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  1. #1

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    Older guy seeks advice on new bike...29...

    ...I am pretty sure. I am 44 and looked at a lot of posts here for info. on 26 FS vs 29HT etc. Old men posts and all that. I currently have Stumpy HT with Thudbuster and I really like the set-up. I often descend faster than my FS buddies (some under 40 years). I have tried FS but as far as hitting bone yards, climbing, more technical stuff, I have not experienced a "come to Jesus" difference (esp. with the Thudbuster LT, that is the reason I like my current HT). Anyways, I really want to go 29 after a test ride, but my only concern is that as I get older, will my Thudbuster be enough to manage the rough rides and keep my current healthy back...healthy? Or should I bite the $ and weight bulIet and go FS 29? I get the sense that with 29 inch wheels and a Thuddy, I should be good for years to come assuming good fitness and not getting overweight (I only have room and desire for one mtb). Any input on this seemingly redundant question? thx.

  2. #2
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    I am 4 years your junior, my bike is a rigid steel ss 29uh . There are plenty more our senior, that do the same. For the record, we have a proper acronym, F.O.G ****ing Old Guy. I get two, Clyde and Fog. 40+ gets the title. :-)
    The only regrets in life, are the risks you didn't take.

  3. #3
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    Old....44??? Give yourself a break
    Although it depends on how rocky/rooty/rough your trails are a 29er HT is a pretty darn good all around XC/Trail bike- possibly go with a steel frame if you want a bit more comfort out back. The thudbuster is nice for the unexpected jolt etc... but if you are used to a HT anyway you are most likely off of your seat through the rough stuff anyway- this said I can't think of sitting on my seat on many decents even on my F/S... You already like the 26" HT and it sounds like you ride it well compared to your peers a 29er HT will be a perfect "upgrade" for you-

    While I ride and like a 29er F/S I would say for most situations a 29er HT with a "better" fork is a great balance of fast ups and downs without breaking the bank, especially if you are going the "1" bike route.
    I Just wish I could ride more!


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    Thanks for the replies from da FOGs. I live in Denver and do a lot of Front Range riding. Big up and then big down. Apex (going down) is about as rough as I am willing to take it most times. Yea, I am standing up on those lower sections and I make it without issue, most of the time (except for yesterday). I tend to shy away from overly technical stuff and don't do drops or hucks as I prefer not to break bones. That said, plenty of rocks, water bars, and roots in my regular stomping trails. Leaning HT.

  5. #5
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    You might look at a Redline D460, its a steel hardtail 29uh, with gears. The handling is great, and its not going to bankrupt you, lifetime warranty as well. It comes with a rigid fork, but a Reba, or Fox will compliment it nicely.
    The only regrets in life, are the risks you didn't take.

  6. #6
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    I concur............doing hucks at your age(and mine) does not bode well when it comes to broken bones
    My first 29er was the Monocog.........I slapped a Salsa fork on it and added the biggest tires that would fit for extra "cushion".........a great bike for starting off in the 29ers, and as mentioned, won't break the bank.........yeah, a Reba added would be nice, too.
    Welcome to the club

  7. #7
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    I am quite a bit older, and use 2 carbon HT 29ers, geared and SS, most all the time. I do have a 4" FS 29er too, and I really like riding it in Mammoth, bigger rocks, AM mode. 29er does help a lot.

    You should have no problems.

  8. #8
    Rohloff
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soaker
    ...I am pretty sure. I am 44 and looked at a lot of posts here for info. on 26 FS vs 29HT etc. Old men posts and all that. I currently have Stumpy HT with Thudbuster and I really like the set-up. I often descend faster than my FS buddies (some under 40 years). I have tried FS but as far as hitting bone yards, climbing, more technical stuff, I have not experienced a "come to Jesus" difference (esp. with the Thudbuster LT, that is the reason I like my current HT). Anyways, I really want to go 29 after a test ride, but my only concern is that as I get older, will my Thudbuster be enough to manage the rough rides and keep my current healthy back...healthy? Or should I bite the $ and weight bulIet and go FS 29? I get the sense that with 29 inch wheels and a Thuddy, I should be good for years to come assuming good fitness and not getting overweight (I only have room and desire for one mtb). Any input on this seemingly redundant question? thx.
    Age is certainly a factor when considering suspension but terrain is probably even more important. When getting advice on an international forum you've got to consider that many don't ride the same terrain you ride. Fully rigid is no big deal for an older guy riding a lot of smooth hardpack. For me, I rarely find this type of riding in my area. I have a HT 29er with a Thuddy that I like on mildly rough trails and a FS 29er I ride most of the time on the rougher trails.

    Another thing. 26FS doesn't equal 29HT. Big wheels smooth out the trail a little but not that much. If those two bike were my only choice, I'd probably go for the 26FS. I'm glad I don't have to make that choice. For me, I think a 29FS is best for most of my riding.

    The big X factor is your individual Butt Pounding Tollerance (BPT). Even under the same conditions, you and I might prefer different bikes. That's why I think the best advice is to rent or borrow some different bikes and take them out on the trails you ride.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soaker
    Thanks for the replies from da FOGs. I live in Denver and do a lot of Front Range riding. Big up and then big down. Apex (going down) is about as rough as I am willing to take it most times. Yea, I am standing up on those lower sections and I make it without issue, most of the time (except for yesterday). I tend to shy away from overly technical stuff and don't do drops or hucks as I prefer not to break bones. That said, plenty of rocks, water bars, and roots in my regular stomping trails. Leaning HT.
    Apex is one of my favorite trails! I'm 44 and ride a steel 29er with no suspension. If you're OK with a 26er hardtail, you'll like a 29er hardtail even more, for sure. I can't speak to full suspension. My only rides on full suspension bikes were short. I really didn't like it. Mostly, though, I just like my bike parts simple.

