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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's the skinny - I'm 6'1", 220, ride mainly XC on dry, rocky singletrack w/occasional fire roads. I'm currently on an '02 NRS 3; love the efficiency going up, hate the sketchiness and lack of plush on the descents. I rode a Blur and loved it, but the price tag's a little steep. Two different LBS suggest I go with a beefier frame due to my build, so here's my options and assumptions:

Giant Trance 2 - Seems closest to Blur, sold at LBS

Giant Reign 2 - Burlier than Trance w/not much weight difference, sold at LBS

Yeti 575 Enduro - Excellent spec for $, rave reviews here and in mags, exclusivity

IH Hollowpoint MkIII Expert - Better spec than Giant (IMHO), similar to Giants suspension

2004 IH Hollowpoint Team - Top of the line parts, by far biggest bang for the buck

What I'm most concerned with is fit, efficiency in climbing and durability. I know I will bomb downs much faster on any of these bikes than my NRS, but I also earn those descents with the climb. Here's my concerns:

Do I need more than 4" of travel?

With the MkIII on the market, is the 2004 Hollowpoint suspension obsolete?

Is it wise to buy a new suspension system (Maestro, DW MkIII) in it's first year?

Will I break the "knuckle" on the Yeti's top tube?

Are the online fit guides (Wrenchscience) a foolproof way to get the bike fit right?

Help a brother out and pass on your advice, experience in the saddle with any of these bikes, and/or affirmations or corrections to any of the assumptions I've made. Hope to hear from you all after you ride today!
 

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Steamthief said:
Here's the skinny - I'm 6'1", 220, ride mainly XC on dry, rocky singletrack w/occasional fire roads. I'm currently on an '02 NRS 3; love the efficiency going up, hate the sketchiness and lack of plush on the descents. I rode a Blur and loved it, but the price tag's a little steep. Two different LBS suggest I go with a beefier frame due to my build, so here's my options and assumptions:

Giant Trance 2 - Seems closest to Blur, sold at LBS

Giant Reign 2 - Burlier than Trance w/not much weight difference, sold at LBS

Yeti 575 Enduro - Excellent spec for $, rave reviews here and in mags, exclusivity

IH Hollowpoint MkIII Expert - Better spec than Giant (IMHO), similar to Giants suspension

2004 IH Hollowpoint Team - Top of the line parts, by far biggest bang for the buck

What I'm most concerned with is fit, efficiency in climbing and durability. I know I will bomb downs much faster on any of these bikes than my NRS, but I also earn those descents with the climb. Here's my concerns:

Do I need more than 4" of travel?

With the MkIII on the market, is the 2004 Hollowpoint suspension obsolete?

Is it wise to buy a new suspension system (Maestro, DW MkIII) in it's first year?

Will I break the "knuckle" on the Yeti's top tube?

Are the online fit guides (Wrenchscience) a foolproof way to get the bike fit right?

Help a brother out and pass on your advice, experience in the saddle with any of these bikes, and/or affirmations or corrections to any of the assumptions I've made. Hope to hear from you all after you ride today!
Damn, you're just full of questions, aren't you!

Random thoughts as I read through your post (and FWIW, I think the dw-link is the greatest thing since twist-off tops, am not so fond of the Blur, and know nothing about Yeti):

The Maestro suspension is, if anything, a close approximation of the dw-link (and not the other way around). I truly feel that Giant is trying to rip off Dave Weagle's years of hard work and earned knowledge. But I haven't ridden one, and am looking forward to trying to be unbiased when I demo one at Sea Otter next weekend. (Just trying to give dw a fair shake -- he's a mtbr member who'll be happy to discuss suspension theory with you just for the thrill of it).

The dw-link and the VPP appear similar, but work differently. In my VPP demos, I found the pedal feedback a little annoying and it stiffens up working my way hard up a climb. Fun ride coming down. And they do have a very slick ad campaign, you know. :p

You probably don't need 4" of travel. I certainly don't, but when a bike climbs well enough that it doesn't factor in to the climbing performance... well, why the heck not?

I hear you on the NRS. After a number of years on a URT, I wanted to be "efficient". That, the NRS was (in the hardtail sense of the word), but at the expense of so much else. I also felt my '01 NRS suffered pedal kickback, which is part of the reason why I feel more efficient on my Hollowpoint. Uninterrupted spin is a powerful mind trick. Not the expected outcome when transitioning from a 3.5" zero sag bike to 1/3 deep into 5" of squish, but that was the outcome.

