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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to figure out what my next bike should be. I know that I'm not the only one with this "problem," but I have a somewhat difficult conundrum to deal with as part of the decision. Two years ago I moved to Houston from SLC, Utah. I broke my FS 26er frame just before moving, so I built up a 26er hardtail with the leftover components and a five inch fork. It is plenty for riding anything in Houston, as there isn't anything that requires a FS bike. The problem is that I'm a school teacher, so summers mean month-long trips to Idaho/Utah/Wyoming for mountain biking adventures.

I would like to get a 29er, but I can't decide if I should opt for one of the many 120mm FS trailbikes that are out this year (either building up myself or stock from the factory) Or if I should get something like the Paradox. I was fine with my hardtail last summer in the Alpine loop of American Fork Canyon, as well as on Slickrock, but it left wishing I had a FS bike to ride. If I get the ride I want for my summer trips, it will definitely be overkill for Houston area trails. If I get a bike appropriate for the Anthills in Houston, it will perhaps leave me with the same feeling of wanting more I had last summer. What would you guys do in a similar predicament? I'm looking at around $3000 (give or take) if I get a FS bike, but probably less if I build a hardtail. I know I could just ride my current hardtail in Houston and travel with the new ride, but I don't think I could resist riding my shiny new toy, even if the rides don't really justify the hardware.

Sorry if this is rambling. I'm writing on my lunchbreak. TIA
 

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Honestly man, I think a short-travel great pedaling 29er FS is all you need...unless you are going to venture into all-mountain stuff. I have the Santa Cruz Tallboy with a 120mm upfront, and live in Miami, Fl...very similar riding to Houston, just more roots and rocks. It has been all up the east coast, N. Texas, and Arizona from Milagrosa/Arizona Trail, Phoenix, South Mountain, Sedona, and Flagstaff...and it handled it all. I had to baby it on the really gnarly parts, but if I had a bigger bike, it would have been a bigger bike to pedal up all that elevation.

I know you said your budget is $3000, but if you are patient you could find a carbon in that price range or I have seen them for sale (in Tucson) for as low as $2200 for the aluminum. That would give you some wiggle room for dropping weight and upgrading any geometry fit parts you may need.

The great thing about the tallboy is that for the most part, it pedals like a HT, but has amazing small bump compliant and healthy midstroke for a 100mm rear travel.

You could build a pretty light HT for $3000, I would probably go with something that could be changed over to a singlespeed, so you can challenge yourself while you are training, and slap on your geared stuff when you find some elevation, will be racing or doing much longer rides.

I don't ride a Tomac, but they have 2 interesting options
The Type X carbon is a 1,000g frame for $1299 (geared only)

The Tomac Flint 29 is an aluminum HT that weighs 3lb. and can run SS or geared, $500.

The Flint could easily be built up as a very light hardtail with carbon bits if you wanted a versatile all-arounder because you can easily convert it to SS while not on your summer/holiday trips..for training.

You could very well use one of many other frames/brands that are SS/Geared to give you a bit of variety. I understand your thinking about having a big travel for when you are on vacation, but that will only be a small portion of your yearly riding. I would purchase for what will be the majority of your riding. So a light HT (SS/Geared) or an XC FS 29er with a 120mm fork upfront.

just my take.
 

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I love my hardtail (2008 rockhopper 29er with upgrades), perfect for the local technical singletrack on the east coast. Some family moving out west has me contemplating building up a sturdier machine to bring along to visit burlier locales.

I personally like the idea of a banshee paradox; 1x9 and chainguide and 140 up front can take you pretty far. Also thinking with the fox talas 140/110 adjustable travel it might even be worth it on this side of the continental divide.

So that's 1 vote for the AM hardtail, but I can't deny I'm also looking into the Tallboy, the Mach 429, and also waiting for the final specs on the Ibis Ripley.

Haven't ridden any of these bikes yet, so keep in mind this is internet speculation... Good luck and keep us posted on what you decide.
 

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I was strictly considering his budget with the Tallboy Carbon being at the very top end. The Tallboy aluminum completely doable, and the 429 may be possible, but the Ripley will definitely be outside his $3000 budget.
 

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I would suggest you consider your riding style and expected terrain the most. what is the best bike for you, not what you can get for 3k.

If you enjoy a HT and think it fits 90% of you riding, you have your answer. Even if you lose some comfort or trail limitations in that 10% you can always adapt. ex- get off and walk a rugged section, pick another trail, limited rentals if on specific trips etc.

