Eastern PA Bike Choice - What is too much travel, what is too slack? Bike recs?- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Posts
    10

    Eastern PA Bike Choice - What is too much travel, what is too slack? Bike recs?

    Hi Everybody, first post. Please go easy on me.

    I've been borrowing a 2011 s-works Epic 29er FS with 100MM front and rear and a 70.5 degree head tube angle. I've been all over and still going... So far Marsh Creek, White Clay/Middle Run, Harmony Hill, Sawmill, Bear Creek, and Brandywine. Tomorrow I am checking out the Wiss. Hope to get to Nockamixon and French Creek soon too, but still working on improving my cardio base and recovery from blood donation. It's worth noting that I grew up riding bikes and got into BMX pretty good too, I am very comfortable on the MTB in technical sections even though I am new. Still mastering some of the techniques, but comfortable and far from a complete noob. I can't borrow this bike forever and have been researching bikes for a few months now. I will mostly be riding for fun and an easy way to stay in shape, I will not be racing. That said, obviously most of these places are XC focused with a lot of up and down.

    Since I can only afford one bike, I've been led that maybe I shouldn't go with 100mm travel. I personally don't have any problems with it and thought it did just fine in Bear Creek but I don't have a good comparison. Since I'm being led for more that brings me to 120mm. The options here aren't crazy plentiful, but there are some. However, the head tube angle at 120mm starts to go from 68.5-70.5 down to 66.5 on some bikes. On top of that, I'm trying to avoid proprietary parts and keeping costs and maintenance down.

    Is 66.5 too slack? Is 130mm front/rear too much travel for these trails?

    In no particular order some bikes I've spent a good time comparing are in the $4,000 range such as the 2021 Trek Top Fuel 9.7, 2021 Specialized Epic Evo, 2020 Canyon Lux CF SL 6.0, 2021 Intense Sniper Trail, Scott Spark 920. But then I'm intrigued by something like the YT Izzo Pro at 130mm and 66.5 HT angle but worry it's too much travel and too slack for climbing and the riding around here. It also seems 34mm stanchions are better than 32 for an only bike? Of course then there's the trying to get the right size over the internet problem since I can't find any demos and the used market is dry, I'm willing to try though. I ride a Large epic but most of the bike sizing questionnaires put me squarely in a medium at 5' 10.5" including the Epic Evo.

    First and foremost I like to get a good value out of my purchases. If buying new this is very important. I'd hate to wait until winter to try and find a good used/new deal. As far as components I like the GX or SLX, and want to stick to Fox Per. Elite or Rockshox Sid. My Uncle really doesn't like the consumer direct brands and is pushing me to stick with something local, but I'm not sure if I agree, especially since I'm so value focused. The Epic Evo seems like good components but a 66.5" head tube angle, whereas the Top Fuel 9.7 doesn't really seem to have great components but a better geometry. I really could use some help and advice. I'll be checking on if anybody has any questions to help point me in the right direction I should be able to answer them fairly quickly. 32 and Male if it matters.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    4
    I would not get to hung up on geometry. I have demoed many bikes at festivals and have found in recent years all the modern mountain bikes are good. I would focus on what frame material Suspension and components you can get for your dollar. Any ďtrailĒ bike will serve you well riding where you are. I live in South East PA and ride some of the same places. I have a Lynsey pro 29 hardtail and recently got a Foes Mixer Trail 150r 160f travel. Both are fun in different ways riding the same places.
    Try as many bikes that you can and buy one that feels fun and comfortable to you.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Posts
    10
    Thanks a lot for your input. Ended up going with the YT Izzo Pro Race. Hope I like it. Perhaps down the line I'll also get a more XC focused bike (and a gravel bike). heh.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    328
    Congrats on the new bike. Post pics of it!