I'm expecting the 05 dw-link found on the MkIII to be pretty similar in many respects to the '02.5-'04 dw-link. Forum members are telling me to expect better suspension under braking, but that hasn't been a complaint of mine. I wouldn't dismiss last year's Hollowpoints just because this year's linkage has been refined.

I am looking forward to the lower air pressures I'll be able to run on the 7.5" x 2.0" shock. At 200 pounds, I'm currently running 235 psi in my AD-12 on my Hollowpoint, while I needed only 90 psi in the Airo shock on the MkIII Comp I demoed. Not a straight apples to apples comparison, but gives you a feel for the difference -- especially important to a big guy. The beefed-up frame construction is just bonus.

Wrench Science is pretty good, but don't read it as gospel. It's got to make some assumptions as to your riding preferences. That said, I plugged numbers into it for my previous frame, and I used it to create a list of appropriate frames for my wife (one of which she ended up with). As long as you know what's going on with their ETT / stem length calculations, it can be a good tool for comparing frames.
 

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at 6'1" and 220 lbs, you need a burly rig that isn't going to have flex in the rear assembly.

if you can deal with the 71deg head angle on the Iron Horse, go with that... that's my choice.

the Yeti might be a bit flexy for your size.

the Giant is a new model and I don't have an opinion on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Full of questions, and I've got a few more!

Speedub.Nate said:
Damn, you're just full of questions, aren't you!

Random thoughts as I read through your post (and FWIW, I think the dw-link is the greatest thing since twist-off tops, am not so fond of the Blur, and know nothing about Yeti):

The Maestro suspension is, if anything, a close approximation of the dw-link (and not the other way around). I truly feel that Giant is trying to rip off Dave Weagle's years of hard work and earned knowledge. But I haven't ridden one, and am looking forward to trying to be unbiased when I demo one at Sea Otter next weekend. (Just trying to give dw a fair shake -- he's a mtbr member who'll be happy to discuss suspension theory with you just for the thrill of it).

The dw-link and the VPP appear similar, but work differently. In my VPP demos, I found the pedal feedback a little annoying and it stiffens up working my way hard up a climb. Fun ride coming down. And they do have a very slick ad campaign, you know. :p

You probably don't need 4" of travel. I certainly don't, but when a bike climbs well enough that it doesn't factor in to the climbing performance... well, why the heck not?

I hear you on the NRS. After a number of years on a URT, I wanted to be "efficient". That, the NRS was (in the hardtail sense of the word), but at the expense of so much else. I also felt my '01 NRS suffered pedal kickback, which is part of the reason why I feel more efficient on my Hollowpoint. Uninterrupted spin is a powerful mind trick. Not the expected outcome when transitioning from a 3.5" zero sag bike to 1/3 deep into 5" of squish, but that was the outcome.

I'm expecting the 05 dw-link found on the MkIII to be pretty similar in many respects to the '02.5-'04 dw-link. Forum members are telling me to expect better suspension under braking, but that hasn't been a complaint of mine. I wouldn't dismiss last year's Hollowpoints just because this year's linkage has been refined.

I am looking forward to the lower air pressures I'll be able to run on the 7.5" x 2.0" shock. At 200 pounds, I'm currently running 235 psi in my AD-12 on my Hollowpoint, while I needed only 90 psi in the Airo shock on the MkIII Comp I demoed. Not a straight apples to apples comparison, but gives you a feel for the difference -- especially important to a big guy. The beefed-up frame construction is just bonus.

Wrench Science is pretty good, but don't read it as gospel. It's got to make some assumptions as to your riding preferences. That said, I plugged numbers into it for my previous frame, and I used it to create a list of appropriate frames for my wife (one of which she ended up with). As long as you know what's going on with their ETT / stem length calculations, it can be a good tool for comparing frames.
Thanks for your excellent responses, Nate,

I know from lurking around you're pretty well versed in the dw-link, so I've got a couple more queries for you. You said Maestro is a close approximation of dw-link; what are the differences, and where does the IE advantage lie? I rode a Maestro in the LBS lot yesterday and was very impressed, especially out-of-saddle hammering. However, the lot is no substitute for the trail!

In regards to differences between 04 and 05, has the design of the actual pivot been refined, or just the burliness and/or geometry of the overall frame build? Is the 04 frame beefy enough for a 220-pounder?

In terms of rear shocks, I'm fairly uneducated, but this much I know - I hate the RS Sid on my NRS! I've blown one out, and it took weeks for the replacement. Is this where you're going in talking about the advantages of a biggun running lower air pressures? If you have the time to elaborate on low vs. high I'd appreciate the lesson!

