What is the fastest, fun Hard Tail 29 Trail bike?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    What is the fastest, fun Hard Tail 29 Trail bike?

    I'm not a big fan of XC Geo unless things have really changed over the past five years. I like fun trail bikes and am looking for a new hard tail. Something that is fun and quick.

  2. #2
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    Santa Cruz Chameleon is the first bike that comes to mind.

  3. #3
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    I really love my Ragley Big Wig. Fairly progressive geometry. I wish it had slightly shorter chainstains.

    I liked the Honzo I demoed but it was a much harsher frame and I didn't find it as fast when the trail pointed down.
    Ragley Big Wig, Sunday Soundwave (BMX), Nashbar CXSS (workout)

  4. #4
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    Look at the GG Pedalhead. Slack, short chainstays, steel.

  5. #5
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    Depending on trail conditions, I'm nearly as fast on my 2019 Chameleon 2.8+ tires as I am on my 2016 FSR.
    On the chunky stuff I have backed it down for fear of (continued) rim damage.
    I was exhausted on Sunay's ride and pulled a 5:01 flow trail downhill run on the Chameleon which is right on par with my average times. I've been sub 5 minutes on both bikes, down around 4:5x.

    I'm a bit slower on climbing the Chameleon, however I do have a couple climbing PR's on it.

    I don't know if I notice the short chain stay of the Chameleon while riding, but I do feel it when I wheelie.

    The geometry is similar to the FSR, but different enough to be different.
    Same wheel base
    Chameleon longer reach
    Chameleon longer stack
    Head angle is within 1/4 degree between the two

    I can't answer what the fastest bike is because all terrain conditions warrant different speeds and I'm not an expert at all conditions.
    Both bikes are fun in their own right though.

  6. #6
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    :facepalm:

    There's no such thing as the "fastest bike" of any sort so you can leave that part out.

    You're looking for a fun trail geo hardtail 29er. We can work with that. But it's still going to give a fairly long list. This long-running, stickied thread might be more useful than asking people for a list where you're only going to get a list of what people own.

    https://forums.mtbr.com/all-mountain...rs-279265.html

  7. #7
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    Fast up, down, or both? I like going fast up and down, or I guess "net fastest" which results in compromises for the DH. I started with a carbon Honzo and slowly have made it work for me with the following changes:

    Light AMish carbon wheels
    Extend Pike from 120mm->140mm
    Flat carbon bar to bring front end back down
    XC tires (typically loads of grip in the rocky desert anyway)

    Overall love it, very light weight and rolls fast, while still having geo that allows for good performance and fun on the DH. That would be my suggestion, start with a carbon or ti all mountain style hardtail and go from there.

  8. #8
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    The one with the longest travel, slackest HTA, and longest reach. Seriously, these things are a riot to ride- super light, 100% efficiency, and just as capable on the downs.

  9. #9
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    My vote is for the Stache, currently number one (in use) in my 4-horse stable.
    Niner Jet 9 RDO, Scalpel 29, XTC 650b, 04 Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Trek Rigid SS - No suspension, no gears....no problem

  10. #10
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    The answer is highly subjective:
    Region?
    Budget?
    Type of trails?
    Steel/ aluminum/ carbon/ titanium preference?

    Personally, I think the long/slack thing jumped the shark a while ago.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by upstateSC-rider View Post
    My vote is for the Stache, currently number one (in use) in my 4-horse stable.

    I clicked on this thread with the intention of adding Stache. I've never ridden another hardtail that even approaches how fun that bike is.

  12. #12
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    What about the Ibis Ripley?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by norbyd View Post
    What about the Ibis Ripley?
    Not a "Hard Tail."

  14. #14
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    Fun and capable

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jem7sk View Post
    I'm not a big fan of XC Geo unless things have really changed over the past five years. I like fun trail bikes and am looking for a new hard tail. Something that is fun and quick.
    Is your Canfield Nimble 9 too heavy, or something?

