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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm searching for a new trail bike and can't decide if I want a 29er with 130mm travel or a 27.5 with 150mm travel. What's the better option for a 'do everything' bike that rips XC trails and also shreds DH at bike parks?
 

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Depends on the geometry of the bikes and what bike park you're talking about. Some parks 130mm would be fine and some you'd probably need a DH bike to ride properly. Even more important than 130 vs 150mm of travel is the geo. Also, 29" wheels are not really a substitute for more travel like some think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm thinking modern geometry like HTA slack around 65-66 degrees, STA steep around 75 degrees.
Comparing bikes like the Canyon Spectral 27.5 & Rocky Mtn Altitude 27.5 (both 160/150mm)
vs
bikes like YT Jeffsy 29er 140/140mm, Trek Fuel EX 29er 130/130mm, Intense Primer 29er 140/130mm.
 

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There's plenty of bikes in both wheelsizes from 130-160mm of travel. You'll have to figure out your wheel size preference. On travel, again it depends on the bike park. A 66° HTA 130mm travel bike might be fine at some bike parks. It will feel pretty sketchy at places like Windrock though. If you pick your way down you'll have a ton of weight on your hands and front wheel and 130mm of travel isn't enough for most people to let off the brakes and charge down. Talk to people who ride at whatever park you're considering.
 

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The bike you're looking for, that's at home in both places, doesn't really exist. A bike you can really have fun on in a park isn't going to be a fun bike to pedal around some XC trails, and bike that's fun to pedal around some XC trails is probably not going to be confidence inspiring in a park. You're either going to compromise on the trail on at the park.

That said, in a recent discussion with a guy I know who I would say is in the top 10 or 15 riders I know (and I know some really good riders, none of whom are me) we talked about a 140-150 rear travel 29er with a mini-link (DW,VPP) being the best compromise for technical trails, rowdy jump lines, and pedaling "ordinary trails" if you could only have one bike. That means you should look at longer travel 29ers than is on your list, and look at suspension designs that pedal well. You might even consider the new Giant that just dropped - at 146mm rear travel, and Maestro suspension, it's in the game I'm talking.
 

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My Santa Cruz 5010 is the most versatile bike I've ever owned, and I've been riding full suspension since 1996. It pedals great, handles great, it doesn't feel sluggish on cross country trailss, and doesn't feel overwhelmed when things get rugged. I love it.
 

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I love my Scott Genius 700 tuned... 27.5 150mm front and back. Pedals great, goes up hill and down hill like a dream (for reference I live near/ride Pisgah and Dupont). I'm set up at 25.5 lbs.. (ditched the gimmick twinloc and am running a standard fox factory dps shock and swapped the fit4 for a grip 2 damper in the fork). I've had a few now between the '16 and '18 and I'd buy another in a heartbeat
 

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Kind of comparing apples to slightly different apples here. Test ride everything you can and trust that. I was best on a 130mm 29er Stumpjumper, but that should mean nothing to you.

Old school DH tracks will probably gobble up a trail bike...maybe keep to the groomed stuff when you get off the lifts.
 

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No bike is going to simultaneously "rip XC trails" and "shred DH bike park", what makes a bike good for one of those things will make it lousy at the other. You need to figure out which aspect you want to prioritise and that [IMO] should be based on the trails you ride most often. Peoples idea of "all rounder" bikes range from down-country XC bikes to 160 f/r full on enduro type rigs. Most modern bikes are great, you can pedal a big bike on an all day epic without giving up too much on the climbs (in comparison to long travel bikes of a decade ago) and most light-ish short travel trail bikes are burly enough to be able to ride reasonably gnarly descents with [relative] confidence.

My Knolly Endorphin (150F 130R) has been an excellent all-rounder for me, I've done overnight back country missions on it without it feeling like a burden and it doesn't feel [too far] out of its depth when being pushed on the gnarly stuff, but most importantly it suits the local riding I do regularly (a mix of flow trails and oldschool grade 3-4 natural tech) perfectly. If you live somewhere with a chairlift near by, or somewhere with gentle country and long XC-type rides your "sweet spot" bike will be different to mine.
 

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Guerrilla Gravity Megatrail. Not only is it ridiculously configurable with 155 or 165mm travel, but with a different shock and seatstay kit (around $1000) and an extra set of wheels, you can run a 650b and a 29er on the same frame.
 

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Also, 29" wheels are not really a substitute for more travel like some think.
Eh, in my experience, going from 27.5" wheels to 29" wheels is like getting another inch of travel. In other words, 130mm 29er feels a lot like a 150mm bike with smaller wheels.

Geometry and tire selection are far more critical though.
 

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I've learned it's the geo that dictates capability now. Travel is for speed: Less of it for the ups, more of it for the downs. After building up a 140/150 29 trail bike with modern geo it's a bit too much bike. A ~120-130 travel with modern geo would be my sweet spot for do everything bike.
 

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Couple things.

wheel size. 29er wheels roll over stuff better than 27.5. The more chunky rocks you have the better 29 wheels move through it. I have just moved to an all 29er fleet. XC HT Singlespeed (Vassago Verhauen), XC FS 100/100 (Specialized Epic), Trail/Enduro 160/145 (Ibis Ripmo). All 29"wheels. I used to have a 130/125 27.5 (SC 5010) and it would get hung up on rocks more than my 29er HT. I could really feel it in rear wheel on ledgy stuff. The suspension travel helped, but still could not match the roll over. That got replaced with 160/145 29er and it just rolls over stuff so well. Yes it has more travel, but I am having to learn to adjust my speed to what it can do. However for XC type stuff my SS or FS are just so much lighter they are just super fun.

I don't ride much if any bike park stuff. 99% is natural terrain, climb descend stuff and never jump lines and rarely flow trails. But I do ride lots of chunk and my big bike is really there to get me through the big chunk and work on ever more challenging trails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for your responses. I'll be looking for a 29er with about 140mm rear travel. I love Canyon because you get the best Spec for money but unfortunately the Neuron is too XC focused and the Spectral is more AM/Enduro and less trail focused.
Looking at the YT Jeffsy 29er however the reviews say the e*thirteen components aren't the best and the bike needs a Fox 36 over the 34.
Also keen to check out the new Giant Reign 29er but STA is only 74 deg.
Any other options for bikes similarly priced to Canyon/YT?
 
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