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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There seems to be more options lately in what I would call XC FS bikes.

many Brands with full suspension units with anywhere from 60m to 110mm rear travel - fairly short in this age of popularity of enduro bikes

are you interested in short travel FS ?

what attracts you to that type bike?
what features are important to you in this style bike?
what is the best price range or spec level in your opinion ?

of course, I have my own feeling on this
and as a personal note, I really like XC bikes
But I would love to hear what others think of this growing niche
 

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There seems to be more options lately in what I would call XC FS bikes.

many Brands with full suspension units with anywhere from 60m to 110mm rear travel - fairly short in this age of popularity of enduro bikes

are you interested in short travel FS ?

what attracts you to that type bike?
what features are important to you in this style bike?
what is the best price range or spec level in your opinion ?

of course, I have my own feeling on this
and as a personal note, I really like XC bikes
But I would love to hear what others think of this growing niche
Is this you? Save Up To 60% Off Road Bikes, Bicycles, Mountain Bikes and Bicycles with Bikesdirect.com, New with full warranties
 

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Cycologist
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What brand has less than 100mm rear travel? I'm guessing these are just flex stays rather than true suspension?

I ride a 120/100 and it's fine for me around where I ride (North GA), though plenty of people ride a lot more. But my other two bikes are rigid. I'm a lightweight climber. I'm also more of a line-picker than a plow-through type, though I don't shy away from roughness even on the rigids.

I'm good with mid-range components, even Deore level is pretty darn good now a days, I did the Deore 51 cassette/derailleur, XT shifter on one of my bikes, though I tend to buy SLX or XT level.
 
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120mm v 140-150mm has a big difference in feel. Big travel and wheels tend to defeature the trail and react slower to rider input (for pumping and jumping). Shorter travel can't absorb as big a feature and you don't feel as insulated from the trail. On the surface we talk about travel but the question is really one about being overbiked or underbiked. I ride mostly XC trails though I prefer rougher more technical XC trails with slow speed technical sections. At 45 my body doesn't heal as fast as it used too so I tend not to hit those big speeds any more. For me a 120mm is the right bike 90% of the time and on occasion I might be underbiked on the faster steeper trails but that just makes me ride them slower. But I'd rather be underbiked 10% of the time than be overbiked 90% of the time. Being overbiked can make a trail feel boring to me as features you can ignore with big wheel and big travel you might have to give some body English and bike input on a shorter travel bike. But your local trails might be rougher and rowdier then my local trails so a 150mm bike might be the right bike for you 90% of the time where 100-120 would be underbiked. Location and local trails makes a big difference.

For me not everything is about setting KoM's or PBs in strava. I want to ride and enjoy myself and for me it's being more connected to the trail. Others might prefer going faster and getting bigger air which means insulating yourself from the speed arresting features of the trail so for them more travel might be the option. Then again other might want to have the ultimate connection with a trail and run single speed rigid bikes.
 

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always licking the glass
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I am interested in 120mm modern day full suspension that’s 27.5 and not made of carbon, but I doubt that’s what you’re trying to sell @bikesdirect.

I also don’t want them with super steep angles either.
 

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What brand has less than 100mm rear travel? I'm guessing these are just flex stays rather than true suspension?

I ride a 120/100 and it's fine for me around where I ride (North GA), though plenty of people ride a lot more. But my other two bikes are rigid. I'm a lightweight climber. I'm also more of a line-picker than a plow-through type, though I don't shy away from roughness even on the rigids.

I'm good with mid-range components, even Deore level is pretty darn good now a days, I did the Deore 51 cassette/derailleur, XT shifter on one of my bikes, though I tend to buy SLX or XT level.
You're right. The Trek Supercaliber is one such example. 60mm of rear travel and it's actually a soft tail.

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I’ve always ridden xc bikes. I started on a ridged bike in the late 80s and then a hardtail. Now I’m on a ‘21 Epic Evo and it feels very plush. The comparatively slack angles and 110/120 travel makes it feel as capable as the trail bikes I messed around with a few years back. The difference is the slightly shorter travel still retains enough connection to the terrain in feed back that it doesn’t loose that xc nature that I gravitate toward. It isn’t a bike park bike but it will get me through any back country black rated trail. I am probably right in the typical age bracket for this bike at 51, the type of rider that still rides hard technical trails but slower than a younger person with a bigger bike could ride it. For me it’s a great marathon bike which is what I’m into. It’s an extremely capable gravel bike that is comfortable and can cover ground very fast. Imo the short travel bikes are the perfect bike for a person that wants the next step past an XC bike and retain some lightness.
 