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Posts
    10
    Thanks. Went to the Wiss Tuesday it was great. In response to the news I bought the Izzo my uncle took me to French Creek today and let me ride his fuel ex 9.9 which he considers is very similar to the Izzo. It's an amazing bike but compared to the epic it's an absolute slog. I canceled my Izzo order after riding the two back to back. I think I'm gonna stick closer to the cross country category. I've ridden just about everything around here now and the only thing I can't do with a dated geometry 100mm FS xc bikes is blast through rocks or pickup crazy speed downhill. Back to the drawing board. Wish I had a good baseline comparison between xc bikes, hard to find much on the web. This forum seems dead, I guess everything moved to facebook which I don't use. Guess I'll get out there and try to demo some more bikes 
    Last edited by EasternPaMTBr; 07-30-2020 at 06:34 PM.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    18
    Donít think so hard. No bike does it all. You say one bike but it never works like that if you get serious. Pick something you are comfortable with on the trails you will ride the most. Run it into the ground. By the time you learn technique and get conditioning youíll have it wore out and know better which direction you want to go.
    Honestly. Quality hardtail first. Suspension just lets you get away with bad habits.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Posts
    10
    Thanks for the feedback. I didn't like the fuel ex that much and all the trails local to West Chester are pretty damn smooth. Even Wiss and french Creek were doable in 100 although 130 had some slight advantages that I noticed. I'm gonna wait for a used bike. Luckily I have one to ride from now because I haven't seen anything for a reasonable price in a while. Hopefully this winter.

  8. #8
    g=9.764m/s2
    Reputation: Undescended's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    570
    Donít write off the IZZO just yet, first Iíd disagree the Fuel EX is like it, plus the Pro Race is 2lbs lighter...a Ripley is more the comparison. Next sure, an XC bike can handle most around here, I rode a Zaskar 29 routinely at Brandywine, Harmony Hill and a couple times at Wiss, until the chainstay snapped from fatigue, but the Jeffsy I replaced it with took my riding skill to the next level and was 500% more awesome as my daily ride. Now I ride a Stache while I wait 4 months for the IZZO and expect it will have climbing efficiency, rough trail agility, and launch capability to make the most of our local terrain while inspiring confidence.

    I suppose you did say you feel more XC than gravity junkie. To make the most of the latter, a modern geo Trail bike is best and if you plan on a Gravel bike, that can be your XC machine. If you havenít already, check out the MTBR IZZO thread. This just in, IZZO shocks are now specíd as Push to Lock...

    Here is the start PBís Field Test to include 4 XC and 5 DC bikes...
    https://m.pinkbike.com/news/welcome-...e-edition.html
    Last edited by Undescended; 08-01-2020 at 04:48 AM.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Posts
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by Undescended View Post
    Donít write off the IZZO just yet, first Iíd disagree the Fuel EX is like it, plus the Pro Race is 2lbs lighter...a Ripley is more the comparison. Next sure, an XC bike can handle most around here, I rode a Zaskar 29 routinely at Brandywine, Harmony Hill and a couple times at Wiss, until the chainstay snapped from fatigue, but the Jeffsy I replaced it with took my riding skill to the next level and was 500% more awesome as my daily ride. Now I ride a Stache while I wait 4 months for the IZZO and expect it will have climbing efficiency, rough trail agility, and launch capability to make the most of our local terrain while inspiring confidence.

    I suppose you did say you feel more XC than gravity junkie. To make the most of the latter, a modern geo Trail bike is best and if you plan on a Gravel bike, that can be your XC machine. If you havenít already, check out the MTBR IZZO thread. This just in, IZZO shocks are now specíd as Push to Lock...


    Here is the start PBís Field Test to include 4 XC and 5 DC bikes...
    https://m.pinkbike.com/news/welcome-...e-edition.html