  10. #10
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    Hi Soaker...I'm in the same boat as you. If you haven't already seen it, check out my thread here—lots of good info posted from people.

    I just got back from demoing a few bikes. The shop only had a single-speed, unsuspended 29er...but I still thought it felt a lot better than the 26" bikes!

    I also decided that I love FS bikes! The difference pedaling while seated between HT and FS was dramatic. I was blown away by how smooth the FS bikes were riding over rough stuff while seated. It felt almost as smooth as riding my road bike on good pavement!

    So...it's gonna be a stretch for me...but I'm really thinking I want to spring for a FS 29er. I think it would be the best of all possible worlds...as well as a bike that would last me for a long time. (I don't want to buy a bike, ride it for a year, sell it, buy another bike, ride it for 6 months, sell it, etc. etc. etc.)

    I've done a fair amount of off-pavement motorcycling...so I know exactly what the fire roads I want to mountain bike look like ('cause I've motorcycled many of them). They tend to be covered in loose, 3-4" round rocks and gravel (as well as dirt and grass)...and there are many 5-mile-long, gradual, steady climbs...the kind of terrain where you're gonna have to stay seated for long periods of time...which is why I'm thinking a FS bike is the way to go!

    Scott

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    Been on quite a few off road motorcycle rides myself. Don't think that I would want to ride my enduro as a hard tail for sure. That said, I tend to tolerate butt pounding well with my Thuddy. I now sit down on a lot of stuff, going up and down, where I used to stand up thanks to that seatpost. One thing I don't tend to do is ride more thatn 2-3 hours at a time. I am not in the saddle all day and I only ride 1-2 times per week (due to family and work commitments of course). Demoing is on my list of must do's. I need to take out a FS and HT 29er to my main rides. Will probably do this in the next couple of weeks. I too want a bike I can keep for a long time, this is why I am trying to figure out the best option for me.

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=Soaker] I tend to tolerate butt pounding well ....

    too much information

  13. #13

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    [QUOTE=God of Everything]
    Quote Originally Posted by Soaker
    I tend to tolerate butt pounding well ....

    too much information

    Did I say that?

  14. #14

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    BTW SWriverstone, I did read through your thread and some good info. there. The motobecan HT 29er is spec'd really nicely. I do prefer to ride a bike before buying so that will probably not be something I purchase. I might do a FS 29er except for the price and the fact that I know what I like, and can tolerate a HT with suspension post very well. Let me know what you decide. I am at least another month out.

  15. #15
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    46 years young here, riding a Niner Jet9, only 3.25" rear suspension but it is just the right amount of cush and stiffness. Light enough to beat some hardtails.

  16. #16
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    What you need is a Niner MCR with a fox F29 fork and welcome to the fountain of youth....
    Sit and spin my ass...

  17. #17
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    I've got both a HT and FS 29er. Unless the trails are quite smooth, the HT kind of jackhammers down the trail, while the FS flows like syrup. It's just a lot more fun, and the bonus is that the post-ride fatigue is inarguably less with the FS.

    However, at a really smooth place -- like Bend, Oregon -- the HT is a blast. Just an absolute rocket ship. But I can ride a 6 hour epic in that area and hit fewer roots and rocks than I will in a 1 hour spin on my backyard trails!

    If I could only have one or the other, it would be FS, but probably on the racy, shorter travel side of things.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  18. #18
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    I'll be joinging the FOG in 3 months (still 39.) I've ridden my old Stumpjumper HT over the winter and finally picked up a XC Marathon FS bike (26") Awesome bike. Can do it all. It's also a single pivot for the simplistic elegance and I can still feel what the terrain is doing.

    But...I need it more to keep up with the local bike shop rides that are rather fast paced. Since they are mostly on FS bike, it also changes the pace, especial in the summer months.

    My FS bike is great for longer rides or fast rides with lots of little bumps and undulations that typically has the HT rider hovering above their seat. That'll wear you out much faster when the pace is up there.

    I JUST picked up a 29 HT, rigid fork, single speed. What a FUN bike. No, it'll never be as fast as my Rush. But it sure is fun even at a slower pace. And speaking of pace, I find that it's not MUCH slower. Just makes you get off the seat more and dance with the bike.

    If you are descending faster than your FS counterparts, sounds like you've got some skills. Choose a bike according to your terrain and who you'll ride with.

    If I could only have one bike, I'm keeping the Rush. But I do believe that 2 bikes the way to go as you ride more and more. Just more options to have fun on any given ride.

    The 29 wheels are awesome to roll over stuff. The big flywheel helps you through root and rock gardens. I don't flick the bike like a 26" HT, but I'm sure you'll adapt to steering the bike more than flicking it. I thought the bigger wheels would be like riding a truck, but it's not. Tough to explain. You just have to go test ride one.

    I might have to test ride a suspension forked 29 (another LBS has a MCR fork and geared) But I'm having too much fun right now.

  19. #19
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    I went up to my (closer) LBS where I know the owner (who's a nice guy). He actually had several HT 29ers in stock. When I asked him HT or FS? He suggested the HT was plenty good enough and didn't see much reason for me to get a FS unless I'm doing drops/jumps/hairy technical stuff.

    So I demoed a Gary Fisher Mamba (HT 29er) and a Fuji Tahoe Comp (HT 29er). Both were nice...and I could probably be happy with either...(I actually preferred the Fuji Tahoe Comp)...

    ...but...

    ...but...

