Need help finding a FS 29er...- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Trail Cubist
    Reputation: SWriverstone's Avatar
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    Need help finding a FS 29er...

    I'm in the market for an MTB (experienced roadie and offroad motorcyclist). After a huge amount of research...my head is spinning...but after carefully considering many opinions, cross-referencing with other opinions, doing homework, etc...I've come down to 3 choices:

    • an XC FS bike
    • an XC HT 29er
    • an XC FS 29er


    The kind of riding I'll be doing is long-distance, cross-country riding. Rocky fire roads, dirt doubletrack, relatively easy singletrack...occasional rock gardens, some roots...but nothing hairy (and again, long distance is key---like 20-30 miles in a day).

    Based on all I've read, I think I'd like a 29er. It just seems better suited to long-distance riding (but I could be wrong).

    I also think a FS bike is best for the same reason—more comfort on long-distance rides.

    I'm gonna try to find some of these bikes to demo locally...but frankly, i'm not optimistic that'll happen (not much to choose from where I live).

    So...I've been digging around online for a while, and it seems FS 29ers are not easy to find. As in, I've found almost none! I'm guessing they're out there...but where? Who makes them?

    I guess the other question I keep wondering is...do the larger wheels of a HT 29er partially make up for the lack of rear suspension? Would I be comfortable riding all day on an HT 29er?

    BTW, this thread is a continuation of another one I started in which I got some excellent advice from people. That first thread was more of a general, "which bike should I get?" thread. This thread is intended to be more focused on 29ers...'cause I'm really trying to decide if I should get one or rule it out?

    Thanks,
    Scott

    MY SPECS: 47 years old, 220lbs, between 5'11-6'0" tall, very fit, no back problems.

  2. #2
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    From my personal experience I would recommend a 29er HT. I have been racing XC on a 26" FS and within the last month I recently bought my first 29er. I got a HT and have no issues riding any of the courses I have raced with the FS. I can see where a 29er FS would be handy, just not required on any of the terrain in which you describe. Also, with the cost savings you can go with a better model HT. I hope this helps.
    If you want all the comforts of home, stay there.

    Rides, Reviews, Races and Random Thoughts

  3. #3
    mtbr member
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    Everything you need


  4. #4
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    +2 on the 29er HT

  5. #5
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    I went through the same dilemma before buying my GF xCalibur 4 years ago. I was torn between a 26" FS and 29 HT, based on my budget. Living in NW Iowa, i went to my dealer to ask about 29ers and he looked at me like I was from another world. Being that I was used to 700 rims on a road bike, I was way more comfortable on a 29er than a 26 on test rides. I now prefer riding 20 to 30 miles on gravel rather than road riding. I love everything about my bike. I do not have any regrets about not getting an FS either. The big rear tire with 28PSI is almost like a shock. I started racing this year and do not regret my decision on a 29er one bit. And by the way, my dealer now owns a 29er also.

  6. #6
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    I've been riding 26" FSers since they first started making FS, I recently picked up a 29er HT and love it...I think is feels like FS bike in the way it just rolls over everything so efficently ...that said I would love to have jumped the 29er FS bandwagon....and I still may!

  7. #7
    Trail Cubist
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    Thanks for the posts ridenrunner and metelhead...your comments have really got me thinking a HT 29er is the way to go...and the Gary Fisher Cobia looks like the bike to get! (I've read nothing but positive reviews of this bike.)

    I'm heading to a good LBS today to demo some bikes, and I'm hoping they'll have a 29er I can try...stay tuned!

    Scott

  8. #8
    Always Learning
    Reputation: BruceBrown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Thanks for the posts ridenrunner and metelhead...your comments have really got me thinking a HT 29er is the way to go...and the Gary Fisher Cobia looks like the bike to get! (I've read nothing but positive reviews of this bike.)

    I'm heading to a good LBS today to demo some bikes, and I'm hoping they'll have a 29er I can try...stay tuned!

    Scott
    With tubeless tires and running low pressures - along with the angle of attack - the big wheels do help, but I wouldn't go as far as to say they "make up" for the lack of suspension.

    If you can, absolutely demo a 29"er FS while you are at it. I've got a HT 29"er, a softail 29"er and two FS 29"ers. The only way to know is try 'em all. That kind of demo riding removes all opinion/speculation and answers all questions.

    BB

  9. #9
    rider
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    Welcome to the world of biking in the dirt!

    I'd suggest riding a Pivot 429 and a Titus Racer-x 29er before buying a hard tail. The KHS Flagstaff and Kona Hei Hei 29er FS bikes also come to mind.

    I agree that you would be well served by a HT 29er. Especially if you only ride 30 miles or so at the max. But for longer rides, my guess is that you would be really happy that you got the FS bike.

    I think that you will find that most experienced mtb riders don't really consider 20-30 miles long rides unless really rugged terrain and/or high elevations are involved. This, coupled with your road background, leads me to believe that eventually you will want to do higher mileage rides from time to time.
    Abandoned the 26" wheel in May '03

  10. #10
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    So...I've been digging around online for a while, and it seems FS 29ers are not easy to find. As in, I've found almost none! I'm guessing they're out there...but where? Who makes them?

    I guess the other question I keep wondering is...do the larger wheels of a HT 29er partially make up for the lack of rear suspension? Would I be comfortable riding all day on an HT 29er
    Hey SWriverstone,

    You're going to love the big wheels in the dirt! I ride a hardtail myself (singlespeed, Spot) and personally think with the riding you have in mind, you'd be very happy with a hardtail.

    But, since you want to check all your options, have you looked at the Ellsworth Evolve? I've ridden a 26" wheeled Ellsworth FS and found their design and engineering top notch (disclaimer: I have NOT ridden the Evolve, so just making a statement on the quality of their bikes in general). If I were ever to consider getting another FS bike, I'd look at this one.

    As for hardtails, a buddy of mine rides the Sir 9 (the scandium one). It is crazy light and not that expensive. I think you would love it's quickness and accelerations, especially on climbs - I know he does.

    Absolutely agree with BruceBrown, though. Get yourself some bike, fat tubeless tires and you'll be grinning all day Cheers,

    E

  11. #11
    USED2COULD
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    I agree with everyone here that a 29'er HT is more comfortable than a 26'er hard tail.

    In fact since I picked up my 29er HT I've ridden it more times than my race ready FS 26'er.

    However I'm contemplating replacing my 26" FS frame with a 29" FS frame.
    I'd probably get the Niner Jet 9 myself.

    The only thing holding me back is the significant investment I have in 26" wheels:

    > DT 240s / 819's,
    > I9 Ultralites

    and oh so many sets of tires...
    <Insert Quiver>

  12. #12
    mtbr member
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    best bang for the buck......
    uses specialized fsr horst link
    and i never seen anyone pay retail for one...
    http://www.khsbicycles.com/02_flagstaff_09.htm

  13. #13
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    I bought and rode a GF Paragon for two years, racing it and doing long off road(4-5 hrs) rides. Then bought a GF HiFiPro 29'r, my lap times were faster on fs and I was able to stay fresher and ride much easier next day after long rides. I don't even consider a ht anymore.HT to me means riding my Tricross...

  14. #14
    Trail Cubist
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    Quick update---I ended up buying a Gary Fisher HiFi Pro 29er...and it's been awesome! Read about it here.

    Scott

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