To move or not to move (FS -> HT)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Fat On A Bike
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    To move or not to move (FS -> HT)

    Hi all,

    In the recent weeks I have been debating whether to move from a FS 29er to an 29er HT.
    Some might look at this as a natural evolutionary step in mountain biking some would think it is not such a great move.
    I currently own a Jet9. It is a great bike, but it is somewhat heavy (13.35kg). At least once a week I am riding with stronger folks and although I am getting better, I am getting smoked all the time especially on climbs.
    In the last week I am demoing an Air 9 Carbon. It is not setup with the lightest components but still, less weight, and most importantly the power transfer from the legs to speed is noticeable. Riding this week with the stronger riders I suddenly was able to pass some on few climbs... The speed was noticeably faster then on the FS.

    So, what do I fear from? I ride singletrack as well, and there might be sections and places that may not be that forgiving for an HT. On the other hand, I like riding fast. I like riding the distance (got up to 80km and planning this year to double the distance).

    I would appreciate your opinions. And... I can afford only a single bike at this time.

    Thanks,
    Ofir

  2. #2
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    I'm making the same move, I don't think I'll miss the FS, and I'll appreciate being on a lighter 29er. Of course, in the last year I've moved from Texas to Australia so the new terrain doesn't require the extra cushion. I'm thinking of going with an Niner Air 9 Carbon or Ellsworth Enlightenment, at least those are in mind right now. The 29er FS I have is a Titus Racer X 29er, it's actually quite light, but I'm ready for something lighter and with no rear suspension.
    Draft College Republicans

  3. #3
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    The only true way to actually get the climbing efficiency of a hardtail is to ride a hardtail.

    Does the Air 9 Carbon you're demo-ing have the rigid fork?

    I don't think there is that much difference in what a HT (with a front suspension fork) could actually handle descending vs. what the 80mm of the JET 9 could handle (I have about 6 rides on a JET 9), it just won't be quite as smooth or you'll need to be a little pickier choosing your lines.

    A FS with the climbing efficiency of a hardtail? It simply doesn't exist IMHO. Name your poison and go riding.

  4. #4
    aka "SirLurkAlot"
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    You could always build a HT and add a Thudbuster

  5. #5
    Fat On A Bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj
    The only true way to actually get the climbing efficiency of a hardtail is to ride a hardtail.

    Does the Air 9 Carbon you're demo-ing have the rigid fork?

    I don't think there is that much difference in what a HT (with a front suspension fork) could actually handle descending vs. what the 80mm of the JET 9 could handle (I have about 6 rides on a JET 9), it just won't be quite as smooth or you'll need to be a little pickier choosing your lines.

    A FS with the climbing efficiency of a hardtail? It simply doesn't exist IMHO. Name your poison and go riding.
    The A9C I am demoing has a 100mm fork. Descending is certainly not a problem

    Ofir

  6. #6
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    There are a few semi-local trails (far more rock than dirt) I don't like riding a hardtail on. If those were my regular trails, I would likely prefer a FS. For the trails I ride a lot (>95% of the time), I like the climbing efficiency and am fine with descending on a HT.

    I doubt it's the weight of the bike that has you climbing that much faster, it's more the efficiency of a hardtail vs. full suspension. If you still feel like you descend fine on the HT and it bugs you to lag a bit on the climbs, then you know what to do

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj
    I doubt it's the weight of the bike that has you climbing that much faster, it's more the efficiency of a hardtail vs. full suspension. If you still feel like you descend fine on the HT and it bugs you to lag a bit on the climbs, then you know what to do

    Don't things like propedal, and lockouts fix those issues? I road a FS once on a test ride, and when I locked the rear shock and the front shock, the bike felt pretty stiff to me.

  8. #8
    Always Learning
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaadd
    I currently own a Jet9. It is a great bike, but it is somewhat heavy (13.35kg).

    So, what do I fear from? I ride singletrack as well, and there might be sections and places that may not be that forgiving for an HT. On the other hand, I like riding fast. I like riding the distance (got up to 80km and planning this year to double the distance).

    I would appreciate your opinions. And... I can afford only a single bike at this time.
    13.35kg is pretty heavy for a JET build. Very heavy, in my book. That's 29.4lbs which is even heavier than my XL RIP 9 with Flow wheels and heavy UST tires. My size XL JET is 11.4kg and climbs as well as my HT's.

