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How much further ???
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All,

So I know the HT vs FS has been beaten to death and as someone who currently has both Im aware of the differences. That being said what Im not clear on is the difference between the two as applied to endurance rides and multi day rides.

So to back up a second Im asking because, as some of know, I've ridden in a few AES races this past year and am looking forward to more and even the possibility of doing the AZT 300 next year. So while I've had no real issues with my steel 29er HT it has got me thinking that going from a 50-60 mile ride to a 300 mile multi day ride is a big bump up. I would assume even subtle differences become much more noticeable at these distances.

So back to the question.

I would be looking at replacing my Transition TransAM 29er with a bike similar to either a Salsa Spearfish/HorseThief or a Transition Bandit.

What I dont know is will this really make a big difference? Im assuming the main advantage of FS is comfort and is the gain in perceived comfort offset by the extra weigh and more important more failure points? Any other differences Im not away of? Does the loss in pedal efficiency of FS (albeit small in some designs) really come into play at these distances?

Again I know people even this year have done the AZT300 with rigids and even fatbikes so Im just not sure how much difference the bike really makes or not since so much really comes down to mental strength.

Just curious other endurance riders thoughts or experiences.
 

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parenting for gnarness
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6,251 Posts
while i am not anywhere near the class of some, i have a few random points:

Even with a bag specifically designed for short seatpost, my seat bag hits my rear wheel on big compressions. I've simply put duct tape on the bottom to protect it

As I get tired(er), riding clean goes away quickly. The safety net of a full sus has saved me many times here. But, I'm used to a full sus.

back pain.

nothing fires me up more on a long and exhausting ride than to clean a tech obstacle or land a drop (ymmv), but when I am deep in the pain cave stuff like that reminds me about having fun, and I am WAY better on FS for that. At the PMC, I was jumping off everything going into Mint Wash and it pumped me up for an hour.

Why don't you try a long ride locked out the whole time, see how it goes?
 

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How much further ???
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2,371 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Assuming your main reasoning comfort? I ask because, at its core, I think thats what Im trying to figure out. Is additional comfort >> any loss in pedal efficiency, increase in maintenance/things to go wrong (complexity of a FS vs HT)?
 

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Got a suspension fork
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2,458 Posts
Assuming your main reasoning comfort? Im asking because I guess that is at its core what Im asking. Additional comfort >> any loss in pedal efficiency, increase in maintenance/things to go wrong (complexity of a FS vs HT)
In my opinion a FS bike is easier to ride over the rough stuff, so if you're facing the choice of bikes over a long rough ride, that would seem to me to be of value. I clearly remember how much easier my Hei Hei was to ride through the cruft than my HT Unit is, over many hours and miles that has to be easier to not only navigate but on your body as well.

I just personally like riding HT better regardless of whether it's not necessarily the fastest or easiest to navigate, I just like it more.
 

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Ahhh the pain....
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Douger...tough question since if you look at the guys and gals doing multi-day bike packing races, they're rolling both. Take Kurt Refsnider...he just set that blazing fast sub 2 day record on the AZT300 on a Spearfish. 2nd Place finisher Aaron Gulley was on a FS too...I think a Specialized Epic. The 4th place finisher Shawn Gregory I think rides a Ti SS bike (hardtail).
I think the bottom line comes down to the fact that lighter is better except where it compromises comfort to the point of being limiting. Note that all 4 of those guys did minimal/no sleeping so they had no extra weight of a bag/bivy.
Honestly, even though I roll a SS, if I were to buy a FS bike for AZT300 and other multi-day stuff, a spearfish would be near the top of my list.
I'll also say that like always, it's more about the rider than the bike...this year Rob Bauer has been riding some of the AES events on a Klunker...yes, SS, rigid, and only a coaster brake in the rear and turning in some respectable finish times. I hope the guy takes on the 300 and makes us all look like pu$$ies with our high tech crap.
 

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EDR
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10,692 Posts
I do not pretend for one minute to be a long distance rider or racer. But one point I'd like to make. Full suspension bikes are not necessarily less efficient peddling. In fact if the terrain is rough they can be quite the opposite. Just something to think about.

For example, pick a stretch of rocky or rooty uphill terrain, or downhill for that matter. Which bike is easier or less fatiguing to ride on? I'm not asking which is more fun for your personal preference, but which is easier? Weigh that against the course you plan to ride.
 

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A couple years ago I built up a hardtail specifically for bikepacking. The simplicity and ability to use a frame bag were two of the main reasons for the build. I used it on a few 2-3 day bikepacks and it worked pretty well, no complaints. I also put a coil Pike on it figuring it would be less likely to have problems than an air fork.

