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  1. #1
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    Who rides a 29er Hard Tail around PHX?

    I am intrigued by the whole 29er thang for trail riding. I see many people taking about the great hill climbing, rolling-over-**** ability with the 29ers in general and to my surprise many are saying that the 29er hard tails ride really nice, so nice that they don't go back to a full suspension setup.

    I'm 100% trail rider, I'm just out on the trail plugging along, no drops or aggressive riding in general.

    Please chime in if you have or have ridden a 29er HT in this Phoenix area - I'd love to hear if it's a great ride with our rock riddled trails or if you were bounced around like crazy and were wishing you had rear suspension.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Tucson, AZ
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    I do.

  3. #3
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    I think a 29er hardtail is ideal for non-chunky XC Phoenix rides. There's usually quite a lot of chatter, and the wagon wheels are good on that. There's usually fast rollers, and the extra mo from the big wheels help. It's all good.

    p.
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  4. #4
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    I have a rigid SS, no bouncy fork or rear suspension. It is fine with tubeless converted tires. Wear some good undershorts and a nice pair of gloves to help take away some of the chatter. One thing is certain, you will go fast.

  5. #5
    AZ Biker Chick
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    My buddy has one. He rolls a bunch of different terrain/trails in the valley - crys about his junk on the bumpy stuff. (Hates the back of the Long Loop - ha ha) Other than that, loves it and does not seem inclined to get an FS.

  6. #6
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    I ride a Fisher Ferrous. Its my second 29er after making the switch from a long travel 26er. The trails around here are littered with guys and gals on 29's. They just flat work with our terrain of sand,chunk,and lots of small loose rocks! Unless you are pushing the edge on South Mountain its all the bike you need.

  7. #7
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    My first real bike purchase in January, 2008 was a Fisher X-Cal - I rode the crap out of it, raced it, broke the frame, and now have a new frame. For a first bike, or a fast race bike, or something different, I highly recommend. In Dec, 2008, I bought a Niner RIP9 for FS. 29 is the way to go, unless you only go down (apparently).
    Making Milk by Day, Beer by Night

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cesslinger
    I have a rigid SS, no bouncy fork or rear suspension. It is fine with tubeless converted tires. Wear some good undershorts and a nice pair of gloves to help take away some of the chatter. One thing is certain, you will go fast.
    except I go slow... mostly just ride it on the easier stuff.. intent is for it to be my weekday ride bike and save the FS geary for longer weekend stuff.

  9. #9
    sprocket
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    Quote Originally Posted by azepicriderandrunner
    I do.
    hey!
    me too!

  10. #10
    Plus size jersey model
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    Me too. Though neither Chad nor myself actually live in Phenix.

  11. #11
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    I bought my 29er mainly for cruising around town and riding to the bars but I have actually put more trail miles on the 29er than my F/S 26 inch bike.

    The 29er is perfect up at McDowell (75% of my riding) but usually take my Stumpy for Hawes, Pass Mtn, Sedona, ect.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sikwoodbiker
    Me too. Though neither Chad nor myself actually live in Phenix.
    Eh, you are not missing much.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by yetisurly
    Eh, you are not missing much.

    why do you hate america?

  14. #14
    sprocket
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    Quote Originally Posted by JrockFeltaz
    why do you hate america?
    because of the development of the full suspension mountainbike.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by yetisurly
    because of the development of the full suspension mountainbike.

    really? how so?

  16. #16
    sprocket
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    Quote Originally Posted by JrockFeltaz
    really? how so?
    it is a long, factual and difficult read. You may not be interested, as it has nothing to do with Argentina. But is does have something to do with snowboards.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by yetisurly
    it is a long, factual and difficult read. You may not be interested, as it has nothing to do with Argentina. But is does have something to do with snowboards.

    you had me at factual.....

  18. #18
    meow
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    I have both a 26" full suspension and a 29'er hardtail. The full boing can ride anything with ease and minimal pain. I had a 26" hardtail singlespeed and it beat me up, and just didn't feel like the wheels were big enough. I swapped it for the 29'er ss and it's easier to ride over rocky stuff than the 26", and far faster on the downhills. Don't let anyone fool you cuz it's definitely not as smooth as full suspension, but it is much more versatile and way more fun than the a 26" ht. Just get one.

  19. #19
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    I have one as well. Its all I ride now. I had an S-Works Epic which I sold this year as I never rode it. I had my 29er set up rigid just until recently and not sure if I like the fork set up yet. There are some trails where I go faster on the downs, but overall liked the handling of the rigid better. I ride mostly SOMO but have ridden most other PHX trails on it.

