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  1. #1
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    Race bike for next season - HT or FS? First season in pro...

    I am experiencing paralysis by anaylsis, and need a nudge to make a choice.

    I have two primary options from which to choose...

    1) Trek Superfly SL 100

    2) Trek Superfly SL HT

    Either will be ordered as the XT (Elite) model and swapped out for my XTR groupset I already have.

    I need to pull the trigger on an order somewhat quickly, as bikes (particularly the 100) are backordered already and I'd like to have the new bike by next season's start.

    I have been on a Superfly HT for 3-4 years, upgrading to the newest version each year. I've enjoyed the HT but now that FS is so light (I estimate a 22-23 lbs. build, complete and ready to race) it bears consideration.

    Price is close enough to be disregarded.

    Will FS hold me back in Pro class? I tend to climb out of the saddle more than most, but like the idea of being able to stay in the saddle and hammer over rough terrain that currently forces me to stand.

    Will the tradeoff between climbing ability and ability to hammer rough and/or DH sections be worth it?

    I have had some lower back tightness after longer or rougher races on the HT.

    I do have a third option... a Ti HT from Indy Fab (our shop is an IF dealer as well). Pros and cons here?

    I know I have to decide for myself, but I'm tired of thinking about it and want some advice Any opinions (hopefully informed) and advice are greatly appreciated!
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  2. #2
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    Buy the FS

    and put the XT stuff you are taking off it onto the old HT and have two race bikes. Let the course you race determine which one you ride.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mryan1967 View Post
    and put the XT stuff you are taking off it onto the old HT and have two race bikes. Let the course you race determine which one you ride.
    Un-possible. I have to sell the current bike (with new XT) to justify buying the new rig to the wife No choice here.
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  4. #4
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    I think you should stick with what got you there.

    FS is awesome for DHs and general comfort, but I'm still having fit issues (knee pain, front and back). After a month and a half, I'm getting close now.

    The pro guys on the team still run a mix of FS and hardtails, but most have both. But the truth is, most are converting to FS for those Strava downhills.
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  5. #5
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    It's not about the bike.

    Unless you're planning to start racing more technical courses that would warrant a fully why switch? And, if you do plan to do more traveling, sometimes the rear shock is just one more thing that could go wrong But, that's just me and my bad luck with travel races in 2012!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyrod74 View Post
    Un-possible. I have to sell the current bike (with new XT) to justify buying the new rig to the wife No choice here.
    Not really a Pro then eh!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by miss rides a lot View Post
    It's not about the bike.

    Unless you're planning to start racing more technical courses that would warrant a fully why switch? And, if you do plan to do more traveling, sometimes the rear shock is just one more thing that could go wrong But, that's just me and my bad luck with travel races in 2012!
    +1

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Not really a Pro then eh!
    My team gets a very favorable price on new bikes, or I woudn't be able to break even buying a new one each season. Very few pros in the US get a free bike (ask Miss Rides A Lot, she can tell you all about it).

    As I've stated before, I have a full-time job in health care (and a wife and baby). At age 38, I have no illusions of making a living at this, but have upgraded to Pro category to continue to challenge myself.

    I worked hard to get to this point, and obviously don't do it for the money.
    Last edited by tommyrod74; 09-19-2012 at 01:07 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinning Lizard View Post
    +1
    Well then, since the consensus seems to be for HT (thus far)...

    New Superfly (sub-900 gram frame!) or a Inependent Fabrication Ti Deluxe?

    The Ti bike would be one I could keep for several years, but would obviously be a bit heavier (unsure how much)... but would be custom geo (unsure how beneficial this would be)...

    One nice thing about the Ti bike would be the ability to attach a baby trailer for training rides with the daughter Carbon dropouts are the wrong shape...

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks for all the opinions so far (and any more to come)!
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  10. #10
    I'd rather be riding
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    New superfly! HT.

  11. #11
    CB2
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    I'll be the voice of dissent say and FS.
    Try something different. I know some pretty fast guys your age and above who are killing it in the Pro/Open and Cat1 classes on FS in the Northeast.

    Unless your shop does a $hit-ton of IFs even dealer cost isn't going to be that much off MSRP.

    *Disclaimer*
    this is coming from someone who races a rigid.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2 View Post
    I'll be the voice of dissent say and FS.
    Try something different. I know some pretty fast guys your age and above who are killing it in the Pro/Open and Cat1 classes on FS in the Northeast.

    Unless your shop does a $hit-ton of IFs even dealer cost isn't going to be that much off MSRP.

    *Disclaimer*
    this is coming from someone who races a rigid.
    Well, crap. So much for consensus
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  13. #13
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    Have you tried the light weight FS? I like my full suspension Giant but it's too heavy, but would love a dually in race trim. I think you'll take better lines and maybe improve your times. All things being equal I'd take the full suspension rig. Definitely be good to try one in a race pace situation if you could and see how if feels, but a 23-22lb dually would be buttery smooth and fast.



  14. #14
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    Hope I like my new HT

    I upgraded to cat 1 this season and just bought a HT carbon 29er (XTC) (Arrives Friday)

    I'm coming off a giant full susp. anthem so I'm definitely switching gears here.

    Why? I test rode a carbon felt at a festival last month and loved it and put a huge smile on my face. The acceleration and power transfer was amazing. I'll soon see if that transfers into better race times as I have 2 races left.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Not really a Pro then eh!
    He said IN pro, not A pro.

