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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok...been riding a Giant NRS 3 for about a year now and done 12 races on it, lovely bike, NRS is nice and responsive, climbs well and it's lovely to have the comfort of the rear shock, however I want to be more competitive this year and was wondering if trading my frame in on a light weight hardtail frame, something like a Ellsworth enlightenment, or Giant XTC1 or something like that would improve my riding. I do mostly races of around 70km which can get technical, but not too badly. Thing is I started road cycling a while ago and all of a sudden my FS mtb does not seem to responsive anymore.
 

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I love Pisgah
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Do both, at least at first.

Did the exact same thing last summer, and ended up keeping both. I actually have 2 NRS rides currently, having raced either/or, over the past 3 seasons in XC, 12/24hr, TTs, etc. Also, I'd snagged a new roadie last summer, so I had that going on as well. Anyhoo..one NRS was down to 21lbs 2oz with discs, but I wanted something even more responsive and lighter. Bought an 04 XTC carbon/alum hybrid frame off Ebay last summer and away I went. Had it down to 18lb 9oz before settling in at 19lbs 1oz(bigger tires, saddle, etc). Raced it about 6 times now, and I love it. I doubt I'll be racing the NRS rides much this coming season. A few XC races(Sport), but also raced it in a 44 mile very techy deal(Firewater 50, managing a top 20 finish) in the N Ga mtns. I found it took a couple races to adjust to the riding style demanded by a HT, but after it become automatic, it was fine. Will be doing the Snake 32 miler(rockiest trail in N Ga mtns, so I run big 2.25 RRalphs for that one) this coming weekend. One added benefit, is at race pace, it tracks straighter/more predictable in the turns and tech stuff, and no speed loss there has been noticed. Figure its because of the lack of all those pivots and such. Goes where I point it.

Prolly more mental then anything me thinks, since we all know its the engine that counts the most. Just knowing I'm on a more efficient and lighter ride is enough for me tho, as well as still having the 2 NRSs to fall back on if needed.

Pic the day before the FW50 race last Aug. 18lbs 12oz. Since then, an Extralite UL post, Sytace F99 stem, and SLR gel have been added.

 

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phazer said:
I want to be more competitive this year .
When I moved up to expert class a a few years ago I said they exact same thing. 2 years later I went back to racing a FS bike. I would suggest you race the bike your most comfortable on and make it as light as possible (with in reason). I really liked my hardtail but I was never as comfortable on it as I was on the FS. If the courses you race are on are technical then it's even more important to go with the FS.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Duckman said:
Do both, at least at first.

Did the exact same thing last summer, and ended up keeping both. I actually have 2 NRS rides currently, having raced either/or, over the past 3 seasons in XC, 12/24hr, TTs, etc. Also, I'd snagged a new roadie last summer, so I had that going on as well. Anyhoo..one NRS was down to 21lbs 2oz with discs, but I wanted something even more responsive and lighter. Bought an 04 XTC carbon/alum hybrid frame off Ebay last summer and away I went. Had it down to 18lb 9oz before settling in at 19lbs 1oz(bigger tires, saddle, etc). Raced it about 6 times now, and I love it. I doubt I'll be racing the NRS rides much this coming season. A few XC races(Sport), but also raced it in a 44 mile very techy deal(Firewater 50, managing a top 20 finish) in the N Ga mtns. I found it took a couple races to adjust to the riding style demanded by a HT, but after it become automatic, it was fine. Will be doing the Snake 32 miler(rockiest trail in N Ga mtns, so I run big 2.25 RRalphs for that one) this coming weekend. One added benefit, is at race pace, it tracks straighter/more predictable in the turns and tech stuff, and no speed loss there has been noticed. Figure its because of the lack of all those pivots and such. Goes where I point it.

Prolly more mental then anything me thinks, since we all know its the engine that counts the most. Just knowing I'm on a more efficient and lighter ride is enough for me tho, as well as still having the 2 NRSs to fall back on if needed.

Pic the day before the FW50 race last Aug. 18lbs 12oz. Since then, an Extralite UL post, Sytace F99 stem, and SLR gel have been added.

Hey read up a couple of your old posts on how you lightened your NRS's. Great posts. The thing you say just knowing your on a lighter more efficient bike and having a mental effect, rings so true for me, cause that's what I am thinking. Thing is I would love to keep my NRS and build up a nice light weight HT, cash is just not there, however I can trade my NRS frame in on a HT frame at the LBS. Maybe some extended test rides will be the only way to know which one to pick.

Lovely XTC.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
merlin said:
When I moved up to expert class a a few years ago I said they exact same thing. 2 years later I went back to racing a FS bike. I would suggest you race the bike your most comfortable on and make it as light as possible (with in reason). I really liked my hardtail but I was never as comfortable on it as I was on the FS. If the courses you race are on are technical then it's even more important to go with the FS.
And how was the adjustment from a FS to a HT when you raced HT? I am worried that all the bumping around on a HT will fatigue me quicker than on my FS, that said the HT will be lighter and more efficient, so less energy will be used to ride it.
 

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phazer said:
And how was the adjustment from a FS to a HT when you raced HT? I am worried that all the bumping around on a HT will fatigue me quicker than on my FS, that said the HT will be lighter and more efficient, so less energy will be used to ride it.
I found the bumping around on the HT did fatigue memore esecially on the UPHILL! Climbing on a bumpy technical course on the HT, was something I could never eally re-learn. I was used to staying in the sadlle and spinning away on the FS. It got so bad I tried a Thudbuster suspention seat post, which added 1/2 a pound to the weight of the bike, but even that did not help. If you've been on the FS for a while and are used to it I would say to stay with it. There are plenty of Pro's ( Geoff Kubush) who win on FS bikes
 

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Been there done that

I went from the NRS to the XTC with the Carbon rear last year. Later in 05 I went back to the FS. I race expert 40+. I initially thought the lighter stiffer HT would make me faster. Depending on the course layout I think it did just the opposite. The downhill/rocky sections did cause extra fatigue on the legs, arms, entire body. Once back on the FS I was back to my old self and finished races much stronger. That being said my bikes werer 20lbs for the HT and 24 for the FS. Three or four pounds does not make that much of a difference once you are fit. My bikes seem to be getting heavier as time goes on. I am tired of flat tires, broken seatposts, etc. You can get a quality FS build at 24 lbs.
 

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This is one of the unanswerables(is that a word?) in the mtb world, along with disc/vbrakes, triggers/gripshtrs, etc. Too subjective. Hell, I'm still debating myself..thats why I have both I guess. I've even wondered if the reason the XTC feels better for me is plain old fit. I'm 5'11.5", and always felt too tall for my 18.5 NRS, but a bit stretched on the 20.5 NRS(I have the same problem with Gaints roadie TCR line). The 19" XTC feels perfect(again, might be more mental, which I'll take).

Yup on the fitness. If your fast, your fast. A 24lb FS is plenty competitive(lord knows I've finished behind plenty of them), and prolly the rule more then the exception. In reality, back in the pack, a superlight bike(all other things more or less equal which can be done with the right parts) might make the diff between say, 9th and 12th. Dats it. Its just another little edge.
 

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Im going to be racing next season. So to get ready I went out and got an XTC last season to ride. Its been a long hard season trying to get use to it again. I use to race years ago and was always competitive. In the last few years I really have only been on big 6in travel trail bikes. So going back to the hard tail felt impossible for a while. But im going to give it a try any way and see how it goes. Im spending the winter in the gym trying to bulk up my upper body to deal with the extra stress of the hard tail.
 
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