$4,00.00 to spend. 29er Full suspension or hardtail bike?

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$4,00.00 to spend. 29er Full suspension or hardtail bike?

Postby chris_werth » October 14th, 2020, 9:45 am

I did get a chance to read the “Trail bike vs XC in Metro Detroit” thread. But looking for more input for my specific question.

Sold a few bikes and looking to purchase a new bike (when stock comes back). Most of my adult biking life has been spent on either a rigid hardtail single speed, rigid fat bike or now a Gravel bike with a newly added Lauf fork (Don’t laugh, the Lauf fork is amazing). The thought of going full suspension sounds really good as I get older. Most of my “Trail riding” is in South East Michigan. Addison, Bald Mtn, Stony, Pontiac Lake, Island Lake ,etc. I have and would like to continue to do out of state rides like Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, etc.
I’m a big bone guy, pushing the 200lb mark, and enjoy standing and hammering climbs, so the thought of a squishy Full Suspension bike scares me just a bit, but I have read that some of the FS bikes can accommodate a F/R lockout system to bypass the bobbing.
I do like to shred the trails and shoot for PR’s or KOM’s and do an occasional XC / endurance race, so a lightweight bike (sub 23lbs) is definitely something I will look for in a new bike. Should I dip my toe in the FS game, (any recommendation would be great) or go with a Hardtail rocketship with a nice front fork? (Rock Shox or Fox). Just thought I would throw this out there for some constructive feedback.
Also, along with being big boned, I am at the 6’ mark, so size recommendations would be helpful too if anyone has some bikes they like.
Bikes I have looked at…..Trek Top fuel, Fezzari Signal Peak, Obrea OIZ, Specialized EVO, Specialized Epic Hardtail, Scott Spark FS, Trek SuperCaliber, Trek Pro Caliber, NORCO FS1 100mm, and a few others that I have lost track of.
To "come back" would mean I've been somewhere.....not sure if I qualify. W.S 2013
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Re: $4,00.00 to spend. 29er Full suspension or hardtail bike

Postby c0nsumer » October 14th, 2020, 9:52 am

FWIW, I built up this: https://nuxx.net/blog/2020/07/25/salsa- ... a-mistake/

I think it cost me around $3200 total, finding deals where I could, but also paying full retail for other stuff (COVID shortage prices).

I've ridden this bike all over the LP, Marquette, Copper Harbor... and it's been great. Yes, it's a hard tail, so climbing rough stuff is a bit meh if you can't get out of the saddle, but otherwise it's fine. (Note: I'm not talking about SE MI rough stuff... I'm meaning like RAMBA trail type stuff, or old stuff like Ma Maki or Der We Went at CH.)

I don't think weight is a big deal (don't target an overall weight, be willing to compromise on overall weight and go for lighter/stiffer wheels) and I think you'll be happy. Honestly, at your weight, saving 3 pounds on the overall bike is less than a percent of your overall bike+rider weight. But if you can save some weight on the wheels, that'll be noticable. A heavier bike with light wheels feels not much different than a lighter bike with the same wheels. And is a lot cheaper and often more capable.

If I were you I'd look at a nice carbon frame (say, Ibis DV9 or Santa Cruz Chameleon), a nice beefy 120mm fork (Fox 34 / 34 Stepcast, Rock Shox Pike), dropper post (Fox, Bike Yoke, KS, not a RS Reverb), wider carbon rims (look at the Ibis offerings with I9 hubs), wider tires (2.3-2.4) and a mid-tier drivetrain. I wouldn't be surprised at all if you are faster on that bike, on trails, than on a classic XC race rocket.

I think you'll get the weight to around 25-ish, the bike will feel fast because of the lighter wheels, will have a ton of traction because of the wider tires, and the more modern geometry will feel GREAT on rough stuff.
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Re: $4,00.00 to spend. 29er Full suspension or hardtail bike

Postby Lateapex36 » October 14th, 2020, 10:55 am

Hey Since you mentioned it I will chime in, I just bought an Orbea Oiz H30 in TR spec. Bought it in early september and have a couple hundred miles on it so far. Like you I was coming from a hard tail and am also in the 200lb range. I cross shopped several of the bikes you mentioned and test rode a top fuel and a salsa spearfish, I couldnt get comfortable on the top fuel but I am also 5'10 with a 30" inseam. The issue I was having is with a 150mm dropper post I couldnt get the seat low enough on a medium.

