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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Jay, VT

    How much travel do I NEED? 120mm vs 160mm

    I almost forgot we had a bike forum!

    Trying to decide on a new bike and this choice is killing me. The trails here in northeren vermont(that I ride) are mostly rocky, rooty single track. There are some pretty sketchy/technical downhill sections but my biggest drop would be like 3 feet. I'm an intermediate rider, 5'8 170lbs. My last bike(that I sold) was a Heckler with a 36 talas and dhx coil, before that a cannondale hardtail. It was my first F.S. bike that I got for a really good deal and rode for 2 summers. It changed my riding for sure but I'm thinking that it was overkill for my needs.

    So my question- for singletrack/light all mountain, is 20-30mm more travel really going help me?
    Should I go with the longer travel so that when I improve I won't want a new bike?

    I'm looking at a remedy 7 or fuel 8 for new bikes as I want to stay around $2000 and my buddy(who owns a shop)can get me a great deal but I'm really searching the used bikes also. Looking at the blur lt1, yeti 575, enduro/stumpjumper, ect. Those can be had for more like $1600

    Is new better? I know Fox recently tweaked their shocks. Mabey a 2011 fuel/remedy is better then a 3-4 year blur lt?


    Also, to put it in ski terms- I recently decided that a 188 stiff ski that was 105+underfoot was not an ideal everyday ski for me. I'm now on a 179 volkl bridge and freeking love em! Skied them in 3 feet of fresh and on hard groomers.
    Are bikes like skis? I see alot of people on fat rockered skis on hardpack/groomer days who also just suck at skiing, but they look cool! Is there a conection with ski length/width and bike suspension travel?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    I ride with 140mm of travel on my AM bike and love it. Go demo a few different types of bikes and see what you like best.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    North Vancouver
    Travel is as important as the angles it's attached to.

    You reference a Remedy and a Fuel. The new Remedy's are, in my opinion, a great, very light (especially for their travel) longer travel all mountain type rig with a slight bit of XC bias. A buddy picked up one of the higher end carbon ones with the 150mm TALAS on it and it's pretty slick. Push the TALAS down to 110mm and it would make a great xc race bike.

    Most bikes are now using lighter weight long travel front ends like the TALAS with the 15mm thru on it.

    Point is, if you can get a great fork with travel adjust then your 160mm vs 120mm travel query becomes a moot point since you'll get both in one.

    If you look at a lot of companies' new longer all mountain offerings, the head tube angle is around 66.5 on most: getting slacker every year.

    In my opinion, 5" travel rear, give or take is fine. If you start with a bike that gives you roughly a 67 degree head angle at 160mm, try and find a bike with a travel adjust. There have been some killer bikes in the past couple years with Lyrik coils or TALAS 36's on them, but you'll be well over 30lbs.

    If you want lighter weight with more of an XC bias, I think the Remedy is a killer pick. A bit tighter up front at 68, but still plenty slack. There are many other bikes like it: Giant Reigns; Norco Fluids, Spech Enduros and one from every other manufacturer.

    And if you truly cannot decide and must get one travel setting, split the difference and get a bike with a 140mm fork (specialized pitch is a cheap AM rig 140mm and slacker). I agree with your ski analogy too. I've not spent a ton of time on the big rockers, but they are a riot, but not something I want everyday, so I always migrate back to the 100mm underfoot stiffer directional type skis...but I'm over 40.
    Last edited by Johnny Sizzler; 03-16-2011 at 12:37 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Jay, VT
    ^^^ You make an excellent point. I would love to have the talas. Bummer is that the remedy 8(with a talas) is $3300 vs the 7 which is $2800. I'm leaning toward a more leggy bike with a talas up front now. It may have to be a nice used bike though instead of brand new.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    between here and there
    while I haven't ridden vermont, i have hiked a good bit of it and I am familiar with the terrain. Might I suggest that take higher stock in bikes that have a better pedaling platform, like the remedy or the blur vs the yeti or specialized. I am not as familiar with specialized as the others, but I would look into something that you can pedal more comfortably through rocky terrain, while seated without getting pedal feedback or bucked. Not on your list, but I'll mention it since I am a Pivot fanboy, is the 5.7. With an xt build and 5.7" travel it retail is around 3k, me thinks.
    More fucked up than a cricket in a hubcap

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Hell Track
    Agreed on J.S.'s comment about angles. I'd suggest that, for normal techy east coast single track, slightly steeper angles are often preferable to the slacker angles found on lots of bikes these days.

    The question of how much travel is really just a question of how you like to ride. Finesse and light on your bike? go shorter. Plunder through everything with little regard for line choice? go longer.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    -general fitness and ability to pedal a heavier bike for longer periods of time
    -pitch of uphills
    -speed of your buddies when climbing
    -pitch of downhills
    -speed of downhills (ie flowing vs switchbacks often)
    -overall technicality of trail
    -your riding background (ie bmx/dj, road, mtb old school, singlespeed, 29er, dh/fr etc)
    -how much vert up/down are you doing?
    -how long, miles wise, are you riding
    go for rob

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Jay, VT

    -general fitness and ability to pedal a heavier bike for longer periods of timepretty fit, used to pedal my 34# heckler all over the place, rarely get off
    -pitch of uphillsvaries, but not too crazy
    -speed of your buddies when climbingride alone most of the time
    -pitch of downhillsvaries some, some short twisty rooty funness thought
    -speed of downhills (ie flowing vs switchbacks often)a pretty mix depending on the trail
    -overall technicality of trail?
    -your riding background (ie bmx/dj, road, mtb old school, singlespeed, 29er, dh/fr etc)rode hardtail for 3 summers while in germany, switched to heckler for 2 summers been 2 years since I rode now though
    -how much vert up/down are you doing??
    -how long, miles wise, are you ridingfrom 1-4 hours

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