    Hey man, I really appreciate the feedback. I dug deeper and see the 2019 top fuel 9.9 axs I rode is 130/130 and I believe is actually lighter than the Izzo by at least a lb. The geo is fairly the same (ignore the image I posted I accidentally compared geo to a 2021 where they went to 140/130 with 36mm stanchions instead of 34 and I can't delete it). That's a really good point about the gravel bike. I could hit most of the easier trails with the gravel bike and use this. I do like the downhill of the fuel but I just can't get over the pedaling efficiency of the oldass 2011 s works epic 29er I'm riding. This bike is 10 years newer I wish I could test ride one. I've been following the youtube video releases from pinkbike and am checking out the izzo thread. Thanks for both tips. Man. This is such a tough decision. My uncle is an xc racer and it's his bike I'm riding but he also has the fuel and he keeps pushing me towards XC and I gotta say since I've been doing 14+ miles for 9 rides now it's really hard to see myself on a fuel but does the izzo bridge the gap enough or do I need to go with something like a 2021 top fuel or an epic evo which is closer to XC. It just sucks because there seems to be little value when looking at modern geo XC bikes compared to the izzo and I could have the izzo in two weeks. But I'm really not in a crazy rush I just want to have a bike that's MINE. Going to check out a few additional places in the next few weeks like Nockamixon, Belmont, Fair Hill, Birdsboro, and Green Lane. I guess that will give me more data points on top of the places I've already been like French Creek, Harmony Hill, Sawmill, Marsh Creek, Brandywine, Valley Forge, Wiss, and Bear Creek.

    I want to pull the trigger again so badly. Amazing people are happy on a Jeffsy around here. Do you try to hit more enduro trails?

    I've never used lockout, wonder if single lockout is enough for what I like or I'd be fiending foor dual locckout.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Eastern PA Bike Choice - What is too much travel, what is too slack? Bike recs?-screen-shot-2020-08-01-10.08.24-am.jpg  


  10. #10
    g=9.764m/s2
    Reputation: Undescended's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    570
    Quote Originally Posted by EasternPaMTBr View Post
    ...
    I want to pull the trigger again so badly. Amazing people are happy on a Jeffsy around here. Do you try to hit more enduro trails?
    ...
    As odd as it seems, out of 10 or so YTís Iíve seen in the area, I had the only Jeffsy, all others were Capras...go figure... Yes, I normally seek the rocky tech sections then easier climbs back to the top...

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    125
    This is an interesting thread for me to read. I'm a Wiss local, so I've had a lot of time to think on what would make an ideal Wiss Bike. But the thing is, you're not going to find a bike that works great everywhere. White Clay does not have the same elevation or gnar as Wiss or Bear Creek. In fact, I think some of the local systems are probably best experience on a hardtail (White Clay, Belmont, Nox, etc), while others are better with some squish. I am thinking that Izzo could be a great Wiss bike. Enough suspension to handle the rocks, an aggressive HA for the bigger descents, but still light and efficient for the climbs. The new Trek Top Fuel is also intriguing.

    There seems to be a new category emerging of lightweight trail bikes, with around 120 mm travel and aggressive geo. Something like the new Epic Evo, Ibis Ripley and even the Transition Spur. I think that's the sweet spot for a do-it-all bike for this area. But it also depends on what your emphasis is. Are you trying to crush PRs on the climb, or get rowdy on the descents and progress your skills. Maybe long days in the saddle is your thing. Much depends on the answer.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    328
    Quote Originally Posted by roma258 View Post
    This is an interesting thread for me to read. I'm a Wiss local, so I've had a lot of time to think on what would make an ideal Wiss Bike. But the thing is, you're not going to find a bike that works great everywhere. White Clay does not have the same elevation or gnar as Wiss or Bear Creek. In fact, I think some of the local systems are probably best experience on a hardtail (White Clay, Belmont, Nox, etc), while others are better with some squish. I am thinking that Izzo could be a great Wiss bike. Enough suspension to handle the rocks, an aggressive HA for the bigger descents, but still light and efficient for the climbs. The new Trek Top Fuel is also intriguing.

    There seems to be a new category emerging of lightweight trail bikes, with around 120 mm travel and aggressive geo. Something like the new Epic Evo, Ibis Ripley and even the Transition Spur. I think that's the sweet spot for a do-it-all bike for this area. But it also depends on what your emphasis is. Are you trying to crush PRs on the climb, or get rowdy on the descents and progress your skills. Maybe long days in the saddle is your thing. Much depends on the answer.
    As another Wiss native, I agree with this. For me, I've decided to just go hardtail. Not sure why, just my own personal want/desire.

  13. #13
    g=9.764m/s2
    Reputation: Undescended's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    570
    My Ď14 Stache w/120 fork and Thudbuster seatpost(to keep my back healthy) is a brilliant ride round These Parts however I now lack the confidence to charge at the chunk and drops as I did on Jeffsy. I expect IZZO will provide the best of both...