  20. #20
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    I pretty much only go to Phoenix to ride super-chunky stuff or the Pinals. I have a hardtail 29er and while I like it, I want to go flying off some drops and jumps when I ride those types of trails. So I choose 26er and I don't think I'll change that any time soon in Phoenix. I think the 29er is more convenient for me up here in Prescott, but to me all of the milder trails in phoenix don't really exist, because I can get that here.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  21. #21
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    I ride my ht 29er as an AM type bike. having tubeless is a great idea as it allows you to have confidence against pinch flatting as you pound through desert chatter. It rolls over stuff and descend steep loose stuff better than I imagined it would.
    I feel fast and strong on the bike, but am very glad I also have a big travel 26er for the days I want to go DH fast and not notice the chunky chatter.
    A 29er HT will keep you humble, but not quite as humble as a 26er HT.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leethal
    except I go slow... mostly just ride it on the easier stuff.. intent is for it to be my weekday ride bike and save the FS geary for longer weekend stuff.
    Even on the easier stuff I found it [certainly feels like it] rolls faster - carries momentum better.

    I ride a 29er with 80mm up front. I started with fully rigid and rode that way for a year (albeit not around Phoenix) But found 'chatter' too much for my wrists on long rides.
    Last edited by unclenorm; 08-08-2009 at 06:19 AM.

  23. #23
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    Alright, I am en route to a ride on a 2009 Gary Fisher Paragon on Trail 100 / 1A for a ride. Can't wait! It is even unseasonably cool this morning at 72 degrees.

    Tomorrow AM I'll hit Desert Classic with the Paragon.

  24. #24
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    Short summary after a demo ride:

    Background:
    My Stats: 5'10", 172 pounds, not sure of fully loaded riding weight. Trail rider.
    My Bike: 25 pounds, low travel XC full suspension.

    So after riding my first: 29er, disc brake bike, 2009 Gary Fisher Paragon here is what I noticed.

    - The size of the bike was really interesting to me. I ride a small frame 26 and I always like how it was a neat and tidy package, when I first sat on the Paragon I felt like I had just saddled up, it felt really big. After a few minutes I realized it was a really comfortable setup, and by the end of the ride I started thinking I could get used to that.
    - I had knee pain at the end of the ride, but I think a proper fitting would take care of that.
    - Bunny hops like a mofo! Even though my FS bike is lighter I can't hop it nearly as well.
    - 29er really does roll over shat like nobody's business. I was incredibly faster on steep junky downhill sections with far more confidence.
    - Hard pack was amazing
    - Slow speed on bumpies was a little bumpy, not bad.
    - Medium speed on bumpies was a little bumpy, not bad - I felt it was actually better than the slow speed.
    - High speed on the bumpies was a big rough in the rear of the bike - this was the only time I really thought a FS would be nice.
    - [Thought to self] I wonder how a carbon seatpost would feel on this bike.
    - Incredible feeling to be able to stand up on a big climb again. My FS bike, when I'm out of the saddle in a big gear pumping up a hill is not a good experience.
    - I haven't ridden in a few weeks due to my forks breaking and vacation - even still I rode my regular loop almost 10% faster than my recent times on my regular bike. 29er HT really is faster!
    - My first slow steep technical climb I didn't do any better than on my FS 26, I was expecting to just fly up the hill, partially just a new bike I think with shifters I hate, and also very different tires which are probably a big thing. I run 2.35's and this had 2.1's.
    - Disc brakes were great, although I didn't care for the slight squeal they made when first applied, they were really nice on the steep stuff. I need to play with how I brake on longer descents, I don't need as many fingers on the brake lever as my V-Brakes - but not sure what the good setup for me is after just one ride.
    - Reaffirmed my hatred for non-Gripshifters. I couldn't freaking stand the SRAM X-9 shifters, just not my thang.
    - So we'll see, I just may make on offer on the bike and make it my main ride.


  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyharris
    My Stats: 5'10", 172 pounds, not sure of fully loaded riding weight. Trail rider.

    I ride a small frame 26
    say what?



    at 5'10" (same as me) most manufacturers would recommend you to be on a medium, or even a large bike. myself, i prefer large fishers. my dos niner is a medium and even with a long stem and setback seatpost, it feels a tad on the small side. YMMV.

    i'm not knocking your choice of bike sizes, but you might want to reconsider riding a small sized frame.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by funboarder1971
    say what?



    at 5'10" (same as me) most manufacturers would recommend you to be on a medium, or even a large bike. myself, i prefer large fishers. my dos niner is a medium and even with a long stem and setback seatpost, it feels a tad on the small side. YMMV.

    i'm not knocking your choice of bike sizes, but you might want to reconsider riding a small sized frame.
    sorry, poor wording on my part. I don't ride a Small frame size, rather my Medium size 26 frame is small with a low top tube height and a much shorter top tube length.
    Last edited by randyharris; 08-08-2009 at 07:50 PM.