  16. #16
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    In regards to the custom bike. I did a custom road bike back in '98 because I have long legs and a short upper body. Back then, the stock bikes didn't fit well at all. Have been on 2 stock bikes since then without problems.... I sold each stock bike as I upgraded but never sold the custom one partly because I figured it would be a challenge to find someone else built like me to fit it!
    Unless you've had trouble getting a proper fit on your current bikes, I would venture a guess that a custom geo wouldn't add much and not worth the additional cost, and likely lowers resale value.
    As to HT vs FS, I KNOW based on GPS data that I am faster on my FS bike (RIP9) compared to my prior HT (AIR9)(both 29ers) EVEN CLIMBING despite the FS being 2 pounds heavier! Downhill is even more of a no-contest in favor of the FS. As long as there is at least a little tech to the climb, the FS let's me stay smooth and climb faster/more efficiently. I sit and spin more than stand and power up, though, and these are long climbs in Salt Lake/Park City area, so YMMV with your style and depending on your trails.


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  17. #17
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    it seems like something that depends on the courses you will be racing. I went from a ht to fs this year and find i miss the stiffness, shorter wheelbase and especially the lighter weight of the HT, but I have grown to really like the FS bike.

    If I were going to get a second bike to race, I'd get a decent aluminum HT and put a rigid fork on that I can swap on and off so i had a real lightweight, affordable bike for racing the less technical courses with a lot of climbing.

    Maybe it's a dumb idea though.

  18. #18
    LMN
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    For how many years has this question been asked? I have been switching between duallies and hardtails since 96 and still don't know the answer.

    Look at it this way. Your average dually is about 1kg heavier then the equivalent hardtail. At a VAM of 1250 (probably your average climbing rate in a race) this translates to a requirement of an extra 3.4 watts. Not all your time is spent climbing, putting in descents and flats I would estimate that you need to average an extra 2.5 watts to overcome the weight of the dually.

    Do you think rear suspension allows you to average that extra 2.5 watts?
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    For how many years has this question been asked? I have been switching between duallies and hardtails since 96 and still don't know the answer.

    Look at it this way. Your average dually is about 1kg heavier then the equivalent hardtail. At a VAM of 1250 (probably your average climbing rate in a race) this translates to a requirement of an extra 3.4 watts. Not all your time is spent climbing, putting in descents and flats I would estimate that you need to average an extra 2.5 watts to overcome the weight of the dually.

    Do you think rear suspension allows you to average that extra 2.5 watts?
    Knowing what wattage I can put out in ideal conditions (trainer, powerful fan, well-motivated) and what I can put out on a trail (and how that's limited by traction, necessity of standing over bumps on the HT, etc), I'd be tempted to say that the dually would make me more able to put the power to the ground...

    And in a longer race, when lower back fatigue limits power output on the HT... maybe. 2.5 watts is not much.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwanttolookatpics View Post
    He said IN pro, not A pro.
    Again, if your definition of "a pro" is the strict definition of professional (i.e. someone who earns their living from their craft), then there are maybe 10 of those in the US.

    There are over 400 males in the US with a Pro XC license. I'd guess I'm as much of "a pro" as the other 390 or so.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    For how many years has this question been asked? I have been switching between duallies and hardtails since 96 and still don't know the answer.

    Look at it this way. Your average dually is about 1kg heavier then the equivalent hardtail. At a VAM of 1250 (probably your average climbing rate in a race) this translates to a requirement of an extra 3.4 watts. Not all your time is spent climbing, putting in descents and flats I would estimate that you need to average an extra 2.5 watts to overcome the weight of the dually.

    Do you think rear suspension allows you to average that extra 2.5 watts?
    that's a great analysis. My belief, albeit not backed with any data, is my FS allows me to go faster when I'm making zero watts. I sure feel less fatigue.

  22. #22
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    I would definitely do the FS. I haave been racing a Epic 29er for the past 2 seasons. I got a chance to ride a Stumpjumper 29er in a race this year and was really looking forward to it. By the second lap, I realized that I never wanted to race a hardtail again. Yes, it was stiff, light, had a shorter wheelbase so handled a bit better. But the advantages of the FS are hard to ignore. The ability to sit down and pedal through choppy terrain. It climbs better as it soaks up bumps on the climb that caused me to lose traction on the HT. And the overall reduction in fatigue over the length of a race is well worth any minor weight penalty.
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  23. #23
    pk1
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    i think all this discussion of the weight difference is missing the point. the 1kg/2.5W is minimal in the scheme of things.

    the trade-off is between the comfort & traction of the FS and the direct power transmission of the HT.
    sitting and pedaling at moderate power it makes little difference unless the terrain is rough in which case the FS will work better.
    when you look to put out big power, particularly out of the saddle, the FS will lose some power (exactly how much depends on design and setup but there will be some level of power loss unless the suspension is so firm as to be pointless)

    at least that's my take on it. there's no easy answer - it depends on rider style and terrain.
    the OP says "I tend to climb out of the saddle more than most". this says to me stick with the HT. of course it may be that you only do that because you ride an HT but at the least you would have a learning curve and change of style.

    personally i'm currently on an FS but considering switching to HT. i'd be going 26" to 29" too which should somewhat make up for the traction and rock/root rollover change. a large part of my thinking on this is that ii climb seated 99% on the mtb but on the road bike i like to get out of the saddle a lot so i would like to be able to do that on the mtb.

  24. #24
    Always pushing harder!!!
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    I have a 26 FS and a 29 HT...and honestly, I prefer my FS for races even thought I did most of my races this year on the HT. I feel more comfortable in the FS and also I can gamble more on technnical stuff. Both bikes are great, but my guess is you should try and analyze courses and trails you race and ride and that should be the main factor for your decision.

    But considering FS bikes are getting so light nowdays, you should try it...I know I would...they are more fun...

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