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    Thread: Hardtail advice

    1. 05-16-2019 09:57 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 11:04 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 11:29 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.

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      05-17-2019 09:58 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.

    7. 05-17-2019 01:34 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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      09-12-2019 01:40 PM #31
      Specialized dropped the price of the 2020 Chisel frame to $700. So, I ordered one. I imagine I can get about that much for my 2016 Top Fuel frame/rear shock, so assuming I like going back to a HT, this shouldn't be too expensive.

      Outside of a barb/olive for the rear brake line, I can't even think of anything that I need to order to do the swap. I think everything should swap over, and I have some old threaded BBs laying around... because, you know, they are reusable. Maybe I'll get some brightly-colored grips or something jazzy like that.

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      09-12-2019 02:44 PM #32
      Nice deal on that Chisel. Surprised to see a threaded BB from them. Seems all the big companies stick with the press fit crap. Does it have decent rear clearance for larger tires? Should be a sweet ride!

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      09-12-2019 02:52 PM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by Samson View Post
      Specialized dropped the price of the 2020 Chisel frame to $700. So, I ordered one. I imagine I can get about that much for my 2016 Top Fuel frame/rear shock, so assuming I like going back to a HT, this shouldn't be too expensive.

      Outside of a barb/olive for the rear brake line, I can't even think of anything that I need to order to do the swap. I think everything should swap over, and I have some old threaded BBs laying around... because, you know, they are reusable. Maybe I'll get some brightly-colored grips or something jazzy like that.
      Damn...soo tempting, especially once I saw the black, mint, yellow frame. Also have spare everything laying around (wheels, fork, drivetrain, brakes). Thinking how often I would ride this between my gravel bike, fat bike and trail bike.
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      09-12-2019 03:05 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by A1an View Post
      Nice deal on that Chisel. Surprised to see a threaded BB from them. Seems all the big companies stick with the press fit crap. Does it have decent rear clearance for larger tires? Should be a sweet ride!
      Yeah, I couldn't pass it up. I went to the site to look at the cheapest Epic HT, but then saw this. Trek has T47 on some of their newer bikes, but that would require yet another specialized tool, and the BBs aren't as inexpensive as a $30 threaded XTR or whatever. I've read that some 29x2.5s fit in the back, which is likely larger than I'd go. I'm going to have 2.3s front/back on 23mm internal rims, and the medium I ordered will allow for a decent amount of exposed 27.2 layback post. Hopefully that combined with the supposedly comfy frame will work well for me.

      Quote Originally Posted by OttaCee View Post
      Damn...soo tempting, especially once I saw the black, mint, yellow frame. Also have spare everything laying around (wheels, fork, drivetrain, brakes). Thinking how often I would ride this between my gravel bike, fat bike and trail bike.
      Do it! I wanted a color, but for the money, I can't really complain. I don't understand why it went from $750-$1000, and now down to $700. Clearing them out for some reason?

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      09-19-2019 11:44 AM #35
      I'm building this thing up, and it has some idiotic cable routing. A lot of new bikes are similar, but it's annoying:



      <old_man>
      Full-length rear derailleur housing... why? Put a stop at the top of the downtube, run the bare cable down to a stop near the BB, and then do a full-length housing inside the chainstay if they must, and then out to the rear derailleur. The way they did it is dumb and introduces unnecessary issues. The tie wrap point on the chainstay is too far towards the rear axle, so the natural housing route eats up tire clearance (I'm going to wrap the whole chainstay/housing in old innertube though, which fixes this), you have to put the rear brake hose and RD housing in a little foam sleeve to get rid of rattles (that wouldn't exist with good routing), it adds weight and the cost of buying a 6' section of housing, etc. I checked some of these on the shop floor, and they are all like this. Looks pretty sloppy for something supposed to "clean up" the look of a bike.
      </old_man>

      Oh well. At least it has a threaded BB and came with a headset.

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      09-20-2019 11:10 AM #36
      Yeah that is certainly annoying. A friend of mine bought a Spot CX when they were deeply discounted online and it was the same deal with rattling brake hose from internal routing. Drove him nuts and he ended up using some super sticky foam tape stuff to cure it.

      When is the first ride?

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      09-20-2019 11:38 AM #37
      Ouch, that sucks. While full-length housing can maybe sort of make sense in some really edge cases where the bike is submerged constantly or ridden through piles of mud with no maintenance, that's only really applicable on exposed areas. Why do it when the cable is already protected in the downtube? Silly bike companies. I'm guessing it's cheaper/easier to drill a hole than it is to put in a cable stop?

      This came with foam sleeves for the cables, so hopefully that takes care of it. I'm doing the world's slowest rear brake bleed right now (because I had to buy a new rear brake line due to the internal routing)... my syringe broke, so I couldn't do it the easy/correct way. Instead, I'm leaving the master open into some mineral oil and it self-burps out bubbles every so often. It works well, but takes a while. Good thing I have to work today. So, hopefully first ride tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. My scientific "squeeze the chainstays with no wheel" test indicates that is should be quite comfy. Loads of flex back there.