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    184
    Welcome to the sport. I ride in Eastern PA too. I don't think there is an answer to your question. I think it comes down a lot to personal preference. The terrain varies among all of these trails. I used to ride a lot of them on a fully rigid Gary Fisher and would still if I didn't have other bikes. If you aren't racing, just go with what you like. Too much travel and slackness really only means your climbing will be slower but it that doesn't matter much to you, you get rewarded on the rocky descents.

    Personally, I have a Trek Fuel EX8 that I really like. You didn't like it so there's an example of personal preference. I think it is a good and versatile trail bike for this area. With your BMX background, you may end up preferring the flickability of a steeper bike with less travel.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    147
    Quote Originally Posted by EasternPaMTBr View Post
    Hey man, I really appreciate the feedback. I dug deeper and see the 2019 top fuel 9.9 axs I rode is 130/130 and I believe is actually lighter than the Izzo by at least a lb.
    Interesting thread. I'm an eastern PA guy too, typically seek out stuff at least as technical as Wissy or more so. Lots of steep technical climbs and descents. Currently on 2019 Fuel EX 9.9 with a 140mm Pike on it (great mod.)

    Confusing is that you've used Top Fuel and Fuel EX here and I'm not exactly sure what you've ridden. If you think the Top Fuel is a slug compared to your borrowed Specialized, then you'll be really unhappy with the EX version. Different animal altogether, but to be clear I'm only speaking of the 2017-2019 bikes. In 2020 Trek blurred the lines between these bikes, and it sounds like the Top Fuel is edging closer to the EX line in terms of downhill capability. Indeed, I know a guy who totally rips on a 2020 Top Fuel, but he's an animal and flies on everything he rides.

    Anyway, my $.02 is that YT looks KILLER. Get that and a decent gravel bike and you a complete, year-round kit for shredding everything. I'd personally only have a dedicated XC bike if I were racing.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    184
    I have heard that too Mike. My Fuel EX is a 2013 and I think it is 130mm front and back. Supposedly my Fuel EX is more like the current Top Fuel than the current Fuel EX. Either way, I like the bike. I also have a 2017 Banshee Spitfire with a little bit more travel (140mm or 150?) and I like that bike too. Too me, the ride of a bmx is harsh so even a short travel suspension should feel plush in comparison.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    129
    My locals are Marsh Creek and HH/Sawmill 4x/week for past ~15yrs, certainly have ridden all of the other local trails. Which bike/travel depends what your goals are. I'd say the 100mm full squish bikes are absolutely appropriate for all of the trail systems here, w/ a few trade-offs on either end of the spectrum. With that said after many years of serious XC racing, I'm riding a Stumpy ST (130/120) here now which is really fun but a bit overkill for many of the trail systems.

    If I was planning on 1 bike for racing, training, and general trail riding I'd strongly consider the Epic EVO (not a brain fan), Pivot Mach 4, C-dale Scalpel, Trek Top Fuel and the like. If you're not racing much the ~120mm bikes don't give up much in uphill/overall speed and are a bit better in the really techy parts of Wiss/French Creek/Bear Creek/Mt Penn b/c of travel and geo.

    While I own and have ridden many hardtails (especially SS which I still ride), unless I had Whiteclay out my backdoor, would stick w/ 100mm FS.

    My $0.02

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Posts
    10
    Thanks for the feedback guys. The top fuel 9.8 came back in stock so I placed an order. Hope to pick it up next Friday. Hopefully more of a balance of xc and a trail than the Izzo but still good enough

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 16
    Last Post: 03-24-2018, 03:54 PM
  2. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 04-14-2016, 02:23 AM
  3. 29" Slack HT vs 27.5" Slack HT
    By c5marine in forum 29er Bikes
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 09-03-2013, 08:31 PM
  4. How much slack is too much?
    By GnarBrahWyo in forum 29er Bikes
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 01-17-2013, 07:06 PM
  5. When is slack too slack?
    By Lickqid in forum Downhill - Freeride
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 10-30-2006, 11:10 PM

Members who have read this thread: 86

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.