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Baby Bear is in the house
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've just recently been considering building up an AM bike to complement my one and only rigid SS bike. I've never ridden full suspension, and like the unmatched stiffness and instant acceleration you get from a hardtail, so was considering getting one of those burly steel long-travel hardtails (think TransAM, Alpine, etc). Heck, if I could readily get my hands on one, I'd snap up a Genesis Alpitude.
But now, full suspension has got me curious, and am contemplating a short travel (120mm or less; 100mm ideally) FS frame that can take a longer (120-160mm) fork and would be good for anything from short XC trips, to epic AM rides. The Cotic Hemlock is a nice example, but I prefer less travel in the rear. The Orange ST4 comes to mind, for one.
What other short travel FS AM frames should I be looking at? Do they even exist at all?

'appreciate any inputs and suggestions.
 

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I am in the same boat. This setup sounds perfect to me. I was excited about the hemlock untill I read the reviews on bike radar.
 

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How about the knolly endorphin xc. It has 125mm or rear travel though. I was trying to find the article in mountain biking uk from a month ago that has an article on these types of bikes, but I cant.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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People are going to make a lot of suggestions here. You might be able to say that there are some short travel "trail" bikes, but all-mountain usually means a little slacker, you would usually achieve that by putting a slightly taller fork on the "trail" bike, like say 120mm of travel. Here is actually a trail bike that someone has outfitted with more of an "AM" type build: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=584065

One thing I would reccomend is something with the DW-link rear suspsension. With 15 years of riding, this is the closest thing you'll get to that hardtail-acceleration without having an overly harsh ride. Many times hardtail-to-FS riders don't realize that they're riding a much harsher bike as necessary, in fact they often strive to find bikes with "lockouts" and other band-aids that will keep the suspension "efficient", and of course this makes them ride just like hardtails. Many bikes these days do "decently" as far as efficiency is concerned, but nothing comes close to the acceleration you get from the DW link designs. There is just enough resistance built in to the wheel-path that allows you to get max acceleration with no interfearance. Other manufacturers also use suspension systems that "stiffen" when you pedal, this results in decent efficiency, but makes you lose traction while pedaling or makes the suspension feel harsher when pedaling through rocky sections. This is kind of the "other" way they achieve effiency besides lockouts and heavy compression-damping settings (propedal).

DW is made by Pivot, Turner and Ibis currently. All of these companies make decent bikes.

I would also suggest looking at a 29" wheel due to your travel requirements. At the shorter-amounts of wheel-travel, I think the 29er bikes simply smash the 26ers as far as overall speed is concerned. The pivot 429 would probably be one of the best for you to consider, it is also one of the most laterally rigid bikes out there, so you wouldn't miss much with the side-to-side stiffness. The Ibis bikes on the other hand are not the most laterally stiff, some would say they are adequate, but if you want the stiffest ones Pivot is pretty near the top. Turner isn't bad in this case too.

There are quite a few suspension bikes that are "similer" to the above bikes, they don't have all the same qualities, and may make some compramises. While I'm not saying you should spend $5000 on a bike, there have been advancements made in the last few years to give you the best compramise of suspension action and pedaling performance. Lots of companies have invested into prior technologies so they "can't change", and others don't want to license technology. There are still many decent bikes out there, but I would go for the best compramise, and at this point I think a DW link bike makes sense with your requirements of acceleration.

Even though I ride two turners, I was saying what I said above long before turner used the DW link system. This was from test-rides, and I've test-ridden the newer DW link turners now as well.

Edit: Those two suggestions are similer to what I discussed above. The "cotic" is an FSR (horst link) suspension, it will bob a bit, it will squat and rob quite a bit of energy when the hill gets steep, especially if you ever want to keep it in the middle ring. It will require quite a bit of compression-damping to do decently in those situations, which will make it harsher than it needs to be. They are correct that it will provide good traction uphill, but it will also sap a lot of energy going uphill. The Orange is a very "low-pivot" design that will also need a lot of compression damping to pedal decently. Other Orange frames like the patriot and alpine 160 achieve decent efficiency by having a very high pivot, this is not as active and leads to a lot of harshness when you try to pedal through rock-gardens or bumps. When you pedal, the suspension essentially "stiffens". Not good for traction uphill.
 

