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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got a Leviathan last year while keeping my 26" wheel Schwinn Straight 6 going at the same time. I liked the idea of having a light short travel bike, the Lev and a longer travel bike. I rode both but really leaned toward the Leviathan which I really enjoyed riding and thought was perfect.

This season I bought a Nomad and beefy Marz 66SL fork to replace the Schwinn frame that I still liked. I've come to love the Nomad, and its weight has evolved upwards of 33lbs and I thought I wouldn't want to ride it on big climbs since my Lev is about 7 pounds lighter.

However now that I am used to having 6+ inches and BIG tires, I don't really like the Lev. I find it's suspension, a terrible RP3 and ok Reba to be harsh and don't mind riding the heavy bike uphill since there are always downhills on the other side.

Part of my preference is that I've gotten used to the smaller framed Nomad which I originally thought would be too small, but the bottom line is that I rarely want to take the Lev out for any ride. I still like the idea of having a lighter short travel bike to complement my heavy fun bike but don't want a bike that I don't ride.

Am I just a shallow short term lover who always wants the latest hot girl? (I've been married for 17years so probably not) The Schwinn wasn't a bad bike at all, just a bit flexy but it wasn't a better set-up than the Leviathan.

I'm running a 900g 2.4 Big Betty front tire and 590g Mavic 321 rims on the Nomad. How much will the equivalent 29" stuff weigh WHEN we eventually get it? Will long travel 29er's be great? I hear good things about the Bohemoth but the forks and tires just aren't there yet. Suspension capability aside, the slack head angle, big tires and stiff fork on my Nomad seem to me to make up for the 29" wheel handling advantage I discovered last year.

I'm trying not to think the Nomad is the best thing since sliced bread but it really is lots of fun to ride on hard, techincal trails. I dislike those riders who think their bike is the greatest thing going but haven't ridden the competition and don't want to sound like a Santa Cruz ad. I think I'd probably be just as happy on a different long travel frame like an RFX, 6" Giant or especially next years IH 6 Point 6.

Anyone else gravitating to long travel?
 

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Yeah, the "ability to roll over over stuff so much better" that we've all come to know & hear about constantly, loses some of its appeal when, by trading it out, you get on a nice, tight, stiff, light, smooth and responsive ride.

29ers can be great, for some people, and on some kinds of trails. It's not ideal in all situations, any more than a singlespeed is, a DH bike is, or a bmx bike would be.

I keep a couple 29ers around, partly because they're more fun on easy trails, and partly because I've blown so much money on them it pains me to think how much I'd lose if I sold em. Oh well.
 

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this doesn't seem to have much to do with either bike.....instead more about your style of riding...it seems to have adapted.

The Lev is undeniably an XC bike...that can contend ok in semi-technical conditions.

The Nomad is undeniably an FR bike...that can barely scrape by in XC conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Padre said:
this doesn't seem to have much to do with either bike.....instead more about your style of riding...it seems to have adapted.

The Lev is undeniably an XC bike...that can contend ok in semi-technical conditions.

The Nomad is undeniably an FR bike...that can barely scrape by in XC conditions.
Padre, I think you are right about the riding style thing. Good call, I didn't really see it clearly.

I think the Lev is better than just ok in semi-technical situations but I think I'll accept not riding it much for the time being and see what the future brings.
 

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Its interesting that bigger tires are more popular these days. 5 years ago a 2.1 was normal, now its mostly 2.3 - 2.5 in. Once you get up to 3.7", like I've got on my Pugsley, its essentially 29er sized wheels. Fatter tires = more fun. For me anyways, This doesn't count for racing xc. There I run as narrow and pumped up a tire as I can get away with, and I'm still slow.
 

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artnshel said:
Padre, I think you are right about the riding style thing. Good call, I didn't really see it clearly.

I think the Lev is better than just ok in semi-technical situations but I think I'll accept not riding it much for the time being and see what the future brings.
You've both hit on something that I've noticed too. My riding style and ability continue to evolve, and my equipment follows a few months behind.