  27. #27
    livin' the dream......
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    Enlighten me people..........

    Okay, for someone like me who rides 99% in Phoenix and is starting to shop for a 29" HT, what should I avoid? Some bikes I've researched online are: Niner SIR9, GF Rig, Marin Pine Mountain, Jamis Dragon One and something else I can't think of.

    Would it be wise to go from FS 26" to HT, SS 29er?

    WHat about frame material, steel vs. aluminum vs. scandium vs..........?

    Budget around $1500-1800, 5'9" 167 lbs and mainly ride 40th st, McDowell, and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.........

  28. #28
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    Taking a Kona Hei Hei 29 FS tomorrow for a comparison to the Paragon.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjkm
    Enlighten me people..........

    Okay, for someone like me who rides 99% in Phoenix and is starting to shop for a 29" HT, what should I avoid? Some bikes I've researched online are: Niner SIR9, GF Rig, Marin Pine Mountain, Jamis Dragon One and something else I can't think of.

    Would it be wise to go from FS 26" to HT, SS 29er?

    WHat about frame material, steel vs. aluminum vs. scandium vs..........?

    Budget around $1500-1800, 5'9" 167 lbs and mainly ride 40th st, McDowell, and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.........
    I would go with something like the Niner or a Fisher Ferrous. Tubeless tires,a steal frame and the ability to run gears or Single Speed. A lot of versitility and fun for the money. I ride a Ferrous as my one and only bike. Its great but if I had the money I might start with a Niner. The frame is a pound lighter to start.

  30. #30
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    I would not go form a FS bike to a HT 29er unless it steel. Steel frames are way more mellow onthe bumps.
    Don't forget to look at the Salsa el mariachi 1x9. this bike is a killer bargin.
    Rage has last year's model for 1300 rigid. Not sure how much adding a fork would be.
    I love my mariachi with a Reba 100 on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by tjkm
    Enlighten me people..........

    Okay, for someone like me who rides 99% in Phoenix and is starting to shop for a 29" HT, what should I avoid? Some bikes I've researched online are: Niner SIR9, GF Rig, Marin Pine Mountain, Jamis Dragon One and something else I can't think of.

    Would it be wise to go from FS 26" to HT, SS 29er?

    WHat about frame material, steel vs. aluminum vs. scandium vs..........?

    Budget around $1500-1800, 5'9" 167 lbs and mainly ride 40th st, McDowell, and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.........

  31. #31
    gears weigh too much
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    With tubeless tires and good technical skill a 29er hardtail is an excelent choice for AZ trails.

  32. #32
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    I have a 29 hard tail ss (Bianchi Sok) and I love it here in phoenix... i do most of my riding at papago with some so.mo. and McDowell in there too. Its a perfect bike for this stuff. My last bike was a geared 26 hard tail and the 29 ss is much better for these trails imo. I have never owned a full susp but i have ridden a few and don't care for the feel... I come from a bmx race background so the hard tail is more natural.
    Last edited by xtreme6669; 08-10-2009 at 07:57 AM.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by chongoman
    I would not go form a FS bike to a HT 29er unless it steel. Steel frames are way more mellow onthe bumps.
    Don't forget to look at the Salsa el mariachi 1x9. this bike is a killer bargin.
    Rage has last year's model for 1300 rigid. Not sure how much adding a fork would be.
    I love my mariachi with a Reba 100 on it.

    Okay, starting to define what I think I need here. Steel frame with an option for ss/gears, thanks for the Salsa info chongman, and for the Ferrous info azpoolguy. I saw that Surly is also selling the Karate Monkey as a built bike now, steel and rigid on the front. Something else to consider.

    Anyone else have thoughts? Thanks in advance guys

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjkm
    Okay, starting to define what I think I need here. Steel frame with an option for ss/gears, thanks for the Salsa info chongman, and for the Ferrous info azpoolguy. I saw that Surly is also selling the Karate Monkey as a built bike now, steel and rigid on the front. Something else to consider.

    Anyone else have thoughts? Thanks in advance guys
    Depending on what size you need Swiss American has Large El Mariachi from last year also. Those frames have massive rear tire clearance. Even with a Wier Wolf 2.55 LT there is still room. Running a tire that big on the rear would defently add some cush!

  35. #35
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    I'm a chick and ride this exact bike, the Paragon, small frame of course. I put a ti seatpost on it and it makes a huge difference! I also am a gripshift lover but got used to the SRAM.

