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I just rented a 2009 XL-29 HiFi Delux over the holiday and was really impressed by: 1) the fit, 2) the balance, 3) the pedal efficiency and 4) the steep HT angle of 71 degrees, which makes for quick stable steering. After three 15 plus mile rides, I can say it is the best mountain bike I have ridden so far. The one component that irritated the hell out of me was the rear Hayes Stoker Trail SL caliper, which randomly chirped because a pad would rub against the rotor when I pedaled no matter how many times I adjusted the alignment. Either the rear axel bearings were loose, the ISO brake tabs were machined poorly, the Hayes pads had very little clearance between the rotor, the rotor was warped (although it looked straight) or the frame-chain stays flexed under a pedal load.

Last year I rented a 2008 L-26” HiFi Delux and was also very impressed by the bike as well. My only complaint about the 26” wheeled HiFi is the 69.7 degree HT angle, which makes the steering feel a little floppy and unstable when tracking in a straight line at slow speeds. The Avid Juicy 5’s on this bike did not make a sound what-so-ever.

This leads me to my question, the 2009 29 HiFi sells for $2,400.00, which includes a Fox F100 RL fork (with G2 geometry), a Fox Float RP2 shock and Avid Juicy 3 brakes. I can also buy a 2008 26” HiFi at the same shop for $1,300.00, which includes a Fox RP2 shock, a Rockshock fork and Avid BB5 brakes. If I go with the 2008 26” HiFi I would replace the fork with a non-G2 Fox Float RLT from another bike and buy different brakes for about $300.00, which brings the bike up the $1,600.00 without tax ($800.00 less than the 2009 29er HiFi). If I change the travel in my Fox Fork to 100mm and install it on the 2008 HiFi it should change the HT angle to 70.7 degrees, which very close to the 2009 29 HiFi’s HT angle of 71 degrees. Will this work with a rear travel of 120mm and the front travel set at 100mm? It seems like the 29 HiFi’s have this same travel setup because their forks are set at 100mm and their rear shocks are 7 ½” x 2” just like the 26” HiFi’s.
 

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If you are tall enough to ride a L or XL, get the 29er. I just got the HiFi Pro 29er and after 2 rides I don't plan on riding my 26er again. This bike is so fast and stable going downhill and rides over roots and rocks so well, I practically coast up hills I had to peddle hard to get up on the 26er. Plus, even with steeper geometry than my 26er, the big wheel makes me feel more comfortable going down steep hills.

Also, I don't think you want to mess with the fork. I don't understand the geometry, but from what I've read, the G2 offset is what makes these bikes handle the way they do.
 

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OnTheTrailAgain
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I just rode both bikes on pavement today.

For me (I'm 5'9" with a 32" inseam), the 26'r is the one.

The 29'r was, I feel, "too much" bike for me personally.

I concur with how it pedals and accelarates and all that good stuff,
but I can't see myself controlling this bike in really technical terrain
(Disclaimer: I am a novice rider that just began riding early last year).

Ultimately, if the 29'r was that impressive to you, go with the 29'r without a doubt.
When the differences are that small monetarily, the only thing that should matter are the following:

Which one will you grow into more and which one puts a bigger smile on your face.

Everything else should follow that (besides fit and type of riding of course).

I'm leaning to a HiFi Deluxe ('08 ONLY!) or an '09 Roscoe.
Price difference? $1,000.
But if the Roscoe can make me smile more than the HFD, then it'll be the RI for me.

I like the HFD for it's simplicity and it's the best entry level FS MTB for me.
But I know I'll outgrow it by year's end...it would end up becomming a 2ndary bike.

The Roscoe is one of the most technologically advanced bikes around right now.
It's light years ahead of most MTBs and the price comparibly speaking is very fair.
That'll definitely be a "keeper" bike (well worth putting in the extra cash into later as my skill levels dictate).

For you? You sound like you'd be happier on the 29'r no doubt and once you're on it,
you'll never wonder if you should've went with the 26'r.

:thumbsup:
 

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I would strongly advise against lowering the front end of the 08 hifi... The G2 offset on the 29er is where you're getting the steering feel... not just the head angle... if you like the 29er steering... go with it... you can't mimic it on the 26... besides, the 26 won't roll over obstacles as well.
 

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My other ride is your mom
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Regarding your impressions of the 26" Hi-Fi feeling "floppy" with a 69.7 degree head tube....I feel it's a bit twitchy....to each his/her own I guess. However....your option of getting an 08' 26" Hi-Fi and upgrading by going to a non-G2 geometry fork based upon your impressions of the HiFi probably will not make you happy. I've been looking into going with a non-G2 geometry fork and everything I've read, calculated and heard indicates that this will SLOW down the steering.....so good for me if I feel it's twitchy with the G2.....not good for you if you already feel like the 26" G2 geometry is "floppy" at 69.7 degrees. Just my 2 cents and a few weeks of heavy research on this forum along with repeated visits and conversations at more than 2 LBS'.
 
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