Titanium hardtail lust

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by Krispy, Nov 8, 2003.

  1. Krispy

    Krispy New Member

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    I've owned a Stumpjumper FSR xc Pro for 2 years. Since buying my Litespeed road bike a year ago I've hardly ridden my Stumpy. Now that its winter I'd like to do some more mountain biking but every time I get back on the Stumpy I hate the way it rides. I feel like the suspension is sucking all of the power out of my pedal stroke.

    I'm considering buying a titanium hardtail frame because I've been so happy with my Litespeed although this time around I'd spend less money and buy something like the Habanero, Macalu, or Zion. I'm also looking at the Specialized Epic S-Works and the Giant NRS frames. I've been told that both of these bob a whole lot less than the Stumpy.

    Has anyone here ever gone from a full suspension bike to a titanium hardtail?
     
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  2. Hecubus

    Hecubus New Member

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    I've owned several Litespeed hardtails and softails alongside full suspension bikes. I used them mainly for racing but finally sold the last one about 6 months ago. I will never go back to riding hardtails. I find with new suspension designs its just not worth it for me. The specialized FSR bikes have some of the best pedaling characteristics in full suspension designs. If your bike feels springy you might have the shock pressure too low or rebound set too high. With a good pedaling style and a well set up shock the bike should not bob much at all. I think the problem is you're just used to you're road bike's stiffness and it feels odd to have the suspension moving underneath you. Thats typical but it does not necessarily mean the bike is robbing all your leg power. Its just a sensation. The FS bikes you mentioned are a bit stiffer and mainly aimed at XC racing so they are stiffer at pedaling but also sacrifice a lot of the advantages that a full suspension offers in order to achieve that stiffer ride.
     
  3. Duckwah

    Duckwah New Member

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    I' dlook for something with manitou SPV or fifth element rear shocks (coil over or air) the valving in these shocks works pretty well to cut out pedal induced bob while still giving awesome suspension performance when you need it

    mostly i'd say suspension manufacturers claims are a load of crap but the SPV/5th Element stuff seems to work on my bike and my flatmates bike
     
  4. its_stuart

    its_stuart New Member

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    Target a rear shock that has a lock-out. They give you a reasonably hard tail feel and then with a flick of a switch, you can cut loose down the trails :)
     
  5. Krispy

    Krispy New Member

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    I test rode a friends titanium hardtail mtb today on the road. It had a soft ride on pavement but I could tell that it would not soak up the biger hits like a full suspension bike would. I also road my favorite trail today on my mtb. My stumpy was using nearly all of it's travel on the rear shock so that tells me that a hardtail would probably beat me to death. So now I know to scratch the ti hardtail off my list of potential new bikes. I'll see what I can find something with the SPV or fith element rear shocks.

    Thanks for the advice everyone.
     
  6. devon inbred

    devon inbred New Member

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    i have owned and ridden a couple of Ti bikes, my last was i litespeed which i dumped because of he daft integrated headset,
    truth be it depends on the maker of the frame as to how good it is, i have just bought one from a company called on-one and it rides awesome, over long distances you really feel the difference over alu.
     
  7. Krispy

    Krispy New Member

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    I had problems with my integrated headset at first. It was noisy and would never adjust properly. The LBS kept telling me there was nothing wrong. The LBS owner even tried to tell me it was normal for a integrated headset to either be too tight or too loose and make a loud clunking sound when you hit a bump! When I pulled it apart you could see that the bearings had already worn a groove into the cups. The [email protected]@ss LBS owner even claimed that was normal!

    Not beliving him I called Litespeed. They said that they were having issues with the integrated headsets. They said they wanted to fix it right away before it caused damage to the frame. I found another local Litespeed dealer who was willing to do the warranty work and Litespeed shipped him the parts. Now is working right and gives me no problem at all.
     
  8. Krispy

    Krispy New Member

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    So far I'm not finding anything with manitou SPV or fifth element shocks locally. I am finding some decent deals on'03 closeouts though. I've test ridden a couple that felt better than my Stumpy. So far I'm comparing these:

    Trek Fuel 90.

    I rode it last night and it felt pretty good. The rear didn't bob while pedaling on flat ground. I would upgrade the drivetrain right off the bat if I bought it though.

    Gary Fisher Sugar 2 +.

    Will test ride it tonight.

    Bianchi Full Suspension.

    Will test ride tomorrow night

    Cannondale Jeckel 800.