  36. #36
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    Bianchi Rita

    I also own a 29'er HT in Phoenix - a Bianchi Rita. I ride the bike everywhere and on just about everything from XC to moderate techy stuff: T100/DD, South Mtn, McDowell's, Hawes, Pass Mountain, BCT...you name it, it's been there. And I've done 5+ hour "epics" on the bike without beating myself up.

    This is where I differ from all of the "steel is real" crowd...as my Rita is Aluminum and it rides just as compliantly as any steel HT I've been on. The fact of the matter is that frame material really doesn't do anything "significant" in the way of comfort. It's all in the tires + saddle, as they are the only parts of a bike that "give". Carbon handlebars seem to help as well since they have a little flex to them. So if you're thinking of a hardtail, also consider a comfy saddle (I like WTB's) and BIG FAT rubber (2.35+) with a lower PSI (<30). The combination of the big wheels and beefy rubber at low PSI does two things for you: the bigger wheels naturally take out the "chatter" as they roll over rocks better than 26" wheels do, and the BIG FAT soft rubber helps take the edge off the hard bumps.

    One thing you will have to learn with a hardtail is how to pick a line. Whereas you can bomb through most any rocky crap with a FS bike and make it through, crashing through rock gardens the same way on a HT will yield some undesireable results (most noticeably the back end getting kicked all over the place). This is where you learn to be "soft" on the bike...almost float over the rocks...and in the end I believe this makes you a better rider (both on a HT and a FS bike...I own both).

    One last comment...every 29'er HT that I've ridden are much more upright than older HT's (comparison is my old 1997 vintage Trek), which traslates to a much more comfortable ride. Whereas my back would be in pain after 2 hours on my old HT, I can ride pain free on my Rita for hours and hours. So if you hear people knock HT's, ask if they've ridden anything recently. After 5 yrs on my old Trek HT and switching to a Giant FS in 2002, I was an anti-HT guy until I bought my Rita last year...

    Thx...Doug

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    I also own a 29'er HT in Phoenix - a Bianchi Rita. I ride the bike everywhere and on just about everything from XC to moderate techy stuff: T100/DD, South Mtn, McDowell's, Hawes, Pass Mountain, BCT...you name it, it's been there. And I've done 5+ hour "epics" on the bike without beating myself up.

    This is where I differ from all of the "steel is real" crowd...as my Rita is Aluminum and it rides just as compliantly as any steel HT I've been on. The fact of the matter is that frame material really doesn't do anything "significant" in the way of comfort. It's all in the tires + saddle, as they are the only parts of a bike that "give". Carbon handlebars seem to help as well since they have a little flex to them. So if you're thinking of a hardtail, also consider a comfy saddle (I like WTB's) and BIG FAT rubber (2.35+) with a lower PSI (<30). The combination of the big wheels and beefy rubber at low PSI does two things for you: the bigger wheels naturally take out the "chatter" as they roll over rocks better than 26" wheels do, and the BIG FAT soft rubber helps take the edge off the hard bumps.

    One thing you will have to learn with a hardtail is how to pick a line. Whereas you can bomb through most any rocky crap with a FS bike and make it through, crashing through rock gardens the same way on a HT will yield some undesireable results (most noticeably the back end getting kicked all over the place). This is where you learn to be "soft" on the bike...almost float over the rocks...and in the end I believe this makes you a better rider (both on a HT and a FS bike...I own both).

    One last comment...every 29'er HT that I've ridden are much more upright than older HT's (comparison is my old 1997 vintage Trek), which traslates to a much more comfortable ride. Whereas my back would be in pain after 2 hours on my old HT, I can ride pain free on my Rita for hours and hours. So if you hear people knock HT's, ask if they've ridden anything recently. After 5 yrs on my old Trek HT and switching to a Giant FS in 2002, I was an anti-HT guy until I bought my Rita last year...

    Thx...Doug
    While I agree that most of the stated differences between steel and alum are hype the articles out there don't look at it from my perspective.

    Do a Google search or Steel vs slum bike frames and you'll see a few good articles that say there really is not big difference. They say the flex that steel lovers tout and the snappy stiffness that alum lovers tout are insignificant and have more to do with frame design and tube diameter than material used. The arguments also seem to be geared toward the race crowd which is more weight and response focused than I am.

    what the articles fail to point out is that there is still a qualitative difference between two similarly built steel and alum bikes. if you were to take a steel tube and an alum tube and strike them on a rock the feeling at your hand would be different because of the two materials' damping properties (different than flex). If that feeling makes for better of worse riding is up to the rider. I think that when riding on relentless chatter that we are used to in PHX steel is superior to damp the blows and make for a smoother ride. I'm not sure how to measure it, but that does not matter to me because there is definitely a difference in how the bikes feel. Alum lovers say steel is "noodley" and steel lovers say alum is too sharp and harsh. both statements are overstated.

