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  1. #1
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    Sep 2006
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    Ditch the hardtail?

    I currently have two bikes, a Norco Range 29 (170 front, 150 rear) and a Chromag Rootdown BA (29er hardtail with 150 fork). I am debating moving the parts from the Chromag to a short-travel full-suspension frame. Currently, I have my eyes on a Django 29.

    I tend to ride my Range most of the time since, living in Coastal BC, a lot of the terrain warrants a bike like that. The hardtail comes out if I'm doing a solo ride, have ridden lots and want to mix it up, or am riding with my wife. The short-travel bike would be for similar use, but potentially improve on some of the hardtail's drawbacks.

    What I like about the hardtail:
    - Distinctly different experience from riding my Range
    - Responsive and efficient
    - Adds challenge to easier trails
    - The "wow, he rode that on a hardtail?!" factor

    Things I don't like about the hardtail:
    - It's punishing on longer rides
    - It makes flow trails ride like tech trails; on fast, natural singletrack trails that aren't all that rough, the hardtail skips around and chatters in corners rather than holding, making for a less fun experience
    - When taking weekend trips to places to mellower places with my wife, I've grabbed the hardtail but then have found myself wishing for suspension when set free for that solo lap on something rowdier
    - I just signed up for a marathon XC race on some challenging terrain, and I think the hardtail would be punishing but the Range would be too much bike

    So - if owning two bikes, does it make more sense to have a Norco Range and an aggressive hardtail, or the Range and a short travel 29er trail bike? With how capable some shorter travel bikes are, is there too much overlap with my Range?
    Last edited by D(C); 02-13-2019 at 03:14 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Can't really help you as I have N+1 but I can say that resale values on the Rootdown BAs are very strong. If you get a deal on the Django (for example) you'll do fine

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    N+1
    Yeah, I agree. Not an option, unfortunately.

    I have a good lead on the Django frame so the cost to swap would be minor.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Seattle
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    Quote Originally Posted by D(C) View Post
    - It makes flow trails ride like tech trails; on fast, natural singletrack trails that aren't all that rough, the hardtail skips around and chatters in corners rather than holding, making for a less fun experience
    - When taking weekend trips to places to mellower places with my wife, I've grabbed the hardtail but then have found myself wishing for suspension when set free for that solo lap on something rowdier
    I've considered ditching my hardtail for these exact reasons you mentioned. It's less the comfort loss than the fact that it just doesn't corner and flow all that nicely. It's ok but the whole experience is usually less fun. I even find climbing to be more smooth and consistent unless the trail is basically paved.

    My FS bike is a bit less burl than your (160 front, 140 rear) and my hardtail is sort of burly (heavier steel with a 140 fork) so the most sensible thing to do is to just ride the FS all the time. However, it is kind of nice to have a super efficient, simple bike that climbs nicely on smooth trails.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    85
    Turn the hardtail into a SS bike = more fun than any bike

  6. #6
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    May 2012
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    san diego
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    You could always build up the short travel FS bike and hang onto the Chromag til you know if you like the new ride or not. If not, sell the FS frame. I'm thinking of doing the same but would likely convert the hardtail to singlespeed. I mostly have it for bikepacking but since I need a size small frame I can't fit much of a frame bag in the front triangle anyways, so might as well go to FS.

  7. #7
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    Dec 2007
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    So if you pull all the parts off of the Chromag, you'd just be selling the frame, right? That frame costs $750 new, so you'd get, what? Like $350 or $400 selling it used? That seems like a waste. The correct answer here is N+1.

    Buy the short travel 29er frame and switch the parts over. Hang on to the Chromag frame. Find deals on parts and slowly rebuild the hardtail as funds permit. Win at life.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Central VT
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    4,033
    Hardtails also rule because your steel Chromag will last forever - it has modern standards and you'll always be able to find parts for it. Its also worth mentioning you can ride the shit out of your hardtail in muddy, shitty weather and not trash your FS bike.

    I considered selling my Surface for a new SC Blur but, like toast said, it makes more sense to keep it and just build more bikes.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    1,149
    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    So if you pull all the parts off of the Chromag, you'd just be selling the frame, right? That frame costs $750 new, so you'd get, what? Like $350 or $400 selling it used? That seems like a waste. The correct answer here is N+1.

    Buy the short travel 29er frame and switch the parts over. Hang on to the Chromag frame. Find deals on parts and slowly rebuild the hardtail as funds permit. Win at life.
    Do this. I had a 26" transam set up with a 140 fork and singlespeed. I missed it for years. Finally got myself a honzo to replace it, I see less and less time spent on the trail bike this year.

    I'd take the gears off and just figure out way to get it running later.

    Flipside, the django is a bruiser. Frame will take a lot, your ankles and short travel will be only parts holding you back for most trail riding.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2006
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    Cool, yeah maybe holding onto the Rootdown frame is a good course of action. I can either build it up as another full bike over time or switch the parts back in the fall for a winter rig. The main issue with n+1 is storage space and spousal approval, but having an extra frame kicking around could likely fly more under the radar.