Finally, does ETT = TT + stem length? I guess I'm ignorant in a few areas!

Thanks again, hope to hear back soon!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
gonzostrike said:
at 6'1" and 220 lbs, you need a burly rig that isn't going to have flex in the rear assembly.

if you can deal with the 71deg head angle on the Iron Horse, go with that... that's my choice.

the Yeti might be a bit flexy for your size.

the Giant is a new model and I don't have an opinion on it.
Thanks for your response, gonzostrike,

I demoed a 575 today at a local race, and really liked the plush overall feel of the ride. Everything felt super-tight and firm, certainly more so than my NRS. However, I rode a M when I should have tried a L (none available); would a smaller size give the appearance of being less flexy?

If you've had any experience riding the 575, I'd appreciate any feedback you could share on climbing. The short TT on the M made it impossible for me to get on the nose and climb anything steep; my lungs simply refused to work being so constricted.

By the way, dig your avatar description. I could never do Atkins, my wife's sauce is too good to ever quit pasta!
 

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Yeah, you're full of them. ;)

I'm going to hold off on any dw-link vs. Maestro comparisons until after I demo both next weekend. Talk is cheap, and there is a lot on the various forums I've read comparing the two designs, but also pointing out some differences in the Maestro's design. I'm not sure that Maestro can be both, so we'll see what the seat of the pants says.

The '05 dw-link has been refined compared to the previous Hollowpoints. The tubing is burlier, the seat tube is fatter, the pivots are reinforced, the new forged BB yoke is grade A beef. Compare some of my '03 vs. '04 photos in THIS POST versus the Hollowpoint MkIII construction in THIS POST and you can see what I'm talking about. While the '04 made some big improvements over the '03 frame construction, the '05 MkIII built a whole new ballpark to play in. The '04 frame will definitely handle a 220 pounder, but the '05 adds some insurance.

The compression ratio thing comes from the shock stroke: 1.5" on the '04 versus 2.0" on the MkIII. You'll need a less air pressure on the longer stroke shock to achieve a given amount of sag. That makes a big difference to me on my air damped Cane Creek AD-12, since tuning gets more nit-picky at higher pressures, and should make for increased responsiveness on any shock, regardless of damping medium.

The NRS taxes shocks under big guys, including the blowout you experienced. One reason I keep picking Cane Creek shocks is because I can service them completely at home, and rebuild them if they blow.

ETT = "virtual" top tube length, measured from the top center of the head tube along an imaginary horizontal line to the center of the seat post.

Regular TT would measure the length of the actual TT, which has little meaning if it's highly sloped.

The Wrench Science site, as I recall, provides you with a "total reach" measurement which is made up of ETT + the horizontal component of stem reach, which is less than stated stem length.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I can't stop with the questions....

Speedub.Nate said:
Yeah, you're full of them. ;)

I'm going to hold off on any dw-link vs. Maestro comparisons until after I demo both next weekend. Talk is cheap, and there is a lot on the various forums I've read comparing the two designs, but also pointing out some differences in the Maestro's design. I'm not sure that Maestro can be both, so we'll see what the seat of the pants says.

The '05 dw-link has been refined compared to the previous Hollowpoints. The tubing is burlier, the seat tube is fatter, the pivots are reinforced, the new forged BB yoke is grade A beef. Compare some of my '03 vs. '04 photos in THIS POST versus the Hollowpoint MkIII construction in THIS POST and you can see what I'm talking about. While the '04 made some big improvements over the '03 frame construction, the '05 MkIII built a whole new ballpark to play in. The '04 frame will definitely handle a 220 pounder, but the '05 adds some insurance.

The compression ratio thing comes from the shock stroke: 1.5" on the '04 versus 2.0" on the MkIII. You'll need a less air pressure on the longer stroke shock to achieve a given amount of sag. That makes a big difference to me on my air damped Cane Creek AD-12, since tuning gets more nit-picky at higher pressures, and should make for increased responsiveness on any shock, regardless of damping medium.

The NRS taxes shocks under big guys, including the blowout you experienced. One reason I keep picking Cane Creek shocks is because I can service them completely at home, and rebuild them if they blow.

ETT = "virtual" top tube length, measured from the top center of the head tube along an imaginary horizontal line to the center of the seat post.

Regular TT would measure the length of the actual TT, which has little meaning if it's highly sloped.