A few years ago I rode a Mooto-X as my 'main bike'. I thought that 80mm up front and 25mm out back was enough suspension travel for the riding I liked to do. Efficiency was more important than travel, and light weight was king.

A year later I'd evolved to a 3" Leviathan. Originally I rode it with an 80mm fork, but soon found that I preferred it with 100mm up front. I started riding with different groups of people, some xc, some am, some fr. All of it was fun, and I was really digging being on the fully for all of it. Although the Leviathan was about 3/4 of a pound heavier than the Moots and *slightly* less efficient, the grin on my face when descending was all the reason I needed to stick with it. That year the Moots collected dust, and I felt pretty guilty about it.

Shortly thereafter that I took delivery of a 5" Behemoth. I overbuilt it (at 32lbs) to survive the type of riding I wanted to do with it, and never once regretted the additional weight. Despite the fact that it has 5" of travel front and rear, I never once (honest) thought that it was inefficient in any situation. It's a well designed bike with properly tuned suspension, and as a result it climbs as well as any bike out there and descends better than most bikes I've ridden, regardless of wheel size. It was on the Behemoth that I started to see the limits of 29" tires, forks, and rims: This bike is capable of so much more than any of the tires, most of the rims, and all of the forks. I rode the Moots a total of about 15 hours in the last year, and while I enjoyed those rides (gravel roads and CX) I had a hard time remembering why I liked it so much a few years ago. Now it just seems harsh. Last time I rode it I remember thinking, "I should sell my road bike and just put skinnies on this...".

So now what? I'm riding a 4" Leviathan as my "alpine" bike (Crested Butte, Telluride, Vail, Durango, and other places with fun singletrack and significant climbing) and my 5" Behemoth with a 6" DC WB fork as my "tech trail" bike. And I'm seriously considering a 26" FR bike for everything that those two don't/can't cover. The Moots is still here, but I often ask myself why...

Having demo'ed a 26" FR bike the past few days, I'm envious of the 26" FR tires that are available, but that's about it. Their suspension is no more efficient or plush than the Behemoth, the frames have all been significantly heavier, and the wheels get stopped on seemingly insignificant rocks and ledges. Riding these bikes I was struck by the fact that stuff (small rocks, ledges, and holes) that I haven't noticed in years was forcing me to stay on top of the pedals where normally I could be spinning lightly and recovering. The rides left me exhausted in ways I haven't been in years. I have newfound respect for the guys that are slaving these 38# bikes uphill in order to get the thrill of piloting them back down. But I also know that it doesn't have to be that hard.

I'm disappointed that we don't have a true 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, and 2.6 available to us yet. I'm also disappointed that the forks aren't quite up to snuff for much more than XC use. But I'm heartened by the fact that progress is being made on all of these, and I suspect that before this time next year most of these issues will have been satisfactorily addressed.

Good thread, Art. Looking forward to how this one evolves.

MC
 

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Recovering couch patato
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29" only adds 10% in rims and tires, using the same extrusion rim and size/type tire.
~610g FR rims exist, NoTubes sell them.
In a few months, we're expecting to have choice in FAT tires.

Till that day is here, 26" FR bikes hold an advantage for the most of us. For some types of riding they may always do.
 

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Great observations from everyone. For me, the 29er thing comes down to fit. My seat height measured from the center of bb to top of saddle is 82.5 cm (sorry it is late and I don't know my inseam in inches) and on 26" bikes I feel hung out to dry over the front end on downhills. My riding buddies can confirm that before I started riding 29er's I was the king of OTB. I know there are great 26" wheeled bikes out there, but unless someone pays me to ride one (highly unlikely) I am sticking to bigger wheels.

Isn't the key to the whole thing having fun and riding as much as possible? Sometimes the debate over which wheel accelerates faster, is smoother, maintains speed, etc. is mind numbing.

If you are diggin' the Nomad, keep riding it. It must be nice to have the pick of the litter when it comes to tires, forks and whatever else you want/need.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Happy trails.
 

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cornfish said:
Isn't the key to the whole thing having fun and riding as much as possible?
Yes, it is. It truly comes down to taste and what feels best. Like was said before, some people like chocolate and some like vanilla. Simple as that.