      It's reasonably light as well. 22.4lbs ready to ride with the included boat-anchor seat post.




      But man, it needs some color. I might have to mess around with those water transfer decals some more. Bright grips, maybe a gold Promax seatpost too.

    15. 09-23-2019 12:12 PM #38
      Congrats on the Chisel! How do you like it so far?

      22plus lbs is really impressive. What tires are you running in the 2.3s?

      As for comfort, I just did a 50 mile endurance race recently on 100% singletrack. Rooty with 5000 feet of elevation. I was one of the few on a hardtail and zero back soreness. It's a great bike

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      09-23-2019 03:10 PM #39
      Quote Originally Posted by vwconvert View Post
      Congrats on the Chisel! How do you like it so far?

      22plus lbs is really impressive. What tires are you running in the 2.3s?

      As for comfort, I just did a 50 mile endurance race recently on 100% singletrack. Rooty with 5000 feet of elevation. I was one of the few on a hardtail and zero back soreness. It's a great bike
      Thanks! So far, I like it a lot more than expected. It's surprisingly comfortable, and like all the reviews say, it really does mute the typical trail impacts that were more annoying on my Lynskey. It also just goes when you give it power. I took it on some semi-technical and rough stuff over the weekend, and it was a blast. Plus, no worrying about mid-corner suspension compression while pedaling, and then clipping a root or rock. That was refreshing.

      I'm running a Fast Trak S-Works up front and a Renegade Gripton out back. It works well around here, though it can be a little loose in dry conditions and rear brake traction can be an issue. One thing that I need to work on is going back to the hardtail line on trails... not that the Top Fuel is a monster, but 100mm of travel lets you get away with a lot of poor line choices. I also don't want to crack my rear rim. It had a few harder-than-expected hits on that first ride, but I'll get back into the groove soon enough. Based on the actual 2.25" width of the rear tire on mine, I'd guess a true 2.5 would fit.

      Good work on the 50 miler. Impressive.

    17. 09-23-2019 04:35 PM #40
      Glad you like it. I'm surprised you notice a power transfer improvement over the Lynsky, another hardtail. But that's good news.

      And I know what you mean about hardtail lines. I am much more conscientious about not hitting trail imperfections to keep momentum up. The top fuel could absorb them and still keep momentum.

      Btw do you notice a difference between the Renegade Gripton vs the old renegade? The Gripton is on sale right now for $43.99. also, is the Sworks tire durable enough for day to day riding on technical trails?

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      09-23-2019 06:24 PM #41
      Quote Originally Posted by vwconvert View Post
      Glad you like it. I'm surprised you notice a power transfer improvement over the Lynsky, another hardtail. But that's good news.

      And I know what you mean about hardtail lines. I am much more conscientious about not hitting trail imperfections to keep momentum up. The top fuel could absorb them and still keep momentum.

      Btw do you notice a difference between the Renegade Gripton vs the old renegade? The Gripton is on sale right now for $43.99. also, is the Sworks tire durable enough for day to day riding on technical trails?
      The power transfer isn't much different than the Lynskey, but from the locked-out Top Fuel. It does seem to have better traction than the Lynskey though, which isn't too surprising. That bike is from the "stiffer is better" era, though it's not especially stiff.

      I haven't noticed a whole lot of difference between the new and old Renegades other than maybe the old one had a little more traction over loose stuff. I rode the two on the Top Fuel though, so that very well may be why. I am bummed that they dropped the 1.95" width option, as that's what I run on my gravel bike. I would probably only run the S-Works up front, and even that might not work on super techy/rough stuff. I've had good luck with durability, but a lot of people haven't. I'd probably go for the $44 60tpi version. That's a decent deal.

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      09-24-2019 11:25 AM #42
      That's a nice looking bike for sure. Enjoy it!

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      09-26-2019 11:38 AM #43
      Quote Originally Posted by A1an View Post
      That's a nice looking bike for sure. Enjoy it!
      Thanks! It continues to impress. I took it on some sorta-gnarly (for Raleigh) trails last night, and while it's not as comfy as the Top Fuel, it's not bad at all. It holds speed well and responds to power immediately. The headset that it shipped with somehow came a tiny bit loose during the ride, which was weird. The stem wasn't loose, and there was nothing to "settle". The top cap is completely flat and flimsy-looking (I guess to get all low etc.), so maybe it deformed after a big hit. Who knows. On that note, I had to recalibrate how I distribute weight while in the air... I almost had a massive wreck after I failed to take into account that the back end of this bike is much lighter than the Trek. Thanks for saving me, ultra-slack 69.8 degree HTA!

