Dos Niner or Leviathan for Marathon XC???- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    C-Hog
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    Dos Niner or Leviathan for Marathon XC???

    Even though I have been racing mtn bikes for almost 20 years now, this past weekend I competed in my first Marathon-length XC race. (6-hour solo.) Based on this weekend, I have arrived at two conclusions... 1.) Marathon events are FUN. 2.) Marathon events are NOT FUN on an aluminum hardtail.

    I also just received today a very nice bonus at work. So I plan to use a portion of that bonus to replace my '05 Paragon with something that will treat my 47-year-old back with a little more respect. What I need from you, my valued and trusted fellow 29er's, is your expert opinions to this question... "Looking for a bike to do it all... Marathon XC, Fire/Gravel Road Hauler, Chequamegon-type XC races... which bike is the best choice... Dos Niner? Leviathan? Other?

    I really do value the expertise and maturity that is found on this board. Your comments and suggestions will greatly affect my ultimate decision here. PLEASE help me out.

    Many thanks,
    Jim C.

  2. #2

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    I don't know about the Leviathan, but I will have a Dos Niner built up this week that you could try out. I am in Lee's Summit and we could meet at Landahl sometime if you want to check it out. Otherwise I will have it at the God's Country Marathion race April 3.

  3. #3
    C-Hog
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    Thanks for the offer...

    Quote Originally Posted by heenan
    I don't know about the Leviathan, but I will have a Dos Niner built up this week that you could try out. I am in Lee's Summit and we could meet at Landahl sometime if you want to check it out. Otherwise I will have it at the God's Country Marathion race April 3.
    I'll take you up on that. Please check your PM's.

    Jim C.

  4. #4
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    I've seen neither in the flesh, but for marathons, I'm looking at the Leviathan, AND the Dos, but for shorter XC only. But I'm a louzy endurance rider, I need all the comfort and DH speed I can find, to make up for fatique and slow climbs. Short XC I mostly do rigid. A Leviathan costs extra, and weighs more, but not a lot, 1.5lb or so.
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  5. #5
    jl
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    Quote Originally Posted by C-Hog
    "Looking for a bike to do it all... Marathon XC, Fire/Gravel Road Hauler, Chequamegon-type XC races... which bike is the best choice... Dos Niner? Leviathan? Other?

    Many thanks,
    Jim C.
    I would look at the Leviathan, or the Asylum. I have the Leviathan, and with a WB .8 fork, it would be a great marathon race machine. I'm using mine this year for a couple of long races. I have the WB 1.0 on it because it is not just a race bike for me, it's my everything bike ...

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  6. #6

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    Soft tail vs. FS

    The Dos is a great bike for fast as you can go riding in dry conditions. And if you were racing 2 hour XCs, I say it would be a great the choice between the two. But for a sitting in a saddle solo for an extended period of time while having to being in an older body, that won't be getting any younger (I'm 51), I'd personally go FS in whatever flavor you choose.

  7. #7
    featherweight clydesdale
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    If you are otherwise happy with the hardtail (don't really need a new bike), get a Thudbuster...much more travel than the Dos and lighter that the current FS options.

    I have a Thudbusted hardtail and a Titus RX. In the under 3" of travel catagory(Lenz, Titus,Asylum), the Thud provides "almost" the same quality ride when seated. The RX comes into its own in rough tight single track where superior rear wheel grip lets you push the pace a little harder.

    The Thud is only $100. Try it before you dismiss it.

  8. #8
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    Racer X or Asylum....

    I've built up my Racer X w/ 100 mile & 24 hr events in mind along w/ being stout enough for southern UT desert terrain along w/ the high alpine rocky singletrack up here in the Wasatch. The RacerX 29er is super responsive, handles like no other and buttery smooth and plush. I've stepped it up a notch and am running the fabulous Mav DUC32 up front - really enables it to be put on 'autopilot' throuhg the rock gardens etc...that and the fact that it climbs as good as the 85mm fork it replaced(the fact that its only 3.5lbs complete doesnt hurt either)!
    All in all w/ an all-around trail build that could still be racey when there is an event it came it at 25.5lbs! If one of the stock alum sizes fits it could be a touch lighter(Asylum) by a few ounces.
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  9. #9
    The Duuude, man...
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    marathon: Lenz
    XC <2hr: salsa

    However, you could Thudbust (or Tamer if you want higher quality at same price) the salsa and make it marathonable.

    Or you could get the Lenz with a .8 instead of a 1.0 and make it super racey.
    FS: Everything

  10. #10
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    A nice Sugar, like the one Nat Ross used to win the 24H of moab !
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  11. #11
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    Personally...I'm not a fan of a softail....either ride a HT or a good FS, but don't ride the fence...
    In my limited experience, the Lenz could be built up as a rocket-ship XC weapon....it's rides pretty much like that anyway....As someone else noted, for endurance events...you may want that extra cush....or perhaps you'd want the extra tunability of the RP3?
    IMO, go Lenz....

  12. #12

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    What are we looking at for cost on some of these? I'm asking a lot of these same questions as I prepare to sell off all of my 26" wheeled bikes....

    I know the Asylum is about $1500 for the frame. The Dos9er is around $1000 or so. The Sugar prices are pretty well documented. How much will a Lenz frame set me back?

    Thanks for the info.

    Peter

  13. #13
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    Get a gym membership instead...

    Quote Originally Posted by Padre
    ....As someone else noted, for endurance events...you may want that extra cush....
    IMHO, your hardtail will better both of your suggestions in an endurance event. With reasonable success, I've competed in 100 mile to 100 K endurance events and note that comfort = efficiency. The "extra cush" comes at the cost of efficiency. At the speeds most endurance races are run at and the terrain they're run on, a fully "firm" bike can handle it all quite well and won't suck up any precious watts that should be used to move your bike forward instead of up and down. Use that bonus to get a gym membership, go three times a week and do a whole body workout with light weights, and do 300 crunches a day. You'll look better, feel better, and kick some serious butt on those that think a barco-lounger will keep them comfortable after 8+ hours...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jl
    it's my everything bike ...
    Funny, I have a strange desire to break out in a song...

  15. #15
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    I'd do a Racer-x design personally. The Leviathan is very nice too but I think has more travel than needed for Marathon events.

    This was posted by rossixc a while back and is good info.....
    ************************************************** ************************************************** **
    Racer-X vs Leviathan vs Fisher :

    I own two of these bikes and borrowed the third from Mike Curiak to do the first full suspension review of all three bikes on a relatively controlled course. Quantitative info is reported first, qualitative is second

    Bikes – Fisher 293 with Fox Float R shock and BW 1.0 fork (run in the 4.1” travel setting)
    Titus Racer X with Fox Pro Pedal shock and BW 1.0 fork
    Leviathan with DT shock and BW 1.0 fork with 20mm thru-axle

    All shocks were set to specification for my weight of 158 lbs.
    All tires inflated to 40 psi and Kenda Klaws were used for all bikes to keep it consistent.
    Test loop was the Grand Loop (Mary’s, Steve’s, Lions, Troy’s, frontage road) at the Kokopelli trailhead in Loma, CO, ridden on three separate days so that fatigue was not an issue.

    Temps each day were 95+ degrees Fahrenheit.

    Heart rate range 145-170 (high and low settings on my monitor), each loop was completed without incident and loop times were:

    2:05 Fisher
    1:53 Leviathan
    1:45 Titus

    I neglected to set my calorie counter with the Leviathan so that comparison is not valid however the difference between the Titus and Fisher was 155 calories with fewer being burned on the Titus.
    .
    Quick ratings for general overall ride impression: Titus, Leviathan, and then Fisher.
    Comfort rating (subjective feel): Fisher, Leviathan, and Titus
    Handling: Titus, Leviathan, and Fisher
    Weight: all within 2 lbs. of each other (that’s less than two water bottles)

    Value rating is difficult to do since each bike was not stock – even the Fisher had many parts switched out. Shifters are irrelevant, as are posts, cranks, BB, brakes… All bikes were measured and adjusted so that I had the same distance from center of saddle rails to bar center and center of BB spindle to top of saddle. Saddles were all centered to the seat tube so there was no issue with seatpost layback. Please don’t ask me for all the quirky measurements like front-center, rear-center, wheelbase, trail, bb height, chainstay length, head angle, seat tube angle. Even though all of these measurements do matter they are all available from the manufacturer and I was only concerned with rider cockpit setup to find out which bike rode best for me, in a normal setup, without being too anal.

    Of note, the wheel system on the Leviathan, technically, should have been much stiffer than the other two bikes. The Leviathan had a 36-hole front with 20mm thru axle, and the rear was a Zipp. Both other bikes made use of the same wheel set, Bontrager Race Lites. However, I did not notice an overwhelming difference. Stiffer? Yes. Earth shattering? No. I may not weigh enough to truly take advantage of this. That being said, since the front wheel was 200g heavier than the Bontrager, and the fork is 90 grams heavier with the 20mm thru axle, some performance issues would change from the weight difference. I will be testing this more over the next few months, along with 20mm axles on shorter travel.

    The most active feeling bike is the Fisher. The overall feel is like you are sitting into the bike and suspension due to the high front end. It is important to note that the Fisher, set in the 4” mode, was the most balanced with the 4” travel fork. It was the only bike to not feel choppered out with the BW 1.0. However, when you first start to ride the Fisher the bike feels very flexi. It does not ride flexible it just feels springy. Point the bike where you wish and it goes. The bike climbs well on the trail and there is not excessive motion when on the trail. Overall the bike feels good once you are used to the rider position, but it always feels flexible even though it is not.

    The next most active bike is the Leviathan. However, this bike feels right from the start. It was the first 29” bike I threw a leg over that felt like a 26” wheeled bike set-up. The bike felt custom from the start. The only complaint is that the 4” fork chopped the front end out a little bit giving a slight tiller effect for the first 20 minutes of riding until rider compensation set in. Mike C. has commented before on how the bike handles, and I would echo his feelings. The Leviathan has a point and ride characteristic superior to that of the Fisher without a soft feel.

    With all that I have written so far I am lead to the Titus in the end. It is, without a doubt, the most efficient and best feeling 29” bike I have ridden. Some of the feel may be attributed to the rear shock, but this bike accelerates like a ridged bike and tracks like a sports car descending. The rear end is stiffer laterally than any other FS bike I have ridden (maybe a normal characteristic of the Racer X design). That being said, when riding the bike it gives a sports car type ride meaning that the rear suspension does not “feel” as compliant as the other bikes. However, I did not finish riding my test loop feeling more fatigued as I would expect from such a firm feel. Climbing was very efficient – hard tail feel with FS traction. I truly found certain climbs surprisingly easy having thought they would be difficult in my mind from my previous ride.

    Conclusion is this. For a do everything race/trail bike the Titus is my choice hands down. Faster ride with less energy burned sums it all up. The Leviathan is a close second but did not feel quite as responsive climbing and handling was a touch slower than the Titus (I like “traditional” race type feel). As mentioned the wheel/fork combo had an effect on this. The Fisher, although third in my test, may still find a place in my stable, as it is a great all around bike and I need to ride it in short travel mode to see if that changes my opinion. Also, if on a smaller budget (although still large) the Fisher is a fine choice as it comes stock with very useable parts and is ready to go, the geometry takes a little bit to get used to (I have owned this bike for 10 months and it still requires a get to know it break in each ride).

    Ask me any questions that you may have, I’ll answer honestly. I only ask that we don’t get too lost in the technical theory of this and that (see earlier note). The bottom line results are truly gleaned from the brief quantitative info up top.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeT
    IMHO, your hardtail will better both of your suggestions in an endurance event. With reasonable success, I've competed in 100 mile to 100 K endurance events and note that comfort = efficiency. The "extra cush" comes at the cost of efficiency. At the speeds most endurance races are run at and the terrain they're run on, a fully "firm" bike can handle it all quite well and won't suck up any precious watts that should be used to move your bike forward instead of up and down. Use that bonus to get a gym membership, go three times a week and do a whole body workout with light weights, and do 300 crunches a day. You'll look better, feel better, and kick some serious butt on those that think a barco-lounger will keep them comfortable after 8+ hours...
    Hardtail? You are saying he should be riding a cyclocross bike.

  17. #17
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2melow
    I'd do a Racer-x design personally. The Leviathan is very nice too but I think has more travel than needed for Marathon events.
    RX = 2.85 or 2.86"
    Lenz = 3.0"

    Both look pretty close to me. The Thudbuster is in the same range and cost at least $1,400 less. I pick my (Thudbusted) hardtail over my RX every time the ride is more fire road than singletrack.

  18. #18
    The Duuude, man...
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2melow
    This was posted by rossixc a while back and is good info.....
    ************************************************** ************************************************** **
    2:05 Fisher
    1:53 Leviathan
    1:45 Titus
    That's a nice and well written report, but I called BS on it a year or so ago, and I'm callin' it again now. Flame me if you want.

    Anyone who's raced a lot knows that 2-3 minutes in a <2hr race is an ass-whippin'. 5 minutes is totally no-contest. 10 minutes is beyond embarrassement, down the road, changing clothes and hanging at the finish line encouraging your competitors to finish strong becuase you're so much of a sandbagger. To even suggest that chaning ONLY the bike (unless it's a pimp bike compared to a Wal-Mart Bike) could give a full 20 minute swing in a <2hr course is pure nonsense.

    Clarification: I'm not saying now, nor was I a year ago, that this guy is lying about his results. I'm quite certain that he recorded those times, and that he beleives them to be accurate. I AM saying the recorded times are not due entirely to the bike differences. If you have a background in expiramentation, you know what I mean. I'm talking expiramentor bias (for those of you that don't understand this concept, it's not a "on-purpose" phenomenon), and failure to control extraneous variables.
    FS: Everything

  19. #19
    jl
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    2Melow,

    I remember this review. I really liked the subjective parts. I completely ignored the objective parts--because they weren't really objective if you know what I mean...
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  20. #20
    Cassoulet forever !
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    NJC01, i agree with you on that.
    His protocol is nice (same tires and position on the bike) except one big mistake, he only rode each bike once !
    We need at least several rides with the same bike giving the same results to have any evidence here.

    There's a guy who did this in the weight weenie forum, in order to compare 2 different set of tires. He made "robotic laps", incredibly identical, with the same tires (within 10s on a 20 minutes ride). There was a clear difference between the 2 sets of tires (1'30) and the conclusion was clear.

    As for the test about FS 29er, the only thing i see in this experiment is that he rode faster after learning the trail and knowing it better....
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  21. #21

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    293

    The addition of the 5th Element air makes a major difference in the effeciency of the 293 eliminating the springiness. With the stable platform valving and the WB 1.0 in combination, this gives a vary balanced bike front to rear as I've expressed before and is so much more efficient than with the Fox Float R. I sometimes wished I had tried the Manitou SPV, but the 5th has performed well and is light.

    Over the last two weeks I've been riding the Dos which was purchased to be my race bike this year, but tonight it will be the 293's turn. Tonight will be an interesting comparison since I've been riding my Ti prior to the Dos preparing for the race season and haven't been on the GF in a while. I do like the Dos as set up better than the Ti. Yet the 293 is also a very racable and thinking about trying another XC on it this year. Again as I've stated in other post there is very little stock on the 293 except the frame and actually the front triangle has been replaced so the only thing from the origional purchase is the rear triangle. The bike weights about 26 pounds. I won the XC Sport 50+ division at Bar-H in Texas last year on the 293 which has a mix of steep short climbs, rocks, sand and hardpack flats and was very comfortable on the bike through the race. But I also won two races on my Ti 29er and hate to admit it but I also won on a Ti 26 before I got into 29ers. The reason I got into 29er was because I got my rear kick in Waco last year at the Norba Nationals by a not so young man on a GF 292. I just believe the 29er is a faster race bike especially in marathons where energy conservation is important.

    I think what you need to get is the bike that hits you on an emotional level and fills the need at the price your willing to pay. Every bike has it's limitations and advantages otherwise we would all be riding the same bike. I think for a full suspension 29er the GF has a good bang for the buck with on minor improvements. The question truely is how deep is you pocket book. I have a friend that just entered the 29er world with a Titus Racer X Ti frame, Stans rims w/CK hubs and some other very best components. I'd have to work 3 months just to pay for the frame. But man, it is pretty.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quasi
    Hardtail? You are saying he should be riding a cyclocross bike.
    I re-read my post and don't see how you reached the conclusion that I recommended "he should be riding a cyclocross bike". Not that he shouldn't, if the course allowed it -- I've done many 100-160k rides on gravel and dirt while riding a cross bike. Most of the endurance races I've done, howerver, do require something more substantial than a 35c tire as well as gearing smaller than 38 x 27...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenseltz
    I won the XC Sport 50+ division at Bar-H in Texas last year on the 293 which has a mix of steep short climbs, rocks, sand and hardpack flats and was very comfortable on the bike through the race.
    stevenseltz - That was the best part of your post! I like reading about VET2 and above wining on 29ers!!!

    For what it's worth, I rode my Asylum in my last 24hr race and it was fantastic. I'm ready to build a Dos Niner for XC racing though. I'd like to shave a pound or two for the short races.

  24. #24
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    Totally. I just thought I'd post it because there is some good info (if you ignore the lap times) which described the way each bike climbs, active feeling, etc.

    The 292(or293) was an option ignored.

    The Racer-x rarely gets mentioned here as well. The Racer-x is one of the fastest xc machines out there and shouldn't be left off the short list. After all, there are a lot of endurance racers who love this frame....and these reviews don't lie... http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/Frameset...ct_21404.shtml
    Front Range Forum Moderator

  25. #25

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    Weight

    Quote Originally Posted by TeamSwami.com
    stevenseltz - That was the best part of your post! I like reading about VET2 and above wining on 29ers!!!

    For what it's worth, I rode my Asylum in my last 24hr race and it was fantastic. I'm ready to build a Dos Niner for XC racing though. I'd like to shave a pound or two for the short races.
    I'm afraid I'm not going to have the same luck this year, now expert and not up to the task due to work and knee problems.

    The Dos to me is a good race bike, but slightly disappointed it being heavier than I had wished due to set up (see my post on the Dos niner). Actually the Dos niner and the 293 weight the same at 26 pounds. The Dos with Reba and disk. The 293 with WB 1.0 and V's. I can get the Dos to 24 with WB.8 and v's but the Reba with the PopLoc and floodgate make up for the 2 pounds and really wished I could use v's with the Reba. The 293 with the stable platform shock is pretty quick itself and turns well for a bike with 4" travel front and rear.

  26. #26
    mvi
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    I agree,

    There is something very wrong with those results. Basically it is one measurement per bike to which you can not apply much reliability. (forgive me for not remembering the statistics).
    I have a pig of a K2 FS to which I mounted a downhill rearshock for that caddilac (sp?) feel. Still this bike will not be minutes slower with the same tires on any course except a completely smooth one. If that difference came from the bike Fisher must have done a terrible job, and other people have proven that this is not the case.
    Ride each bike at least three times and use different riders as well to decrease bias. Double blind is pretty hard with bikes heh?

    Quote Originally Posted by ncj01
    That's a nice and well written report, but I called BS on it a year or so ago, and I'm callin' it again now. Flame me if you want.

    Anyone who's raced a lot knows that 2-3 minutes in a <2hr race is an ass-whippin'. 5 minutes is totally no-contest. 10 minutes is beyond embarrassement, down the road, changing clothes and hanging at the finish line encouraging your competitors to finish strong becuase you're so much of a sandbagger. To even suggest that chaning ONLY the bike (unless it's a pimp bike compared to a Wal-Mart Bike) could give a full 20 minute swing in a <2hr course is pure nonsense.

    Clarification: I'm not saying now, nor was I a year ago, that this guy is lying about his results. I'm quite certain that he recorded those times, and that he beleives them to be accurate. I AM saying the recorded times are not due entirely to the bike differences. If you have a background in expiramentation, you know what I mean. I'm talking expiramentor bias (for those of you that don't understand this concept, it's not a "on-purpose" phenomenon), and failure to control extraneous variables.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alta825
    I've stepped it up a notch and am running the fabulous Mav DUC32 up front - really enables it to be put on 'autopilot' throuhg the rock gardens etc...that and the fact that it climbs as good as the 85mm fork it replaced(the fact that its only 3.5lbs complete doesnt hurt either)!
    Just curious...I thought the DUC32 was 6", or can/are you locking the travel down to something less? I don't know the A-C measurement of the Mav fork, but I'd assume that even in a best-case situation it would be enough to slacken the HA to something very undesirable in a bike like that. I don't know anything about the R-X 29'er geometry, though, so please forgive my ignorance if it's designed with a taller fork in mind.

  28. #28
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    Ok...

    In stock form the fork has 6" travel and 4" or so when 'locked down' but......

    -W/ the 29er mod you shorten the travel by 30-32mm, so now the fork has 120mm PRE-SAG travel
    .
    -This fork is different from alot of the other one's out there - it's designed to be run w/ quite a bit of sag Mav recommends something like 30-40mm, I've opted for only @25mm(most other fork's are usully run w/ 10-15mm sag. Yes in the 'static' position it definitely is taller, A-C is like 517mm or so(FYI -a WB 1.0 is @505mm, I think??) once you factor in the sag it is right in there w/ all other forks, w/ the extra sag it reacts super to the small stuff while still being able to soak up the big hits. Check out the info on the Maverick site, they do a great job explaining it in even greater detail

    -This RX29er was built to be a super quick singletrack ripper w/ a 80-85mm fork or a sweet/stable trail rig w/ 100mm up front, w/ the DUC32 it feels like it's right in the middle, in the 'locked down' position it is a tad steeper the 85mm fok I had up front so it handles the super-steep switchbacksw/ ease

    -And lastly the weight is real impressive as well @ 3.5lbs w/ the stem/hub


    I originally put this fork on as an experiment, I'd ridden the fork on a couple of 26er Mavericks over the last few years and was always impressed. Needless to say it's still on the bike. Only change will probably be playing around w/ the compression washer stack, if it was just a hair quicker it'd be the shiznit.


    Cheers,

    D








    QUOTE=SprungShoulders]Just curious...I thought the DUC32 was 6", or can/are you locking the travel down to something less? I don't know the A-C measurement of the Mav fork, but I'd assume that even in a best-case situation it would be enough to slacken the HA to something very undesirable in a bike like that. I don't know anything about the R-X 29'er geometry, though, so please forgive my ignorance if it's designed with a taller fork in mind.[/QUOTE]

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