Best harail to complement Enduro bike???- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Best harail to complement Enduro bike???

    I currently have a top-spec Santa Cruz Bronson and now I'm looking to build up a hardtail for my local trails. Living in Manhattan for a couple of years I had convenient access to some badass Upstate NY, NJ, CT trails, hence the Bronson.

    I've recently moved back to Long Island (ie flat!) and although the Bronson has surprisingly been just fine on these trails, I can't help but think a modern hard tail could be awesome. My local trails are mostly flowy, some sand over hard, with barely any rocks or roots.

    I will be building this hard tail up from the frame up, or modifying a factory build, so I'm more looking for advice on the actual frame/geometry. Whatever I go with will be built up as a 27.5/27.5+.

    PRICE ASIDE, what are everyone's thoughts on the following frames...

    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Transition Throttle

  2. #2
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    Stanton Switchback, Slackline, BTT Ranger, Coptic Soul


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  3. #3
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    You want Pole Taival that I'm selling as a frame+fork, but have other components for complete build.
    https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2635161/

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChvleSS956c View Post
    Stanton Switchback, Slackline, BTT Ranger, Coptic Soul


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    Eh, not really feeling those Stanton frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Robik View Post
    You want Pole Taival that I'm selling as a frame+fork, but have other components for complete build.
    https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2635161/


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    I definitely do not

  5. #5
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    Keep it in the family and get a Chameleon. It's a fine trail HT. For XC ripping, the Highball is a great choice as well.
    Do the math.

  6. #6
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    The SC chameleon is nice might also check out some chromags the surface ti is probably going to be my next build.

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  7. #7
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    I had a chameleon. Super fun bike but wish I tried it in 29er before getting rid of it.

    Do you want to keep it 27.5? I also had a NS eccentric. Also a super fun bike.


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  8. #8
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    Kona Big Honzo should be on the list. Or the new Kona Unit if you're into steel?

    I'm a big fan of the Transition Vanquish on paper. The geo looks dialed. I honestly can't knock the Chameleon either, other than the short-ish Reach. The fact that it has sliding dropouts makes it much more desirable.

    Living on Long Island... have you considered SS?

    Given the lack of chunky descents available in the immediate area I would advise sticking to a geometry that's not too aggressive. I think a "modern XC" or Trail geometry will work best and be the most fun.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
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    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  9. #9
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    I'll agree with the others, the Santa Cruz Chameleon seems like a nice all-around hardtail.

    The Chromag Surface looks really nice too, but a bit pricey. I also like the Nordist bikes, but the freight charge to the U.S. is a deal killer.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  10. #10
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    I just cracked my dual suspension bike and ordered a Growler American Pale Ale 27.5+. Check out Growler bikes!

  11. #11
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    I do REALLY like the Chameleon, but I wish the geometry was a bit more aggressive like some of the others

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobrakillerta View Post
    I do REALLY like the Chameleon, but I wish the geometry was a bit more aggressive like some of the others
    Without more significant elevation to play on, there is NO reason to get a slack, All Mountain hardtail with a 140-160 fork. The SC or Transition will be faster, more nimble, more snappy, and more fun on your local terrain.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  13. #13
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    Ragley Marley a good inexpensive choice

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  14. #14
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    Chromag rootdown is a sneaky fun bike, definitely complements a full suspension bike


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  15. #15
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    I would highly recommend looking at hardtails that are made out of steel. The compliance and toughness is real, plus there's just something special about owning a steel hardtail. I have a production privee shan GT myself that I love to death and would recommend but it is a 29er...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpearce1475 View Post
    I would highly recommend looking at hardtails that are made out of steel. The compliance and toughness is real, plus there's just something special about owning a steel hardtail. I have a production privee shan GT myself that I love to death and would recommend but it is a 29er...
    I have the exact same comments re my Honzo. I rode my Druid today for the first time in a month because I was super hungover and thought it might be a bit more forgiving (I have been on my Honzo for every single ride over the past month, regardless of terrain). Neither bike disappoints.
    2020 Kona Unit (in progress...)
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Without more significant elevation to play on, there is NO reason to get a slack, All Mountain hardtail with a 140-160 fork. The SC or Transition will be faster, more nimble, more snappy, and more fun on your local terrain.
    I hate agreeing with this... but, yeah!

    For the last ~billion years it's been impossible to get a hardtail with a long enough front-center, but now you can. So you have to consider if you should. These more 'conservative' hardtails can be overwhelmed on bike-destination terrain, but they're a heap of fun on more typical xc/trail singletrack. The long-low geo movement has made XC geo competent. It's worth a revisit.

    Short version- chameleon and throttle don't step on your bronson's toes and can be overwhelmed, but they're suuuper fun to ride on intermediate terrain like hiking trails.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  18. #18
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    I'm a big fan of the Pivot Les as it can take on a number of personalities. 29 or 27.5+, geared or SS (at least on everything but their latest SL). Not as slack as some out there I know, but I kind of like that as if differentiates it more from FS bike. And it just rips on the trail. My friend also bought one and we always say it feels like we are cheating compared to our friends. I think the newer frames OK forks up to 130mm, so that would put HTA around 68. Just another of the many good options out there to think about.

