Long travel 29er for DH/park bike.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Long travel 29er for DH/park bike.

    I rode lift access trails for the first time last week, one day at Thunder Mountain in Western MA and then 2 half days at Burke in Northern VT(was there for NEMBAfest) and Iím completely hooked. The first day I rented a 27.5 Specialized Status, the 2 half days I rode my Trail bikeeÖ I didnít feel much of a difference between the two(aside from beating the rental a little) and Iím debating the idea of getting a DH specific bike now Ė but also thinking maybe Iíll just ride my Bikee at the park and put the cash towards a second set of wheels, and put the rest aside for when anything breaks, or when itís new bike time.


    Anyone here have experience shredding the DH stuff?


    Hereís a little follow video from one of the flow trails, Iím up front.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC5HGBY_thc&feature=youtu.be
    Last edited by patnugent; 06-26-2016 at 08:24 AM.

  2. #2
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    I rode my Banshee Prime at the park a few times (once at Thunder). No complaints really as it handled everything I threw at it. Like you I have become hooked on park days, but worried that riding my everyday bike at the park would end up destroying it a lot faster if I went often enough (which I have been). So I ended up getting a dh/park specific bike to keep that from happening.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcalabrese22 View Post
    worried that riding my everyday bike at the park would end up destroying it a lot faster if I went often enough (which I have been)

    That's pretty much the boat I am in, I want to make park days a regular thing, but realistically I will only get a handful of them a year which is why I'm leaning towards just running the one bike. It took everything I threw at it while riding Burke and made it without issue.

  4. #4
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    I'm in Mass as well, after riding my Lenz Lunchbox (6" travel 29er if you didn't know) many times at Highlands and Thunder Mountain I decided that I wanted more travel and DH specific geometry. I'm tall at 6'9" and there aren't many bikes that fit me nor do I have any interest for 27.5. I ordered a Lenz PBJ which is a 7" travel 29er (or 27.5 if you want) that has the DH geo and is built up to take the abuse a bike park will throw at you. The other reason I went with a full on park bike is that I wanted to go a little bigger and faster than I was on my trail bike, while feeling safer as I need to go to work without injuries. I had a Dorado 29er fork laying around, a backup rear wheel and many other parts that could be used for the build. If I use it 10 or so times a year I will be happy, however each time I go to the DH park my riding on regular trails gets better as I look at lines differently and get used to the faster speeds.

    There isn't a lot of 29er DH specific bikes, Lenz and Waltworks will both make amazing frames to your liking. The 29er Dorado (7" travel) is the only dual crown for intended for DH (unless I'm totally missing something). After you figure out the frame and fork you will have more options to build up your bike.

    Good luck!

    -Nolan

  5. #5
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    If you're going to stick to the smoothish machine built trails of Thunder, Burke and Highland, your Intense will be more than adequate for a handful of days per season. I've ridden my Hightower and similar trail bikes at these places and had a blast.

    If you want to start going big or riding the natural DH trails around New England for more than few days a season, you'll want a DH bike. If you really want to commit to a DH specific bike you'll have also have to commit to DH specific gear and lift tickets. Don't trash your trail bike by hammering down the steep natural trails around here. DH specific bikes are awesome and make the steepest, scariest trails ridable but they're extremely use specific.

    As said, the selection of 29er specific DH bikes is very limited. Pick yourself up a 26 inch lightly used DH bike. I bought a lightly used DH a few years ago and I found that its very common for people to buy them, let them sit in a garage after 5-10 days of use and then sell them once they start collecting dust.
    Vermonter - bikes, beers and skis.

  6. #6
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    Wider bars and stronger wheels and you should be fine
    I like bikes

  7. #7
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    I used the Specialized E29 the last couple years at the bike park. It did good, with 8" brake, 2.5 minion tires, and that nice aggressive geometry. 6" is about my cutoff though, with any less travel, it usually feels like you are pretty outgunned on the more challenging terrain and you are usually fighting the bike down the runs, rather than enjoying them IME. On real tech or big stuff, like Keystone, there's no replacement for a real DH bike.

    The 29er had some advantages and disadvantages in the park.

    Advantages: big wide sweeping turns, not caring about the front end going over wheel-catchers and drops (because it rolls right off with no prob).