    ...I still couldn't get the incredibly beautiful, smooth, plush ride of a FS 26er out of my head...and I couldn't stop thinking about how wonderfully, awesomely SHWEET a 29er FS bike would be!

    So because I like this guy and he runs a good bike shop literally right up the street...I've all but completely decided I'm gonna just tell him to order me a Gary Fisher HiFi Plus 29er...fork out the $2200, and be DONE with it!

    Scott

  20. #20
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    Just turned 46. Been riding FS for about 10 years because of a somewhat weak lower back. I have a 26" Stumpy FSR. I just bought a Felt Nine Race HT.

    On my last 26 HT (10 years ago), I was only able to ride about an hour before my back was really protesting. So far, I've done multiple 2+ hour rides with no issues at all.

    It's quick, fast, fun and comfortable.

    I'm not ready to give up my SJ yet, but now that I have some rides on the 9er, if I had to pick just one bike, I think it'd be a 9er FS bike. But, your riding may be different than mine, too.

  21. #21
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    See, what's interesting is that we're seeing multiple similar reports from people who went from a FS 26-inch bike to a 29er HT. They all seem to love the 29er HT...BUT!

    If you like the 29er HT...just imagine how awesome a FS 29er would be!

    The "equation" doesn't have to be either a FS 26-inch or a HT 29er.

    You can have both in one bike! (Well, for $2K+.)

    Scott

  22. #22
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    I've actually noticed two other constants in everything I've read:

    The majority (not all, but the majority) of people who go from a HT to FS love the FS and don't want to go back.

    ...and...

    The majority (not all but the majority) of people who go from a 26" to a 29er love the 29er and don't want to go back. (Hence my statement in the previous post.)

    Yes, obviously having multiple bikes is best...but I'm talking about "If you can only have one bike..."

    Scott

  23. #23
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    I'm pushing up real close to 60. Started riding when I was 47 and at that time I considered HT or FS. Decided on FS and 4 bikes later was riding a Yeti 575. Then I decided to try 29. Got an 08 Niner Rip9 frame (Atomic Blue) on eBay and built it up. So pretty. It doesn't make me a better rider, but it does make me ride better. I'll do about anything to keep these bones going over the rock and roots, except put a motor on it. I can't keep up with anybody, but I still have big fun. :
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  24. #24
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    There's a lot of talk about saving your back with full suspension, which is fair enough, but what about your legs? How have people found FS treats their legs? These long rides often have as much rough, tough descending as they do climbing. While the rear of a HT bike is being pounded on rough trails and descents, so are your legs. Has anyone noticed any benefits for their legs after going FS?
    Last edited by MagicCarpet; 09-05-2009 at 07:20 PM.

  25. #25
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    I am a few years older than you, at 52. Just getting over a bad disk in my back. I have been riding for several years, the last 7 or 8 on 29ers. A 29er HT is great and I really enjoyed riding my SS 29er for a couple years. I am just starting to get back on the trails and riding a Niner Rip 9. I would like to use a HT again but don't think I ever will. If you have smooth trails a HT just might be the ticket. Look at a FS bike also, they ride great.

  26. #26
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    Soaker, I am 4 years your senior, and ride pretty much exclusively a 29" SS Rigid. Some trails are smoother, some are rougher. Taken it to Aridzona for the rocks and roots, ride at the range of conditions at Annadel, Soquel Demo, etc... I do not bomb down the rougher rockier stuff - I want to ride again next weekend too - but I would heartily recommend a steel hardtail. Between the bigger wheels, and that thudbuster you would feel a big improvement in smoothness while sitting. I have a Raleigh XXIX for what it's worth - check out the Niner Sir9 or Salsa El Mariachi if you think you might want a bike that can be run SS or geared. Niner is set up to work with a Susp Fork - don't think the Salsa is, and I know my older XXIX is not - but I think the newer ones are...
    R.I.P. Corky 10/97-4/09
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mo0se
    I am 4 years your junior, my bike is a rigid steel ss 29uh . There are plenty more our senior, that do the same. For the record, we have a proper acronym, F.O.G ****ing Old Guy. I get two, Clyde and Fog. 40+ gets the title. :-)
    While I may fall into the criteria, I refuse to call myself a FOG yet! Maybe when I'm 50
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

  28. #28

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    Thanks ATBScott. I was just looking at the Mariachi online. I would want geared with front suspension. Will look at the Sir9 too. If I have to buy I fork then I would want to be at the $1000 range for sure. I have a Gunnar Roadie as my road bike that I built up from the frame (Reynolds 853). Awesome bike. So I do love steel and I used to hear great things about the Gunnar Rock Hound MTB frame (OS Platinum now), specifically because of the material used.

  29. #29
    Rohloff
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    [QUOTE=Soaker]
    Quote Originally Posted by God of Everything


    Did I say that?
    I'ts better if you just say, "I've got a high BPT."

  30. #30
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    Just to add some more to the mix. I ride a rigid Niner MCR. I've owned FS 26ers, steel 26ers, steel 29ers, aluminum 29ers, and FS 29ers. I prefer to not "clutter" and complicate my life with pivots, seals, air levels and oil leaks. Every suspension product (excepting Fox's RP23) I've owned has failed in one season. ONE season. 7000 miles and done. meh...I'm over it. So read my comments understanding my bias toward new fangled crappy suspenion products.

    853 steel is simply fantastic. Comfort over roots and rocks is noticably better with the steel frame. I am not as fatigued as I was with aluminum, and I still retained the snappy acceleration of a hardtail. I also don't feel bogged down on climbs. People will flame me for this, but I still do not think that FS bikes climb as well as hardtails do on most of the trails that most of us ride most of the time. The FS might descend "better", but I prefer to control my speed and negotiate obstacles on the hardtail. More of a challenge for me. I prefer to "give up" a little on the descent to gain a TON on the climbs and long distances.