The Wrench Science site, as I recall, provides you with a "total reach" measurement which is made up of ETT + the horizontal component of stem reach, which is less than stated stem length.
Thanks for the pix; you've definitely got me interested in the mklll. On the issue of TT, a L runs 23.25, which I feel is kind of short for me. I demoed a M Yeti 575 w/23.4 TT yesterday, and when sitting on the nose, I couldn't draw enough air to climb steeps effectively. Would an XL mkIII, w/24" TT be a better choice for me? The NRS I'm riding has 24.8 TT length, which is pretty comfortable for me w/110 stem, but the 33.1 standover has been perilous to my junk on a few occasions (a major reason why I'm looking at new rigs).

Also, I'm curious if the relationship between the head angle and the seat angle may make a difference? I know the bike I demoed yesterday may have been a bit small for me, but may the difficulty of climbing been amplified by the slacker geometry, or is the TT length pretty much the barometer of fit?

Finally, do you know BB clearance of the 04 and 05 bikes? Catching my cranks on rocks, or the potential lack thereof, is another factor in which bike I ultimately decide on.

Thanks again, Nate, you've been a real resource. IH should kick some commissions your way.
 

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Steamthief said:
Thanks again, Nate, you've been a real resource. IH should kick some commissions your way.
Damn straight, I hope they're listening. All I want is a 29" dw-link "Factory" MkIII frameset with burnt orange paint. :p

With any given ETT, a bike with a slacker seat tube angle will have a larger cockpit, unless the saddle is set to a height even with the top of the head tube. If you want to see this demonstrated, download Clary's Comparator mentioned in an earlier post and plug some numbers in.

I was pretty stretched out on my NRS. Between the NRS and the Hollowpoint, I picked up a hardtail which put me more upright than I'd have expected, and to my surprise it worked really well. So I modeled my Hollowpoint cockpit setup after this more upright position.

I did have a handful of crank strikes on my '03 due to the BB being lower than I was used to, but I'd hesitate to call it a problem. I recall Todd specifically posting that BB height was addressed on the '05 MkIII, but I don't know if anything changed between '03 and '04. I've never looked at the measurements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Speedub.Nate said:
Damn straight, I hope they're listening. All I want is a 29" dw-link "Factory" MkIII frameset with burnt orange paint. :p

With any given ETT, a bike with a slacker seat tube angle will have a larger cockpit, unless the saddle is set to a height even with the top of the head tube. If you want to see this demonstrated, download Clary's Comparator mentioned in an earlier post and plug some numbers in.

I was pretty stretched out on my NRS. Between the NRS and the Hollowpoint, I picked up a hardtail which put me more upright than I'd have expected, and to my surprise it worked really well. So I modeled my Hollowpoint cockpit setup after this more upright position.

I did have a handful of crank strikes on my '03 due to the BB being lower than I was used to, but I'd hesitate to call it a problem. I recall Todd specifically posting that BB height was addressed on the '05 MkIII, but I don't know if anything changed between '03 and '04. I've never looked at the measurements.
Thanks for all your help, Nate. I'm going to try and get down to OC this weekend and ride some Iron Horses, although it'll probably just be parking lots.. If you can, let your boys at IH know they need to get a shop in the 909!
 

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Speedub.Nate said:
Damn straight, I hope they're listening. All I want is a 29" dw-link "Factory" MkIII frameset with burnt orange paint. :p

QUOTE]

oh my god, look over there, dave weagle is talking to god!!

<scampers away>

ST, we try not to give bikes the s,m,l,xl sizing as everybody sizes bikes differently. you're probably correct on the mkIII sizing as I'm 5'11" and ride a 19", you'd probably be on the line between 19" and 21", depending on whether you wanted a more upright all mtn position or a more stretched out xc position. hope this helps.

dante
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
dante said:
Speedub.Nate said:
Damn straight, I hope they're listening. All I want is a 29" dw-link "Factory" MkIII frameset with burnt orange paint. :p

QUOTE]

oh my god, look over there, dave weagle is talking to god!!

<SCAMPERS away>

ST, we try not to give bikes the s,m,l,xl sizing as everybody sizes bikes differently. you're probably correct on the mkIII sizing as I'm 5'11" and ride a 19", you'd probably be on the line between 19" and 21", depending on whether you wanted a more upright all mtn position or a more stretched out xc position. hope this helps.

dante
Thanks for your input, Dante,

I'm leaning towards a 21", as I'm used to a more stretched out riding style. I rode a Yeti 575 last weekend with a 23.4" TT and felt very cramped when up on the nose for short steep stuff. Is it safe to say that the 23.25" TT on a 19" Mklll would feel similar?

Also, do you know the standover heights on the 19 and 21? That's a major reason why I'm looking at new rigs in the first place. Thanks again for the sizing info.
 
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