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I'm trying to decide between a 29er hard tail and a full suspension (26er) for a new bike. I really like the concept of the bigger wheels but switching back to a HT after years on FS seems strange. I'm thinking a Niner Air 9 with XT build on the 29er side, choices on the FS are endless it seems, but around the same price point.

Given the time of races I'm planning on for the year (Gunnison Growler 8ish, Firecracker 50 5ish, Laramie Enduron 6-7 and Dakota 5 0) will the added comfort of a FS prove a bigger benefit than the big wheels. Any thoughts/comments from people who have made the switch are appreciated.
 

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I'm going back to a hard tail . big wheels though . F/S is nice and comfy but , I like the efficiency of the HT .
 

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dmccune said:
I'm trying to decide between a 29er hard tail and a full suspension (26er) for a new bike. I really like the concept of the bigger wheels but switching back to a HT after years on FS seems strange. I'm thinking a Niner Air 9 with XT build on the 29er side, choices on the FS are endless it seems, but around the same price point.

Given the time of races I'm planning on for the year (Gunnison Growler 8ish, Firecracker 50 5ish, Laramie Enduron 6-7 and Dakota 5 0) will the added comfort of a FS prove a bigger benefit than the big wheels. Any thoughts/comments from people who have made the switch are appreciated.
For short track or even relatively short XC races, particularly on courses that aren't too rough, a HT 29er will be a great choice. For endurance races or any really rough courses, a FS 29er is your best bet, especially if you have any sort of back issues.

Disclaimer: I have an Air 9 and Pivot Mach 429. The Air 9 is essentially a short track or HC machine, but I have back problems. Otherwise, I'd ride it in XC races, too. Endurance is FS for me, no question.
 

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Angry bunny
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There are some heavy 29er duallies out there but my large Jet9 weighed in at 26.5lb with a not stupidly weight weenie build. In fact it weighed about the same as a friends size medium dually with Noir cranks and X9/X0 buildkit. She weighs about 30kg less than me and is a very accomplished endurance racer down here in Australia.

I plan a lighter build again for the next dually but will not be going full weight weenie by any stretch. I would rather be comfortable for 24hr events than compromising to save a few grams.

Build for the dually will be:
- XL frame (still negotiating this so wont say what it is)
- KCNC Scandium bar
- Ergon GX3 grips
- Thomson seatpost and stem
- Reba Race fork with Pushloc
- Hope Pro2 hubs laced to Stans Arch rims via DT Competition spokes
- Maxxis Ignitors and Crossmarks (tubeless)
- XTR Cranks, pedals, shifters and derailleurs
- XT Cassette and chain
- Formula K24 brakes
- WTB Silverado saddle

My Mamasita weighs about 9.5kg as pictured:

 

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Have you (the OP) considered something along the lines of a Salsa Dos Niner? Anyone who rides/races on "choppy" terrain really should give the Dos a try.:thumbsup: I ride a lot of trails littered with golf ball sized bumps and rocks and the Dos wins hands down over a FS 26" IMO.
 

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haven't raced in a year but...

I switched from a 4" FS 26er to an Air9 for '07 for the unsanctioned KTR, used it for the Laramie Enduro (twice), Firecracker 50, and a second failed attempt at the KT (it wasn't the bike on that one). Since you mentioned a few of these races, I would tell you that I found it to work very will with a few things in mind.

-I had a long layback Ti post (fortunately the Air9 has lots of standover, thus lots of post exposed). This was enough to take the edge off of a sharp impact when too tired to keep seated. An easton carbon one worked well, but I needed a layback. I like the Ti bend instead of snap mode of failure, and abrasion resistance factor.

-I went with a lively set of wheels vs. a stiff set. Later this wheelset was too soft for my 29er FS setup, so they have been moved to the 29" SS.

-Larger volume tires setup tubeless help as well. Just make sure the rear is a fast roller.

I rode a Dos Niner once (first niner I ever rode), and the above combined setup gave the same compliance without the additional complexity/weight. Still, a nice bike though.

I went to the Jet9 (got a killer deal), but never raced it last year. They recalled it, and now I am with the RIP9. When I get the urge to go fast, I brake out the One9. I have even considered a second wheel for the One9 (Rolhoff) so that it could pull double duty doing distance events.

29" hardtail (as configured above) over the 29" fully is the direction I would go if making the choice again.
 

