Results 1 to 22 of 22
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    401

    Light trail bike to race or Race bike that can handle light trail?

    Personally, I do not like "Which bike should I buy?" threads. I have seem to come to an impasse, though. I'm overwhelmed with choices, so I wanted to enlist you guys to help me sift through some of my thoughts.

    Let's try to break this down, so that it's easy to follow. I have a Santa Cruz Highball. I love it. The geometry really fits me and if I could find a full suspension bike that feels the same way, I'd pay $6K for it right now.


    Full suspension bikes I have owned
    Salsa Spearfish: I wanted to love this bike so badly. I never could. It bobbed when it climbed but didnt descend like it had any rear travel.

    Trek Rumblefish: Super fun downhill. A pain in the neck to get it up a climb, though. Really liked to plow through things- not exactly the way I like to ride.


    What I have demoed:
    - Trek Superfly 100: My love affiare. I've demoed this bike 3 or 4 times. I love it. The geometry feels good uphill and downhill. However, I have noticed that without a shock pedaling platform, the bike really does not shine.

    - Trek Fuel EX 29: Really just plowed through everything. I didnt like the way it climbed. No "get up and go" to it.

    - Niner JET9: Downhill didnt feel as good as I would like it to feel. The suspension design is really good for pedaling efficiency.

    -Yeti 575: Stupid fast downhill. Obviously not xc efficient uphill, but fun nonetheless.

    Santa Cruz Solo: In a word: underwhelming. Climbing seemed to be more work and traction was an issue on the downhills. Most of the problems could be solved with body position, I feel. I just am not used to non-29" wheels. Roll over has noticeably reduced.

    Santa Cruz Tallboy: Like the Highball with rear suspension. Felt comfortable. Climbed well and descended predictably.


    Inspiration:
    Joey Schusler placed first in the Collegiate Omnium last year riding his Yeti SB66

    Many of the pros that ride the Pisgah Stage Race kill it on XC (4") 29er full suspensions. Bishop and Mata ride Cannondale Scalpels and tear it up.


    There are so many travel options and wheel size options and bikes made for enduro and bikes made for trail riding. I know most people buy bikes for only 10% of the riding they do. I dont want to be that guy. I want a bike that suits 90% of my riding. I'll race this bike maybe once per year based on my schedule next year BUT I want to get into endurance racing, so I'm not sure if I want to race my hardtail for that.

    I just need a little bit of guidance.
    Last edited by Jnthomps08; 10-19-2013 at 06:28 PM.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    2,632
    As a once a year racer I think you should buy what makes you smile when the garage door is opened, and invites you to ride more. Because it seems you're not at a pro level (like 99.99% of us) and equipment choice isn't as important as fitness and technique and mental toughness.

    Last year I had way too many bikes in the garage. This year it is a 29 carbon HT and a Turner Czar. The local guys who do well at big races are mostly on short travel carbon FS 29er. A few are on carbon 29 HT. Having said that I've been beat by a pro aboard a 26er steel HT with v brakes and a 2 inch elastomer fork. His bike: maybe $800. My bike: at least 5 times more. It ain't the bike, but I get where you're coming from.

    Sounds like you're a Santa Cruz fan? Can you demo a Pivot 429 carbon? That bike, for me, climbed better than my VPP2 bikes and descended just as well. You now it's all about fit and comfort, but DW Link bikes are great. A medium Pivot 29er fits me just as well as a Large size Santa Cruz.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: CptSydor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,458
    I've wanted another MTB for a while. One that is way more fun on the trails, could be be take to ride XC/trail about anywhere in the world, but could also handle a race without making me feel like I was sacrificing much.

    So while I am keeping my 20 lb 29er carbon HT as a primary race bike, I ordered one of these.



    Scott Spark 700 Premium.

    SCOTT Spark 700 Premium Bike - SCOTT Sports

    22.5 lbs, 5 inches of travel, 650b. Full lock-out front and rear. Labelled as 70% trail, 30% race.

    I'm sure other companies are doing similar things, but I ride for at team associated with Scott and their bikes just seem to fit me right.

    So for me, this bike will be used for general purpose riding, destination riding, XC races that can be rough and stage races (doing Brec Epic next year).