    Another consideration is that I ride to the trails I ride. Hardtail is the best for this. Also, I ride in the Northern Midwest...tons of roots, rocks, reggae.

    I think that you could get away with a nice steel hardtail frame, suspension fork, and thudbuster. The 29" wheel really will make a difference over rougher trails. I think you will be impressed.

    Let us know what you end up with.

  31. #31
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    Smile Older riders - are out there!

    Soaker -
    Our rides often include the over 50 yso riders, one guy in particular is 68
    A good buddy (54yrs old) of mine just got a Niner R.I.P. and digs the heck out of it. Even on tight techy stuff - he sez the wheel base is the same as his '03 fs Stumpy. The 68 yrs old rider rides a 29er fs Ventana Myself I'll be 50 this year - umm..... I ride full rigid fixed gear 29er and enjoy it Keeps me young

  32. #32
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    54 and counting...

    54 year old here. Been riding bikes all my life.....

    Have a SuperFly 29er HT for a while now and loving it. Came off a FS Stumpjumper 26er and no going back. Sj is up for sale......

    29ers are "fully sick".......

  33. #33
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    Okay everyone—check this out. Opinions wanted! The photo below (from one of my many motorcycle rides in the local national forest) shows the typical road surface I'm likely to ride miles and miles on. Note the many largish, loose rocks.

    My question for everyone is: would you be comfortable riding a HT 29er for 20-30 miles on a road surface like this? Or would you rather have a FS 29er? (Because this is definitely the kind of surface I'm likely to be riding a lot of!)



    I've never actually tried it, which is why I'm asking. but this kind of surface looks like it would be painful riding for miles on a HT (without standing).

    NEXT QUESTION: Check out the next photo below—would you be comfortable riding for miles on this kind of trail on a HT 29er?



    Maybe I'm a sissy...but I just can't see being happy with a HT on these kinds of trails!

    Scott

  34. #34
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    Whenever I see these kinds of questions and debates concerning bike choices, I think the main point to consider is your own expectations.

    What is your riding style? Does the bike you are dreaming about realistically fit your riding style? What type of terrain do you normally ride? How aggressive or competitive do you ride? Do you attempt every obstacle or are you comfortable walking a few technical sections, if needed? How fit are you (or hope to be)? How important is the bike coolness factor to you? These questions and the others you can come up with concerning your own realistic expectations will help with the choice better than asking a forum of bike geeks.

    As a self professed bike geek with almost 25yrs of mtb struggle and joy, I have learned that there is no bad chioce. You are picking a bike to go out and ride trails. How bad can that be? Some type of bike lust is always going to exist. Too much marketing, forum reviews/opinions and new shiny things for there not to be. Be honest with yourself about what you want/need and hit the trails! It is the rare rider that can keep their main bike forever. Circumstances usually lead you to a new bike as things change in life. Choose what works for you as of today and the foreseeable future and go have some fun!

    All that being said, I am a couple of years older than you. I also live in Denver and enjoy our local playgrounds. I also have a family and work that keeps me riding only once or twice a week. Over the years I have been lucky enough to have ridden many bikes- 26/29, HT/FS, junkers/high end. My riding style and main bike choice has evolved into a Ti soft-tail 29er for the last couple of years. Perfect for me and my riding style and expectations. I also have ridden a Niner MCR w/USE susp. seatpost for a few years. My first 29er. Its current transformation is as a monstercross. A great choice if you decide on a steel HT.

    Good luck with the decision and hope to see you out there,

  35. #35
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    Contradicting my earlier post ( ) I would choose HT every time if I rode stuff that smooth. Seriously, that's smooth compared to my regular stuff.

    I'd go HT with a ti post and bigger, tubeless tires at lower pressure to smooth the chatter.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  36. #36
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    I agree with your points FR hokeypokey—which is partly why I posted the pics (I'm guessing you were writing your post while I was posting the trail photos?) So I'd be curious to hear your opinion of what's optimal for miles of riding on surfaces like those in the pics?

    I have a crystal-clear picture of what/how I'll be riding for the first 6 months of my new MTB. What's harder to predict is future growth in the sport, e.g. how much will I love it? How much better will I get? How much more difficult trails will I want to tackle?

    But I do know this: though it may sound odd, I'm not the kind of person who is happy buying/selling/buying/selling/buying/selling. In fact I think that's a real pain in the butt, even if it is a good way to experience lots of different bikes.

    So I want one bike that I'll be happy with for years...and that will continue to "grow with me" and suit my riding for a long time to come. If I continue to love the sport and improve, I don't want to hit a wall with the bike.

    Some might say this is impossible, and maybe you're right. But I do think it's possible to get a bike that is sufficiently "better than I am" to allow for a lot of "headroom" in the growth of my riding style and ability.

    My wife did this 10 years ago when she bought a $4500 Look all-carbon road bike. Was it overkill at the time? Probably. But 10 years later, she's still riding it, loving it, and it's still about the best bike in the group at every club ride we do.

    Scott

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo
    Contradicting my earlier post ( ) I would choose HT every time if I rode stuff that smooth. Seriously, that's smooth compared to my regular stuff.

    I'd go HT with a ti post and bigger, tubeless tires at lower pressure to smooth the chatter.
    Thanks Cosmo! Just to be sure, did you see the last pic I posted above? (I added it a few minutes after the first one.) The second pic shows a rocky trail that's a LOT rougher than the one in the first pic.

    This is why I posted the pics—it really helps to actually see the kind of trails people are riding on HT's and FS bikes.

