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Happy, in the woods.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm ready to make the jump from a full suspension 26" bike to a hardtail 29er. I ride on a mix of terrain, usually around home in east tennessee and western north carolina, and race a couple dozen times a year, with half or more of those events being 6 hours or longer, adventure races, etc. A typical ride is 3-5 hours and might have some fire road, but also slow technical rocky sections and some long, fast and rough descents. My wife has an '09 fisher 29er and I figured out after testing/borrowing quite a few bikes that I do not care for fisher's geometry. I'm looking for something with a steeper head angle, shorter wheelbase and chainstays and faster geometry.

I've narrowed my choices down to a Lynskey Ridgeline, Niner Air 9, or Specialized SJ Expert Carbon.

My budget is ballpark ~ $3k. I have shop connections so I'm not paying full msrp for these (but its not EP either). With the specialized or niner, the parts mix would involve a little bling, where the Lynskey would involve some minor compromises in component choice. I've ridden a niner, will hopefully get on a lynskey this week, and have been on last year's specialized 29er (although it had slightly different geo than what I'm looking at).

Just as soon as I think I've settled on one of these bikes I change my mind the next day. If any of you kind souls have advice to offer I'm all ears.
 

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Happy, in the woods.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
To clarify regarding component choice: its more a matter of used vs new parts, as opposed to stooping to install an alivio derailleur to go with my sram attack shifters.

Do you think the niner has any less compliant of a ride than the Ti or carbon options? I'm thinking about comfort halfway into a 12 hour race.
 

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Take my advise don't buy a hardtail. Once you go full suspension it's difficult to go back. Even the top pro cross country riders are using full suspension. Unless you riding smooth cross country trails and fire roads leave the hardtail at home. My lap times have dropped since going full suspension and your back will thank you. If your like me and can only afford 1 bike for racing and fun riding check out the Pivot 429, Niner Jet 9 or the new Santa Cruz Tallboy. All 3 can be built up under 26 lbs. The new Fisher Superfly is crazy light, but not as fun as the 429. :thumbsup:
 

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dustyman said:
Take my advise don't buy a hardtail. Once you go full suspension it's difficult to go back. Even the top pro cross country riders are using full suspension. Unless you riding smooth cross country trails and fire roads leave the hardtail at home. My lap times have dropped since going full suspension and your back will thank you. If your like me and can only afford 1 bike for racing and fun riding check out the Pivot 429, Niner Jet 9 or the new Santa Cruz Tallboy. All 3 can be built up under 26 lbs. The new Fisher Superfly is crazy light, but not as fun as the 429. :thumbsup:
Would have to say I totally disagree with this sentiment. Many former FS 26er riders are rediscovering how much fun riding an HT can be with 29" wheels. Also, FS or not should be dictated by your terrain and other physical needs. Different strokes for different folks. A bike like the Sinister Simon Bar or Banshee Paradox comes as close as you can get to a "do it all bike" IMHO, except they are a little slacker in the HT angle than I think the OP wants, but with their short chainstays they have absolutely snappy acceleration and loft the front wheel with ease. Probably not the OP's top priorities in a bike, but these bikes just feel so maneuverable, tossable, quick compared to any other 29er I've ridden.
 

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Happy, in the woods.
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The motobecane is one bike I'm not interested in. For me, part of the draw to the Lynskey is that its made about two hours away, right here in Tennessee.

Dustyman, I hear what you're saying. First, I have an older trek fuel ex that I'll probably keep around for a while as a back up. Second, I'm a mid-pack expert in most xc races and still get beat by guys on all variety of bikes, even single speed fully rigid 26" bikes (yes, that hurts the ego), let alone hardtails and FS bikes of both persuasions.

I'm about 5'10" with average proportions and way under 200 pounds. Not a clydesdale.
 

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eschewing obfuscation
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sounds like you've already ruled out the gf bikes yet i'd be inclined to give them another shot. i live in western nc and ride and race in a way that sounds similar to you; i have a gf superfly and love it! when not racing, i ride a by:stickel custom steel singlespeed (it has much shorter chainstays and other geometry tweaks that make it more fun for trail riding) yet for going fast, i've found the superfly to be the way to go. that said, a lynskey 29er would be my pick if i didn't ride the superfly. you can always get swanky parts at a discount if you're willing to take some time with the build (who wants a swanky stem on a crappy frame anyway?). i am friends with some of the niner folks (dejay et al) and think they've done some innovative stuff but don't care for their designs. i suppose it's all personal preference yet again: i suggest giving the superfly another shot - lightweight, reasonably short chainstays, g2 offset is sweet imo and the bike rails. i've got mine down to 24lbs with bomber parts and it's a large/19. nothing more fun than getting a new bike (except, perhaps, for riding a new bike) so, whichever way you go, enjoy, brother!
 

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I agree that the Niner and Specialized are both great. They Lynskey has to be special too. You can't go wrong. I have an '08 SJ FSR 29er, and while they say the '10 is far improved, I love riding mine. I tricked out a new 29er S-Works Carbon SS this year, so that is my new hardtail.

I'd have to agree with longdrive55--FS bikes have their place depending on terrain, as do hardtails. I'm fortunate to have both choices. I love Specialized's geometry, but I'm sure the Niner is great too. Good luck--
 

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Don't work about switching to HT.
I have to give the SJ Expert my nod. Had one for 3 months and it just whips me to go faster. 6 hour ride yesterday, terrain here is much rougher than your area and it eats it up. If you get the SJ repalce the cog, grip, and convert it to tubeless and its goes to about 24lbs.
 

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Mtc said:
Don't work about switching to HT.
I have to give the SJ Expert my nod. Had one for 3 months and it just whips me to go faster. 6 hour ride yesterday, terrain here is much rougher than your area and it eats it up. If you get the SJ repalce the cog, grip, and convert it to tubeless and its goes to about 24lbs.
hey Mtc: sorry to be a bit provincial (and snobby), yet if you live in austin, tx as your profile would suggest and believe the terrain there is "much rougher than your area" (referring to the thread-starters home are of western nc/eastern tenn) then you are mistaken. austin, tx is a great town, in my opinion and the music scene is unrivaled, yet there isn't a single trail in your entire state that rivals any (in any way, including "roughness") in pisgah nf. i have ridden both places and there is simply no comparison.
my apologies for distracting from the original posters query. suppose the snowy/muddy trails have left me a bit cranky with cabin fever. happy holidays, y'all!
 

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Happy, in the woods.
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Salsa's geometry is almost as slow as fisher's. I've ridden a friends '09 superfly, and find the steering is still a bit slow for my tastes. If its your cup of tea, that's cool, but it's just not for me. The salsa is in the same boat, just a little too slow.

Gosh, I wish I was a millionaire and could just buy one of each. New bikes are fun, but I'm having such a hard time choosing which one. Has anyone ridden two of these bikes and willing to share comparative opinions? Starting to lean a little more towards the lynskey or the specialized. But then again...
 
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