    Before making any moves, I would first analyze where the extra weight is being carried on your JET? My guess is you might be carrying a bit of that 4 lbs. in the wheels/tires. Depending on your weight, a wheelset in the 1550 - 1650g range will really liven up your climbing and speed going up the hills. How much do you weigh?

    I am assuming your rear shock is working well and you've found your ideal psi. Using the ProPedal by clicking the lever to the right will help the rear for the climbs or for entire XC races if so desired really helps as well - at least that's what I've found on my JET. A nice light weight rear tire will make a lot of difference as well. Do you lock your fork out on the climbs?

    My suggestion would be to dial that JET into a similar weight of a HT (23-25 lbs.) and continue to enjoy the benefits of FS.

    The target areas would be light weight wheels, light tires - especially in the rear, and a light cassette. Anything beyond that is just gravy, but will make your ride lighter and go into the power/weight ratio of what you have to pedal up the hill.

    Consider the new Specialized Epic carbon FS - even in size XL - weighs just 22.6 lbs. (10.25kg). I guarantee that bike - even as a FS - climbs well at that weight.

    In the end, as long as your bike is set up in an efficient manner, it's all about how much power your legs can put out. The more you and your bike weigh in combination, the more power you have to produce to keep up with others on the climbs. And we all have finite amounts of power we can produce.

    BB
    Last edited by BruceBrown; 01-15-2011 at 07:13 AM.

  9. #9
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    I would take the climbing and flatland efficiency of a hardtail any day of the week over a FS ride. Unless the trails you are riding are just ungodly rocky.

    I "upgraded from a decent hardtail to a midrange FS bike. Hated the FS for a few months and sold it for another HT. HT may not have the "bling" factor, and might not be as comfortable on loooonnnngggg trips, but it does 95% of my riding twice as good as an FS, whereas the FS does 10% of my riding only slightly more comfortably. Easiest decision ever for me.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown
    13.35kg is pretty heavy for a JET build. Very heavy, in my book. That's 29.4lbs which is even heavier than my XL RIP 9 with Flow wheels and heavy UST tires. My size XL JET is 11.4kg and climbs as well as my HT's.

    Before making any moves, I would first analyze where the extra weight is being carried on your JET? My guess is you might be carrying a bit of that 4 lbs. in the wheels/tires. Depending on your weight, a wheelset in the 1550 - 1650g range will really liven up your climbing and speed going up the hills. How much do you weigh?

    I am assuming your rear shock is working well and you've found your ideal psi. Using the ProPedal by clicking the lever to the right will help the rear for the climbs or for entire XC races if so desired really helps as well - at least that's what I've found on my JET. A nice light weight rear tire will make a lot of difference as well. Do you lock your fork out on the climbs?

    My suggestion would be to dial that JET into a similar weight of a HT (23-25 lbs.) and continue to enjoy the benefits of FS.

    The target areas would be light weight wheels, light tires - especially in the rear, and a light cassette. Anything beyond that is just gravy, but will make your ride lighter and go into the power/weight ratio of what you have to pedal up the hill.

    Consider the new Specialized Epic carbon FS - even in size XL - weighs just 22.6 lbs. (10.25kg). I guarantee that bike - even as a FS - climbs well at that weight.

    In the end, as long as your bike is set up in an efficient manner, it's all about how much power your legs can put out. The more you and your bike weigh in combination, the more power you have to produce to keep up with others on the climbs. And we all have finite amounts of power we can produce.

    BB
    Bruce,

    I appreciate your response. The problem I am finding is that even if I would replace my full XT build with XTR the weight may go down only to 12.7 KG. I run stan Flows with XTR hubs (which are not heavy). I have a carbon handlebar, a thomson step, collar and seatpost. The bottom line is that if I would like to shave serious weight off the bike it will cost me a lot of money and what I would get weight wise is questionable.

    Where as an HT would be a faster bike, and I can upgrade to an A9C with full XO build at a reasonable price - which means shaving off around 1.9kg (~4 lbs). That said, the efficiency in power is a remarkable thing which I simply cannot get from a FS.

    Looking at other FS bikes like the Superfly 100 and the EPIC - the price range is simply too high for me.

    BTW - I weight slightly below 200lbs. I run the IKONs as my tires.

    Would appreciate your thoughts!

    Ofir

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by isahnisahn
    Don't things like propedal, and lockouts fix those issues? I road a FS once on a test ride, and when I locked the rear shock and the front shock, the bike felt pretty stiff to me.
    ProPedal helps but is not a cure-all as you can still feel the inefficiency, although a clean pedal stroke seems to help that. It's not horrible by any stretch, but it is simply not as efficient as a straight hardtail.

