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    Thread: Hardtail advice

    1. 05-16-2019 08:57 AM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by Samson View Post
      Manual lockouts are easy and reliable. The Spark is a cool looking bike, but I'm not big on the dual lockout thing. I often just lock out the rear of the Top Fuel, but still want a functional front shock. I'm sure it can be removed though.

      For 2020, Trek 'modernized' the Top Fuel with longer, slacker, 120f/115r travel. Knockblock too. Having never had a bike with it, what's so bad about it? Hopefully they'll still have a ~100mm XC race bike for the lycra wearers like me. Not everybody cares about or even has descents worthy of a long and slack 5" bike. The Supercaliber looks weird, but potentially interesting:

      https://forums.mtbr.com/trek/trek-20...l#post14089802

      Or I'll just keep my existing bike that I like quite a lot... but that's not an efficient way to spend my money.
      I haven't owned a Knockbloc bike either but I did some research on it for a friend looking at a Fuel. The main complaints seem to be that it needs special spacers to switch stems, can be a hassle transporting, and may be noticeable on tight switchbacks. Opinions on online forums about it are decidedly mixed. My personal view is that any feature ought to deliver benefits that clearly outweigh the costs. I'm not sure where those benefits are with Knockbloc relative to simpler solutions.

      Yeah, I am not a fan of the new TF. This seems like a move to sell more bikes by riding the longer-lower-slack fad than building a bike that is faster (fast is not the only thing that matters on a mtb but it is the only thing that matters on a "race bike"). I recently tested a high end Kona Hei Hei which has a similar profile and couldn't stand it. It felt slow, wallowed a lot when pedaling, and felt sluggish. I don't get it. Vorsprung suspension put out some videos on optimal suspension amount and the key principle is you should have the *minimal* amount of suspension needed to just reach your physical limitations (ability to hang on) when full travel is used. Anymore, and you start compromising other aspects of handling performance. But it seems we are in a world of "more is better" regardless of other tradeoffs.

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    3. Member Samson's Avatar
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      05-16-2019 10:04 AM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by vwconvert View Post
      I haven't owned a Knockbloc bike either but I did some research on it for a friend looking at a Fuel. The main complaints seem to be that it needs special spacers to switch stems, can be a hassle transporting, and may be noticeable on tight switchbacks. Opinions on online forums about it are decidedly mixed. My personal view is that any feature ought to deliver benefits that clearly outweigh the costs. I'm not sure where those benefits are with Knockbloc relative to simpler solutions.

      Yeah, I am not a fan of the new TF. This seems like a move to sell more bikes by riding the longer-lower-slack fad than building a bike that is faster (fast is not the only thing that matters on a mtb but it is the only thing that matters on a "race bike"). I recently tested a high end Kona Hei Hei which has a similar profile and couldn't stand it. It felt slow, wallowed a lot when pedaling, and felt sluggish. I don't get it. Vorsprung suspension put out some videos on optimal suspension amount and the key principle is you should have the *minimal* amount of suspension needed to just reach your physical limitations (ability to hang on) when full travel is used. Anymore, and you start compromising other aspects of handling performance. But it seems we are in a world of "more is better" regardless of other tradeoffs.
      Ah. I guess it depends on where the stops are for the knock block. If it restricts movement any more than is needed to keep from bashing the frame, I can see it being annoying.

      Speaking of having less travel, I did a little experiment last night. My rear shock was a little low on air, so I rode for a while with it locked out. Due to the low PSI, locked out wasn't as locked out as it usually would be. The result was a firmer ride, less movement under seated pedaling, and about a third to half of the travel that I'd have in trail mode. It was totally fine on the majority of the trail surface (up to 6" or so rocks/roots at speed), but I assume it hit a threshold and blew through full travel on bigger hits and the totally sick jumps that I do. The point there is that I'd be interested in trying out a 1-2" travel softail with flex stays. I don't mind pivots and bearings, but if they can be avoided, sure. I don't think there's a way around using a shock for good performance.

      <old guy> But yeah, the general trend of bikes moving towards the bigger, slacker, and lower thing is unfortunate. It's great for some people and locations, but certainly not everybody. Maybe a test ride on a new Top Fuel will change my tune, but I've rented a few bikes out west with similar geometry and travel. They don't climb well, pedal strikes galore, and I agree that they're not all that fun on the flat-ish twisty stuff. It was nice on rocky downhills in the mountains (that don't exist here), sure. But I guess when everybody cool goes to bike parks or shuttles their bike in the back of a pickup with a Dakine tailgate pad (even though most people don't actually do that), bikes that do up and flat don't make the money. </old guy>

    4. 05-16-2019 10:29 AM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by Samson View Post

      <old guy> But yeah, the general trend of bikes moving towards the bigger, slacker, and lower thing is unfortunate. It's great for some people and locations, but certainly not everybody. Maybe a test ride on a new Top Fuel will change my tune, but I've rented a few bikes out west with similar geometry and travel. They don't climb well, pedal strikes galore, and I agree that they're not all that fun on the flat-ish twisty stuff. It was nice on rocky downhills in the mountains (that don't exist here), sure. But I guess when everybody cool goes to bike parks or shuttles their bike in the back of a pickup with a Dakine tailgate pad (even though most people don't actually do that), bikes that do up and flat don't make the money. </old guy>
      Ha. You're not an old guy. 90% of the old guys around here think they need >150mm of travel and long slack bikes to compensate for their bad backs and to avoid injuries from going OTB. They don't buy hardtails with fast handling. And most of the kids can't afford enduro bikes. I really think it's old dudes driving the long-low-slack trend.

    5. Member Samson's Avatar
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      05-17-2019 08:58 AM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by vwconvert View Post
      Ha. You're not an old guy. 90% of the old guys around here think they need >150mm of travel and long slack bikes to compensate for their bad backs and to avoid injuries from going OTB. They don't buy hardtails with fast handling. And most of the kids can't afford enduro bikes. I really think it's old dudes driving the long-low-slack trend.
      Well, to be fair, I bought the Top Fuel because my hardtail was making my back and ass hurt on longer, rougher rides. It's limited to roughly a 2.1" tire though, which didn't help matters. I would think that a compliant hardtail that can handle a 2.4-2.5 would be more forgiving. Anyway, since the 2020 Top Fuel is basically a 2019 Fuel EX, I am curious what Trek is going to do for their FS XC bike.

    6. 05-17-2019 12:34 PM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by Samson View Post
      Well, to be fair, I bought the Top Fuel because my hardtail was making my back and ass hurt on longer, rougher rides. It's limited to roughly a 2.1" tire though, which didn't help matters. I would think that a compliant hardtail that can handle a 2.4-2.5 would be more forgiving. Anyway, since the 2020 Top Fuel is basically a 2019 Fuel EX, I am curious what Trek is going to do for their FS XC bike.
      The TF 9.7 basically looks like a Scott Spark 920 with lower level components. I'm not even sure if it out specs the Hei Hei CR/DL. I'm a bit surprised by how excited people are in that TF thread at mtbr. I guess the name Trek still carries some weight despite similar bikes having been out for two or three years already at better price points (for the components). Sounds like the Supercaliber will be the real race bike. Not surprised it will go down in travel just like the Anthem 29er did. For XC, suspension is really there to increase compliance and reduce trail rolling resistance. Don't really need much more or it just slows you down.

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