Frame/ Fork descision- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    deez nuts
    Reputation: shaft's Avatar
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    Frame/ Fork decision

    So, I have ridden a Spot for 2 seasons now and for some reason I have decided that more travel is better...plus I got clearance from my wife to buy a new bike. I will keep the Spot which is set up light-ish... (28 lbs) and use it for xc racing. The Spot treated me well in the sport class this year and racing a bike with 5 inches of travel is the only way racing is fun for me.
    Here is my background: I live in the mountains and every ride starts with a "good" climb. I frequently do rides of 2-4 hours. Many of the trails are relatively buff singletrack with a techy rough section sprinkled in the mix. Most people think that 5 inches of travel is plenty given the terrain here. I agree....somewhat.
    I grew up racing BMX and then switched from XC to DH and DS. Now that I am a dad I, was told by my loving wife that if I am going to continue racing it will be XC or SD. I like to jump my bike, (always looking for a line that will let me double up roots and rocks) and I do med. size drops. There have been many times I have felt that my build of the Spot is holding me back. (spokes popping out of the hub (Mavic x-max) on drops, bar felt like it was flexing, (carbon monkey lite) front and rear suspension shuttering on some drops ( I have a RP3 and a DHX coil) and jumps, 2.3 tires etc) I didn't build up the Spot heavy duty because it was to be my only bike and I really wanted to race xc.

    I rode a 34 lb Nomad for the first time yesterday....a three hour ride that included good climbs, flats and descents. I wrote down all of my impressions of the bike after the ride so i wouldn't forget when I compare it to other bikes in this category. On the way back into town I was thinking about what type of bike I really wanted.. and needed and now I am completely stuck. Do I want a light weight (31ish) 6.5 inch travel bike (flame on) that I can do everything but race xc on or do i want a beefier 5-6 inch bike that will handle anything? (34-35 lb range) That bike may be too heavy to pedal on the epics and may not get the use I am hoping for b/c of the limiting terrain here. Here are my impressions of the Nomad: It had lots of travel, it climbed decently, I felt like I sat on top of it rather than inside like the Spot, it accelerated slowly (heavier wheelset and tires than I am used to) and now for the killer..it wouldn't pop or preload off rocks and roots like my Spot. I read that VPP suspensions are known for that dead feeling but didn't fully understand it until after I rode it. It had a DHX air and the propedal was turned all the way out. The rebound was set fairly quickly. If it was going to pop it should have. It have a 36 Talus on the front which felt good but did not blow my away like I thought it would. I envision the Intense 6.6 would behave similarly because of the design and the sag that is factored in. I rode a Foes FXR with a Carnutt shock it felt dead and un-snappy too. Is this also how a CCDB feels? I do understand the benefits of this charactoristics of these shocks and frames and while they may be the shizz for many they just don't fit my riding style.

    I am planning to ride the new RFX in Fruita in early October. I am relly hoping it feels like my Spot, but with more travel.

    So after babbling for way to long (I apologize) I am asking for help with what frame to get and how to set it up correctly for my riding style and terrain. I am sure there must be others that have similar preferences, terrain and riding styles and have already gone through this. My friends have been little help and I keep going around in circles second guessing myself.

    Thanks,

    Shaft
    Last edited by shaft; 09-11-2006 at 09:21 PM.

  2. #2
    Bite Me.
    Reputation: cutthroat's Avatar
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    Seems to me you answered your own question Shaft - RFX with a burly build. Keep the Sopt set up for your XC stuff. I don't know anywhere in Summit County that the Spot wouldn't really be the ride of choice unless you were going to drop in travel to a 4" pure XC ride like the Flux or Burner. Keystone seems like the only place there where the RFX would be truly challenged in that bigger configuration, but the stuff over here in Glenwood, GJ and Fruita would be great for the new ride. Nice predicament to be in
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

  3. #3
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    Your riding terrain and bike preferences sound like mine, shaft. While I didn't do any real BMX, I did ride dirt motos growing up. So I like to do the "braaaaaaaaap" while I ride, and I like to rip the descents.

    I did sort of the reverse of what you're doing. I rode a 34-35 lbs 6-Pack as my primary XC rig last season, then after getting beat down on uberlong alpine rides with fitter riders on lighter bikes, I got a 28-29 lbs 5-Spot this year. I've been much happier on the Spot and if I went back to XC racing no doubt it would be a good choice. At my age (45) I cannot ride a hardtail for a long alpine ride in rocky terrain. It's just too painful.

    I would suggest an RFX with coil suspension front and rear. My 6-Pack has a DHX 5.0 in the rear and a 36 VAN RC2 up front. It's amazing on the descents, just gobbles up everything in its path. Corners and climbs like a heavier 5-Spot. The ride will be very familiar and very close to what you know from your Spot.