  11. #11
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    Sep 2006
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    I went for it. With ~1000 g tires and CushCore, it comes in just under 33 lbs. with pedals. Yikes! I have the CushCore in there because the Chromag was the wrecker of rear wheels, but I'll definitely be pulling it out and getting some lighter rubber. The fork is also currently at 150, and I may drop it down depending on how it feels on the trail.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #12
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    Sep 2006
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    So I got in my first ride on the Django. Being able to leave the shock wide open for the whole ride was refreshing. For the tighter, twistier, more pedally trails around here, it feels ideal.

    I definitely need to drop the fork travel. If it were my only bike, 150 would be great. But for a bike I’m hoping to use as more of an XC bike (in Coastal BC, so still needing something that can get rowdy), I’d like the seat angle steeper and to not have to think so hard about weighting the front end while climbing and cornering.

    I’m debating hard about whether to drop the fork to 140 or 130. My inclination is 130 just to differentiate the bike from my Range. But that brings the head angle to 68 degrees, which is, on paper, unsettling. But then I wonder if dropping just 10 mm from 150 to 140 will result in any meaningful difference.

    For those who have ridden this bike, do I set the fork at 130 or 140?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by D(C) View Post
    So I got in my first ride on the Django. Being able to leave the shock wide open for the whole ride was refreshing. For the tighter, twistier, more pedally trails around here, it feels ideal.

    I definitely need to drop the fork travel. If it were my only bike, 150 would be great. But for a bike I’m hoping to use as more of an XC bike (in Coastal BC, so still needing something that can get rowdy), I’d like the seat angle steeper and to not have to think so hard about weighting the front end while climbing and cornering.

    I’m debating hard about whether to drop the fork to 140 or 130. My inclination is 130 just to differentiate the bike from my Range. But that brings the head angle to 68 degrees, which is, on paper, unsettling. But then I wonder if dropping just 10 mm from 150 to 140 will result in any meaningful difference.

    For those who have ridden this bike, do I set the fork at 130 or 140?
    Buy the 140 air shaft and ride it like that.

    If you really want it lower, you can actually just cut those air shafts shorter - there's enough threads in them that you can take off 10mm and still be ok. So you could just turn the 140 into a 130 (or a 135, if you're feeling indecisive).

  14. #14
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    Jan 2017
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    Can/USA
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    776
    i'm having the same debate but with my Stache... I also have a Farley so debating dumping the Stache and getting a FS as i no longer have one but the Stache is a pretty fun bike.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    910
    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    So if you pull all the parts off of the Chromag, you'd just be selling the frame, right? That frame costs $750 new, so you'd get, what? Like $350 or $400 selling it used? That seems like a waste. The correct answer here is N+1.

    Buy the short travel 29er frame and switch the parts over. Hang on to the Chromag frame. Find deals on parts and slowly rebuild the hardtail as funds permit. Win at life.
    This.

    I have many, many bikes in the quiver. I'd call it a sickness but I don't wanna be cured.

    Dude, you NEED 3 bikes. It's not your fault. In fact, I don't how you are going to make due with only 3...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    Buy the 140 air shaft and ride it like that.

    If you really want it lower, you can actually just cut those air shafts shorter - there's enough threads in them that you can take off 10mm and still be ok. So you could just turn the 140 into a 130 (or a 135, if you're feeling indecisive).
    I didn’t know you could cut those down, but that makes sense. I will go 140.

    I did a second ride, this time with the stem slammed, and 150 actually felt alright. But I do think 140 would be better. I only had a 5 mm spacer under the stem on the first ride. It’s amazing what a difference 5 mm of stack can make.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    1,149
    They spec the django with a 140 fork now, they'd been 130 for the first few years I think. 68 HTA for a bike like this isn't the worst thing in the world, but I think having it at 140 will probably feel right in the "go-hard but get rowdy" type of bike.

  18. #18
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    Scratch that. The bike rips with a 150 fork. I’m keeping it. Such a fun bike.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    827
    I ride a slayer on 90% of the trails i ride, but i ride a fully rigid for the one trail i ride 50% of the time.

    Have a burly mtn bike for the stuff you want to get rad on, just make sure it has a pretty large sweet spot. Then, have a bike that makes the mellow stuff you ride much more exciting. I ride a local neighborhood trail system on weekdays after work that is all up and down, and semi rooty to the point where you are pretty much always up out of the saddle sprinting and pumping. A fully rigid SS with bald tires and rear brake make the ride much less bland and allow me to have fun on those trails with my GF and dog. I have never serviced anything on that bike in 3 years and its still fine. Meanwhile my slayer is a money pit due to suspension, gears, brakes and obviously riding it faster on rowdier terrain.

    In OPs situation id get a short travel bike just for the race he is entering. But if not for the race, id stay with the chromag and use it as the skills/take it easy bike.

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