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I'm looking to avoid driving to the trailhead so much. There's some gnar that I can ride from my doorstep, but it's about 20 miles of boring dirt road / pavement before it starts to hit any elevation. After 20 miles, you hit the trail head then there's big trail network 3-4k ft.

I currently ride an Evil Uprising which is awesome but I feel a 29er would be great for these long pavement stretches and overall longer rides.

I haven't kept up with the latest and greatest, but the SC Tallboy and Ibis Ripley sound like solid choices. Any other suggestions in this category?

I used to have a Specialized Camber Evo 29er which was also a great bike.
 

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IMO it’s more a matter of what tires will give you efficiency and not wear down on the long road ride then provide grip and durability in the gnar. Pedaling my Stache with light XC tires is effortless compared to a set of DHRs.
 

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I'm looking to avoid driving to the trailhead so much. There's some gnar that I can ride from my doorstep, but it's about 20 miles of boring dirt road / pavement before it starts to hit any elevation. After 20 miles, you hit the trail head then there's big trail network 3-4k ft.
It would kill me to ride that far to a trailhead. I have a trailhead a 15 minute drive from my house that I can access by 6 miles of crappy trail one way. I still drive because I would prefer to spend that time and energy on real trail instead. I have light weight XC style bikes so it not the bike just waste of time. Now that is not to say I don't like long rides and I do sometime ride from my house to various trails, but I always want to value my effort and time to get the maximum smiles per mile.
 

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It would kill me to ride that far to a trailhead. I have a trailhead a 15 minute drive from my house that I can access by 6 miles of crappy trail one way. I still drive because I would prefer to spend that time and energy on real trail instead. I have light weight XC style bikes so it not the bike just waste of time. Now that is not to say I don't like long rides and I do sometime ride from my house to various trails, but I always want to value my effort and time to get the maximum smiles per mile.
Yep, I have a trail that I could ride to on the streets, but I want to save my energy for the trail and particularly don't want to hold back because I have a 20 minute slog home.
 

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I'm looking to avoid driving to the trailhead so much. There's some gnar that I can ride from my doorstep, but it's about 20 miles of boring dirt road / pavement before it starts to hit any elevation. After 20 miles, you hit the trail head then there's big trail network 3-4k ft.

I currently ride an Evil Uprising which is awesome but I feel a 29er would be great for these long pavement stretches and overall longer rides.

I haven't kept up with the latest and greatest, but the SC Tallboy and Ibis Ripley sound like solid choices. Any other suggestions in this category?

I used to have a Specialized Camber Evo 29er which was also a great bike.
I'd just focus on the tires -- find something that's reasonably fast on pavement without giving up too much on dirt.

I used to do the same "commute" with some regularity: 20 miles pavement, 4 or 5 hours on good, fun dirt, then 20 miles paved back home.

If you have the time, why the eff not? It'll make you crazy fit and give plenty of time to sort out all the details banging around in your head.
 

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Agree that tire/wheel choice is your biggest question. A compromise to “light trail” tires would be good, especially the rear. Some suggestions: Maxxis Forekaster, Bontragers XR2/3.
I think a Trail bike that fits you best and you get best deal on is a good choice. I use Trek Fuel EX 9.8 for similar riding.
 

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I think the bike/tire advice is already pretty good... but good on you for pedaling to the trails. I try to adopt the same philosophy- i don't drive my car unless riding my bike isn't practical. You can do a lot with an MTB if you just accept that 17mph is your top speed most of the time.

In my experience, all mtbs are basically the same speed on roads/dirt roads, unless you're competing or running different tires. No need to get a new bike.

I like to run a DHF style front tire and a minion SS rear for a combination of fast rolling and pretty great offroad manners.
 

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I'm looking to avoid driving to the trailhead so much. There's some gnar that I can ride from my doorstep, but it's about 20 miles of boring dirt road / pavement before it starts to hit any elevation. After 20 miles, you hit the trail head then there's big trail network 3-4k ft.