    Scott

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Okay everyone—check this out. Opinions wanted! The photo below (from one of my many motorcycle rides in the local national forest) shows the typical road surface I'm likely to ride miles and miles on. Note the many largish, loose rocks.

    My question for everyone is: would you be comfortable riding a HT 29er for 20-30 miles on a road surface like this? Or would you rather have a FS 29er? (Because this is definitely the kind of surface I'm likely to be riding a lot of!)



    I've never actually tried it, which is why I'm asking. but this kind of surface looks like it would be painful riding for miles on a HT (without standing).

    NEXT QUESTION: Check out the next photo below—would you be comfortable riding for miles on this kind of trail on a HT 29er?



    Maybe I'm a sissy...but I just can't see being happy with a HT on these kinds of trails!

    Scott
    First picture looks like HT all the way.
    Second picture, it depends on how long it is rough like that.

    I recently rode a 24 mile loop with 3000' elevation and lots of tight and rough areas. There were 7 of us; 6 - 26" FS bikes and 1 - 26" HT. On this ride, I loved my FS bike. Could I have ridden a 29-er. IDK. I've never ridden a 29" FS bike. The youngest at 35 was on the HT, the rest were 40-55.

    But I preferred being on a FS for such a long duration ride. All the little chatter, all the little undulations, all the little bmx pedaling over root sections add up over the hours. The bigger bumps are hard for FS guys as well and you generally slow down a bit on those sections anyway. But the smaller ones taken at speed is where the FS comes into its own.

    The HT guy made the ride just fine. I'm sure I could have as well. But I prefer to conserve my energy and limit my fatigue on longer rides.

    Some pix of the ride: https://s137.photobucket.com/albums/...a/RangerCreek/
    https://s137.photobucket.com/albums/...a/RangerCreek/

    For my local rides which have similar terrain but are under 2hr rides, I've been wanting a HT. So the HT, 29, rigid fork, SS is now more for local rides. Especially as the weather starts to get wet and the trails become a little slower, the FS advantage starts to diminish. And I can have the same fun at slower speeds and keep up with the others.

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    SWRiverstone, I would be looking at a FS for sure with that second pic. The first pic would lead me towards HT. I would not want to crank up the rocks in that second pic for very long for sure. Going down would be more fun on FS. The terrain I ride tends to be single track with areas of intermittant tough stuff. I have spent little time on sustained nasty rock strewn trails like than second pic. One of my favorite rides (Buffalo Creek) is mostly rolling single track that begs for a big wheeled HT (IMO).

    I need to do a search on this forum for a list of steel 29ers. I would like to find a suspended fork, geared option for a reasonable price, $1500 or so.

    Keep an eye out on e-bay for my bike and a whole bunch of bike crap that is sitting in the basement.. :-)

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Thanks Cosmo! Just to be sure, did you see the last pic I posted above? (I added it a few minutes after the first one.) The second pic shows a rocky trail that's a LOT rougher than the one in the first pic.

    This is why I posted the pics—it really helps to actually see the kind of trails people are riding on HT's and FS bikes.

    Scott
    Man, my bad all the way on this one. I'm only on Cup of Coffee #1, and totally missed the second pic.

    FS all the freakin way on Pic #2, especially if you like rides over two hours long.

    As far as buying a bike now that will last a long time, I'd suggest riding the following, and choosing one, based on how they ride, the deal available, and the shop they are available at (in no order, though I do love my Turner Sultan):

    Turner Sultan
    Pivot 429
    Niner RIP
    Specialized Stumpy FSR
    Gary Fisher HiFi (2010 only -- big improvements from 2009)

    Want racier? Fisher Superfly 100 or Specialized Epic Marathon!

    None of these bikes are cheap, and all will provide at least 4 years of satisfaction. It's tough to get 10 good years out of an mtb if you ride a lot (as your wife has with her sweet road bike).
    Whining is not a strategy.

  41. #41
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    Thanks guys. So FS for the 2nd pic for sure—that's what I was thinking too.

    And here's the thing: on the kinds of rides I want to do...it's entirely possible I could ride 5 miles on fire roads like the 1st pic...then turn down another road for 5 miles (still like the 1st pic)...then turn down another trail that starts out smooth...but ends up like the 2nd pic...and not just for 25 yards, but a few miles of that stuff.

    That's a common scenario when you're not riding in a "known" area for MTBing...but just exploring fire roads and trails in national forests.

    I don't want to get caught in a scenario like that on a HT...facing several miles of stuff like the 2nd pic. I'd be screwed—my only choices would be to backtrack 10-15 miles...or torture myself by pushing on.

    I want to be fully prepared to handle whatever I run into on long rides...which is why I keep coming back to an FS 29er. (Make sense?)

    Scott

    PS - I could be TOTALLY wrong...but I almost get the impression that most MTBers (in the Mid-Atlantic region) usually think on a smaller scale in terms of rides (like going to a much smaller area of only a few square miles laced with all kinds of fun technical singletrack loops)...instead of doing all-day "expeditions" across long expanses of national forests. Maybe I'm strange?

  42. #42
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    I'm 52, currently rigid 29er geared and single speed. I enjoy riding down stuff like that second pic when it leads to smoother rooty dirty trail, but not in and of itself for a ride. My preference, my style.
    wherever you go, there you are

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Okay everyone—check this out. Opinions wanted! The photo below (from one of my many motorcycle rides in the local national forest) shows the typical road surface I'm likely to ride miles and miles on. Note the many largish, loose rocks.

    My question for everyone is: would you be comfortable riding a HT 29er for 20-30 miles on a road surface like this? Or would you rather have a FS 29er? (Because this is definitely the kind of surface I'm likely to be riding a lot of!)