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You're right. The Trek Supercaliber is one such example. 60mm of rear travel and it's actually a soft tail.

Sent from my LIO-N29 using Tapatalk
That Trek has a main pivot and a damped shock, so I’m not sure it qualifies as a softail. The new Blur has a similar suspension setup, but it’s available with 115mm of travel. Is that a softail too?
 

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That Trek has a main pivot and a damped shock, so I’m not sure it qualifies as a softail. The new Blur has a similar suspension setup, but it’s available with 115mm of travel. Is that a softail too?
My bad, I thought the pivot was something like the design of the procaliber. I was wrong.

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I have a 100mm front/rear sus bike. I think given the needs/trails I have by my home this fits the bill. There are a LOT of long climbs and rolling/flowy singletrack. Its not uncommon to do 1800-2000ft of climbing in a 9-10 mile ride. With modern geometry I feel fully comfortable with the single track and most of the chunky downhill that I do, and I am able to climb 2000ft without feeling wiped out. My bike is light and climbs like a rocket. For those of us who like general trail riding for fitness and aren't paying for lift tickets at the bike park a short travel 29er fits the bill nicely. There is no sense in me paying for more suspension that I dont use.
 

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I saw what a decent full suspension would cost new at a LBS and instead bought the highest trim of a 1998 XC FS in 'small' travel (100mm/125mm) used. Even replacing literally every component it will be $1k cheaper than a current 'trail' or XC bike, AND it will have all my hand picked ergo and component preferences, so I won't have to drop another $500 to make it 'mine'. Front mullet + an angle headset and modern geometry is within reach as well.

Only problem is some components are hard to find now, like hydraulic brakes and decent 27.5 Fox forks.
 

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I have a 100mm front/rear sus bike. I think given the needs/trails I have by my home this fits the bill. There are a LOT of long climbs and rolling/flowy singletrack. Its not uncommon to do 1800-2000ft of climbing in a 9-10 mile ride. With modern geometry I feel fully comfortable with the single track and most of the chunky downhill that I do, and I am able to climb 2000ft without feeling wiped out. My bike is light and climbs like a rocket. For those of us who like general trail riding for fitness and aren't paying for lift tickets at the bike park a short travel 29er fits the bill nicely. There is no sense in me paying for more suspension that I dont use.
This is exactly where I am at.

Before the Covid supply crunch, I planned to buy a Pivot Mach 4 SL this year. Maybe that will be cleared up by next year...
 

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MTBR Member since 2001...
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120/100 would be the absolute minimum, but my preference is more.

I purchased a FS motobecane frame 12 yrs ago and built it up with fox and XT components. It was one of the best bikes I ever built / owned. Not the lightest, but solid, fun and zero issues.

Sold it for a great price and the guy who bought it emailed me after 6 months and said how happy he was with it. I purchased from bikeisland. I've heard of bikesdirect, but have never done business with them.
 

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People specifically looking for short travel FS bikes are interested in climbing efficiency, light weight and/or xc racing. The down country segment is an interesting idea... a bike like the Epic Evo is a weapon that can be raced AND shred the trails for fun.
 

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I just picked up an Oiz TR, 120/120. My rationale, 90%+ of my riding is New England single track, all loops so always equal amounts of up and down. Occasionally we hit Highland Mountain, or one of the ski mountains with summer MTB to ride the flow trails and green and blue tech trails.

Up until now I've been riding my 100mm ~2006 Cannondale F5 hardtail 26" (completely upgraded) and I'm faster than my buddy on his brand new Giant Trance 29, so moving to a modern short travel full squish should make for a really nice upgrade.

Maybe if I start wanting to ride black tech trails at Highland I'll rent myself a 160mm bike for the day.
 

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I would love a more affordable, aluminum spur type bike. Modern geo, short seat post, rowdy and tough build. I like the new spark but the seattube is too long.
 
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