    I think it's a great balance of and XC trail bike that can easily be raced.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    401
    Thanks for the replies. I should clarify one thing: I will race the heck out of my HT next year. I have 8 races from March to May on the calendar right now. I can just think of one, maybe two, courses that having rear suspension would be helpful. I also have Pisgah Stage Race and Breck Epic dreams in the next couple of years.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    162
    My brother just got the Canondale Scalpel 1 carbon. Last year's model for around $5k. Great race bike that he is also riding comfortably on fairly rough all mountain trails. Lefty fork is the best fork out there.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: stevland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    497
    OP, not sure what model you're looking at, but since you're nearly sold on the Superfly, would changing out the shock be an option?

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    401

    Light trail bike to race or Race bike that can handle light trail?

    Quote Originally Posted by stevland View Post
    OP, not sure what model you're looking at, but since you're nearly sold on the Superfly, would changing out the shock be an option?
    I was more commenting on the suspension linkage. The superflys I have demoed have the fox ctd shock. I'm constantly flipping the switch from climb to trail because of the bobbing.

    Compare this to the Niner linkage which has minimal bob in descend mode.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: albertdc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    427

    Re: Light trail bike to race or Race bike that can handle light trail?

    Did you ride the regular aluminum Jet 9? The carbon Jet 9 RDO actually has more travel, so between the increased travel and carbon frame it should feel more plush descending yet still have a great peddling platform for climbing. Try it if you can.
    I had the RIP 9 RDO and it is fantastic up and down...but I changed to the Scalpel a few weeks ago to go for a more all out race bike. Since you intended on racing your hardtail most of the time, you could check out the RIP RDO also to have bikes at the opposite ends of the spectrum. It still has a great climbing pedaling platform, but is heavier than the JET RDO.
    I love the Scalpel, but the rear end is certainly not PLUSH. That said, the Lefty is buttery smooth and laser precise.


    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk 2

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    430
    If flipping the switch of a fox ctd shock is an issue you could demo a Specialized model that has the brain shock (Epic, Camber, Stumpjumper).

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    442
    I'm in almost the same position as you. I went for the Czar, but also considered the Ripley, Pivot 429c and Yeti SB 95c. All great bikes. Will come down to personal preferences as to geo, if the dealer of a particular brand is good (this last point is often overlooked, but very important in my experience. What if something goes wrong? Will they go to bat for you etc.) etc.

  11. #11
    DLd
    DLd is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    980
    One of the Superfly models comes with a Monarch XX. You could just do that upgrade yourself and have remote lockout. You are right that lockout without remote just isn't as useful.

    Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk
    "Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion."-Jack Kerouac

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    165

    Light trail bike to race or Race bike that can handle light trail?

    I say look at the tallboy and specialized camber. You said yourself you liked the tallboy and I think the tallboy and camber are 2 of the most dialed geo 29ers in the short travel segment on the market today. I wouldn't recommend going with a different wheel size, I had a highball that I bought and had a hard time switching between wheel sizes each ride.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    38
    I am an endurance guy through and through and have always ridden the Specialized Epics. Loved them!, but after starting a business I needed something a little cheaper and easier to maintain so I got a Stumpjumper HT. It is definitely more of a race bike, but I find that it eats up a lot of the rough stuff, too and climbs better. Less is more as far as I'm concerned, but if you're looking for one bike that can handle anything and has good geo, demo an Epic!

    PHASETRAINING

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    661
    Quote Originally Posted by albertdc View Post
    Did you ride the regular aluminum Jet 9? The carbon Jet 9 RDO actually has more travel, so between the increased travel and carbon frame it should feel more plush descending yet still have a great peddling platform for climbing. Try it if you can.
    Jet9 RDO with 120mm SID is my do-everything bike. Replacing the rear shock mounts with ones that actually pivot made a big difference in plushness too.

    Can't go wrong with the Tallboy if you liked the way it felt. I loved my Blur XC, and the Tallboy felt remarkably similar.

  15. #15
    LMN
    LMN is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,435
    I would go with a light trail bike.

    I actually have both. I have a 4inch travel Orbea Oiz that comes in 21.5lb and a 5inch travel Orbea Occam that comes in at 23.5-25 depending on how I have it set up.