As a newly indoctrinated member of the big wheels club (about 2 weeks), I immediately felt the difference between 26 and 29 inch wheels. I felt like I was riding on the tracks of a Sherman Tank. Honesty, it was a moment I'll never soon forget. After getting the bike up on the trail the same feeling came over me, and over me, and...well that's one of the many reasons that I like my 29er.

Will I ever get another 26 inch wheeled bike? I don't see why not. I like a lightish freeride/5 Spot type of bike in my future at some point, but at the same time the 4" Leviathan sounds overly exciting. Let's see...lightweight, 4" of travel, plush, 29er...I can't imagine it gets any better based on what I felt the other day. Plus Mikesee likes 'em. If it gets his seal of approval, it certainly gets mine!!! :)
 

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Appalachian Singletrack'n
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Padre said:
The Nomad is undeniably an FR bike...that can barely scrape by in XC conditions.
Where I live, The Nomad is an excellent XC bike (the most coveted as well) and wouldn't even begin to stand up to the freeride action in my area.
 

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Appalachian Singletrack'n
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Artnshel,

Don’t feel bad though I love my El Capatain, several of my riding companions have Nomads and that bike rips. I look at their efficient pedaling, huge forks, and real meaty tires with a longing eye. I’m a firm believer that the more travel the bike has the less the 29” wheel advantages pay off and there is certainly a point in travel/riding style where 29” becomes a hindrance.
 

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Wow, had to pinch myself...

.... is this really the 29er Forum? Almost rational dicussion, sure a few of the faithful throwing in the usual "never going back to a 26" wheel, but this thread shows some thought as to the right tool for the job!

Now, I've gone ahead and jumped into the 29er pool, but really didn't just dive into the deep end and throw away my water wings. My 29er is neat and all, but it sure makes me realize the limitations of the 29er offerings in forks, FS frames, tires etc. for rugged AM type riding.

Frames like the Santa Cruz Nomad, Turner Six Pack, Specialized Enduros, etc and UST tires or meaty FR/AM treads, forks like the RS Pike, the new Lyric, Fox 36, Marzocchi 66, parts like that that can be built up into 32-34lb all mountain bikes sure make riding fun. Like fat golf clubs, fat tennis rackets, fat racquetball racquets, fat skis, etc....

If you've been riding 29ers exclusively since 99/00/01, do yourself a favor and try a new generation 26" All Mountain type of trail bike, pure fun. 26" bikes have not been stagnant these past 5 years, the offerings in the 6" FS all mountain type bike are absolutely staggering. Being a dedicated 26" rider all this time, I went ahead and went the other way, got myself the 29er, so I've taken "try a 29er" advice as well.
 

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Endomaniac said:
Where I live, The Nomad is an excellent XC bike (the most coveted as well) and wouldn't even begin to stand up to the freeride action in my area.
#1 obviously, our definitions of "XC" vary greatly. I'm assuming that XC will involved going faster rather than slower uphill. Not sure how that works with a 33lb "XC" bike.

#2 6.5" inches of rear travel and 6" of front travel won't stand up in Tennessee? wow...why hasn't the Red Bull Rampage been held there yet? (respectfully, if you can't get by in FR with 6.5x6....will 8" front and back really help that much?)
 

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Yes, the Nomad is nice...

and a blast in Downieville! I demo'd a Nomad 2 weeks ago in D-ville and was very impressed with the way it handled and climbed. That bike was amazing! I totally agree with having a 6" travel bike in the stable for those fun runs. I am really thinking of getting a demo Nomad so my cost is not so high in a 26" bike.

I've been riding my SIR 9 for about six months now and really enjoy the ride. The 29er will be my primary ride even though I have a custom 26" one speed ready for all the local trails and elsewhere. The custom has become a back up bike since getting on the 29er.

But, once leaving Downieville, I thought about how much I'd really use the Nomad as to my usuall riding areas and what I want in a "all-mountain" bike. At this point, I'm looking at an El Patron with 4" rockers that will keep me on a 29er with a decent amount of suspension. If we lived in the Sierras or some place with very technical terrain, I'd definitely get a Nomad. But here, we have varied terrain and a 6" bike may take some of the "fun" out of trails that are smooth and fun on a rigid one speed or hard tail with front suspension.