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NedwannaB
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How bout Niner WFO9?

r1Gel said:
But now, full suspension has got me curious, and am contemplating a short travel (120mm or less; 100mm ideally) FS frame that can take a longer (120-160mm) fork and would be good for anything from short XC trips, to epic AM rides. What other short travel FS AM frames should I be looking at? Do they even exist at all?

'appreciate any inputs and suggestions.
If you stayed with big hoops. Definitely beefy but a little more travel in rear then what you were looking for. Or Lenz may have a couple models.

For inexpensive 26" frames the Sette Flite works with the fork travel you mentioned and can be set at 4-5" travel in rr. Seems like the setup you're describing would have slack geo and not lend itself to the "xc or AM epic" oriented rides. Just an observation.

I wouldn't think many 100mm rear susp frames would be set up to run a 160mm fork up front, as designed, or by user tinkering. Too much stress to ht and would think not reccomended/void warranty, carnage potential etc.:eekster:

What ever you end up with will be a drastic ride change from the bike you're riding now. Maybe something way different would be the ticket.
 

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Check out the SC Blur 4x. It's got short travel in the back and is commonly built up with longer travel forks...120-140mm. The head angle with a 100mm fork is 68.5° so a longer fork will give you pretty slack geometry...an adjustable fork would give you the best of both worlds.

Some things to look out for are the relatively low bb height and stay away from the titanium link hardware. http://www.bikemag.com/gear/Blur4X4/
 

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lotto baby
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i'm thinking a slopestyle inspired bike might be the right choice. something like the banshee wildcard. i have never ridden it, but i have read that it feels better when it is in its short travel mode.

i have been riding hardtails exclusively for years, and i am hoping that someone comes out with a slightly larger wildcard type frame. a bike with a lower BB, but with 5 inches of travel, so it is burly enough to jump/drop-with-good-trannies (none of this drop to flat crap :D ) and feel good on the downhills, but still have the ability to climb. i know there are some freeride bikes out there that can do this, but every time i start looking into it, the wildcard is where i usually end up.
 

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Baby Bear is in the house
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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Jayem said:
People are going to make a lot of suggestions here. You might be able to say that there are some short travel "trail" bikes, but all-mountain usually means a little slacker, you would usually achieve that by putting a slightly taller fork on the "trail" bike, like say 120mm of travel. Here is actually a trail bike that someone has outfitted with more of an "AM" type build: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=584065

One thing I would reccomend is something with the DW-link rear suspsension. With 15 years of riding, this is the closest thing you'll get to that hardtail-acceleration without having an overly harsh ride. Many times hardtail-to-FS riders don't realize that they're riding a much harsher bike as necessary, in fact they often strive to find bikes with "lockouts" and other band-aids that will keep the suspension "efficient", and of course this makes them ride just like hardtails. Many bikes these days do "decently" as far as efficiency is concerned, but nothing comes close to the acceleration you get from the DW link designs. There is just enough resistance built in to the wheel-path that allows you to get max acceleration with no interfearance. Other manufacturers also use suspension systems that "stiffen" when you pedal, this results in decent efficiency, but makes you lose traction while pedaling or makes the suspension feel harsher when pedaling through rocky sections. This is kind of the "other" way they achieve effiency besides lockouts and heavy compression-damping settings (propedal).

DW is made by Pivot, Turner and Ibis currently. All of these companies make decent bikes.

I would also suggest looking at a 29" wheel due to your travel requirements. At the shorter-amounts of wheel-travel, I think the 29er bikes simply smash the 26ers as far as overall speed is concerned. The pivot 429 would probably be one of the best for you to consider, it is also one of the most laterally rigid bikes out there, so you wouldn't miss much with the side-to-side stiffness. The Ibis bikes on the other hand are not the most laterally stiff, some would say they are adequate, but if you want the stiffest ones Pivot is pretty near the top. Turner isn't bad in this case too.