    As for lockout, Fox does make a Float RL, but haven't seen it spec'd much, if at all. A lockout locks out at the top of a bikes travel and I am not sure exactly how that would affect climbing efficiency. The JET 9 with a 100mm fork has a BB drop of 27mm in that position whereas the the AIR 9 Carbon has a BB drop of 53mm with the same 100mm fork.

  12. #12
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    Lockouts, propedals, etc. get the FS "closer" to the ride of a HT, but its still not the same. Its an analogous argument to riding single speed by simply not shifting gears on a geared bike. Its gets you part of the way there, but it just doesn't feel exactly the same.

    I ride SS HT 29ers exclusively now. If I'm going to a destination place with alot of technical terrain, like Moab, then I'd just rent a FS rig. I'd gladly trade off the higher descending speed on rocky terrain with the far faster climbing speed of my HT bikes.

  13. #13
    don't try this at home
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    Quote Originally Posted by bycyclist
    Lockouts, propedals, etc. get the FS "closer" to the ride of a HT, but its still not the same. Its an analogous argument to riding single speed by simply not shifting gears on a geared bike. Its gets you part of the way there, but it just doesn't feel exactly the same.

    I ride SS HT 29ers exclusively now. If I'm going to a destination place with alot of technical terrain, like Moab, then I'd just rent a FS rig. I'd gladly trade off the higher descending speed on rocky terrain with the far faster climbing speed of my HT bikes.
    i've found that climbing with my FS on "lockout" sucks, and that it does a lot better when open, and i get your analogy and i agree.

    guess it depends on what the OP values and what the terrain is like. i climbed slowly on my SSHT 26er (rigid or suspended) and i climb no less slowly on my FS29er even though it's about 8 pounds heavier, yet i descend much faster on the FS. there's also the fun factor that adds to a ride that's hard to quantify but effects how you're doing. for me the FS is a new thing, while the SS HT got old and boring.
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  14. #14
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    You guys are scaring me, I just sold my 29 HT S-Works and ordered an Epic Evo 29. I plan on swapping to carbon wheels, XX cassette and a few more minor changes, should be a 24 lb (10.8 kg) FS bike when done. I really liked the HT but was tired of feeling beat up in the latter part of races. I prefer my seat high for pedaling efficiency and thus every rock or root seamed like my saddle was going to become a part of me. My angle was to try a full suspension bike with very light wheels and tires, I know I wont climb as well on most climbs but my late race energy may be higher. If I am wrong, I may be racing my aluminum 29er Stumpy with a Thudbuster. Time will tell.

    Another thought on this topic, if I were 24 instead of 44, it would be HT without a doubt.

  15. #15
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    And.....

    Quote Originally Posted by TRIUMPH KID
    If I am wrong, I may be racing my aluminum 29er Stumpy with a Thudbuster. Time will tell.

    Another thought on this topic, if I were 24 instead of 44, it would be HT without a doubt.
    Riding a Carbon 29er!
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  16. #16
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    I have both a HT 29er (22 lbs) and a FS 29er (26.8 lbs). Overall, I prefer the HT. Nothing beats the climbing efficiency and acceleration out of corners. Not to mention the ease of maintenance!

  17. #17
    SS Pusher Man
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    Simple...........


    Have one of each.


    Seriously, it is very difficult to have one bike that does everything. Options are always better.
    Bicycles donít have motors or batteries.:nono:

    Ebikes are not bicycles :nono:

  18. #18
    Always Learning
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRIUMPH KID
    You guys are scaring me, I just sold my 29 HT S-Works and ordered an Epic Evo 29. I plan on swapping to carbon wheels, XX cassette and a few more minor changes, should be a 24 lb (10.8 kg) FS bike when done. I really liked the HT but was tired of feeling beat up in the latter part of races. I prefer my seat high for pedaling efficiency and thus every rock or root seamed like my saddle was going to become a part of me. My angle was to try a full suspension bike with very light wheels and tires, I know I wont climb as well on most climbs but my late race energy may be higher. If I am wrong, I may be racing my aluminum 29er Stumpy with a Thudbuster. Time will tell.

    Another thought on this topic, if I were 24 instead of 44, it would be HT without a doubt.
    Not to worry, I think you will feel less beat up at the end of your races with the new bike. That's a nice race weight (24 lb.) for your new Epic. Your kidneys and back will love you and recovery time will be shorter because of it.

    BB

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