    If I lived where most of my riding was in the woods on real dirt I would for sure get an alum frame, but out her my HT's will probably be steel.

  38. #38
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    I have the feeling that the heavier you are, the more pronounced the difference in materials.

    p.
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  39. #39
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    Having owned aluminum, steel and scandium 29ers in the past (since 2002), the steel bikes were definately the smoother riding bike. However, most people don't usually appreciate a steel bike until they've been on an aluminum bike for awhile.

    Here's my advice: If you're looking for a race bike, where light weight and efficiency is a primary concern over comfort, go aluminum or scandium.

    If you're looking for an "all day bike", seriously consider a steel (or Ti) bike.

    The steel bike is going to be heavier, but some of that weight can be made up for by going to a bike with a nice tubeset like Reynolds 853 or OX Platinum. However, Niners uber light weight Scandium Air9 frame is advertised to weigh 3.1lbs (size not listed,probably a small), whereas a bike with a basic 4130 tubeset such as a Surly Karate Monkey is advertised to weigh 5.5lbs for a 20" frame. The difference being ~2.4 lbs or that of about that of a full 24oz waterbottle.

    Is it really worth it? Ask the guy (me) who bought the uber-light and expensive DT Swiss carbon fork ($1100) what his choice of HT frame material is, and I'll do steel anyday.

    If you're still leaning to a aluminum or scandium frame, consider this also... if you go that route anyhow and you find it beating you up too badly, you can always add a Cane Creek Thudbuster to mellow out the ride substantially. Even though they weight about a 1/2lb more than a Thomson, your back will thank you and your legs will probably hardly notice the difference.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    I have the feeling that the heavier you are, the more pronounced the difference in materials.

    p.

    I was not going to add to the debate, (mainly because I am always right), but you are absolutely correct.

  41. #41
    Fragile - must be Italian
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    Quote Originally Posted by chongoman
    what the articles fail to point out is that there is still a qualitative difference between two similarly built steel and alum bikes. if you were to take a steel tube and an alum tube and strike them on a rock the feeling at your hand would be different because of the two materials' damping properties (different than flex). If that feeling makes for better of worse riding is up to the rider. I think that when riding on relentless chatter that we are used to in PHX steel is superior to damp the blows and make for a smoother ride. I'm not sure how to measure it, but that does not matter to me because there is definitely a difference in how the bikes feel. Alum lovers say steel is "noodley" and steel lovers say alum is too sharp and harsh. both statements are overstated.

    If I lived where most of my riding was in the woods on real dirt I would for sure get an alum frame, but out her my HT's will probably be steel.
    I definitely agree with you Bob there is a difference in the "buzz factor" of the tubing used to build frames: AL buzzes most, followed by steel, followed by carbon. On my road bike I can defintely tell the difference between AL and carbon (and probably steel), but that's because the road bike has very little "give" in the overall system: the skinny tires at 125+ psi, the hard-as-hell racing saddle, the narrow drop bars (my hands are close to the stem so no flex there) and the minimalist cork tape. Couple that with the type of terrain you ride over on a road bike (very very small little bumps on a hard-as-hell road) and the only feedback that comes through the bike is "buzz". Carbon and steel frames "deaden" that buzzy feel. AL does not. Therefore my carbon road bike feels more compliant than AL.

    However, on an MTB things are entirely different. 2.35 MTB tires have probably 1" more "give" than a road tire...and a typical MTB saddle also flexes much more than a road saddle (probably another 1/2") as well as all that extra seatpost hanging out of the frame (more flex). Add in big fat rubber grips and wide handlebars...and you've got flex/forgiveness all over the place. Basically on an MTB your body is pretty damn isolated from the frame material. That's why I can never tell the difference between an AL and steel HT except for the side-to-side "whippiness" around the bottom bracket that most steel frames have (which I consider "bad" flex as it robs power). This is why I can ride my AL Bianchi Rita all day long and still feel good.

    Now to Paul B's comment...I'm sure rider weight has an effect. I'm a whopping 155lbs soaking wet and I have never been able to tell the difference in "comfort" between any frame material on an MTB. Add 50 pounds more to me and who knows if I would come to the same conclusion...

