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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know the what bike threads are everybody’s favorite ;) so I wanted to add to the fun!

I have a 6” bike (specialized pitch) I bought as my do it all bike, but it has a gigantic wheelbase and is really hard to maneuver around out tight twisty singletrack. I was able to get a 7” bike for pretty cheap so I don’t need a do it all bike anymore

I am looking at two options, getting a 5” bike which will have a much smaller wheelbase, or getting a smaller size 6” bike so again it has a smaller wheelbase.

Would I feel under biked on a 5” bike at black diamond (thinking tribulation mostly, as it’s the techiest with a few drops)? Also skookum flats, everything at Duthie except the freeride trails?

Has anyone hit the luna lines and 2 hi on a 5” bike and how was it.
 

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I have a 120mm travel 09 FSRxc and I ride it on Ryan's line, Luna, 2 Hi and hit the biggest drop in the clearing at Duthie without any issues. It also handles the skinnies really nice due to the short wheelbase (compared to the Pitch). it handles everything at Duthie From 2 Hi on down just fine. I wouldn't take it on anythign bigger though.

I also ride Black Diamond all the time and it feels pretty much perfect for Tribulation, Deliverence and the swinging bridge trail. The only time I've felt "under biked" was flying down the Preston Railroad trail at Tiger. It did fine, but more travel would have been nice. Most people I ride with at Black Diamond ride 4-5" travel bikes.
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Re: Preston RR

How much travel would you think one needs on Preston? I debate this in my head all the time. I have a 4" travel bike and it is not enough, but I don't think that a 6" would be any more comfortable on that trail since you are going so fast and hitting some sizeable roots, especially up top.

Would you prefer 6 inches for Preston, or would 5" suffice? Or, is there a point where no more suspension would really help on that trail given that you have to ride to the top whatever you are going to ride down?

Thanks in advance
 

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Okay, I'll say it. It's not the bike, it's the rider....

Most of us have seen people slay Preston on a fully rigid. Suspension is only part of the deal. And, as I recently learned (Thanks to Patrick at Mountainside..) It's not there for comfort but for control.

That said I've done ok at the shore on a 5x5 and currently have a 6x6 Covert as my only bike which works fine for everything from the shore/Galbraith to the local twisties including Skookum and Tolt.

Some 5x5s are built more slack and with more FR/DH type trails in mind and others are more upright XC oriented like Mr. Lynch's FSR. So, you can't really judge just based on travel alone. I've ridden my old "XC'ish" 5x5 Raleigh Phase 2 all over Duthie without issues.

If you already have a 7x7 for FR/DH then maybe a more XC style 5x5 or 4x4 is what you are looking for for XC/AM type riding.

Less travel on Preston? Go faster and fly over it...Like a boat up on a plane over waves...
 

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FWIW, I ride a 5.5" Marin Wolf Ridge and I've really really happy with it. I mostly ride 2Hi, Ryan's, HLC, and the last stretch of bootcamp before it reaches the clearing. There was one right corner on 2Hi that I struggled with for quite a while, but I figured it out last time I was out there - the problem was not my bike, it was my line!

I really doubt that travel is the biggest factor in how a bike handles, though. Head angle is probably just as important, if not more so. I'd almost bet that in a few years everyone but the weight weenies will be on 7" bikes where the first 5 inches of travel feels (and climbs) a lot like today's 5" bikes - they'll just be harder to bottom out.

I hear Cane Creek might release an AngleSet for 1-1/8" headsets soon. Steepening your head angle will reduce the wheelbase a little and it should make your bike a bit more responsive. It will be a lot cheaper than a new bike, and if it doesn't work out, you can put the AngleSet on your new bike and have some extra adjustability.
 

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6" enduro here (36mm 160 Fox Talas), after upgrading the stock fork from a 5". I definitely like the bigger fork for things like Preston, it just soaks up the trail at warp speed, feels like you're floating. Use it to ride everything at Duthie, and still did fine doing 100 miles at Bend's Big Fat Tour as well. The 5" was fine for awhile, but I'm definitely glad I went to a thicker, larger fork as my skills, speed, and jump height increased.

IMO, it's less about how much travel you have, but how easy it is to dial it in for different conditions or types of rides. That said, I love the Talas because I can simple drop the form from 160 to 130mm or 100mm as the trail dictates, so it's the best of both worlds.
 

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I definitely agree it's the rider and the feel you prefer. There are a ton of trails I use to rip around on my old hardtail GT no problem (even Preston) but I feel I am faster and have more control with some squish in the back.
 

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As others have said, I think you should focus less on travel and more on intended use.

My old 5" 5spot and current 5.5" Endorphin feel worlds apart and the 0.5" is definitely not the reason.

Also, I've been riding Duthie for about 8 mo on a burly hardtail. Rear sus is nice for sure, but don't let anyone fool you into thinking it's absolutely necessary for most of the riding in this area.

Have fun bike shopping! :thumbsup:
 

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I've learned a little something from every bike I've owned (and I've owned too many bikes over the years). I don't like to push product so I'll keep it to three general observations:

If you already have a 7" bike, then I'd diversify by getting something best suited to trail riding.

Rear suspension is over rated, but geometry is crucial! I prefer a low slack hardtail with a big fork over rear suspension for %80 of the riding I do. Trails like 2hi or tokul east are fine on a burly hardtail and skookum flats is definitely hardtail terrain IMO. You just end up sitting down less, and enjoying a bike that is much lighter and more responsive to aggressive riding.

