Blue Marsh...HT or FS- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Blue Marsh...HT or FS

    If one was looking to get a new MTB and did 70% of their riding at Blue Marsh would a FS bike be overkill?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Hard Tail 29er

    Blue Marsh is absolutely perfect for HT 29ers. This place was made for 29ers. Full suspension is overkill here.

    Tim

  3. #3
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    Where else do you ride,I have both but use my hard tail 29er mostly at blue marsh and my full suspension 29er for Mt Penn,and French Creek.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by bankofdad
    Where else do you ride,I have both but use my hard tail 29er mostly at blue marsh and my full suspension 29er for Mt Penn,and French Creek.
    Other places I ride are...

    Toon Trail - grings to pottstown

    I have rode at Antietam lake in the past and would like to try that again.

    Perhaps French Creek.

    I also like to take my bike on vacations to the beach - like Myrtle Beach.

    I am just starting to get back into biking and currently ride a Giant Yukon HT but was thinking about getting a FS for a smoother ride and perhaps less back pain.

    EDIT: Also looking for a tire recommendation for Blue Marsh

    Thanks.
    Last edited by JohnDoe5; 07-21-2009 at 09:27 AM.

  5. #5
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    I've ridden a hard-tail for 10 years. You can ride it almost everywhere pretty comfortably. I actually had some kid in the Wiss say he liked my "old school" bike - come on, its a trek 9.8 carbon, don't think its that old. I like my HT and kind of feel like riding FS is makes you better through technology, rather than riding ability; maybe I am getting old and set in my ways after all. But I have been noticing a trend toward trails getting pretty gnarly with the obsticles and stunts.

    When the time comes for a new ride, I am thinking of getting a FS so I can ride the super-tech sections and stunts better, comfort factor would be good too. The consensus I get from people is the hard-tails are going the way of the ridgid frame. With the new technology, a FS x-country bike gives you all the advantages of a hard tail with the plushness of the FS ride.

    IMO - a FS x-country bike would give you more options if you get sick of Blue Marsh all the time and start hitting some of the other areas in Rocksylvania.

    My 2 cents on tires - I picked up a Hutchinson Scorpion rear tire on sale for $20 and it hooks up great as an all around tire, but real nice in the wet.

    Back pain - try checking your bike fit and then strengthen your back through exercise, might be from weakness getting back into riding.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -HST

  6. #6
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    Or just get a Bike with a rear lockout and have the best of both worlds! My Razorback 4.0 has one and I love it. Nice for French Creek and Mt. Gretna especially.

  7. #7
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    I think the answer to your question is very dependent on exactly which type of FS bike you're talking about - but the short answer is no... a full suspension bike is not automatically 'overkill' for Blue Marsh. I've been riding there for about 15 years now, and have done the loop around the lake on everything from fully rigid bikes (both steel and aluminum) to full suspension and back again.

    The bikes that I've taken to BM over the years:

    1993 Trek 820
    1994 Specialized Stumpjumper M2, first with rigid fork, later with Manitou 3, then Judy SL w/ Englund Air cartridges
    1996 Bianchi Denali RC w/ same Judy SL as above
    1998 Klein Mantra Race (FS) w/ Marzocchi Z1
    2002 Cove Handjob w/ Marzocchi Atom race 100
    2007 On-One Inbred 456 w/ Marzocchi All-Mountain SL 130 mm

    IIRC, my fastest time around the full loop came on the Bianchi. BUT - I think that's mostly because I was riding and racing regularly at the time when I owned that bike. The mantra was never far behind that pace at all, AND I always felt better at the finish when riding that.

    Sure, 90 - 95% of the trail at blue marsh is not 'technical' and it doesn't demand that you ride a FS bike. Hell, a cyclocross bike (in the right hands) could probably out-do my best time there (02:55). But it *is* a relatively long ride for most people, with some really killer climbs. I always found that the mantra allowed me to stay seated more, and that helped to preserve my legs for when I needed them the most - the last 6 miles or so. And, because it was a light FS frame with an efficient design, I didn't suffer a weight penalty or energy-sapping pedal bob, etc.

    Since most of the places I ride now are much more rocky and tended to be very hard on lightweight parts, my bikes gradually evolved from 23 - 24 lb XC racing types to bombproof steel hardtails with wider (and heavier) rims, tires, etc. The on-one weighs almost 31 lb. Is it a hardtail? Yes. Is it perfect for BM? Hell no. If anything, that bike is more "overkill" for BM than my Mantra ever was!