    I've never actually tried it, which is why I'm asking. but this kind of surface looks like it would be painful riding for miles on a HT (without standing).

    NEXT QUESTION: Check out the next photo below—would you be comfortable riding for miles on this kind of trail on a HT 29er?



    Maybe I'm a sissy...but I just can't see being happy with a HT on these kinds of trails!

    Scott
    Hmmm... which do you do more of? If the first, 29er HT all the way.

    If the second, FS. 29er? Not necessarily, but wouldn't hurt. What's "a few miles"? If you're talking about 3-4 of the stuff in the second picture, I think you'd be fine on a 29er HT. If you really wanted to go for comfortable, you could go for either a softtail (Salsa Dos Niner or Moots Mooto-X YBB) or Ti.

    Overall, my recommendation would be a 29er Epic. Rides like a HT when you're on the smooth stuff (like the first picture) and is FS when you need it. Add the larger tires and you buy more compliance.

    Of course, that recommendation assumes you go test ride the bike and it's comfortable and a good fit for you.

  44. #44
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    Soooo many choices. I too am looking at moving to a 29er from my FS 26er. I turn 39 in a few weeks and I am leaning toward the Surly Karate Monkey, possibly running it 1x9 and rigid to start. I live in Phoenix, were it is pretty darn rocky. Can also run this SS with a suspension fork.

    I am leaning toward steel vs. aluminum, especially if I just run it rigid. On the other end of the spectrum is the GF Rig (aluminum, SS with a Fox fork). Am I overthinking the steel vs. aluminum?

    I have been obsessing about this and need to make a decision......

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    the st option

    48 yo here, and while I have been smelling the 29er Kool-aid, I haven't drunk it yet...
    I'm happy on my 26" fs, but thinking hard about a 29. But I need a LOT of faith in those big wheels to give up the fs. Personally (3+ hour rides lots of rocks/roots, etc) I can't see 29 ht SO...

    Yea, 29er soft tail was where I have been heading...I like the moots for the low tech (no-air) shock and the reputation of a Ti ride (less crazy about the $$$ but...)

    So I'm currently thinking Mooto X YBB v. Mooto XZ...but still, stepping off the fs bus takes some faith...

    You guys are all over this issue, though which is really great to see...
    "Whether it be an abrasion or a mental breakdown, everyone suffers in one way or another." ORAMM Disclaimer

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    Scott,

    I almost get the impression that most MTBers (in the Mid-Atlantic region) usually think on a smaller scale in terms of rides (like going to a much smaller area of only a few square miles laced with all kinds of fun technical singletrack loops)...
    While this is not 100% true, it is a very astute observation and, I think, an accurate and fair generalization. (I'm in PA) Yea, based on your pics, and knowing a little about where you ride, I'd vote for the 29er fs for you.

    Someone in another forum pointed out that he wasn't looking for a bike that would win races, just one that made him smile when he got on it and started riding. Something to keep in mind...



    m
    "Whether it be an abrasion or a mental breakdown, everyone suffers in one way or another." ORAMM Disclaimer

  47. #47
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    If I was riding a chunky dirt road like the one pictured with the maroon dirt bike, I think I could ride that comfortably on fully rigid bike. I certainly think most would be comfortable on a HT with or without a a Thuddy.

    While I'm sure some would be comfortable with limited or no suspension on the big chunk pictured with the blue bike, I'd really want a FS bike with that.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    PS - I could be TOTALLY wrong...but I almost get the impression that most MTBers (in the Mid-Atlantic region) usually think on a smaller scale in terms of rides (like going to a much smaller area of only a few square miles laced with all kinds of fun technical singletrack loops)...instead of doing all-day "expeditions" across long expanses of national forests. Maybe I'm strange?
    You know, I ride in central CT - rocks and roots, rocks and roots, hills and hills. It's all I've ever known. I look at pics of bikers on western terrain, rolling high altitude smooth track, big sky sort of stuff and I think, "Man, that's got to be nice, not constantly battling obstacles every few feet." And I hope I get to ride it someday cuz it's gorgeous and a whole different kind of riding. And maybe your strange, I wouldn't know, but not about this.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  49. #49
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    Something to be said for suspension bikes....

    Quote Originally Posted by Soaker
    ...I am pretty sure. I am 44 and looked at a lot of posts here for info. on 26 FS vs 29HT etc. Old men posts and all that. I currently have Stumpy HT with Thudbuster and I really like the set-up. I often descend faster than my FS buddies (some under 40 years). I have tried FS but as far as hitting bone yards, climbing, more technical stuff, I have not experienced a "come to Jesus" difference (esp. with the Thudbuster LT, that is the reason I like my current HT). Anyways, I really want to go 29 after a test ride, but my only concern is that as I get older, will my Thudbuster be enough to manage the rough rides and keep my current healthy back...healthy? Or should I bite the $ and weight bulIet and go FS 29? I get the sense that with 29 inch wheels and a Thuddy, I should be good for years to come assuming good fitness and not getting overweight (I only have room and desire for one mtb). Any input on this seemingly redundant question? thx.

    I mean, not from the standpoint of hucking and big drops and such. What I love about suspension bikes is the all day long comfort in the saddle. I could ride a whole lot longer on my Stumpy FSR-XC than I could on my hardtial. I did several rides almost 50 miles long, 6-7 hours of riding time. I could never do that on my hardtial, even with a suspension seatpost. I'll say I never owned a thudbuster, tho. The RS suspension post I ran just made my knees sore. I ran both a FS bike and hardtail for a few 8, 12, and 24 hour races. The boing made all the difference in the world in the fatigue catagory. Shorter races, I still ran the hardtail since fatigue wasn't as much of a factor.

