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  1. #1
    CCR
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    Aggressive Trail Riding, Wheel Size and Travel.

    Im torn between getting a Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt, Rocky Mountain Altitude and I'm Also looking at the specialized Stumpjumper FSR comp Evo.

    The major difference between the three is wheel size and travel. The thunderbolt offers 120mm on a 650b wheel size, while the altitude and Stumpjumper both offer 150mm, on a 650b wheel size for the altitude or 26" wheel size for the Stumpjumper.

    I like aggressive trail riding mixed in with some mid size drops and jumps here and there.

    Can anyone give feedback on whether the thunderbolt will suffice for this type of riding, or if i should step it up to 150mm. Sometimes i feel like the 150mm travel is a bit much. I know a lot of this stuff is personal preference but i would like to hear from other riders.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  2. #2
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    Opinions from threads are great, but they're just that, opinions. Everyone has one, but no one knows your trails or your riding style. Try to get a demo and then decide. Travel is over rated IMO. Geometry and fit are more important relevant to what you like. There are people that can ride dh on hard tails better than people on full Dh rigs just based on rider skill. Buy what "you" like. It's your a$$ on the frame not some anonymous dude from the internet
    Last edited by qbert2000; 03-09-2014 at 06:37 PM.

  3. #3
    CCR
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    Yea i feel what your saying. I used to ride all the time when I was younger, I rode all disciplines from XC to dual slalom and downhill. I used to have a hard tail with a 100mm travel fork which I thought was huge back then for trail riding and dual slalom races and i used to race downhill on a dually with 150mm in the front and back. Now I have been off a bike for 10 years and i'm itching to get back into it. The only difference is I'm shopping in a market now where there several wheel sizes and travel options available that i don't know where to begin which is why I felt some advice would be good. But like you said ride it then decide.

  4. #4
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    if you are getting back into look into the used 26" market. tons of great bikes up for sale now that the industry has convinced people they need 27.5". there are some awesome deals out there as people seem to be dumping their 26" stuff.

    you will hear how things are game changers and opinions on how 27.5" is better or 29" is better. hard to say what is best as it is all subjective and down to personal preference and hype always plays a role in what people think to some degree. hard to argue 27.5" isnt great when the industry has jumped so hard on it. but it's been around for years and pacenti could get zero traction on it when he tried 5 years ago. now the industry boulder is rolling down the hill and theres no stopping it.

    i have a chromag trl hardtail with 150mm up front and now, a banshee spitfire which can run 27.5" so i can try it out before i blow my wad making claims on it. i have a set of rims that i will build up at some point but i'm in no hurry. i went with the spitfire as a dropout change is all thats required to go 650b and i went with a xfusion vengeance as well since it will run 650b no problem.

    good luck on the search. best bet is to really just peruse the forums and read what people are saying. i find that when questions get asked, it just turns into a popularity contest re brands and egos, rather than a real discussion on benefits of design. i'd rather ride a shorter travel frame with geometry and fit i actually prefer, over any bike with more travel or bigger wheels, that doesnt fit my personal preference re fit and design.

  5. #5
    CCR
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    You seem to be informed on the technology now days. I have been trying to find out if i could change the travel on the thunderbolt and increase the front to lets say a 140mm 150mm travel instead of the 120mm if i felt that the suspension was not enough. Or would that change all the geometry or the design of the bike

  6. #6
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    it comes down more to geometry imo. i love the spitifres adjustable geometry and its ability to run either 26" or 27.5" wheels. i wouldn't add 20-30mm of travel to a bike designed around a 120mm fork. raises the bb too much imo.

    120mm of travel is plenty for most in all reality but i definitely wouldn't go to a 150mm fork on that bike but that's just me. keep looking and find a bike that is specced for what you want to do. demo demo demo. e-riding is absolutely subjective. one mans technical trail is anothers garden path ride. drop size gets exagerated, jumps get bigger on the internet. real life can't be argued with. post in a regional thread and see if anyone will let you try their ride, lots of good people who will do that

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by qbert2000 View Post
    Opinions from threads are great, but they're just that, opinions. Everyone has one, but no one knows your trails or your riding style. Try to get a demo and then decide. Travel is over rated IMO. Geometry and fit are more important relevant to what you like. There are people that can ride dj on hard tails better than people on full Dhaka rigs just based on rider skill. Buy what "you" like. It's your a$$ on the frame not some anonymous dude from the internet
    Well said, couldn't agree more. In the end everyone is different with different riding styles and opinions on what's "best".
    Last edited by Max24; 03-07-2015 at 10:05 PM.