I've also used my Mojo SL for a few bikepacks. The rear tire does bottom out on the seat pack occasionally but the bike rides nicely when loaded - much more comfortable to ride than the hardtail. I do add extra air to fork/shock to account for increased weight. While a hardtail may be more efficient I find the rear suspension, especially when loaded, allows the Mojo SL to climb way better on technical climbs because the wheel sticks to the ground rather than bouncing around.

If you're like me and building up a hardtail for bikepacking you will probably go for a steel frame. I have never weighed either bike but I would bet the Mojo is lighter than the On One (it wasn't a light build). The hardtail was stolen last year and I have not replaced it. The Mojo has worked well enough I feel no need to. If my bike-packs involved mostly smooth trails and/or fire roads like Coconino 250 the hardtail might be the better option but I would prefer the full suspension for stuff like AZT or CO Trail. For now I will stay with the Mojo SL.

Ultimately either HT or full suspension will work for you, might just come down to preference for comfort, weight, simplicity, etc. If I were to look for a new bike I would go full suspension, with an open front triangle that could take a frame bag. And I would probably go 2x10 or 42T rear to reduce HAB on bikepacks. This would be a bike for both regular trail riding and bikepacking.
 

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DFL>DNF>DNS
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CB: That's awesome!! I thought of that ride as I read Ray's comment.

But where would you put that giant framebag of crap on a FS rig?? Surly you don't want that 3lb burrito on your back!! Besides you can't HTFU without HT!!

All kidding aside, I started doing the AES races on a 26" FS (gasp!), I was just as worked over if not more than now. I don't really think it mattered that much to me if it was FS or HT. The big difference now is, I'm a stronger rider than I was in 2010 and way more mentally prepared when things go south. It's ridiculous how much of a mental game these endurance events can be.
 

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Douger...tough question since if you look at the guys and gals doing multi-day bike packing races, they're rolling both. Take Kurt Refsnider...he just set that blazing fast sub 2 day record on the AZT300 on a Spearfish. .
Ah, but Kurt also took Tour Divide on hardtail - Salsa Mariachi Titanium. That's 2745 miles !

Here are my 2 cents in math terms.

Great rider >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>$10000 FS=$5000 HT > $5000 FS=$2000 HT.
 

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...
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one thing to consider - especially if you do something like the 300 - is weight. For the same dollars, you can get a lighter HT than FS. When you are dragging all your stuff over Oracle Ridge, that can make a bit of a difference.

Personally, I'll likely add gears to my hardtail on the next attempt. But even if I had a choice of any bike, don't think I'd go FS.

At the end of the day John hit the nail on the head. The mental game is the most important part of completing endurance events. Luck comes just after that, then equipment. So, don't sweat too much over your bike choice.
 

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Vincit qui patitur
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Simplicity of mainatanence of HT for extremely long rides i.e. TD.
FS for shorter rides i.e. AZT300/750
That pretty much sums up a few converstions I had with Kurt.
Take your question here too:
Ultra Racing
 

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That's a great topic Doug,

I specifically chose a FS bike for the TD this year. I have read the pros' / cons for both. I came away with this; endless miles of washboard roads, HT or FS? Most guys on the TD are on full rigid bikes. Their theory is, lower air pressure to smooth out the ride at the expense of rolling resistance.

I respect that, but see it differently. I will let the FS eat the washboards and run the tires up to 35-38 PSI and let the bike roll. If there is no weight penalty or FS, I see no reason not to run it.

Reliability and less moving parts? Sure, good argument for HT, Less body fatigue and faster rolling over washboards and rocky section for the FS, sure. FS bike certainly has less room aboard for bags. I had a seat bag made somewhat different than most. I had Phantom Packs make one that uses the wasted space on the seat tube all the way down to the top tube. It tapers from big to small, top to bottom and does not interfere with the suspension travel in any way.

I have also read all the findings about lower air pressure's roll better, I'm still not completely convinced of that. So I'll run em' hard and let it roll.

Really no right or wrong, whatever you like. Like John say's "Mental Game"

Best,

Steve
 

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DFL>DNF>DNS
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And by "next attempt" John and Mark are talking 750 next year. They may need adult supervision. It is an easy thing to talk about when it is a year away.
Yep, it's true. Going for the 750 next year. We have a year to get mentally prepared for a supreme beatdown unlike no other. Jeff, you know you secretly want to do it, just to stay one up on Ray. :)
 

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Ahhh the pain....
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Yep, it's true. Going for the 750 next year. We have a year to mentally prepared for a supreme beatdown unlike no other. Jeff, you know you secretly want to do it, just to stay one up on Ray. :)
He will ALWAYS be older than me and thus, more than "one up".
However, he does give me a run for my money in the anger department. That Jeff is one angry old dude.
 
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