    I ended up falling in love with wagon wheels (29ers) and I stripped my Stumpy to build a geared hardtail on a cheap frame until I saved up enough to build my RacerX29er. So far, I love it. I haven't done any really long rides yet.. only 2 hours tops. It does handle a lot like my old Stumpy did, but with better big wheel roll.

    The suspension isn't there so much to land drops... its there to save wear on your bones.

  50. #50
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    Pain and fatigue are negative conditioning. If rides are associated with pain and fatigue how often will you ride? You'll start to dread rides. It'll take longer to recover from rides. It might pay to buy FS if you want a daily exercise routine.

  51. #51
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    Love that 2nd pix from above. Thats what we'll ride all day in WV and most of the guys are on 29 HT. I'm 41 traded the FS for 29 HT last year and do not regret it. The FS is still colleting dust in the garage.
    "Can see forever, but I can't see anything"

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gasp4Air
    You know, I ride in central CT - rocks and roots, rocks and roots, hills and hills. It's all I've ever known. I look at pics of bikers on western terrain, rolling high altitude smooth track, big sky sort of stuff and I think, "Man, that's got to be nice, not constantly battling obstacles every few feet." And I hope I get to ride it someday cuz it's gorgeous and a whole different kind of riding. And maybe your strange, I wouldn't know, but not about this.
    Uh, you must mean Southern California.

    We in the Pacific Northwest battle glacial till and rainforest roots. Wet mind you.

  53. #53
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    See how you have 2 motorbikes...the big ol KLR in the 1st one & the little WR(?) in the second?

    The KLR loves that stuff in its picture & will travel the world on it...it will get through the stuff in the second picture for sure but its going to be tiring & hard work. The WR (Im guessing) will eat up the second picture without a thought but the only thing that will stop you falling asleep riding a WR on the road in pic 1 is your bad case of monkey butt from the 2X4 they call a seat.

    Fortunately with MTBs the difference between the 2 isnt so great. Pic 1 will favour a hardtail but really if youre spending a lot of time on dirt roads you might want to consider a cyclocross bike or similar...however you dont want to take a CX through pic 2...it will most likely get damaged. A HT will get through with no problem...but a FS will do it easier without beating you up as much.

    You need a FS with a good pedalling design though to do the dirt roads without any downsides over the HT except a bit more heft. It will be nicer over those nasty stutter bumps dirt roads get too.

    Ive got an Ellsworth Evolve, going by what youve said & your pics I think you'd love it as much as me.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenspokes
    While I may fall into the criteria, I refuse to call myself a FOG yet! Maybe when I'm 50
    Its not really a negative thing, it reminds me of that old joke about the old bull, and the young bull, on the hill overlooking the cows.. The young bull says, what do you say we run down the hill and have our way with one of those cows? The wiser bull replies, Nah! son, lets walk down there and take them all!
    The only regrets in life, are the risks you didn't take.

  55. #55
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    Just saw the pictures you posted and it seems like the group has given you some great advice.
    For me and my riding style, picture #1 would be normally ridden with my monstercross. A suspension seatpost would help of course. I believe you posted earlier that you use a Thudbuster.
    As for picture #2, now it would get tricky. The range of advise given (HT/FS) all apply. Your riding style and expectations are the key. Is the section pictured a short downhill after riding picture#1 or are you climbing up that trail for 4miles? That section looks ridable both ways, but how comfortable confidence wise are you and how are your rock garden skills for such a section? Also, is your style to bomb straight through or slow down a little and pick and choose your line. (my current riding style).

    A FS can help with the confidence factor on more difficult trails by letting you "float" over the obstacles a little better than your legs/arms with a HT. If picture #2 is only 5% of an overall ride, are you comfortable getting off the bike and hiking it until you get back to picture #1?

    I believe it has been mentioned that parts selection can help a lot. Ex: suspension seatposts, low pressure, larger, tubeless tires, The 29er wheel attack angle will really shine on a trail like picture #2.

    Hope this helps. Have fun with the selection.

    Tim

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by traffic002
    Uh, you must mean Southern California.

    We in the Pacific Northwest battle glacial till and rainforest roots. Wet mind you.

    Didn't mean to say Western terrain is easy - there's technical stuff everywhere, I'm sure. I was just trying to say that miles covered in hilly technical trails will likely be less than in swoopy, open country hardpack where the miles can pile on quicker. Not trying to be more-technical-than-thou, it's all good. I'd love to ride somewhere like this:

    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gasp4Air
    Didn't mean to say Western terrain is easy - there's technical stuff everywhere, I'm sure. I was just trying to say that miles covered in hilly technical trails will likely be less than in swoopy, open country hardpack where the miles can pile on quicker. Not trying to be more-technical-than-thou, it's all good. I'd love to ride somewhere like this:

    It's all good.

    I actually enjoy very much riding in other areas of the country. Recently I went down to GA and rode around with my brother in law and his local friend for several hours.

    Just awesome to get out there, see what's out there, and ride it!!

  58. #58
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    Though I didn't start this thread, I got a lot of good advice from everyone, so thanks!

    I pulled the trigger yesterday on a bike, and decided to just say "What the hell?" and go all-out—I'm getting the...

    Gary Fisher HiFi Deluxe FS 29er.

    Here was my reasoning:

    1) I knew I wanted a 29er (I rode them and they just felt better!)

