode sucked on climbs, particularly when they got steep. Unless you set the suspension up really stiff (turned it into a hardtail) you would sag too far into the travel and the bike would be a handful. Modern shock technology, combined with a lot of time dialing in the suspension has just about eliminated this problem.

    Lately I have been impressed on how easy it is ride duallies. They are not faster in particular sections, actually I think when you break down by sections they are slower in most. They don't require the same level of energy or skill to ride fast. Over rough flats you can sit and drive rather then have to stand and float. On rough descents you don't have to pump the bike like crazy to carry speed. On technical climbs you can be a little sloppy. On smooth climbs; well there is not advantage there.

    I honestly believe in a one lap time trail a hardtail is going to be faster (every time I have tested the hardtail has been faster, although the power output is just about always lower on the dually). But over a 1.5hr race, which is done at a whole different intensity then a 15 minute TT, the dually might come out in front.

    Catharine and I have spent a lot of time this fall comparing HT vs. Dually. Right now she still finds the HT faster but we haven't quite hit the set-up right on her dually yet. I would be surprised to see her race her dually at some big races next year.
    I see the same thing on 15 minute loops--hardtail is faster. I just can't ride the hardtail way for the the 2-3 hour races here.

    Just wondering what are the makes/models of the dualies doing well in your testing.

  30. #30
    LMN
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevemtu
    I see the same thing on 15 minute loops--hardtail is faster. I just can't ride the hardtail way for the the 2-3 hour races here.

    Just wondering what are the makes/models of the dualies doing well in your testing.
    Orbea Oiz, Norco Faze, and Xpresso sub-5.

    Using a MTB power-tap and MTB SRM for power comparison.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    It would be interesting to track, power, time and heart rate but heart rate is too variable to be of value.
    And blood lactate.

  32. #32
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    LMN you are right about that( Rickey).. He Killed it at our home course, beat Out top guy Russell who got 2nd at thise years Test of Metal.. I swear the guy made going fast look easy..

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