    I would run midweight crank/BB (Atlas or Hone/LX/XT) and if you really haul ass on the rough descents, a chain tensioner would help. I use a DRS but I know there are others who use the modified Heim.

    Wheels and tires are what you'll know better than I will. You know what works for you now. I'd just give my positive vibes for the Maxxis Minion and Kenda Nevegal patterns.

  4. #4
    Bodhisattva
    Reputation: The Squeaky Wheel's Avatar
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    Shaft,
    I see you're in Colorado. I'm in Loveland. You're welcome to come down and try my rig if you'd like. I agree with Cutthroat that the Pack is overkill for much of the high alpine stuff. I've taken mine up Commando/2-Elk and some other big stuff in the Vail area but I much prefer my 29er SS HT for that stuff. For local Front Range trails, which are generally far more technical but not as long, the Pack tends to be my weapon of choice.

    My Pack is built to 33.5 lbs with DHX-C, Lyrik 2-step & Gravity Dropper post, etc. I could easily drop over a pound with a DHX-A and loosing the GD but what fun would that be?

    I've ridden the Nomad as well. It's a nice bike but not the bike for me either. Top tube feels ridiculously short for climbing even though i rode a large frame and I'm only 5'10". But it feels great descending. Certainly more plush & stable than a Pack/RFX. The wheelbase on the Nomad is also superlong which makes it a challenge on steep descending switchbacks.
    And the 36T is not a good fork and I'm sure adversely affected your opinion.

  5. #5
    deez nuts
    Reputation: shaft's Avatar
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    Thanks guys!
    Squeak, I may try and take you up on your offer. Do you think there is a noticeable difference between the coil and air (plushness) on the rear of the RFX? Is your Lyrik coil or air? I am hoping Turner will put Lyrik's on the RFX's for the demo.
    You say the RFX is not near as plush as the Nomad. I wonder if the 07 RFX will feel closer to the Nomad in terms of travel...with it's bump in travel? Was the Nomad more stable due to a longer wheel base? One other thing I really noticed on the Nomad, the Pro pedal adjustment on the Nomad made a huge differenance in the way it rode. The Pro pedal adj. on my pack really doesn't make a noticeable diff. I wonder if the design of the Nomad and the mechanical advantage it may have takes better advantage of the pro pedal feature...or maybe my propedal adjustment on my Spot isn't functioning?

    Thanks Shaft

  6. #6
    Bodhisattva
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaft
    Do you think there is a noticeable difference between the coil and air (plushness) on the rear of the RFX?
    The only air shock I've tried on my Pack/RFX was the DHX air which I really don't like. Not a matter of "plushness" but rather maintaining traction on repetitive stutter hits and the oft described DHX-A mid-stroke wallow. I'm not anti-air, just anti-DHX-A.

    Quote Originally Posted by shaft
    Is your Lyrik coil or air?
    2-Step air. Not quite as supple as the coil Lyrik on small repetitive stuff but very close. Then again, I've yet to ride an air fork/shock that's quite as supple on this stuff as its corresponding coil version. But I LOVE the 2-step feature and the weight savings is a bonus.


    Quote Originally Posted by shaft
    You say the RFX is not near as plush as the Nomad.
    it's not. Nomad has more travel and just an overall different suspension feel.

    Quote Originally Posted by shaft
    I wonder if the 07 RFX will feel closer to the Nomad in terms of travel...with it's bump in travel?
    I dunno.
    Quote Originally Posted by shaft
    Was the Nomad more stable due to a longer wheel base?
    Definitely a lot more stable. But also more cumbersome in switchbacks as previously described.
    Quote Originally Posted by shaft
    One other thing I really noticed on the Nomad, the Pro pedal adjustment on the Nomad made a huge differenance in the way it rode. The Pro pedal adj. on my pack really doesn't make a noticeable diff. I wonder if the design of the Nomad and the mechanical advantage it may have takes better advantage of the pro pedal feature...or maybe my propedal adjustment on my Spot isn't functioning?
    could be either or a combo of both factors. Again, I dunno.

    Also, pedal kickback on the Nomad is noticeable and is one of those traits that drives me nuts. And like you, I felt like I wasn't sitting in the bike but more on top of it which I reckon is due to the short TT.

  7. #7
    ride
    Reputation: ignazjr's Avatar
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    Squeak and everyone else have made some excellent observations. If you're going to keep the Spot, maybe lighten it up a tad if you can, then go for something burlier for your other bike. I went from a Spot to a 6.6 for my personal ride. I think something like that would fit the bill as well as an RFX. The RFX is a bit long in the wheelbase for my riding style, but the 6.6 is spot on. It's cockpit, geometries, and wheelbase are more XC than the freeridey oriented geos of the Nomad.

    I got the impression from Cutthroat that you're on the western slope. If most of your riding doesn't involve tight woods or switchbacks, the RFX would be awesome. That'd be my main ride if I lived in the desert.
    Redstone Cyclery
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