    That said, those medium carbon Chameleons that pop are always tempting!

  19. #19
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    Judging by the OP's description of his Lawn Guy Land trails, he could be riding a CX or gravel bike. Long/low/slack/capable does not apply.
    Do the math.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Without more significant elevation to play on, there is NO reason to get a slack, All Mountain hardtail with a 140-160 fork.
    ummm what about the fact they are cool
    always mad and usually drunk......

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    Judging by the OP's description of his Lawn Guy Land trails, he could be riding a CX or gravel bike. Long/low/slack/capable does not apply.
    I was thinking that as well. Unless there is a ton of technical features on the LI trails, something a little racier geometry wise might be good.

  22. #22
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    Long Island is 99% xc but a fun bike is still fun. Cx bikes are not a great option for a second bike, just too big of a gap.

  23. #23
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    I'd go Honzo over a Chameleon having rode both. I found the Honzo more fun.
    Ragley Big Wig, Sunday Soundwave (BMX), Nashbar CXSS (workout)

  24. #24
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    I definitely DO NOT want a straight XC or CX bike. Having a BMX and DH background I like having as much fun on the trail as possible vs streamlining for Strava times.

    Hence a slack and fun hardtail...

    I like the Chameleon A LOT, Iím just wondering if itís as fun and such as some of the others that have more aggressive geometry

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobrakillerta View Post
    I like the Chameleon A LOT, Iím just wondering if itís as fun and such as some of the others that have more aggressive geometry
    Is your bronson as fun as a nomad?

    One of the great things about the long-low progression is that it's made formerly stupid XC bikes fun. With a longer reach you can have a bike that still handles quickly, but has a long enough front-center that it doesn't turn incompetent and unstable once it gets interesting. If your local trails don't have much gradient then a chameleon might be a hoot.

    This is something where it's tough to tell someone else what to do.
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  26. #26
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    Since you allready have a Bronson, (27.5, aggressive, fs) I'd go with "trail" 29er ht just to add some extra variety. Plus, if your terrain is flat(-ish) you'll find that 29ers cover ground very fast - it's like you get more from each pedal stroke. I wouldn't go all the way to a XC frame, but something like a Honzo or Chameleon would fit the bill.

    Regardless of wheelsize, for what you're asking I'd also check the UK brands as they have been leading the aggressive ht development for years. Personally I own an older Whyte 905 that I'm very fond of, but I'd also give Cotic, Bird, Nukeproof, Ragley, Sonder etc a look. If money is no object something more exclusive like a custom Curtis, Shand, BTR would certainly be nice.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobrakillerta View Post
    I like the Chameleon A LOT, Iím just wondering if itís as fun and such as some of the others that have more aggressive geometry
    I'd say it depends on the trails. On flat trails with fewer features something like a Honzo or Chameleon is going to be more fun but the more aggressive the terrain the more fun a more aggressive hardtail is. Personally I consider the Chameleon and Honzo basically rowdy XC bikes. It sounds like the terrain in Long Island leads its self more to one of those then a longer travel more long low and slack bike like a Ragley, Chromag, etc but if you plan on riding more aggressive terrain I'd then lean towards something more aggressive then the Chameleon or Honzo.

    Where I am, my main riding spot is a state park which is at the top of a "mountain" (really just a big hill), the trails on the top are windy, fairly beginner friendly and smooth. On those trails, the Chameleon is slightly more fun then my more aggressive Ragley Big Wig. Once the trails go off the side of the hill, it become rocky and rooty and the Big Wig becomes a lot more fun.
    Ragley Big Wig, Sunday Soundwave (BMX), Nashbar CXSS (workout)

  28. #28
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    Like post # 10 i think the RM Growler is worth a look

  29. #29
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    Growler is a bike company in Rochester, not the model from Rocky. The Growler "American Pale Ale" is a 27.5+ or 29er and a great option for the op. Rrr

  30. #30
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TripleR View Post
    I just cracked my dual suspension bike and ordered a Growler American Pale Ale 27.5+. Check out Growler bikes!
    Hey I demoed one of those last weekend.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  32. #32
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    How did you like the APA?

  33. #33
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    Commencal Meta AMHT
    although l dont like the 2020 colours.......
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  34. #34
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    Guerrilla Gravity Pedalhead


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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by TripleR View Post
    How did you like the APA?
    I liked it OK. It was set up 27.5+.

    To be honest, outside of the differences in wheel and tire size, I donít find a whole lot of difference from one HT to the next on a demo ride unless the geometries are radically different. It takes some dialing in and ride time to know just what I think.

    So what I mostly noticed was the plus sized tires with a very minimal tread, and that was not my cup of tea for trail riding where I was. I think I just like more tread and less bounce.

    My wife, OTOH, did like the bike when she tried it. Not sure if that was just the plus sized tires which she had never tried.

    I think for a trail oriented HT I prefer a standard sized 29Ē tire/wheel.

    I liked the folks from the company that I met. And if I buy from them, they will donate to our MTB club (we are a few hours from where the company is based) I will definitely keep them in mind if my wife or I get another HT or fat bike.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  36. #36
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    No mention of the Norco Torrent.....

    Looks so good!





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