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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 07-09-07, 12:21 AM   #1
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29er choices?

I ordered a sweet Fisher Supercaliber to ride this season...then sold it.

While I loved nearly everything about the bike (price, fit, equipment, weight, handling...OK, maybe not so much in the looks department), the one thing I couldn't get over is my fat butt. I'm 6'-4", 215, firmly in Clyde territory, and the bike just flexed way too much for my tastes. Sure it was nice and light, but being able to push sideways on the bars and get 2" of deflection out of the top tube without even trying too hard made for a less than confident ride. No, I don't think it's a 29er thing, just frame flex inherent with this particular design. I had no issues with the wheel size.

The guy that bought it weighs about 40 lbs less than me, test rode it for an entire weekend and never complained about the flex that bothered me from the first ride, leading me to deal with the fact that I may just be gravitationally enhanced, and perhaps shouldn't be riding such a light frame.

I had purchased a few upgrade parts for the Supercaliber but never installed them, leading me to think about building up a bike from scratch (as economically unsound as I know that is), so I'm looking into a full suspended 29er frame. Keep in mind that my riding background progressed from XC to DH, so I don't mind a little excess frame weight as long as it's stiff, but hey...I like light stuff too. The bike will be for general trail riding, not for anything crazy.

So far I've looked into the Niner R.I.P, the Voodoo Canzo 29 and have considered waiting for the Specialized FSR 29 (I have other bikes to ride in the meantime), but what I really am looking for is some real rider reports. Any clyde 29er fans that can give me some input?
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Old 07-09-07, 06:32 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Wordbiker
I ordered a sweet Fisher Supercaliber to ride this season...then sold it.

While I loved nearly everything about the bike (price, fit, equipment, weight, handling...OK, maybe not so much in the looks department), the one thing I couldn't get over is my fat butt. I'm 6'-4", 215, firmly in Clyde territory, and the bike just flexed way too much for my tastes. Sure it was nice and light, but being able to push sideways on the bars and get 2" of deflection out of the top tube without even trying too hard made for a less than confident ride. No, I don't think it's a 29er thing, just frame flex inherent with this particular design. I had no issues with the wheel size.

The guy that bought it weighs about 40 lbs less than me, test rode it for an entire weekend and never complained about the flex that bothered me from the first ride, leading me to deal with the fact that I may just be gravitationally enhanced, and perhaps shouldn't be riding such a light frame.

I had purchased a few upgrade parts for the Supercaliber but never installed them, leading me to think about building up a bike from scratch (as economically unsound as I know that is), so I'm looking into a full suspended 29er frame. Keep in mind that my riding background progressed from XC to DH, so I don't mind a little excess frame weight as long as it's stiff, but hey...I like light stuff too. The bike will be for general trail riding, not for anything crazy.

So far I've looked into the Niner R.I.P, the Voodoo Canzo 29 and have considered waiting for the Specialized FSR 29 (I have other bikes to ride in the meantime), but what I really am looking for is some real rider reports. Any clyde 29er fans that can give me some input?

Fisher is releasing the 29er HiFi, I have a 26 inch HiFi and weigh quite a bit more than you, but I have never really noticed any flex in my HiFi. The supercaliber was built as a race bike, while the HiFi is more of a all mountain bike.
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Old 07-09-07, 07:57 AM   #3
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I would look at other materials too. Aluminum could be just too flexy for ya. Maybe a steel or carbon fiber frame is what you need??

I have a GF Cobia and I notice a little flex, mostly in the chainstays. I did have some rubbing of the tire on the front derailer until I had the spokes tightened to the max. Things are ok now.
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Old 07-09-07, 01:16 PM   #4
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I would look at other materials too. Aluminum could be just too flexy for ya. Maybe a steel or carbon fiber frame is what you need??

I have a GF Cobia and I notice a little flex, mostly in the chainstays. I did have some rubbing of the tire on the front derailer until I had the spokes tightened to the max. Things are ok now.

Aren't aluminum frames stiffer than steel or carbon?
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Old 07-09-07, 10:29 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input.

Although I really have no idea if it'll be any stiffer, I bit the bullet and went with the Voodoo Canzo 29. Ride report as soon as I can get it built up.
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Old 07-10-07, 05:40 AM   #6
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I've heard the term 29er before. Is it putting larger wheels on a mountain bike? Just curious.
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Old 07-10-07, 08:06 AM   #7
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Not just putting them on...the frame must be manufactured to accept them. The fork is also longer to accommodate the big 29" height wheels that I find to give a very smooth ride.

Regarding the relative stiffness of aluminum vs. carbon vs. steel: It depends.