    The Oiz is crazy fast and fairly capable on techy trails, but it handles like a race a bike. The Occam on the other hand is a lot more versatile. In race trim (Flat bars, XC tires, stiff suspension) it is pretty quick, very close to the Oiz. Maybe and I mean maybe a minute between the bikes over your standard XC race. However, when I throw some big tires, riser bars, short stem and a dropper post the Occam be transformed into a really capable trail bike.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  16. #16
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
    Reputation: Zachariah's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4,312
    Quote Originally Posted by Jnthomps08 View Post
    I was more commenting on the suspension linkage. The superflys I have demoed have the fox ctd shock. I'm constantly flipping the switch from climb to trail because of the bobbing.

    Compare this to the Niner linkage which has minimal bob in descend mode.
    Try it with the Rock Shox Monarch XX, or even the earlier Monarch 3.3 or 4.2. My Monarch 3.3 from 2010 still makes my 2012 Superfly 100 Pro shine.
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,415
    I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I'm riding/ racing a converted SC Blur XCc(26"-27.5) and I'm just loving it. The bike does everything incredibly good, climbing descending or just flat out moving. I've done really well racing it the last two seasons, never finished outside the top 4. I'm 6', weigh 165lbs, race cat 1. I used this bike also for trail riding where I feel it just walks away from my friends on their 29ers

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jcm01's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    216
    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    In race trim (Flat bars, XC tires, stiff suspension) it is pretty quick, very close to the Oiz. Maybe and I mean maybe a minute between the bikes over your standard XC race. However, when I throw some big tires, riser bars, short stem and a dropper post the Occam be transformed into a really capable trail bike.
    Good stuff. And this is exactly how I felt about the Tallboy I owned. It could really be set up as a race bike or all around trail bike. That was one of the things that was so awesome about it.

  19. #19
    XC Hack
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    243
    My Kona Hei Hei Supreme is a lively racing and fun-ride machine. I love it. I was going to get the SC Tallboy until I demo'd the Hei Hei, both fun riding and in a race. Gave me my best finish.

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    571
    I would check out what endurance races you plan on doing and see if those courses warrant a full suspension. the ones that I did would have been completely fine on a hardtail and may even prefer it for all the long climbs... plus your budget has a lot to do with it. I would not be willing to drop 6k on a bike that I only had a use for during one race. I would rather maybe be a tad uncomfortable and save myself that headache of owning another bike and taking the hit when I try to sell it.

    depending on what you get the bike for to have a bike for that one race could end up costing you 1500-2000 bucks. That is just figuring you get a 6k bike and would be able to sell it for 4k when you are done with it.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: DeeZee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    5,248
    Like you I also have a Highball…..great race bike. I also have a Tallboy with 120mm fork. I get sick / bored of bikes quick and tend to only keep frames for 2 years max.

    My Tallboy for over two years old now and still enjoy it very much. I get tempted by the new models (like the Turner Czar) but not enough to change. If I was looking for a new bike I guess I would pick the Czar over the Tallboy just for the fact that I like the DW suspension slightly better for climbing. The Intense Spider is also a sexy beast!

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    151
    Just throwing in the Giant Anthem X 29, because... I'm biased =). Seriously, though, the Maestro is a pretty efficient system. The 2013 AX29 2 came with the RockShox Monarch R stock and (im my limited time) has been great. I do plan on replacing with the XX for remote lock out in the future.
    2002 Giant Rincon
    2012 Diamondback Podium 3
    2013 Specialized Stumpjumper EVO 29
    2013 Giant Anthem X Advanced 2

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-18-2013, 05:50 AM
  2. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 12-04-2011, 01:40 PM
  3. Light weight 9 speed cassette for race bike
    By Bernard3rd in forum Drivetrain - shifters, derailleurs, cranks
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 07-30-2011, 07:46 PM
  4. Seen the light, looking for 29" trail bike
    By creyc in forum 29er Bikes
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 06-22-2011, 05:37 PM
  5. light wheelset for XC racing on a trail bike
    By brightsky in forum 29er Bikes
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 05-26-2011, 05:13 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •