'08 Flux or Sultan for endurance racing?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    '08 Flux or Sultan for endurance racing?

    Here's the deal boys and girls. I will be building up a endurance race bike for next season and need some serious help. The new flux is going on a diet and seems like a great long distance race bike. The sultan seems nice and the pavement rides I've been on have been great to. Seems like from reading the forum that the sultan my be on the AM side of XC while the flux is a xc machine.

    How am I supposed to decide which one to choose? Both isn't an option. It seems that the sultan is going to build up 2+ pounds heavier but isn't a huge deal breaking. Test rides are out of the question with snow on the ground and the need to get an order in before things thaw out.

    What's the diciding factor here? Is the weight of the sultan and larger wheel going to make it stand out over the flux or is it not going to play a major factor? Is the flux going to be a better "racer"? I realize a number of guys doing the GDR and other long distance races are riding 29ers so that's why this decision is so tough.

    Thanks for the help and dealing with the long post.

  2. #2
    Bodhisattva
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    Yo B,

    you know my thoughts.

  3. #3
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    I do know how you feel. I have nothing against the sultan at all for an everyday bike. Just not sure if it is a "race" bike.

  4. #4
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    id guess it may depend on the courses yer gonna race on. it seems from what ive read here, the sultan can feel a touch draggy on longer, flatter smoother sections due to the heavier wheel packages but much more in tune with the techy areas due to those same big diameter hoops ability to roll through the rocks and roots.

    i loved xc racin my flux. it was as nimble a fs bike as ive ever known and it was designed for just this kinda endurance thing. miles swears by his sultan for the same xc race stuff. the thing is i dont recall anyone here talkin bout it on a very long race day. no answers here but maybe some perspective may help.
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  5. #5
    Bodhisattva
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtn_man2
    I do know how you feel. I have nothing against the sultan at all for an everyday bike. Just not sure if it is a "race" bike.
    Paging Miles E & Mikesee.....

  6. #6
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    If there is any rugged component to your endurance race courses, I would choose the Sultan. The benefits will be in the ability to relax later in the race, while still RAILING the downhill stuff. It is darn near idiot-proof going downhill.

    I base this on just doing one race a year, but it is a 100 mile race with 18,000 feet of climbing. Mostly up double track, then down single track.
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  7. #7
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    I've been racing on my Flux since 2005 (3 seasons, 4-6 races a year including 24 solos) and would wholeheartedly recommend it for endurance racing. I just received a Sultan and am in the evaluation phase (2 rides so far) and I think it could be a viable endurance bike. I will probably get the Sultan within 2 lbs. of the Flux if I use it as a racer. I think that the bigger wheels lend themselves well for long sustained efforts because of their ability to roll over the irregularities on the trail. I raced a Sultan at Sea Otter and the heavy tires and wheels on that bike really drained my legs as it got toward the end of the race. I agree with the others that if most of your racing is on rougher courses that the Sultan is a great bike. For XC racing, I prefer the snappier acceleration of the Flux.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo
    I base this on just doing one race a year, but it is a 100 mile race with 18,000 feet of climbing. Mostly up double track, then down single track.
    So that's your secret, you spend your whole season peaking for the Cream Puff.

    Seriously, if it does that well in a race with that much climbing, I don't think there is any reason to doubt the Sultan is a top shelf endurance racing weapon (sorry for the mixed metaphor, but "racing liquor" didn't sound right ).

    I raced mine extensively in XC races this year, and had some great results at the expert level, even if "climbing" races (eg Mt. Snow, Pat's Peak- sense a theme?) didn't treat me so well. In retrospect I would say that's because the bigger wheels are less of an advantage on grind-it-out climbs. Not a disadvantage necessarily, but definitely not the same "it feels like I'm cheating" sensation that I grew accustomed to on courses that were rolling to moderately climbing intensive. That, and the fact that I'm not much of a climber to begin with.

    My races top out around three hours, but I've always said that I thought the bigger wheels would be more of an advantage as the distances increase. Both because of what Kosmo mentioned, that they let you save your mental/physical energy, and because accelerating/attacking would seem to make up proportionately less of a 100 mile race than a 25 mile race. I personally prefer attacking with my Sultan (on anything other than a steep climb) because of the way the wheels carry your speed once you're really cranking- try to picture Tom Boonen on 650c wheels. Nevertheless, it's hard to argue that 26" wheels don't have an advantage, however slight it may be, in pure acceleration.

    Let me summarize it this way- when I had a Flux, I always figured I'd use my 5 Spot instead if I ever got around to doing an endurance race, for many of the exact reasons mentioned above. The Flux is lethal on a XC race course, and for that application I'd never make a blanket statement about the Sultan being the better bike. For endurance racing though, the scales really seem to tip in favor of the Sultan.
    ''It seems like a bit of a trend, everyone trying to make things longer over the last couple of years" Sam Hill

  9. #9
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    I gotta tell ya guys...the fog is lifting. The few responses here from you all pretty much sum up the answer. I'll begin working on a sultan build again in the excel spread sheet.

    Look forward to further information as I'm sure this thread won't die for a few days.

  10. #10
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    FWIW I can build my XL Sultan for XC and endurance to be at the 26lb range and not worry about durability. Have done 24hrs and expert XC on another 29er in the past and won't go back to smaller wheels. Build your bike around your wheels and you won't be disappointed.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtn_man2
    Here's the deal boys and girls. I will be building up a endurance race bike for next season and need some serious help. The new flux is going on a diet and seems like a great long distance race bike. The sultan seems nice and the pavement rides I've been on have been great to. Seems like from reading the forum that the sultan my be on the AM side of XC while the flux is a xc machine.

    How am I supposed to decide which one to choose? Both isn't an option. It seems that the sultan is going to build up 2+ pounds heavier but isn't a huge deal breaking. Test rides are out of the question with snow on the ground and the need to get an order in before things thaw out.

    What's the diciding factor here? Is the weight of the sultan and larger wheel going to make it stand out over the flux or is it not going to play a major factor? Is the flux going to be a better "racer"? I realize a number of guys doing the GDR and other long distance races are riding 29ers so that's why this decision is so tough.

    Thanks for the help and dealing with the long post.

    First tell me about the trails that you are going to be riding.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by miles e
    So that's your secret, you spend your whole season peaking for the Cream Puff.
    Bit of truth to that, for sure. Also, where I live, every ride is a climb/descend type of ride. You can't buy a flat or rolling ride. Plus, after year-round racing of one thing or another my whole life until I was 21, there is just barely one race per year's worth of take no prisoners competitiveness in this near 50-year old body any more!

    To the OP, I guess the one thing that hasn't been mentioned in this thread, is that I feel the 29er is a real no-brainer for taller riders. I'm 6'2", and when I get on my RFX now, it just feels silly for the first hour.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  13. #13
    jrm
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    9er..

    more comfortable being on (pedaling, forgiveness, descending )over a longer period of time. More can be done with selective gearing, light wheels and tires.

  14. #14
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    In SAT terms

    26 pound 29" FS : 24 pound 26" FS :: 24 pound 26" FS : 22 pound 26" HT

    In other words, I think for me at least, it's worth adding weight to switch from a hardtail to full suspension in longer races, then it's worth adding weight again to have a 29er FS. I'm just a sport class racer though, so your mileage may vary.

    When I raced team 24 hours of Moab, I brought a 5 inch travel RFX and a much lighter XC race bike for 4 years. I did my first lap ever on the XC bike, then the next 11 laps on the RFX. I was able to conserve energy so much better with the plush suspension, I never really wanted to be beat up to save weight with the lighter bike.

    If I ever go back, I'll be riding my Sultan. I sold my Epiphany which was under 25 pounds with race wheels and tires. Replaced it with my Sultan which is just under 27 pounds in race dress. From the half dozen rides I've done on the Sultan, I'm sure I'll be as fast or faster on longer races.
    Last edited by Bob the Wheelbuilder; 11-25-2007 at 09:01 PM.
    {Principal Skinner} Hmm. Whoever did this is in very deep trouble.
    {Martin} And a sloppy speller too. The preferred spelling of 'wiener' is w - i - e - n - e - r, although 'e - i' is an acceptable ethnic variant.

  15. #15
    Daniel the Dog
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    Some questions

    How big are you? Kosmo is big and strong. A 29er has his name written all over it.
    What kind of trails? I find my 29er struggles a bit in the tight stuff. It rails on longer trails where the big wheels haul butt.
    My 29er needs more effort to get up to speed due to the size of the wheels and weight.
    I agree that the 29er needs less thought on descents on many trails. This would give you more comfort time and less worry about endoing and crashing.
    It is a tough call. I think I go faster on my 26er but for fair comparison it is a decked out Spot with a Gravity Dropper. Doh!
    Go ride a 29er even if it is a HT just to see how you like it.

    Jaybo

  16. #16
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    Answers:

    I live in Jackson, WY. I will likely do races in UT, ID, CO and the Laramie Enduro. Around here it isn't so rocky but in the other states it will be. Mountains or at least hills will be a part of all the races.

    I'm 5' 9" and weigh 145. I currently ride a Ventana X5 that I love but it's too much IMHO for racing.

  17. #17
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    Hi mtn_man2. I've spent considerable time on both rigs. In fact, the Flux is one of my favorite bikes of all time. I've been riding 29ers for a couple years now and a Sultan since August. If I went back to racing, I'd pick and choose for each race depending on how long it was. If I was only going to focus on endurance racing, though, I'd give the nod to the Sultan. When you're on the bike for hours on end, little things tend to be exagerated, you get fatigued, etc. The Flux is light and quick, which is great, but at the end of an 8 or 9 hour race, that quickness isn't so great when you're tired and riding sloppy. The Sultan is super stable and steadfast - definitely qualities that I look for in a bike I'm going to spend all day on. Not sure about the other races you're going to hit, but I've done Laramie a few times. I'd like to race that again. If I go back, it'll be on the Sultan with some really light wheels

    29ers are great for cranking out an even pace all day long.
    Redstone Cyclery
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  18. #18
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    Sultan for sure!

    Dude if this is going to be your one and only bike, then make it the Sultan. I don't say this because I own one, but because I own a similar bike in the Niner RIP9 and depending on what you want to accomplish you can set either up super XC or Agro AM.

    With where you live you will much more enjoy the Sultan, especially on Enduro events. I know I truly loved my RIP9 this year during the Laramie Enduro, even with it bulky build around 30-31lbs. Where you're tired you don't have to worry as much.

    Best bet is Build up the Sultan with an XC and AM type wheelsets with tyres to suit and swap them out as you go from racing to having fun or just swap out tyres - use some CrossMarks for racing and some Rampages for general fun riding. Even consider a couple other components that could drop you some weight and switch out easy/fast.



    Quote Originally Posted by mtn_man2
    Answers:

    I live in Jackson, WY. I will likely do races in UT, ID, CO and the Laramie Enduro. Around here it isn't so rocky but in the other states it will be. Mountains or at least hills will be a part of all the races.

    I'm 5' 9" and weigh 145. I currently ride a Ventana X5 that I love but it's too much IMHO for racing.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  19. #19
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    this might be the most sound advice to date dave. id be sold if i were him. as a matter of fact, i am. the flux is still the bike for a old hack like me whos idea of endurance is 2 laps around the parkin lot to cool down after a 2 or 3 hour ride instead of the usual 1 lap.
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  20. #20
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    I don't know which one is better, but either one would have been nice instead of the 33lb 6pack I rode in this years 24 of killington!

    Either one will be great. I would prefer the flux, because it probably climbs a tad faster and the frame was just redesigned...and I already have the 6pack for AM riding.

    But, if it's your main ride, then get the Sultan. It's a NICE rig.

  21. #21
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    24 hours in vermont on a pack? there must be a catagory for stud of the year. how many folks on yer team? and if ya say solo im gonna shyt myself and post a pic of my dirty skivys.
    No, I'm NOT back!

  22. #22
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    This bike will be my training and race bike. I have a Ventana X5 which will be my trail bike. I honostly couldn't go wrong with either bike but the decision is still tough.

  23. #23
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    Some data for you.

    There's a big local ride with a good mix of climbing, fast singletrack and moderate chunk called the Hurricane Rim, Gould's Rim and JEM loop. I do this from the Sheep Bridge parking lot and it's about 24 miles total. I've been timing myself on this ride for several years. Here are my times, from oldest to newest:

    Ellsworth Moment (approx 32 #): 3:18, 3:08, 3:08.
    Turner 6 Pack (varies, 32-35#): 3:08, 3;03.
    Ellsworth Epiphany (26.4 pounds): 3:00.
    Turner Sultan (26.7 pounds): 2:46.

    I did the 2:46 today and I'm in considerably worse shape than when I rode the Epiphany. I hoped to equal my previous best time and I'm rather surprised I ended up being 14 minutes faster.
    {Principal Skinner} Hmm. Whoever did this is in very deep trouble.
    {Martin} And a sloppy speller too. The preferred spelling of 'wiener' is w - i - e - n - e - r, although 'e - i' is an acceptable ethnic variant.

  24. #24
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    That's really interesting Bob. I have seen your recent build and have ridden a couple of the trails you've mentioned. The data clearly tells a story.

    Thanks for the info.

  25. #25
    Bodhisattva
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob the Wheelbuilder
    There's a big local ride with a good mix of climbing, fast singletrack and moderate chunk called the Hurricane Rim, Gould's Rim and JEM loop. I do this from the Sheep Bridge parking lot and it's about 24 miles total. I've been timing myself on this ride for several years. Here are my times, from oldest to newest:

    Ellsworth Moment (approx 32 #): 3:18, 3:08, 3:08.
    Turner 6 Pack (varies, 32-35#): 3:08, 3;03.
    Ellsworth Epiphany (26.4 pounds): 3:00.
    Turner Sultan (26.7 pounds): 2:46.

    I did the 2:46 today and I'm in considerably worse shape than when I rode the Epiphany. I hoped to equal my previous best time and I'm rather surprised I ended up being 14 minutes faster.
    Just think how fast you'd be if you rode an Evolve !


    Cool data Bob.

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