Which Bike for "local" Toronto trails- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Which Bike for "local" Toronto trails

    Relatively new to Toronto, but been mountain biking for awhile now. I am looking to start riding the Don, Durham, and Albion on a routine basis.

    I am currently on a Cannondale Flash 29er hardtail that has seen better days - so I am looking to upgrade to a new full-suspension 29er. A couple of bikes I am considering are:

    (1) 2015 Cannondale Scalpel Alloy4 29er - would this be too much of a race bike for these trails? DO I need something that is slacker with more travel? I am coming off a similar Geo bike so don't hate how steep it is, but I was looking for something a little slacker. But I love the lefty and am thinking that 100mm of firm rear travel may be perfect for someone who has been on a 29er hardtail for 6 years.

    (2) 2016 Specialized Camber Comp 29er - will a full on trail bike with 120mm travel (front and back) be too plush for these trails? Will I want something that climbs better like my HT or the Scalpel? The Camber has a long wheel base in an XL will this be a deficit in the tight and twisty sections (i.e., are there a lot of these types of sections?)

    I prefer the Scalpel because I am more familiar with the geo and have always wanted one. But I don't race anymore so am thinking I should maybe get something slacker. I am also worried that the Scalpel may not be enough for the trails I am planning to ride.

    Any opinions or recommendations are welcome.

  2. #2
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    An XC bike is a great match for the trails you describe. I ride Albion frequently on a 29er hardtail.

    I've also owned Epics which are a good fit, and have always admired the Scalpel too.

    Nothing wrong with a Trail bike, but you wouldn't need the extra suspension, at least for Albion.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the feedback.

    Any other opinions out there or are you all too busy riding

  4. #4
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    Either bike should work great and is definitely "enough" of a bike. The Scalpel looks to be a more of an XC, "racey" bike, with less travel, smaller tires, narrower rims and steeper angles. If you like it better, just go for it. It will be perfectly at home in a place like Albion or Durham. Truth be told, you'd be just fine with your hardtail, too.

  5. #5
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    My opinion? You won't need plush on any of those trails, but you will occasionally need to turn a sharp corner and climb. I'm in complete agreement with Arek on the hardtail.
    In fact you'd be fine on your hardtail with a new rigid fork too.
    Cheers, Dave

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the replies.

    I love my Flash - but the lefty is hurting and may not be repairable (checking with Cannondale) - so starting to look for a new ride.

  7. #7
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    Ride the Camber before you decide anything. Those are fantastic bikes.

    ~120mm travel makes for a very versatile bike. Works well for anything and anywhere local, pedals great, has enough reserve capability in case you take a road trip to somewhere rougher, and makes for a light overall package.

  8. #8
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    Before you take the plunge, I'll mix it up a bit. Consider a + bike! Bin riding a 29+ for 3 years and would never go back to skinny tire mtb ever again (I call them road bikes). I am climbing stuff I should not be climbing...traction. They are great for any type of trail. You just need to decide, rigid, hard tail or FS and 27.5+ or 29+. I road 29+ rigid for two years=faster, 6 weeks ago put a lefty on .......to the next level and beyond. Super fun.

    + is a must!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by XC23 View Post
    Any other opinions out there or are you all too busy riding
    Embrace your inner hooligan and get a 160mm travel enduro bike. Smash out downhill sections at speeds which you didn't think were possible, and have giggle fits at the bottom when you realize how many times the bike saved you from a hospital trip. If you want a Lefty, buy a Jekyll, otherwise, get yourself a Norco Range. I come from about 25 years of riding steel hardtail bikes and thought the Range would be my weekend DH bike, but it's so fun that it's taken over most of my riding.

  10. #10
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    I ride all of those trails regularly on an F29 Carbon. I have also ridden the Don (which is likely the most "technical" of the trails you mention) on a demo Scalpel and did not find it too steep or twitchy. That said I don't think you can go wrong with either bike but the lefty is a fantastic fork (as I expect you already know) and may tip the scales.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by aerius View Post
    Embrace your inner hooligan and get a 160mm travel enduro bike. Smash out downhill sections at speeds which you didn't think were possible, and have giggle fits at the bottom when you realize how many times the bike saved you from a hospital trip. If you want a Lefty, buy a Jekyll, otherwise, get yourself a Norco Range. I come from about 25 years of riding steel hardtail bikes and thought the Range would be my weekend DH bike, but it's so fun that it's taken over most of my riding.
    Interesting reply amongst the rest of them but Im with you on this. Of course it depends on what kind of rider you are and what you want to do but just because we don't have mountains doesnt mean you cant get aggressive in the trails. I went to a 160mm enduro, one bike for all this year. I take it trail/XC riding around here and its a blast and also take it up to blue for some DH. On the short tech climbs around here it is better than my previous XC bikes. Rail the downhill, switch backs,tech, hit the jumps (must have dropper post on any bike IMO). Only negative on this bike is really the inefficiency in the pedally parts....but those aren't the fun parts anyway.