Let's hear others thoughts on this thread.
 

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Mmmmm

I can't wait to see how Mr. Weir does at downieville with his nomad (he did excellent last year). I think I remember hearing a quote of him saying that he is just as fast on his nomad as he is on his blur, but that could just be marketing hype from Santa Cruz.

All in all this seems like a cool thread as my next bike purchase is going to be a 6 inch travel 26 wheeled inch wheeled bike. Something like the nomad, or reign. But, it won't see nearly as much trail time as my 29er single speed. :thumbsup:
 

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It seems like it comes down to riding style, local terrain and rider preference. I did the XC full suspension thing after years on a softride bike then went to a longer travel bike (Giant VT1) with 5 inches up front and 5.7 in back. On the downhills or the rough flat spots I thought it was the bomb.
But I tired of so much squish and it's resulting inefficiency and how my 50 percent pavement riding suffered not to mention the hassle of worring about a bunch more pivots and another shock.
No one bike or wheel size will be perfect for everyone. All bikes and wheel sizes have their strengths and drawbacks.
Will I ever get another 26 inch bike? Doubtful. Will I ever get another full suspension bike? Doubtful too. Will I ever get another 29er? Not for a while since the one I have should last for years. I will certainly upgrade parts though. I am waiting for a better front shock although my Reba is OK. Next major upgrade will be Paul adaptor thumbies with either 9 speed Ultegra or Dura Ace bar end shifters.
 

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Padre said:
#1 obviously, our definitions of "XC" vary greatly. I'm assuming that XC will involved going faster rather than slower uphill. Not sure how that works with a 33lb "XC" bike.

#2 6.5" inches of rear travel and 6" of front travel won't stand up in Tennessee? wow...why hasn't the Red Bull Rampage been held there yet? (respectfully, if you can't get by in FR with 6.5x6....will 8" front and back really help that much?)
#1 - I ride with 3 guys that all have Nomads with XTR/XT 36Floats and I9's and they are all sub 29lbs. My steel geared Wily is almost that heavy.

#2 - Its not the travel that keeps bikes like the Nomad of the DH runs around here it's the short wheelbase and steep geometry. We have folks from all over the world coming here to ride and train on the local DH trails now. It's more of an uber technical DH racing scene than freeride scene.
http://www.windrock-mtb.com/
 

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There was a WTB/Santa Cruz sponsored team at the 24 Hours of Laguna Seca, a few of them on Nomads, and they were killing it. This is a course with zero technical features and a long fire road climb. It was fun watching them rip down stairs with a 90 degree turn in the middle like I would ride down my driveway. I think they won their class by 2 laps.
 

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Endomaniac said:
#1 - I ride with 3 guys that all have Nomads with XTR/XT 36Floats and I9's and they are all sub 29lbs. My steel geared Wily is almost that heavy.

#2 - Its not the travel that keeps bikes like the Nomad of the DH runs around here it's the short wheelbase and steep geometry. We have folks from all over the world coming here to ride and train on the local DH trails now. It's more of an uber technical DH racing scene than freeride scene.
http://www.windrock-mtb.com/
Please, unless your hucking 15 footers to flat a Nomad can handle anything Tennessee has to offer, it's just that your buddies are building up prima donna bikes, sub 29lb Nomad, whatever, put some proper parts on it and ride hard. My buddy took his Nomad to Whistler, and while for some of the really gnarly drops and jumps he was under gunned, it worked well for everything else. Last I heard Tennessee ain't Whistler.
 

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Dude

Rivet said:
Please, unless your hucking 15 footers to flat a Nomad can handle anything Tennessee has to offer, it's just that your buddies are building up prima donna bikes, sub 29lb Nomad, whatever, put some proper parts on it and ride hard. My buddy took his Nomad to Whistler, and while for some of the really gnarly drops and jumps he was under gunned, it worked well for everything else. Last I heard Tennessee ain't Whistler.
I think you totally missed the point of his post.
 
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