There are many options for you to consider. HT frame materials or use of suspension seatpost, look at soft-tails or the many short travel 29ers available.

Another question- have you ridden a 29er? A HT 29er rolls over obstacles and handles differently than your 26er. Slightly, but different. You may not need to go short travel FS for your usage.

Ride as many models as possible, even consider used bikes, to find what fits your needs the best.

Happy hunting!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the comments so far. I am definitely not a racer. I like rolling through rock gardens and other chunk with 2' drops. Not a whole lot of that in Houston, unfortunately, but at least I can stay in bike shape for the most part.

I do like slacker HT angles, which is why I'm hesitant to look at bikes with racier geometry. I don't have to spend all of my budget. I just put that in there to let you all know I won't be buying a CF SJ FSR Evo or anything.

While 90% of my riding is on either flowy pump tracks or rolling bayous with roots, 75% of my riding enjoyment comes during my summer trips. I can't tell you how awesome it was to spend six weeks in Utah and Idaho riding four or five days a week. I have family there, which makes such long trips possible. I guess the decision remains as difficult as ever.
 

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I can see the value in a slacker head angle, and everyone sees things different. For me, I had a 68.5 on my Blur XC carbon, and move to the Tallboy with a 70.5, and the bigger wheel was just as surefooted on descents as the slack HA, but that is my experience.

I actually think the Banshee Paradox is worth the consideration, but if I could talk you into something silly. See if you can demo a Scot Scale 29 at a local dealer. They are set up with 100mm travel and a 69.5 HA, so it would be right in the middle of the fork options with the Paradox. I think the Paradox is a better frame for the intended purpose....especially if drops are involved, but it can give you an idea of what that type of head angle feels like on a 29er.

I am just throwing perspectives and possibilities based on your criteria.
 

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OK, so my take is you really enjoy your summer trips and ride where you are because you just like to ride, so for me that's answer it easy = FS 29er in the 120-130mm range. But that's not the entire answer ;) I'd get the FS first off if I was doing a complete bike buy, as it'll work out more bang for your buck, then if you really do find that the FS is too much bike for the local trails save a bit and buy a HT like the Paradox that would work with all the components off the other bike and when the ned arises swap the parts over and enjoy.
 

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Is the two bike solution an option?

Get a nice HT you are happy with for the Houston area riding. Then build up another FS to fit your needs over the Winter and Spring. That way you can take your time, decide what is going to work best for you, and seek out deals during that time.

You will spend more time, energy and money with this option though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I already have a nice hardtail. I'm certainly happy with it for Houston riding. I think my biggest issue is justifying a few grand on a bike I will only really push to its limits a couple of months out of the year. I think the fact that I have a well-speced hardtail already is why I'm leaning the FS route.

Bikes on my 'to ride' list are the Rumblefish, Kona Satori, Salsa Horsethief, Anthem X, and Stumpjumper FSR. I know some of these bikes aren't available until late winter, and most of the shops in my area won't stock them anyway.
 

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Short travel FS 29er. A little more than you need in Houston, a little less than optimum for real chunk riding. If you can only have one bike, I think this is the Mama Bear.

Lots of choices. Spearfish, Camber, Jet 9, Tallboy Aluminum, Giant.........

Bonus Free Of Charge Idea: Whatever you get, spec it with a 120 Fork. If it's a Fox fork, you can reduce the travel to 100 in about 10 minutes for your Houston trails, and "plush it up" to 120 for the western multi-week adventures (hate you just a little bit for that, BTW).
 

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Seeing how your on a budget. Trying to maximize bang for your buck during a short summer of bliss in UT and AZ. Thrown in with nine months of riding/living in Houston. I've come up with only one real solution........

Sharpen up your resumee and move to a part of the country with better riding. I'm sorry, but Houston sucks on so many levels. They do however, know how to BBQ in TX.

Follow your passion.
 

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I'm in SLC and I'm riding a Nimble 9. Haven't ridden a trail yet I didn't enjoy on a HT 29er around here. I had a couple FS bikes before, but they usually sat and collected dust.

But I'm more of a HT guy. Yeah, sometimes it does beat you up more, but that's the whole fun of it. Ride what makes you smile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Don't worry. I think that Houston sucks for riding. We're looking at moving back west in a couple years. I grew up in Idaho, and miss the mountains like crazy, not to mention living where there is a crazy amount of public land.