Any of these materials can be used to make a stiff frame depending upon how thick the tubes are, how long they are (usually long for a tall guy like myself) and how they are configured into a frame. When I was racing 26" hardtails (at 185 lbs...where did that 30 lbs come from???) I found that aluminum frames flexed just enough for my liking. For hardtails, a little vertical compliance is a good thing, as long as it doesn't go too far and the bike feels like a noodle. The flex I did not care for was lateral. You can do a simple test for this by standing beside the bike, grabbing the bars and seat and pushing the pedal sideways. The Supercaliber bottom bracket can be flexed about three inches, no problem, and this can be felt when really stomping on the pedals. I can also get visible deflection in the top tube by standing beside or sitting on the bike and pulling the seat and stem in opposing directions.

The flexibility needs of a full suspension bike are a bit different. The engineering goal is to have almost all the bump absorption performed by the shocks where it can be controlled by the springs and damping. It's a tough goal as play in multiple pivot points can add up to some deflection, and flex in the tubing can put side loads on the pivots, causing them to wear out prematurely. The Supercaliber is actually a pretty simple design, just one large pivot point with a unified rear swingarm, but that pivot is located in front of the bottom bracket. This adds up to longer chain and seatstays that can flex more, especially as thinned out for weight as these must be. I looked closely and the deflection is not in either the pivots or the wheels, but in the frame tubing itself.

Maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment, but buying a bike sight unseen before doing a few simple tests and a test ride is a mistake. I may have made the same mistake again ordering the Canzo before getting any feedback or riding one, but I'm just hoping for the best. It is so new that the distributor only got them in a week or two ago and couldn't give me any impressions other than "one guy bought one and he loves it". Oh well, at least by going custom I'll get all the parts on it I want, and the worst that can happen is I'll sell the frame and shop for a new, stiffer one.

It is a handsome beast though...

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Old 07-10-07, 08:11 AM   #8
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Yes, 29er's are mtn bikes with BIG wheels =) Traditional mtn bikes run 26" wheels, and 29er's....you get it.


I looked at MTBR.COM and they have a great full suspension shootout. I wish I could drop 2grand on a FRAME!!!
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Old 07-10-07, 09:08 AM   #9
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I wish I could drop 2grand on a FRAME!!!

Hell, I wish I could drop 2 grand on anything, let alone a frame.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:26 PM   #10
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Yeah, I wish I could too. That's why I tried to get a deal on what I thought was a Virtual Pivot linkage bike like the Voodoo was advertised as. I found out today how wrong I was.

I know this is predominantly a road forum, but bear with me as I explain a bit of what I know about full suspension bikes...and why I might be disappointed in the bike I received today. To start, here is the frame in the shop:



While I got amazing shipping service from the vendor (which will remain unnamed to protect the innocent), the bike is not the same one I ordered. If you compare it to the picture I posted earlier which was a shot from Interbike 2006, you may see a few differences.



At first glance the green paint may fool you, but the oversized rocker linkage is a dead giveaway. Inspecting further, you may see that the rear triangle is not unified (no brace connecting the chain and seatstays, barely visible in the Interbike shot) and that the bottom bracket lacks a secondary pivot common to many "Floating Pivot" designs. This is not just a mere aesthetic issue, it's a completely different design altogether. No, it is not an inherently bad design...just a very old one...and not at all what I was led to believe I was purchasing.

You see, I am familiar with this design, the "four bar linkage", having raced on a very similar one by Turner...back in 2000. Even then this bike was a few years old.



I must admit, the design was damn good...for downhill. The Virtual Pivot Point designs claim to offer much better climbing abilities than such "old" designs. Companies such as Santa Cruz have gained their reputations on the ride of such designs, and for my next bike, I wished to partake in such bounty to have a true "all-rounder". It's just too bad that someone had to make a false promise and deliver something completely different, leaving such a bad taste in my mouth that I'll be shipping the frame back tomorrow. The sad part is that I know the frame I received could very well be a good design as is, but the fact that a running change of such signifigance could be made without any modicum of informing the public clamoring for specific designs, and that I can't try it out for myself without building it up and therefore giving up my opportunity to return it adds up to their loss. I contacted another framebuilder today, so we shall see what the future holds.
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Old 07-11-07, 12:31 AM   #11
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For those who don't know (I didn't initially know this, took a while to figure this out) 29" MTN and 700c road wheels have the same diameter rims. They are essentially heavy duty road-sized wheels. 29" refers to the outer diameter of the tire that results from mounting thick tires on a 700c wheel.

They are sweet. I want one
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Old 07-14-07, 10:53 PM   #12
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While it is true that both mountain 29ers and common road bike rims are the same diameter, I wouldn't recommend running thin road tires on a 29er. Lowering the bottom bracket that much could lead to some serious pedal strike issues.

My idea of an "all-rounder" is rough and smooth terrain, mostly off road with just enough pavement to get me to the trailhead. The 29er fits that role very well as it rolls great on harder surfaces with the right tires, and with suspension (and my lanky body) can still be ridden in as rough as the terrain gets around here.
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