The Orbea can be optioned with the squid lock that has a 3 position lockout that does the front and the rear at the same lever, so that is super helpful. I think for the SE michigan trails you could for sure run a hard tail but even the 100-120 travel is much more confidence inspiring (first time I rode it was at PLRA and I PR'd by 3 minutes). If you are planning to do some XC racing I probably wouldnt go more than a 120 bike but that should be plenty for most trails. Like consumer mentioned I wouldnt get hung up on overall bike weight but you could for sure spring for some lighter wheels.
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Re: $4,00.00 to spend. 29er Full suspension or hardtail bike

Postby b_b » October 15th, 2020, 7:45 am

Switched from HT to FS (Epic) this year and have no regrets. It pedals fine. You might appreciate FS on PLRA and out of state or UP.
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Re: $4,00.00 to spend. 29er Full suspension or hardtail bike

Postby c0nsumer » October 15th, 2020, 8:21 am

b_b wrote:Switched from HT to FS (Epic) this year and have no regrets. It pedals fine. You might appreciate FS on PLRA and out of state or UP.


FWIW, I'm faster on a FS than HT almost everywhere. They are far more efficient because the suspension can absorb the roughness instead of needing to do it with your body.

The unfortunate reality is that a $4K hard tail will be VERY nice, whereas one'll need to go to the $6K - $7K level to get a comparably nice FS (same level fork, brakes, dropper, wheels, etc).
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Re: $4,00.00 to spend. 29er Full suspension or hardtail bike

Postby amadkins » October 15th, 2020, 4:19 pm

c0nsumer wrote:
b_b wrote:Switched from HT to FS (Epic) this year and have no regrets. It pedals fine. You might appreciate FS on PLRA and out of state or UP.


FWIW, I'm faster on a FS than HT almost everywhere. They are far more efficient because the suspension can absorb the roughness instead of needing to do it with your body.

The unfortunate reality is that a $4K hard tail will be VERY nice, whereas one'll need to go to the $6K - $7K level to get a comparably nice FS (same level fork, brakes, dropper, wheels, etc).
The new Comp level Epic EVO is a very solid build kit for a touch over $4k. Throw another $600 at it for a custom wheelset, and you’ve got a really nice setup for just about everywhere. I went with carbon wheels, but almost pulled the trigger on Arc 30 rims laced to DT 350 hubs.

But, I agree; you get a ton better build spec on a hard tail.
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Re: $4,00.00 to spend. 29er Full suspension or hardtail bike

Postby c0nsumer » October 15th, 2020, 4:31 pm

amadkins wrote:The new Comp level Epic EVO is a very solid build kit for a touch over $4k. Throw another $600 at it for a custom wheelset, and you’ve got a really nice setup for just about everywhere. I went with carbon wheels, but almost pulled the trigger on Arc 30 rims laced to DT 350 hubs.

But, I agree; you get a ton better build spec on a hard tail.


Did you get a carbon wheelset for $600? The cheapest I've built one for was Light Bicycle rims and clearance-priced DT 350 hubs and they still came out to about $850. I think these days it'd be hard to do carbon for under a grand?

That is a really nice looking bike, though. I've got my eye on one of them, although I'm probably going to end up with a Pivot Trail 429.
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$4,00.00 to spend. 29er Full suspension or hardtail bike?

Postby amadkins » October 15th, 2020, 5:03 pm

c0nsumer wrote:
amadkins wrote:The new Comp level Epic EVO is a very solid build kit for a touch over $4k. Throw another $600 at it for a custom wheelset, and you’ve got a really nice setup for just about everywhere. I went with carbon wheels, but almost pulled the trigger on Arc 30 rims laced to DT 350 hubs.

But, I agree; you get a ton better build spec on a hard tail.


Did you get a carbon wheelset for $600? The cheapest I've built one for was Light Bicycle rims and clearance-priced DT 350 hubs and they still came out to about $850. I think these days it'd be hard to do carbon for under a grand?

That is a really nice looking bike, though. I've got my eye on one of them, although I'm probably going to end up with a Pivot Trail 429.
No. More like $850 from BTLOS.

I was pretty close to going with the Arc 30 build tho. That would have come in around $570. I could have done those components and built myself for about $500, but I value my time pretty heavily these days.
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