I currently ride an Evil Uprising which is awesome but I feel a 29er would be great for these long pavement stretches and overall longer rides.

I haven't kept up with the latest and greatest, but the SC Tallboy and Ibis Ripley sound like solid choices. Any other suggestions in this category?

I used to have a Specialized Camber Evo 29er which was also a great bike.
I'm kinda in the same boat as you, but my ride to the trails isn't that long. More like 10kms.

It's why I'm starting to think about a 29er, too, instead of my Mojo3, which I love but I can't help but think a 29er will help eat up all the flats I ride (one bike quiver, for urban and dirt riding).

I'm going to start test riding bikes like the new Ibis Ripley, SB100\130.
 

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Good for you man. A long time ago, I had to ride 15 miles to get the trailhead. I would keep carry a good pump and gauge and pump up my tires nice and hard for the road ride and deflate before hitting the trails.


A 29er is exactly what you want. I would even consider something like an Epic or Top Fuel. Something with 100-120 mm travel but really efficient. I also don't think you need the 2.6" tires most new bikes appear to be coming with - 2.25 would work perfectly fine

Really admire your decision.
 

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I'd look into a Hardcore hard tail. Modern geo, long travel fork that can be locked out (RCT3 damper). I've been loving mine- light without even trying and ultra efficiency with each pedal stroke. And I ride it down all the same chunky gnar terrain that I take my 140mm modern geo 29 down. Actually contemplating selling off the FS now. And I never ever thought I'd ride/own a hardtail again.
 

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I'd look into a Hardcore hard tail. Modern geo, long travel fork that can be locked out (RCT3 damper). I've been loving mine- light without even trying and ultra efficiency with each pedal stroke. And I ride it down all the same chunky gnar terrain that I take my 140mm modern geo 29 down. Actually contemplating selling off the FS now. And I never ever thought I'd ride/own a hardtail again.
Funny, was going to explain my usage of my carbon Honzo. I am a big proponent of riding to the trail, worst case you're giving up a few mph to a road bike. I ride upwards of 100 on-road miles a week on the Honzo, probably half to/from trails and the other half just road rides. Not riding or racing road seriously, I can't currently justify the upkeep of another bike.

Additional benefit is the fitness you can gain, I believe that most intermediate riders are probably held back more by fitness than skill. Sure, a short DH isn't an issue, but typical riding I think people are gassed and aren't able to utilize their full skillset through a ride.

For mixed use I've found an aggressive geo hardtail great, I race endurance XC on mine, and have entered Enduros on it as well (obviously slower than big rigs). Otherwise just get what you want, lock out the suspension, and maybe compromise a bit on tire and you'll have a good ride-to-trail rig.
 

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I am trying to understand why some people try to avoid driving to trailhead? I personally would drive if there were 1 mile of pavement to the trail...
Is it because you can not leave bike in the car? Mine basically lives there (unless I ride it or work on it).
 

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I am trying to understand why some people try to avoid driving to trailhead? I personally would drive if there were 1 mile of pavement to the trail...
Is it because you can not leave bike in the car? Mine basically lives there (unless I ride it or work on it).
When I rode 15 miles to the trailhead, I had no car (was a student in the UK) and that was where the trails were located. But even if I was 2-5 miles away, I would ride my bike. Personally, I can't believe you would drive 1 mile to get to the trailhead. I honestly consider that just plain lazy.
 

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1 mile could be extreme, I agree, but riding 5 miles to the trailhead is in my opinion waste of time - which is always in short supply.
Also - don't we at least partially judge quality of the trail by the percentage of singletrack it includes?
I ride pavement to close the loop but if I can avoid riding pavement by even a little bit of driving - I would drive without hesitation.
 

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I routinely ride a few miles of paved river trail to get to various trail heads. I like having a bit of warm up, wheelie practice... sometimes I hit a lap on the BMX track. Sure beats getting out of the car and going straight into anaerobic redline Climbing switchbacks out of the gate.
 
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