    Thx...Doug

  42. #42
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    I have two 29ers, a Pivot Mach 429 (FS) and Niner EMD (aluminum HT). Do most of my riding in PMP/T100 off of 40th st., but also hit McDowells, BCT, Prescott, Flag, etc. Bought the Niner frame new for $400, and built it up to use mainly as a 'back up' bike to the Pivot. I've since been riding it almost as much as the Pivot. The Pivot is definitely plusher for my 56 yo body on long rides and in chunk, but the Niner performs almost as well. I'm especially amazed at how well it bombs downhill, and it might be quicker handling in twisty singletrack. I let a buddy have it for a few rides, who normally rides a Racer-X 26er, and he had a hard time re-adjusting to the Racer-X. He bought a Niner HT a few weeks later. I'm sure you could get an EMD frame and nice build for around $1800.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    I think a 29er hardtail is ideal for non-chunky XC Phoenix rides. There's usually quite a lot of chatter, and the wagon wheels are good on that. There's usually fast rollers, and the extra mo from the big wheels help. It's all good.

    p.

    Yes very fast rolling...but ANY drops you take a beating. Also, rock gardens are very difficult to navigate. Riding a FS rig now I can see and look back on what trouble I had with a niner HT.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    However, on an MTB things are entirely different. 2.35 MTB tires have probably 1" more "give" than a road tire...and a typical MTB saddle also flexes much more than a road saddle (probably another 1/2") as well as all that extra seatpost hanging out of the frame (more flex). Add in big fat rubber grips and wide handlebars...and you've got flex/forgiveness all over the place. Basically on an MTB your body is pretty damn isolated from the frame material. That's why I can never tell the difference between an AL and steel HT except for the side-to-side "whippiness" around the bottom bracket that most steel frames have (which I consider "bad" flex as it robs power). This is why I can ride my AL Bianchi Rita all day long and still feel good.

    Now to Paul B's comment...I'm sure rider weight has an effect. I'm a whopping 155lbs soaking wet and I have never been able to tell the difference in "comfort" between any frame material on an MTB. Add 50 pounds more to me and who knows if I would come to the same conclusion...

    Thx...Doug
    This has been a pretty fun post to read... I agree with some of the points, but not all of them... First off, there is a huge difference between aluminum (scandium), and steel frames... I used to own two niner sir 9's, and two one 9's... all set up with identical parts (same bars, forks, seatposts, cranks, wheels, tires... IDENTICAL bikes) The aluminum (scandium bikes) rode very rough... you could feel every single bump in the trail and little rock. The steel bikes, everything seemed a little muted and there was a difference in the ride. The Scandium bike was more solid feeling in the bottom bracket area, wheras the SIR9 was a little squishy feeling in the bottom bracket.

    It was kind of fun to have people ride my bikes side by side... I would always send them out on the aluminum (scandium) bike first, and then take the steel bike out... EVERY person commented on the difference... no matter how much they weighed! It was kind of cool to have the bikes to do it. Most people that comment on the frames probably have not had the opportunity to do a test like this...

    With that said... I tried to race the aluminum (scandium) bike, and gave up because it really rode like crap... I gained a little bit of weight... about 1.7 lbs and a little bit of flex on the steel bike, but the fatigue that it saved the last half of races is totally worth it. I have moved on from the niner bikes and now have Ti and other steel frames to play with and the learnings there have been really fun!

  45. #45
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    OH.... by the way... get a 29er. They work awesome on pretty much all the AZ stuff... Stick with a steel one... and have fun!!

  46. #46
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    Great feedback and I appreciate the different views on the frame materials. To put things in perspective, up until two years I was riding a 1997 Rockhopper Comp that was aluminum. I still hit all the same stuff as I've been riding the last 2 years on the Trek Fuel EX6 I picked up super cheap in 2007.

    I think I've become a better rider, not entirely from having FS, but from riding more often and pushing myself to get better.

    Looking for the next bike, I want to move up from the lower level bike and make a good purchase. I might be over analytical in what I want from this next bike as I honestly purchased the last two based strictly on price, and not on frame material or components.

    I'm probably not going to make a purchase unil November or December, so I have more time to research and demo some bikes. For sure it will be a 29er and a HT.

    I'll see some of you guys (Tamen00 and azpoolguy?) Saturday night at Haven's ride

    Thanks again!

  47. #47
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    Very cool you are making it out on Sat night, should be a really fun time! If you want to take one of my bikes out for a ride you are more than welcome to (I have one of every size built up) Give you a chance to try out a 29" bike on actual trails and not a parking lot. Just come over and find me at the event, I will be wearing a pink t shirt and will be in the registration or timing area. See you Saturday!

  48. #48
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    Haro Mary SS. it's 29r and cost is awesome.
    SKA Racing, beer and bikes. What more could you ask for?

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by tamen00
    Very cool you are making it out on Sat night, should be a really fun time! If you want to take one of my bikes out for a ride you are more than welcome to (I have one of every size built up) Give you a chance to try out a 29" bike on actual trails and not a parking lot. Just come over and find me at the event, I will be wearing a pink t shirt and will be in the registration or timing area. See you Saturday!

    That is very cool of you, and I will come by and introduce myself Saturday.