  16. #16
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    Wait, OP has a N9 and he's asking this question?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Wait, OP has a N9 and he's asking this question?
    This x2... but having ridden a Stache it was a riot once you got those 3" tires up to speed.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    I clicked on this thread with the intention of adding Stache. I've never ridden another hardtail that even approaches how fun that bike is.
    Same here, I was going to do the same thing. I bought one March 2018 and have since had two buddies get one and every time we get together they tell how much they love it.
    Change begins by doing something different.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93EXCivic View Post
    I really love my Ragley Big Wig. Fairly progressive geometry. I wish it had slightly shorter chainstains.
    Agreed. To both.

    A Big Wig with 420-425mm chainstays? Hardtail perfection.

    That being said - of all of the hardtail frames available on the market, I have never been tempted to frame swap my Ragley Big Wig. And trust me, I look at all of the new ones that come out - I have a soft spot for a slack, steel hardtail.

    My Surly Instigator 2.0 was touch more 'fun' as that bike had 416mm chainstays and the 27.5 rear wheel was really easy to 'flip' with your hips. I LOVE dropping into chunky stuff and letting that Surly dance underneath me. However, my Ragley Big Wig is faster.

    But, I appreciate the 29er front wheel (especially on a hardtail) and my Ragley allows me to run a 3.25 Duro Crux (on a Scraper i45 rim) for packed snow riding.

    It's really, really hard to beat the performance/price ratio of a steel Ragley frame!
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 06HokieMTB View Post

    But, I appreciate the 29er front wheel (especially on a hardtail) and my Ragley allows me to run a 3.25 Duro Crux (on a Scraper i45 rim) for packed snow riding.
    So a 27.5+ will fit on the back of a Ragley Big Wig?
    Ragley Big Wig, Sunday Soundwave (BMX), Nashbar CXSS (workout)

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Wait, OP has a N9 and he's asking this question?
    LOL... it seems that when it comes to hard tails they are all going to be pretty fast on the flat trails I ride (Florida). Mine is a 2014 and I was thinking that geometry might have changed a lot since then. Actually from some more research here it appears that it has on XC hard tails so maybe I need to be looking in that direction.

    About the only thing I would like to change with my N9 is the weight and the tire/wheel size to run something a little larger. My wife has a Stache and I love it but I love the N9 more. I would really like to try a tire/wheel size in between the two on a carbon bike. Problem is, we don't have many bike shops and they don't stock many bikes and they are all lower end so I am going to have to get something off the internet.

    Most people I see riding here are on FS bikes which IMO is over kill for my trails and would probably slow me down a lot because we constantly pedal here. I just like to easily manual over the few logs on the trail.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93EXCivic View Post
    So a 27.5+ will fit on the back of a Ragley Big Wig?
    Yes. With room to spare - Seriously, a 3.0" Terrene Chunk on a 45mm internal rim has laughable clearance remaining. That's why I went 3.25" Duro Crux x 27.5 on a Scraper i45 rim out back. I have the 2017 Fox 34 27.5+ fork (the one that had super duper, extra clearance) and can fit a 4.0" tire on a 60mm internal rim.

    Not trying to be a fat bike - trying to be able to ride hiker packed snowy trails in winter time.

    26x4 front
    27.5x3.25 rear

    Lots of smiles on the John Deere green/yellow Big Wig

    What is the fastest, fun Hard Tail 29 Trail bike?-1417290e-f63a-4d8a-ad76-93041d0d12a2.jpgWhat is the fastest, fun Hard Tail 29 Trail bike?-7a2b1c38-23d6-4f30-9ba7-05aa332b9556.jpg
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jem7sk View Post
    About the only thing I would like to change with my N9 is the weight and the tire/wheel size to run something a little larger.
    Welp, then don't look at the Ragley Big Wig. It's steel and the frame is around 6-7 lbs. I gave up worrying about weight a long time ago. However, it'll easily clear a 2.6 rear tire.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  24. #24
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    I'm sure I could search this - but Hokie do you have a pic of the 3.25 rear showing it's width? Happen to know how it actually measures out on your rims?
    Working to stomp out redundancy, I repeat, working to stomp out redundancy.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by 06HokieMTB View Post
    Yes. With room to spare - Seriously, a 3.0" Terrene Chunk on a 45mm internal rim has laughable clearance remaining. That's why I went 3.25" Duro Crux x 27.5 on a Scraper i45 rim out back. I have the 2017 Fox 34 27.5+ fork (the one that had super duper, extra clearance) and can fit a 4.0" tire on a 60mm internal rim.

