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Thread: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

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    Default Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    Curious, does anyone have experience with these all mountain 29er hardtails? I'm seeing more 29er bikes with slack angles, relatively tight wheelbase, short (16 to 17 in) chainstays, tapered headtubes, 120mm or greater forks, dropper seatposts, and big 2.4+ rubber.

    I'm a old veteran of the 29er movement (Gary Fisher, Karate Monkey, one custom) but was left cold by the long, stretched-out school bus ride. But I liked how the big wheels carried momentum.

    Are these AM 29ers worth checking out? Photos appreciated!

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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    Get a Kona. They even make one in a 27.5.

    honzo.jpg

    taro.jpg

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    Insubordinate. And Churlish.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    Talk to Garro.

    Be quick, in two days the price goes up.



    You'll have to wait a year for the bike, though.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    I suppose the majority of the 29er's I've been building could be considered to be in the "all mountain" category. To me, "all mountain" is more about riding up the mountain, down the mountain and everything in between. Which kind of gets at what mountain biking is all about and really what the roots of the sport are. My personal taste is a balance between head tube angle, bottom bracket height and chainstay length while balancing the rider between the wheels to get them "in" the bike. 16" chainstays make for an incredibly playful bike and to my sensibilities and what I've built/ridden, 16.5" seems to be a great mix of playfulness, all day comfort and responsiveness on trail. Too slack up front and you lose some of that control in tech. Too steep and it gets twitchy. For me somewhere in the 70.5 degree head angle is where it's at. 100 or 120mm of travel, taper, 15mm through axle with large diameter top and down tubes make for a very powerful front end. Bottom bracket high enough to clear the trail clutter but low enough to keep the riders center of gravity centered and "in" the bike. 12.5" feels a bit on the high end to me here in new england but the magic starts to happen somewhere between 12" and 12.25" bottom bracket height. That's a narrow window but that's what I've found to have a great balance to quicken steering and keep pedal strikes to a minimum. Here's a few that share all these characteristics (some personal builds and others that are client builds):









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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhys View Post
    Talk to Garro.

    Be quick, in two days the price goes up.



    You'll have to wait a year for the bike, though.
    It'll be longer than a year at this point.

    Billrick, I should have one (a Garro machine) here locally in the next 6-8 weeks. You're welcome to try it out, though you'll probably have to be over 6'4'' to even throw a leg over.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    Quote Originally Posted by fortyfour View Post
    I suppose the majority of the 29er's I've been building could be considered to be in the "all mountain" category. To me, "all mountain" is more about riding up the mountain, down the mountain and everything in between. Which kind of gets at what mountain biking is all about and really what the roots of the sport are. My personal taste is a balance between head tube angle, bottom bracket height and chainstay length while balancing the rider between the wheels to get them "in" the bike. 16" chainstays make for an incredibly playful bike and to my sensibilities and what I've built/ridden, 16.5" seems to be a great mix of playfulness, all day comfort and responsiveness on trail. Too slack up front and you lose some of that control in tech. Too steep and it gets twitchy. For me somewhere in the 70.5 degree head angle is where it's at. 100 or 120mm of travel, taper, 15mm through axle with large diameter top and down tubes make for a very powerful front end. Bottom bracket high enough to clear the trail clutter but low enough to keep the riders center of gravity centered and "in" the bike. 12.5" feels a bit on the high end to me here in new england but the magic starts to happen somewhere between 12" and 12.25" bottom bracket height. That's a narrow window but that's what I've found to have a great balance to quicken steering and keep pedal strikes to a minimum. Here's a few that share all these characteristics (some personal builds and others that are client builds):
    Hey Kristofer, great info here. I wonder, when you refer to BB heights and head tube angles, are you using a compressed or uncompressed fork build height?

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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    Quote Originally Posted by endo shi View Post
    Hey Kristofer, great info here. I wonder, when you refer to BB heights and head tube angles, are you using a compressed or uncompressed fork build height?
    Exactly what I was wondering - how much sag/what does that translate to in drop?

    Thanks.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    IMG_4780.JPG
    Quote Originally Posted by Britishbane View Post
    It'll be longer than a year at this point.

    Billrick, I should have one (a Garro machine) here locally in the next 6-8 weeks. You're welcome to try it out, though you'll probably have to be over 6'4'' to even throw a leg over.
    Three more frames & you are UP!
    Sorry for the delay, I'm building as fast as I can while maintaining the highest quality I can.
    Nursing a tweaked out shoulder...........fell on the ice...........

    Yes, prices are going up in two days, and I'm taking orders for June of 2014, and if 2014 fills I may close the queue until I can catch up.
    Yep - 120mm travel 29ers are here to stay.
    Much more travel then that, and you have to have long legs to stand over one.
    Anything <100mm travel from Fox is a custom order now.
    You're going to likely end up with some thing like this, MF, 120mm travel x 35" inseam, and the head tube is taller as he does have a # of spinal fusions.
    I like tall guy bikes, and I like the slacker, steer from the hips geo and the trend away from that "Genesis" geo trend.
    - Garro.
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    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    Quote Originally Posted by steve garro View Post

    Three more frames & you are UP!
    Sorry for the delay, I'm building as fast as I can while maintaining the highest quality I can.
    Nursing a tweaked out shoulder...........fell on the ice...........

    - Garro.
    Shit Steve, take your time. I'll get it when I get it - take care of yourself.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    @Lumpy and Endo Shi: The drawing takes sag into account. Typically I use 20% unless the rider specifies something different. For example, an upcoming build at the end of April the rider stated he typically runs his fork a bit stiffer with only 15% sag.

