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  1. #1
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    Faster on the Pavement: 29er HT or 29er Full Suspension?

    Right now I'm eyeing a regular HT 29er with front suspension. I could also get a 08 Specialized Stumpjumper 29er that has a full suspension.

    Reason I want an MTB to be fast on the pavement is I like to ride my bike to the trails which will consist 20 or so miles of pavement riding, and the majority of it is on some rough gravel roads. A cyclocross bike is not an option, I'm definitely going with an mtb 29er.

    I also will generally be using the bike for some long pavement riding, 40-60 miles with long high speed descents, so handling is important. Basically this bike is my main bike for everything. Going as fast as a road bike is not my goal obviously. I don't want to be as fast as a roadie though it would be nice, but I know there are some things I can do to be almost as fast just from some research online:

    1) Use some high psi slicks. I believe 700c road tires can fit on a 29er wheel right, they just have to be a bit wider?
    2) Aero bars
    3) Stronger engine

    So the debate for me is, is there advantage going with a HT 29er over the full suspension 29er? Wouldn't the HT 29er be more ideal for some regular roadie riding over the full suspension 29er? Will both generally handle the same on pavement? Which would be faster with slicks?

  2. #2
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    Why is a CX bike not an option.

    And trust me, riding on trails with high PSI slicks sucks.
    “Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary... that’s what gets you.”- Jeremy Clarkson

  3. #3
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ca7erham View Post
    Why is a CX bike not an option.

    And trust me, riding on trails with high PSI slicks sucks.
    I, sort of, disagree. A lot more can done on slicks, even high PSI ones, that sometimes is supposed. But, yes, there comes a point when knobs and lots of tire volume are nice. And a point when they become necessary. But those points come a lot later in the trail-difficulty scale than some riders ever see.

    Not quite slicks and only moderately high PSI, but I can get my Stumpjumper with Schwalbe Big Apples in some pretty hairy places.

    j
    Cross Check Nexus7, IRO Mark V, Trek 620 Nexus7, Karate Monkey half fat, IRO Model 19 fixed, Amp Research B3, Surly 1x1 half fat fixed, and more...
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  4. #4
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    You know what, I just don't want a CX bike. I don't like the looks of a CX bike I guess. I like the geometry and style of a MTB, and I just feel that an MTB would be a lot more rugged and would feel better when I do use it for trails.

    Perhaps I would do as jgedwa is suggesting, moderatly high PSI slicks for the pavement. Or maybe very high PSI slicks when I'm on pavement, and just decrease the PSI a little bit when I get to the trail.

    But do you guys think a HT would be better for long pavement rides, or a full suspension bike? I'm guessing a HT would handle a bit better?

  5. #5
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    A HT will likely be significantly lighter (unless you drop some serious money on the problem), and remember that every time a suspension bobs, it is robbing you of pedal power. Again, this can be mitigated with a nice suspension system, and by good riding technique. But, the simpler, cheaper, and easier solution is to not have a suspension system if you don't need one.

    Handle better? Not so much. I guess the less weight you have the easier it is to move the bike around under so, so in that sense perhaps.

    j
    Last edited by jgedwa; 04-28-09 at 08:52 AM.
    Cross Check Nexus7, IRO Mark V, Trek 620 Nexus7, Karate Monkey half fat, IRO Model 19 fixed, Amp Research B3, Surly 1x1 half fat fixed, and more...
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  6. #6
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    definitely a hard tail. no question whatsoever

  7. #7
    Senior Member IAMTB's Avatar
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    Another vote for the hardtail. Something versatile like the Surly Karate Monkey. Two sets of wheels wouldn't be a bad idea either. One set with slicks and one set with more offroad type tires.

    Lots of ideas here: Link
    Pulling the trigger as often as possible.

  8. #8
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    For the kind of riding you appear to be contemplating, a h/t no question -- it's a no-brainer really. For that matter, do you even need front suspension? Depending on budget, get something LIGHT with a rigid carbon fork, throw on some road tires -- done.

  9. #9
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    I don't have a 29er, but I find I can do mild trail riding and unpaved roads just fine with both of my commuters, which are basically hardtail MTB bikes equipped with slicks. I just drop the tire pressures to provide a bit of extra traction, and take things a bit easier remembering that I don't have the grip of the lugs on my "real" MTB tires. Caveat: This may not be an option if you're a heavyish rider, as it would invite pinch flats and damaged wheel rims.
    Last edited by rnorris; 04-28-09 at 07:34 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAMTB View Post
    Another vote for the hardtail. Something versatile like the Surly Karate Monkey. Two sets of wheels wouldn't be a bad idea either. One set with slicks and one set with more offroad type tires.

    Lots of ideas here: Link
    Is it true though that the frame on this thing is 6lbs without the fork? I red this on a review. That seems a bit heavy, but I bet the nice ride makes up for it. I'm not a weight weenie but I do plan on getting something in the 20-24 pound range.

    I am definitely getting an HT, and I have learned that people have managed to put drops on these bikes as well. I'll probably put drops on my 29er.

  11. #11
    Senior Member IAMTB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MountainKing View Post
    Is it true though that the frame on this thing is 6lbs without the fork? I red this on a review. That seems a bit heavy, but I bet the nice ride makes up for it. I'm not a weight weenie but I do plan on getting something in the 20-24 pound range.
    The Surly website says it weighs 5.56lbs for a 20" frame. The fork uncut is 2.59lbs. I can honestly say that I've never noticed the weight difference between my (ss/rigid) Karate Monkey and my (geared front susp)Fisher X-Cal. I do notice that the KM frame is much more forgiving after a couple hours on the trail. It's no big secret that steal rides a little softer than aluminum. But design and implementation trump frame material, so test ride as much as you can.

    Drop bar mountain bikes are often referred to as monster cross bikes. Search here and mtbr for monster cross and it should give you lots of ideas.
    Pulling the trigger as often as possible.

  12. #12
    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    Go with the hardtail. Save up some money, buy a second wheelset with narrower rims. Mount some faster, sensible tires to the flimsier wheelset. Switch wheels as your day's ride requires; faster than switching tires. Having a geared hardtail and 2 wheelsets is one of the best ways of having only one bike; the second wheelset is almost like having a second bike.

    The FS will bob more than you'll like on pavement.
    -rob

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