    Not trying to be a fat bike - trying to be able to ride hiker packed snowy trails in winter time.

    26x4 front
    27.5x3.25 rear

    Lots of smiles on the John Deere green/yellow Big Wig

    Click image for larger version. 

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    That is a pretty wicked cool setup...
    Ragley Big Wig, Sunday Soundwave (BMX), Nashbar CXSS (workout)

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Mega View Post
    I'm sure I could search this - but Hokie do you have a pic of the 3.25 rear showing it's width? Happen to know how it actually measures out on your rims?
    Initial mount of the 3.25" Duro Cruz on Scraper i45mm rim was 81mm wide, haven't measured it after.

    Main reason I went Crux over Terrene Chunk 3.0 was the Crux has noticeably higher volume and taller sidewalls/casing height. The 3.25" x 27.5 Crux is as tall as a 29x2.4" tire (which is the same height as a 26x4.0).
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93EXCivic View Post
    That is a pretty wicked cool setup...
    Thanks. The big wheels and tires only get put on about a handful of times a year. 29x2.5 is what's normally installed on the Big Wig.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jem7sk View Post
    LOL... it seems that when it comes to hard tails they are all going to be pretty fast on the flat trails I ride (Florida). Mine is a 2014 and I was thinking that geometry might have changed a lot since then. Actually from some more research here it appears that it has on XC hard tails so maybe I need to be looking in that direction.

    About the only thing I would like to change with my N9 is the weight and the tire/wheel size to run something a little larger. My wife has a Stache and I love it but I love the N9 more. I would really like to try a tire/wheel size in between the two on a carbon bike. Problem is, we don't have many bike shops and they don't stock many bikes and they are all lower end so I am going to have to get something off the internet.

    Most people I see riding here are on FS bikes which IMO is over kill for my trails and would probably slow me down a lot because we constantly pedal here. I just like to easily manual over the few logs on the trail.
    Some of the bikes people in FL ride don't make sense, I'll agree with that. Kinda like when I lived in Indiana and I'd see the visitors from Chicago in Brown County decked out in full face helmets and armor, with long travel FS bikes.

    Now that you've started setting a bit more of a framework of what you are looking for, you should probably put a carbon Honzo on your list of bikes. It is true that modern xc bikes have received more geo updates than most others lately. The bread and butter "trail" bikes haven't changed as much in the past 5yrs. The biggest change probably being subtler tweaks to allow for tire clearance since 2.6 rubber is popular. I, for one, am really liking 29x2.6" wheels/tires.

  29. #29
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    Haven't seen them mentioned... but Chromag has a nice lineup of capable bikes.

    This was hucked on the Rootdown in foreground. Not sure this kind of terrain qualifies as fast, but believe me it can be fast and one hell of a hucker!
    What is the fastest, fun Hard Tail 29 Trail bike?-img_20190727_122348.jpg

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jem7sk View Post
    About the only thing I would like to change with my N9 is the weight and the tire/wheel size to run something a little larger. My wife has a Stache and I love it but I love the N9 more. I would really like to try a tire/wheel size in between the two on a carbon bike. Problem is, we don't have many bike shops and they don't stock many bikes and they are all lower end so I am going to have to get something off the internet.
    I've got an Aluminum Chameleon. Its pretty fun to point downhill, but its a drag going up with the slack HTA and the almost 30 pound weight. I also hate the stupid sliding dropouts, mine have come loose a couple times on the trail and now I check them every time I top up my tires.