    BB Height and Drop are two different numbers taking their measurements from two different locations: Drop is distance from the centerline of the axles, while height is from the ground to the bottom bracket. BB Height can vary depending on tire choice, tire pressure, fork settings, etc. Drop is more of a blue print number that places the bottom bracket in space between the axles to set up the frame jig, so it's not necessarily a good number to base decisions on for a rider I would say. For a rider, bottom bracket height is then number you should be paying attention to - the builder will base the drop to achieve that height. I base my bottom bracket drop on fork travel length with how much sag the fork is running, wheel size, tire choice, specific terrain, riding style and where I "want" the rider to be placed below the axles center line. Drop typically turns out in the +/- 2.25" range in most cases - but again it can vary depending on what the above factors are. What I have noticed with bikes that have 12" bottom bracket heights and below the 12" mark, they steer much quicker (much like an indy car, you drop the center of gravity, it quickens steering) but the feeling through a deep carved corner is unique. It almost feels like bike gets sucked through the corner. But, and there is a but, you start to compromise clearance with chainrings and increase the chances of pedal bashing. There's a fine line in terms of balancing all these factors and getting what you want out of that bike.

    There's no formula per say, but I am definitely basing my decisions on my experience on trail with different setups, and how those setups work on trail over a variety of types of trail and riding conditions. I know New England is known for it's rocky, rooty trails, but we also have a lot of groomed / buffed, high speed singletrack too. My region in NH has a lot of rock wall crossings in addition to this. One of my loops you cross and ride on top of over 10 walls. (NH was practically clear cut at one point and the farmers walls pretty much marked off pasture, farm land etc.). So there are a lot of steep short tech up and over moves that I found slack head angles don't like. When the front wheel gets up and over and on the backside of these obstacles, it has a tendency to want to flop to the right or left. Steepening the head angle a bit and lowering the bottom bracket have helped to stabilize the chassis a bit more and help ground the bike in slow speed tech (which there is a majority of here). Subsequently, I've found that approach to have a broader appeal on a variety of terrain here on the east coast. I use a lot of "english" when I ride too so I'm steering and "feeling" out the trail as I go. What I would recommend though is extremes in either direction: too high or too low, to slack or too steep. There's a sweet spot somewhere in the middle for me which is in the 120mm of travel, tapered steerer, 70-ish type HT angle and 12-12.25"-ish BB height.

    It also should be noted that the above is all "IMO". There's many a recipe to make a sweet hardtail.
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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    Thanks. Good stuff. I'm in Western Mass., so conditions are similar.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    Is that sag percentage usually measured static with the compression damping backed way off?

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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    Quote Originally Posted by lumpy View Post
    Is that sag percentage usually measured static with the compression damping backed way off?
    I run 1/3rd of travel as sag, two clicks on the compression for starters.
    1/4 of travel if they want it stiffer & less then 100mm of travel, or standing up one speeding, but usually 1/3rd all the way.
    - Garro.
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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    Quote Originally Posted by steve garro View Post
    ...I like the slacker, steer from the hips geo and the trend away from that "Genesis" geo trend.
    - Garro.
    Steve, could you expand on this a bit?

    I consider a 70 degree HTA to be slack, and most of my bikes are 71-72 (I design with 25% fork sag).
    Steering from the hips has been my MO for years.
    The main difference in setup/geometry is my preference for a moderate length TT (by current fashion) and long stem (including the bar reach) with a tight range for the hand/front axle relationship. Plus a fairly short amount of trail.

    The Genesis trend never worked for me mostly because the front wheel is too far forward.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    Quote Originally Posted by lumpy View Post
    Is that sag percentage usually measured static with the compression damping backed way off?
    When designing a frame sag is strictly a percentage of travel. Damper settings are not a factor.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    Personally I don't get the "short chainstays for climbing" thing.
    I already have a problem with normal length stays keeping my front wheel down on the steep.
    Sometimes I feel there is marketing involved in the geometry discussion.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    Quote Originally Posted by rabo View Post
    Personally I don't get the "short chainstays for climbing" thing.
    I already have a problem with normal length stays keeping my front wheel down on the steep.
    Sometimes I feel there is marketing involved in the geometry discussion.
    I'm a truly crappy MTB rider, but it seems to me that when the chainstays are too long the front wheel stays down and the back wheel spins. My front wheel coming off the ground is a reminder that I need to stop being a roadie and holding my upper body in the same static pose and get low.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    When designing a frame sag is strictly a percentage of travel. Damper settings are not a factor.
    Yup, got that, but I'm coming at it from the other direction: trying to dial in my existing bike and for the first couple of years I know I wasn't running enough sag. It seems like the amount of measured sag at a given air pressure varies wildly depending on how I'm standing on the bike fore and aft when I measure it, and where the compression damping is set. I'm just trying to benchmark and not be bottoming out all the time, while still being in the pocket for handling.

    It doesn't help that it is a G2 bike and the front wheel is indeed way too far away. And the BB seems really high: another reason I'm wondering what sag designers and builders usually ballpark for.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    @Rabo: As the hill steepens, drop the elbows, scoot closer to the nose of the saddle, stay seated as long as possible until you need to get out of the saddle and in some cases out of the saddle, drop your butt a bit and bend at the hip/knees to sink your center of gravity lower to keep tires engaged to maintain traction. I'll even shift my weight forward and down towards the head tube if it's really steep when I'm out of the saddle.

    The whole "short chainstay" debate is a bit of hype IMO. It's the whole package that delivers the handling: head angle, chainstay length, bottom bracket height, rider center of gravity placement between the wheels. All of that working in harmony tuned to your terrain delivers the ride you're looking for. Tire choice and tire pressure can really effect handling too.
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    Default Re: Thoughts on the 29er "all mountain" hardtail?

    I'm finding I have to be very active and physical in positioning and moving my weight fore and aft to get through the corners fast. I really have to stand up, use my hips, and throw the bike around if I want to make the bike go.

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