Sent from my HTC Glacier using Tapatalk
 

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I'm trying to figure out what my next bike should be. I know that I'm not the only one with this "problem," but I have a somewhat difficult conundrum to deal with as part of the decision. Two years ago I moved to Houston from SLC, Utah. I broke my FS 26er frame just before moving, so I built up a 26er hardtail with the leftover components and a five inch fork. It is plenty for riding anything in Houston, as there isn't anything that requires a FS bike. The problem is that I'm a school teacher, so summers mean month-long trips to Idaho/Utah/Wyoming for mountain biking adventures.

I would like to get a 29er, but I can't decide if I should opt for one of the many 120mm FS trailbikes that are out this year (either building up myself or stock from the factory) Or if I should get something like the Paradox. I was fine with my hardtail last summer in the Alpine loop of American Fork Canyon, as well as on Slickrock, but it left wishing I had a FS bike to ride. If I get the ride I want for my summer trips, it will definitely be overkill for Houston area trails. If I get a bike appropriate for the Anthills in Houston, it will perhaps leave me with the same feeling of wanting more I had last summer. What would you guys do in a similar predicament? I'm looking at around $3000 (give or take) if I get a FS bike, but probably less if I build a hardtail. I know I could just ride my current hardtail in Houston and travel with the new ride, but I don't think I could resist riding my shiny new toy, even if the rides don't really justify the hardware.

Sorry if this is rambling. I'm writing on my lunchbreak. TIA
You should check out the Sensor 9r Pro from GT. Its a 120mm FS 29r that pedals awesome and is a blast to ride. I have the 2011 version of this bike and have ridden it from flat single track to climbing switchbacks and rough decents and it handles it all wonderfully.

http://www.gtbicycles.com/2012/bikes/mountain/trail/2012-sensor-9r-pro

I love the I-Drive as it gives a firm pedal platform and yet soaks up the bumps good as well. The only big change I made to my bike was wheels. I put a set of Sunringle Black Flag Pros on and the have been awesome. I also race this bike in local XC races and it shines there too. IMO one of the best bangs for the buck.
 

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Get out and demo some 29'ers.Some of the bike shops in the area sponser demo days where you can try several different bikes.
I live just up the hill in Park City and find that a hardtail 29er is all you need for the trails around here. I even ride a rigid singlespeed at times. The big wheels roll over rocks so well that you won't miss the suspension, especially if you are used to riding a hardtail. Don't worry about the steeper headtube, the big wheels are so much more stable that you won't notice it. You will also probably have a longer top tube on a 29er and that puts the front wheel contact point further in front of you. 29ers rock the wasatch. so try some out and get the one that feels best to you and not the bike that is being hyped the most. Bob
 

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While 90% of my riding is on either flowy pump tracks or rolling bayous with roots, 75% of my riding enjoyment comes during my summer trips. I can't tell you how awesome it was to spend six weeks in Utah and Idaho riding four or five days a week. I have family there, which makes such long trips possible. I guess the decision remains as difficult as ever.
I already have a nice hardtail. I'm certainly happy with it for Houston riding. I think my biggest issue is justifying a few grand on a bike I will only really push to its limits a couple of months out of the year. I think the fact that I have a well-speced hardtail already is why I'm leaning the FS route.

Bikes on my 'to ride' list are the Rumblefish, Kona Satori, Salsa Horsethief, Anthem X, and Stumpjumper FSR. I know some of these bikes aren't available until late winter, and most of the shops in my area won't stock them anyway.
It certainly sounds like you know what you're talking about. As for justifying such a purchase, you can't. You have a nice bike already and don't "need" another one, really. Now, with that said, there's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a different bike to better enjoy your riding and once you put it in that context and stop worrying about trying to justify it, you'll enjoy the search much more!

You'll get more enjoyment out of your riding not only on your trips, but on rides in the armpit of TX by having the option of which bike to grab for a ride.

The bikes folks are tossing out are great options and you wouldn't go wrong with any of them. I test rode a whole bunch of different bikes in my search and settled on the 429. It sounds like the 429 would fit right in with what you're after, so put that on your "to ride" list. The SJ FSR was my second choice and the Tallboy was nice, but ultimately didn't do it for me. I'm sure you know that at the level you're talking about, it's all about what feels right for you... not a bunch of internet experts! :D

I got my XT level 429 for a bit more than your budget by waiting until December and snagging a leftover, so it's possible to get a lot of bike for your money going later into the fall. Enjoy the search... and post up pics of whatever new bike you get!
 
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