    If I lived where you do, I'd probably be back on an carbon XC hardtail like a SC Highball or Scott Scale. XC geometry just works when you want to go fast on rolling/flatter riding and it doesn't really hit its limits until you find yourself doing some STEEP stuff like we have in the mountains. Hell, I toy with the idea of getting a Highball and running a 120 on it to have something just a little burlier than my old carbon hardtail, but not as unwieldy as my Chameleon.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by upstateSC-rider View Post
    My vote is for the Stache, currently number one (in use) in my 4-horse stable.

    +1. Amazing bike. Just pure fun, both up and down.
    It is the Right of the People to Alter or to Abolish It.

  32. #32
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    Chromag

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    Fastest?? Hard to say! Fun? Love my NS Eccentric Cromo. It rides simply awesome with it's Tange steel tubing, (great fit and finish) - rides exceptional as 29er w DHF 2.5 frt and rr. 140 fork. 65.5 head angle. 420 chain stays, 74 seat angle. its numble but point it down some steep and chunky stuff and she holds her own.

    Wont be the lightest - as in carbon XC racer - but ride quality and capability over weight for the win!

  34. #34
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    NS Eccentric Cromo and Ragley Big Wig were neck and neck when I was searching for a slack, steel hardtail.

    I liked the NS' 420mm chainstay length better. The Ragley has better rear tire clearance and the 2017 Big Wig geometry fit me better vs 2017 Eccentric.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  35. #35
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    3x on the stacheÖ just got a Stache 5 (on sale for 1,499) upgraded to XT brakes, tubeless, carbon wide bar. Fast and really fun

  36. #36
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    about the only thing that kept me from buying the Rag BW as the availability for my size - they were sold out and the new stuff hadn't been released - kinda fell into the NS - at the USD price for frame only it was a steeeeeel!

    Hows the riding in the ABQ Hokie?

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by rushman3 View Post
    3x on the stacheÖ just got a Stache 5 (on sale for 1,499) upgraded to XT brakes, tubeless, carbon wide bar. Fast and really fun

    Yeah, it is shocking how comparable a Stache with a good fork is to many of these mid-travel 29ers.
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  38. #38
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    Make sure you test ride a Stache in your size before you make a decision. It felt like a huge bike to me and I didnít like it. (Iíll admit all I did was a parking lot ride).

    I ended up getting a 2018 Fuel EX 9.7 and I feel much more comfortable on it.

  39. #39
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    My Stache is super fun, and insanely capable on technical climbs and chunky descents, but I wouldn't ever call it fast. Riding with folks on regular tires, they just walk away from me on coasting downhill sections. Granted I'm running some pretty aggressive tires - 29x3 XR5s, so maybe with the stock XR2s things would be different.
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by juan_speeder View Post
    My Stache is super fun, and insanely capable on technical climbs and chunky descents, but I wouldn't ever call it fast. Riding with folks on regular tires, they just walk away from me on coasting downhill sections. Granted I'm running some pretty aggressive tires - 29x3 XR5s, so maybe with the stock XR2s things would be different.
    I looked at the Stache and two different shops and all the guys swore up and down the plus tires donít slow you down. I knew that was a lie.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sickmak90 View Post
    I looked at the Stache and two different shops and all the guys swore up and down the plus tires donít slow you down. I knew that was a lie.
    It wasn't a lie. The Stache holds speed like no other bike I've ridden. I've had them since the first, 2013 29er version. The first time I demoed the 29+ Stache at Trekworld, one of the recurring thoughts I had was "They really need to put better brakes on this thing" because you get motoring past the brake capacity pretty easily. I'd guess that Juan_speeder's issue is the tires he's running.

  42. #42
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    Yeah. Those tires a dual casing DH tire weight and run at 10.5/12.75 psi, so I can place the blame squarely on them.

    They'll climb up some impossible climbs tho
    Scarlett Johansson loves my hummus.

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