29'ers are at minumum, worth an extended test ride! Try and get a test ride on an all-mountain 29'er like a banshee paradox of canfield yelli screamy. Once there are more burly/slack 29" options, more people will start switching over. These bikes will do everything you described.. they don't jump quite as well as a similar 26'er, but they are awesome for general trail riding. And you got a 7" bike for jumps, so.....at least consider it ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
thanks for the responses everybody! I definitely agree that there are many more things to consider than travel and I need to figure out where I want the bike to be on each of the dimensions. I know a slacker head angle is the thing right now, but I might actually want a little steeper, just need to try a few more out.

My big concern with a shorter travel bike is the feel of the travel. On a 6" bike the travel tends to be pretty plush. On most of the 5" bikes i have ridden the travel felt much stiffer and more efficient at the expense of plushness.

FM, I was able to ride a 130mm travel 29er a couple of days ago and I came away highly impressed. I definitely liked it more then the 10mm 29er I tried a few years ago, this one felt much more nimble and responsive.

There is a sptifire on ebay right now that has me really tempted. The thing I wonder is, the spitfire is designed to be slack and long, which sounds at least right now, to be the opposite of what I am looking for, but it's steeper and shorter than what I currently have so might be a good compromise.

I guess it's a good problem to have all of these very capable bikes to consider!
 

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I have a 140mm hardtail(not burly trek 6000) I've heard stories about people snapping the chainstay but it's held up fine and rides great on Preston/2hi/Ryans. Looking at getting a Mojo HD to grow into. Need to test ride one first, but does anyone have experience with one or own one around here? I'd rather spend a little extra now on a great do everything bike than buy something more specific to a task and kick myself for not riding it enough. Opinions? I've already got a CX and the hardtail for rolling trails.
 

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If you really want the low-down, Ibis is doing a demo day at Duthie Saturday April 2.

I've got a 'classic' Mojo SLX. It's absolutely perfect for my back country beating... reasonably light, snappy, 140mm of travel keeps things fun and allows some grace for teh 3+ hour stoopids setting in, and tighter angles lean towards climbing efficiency over hucking which is exactly where I'm at. Some people find the rear ends flexy, others wonder what the heck that's all about since they're not finding it... I find it's a very sharp accelerating ride so no 'noodly' sense to me, but I did find it tracked somewhat differently (in a good way) than previous bikes when pushed hard into bermed corners.

Obviously the HD is a different animal, but I'll vouch they make good stuffs and Ibis is VERY quick to respond to their customers.
 

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Thank you, I had no idea they were doing a demo day. I guess I should have looked into that myself but really appreciate the heads up. I am looking for a bit more confidence in jumps and drops. I think Duthie would be a great place to test it out.
 

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I love my 09 Giant Trance X2 (5" front and rear). The Maestro suspension is amazing. It climbs better than my hardtail (yes, I said it). It handles so well compared to my hardtail (05 Kona Caldera), the first time I rode it, I felt like I was cheating.
 

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I test rode a couple Trances... slightly longer/slacker than ideal for me but very capable, lots of bang-for-buck, and the weight wasn't bad either. If the Ibis hadn't poisoned me I might very well have come away with one. My husband has an Anthem X for trail riding and he just loves it, so one more vote for the Maestro suspension.

The Blur LT was the other bike in this range I test rode, and for whatever reason it left me totally uninspired- even when trying a $4500 build version as opposed to the 'vanilla' Mojo SLX at $3000.
 

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So I'm less experienced with the bigger bikes and heavy hitting lines. But for most general purpose trails around here: Tolt, Tokul, BD, Paradise, Preston, my favorite all around bike was a 4" travel Marathon bike. Fast and stable with quick steering. You can take bigger hits, but requires you to work the bike a little more.

Now, I'm on a steel hard tail with an adjustable fork (95mm to 140mm with 20mm axle) I typically ride around 120-130mm for most of the stuff around here. I enjoy the HT now because I can have just as much fun at slightly slower speeds. Slower speeds means I get less severe injuries (typically) if I have an off. And I can have more interaction with the terrain rather than just rolling over it. But that's me.

The bottom line is to have fun. Getting out there and enjoying the trails is what it's all about. I don't know that there is a magic bike. There are a range of bikes and then its the rider.

If someone were to come into this area and wanted to know what mtb to get, I'd tell them to get a Specialized Stumpjumper (5"). It'll be perfect for 90% of the trail riding. Probably a little too easy for some trails, probably a little too challenging for some others. But it definitely is a swiss army knife of bikes.
 

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if you ride with fast pedaling more XC type people, go with a 5" bike. if you ride with more DHer types, go with a 6."
a good pedaling 6" bike with light wheels and tires will be close to a comparable 5" bike in pedaling performance but with that little extra, and ride a lot softer. a 6" bike like a trek remedy is going to be funner at say tiger or kachess ridge than a trek fuel, two bikes with the same basic design and slightly different geometry. skookum flats a 6" bike would be overkill imho. 6"ers are good for trails that get fast.
I'd probably go for a giant trance or a trek fuel with a 150mm/thru axle fork. quick release forks freakin suck, pretty much XC race only imho. also a burlier frame with a more XC build focusing on lighter wheels is a good way to go too.
 

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traffic002 said:
...If someone were to come into this area and wanted to know what mtb to get, I'd tell them to get a Specialized Stumpjumper (5"). It'll be perfect for 90% of the trail riding. Probably a little too easy for some trails, probably a little too challenging for some others. But it definitely is a swiss army knife of bikes.
I agree, so much so I bought a Stumpy FSR Comp 29er. :D

Gary
 
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