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Currently, I ride mostly aggressive XC but would like to do more DH and FR. Based on magazine reviews and opinions on this forum, I am seriously thinking of getting a VP Free.

However, I am curious to know how well it climbs. Reviews suggest that it climbs well - some even say that it climbs almost as well as an XC bike (which is amazing since it does weigh a ton!). So is this true?

Looking forward to your replies.
 

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- The 2 that have gone out of my shop are reportedly climbing real well....

Not bad at all for bikes that weigh 36 pounds w/7 Inch Sherman Sliders.
And there was room for weight reduction in those 2 builds.....
 

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shafj said:
Currently, I ride mostly aggressive XC but would like to do more DH and FR. Based on magazine reviews and opinions on this forum, I am seriously thinking of getting a VP Free.

However, I am curious to know how well it climbs. Reviews suggest that it climbs well - some even say that it climbs almost as well as an XC bike (which is amazing since it does weigh a ton!). So is this true?

Looking forward to your replies.
I think that the Santa Cruz Hell ride contest was done specifically to highlight that you can climb quite well on a VP Free. The contest winner had to climb about 12,000 feet to complete the contest. He did just that.

I think that the other riders were also on VP Frees.

It also depends on what you mean by "how well it climbs". Are you refering to short, steep, technical climbs (traction issues) or longer smoother climbs (weight and bobbing issues)?
 

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Yeah, it climbs well - for a heavy, long travel bike.

Due to the linkage design, when set up properly the free has less bob and pedal feedback as compared to many other big travel bikes, and it remains fairly active under pedal power. So you get an efficient transfer of power, gobs of traction, good bump compliance even under power, and can maintain forward momentum better than other bikes.

It also takes a front derailleur and a full seatpost, so you can jack your seat to your usual climbing extension and spin a low gear.

But it's a 10 or 11 pound frame, and even if you build it light (either by spending much dinero or using weaker xc parts) it will still weigh probably 35 pounds or more. Notwithstanding the great design, that's a lot of weight to drag up long climbs. Plus with most 7" or 8" forks (even spv) you'll get a fair amount of front end bob.

You CAN climb on a free, but you'll suffer a lot more than climbing on a sub-25lb short-travel xc rig.
 

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It climbs extremely well but as others have mentioned, it's still a heavy bike no matter how you set it up. I'm currenlty using mine as a heavy duty trailbike built with a Z150 FR (waiting for a 888R and a new freehub from WTB) and it kicks a$$. It bombs through most everything beautifully and it's great to know that you have great suspension to bail you out when you're over your head. I never wanted to pedal my Bullit up to my local bike park but the VP Free makes short work of it and my ride starts with a steep road climb. Very little bobbing and the harder you stomp the pedals the more it firms up. The ECC on the Z150 helps a lot too.
 
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