There are quite a few suspension bikes that are "similer" to the above bikes, they don't have all the same qualities, and may make some compramises. While I'm not saying you should spend $5000 on a bike, there have been advancements made in the last few years to give you the best compramise of suspension action and pedaling performance. Lots of companies have invested into prior technologies so they "can't change", and others don't want to license technology. There are still many decent bikes out there, but I would go for the best compramise, and at this point I think a DW link bike makes sense with your requirements of acceleration.

Even though I ride two turners, I was saying what I said above long before turner used the DW link system. This was from test-rides, and I've test-ridden the newer DW link turners now as well.

Edit: Those two suggestions are similer to what I discussed above. The "cotic" is an FSR (horst link) suspension, it will bob a bit, it will squat and rob quite a bit of energy when the hill gets steep, especially if you ever want to keep it in the middle ring. It will require quite a bit of compression-damping to do decently in those situations, which will make it harsher than it needs to be. They are correct that it will provide good traction uphill, but it will also sap a lot of energy going uphill. The Orange is a very "low-pivot" design that will also need a lot of compression damping to pedal decently. Other Orange frames like the patriot and alpine 160 achieve decent efficiency by having a very high pivot, this is not as active and leads to a lot of harshness when you try to pedal through rock-gardens or bumps. When you pedal, the suspension essentially "stiffens". Not good for traction uphill.
Jayem, many thanks for such a thorough reply :thumbsup:
The Ibis Mojo SL is actually no. 1 on my dream bike list, but am a bit wary of going too aggressive on a carbon bike. The new Mojo HD on the other hand may be a bit too much bike for me (I lack the skills and cojones) :p
Regarding geos, I guess I should've specified that I am looking for something with a slack head angle (~68-69deg) but a steep seat angle (72.5deg or more), for better seated climbing.
Although far from being a scientific test, I got turned off from 29ers after doing a 69er on my current ride. The big wheel just felt too big! I'm now running 650Bs and can't imagine going any bigger. Your suggestion has got me thinking about a 29er FS though.
That Flux is pretty cool :cool: I'd forgotten about Turner's. Thing is, what's the longest fork the Flux can take?
I guess the gist of my query is, does anyone make a production bike that fits my "wants"? That is, a short travel rear, long travel front, slack head angle, steep seat angle AM bike that pedals/climbs well and doesn't weigh a ton?
 

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Baby Bear is in the house
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2,069 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
noremedy said:
How about the knolly endorphin xc. It has 125mm or rear travel though. I was trying to find the article in mountain biking uk from a month ago that has an article on these types of bikes, but I cant.
Is the XC available already? Their website still says "coming soon."
 

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Baby Bear is in the house
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2,069 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
jtforester said:
Check out the SC Blur 4x. It's got short travel in the back and is commonly built up with longer travel forks...120-140mm. The head angle with a 100mm fork is 68.5° so a longer fork will give you pretty slack geometry...an adjustable fork would give you the best of both worlds.

Some things to look out for are the relatively low bb height and stay away from the titanium link hardware. http://www.bikemag.com/gear/Blur4X4/
Funny you mention the 4x. I was just thinking about it the other day ;)
Can you remember what seat angle it had at 100mm front travel?
 

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Baby Bear is in the house
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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
b-kul said:
jamis parker perhaps
Isn't this a "slopestyle" bike? How do these types of bikes handle XC rides?

Edit: took a look at the Parker's geo numbers; they look pretty good. The 17" would fit me nicely. And one LBS just happens to have an '09 Parker 2 frame on sale ;)
 

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Baby Bear is in the house
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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
JMac47 said:
Budget???
No particular budget as of now; just looking at options. I did mention my original plan was to go the LTHT (long-travel hardtail) route. That's one advantage of sticking with HTs -- generally lower cost.
Besides, while there's a will, there's a way ;)
Thanks.
 

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NedwannaB
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650b?

r1Gel said:
No particular budget as of now; just looking at options. I did mention my original plan was to go the LTHT (long-travel hardtail) route. That's one advantage of sticking with HTs -- generally lower cost.
Besides, while there's a will, there's a way ;)
Thanks.
How are those working out?? I'm on the fence to build a wheelset to run on my 26" VooDoo ht.
 
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