  8. #8
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    Yeah everyone has a different definition of what aggressive trail riding is, medium drops big drops, yada yada...We all know this, but you asked for opinions on your question about these different wheel sizes and travels, so I'll give you mine.

    From your description of your favorite type of ride, I would give the 27.5 150mm designed bikes a good look. At least I would start there for your demos. From what I know about 27.5, is these bikes are becoming favored by riders that want a bigger tire bike, with a little more "playfulness" than a 29'r. If you like hitting jumps, drops etc, you will be able to "throw" around a 27.5 easier than a 29. A 26'r is even a little more playful, but for the most part 26 is on its way out, unless you are a downhiller primarily and I'm not getting that impression from your post. There are some positives to a bigger wheeled bike, that with the 27.5 size it is great compromise over the 26. Plus resale on a 26, like mentioned above, is getting dismal. If you're buying a new bike anyway, go for the new thing, you won't regret it!

    I just built up a new Turner Burner 27.5 with 150mm travel, and I couldn't be happier with my decision to build this over the 29'r Sultan, which I was lusting after for like 3 years. My thing is also agressive technical trail riding here in CO and UT, and the travel makes this bike so squishy and fun with the rough stuff. Like you, I was wondering if I really would want that much travel. Would the bike still climb well, would it be too heavy? I like to climb to get my descents! Well, the bike climbs incredibly well, and it built up at 29.5lbs. Not too bad given the the suspension on this rig. Simply, I think the middle wheel size is the way things are heading for the agressive trail riding bike. It will probably serve you well!

  9. #9
    North Van/Whistler
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    Rockys tend to be designed to be ridden beyond their design parameters. The likelihood will be that your skill level will be the limiter - not the bike. I've only ridden the Altitude and have no plans to ride the Thunderbolt so can't add anything specific about the bikes
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  10. #10
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    Ill throw in my opinion. For aggressive trail riding with some dh stuff thrown in, as well as lots of climbing, the altitude kills. Very versatile bike has several geo settings so can be run slack or steep. Can be built light enough for xc (especially teh carbon version) and climbs really well and solid on the downhills. I love mine.
    '18 banshee rune

  11. #11
    NedwannaB
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCR View Post

    26" wheel size for the Stumpjumper.

    I like aggressive trail riding mixed in with some mid size drops and jumps here and there.
    Depending on your time frame, the SJ will be coming that should fit your needs. Do some research, they already have 650B/27.5" tires out on the sale racks.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  12. #12
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    You're budget will make a big difference as well. These days you can get a 6" travel bike that rips downhills and still climbs insanely well, but those will cost some serious money. For a more reasonable price you'll have to make more of a choice between downhill, uphill, or all around performance.

    I went 27.5 last year and it is my opinion that 27.5 really is a great choice for a "do it all" bike, but all wheel sizes will work depending on what you like. I have a banshee rune, the Spitfires slightly burlier brother. The spitfire and rune are great bikes, and I'd definitely recommend checking them out. Adjustable geometry, choice of wheel size, bombproof construction at a reasonable weight, great proprietary suspension design, relatively reasonable prices... and in my opinion they completely nailed the geometry for all mountain riding.

  13. #13
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    The answer is it depends. If your idea of mid size drops is 2' then the Altitude will be fine. Beyond that things start to get a little sketchy and the saying "there's no replacement for displacement" starts to take effect. For trail riding 120 should be fine for most people. If you ride more high speed chunder then the longer travel bikes make more sense. Overall the 150 bikes pedal so well that there is not much penalty for the increase.

  14. #14
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    With my dumpy 100mm fork (suntour xcm) and shock, I jump off stuff like:
    •2.5 ft tall jumps and 6 ft long in air until I hit flat ground going 15ish mph
    •dirt jumps- 3 to 4 ft tall, connected to 4.5 ft tabletop, and land on the 3 to 4 ft landing ramp thing.

    Until I find I lose control landing, I'm not going to upgrade suspension. Ever.

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