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I have demo-ed a bunch and still can't decide. Definitely cant have one of each. Can you guys offer some opinion?

My current stable:
Fuji 29er hardtail
Santa Cruz Nomad2
Cannondale single speed for trialsin and DJ.

My riding style:
Rides mainly in North California. About 20 years of riding experience. Loves climbing, actually getting really good at it. Has a XC racing background in the mid 90s. Spend the past few years in free-riding until I got really injured and undergone knee surgery.

Bikes I have demo-ed:
Tallboy
Sultan
Firebird
AnthemX
Superfly 100

With the exception of the tallboy, all the other bikes were demo-ed at Sea Otter in Monterey. Due to the smooth nature of the trails there, the extra travel wasn't really needed. However, tall boy was demo-ed at a very rocky park in my area. I thought the geo was holding the tallboy back on bombing rockgardens, but the 4" suspension felt enough for the most part. Love the Superfly for climbing, but it just isn't going to work that well for the AM~ish stuffs around north CA or Santa Cruz.

What I am looking for:

-Light and fast bike that I can seriously hammer up hills on middle ring.
-Something that can bomb rockgardens at fast speed. I stop doing drops and doubles after the surgery.

So that is the scoop. Would long or short travel 29er be ideal? I needed some opinions. Current thinking is to keep the nomad2 for those shuttle~ish days, and just get a short travel bike. But would something like a rumblefish or stumpjumper be better and yet still be a bike I can break PR record uphills on?

Thanks.:thumbsup:
 

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You can't bomb downhills and fly uphills on the same bike. Bombing requires beefy wheels and tires, longer travel and a relaxed riding position and flying requires light parts and short/efficient travel. If you're not into racing I suggest the Rumblefish, it is very impressive right out of the box, the 2012 models are 120mm front and rear with DRCV front and rear. If you want to fly up hills with that bike you may need a lighter wheelset but it is very capable climbing and descending.
 

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I'm going to disagree with the above poster (after all, "bombing" descents means different things to different people). If I were in the OP's position, I would get an effecient 4" travel frame and throw a Fox Talas 29 on the front -> FOX RACING SHOX :: BIKE : FORKS : 32 TALAS 29 FIT TERRALOGIC

Just make sure the frame manufacturer is okay with a 120mm fork up front. Maybe have some Flow rims laced to light hubs.
 

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Keep the SC for the bigger stuff and go short travel -- Tallboy, Superfly, Epic. Or, keep the SC for bigger and go more trail oriented -- Sultan, Stumpy FSR 29 -- these just aren't as efficient on the flats or climbing but will take some hits. Load these up with some beefier wheels and they'll be a solid compromise.

Wasn't that helpful?
 

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I think you're less likely to break PR climbing records on a long-travel 29er, but it would be a lot plusher and great for bombing the rock gardens.

I rode a Stumpy FSR 29er for the last year. It was a very capable and fun trail bike, and the Brain shock also made it a good climber. It was pretty plush and awesome through the rock gardens. However, I pretty much never used all of the 130mm travel, and I did notice the extra weight on the climbs, so I think that a lighter weight, shorter travel bike would suit my needs and preferences better, especially since I also do some racing. A 120-130mm bike might be the sweet spot for a lot of people for an all-around trail bike if you ride rocks and roots. I think the longer travel bikes like the Firebird and WFO9 are overkill unless you are doing fast, agressive AM riding.

I think it really comes down to personal taste and riding style. Some folks like rigid bikes, some like hardtails, some like short travel, and some like long travel. For the XC/trail riding I do, which includes a lot of roots and rocks, I think 100mm travel on a 29er is enough, or maybe 100mm rear with a 120mm fork.

Did the Tallboy you demo'd have a 100mm or 120mm fork? If it had the 100mm, then a 120mm will slacken the geometry a bit and it might be more to your liking.

FWIW, I've ordered a Tallboy to replace the Stumpy FSR. I think it will make a fine trail bike and also a pretty good XC race bike. I was also strongly considering the 2012 Epic Expert 29er, which is more race-oriented.
 

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Well maybe you can have both. My tryout 29" bike is a Paradox and I've found that I can do everything I used to do on my Intense 5point5. Still, half of me wants a full suspension, even though I'm not sure I need it. If I go for it my choice will probably be an Intense Spider 29 with adjustable rear travel (4.25" or 4.75"). I'd get a 120mm. fork but a TALAS would give adjustable front too.

Ronnie.
 

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I think it might be more about geometry than travel. Problem is I don’t think there are many (or any) shorter travel FS bikes that offer geo that is going to inspire confidence speeding down the chunk.

I’m a big guy and ride AM trails so a 130mm bike with trail geo was my choice (Stumpy FSR Comp). I’m sure it’s a bit less efficient on the climb than a 100mm XC bike but its ability to climb steep, tech and loose is amazing (at least to me).

Gary
 

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I think it might be more about geometry than travel. Problem is I don’t think there are many (or any) shorter travel FS bikes that offer geo that is going to inspire confidence speeding down the chunk.

I’m a big guy and ride AM trails so a 130mm bike with trail geo was my choice (Stumpy FSR Comp). I’m sure it’s a bit less efficient on the climb than a 100mm XC bike but its ability to climb steep, tech and loose is amazing (at least to me).

Gary
Yep, this ^^^^
 

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I have been very happy with my Ellsworth Evolve...just over 4" of front and rear travel...but truly feels just as supple as my buddy's new Pivot Mach 5.7...no joke! Climbs like a goat (I recommend 12-36 in the rear) in both middle and small rings, yet sucks up rock gardens and small drops 1- 1 1/2' like butter.

I live and ride in AZ so I am very familiar with rocky terrain. Hands down the best bike I've ever had due to it's ability perform well in AM conditions even though it is touted as a trail bike.
 
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