    I just sent you a PM as well.

    Thanks!

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjkm
    That is very cool of you, and I will come by and introduce myself Saturday.

    I just sent you a PM as well.

    Thanks!
    I drive a white Toyota Tacoma and will be wearing my new David Zubriskie's national time trial champion American Flag argyle jersey. Stop by and say HI!

    Mike

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by azpoolguy
    I drive a white Toyota Tacoma and will be wearing my new David Zubriskie's national time trial champion American Flag argyle jersey. Stop by and say HI!

    Mike

    Will do.

    Should be a great time!

  52. #52
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    So I rode the Fisher Paragon this past weekend and really dug it. Then this morning I tested the Kona Hei Hei 2-9 and freaking loved it. Search is over, bought the Kona.

  53. #53
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    I was searching for info on a specific bike and this thread from last year came up - fun and interesting to read it again after a year had passed.



    Still loving my Kona Hei Hei, and a new Steel SS 29er on the way.
    ONE SHOX, ONE GEAR, LOTS of FUN! www.TrailFu.com My Rides

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyharris
    I was searching for info on a specific bike and this thread from last year came up - fun and interesting to read it again after a year had passed.



    Still loving my Kona Hei Hei, and a new Steel SS 29er on the way.
    GOOD JOB.

  55. #55
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    I switched to "the darkside" back in May and have been very happy. My Niner MCR is a dream to ride...

    Marty

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyharris
    I was searching for info on a specific bike and this thread from last year came up - fun and interesting to read it again after a year had passed.



    Still loving my Kona Hei Hei, and a new Steel SS 29er on the way.
    Once you go 29, you don't go back.
    I switched from 26 to 29 a year and a half ago, and a couple of weeks ago, switched from a steel 29er to an aluminum one.

    My new steed:
    2011 Specialized SS 29er.

    Can't say enough good things about it. Took some getting used to, going from rigid and steel, to a susp fork and a bike that's light as a Q-Tip, but now I climb and descend like a tweaker, and can't get enough of it!

    Following Marty's lead:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Who rides a 29er Hard Tail around PHX?-silverbullet.jpg  

    "People do not lack strength; they lack will" (Victor Hugo)

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoyoteKis
    Once you go 29, you don't go back.
    I switched from 26 to 29 a year and a half ago, and a couple of weeks ago, switched from a steel 29er to an aluminum one.

    My new steed:
    2011 Specialized SS 29er.

    Can't say enough good things about it. Took some getting used to, going from rigid and steel, to a susp fork and a bike that's light as a Q-Tip, but now I climb and descend like a tweaker, and can't get enough of it!

    Following Marty's lead:
    Not quite as flashy as the Ellsworth.
    ONE SHOX, ONE GEAR, LOTS of FUN! www.TrailFu.com My Rides

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyharris
    Not quite as flashy as the Ellsworth.
    LOL-
    Yeah, but the Ellsworth had GEARS, and the key difference, is I OWN this one, versus borrowing the other! I'll always have a soft spot for Ellie (I can hear Erik grinding his teeth as I call it that), but I am back to being a single speeding angry samurai.

    (Oh, and can't have the bike out-flashing me, anyway! I must be the only flasher! So to speak...)
    "People do not lack strength; they lack will" (Victor Hugo)

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoyoteKis
    (Oh, and can't have the bike out-flashing me, anyway!)
    Not bloody likely.



    Quote Originally Posted by CoyoteKis
    (I must be the only flasher! So to speak...)
    I'll keep my fingers crossed.
    ONE SHOX, ONE GEAR, LOTS of FUN! www.TrailFu.com My Rides

  60. #60
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    I have me fingers crossed for a little rain around 6pm and I'll take my SS 29er out over here ar 7th st and Thunderbird!...........Drew

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyharris
    Not bloody likely.





    I'll keep my fingers crossed.


    Oooooow!
    Flattery is my kryptonite!


    Flattery and shiny bikes.

    And potatoes.
    I do so love my starchy carbs.
    I digress.
    "People do not lack strength; they lack will" (Victor Hugo)

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    I also own a 29'er HT in Phoenix - a Bianchi Rita. I ride the bike everywhere and on just about everything from XC to moderate techy stuff: T100/DD, South Mtn, McDowell's, Hawes, Pass Mountain, BCT...you name it, it's been there. And I've done 5+ hour "epics" on the bike without beating myself up.