    Disadvantages: medium turns at speed, had to slow down because gyroscopic force would pull the bike to the outside of the turn and simply limit how fast you go could go through it. The 29er tends to jump flatter too, so it would be a little difficult to make some of the bigger jumps, but not impossible.

    No net gain/loss: tight stuff/switchbacks, at the speeds you did these at the 29er with modern (short chain stays, low BB) was fine, not enough gyroscopic force to prevent you from making the turns, etc.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  8. #8
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    I've owned a few Lenz PBJ's. So has my sweetie. I've also built a few for friends that have ridden ours and seen the light.











    You definitely don't need a full-on DH bike. A ~6" trail bike will do really well -- to a point. Where that point lies depends on you, and how aggressively you want to ride the park, as well as how often.









    Eventually the bike will likely become a limitation. You* could* go faster, but the bike is holding you back. No fault of the (trail) bike, it wasn't designed nor intended to rip DH all day, so its geometry is a compromise meant to go uphill too. Higher BB and steeper HTA are the two main differences -- and they're big.








    A park-designed bike will have much friendlier geometry that'll give you more confidence, and the suspension on a DH bike is much, much, much more likely to be up to the heat and duty cycles imparted by banging out lap after lap all day.








    In short, trail bikes are great for a little of everything, but a DH bike does a lot of things better -- safer -- and will give you a lot more confidence to learn and excel as a rider.

  9. #9
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  10. #10
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    Thanks for the thoughts and opinions. I think the impulsiveness has worn off a little bit Ėas has the realization that I will probably only get in a handful of park days in each year anyhow(kids.) If I do get out, it would most likely be Mountain Creek as I live in Southern NY, though there is hope for a weekend trip to Thunder/Burke/Highland this fall... Will have to see what my work/life schedule permits when the time comes.

    I'll plan to just ride my rig, and if I end up on any awesome long or rough adventure, I'll just rent(or buy immediately beforehand.)

  11. #11
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    Hello. I am wondering how things have changed in the last few years. I'm currently looking to buy a long travel park bike to compliment my Pivot Mach 4 Carbon. I rode a megatower and a nomad. Felt better on the 29 despite not liking the 29 when I was testing XC bikes.

    What does the DH bike do that a 160mm long travel bike can't do?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igotsoul4u View Post
    Hello. I am wondering how things have changed in the last few years. I'm currently looking to buy a long travel park bike to compliment my Pivot Mach 4 Carbon. I rode a megatower and a nomad. Felt better on the 29 despite not liking the 29 when I was testing XC bikes.

    What does the DH bike do that a 160mm long travel bike can't do?
    The reverse mullet is the hot new setup for park... 27.5 rear which retains snappy turns and 29" font for speed, rollover and grip.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    Last edited by Gman086; 1 Week Ago at 10:06 PM.
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  13. #13
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    A full on DH bike is awesome whenever you're going down. I have a 160mm travel bike as well and it's almost as good but the DH bike wins for gnarly tech, more comfortable and less fatiguing when doing lots of descending, more durable, the list goes on. You can set up everything purely for downhill with no compromise for climbing. If I didn't ride parks a lot, a compromise with a burly trail bike would be fine though.

    This year I got a 29er dh bike (quite a few options for those now) and its pretty sweet. Big and cumbersome but it rolls over everything and carrys momentum well, probably less fatiguing to ride since it doesn't get held up in holes and stuff as much.

  14. #14
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    Pivot Firebird 29.

  15. #15
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    If you have the option to have a dedicated DH rig, it's the way to go.

    I don't really have that option, I like to pedal too much. When I go to the bike park I still end up going and pedaling somewhere. My 160mm 29er handles everything so far I have through at it, which is a lot. Biggest limit is just how fast I can hit stuff, A DH bike can hit the same terrain with more speed.

  16. #16
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    I think it would depend on how hard you ride the park. I use my 140/150mm Banshee Spitfire at the bike park. For at least they way I ride...I don't feel like I need moar bike. I have a 180mm Kona Operator...since I got my Spitfire...I don't ride the Kona no more. It's actually too much bike.

    The thing with a DH bike...it's pretty much for DH only. It really does not do well anywhere else unless you are pointing it straight down hill.

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