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raced my ht 29er (superfly) last season and loved it. my times improved considerably over those on a 26fs the year before, though my fitness and experience was better too. for me, anything over 4 hours on rough terrain (pisgah, for example), is a bit painful (kidneys seem to get jarred) yet tolerable. at the same time, races like cohutta (largely gentle singletrack and gravel grinding), even over 8 hours, are fine on the ht 29er. if i was endlessly wealthy, i suppose i'd have a superfly 100 for the roughest of courses but would likely ride the superfly ht for everything else. as with most questions such as yours... only you can figure this out through test rides. what works for me doesn't seem to work for others and vice versa. good luck with your process and enjoy your new steed, whatever it may be.
 

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going soft

I had been in a similar quandry...
I was a little nervous as I like to do endurance events and have a 48 yo back.
Wanted to try 29, but didn't want the weight of a FS 29er.
Yesterday was my first ride on a new (eBay) YBB 29'er.
I think this may be the ticket. :thumbsup:
Final build is about 22, though I have yet to hang it and get an "official" weight.

Good luck.
 

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dmccune said:
Given the time of races I'm planning on for the year (Gunnison Growler 8ish, Firecracker 50 5ish, Laramie Enduron 6-7 and Dakota 5 0) will the added comfort of a FS prove a bigger benefit than the big wheels.....
I can't speak for the 29er aspect of this thread...but when it comes to picking a bike for the races you mentioned above.....go hardtail with some high volume low profile tread tires. I have done all those races on a carbon 26er HT and don't regret my equipment choice. HT for speed. FS for comfort and enjoyment :thumbsup:
 

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Just re-reading this thread as this is a tough nut to crack. I've been racing for last 3 seasons on a 07 Giant Anthem 0, about 24lbs. Its a really good bike but I can't help but wonder if I'd be better off on a superlight 29er HT build, like sub 22 lbs. I do a few races with long climbs or open fast sections (think Firecracker 50 and Laramie Enduro) but also do plenty of 2 hour XC hammerfests. Hard to get a good idea from demo bikes at shops bc they're all cheaper builds and are heavy.

Anybody make the jump from 26er FS to 29er HT and regret it? Anybody have to compensate with extra core strength on the HT?
 

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I'd like to know whether anybody has gone from 26er FS to 29er HT as well. I have a Yeti 575 and I'm looking for a bike for the races suggested by the OP. I'm hesitant to add another FS bike as my second bike but I don't want to end up regretting a HT. On the HT side, I'm looking at the Superfly and Stumpjumper Expert Carbon 29. For FS, the bike shop guys are really pushing 29er this year but it seems like in the $3000 range, there is a big weight penalty. I guess I'm just jumping on the bandwagon of the OP not knowing what to do.
 

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I'm for the ht 29 made the switch, was debating on getting a full suspension 29 coming from a 26. HT and I have had a FS. I love my superfly. I am glad I did hard tail although I do have back issues. I just like the way it rides, and I like the simplicity and that it is light weight. I guess in an ideal world I would get the full suspension too for endurance races over 50 mi and maybe alternate them for endurance and xc.
 

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I have been riding HT 29er for all of my races this year following the recall of my Jet9.
The HT is AOK for most of my events with the exception of those greater than 12 hours.
I even made it through a 24hr solo this year on the HT so that is doable at a pinch.

Once my new 29er dually arrives I will use the HT 29er for events up to 12 hours in length and the dually will come out for the 24hr's and very bumpy courses. My plan for the 24hr solo's will be to start on the HT and then move over to the dually later in the race.
 

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I went from a FS 26 to a HT 29. For shorter xc races it wasn't too bad on the back unless it got really rooty or rough. I think I got used to it, but the first couple weeks kinda sucked. Felt more effecient on the climbs, but my FS was 28 ish pounds and the HT is a carbon bike at 23, so that helped too. I'm going back to the FS 26 - I really like the HT 29er, but new sponsorship and my new journey into doing more endurance races/100 milers/etc.. has me going in a different direction. I'll be on a Trek Top Fuel 9.9 so I doubt I'll pay much of a price going from the HT to the FS seeing how light the 9.9 is!!
 

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I have done the Firecracker 50 and Laramie enduro. Both were great on my hardtail CDale 29er. I built it to 25lbs pretty easily thanks to how lite the Lefty is. (Carbon parts/xo/x9/tubeless) All in all, I wouldn't hesitate to go HT with those races again. I got a great time and place in my age group.

I moved onto a Van Dessel Jersey Devil 29er FS this year but will be building a Jersey Devil HT to compliment it later this summer. Like Kerkove said, there is nothing like the acceleration of a HT!

Cheers!
 
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