    This is where I differ from all of the "steel is real" crowd...as my Rita is Aluminum and it rides just as compliantly as any steel HT I've been on. The fact of the matter is that frame material really doesn't do anything "significant" in the way of comfort. It's all in the tires + saddle, as they are the only parts of a bike that "give". Carbon handlebars seem to help as well since they have a little flex to them. So if you're thinking of a hardtail, also consider a comfy saddle (I like WTB's) and BIG FAT rubber (2.35+) with a lower PSI (<30). The combination of the big wheels and beefy rubber at low PSI does two things for you: the bigger wheels naturally take out the "chatter" as they roll over rocks better than 26" wheels do, and the BIG FAT soft rubber helps take the edge off the hard bumps.

    One thing you will have to learn with a hardtail is how to pick a line. Whereas you can bomb through most any rocky crap with a FS bike and make it through, crashing through rock gardens the same way on a HT will yield some undesireable results (most noticeably the back end getting kicked all over the place). This is where you learn to be "soft" on the bike...almost float over the rocks...and in the end I believe this makes you a better rider (both on a HT and a FS bike...I own both).

    One last comment...every 29'er HT that I've ridden are much more upright than older HT's (comparison is my old 1997 vintage Trek), which traslates to a much more comfortable ride. Whereas my back would be in pain after 2 hours on my old HT, I can ride pain free on my Rita for hours and hours. So if you hear people knock HT's, ask if they've ridden anything recently. After 5 yrs on my old Trek HT and switching to a Giant FS in 2002, I was an anti-HT guy until I bought my Rita last year...

    Thx...Doug
    This. I agree 100%. I don't really believe the steel is real thing, even though i ride a steel 29er. I think 29er hardtails make short travel FS bikes irrelevant though, as they hold their momentum better and are lighter than a 26er fs.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  63. #63
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    Really digging my Raleigh XXIX 29'r SS. Have been very surprised as to how much varied terrain it can handle well.

    My first impressions from March:

    http://www.thestickichronicles.com/2...-two-nine.html

    My "reboot" with a ton of weight specs. Probably of little interest, but you never know who might be wondering about real world weights of cheaper steel frames and various components.

    http://www.thestickichronicles.com/2...ix-reboot.html

    I think it will take a lot to get me back on a 26 HT, but might be convinced to try a 26 FS on the park and uber tech faster DH type runs.

    Overall, a steel 29'r hardtail is just hard to beat for the smiles it provides.
    Just keep pedaling...

    visit the sticki chronicles

  64. #64
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    I gotta cheapy BD 29er... and have been very pleased. Rolls so much better than my 26ers did.

    But I'm a fat/slow guy.

    "If that's your big problem of the day.....you have a great life. Enjoy it and ride your bike." ~The Mayor

  65. #65
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    Fun to read posts from a year ago. DId not notice the date and was wondering what happened to Randy's Kona!

    I ended up with a 2010 Stumpjumper Comp 29er. Almost had it a year now, and love the bike. Added a carbon seatpost, went tubless and just switched to an XC riser bar from the stock flat bar.

    Can't wait for Barnburner! CoyoteKis, you brining the new Stumpy SS up to Flag? Nice bike!

  66. #66
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    I just bought a new Scott 29er. I love it. I've been doing all my regular loops and noticing a big difference. Last bike, though, was just an entry-level 26' Trek hardtail.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjkm

    Can't wait for Barnburner! CoyoteKis, you brining the new Stumpy SS up to Flag? Nice bike!
    Thank you, and yes sir!! Even branded it with my mtbr name, so ya can't miss me! Come say hi!
    "People do not lack strength; they lack will" (Victor Hugo)

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elvota
    Really digging my Raleigh XXIX 29'r SS. Have been very surprised as to how much varied terrain it can handle well.

    My first impressions from March:

    http://www.thestickichronicles.com/2...-two-nine.html

    My "reboot" with a ton of weight specs. Probably of little interest, but you never know who might be wondering about real world weights of cheaper steel frames and various components.

    http://www.thestickichronicles.com/2...ix-reboot.html

    I think it will take a lot to get me back on a 26 HT, but might be convinced to try a 26 FS on the park and uber tech faster DH type runs.

    Overall, a steel 29'r hardtail is just hard to beat for the smiles it provides.
    Thanks for the links and info - your blog is a great read.
    ONE SHOX, ONE GEAR, LOTS of FUN! www.TrailFu.com My Rides

  69. #69
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    Glad you found bike bliss Randy- it is really satisfying to know you bought the right bike after shelling out the coin.
    Vassago Cycles, Shadetree Bikes, Flat Tire Bikes, Galfer Brakes USA

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by cstem
    Glad you found bike bliss Randy- it is really satisfying to know you bought the right bike after shelling out the coin.


    Thanks cstem

    And as much as I truly love my Hei Hei 2-9, I'm being pulled into the SS vortex and going to give it an honest try and see how it suits me.
    ONE SHOX, ONE GEAR, LOTS of FUN! www.TrailFu.com My Rides

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