    So - the point is - I think that a lightweight full suspension bike w/ ~ 4" of travel would be just as well suited to riding at BM (and many other places!) as a hardtail. A 35 lb trailbike w/ 6"? Probably not so much!
    "mmmm....Beeeeeeer." - Homer J. Simpson

  8. #8
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    Blue Marsh isn't that technical, but the length makes it a good workout.

    That being said, the answer to your question depends on a lot more than the trails. For example, are you willing to spend the money to get an FS that's efficient and lightweight? Is your physical condition capable of a the extra punishment of a hardtail? Do you like to pick your lines or would you prefer to just power through what ever is in front of you?

    Thankfully, my body can still take some punishment and I like the challenge of picking my lines through tech sections. That, and my wife would never let me spend the amount of $ on an FS that I would be happy with. So, for me, an FS (that would be in my price range) would be overkill. For you, depends the factors I mentioned and more. Whatever you decide, keep in mind that riding's about having fun, so my unprofessional advice would be to keep the fun factor predominant in your decision.

  9. #9
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    JohnDoe5 you said you have ridden Antietam Lake in the past. How long ago is the past. There have been many changes and trails added there in the last year to year and a half.
    Fun techy stuff!!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkerkonadawgdeluxepaul
    JohnDoe5 you said you have ridden Antietam Lake in the past. How long ago is the past. There have been many changes and trails added there in the last year to year and a half.
    Fun techy stuff!!
    It's been at least 10 years.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stick
    I think the answer to your question is very dependent on exactly which type of FS bike you're talking about - but the short answer is no... a full suspension bike is not automatically 'overkill' for Blue Marsh. I've been riding there for about 15 years now, and have done the loop around the lake on everything from fully rigid bikes (both steel and aluminum) to full suspension and back again.

    The bikes that I've taken to BM over the years:

    1993 Trek 820
    1994 Specialized Stumpjumper M2, first with rigid fork, later with Manitou 3, then Judy SL w/ Englund Air cartridges
    1996 Bianchi Denali RC w/ same Judy SL as above
    1998 Klein Mantra Race (FS) w/ Marzocchi Z1
    2002 Cove Handjob w/ Marzocchi Atom race 100
    2007 On-One Inbred 456 w/ Marzocchi All-Mountain SL 130 mm

    IIRC, my fastest time around the full loop came on the Bianchi. BUT - I think that's mostly because I was riding and racing regularly at the time when I owned that bike. The mantra was never far behind that pace at all, AND I always felt better at the finish when riding that.

    Sure, 90 - 95% of the trail at blue marsh is not 'technical' and it doesn't demand that you ride a FS bike. Hell, a cyclocross bike (in the right hands) could probably out-do my best time there (02:55). But it *is* a relatively long ride for most people, with some really killer climbs. I always found that the mantra allowed me to stay seated more, and that helped to preserve my legs for when I needed them the most - the last 6 miles or so. And, because it was a light FS frame with an efficient design, I didn't suffer a weight penalty or energy-sapping pedal bob, etc.

    Since most of the places I ride now are much more rocky and tended to be very hard on lightweight parts, my bikes gradually evolved from 23 - 24 lb XC racing types to bombproof steel hardtails with wider (and heavier) rims, tires, etc. The on-one weighs almost 31 lb. Is it a hardtail? Yes. Is it perfect for BM? Hell no. If anything, that bike is more "overkill" for BM than my Mantra ever was!

    So - the point is - I think that a lightweight full suspension bike w/ ~ 4" of travel would be just as well suited to riding at BM (and many other places!) as a hardtail. A 35 lb trailbike w/ 6"? Probably not so much!
    There are not that many high end bikes in the LBS to try. I did ride a giant trance x3 and a giant xtc1 but that's about it. The LBS are good at general information but that's about it.

  12. #12
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    I think a FS is overkill for Blue Marsh. It's not that it detracts from the ride, it just isn't necessary. 15 years ago I was riding those trails on a rigid 18 speed, with my daughter in a child seat on the back. Sure, I walked some of the hills, and there were some spots I avoided alltogether, but rigid or HT is certainly plenty of bike for those trails.

    That said, I switched to a FS after 20 years of mostly rigids and 1 HT, and it does just fine at Blue Marsh and many other local trails. If I only rode Blue Marsh and rails to trails, it would be a waste of money.

  13. #13
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    Well what are you waiting for JohnDoe5?

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