    2) I knew I wanted a FS bike...because...
    • I'll be riding long distances on potentially rocky trails so wanted all-day seated comfort
    • Though I'm in pretty good shape, I'm 47 and my joints will appreciate FS
    • Because MTB isn't my only sport, I won't have massive amounts of time to devote to getting really good...so (I admit it) I wanted the technical advantage FS offers (not having to worry about lines so much, being able to ride harder stuff a bit sooner)

    3) I really don't like to buy/sell/buy/sell/buy/sell bikes...and would rather just get one bike that's far better than I am and therefore will last me for a long time.

    -----
    I considered the lesser-priced HiFi Plus...but the Deluxe has better wheels, which appears to be important since the 29" wheels aren't as strong in the first place as 26" wheels.

    Finally, I know there may be better FS 29ers out there (e.g. Niner R.I.P.), but I'm buying from my LBS where I know the owner personally and it's 5 minutes down the street...so for me that has advantages over buying any other bike online (or traveling to buy). Plus I don't think GF bikes are shabby.

    Best of all, I'm not committed to buy. I put a down payment on the bike, they'll order and assemble it, and I'll give it a good test ride. If I don't like it, my downpayment is refundable.

    So hopefully in a week I'll be hitting the trails!

    Scott

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gasp4Air
    You know, I ride in central CT - rocks and roots, rocks and roots, hills and hills. It's all I've ever known. I look at pics of bikers on western terrain, rolling high altitude smooth track, big sky sort of stuff and I think, "Man, that's got to be nice, not constantly battling obstacles every few feet." And I hope I get to ride it someday cuz it's gorgeous and a whole different kind of riding. And maybe your strange, I wouldn't know, but not about this.
    You know, it's kind of funny, but other than maybe a California rider, every single rider I've ever heard describe their local terrain says their riding is "roots and rocks", like no one else deals with these things on the trail.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by edo
    See how you have 2 motorbikes...the big ol KLR in the 1st one & the little WR(?) in the second?

    The KLR loves that stuff in its picture & will travel the world on it...it will get through the stuff in the second picture for sure but its going to be tiring & hard work. The WR (Im guessing) will eat up the second picture without a thought but the only thing that will stop you falling asleep riding a WR on the road in pic 1 is your bad case of monkey butt from the 2X4 they call a seat.
    LOL---you know your motorcycles edo! Yep, that was a WR250R in the second pic, but alas—it belongs to a buddy of mine. (I'd love to have one...but I'll stick with the KLR and get a MTB instead!)

    Surprisingly though (slightly off-topic here)...the KLR actually eats up that stuff in the 2nd pic no problem...and harder stuff...but it scares the hell out me 'cause I'm constantly thinking about the consequences of dropping a 400lb bike!

    I've learned that on the KLR—just as with MTBing—momentum is EVERYTHING. If I keep my speed up on the KLR, it's weight and mass just carry it through/over/under anything like a Cadillac, LOL. But slow down on that beast and you're history!

    Scott

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gasp4Air
    I'm pushing up real close to 60. Started riding when I was 47 and at that time I considered HT or FS. Decided on FS and 4 bikes later was riding a Yeti 575. Then I decided to try 29. Got an 08 Niner Rip9 frame (Atomic Blue) on eBay and built it up. So pretty. It doesn't make me a better rider, but it does make me ride better. I'll do about anything to keep these bones going over the rock and roots, except put a motor on it. I can't keep up with anybody, but I still have big fun. :
    I'll be 51 in October... had a FS 26'er, ended up letting it go after getting a Niner AIR 9... Simply the best climbing FS bike I've ever ridden. I'm by no means fast on the climbs, but the bike is comfortable over almost everything... roots, rocks, climbing thru washouts, and the descending capabilities of the bike are just sooo smooth, the bike begs to be pushed hard. No hucking, no jumping on my RIP.

    That said, I just built up an AIR 9 hard tail exactly a week ago. Make no mistake about it, my butt feels it more, but efficiency wise, it is noticable how much you gain in efficiency on the climbs on the hard tail.

    If I had to have only one bike? On a budget? the AIR 9. If price wasn't an object and you want the Cadillac ride, I'd get the RIP. I own both, each serves a purpose, each is so much fun in it's own way.

  62. #62
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    Where are the moderators to close this thread? This should be in the geriatrics forum! J/K!

  63. #63
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    Yeah, well it won't be long before I'll be asking which knobbies to put on my wheelchair at the nursing home. Until then, I intend to keep riding them in the woods. Jeez, I just sold my 26" bike (before Rip9) to a woman downhiller who's had more surgeries than I've had bikes. So I'm thankful every time I ride that my body is whole and still willing.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  64. #64
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    Did Soaker ever decide on the 29 HT or FS? Antoher F.O.G here reading all these threads and sitting on pins and needles waiting for the outcome. I will be 49 on 9/9/09 (yes, that's in two days). Just got the ok from the "Admeral" that I can go for it!! I have not been riding long at all. My wife bought me a second hand 12 yr old Cannondale HT, FS500. It's stiff!! But I've been riding the daylights out of it. I've been shopping for a FS but my price range is limited to $1500 ($2000 tops). But I visited the local Giant dealer and he has a new 2010 XTC 29er (HT). It's hands down the meanest looking bike I've ever laid eyes on. I also like the fact that the HT has somewhat better componets. I hate breaking down in the middle of a ride. I ride hard, but usually not out for more that 2 hrs at a time. Think i might go for it in the next day or two.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerboater
    ... Think i might go for it in the next day or two.
    You're hooked! How sweet it is!.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  66. #66
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    Yes, I'm hooked, lined and sinkered... Wish I would have found this sport 25 years ago!

  67. #67
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    Quick update---I ended up buying a Gary Fisher HiFi Pro 29er from my LBS...and it's been great! Read about it here.

    Scott

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