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      09-26-2019 05:02 PM #44
      Nice! I'm actually headed up to Raleigh next week for work. Wish I had time to rent a bike and talk you into showing me around on some trails. Usually have some free time but this is an action packed three days (ugh)

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    22. 09-28-2019 11:47 AM #45
      Quote Originally Posted by Samson View Post
      Thanks! It continues to impress. I took it on some sorta-gnarly (for Raleigh) trails last night, and while it's not as comfy as the Top Fuel, it's not bad at all. It holds speed well and responds to power immediately. The headset that it shipped with somehow came a tiny bit loose during the ride, which was weird. The stem wasn't loose, and there was nothing to "settle". The top cap is completely flat and flimsy-looking (I guess to get all low etc.), so maybe it deformed after a big hit. Who knows. On that note, I had to recalibrate how I distribute weight while in the air... I almost had a massive wreck after I failed to take into account that the back end of this bike is much lighter than the Trek. Thanks for saving me, ultra-slack 69.8 degree HTA!
      I had a near identical experience when I first jumped the chisel. I find I have to actively pull up on the handlebars on this bike for certain types of jumps.

      Question for you: I want to replace the bottom bracket after two years since it's time. The bike came with a Race Face BSA X-type team and I'm considering the Shimano XTR BB93 instead. Do you know if it's as simple as plug and play to make the switch? Is the size 73mm? Will my stock Aeffect 24mm cranks have fit issues? Also, will the chainline be missed up? This is the first time I've ever messed with a BB so I want to make sure I'm not missing something.
      Last edited by vwconvert; 09-28-2019 at 11:49 AM.

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      09-28-2019 02:40 PM #46
      Quote Originally Posted by vwconvert View Post
      I had a near identical experience when I first jumped the chisel. I find I have to actively pull up on the handlebars on this bike for certain types of jumps.

      Question for you: I want to replace the bottom bracket after two years since it's time. The bike came with a Race Face BSA X-type team and I'm considering the Shimano XTR BB93 instead. Do you know if it's as simple as plug and play to make the switch? Is the size 73mm? Will my stock Aeffect 24mm cranks have fit issues? Also, will the chainline be missed up? This is the first time I've ever messed with a BB so I want to make sure I'm not missing something.
      It should be a direct swap. Shimano BBs are for 24mm spindles (non-tapered), and the chainline should be fine. If not, the BB likely includes some spacers that you can put in between the frame and BB to adjust as needed. The shell is 73mm wide. I have a Dura-Ace threaded BB on mine (I buy whatever is on sale), no spacers, and everything lines up properly. Easily rebuildable and removable, no creaks, and no squeaky seals like my Wheels Mfg.

      ---

      Aw man, I just saw that the Cali Fade frame is available again! It's $50 more than mine, which is a price I'd gladly pay. Oh well.

    24. 09-29-2019 10:47 AM #47
      Thanks for the tips

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      10-11-2019 10:24 AM #48
      Quote Originally Posted by vwconvert View Post
      Thanks for the tips
      Get it all figured out?

      In an attempt to make this (even more) comfortable for a hardtail, I thought I'd try some wider tires. 2.6 Vittora Mezcals, to be specific. On my 24mm Heists, they are at the upper limit of what fits (~2.55" wide), but they fit.



      Are they worth it? I dunno. Putting heavy and wide tires (+800g!) is at odds with the design and intent of a bike like this, and you can sort of tell. It is more comfortable and grippy over roots etc., but it feels sluggish and has less traction - both braking and cornering - on pine needle and leaf-covered trails. That last part is sort of obvious, but it didn't occur to me until I repeatedly lost traction. Two wheel drifts are fun and all, but not when you don't want to. I'm going to mess with the pressures a bit more and see what's what, and I'm sure they'll get grippier and more supple with mileage. I started off too bouncy, and may have found a good compromise between comfort and non bottoming on my rim. Whatever the case, I think this would be more ideal in a desert application than the twisty, loose-over-hard stuff we have here. On the particular trail that I rode, I think the Top Fuel is still superior, and by a fair margin. Smoother trails? The Chisel is a blast.

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      10-12-2019 09:08 AM #49
      Yeah the larger tires certainly have their disadvantages at times. I'm about at the end of the Bomboloni 3.0 on the rear and want to try out that 2.6 Mezcal.

      Mezcal is the tire of choice around here where we have a little of everything. Lots of guys are doing the Barzo up front for more grip, though. Hoping they will offer that in a 2.6 at some point...or maybe I should just go back to normal size tires.

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      10-14-2019 08:51 AM #50
      Quote Originally Posted by A1an View Post
      Yeah the larger tires certainly have their disadvantages at times. I'm about at the end of the Bomboloni 3.0 on the rear and want to try out that 2.6 Mezcal.

      Mezcal is the tire of choice around here where we have a little of everything. Lots of guys are doing the Barzo up front for more grip, though. Hoping they will offer that in a 2.6 at some point...or maybe I should just go back to normal size tires.
      Well, if I end up not wanting to keep these things, I'd give you a good deal.

      I rode them again, and it's a mixed bag. They are a little more comfortable than the 2.3s, but randomly toss me off of my intended line and have less braking traction than a Renegade. I'm tempted to build up the Top Fuel with these wheels/tires... not sure it that'll solve anything though.

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