    If I looking for a bike to just do trail/XC though I would probably have something with a little less travel like an aggressive 120mm 29er (I did own a 120mm 29er) or a 140mm 27.5. Best comprise for efficient pedalling, overall speed up and down and fun.

  12. #12
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    anything is fine..i have ridden the Don on everything from a 26 hardtail, 26 FS, 29 hardtail, fat bike and even cross bike.

    OP, are you planning to race? If so that would be my determining factor.
    Mike
    Toronto, Canada
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  13. #13
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    Not likely to race a ton - maybe 1 or 2 per year.

    I just think the Scalpel may be the right choice as my only complaint about my current bike (Cannondale Flash 29er) is that after a couple hours in the saddle it gets a bit painful, so some extra cushion (i.e., 100 mm of rear travel) would likely take the edge off. But I don't want to go super plush and I don't want to lose pedaling efficiency/I want to lose as little as possible.

    However, I also wanted to get something with a bit slacker head tube - hence the dilemma

  14. #14
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    Your solution could be an Epic.

  15. #15
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    The Epic is equally as aggressive as the Scalpel isn't it? So if I were to consider the Epic then I might as well stay with the Scalpel.

  16. #16
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    For sure, Scalpel and Epic are aimed at the same audience. I should have elaborated that the Epic's brain on the rear addresses the "...but I don't want to go super plush and I don't want to lose pedaling efficiency/I want to lose as little as possible..." piece you mentioned above. It locks out the rear so you get "near" hardtail efficiency, but with some nice bump absorption, just as for quick downhills.

    I've gone back to a hardtail now, but have owned a couple of Epics in the past. The drawback of the brain is extra cost, some effort to dial it in, and some expensive service on it (probably only every other season tho).

  17. #17
    db9
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    Just to be different - Niner Jet with a lefty on it...

    On the other hand if the only reason is back issues - put a suspension seat post on the F29 - I have a couple of USE posts on a few of my bikes - including my road bike ..

    But back issues can be compounded by bike setup as well....

    (Full disclosure - I ride with herniated disks - I have a suspension seat post on my road bike and I ride a FS MTB)

  18. #18
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    @ db9 - I'm a fan of Niner frames (Air 9 RDO), and I've been jealous of Lefty forks for years now. I am curious tho about the concept of suspension posts on hardtails in general. My take (guess) is that you'd be better off with a full suspension bike as opposed to a hybrid solution. (?) I honestly don't know for sure, so would love your input here.

  19. #19
    db9
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    Sorry for pushing it OT..
    Re the seat post shock, I'm not sure how you view it, I wouldn't say its a hybrid - don't compare it to a FS bike, having used a USE post for 15 years its sole purpose is to take the sudden hit off the spine when you are seated. If you view the use of a FS bike for ride comfort only then you can make a comparison - If your riding a HT through rough stuff and the back is kicking around then your out (or should be) of the saddle already and the seat post has nothing to do about it, I have viewed it's use on the HT and my road bike as a way of taking care of that sudden sharp hit that will go up the spine when seated. For me it works and I'd recommend it for that purpose.
    This helpful?

  20. #20
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    I personally think people look like goofs riding XC trails on 160mm bikes, but I'm rude, have never ridden a bike like that and I realize people are welcome to buy whatever bike makes them happy.

    If I were in the market (which I shouldn't be, because my current bike works just fine), I'd buy the Kona Hei Hei Trail. 120mm/100mm, but with a relaxed geometry. I think it would be the perfect bike for ripping Ontario.

  21. #21
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    I mostly ride Hilton Falls, Kelso and Buckwallow. The last seven or eight years were spent on a carbon IBIS Mojo. Today I'm riding a Carbon Salsa Bucksaw, and today I rode it in the agreement Forrest.

    "You don't need carbon, you don't need fat, you don't need that much travel", bla bla bla. I've heard it all. I ride for fun and my Bucksaw is fun. I am using all my travel. Smiling all the way, and I get to take other than the standard line (at times).

    Everyone rides differently, everyone gets joy different ways.

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