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I'm a older, rather serious east coast rider who is looking for advice on a light weight bike that I can use for masters racing and crushing my young punk friends.

Most of my riding is DC/ western MD & PA area trails, almost exclusively single track, consisting mostly of roots, logs, roots, short steeps, roots, baby heads, roots, mud and roots. My biggest technical advantage is on the downhills, so I want enough suspension to let me push the envelope. On the other hand, I want the lightest, best climbing bike that works; because, at my age, I need all the help that I can get on the uphills. I'm 6', 190lbs and apparently "ride heavy", because I tend break bikes and components at a way too frequent intervals. I don't do any jumps to speak of, but I do hop logs, gullies, and momentum slowing rough patches. The lighter the bike I'm on, the more time that I spend in the air.

The bike that I'm looking to replace is a Tomac Revolver. I dearly loved that the way it rode; but, since I broke that frame, I'm looking for something a bit more durable. For benchmark purposes, that bike weighed in somewhere under 30 lbs (5.6lb frame) and had 4" of travel. It had a 70 degree head angle, 44" wheel base, and was a bit on the stretched out side (24.25" top tube that I rode with a 110 stem).

I'm looking for a frameset, since I've got the rest of the bike sitting in a parts box in the basement. I'm willing spend into the boutique range, but my ceiling is about 2K. I've spotted clearance deals on '05 Racer X, Maverick ML-7.3 and Truth, plus an '04 El Saltamontes. Motolite, Flux, Salsa El Santo, FXR, 5spot, etc. are also in the running.

My questions are these: Since I want something that will hold up, should I be looking more in 5-6" travel range? How much climbing ability and turning quickness do I give up by doing so? I've been hesitant to look at more all mountain types, because there's generally a dollar premium to do so, and it would necessitate picking up a new fork. But extra bucks are worth it if means a more reliable ride. On the other hand, how durable are the 4" travel bikes of the caliber of what I've been considering?

Any help/advice offered would be appreciated.

- Ron
 

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clearance deals on an RX?

All sound like good bikes. If I were racing I'd go for a lighter bike in the 4 inch range. I am looking at a similar bike as you, no more than 4 inches tho. Where are the deals on an RX?
 

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How does the saying go, "All races are won on the uphill"?

You make it sound like you want a heavier, longer tavel bike. But if you want to win, you need to be looking for a lighter bike and accept that you're going to have to replace parts sooner than later.

p.s. If you aren't doing big drops, and you weren't bottoming out your old 4" travel bike, then I don't see why you would need longer travel.
 
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