    Felt pretty heavy compared to the others but otherwise rode OK.

    Giant NRS

    If I buy this one I may just buy the frame. I liked the NRS I test rode. It didn't bob and felt good. But I'm not sure I want the hydraulic brakes that it is equipped with.

    Anybody have any feedback on these bikes?
     
  9. Hecubus

    Hecubus New Member

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    About the litespeed integrated headsets, I had the same problems. I owned a 2002 Unicoi and 2003 Lookout both which used the stupid inegrated headset. The ones I got did not suffer the problem desribed ( I was aware of the problem) but even so they NEVER ran as smooth as a standard traditional headset. The fact that the bearings don't go in pressed firmly wears them down very quickly because they always moved around a little bit and let dirt wedge itself between the headtube and bearings causing a nasty grinding noise after a couple of months. I would replace the headset (if you can call it that) every 3 to 4 months in the wet and humid conditions I always ride in. Integrated headsets are the stupidest idea frame makers have come up with. They offer absolutely no advantage except sleek looks. I sold all my Litespeeds and let them know I would never bother consider any of their frames again as long as they kept using those headsets. Integrated headsets seem to be a bit of a carry over from road bikes were headsets are not as stressed as mountain bikes and the clean aerpdynamic form of an integrated version might have its advantages but they have no place in mountain bikes. My good old Chris King headset that was originally on a 2000 Litespeed Pisgah is still running on my current bike after almost 4 years with no service and still runs as smooth as the day I bought it. Talk about a solid investment.

    Anyway, back on the subject, the bikes you are considering are all pretty good choices. The Fuel and NRS designs ride nice and stiff when pedaling but keep in mind they are semi-active suspension designs with XC racing as their main purpose. They will feel harsher than your current ride since the Specialized FSR suspension is fully active always and gives one of the best and most comfortable rides. The Jeckyll and Sugar are single pivots so they will feel more active. They will fall somewhere between what you have now and the seni-active models. As you said the Jeckyll is more of a heavier trailbike so it might actually feel worse than what you have now. Forget the Bianchi unless you want a road bike. You can also consider VPP bikes like the Santa Cruz Blur or intense tracer which offer fully active suspensions that firm up hard under pedaling. Its the ultimate stable platform by design, no special shock required. Of course they are considerably more expensive but you can find some very good deals on lightly used ones if you are willing to look.
     
  10. Krispy

    Krispy New Member

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    Well I looked at and test rode the Sugar 2 +. I also was able to see the Bianchi but didn't want to wast my time riding it.

    So far of all the bikes I've looked at in the price range I'm willing to spend I've been the most impressed with the Sugar 2+. Although I'm not crazy about the wheelset or the Bontrager crankset the rest of the bike felt pretty nice.

    The shop owner actually owns the same model bike with only a few modifications (crankset and wheelset, go figure!). He has offered to let me borrow his to take to one of the local trails to test drive. I may take him up on it. He rides the same frame size as the new one I am looking at and he is just an inch shorter than me. I had my tape measure with me and pretty much know the frame is the right size so this bike will most likely work for me.

    I was very tempted to buy this bike. However, I'm having a problem with one thing and that's the discount. The bike stickers at $1999.00. It's an '03 model bike and he is only willing to knock off $300.00 and trade out the Bontrager crankset for an XT. $1700. is not beyond what I am willing to pay for a bike if it works better than the one I have. The issue is that I know he can discount it more than that and still make a profit.

    Here's why I am having a problem; I bought two bikes from one LBS. On one bike they gave me a 30% discount. On another they gave me a 36% discount because the new models were coming out. It is a locally owned LBS that has been in business for over 30 years. All the other LBS in town scream and whine about this LBS and how they really mess up the local bike market. They all preach that if you buy a bike from them you will get lousy service.

    The exact opposite is true. I have always receive top notch service when I've taken my bike to that shop. They always get the job done fast and they do it right the first time. They even allow me to watch them do the work and explain what they are doing if I want.

    When I bought my Litespeed the LBS owner refused to discount it one penny. He preached that there was no better mechanic in town and that I would have same day service and blah, blah, blah. Right off the bat his shop's service was lousy. There were several incidents before the headset issue where the LBS owner either refused to fix an issue or kept my bike for an excessive amount of time before he did. I'll never buy another bike from that [email protected]@ss.

    Back to the Sugar 2+; having had a bad experience with an LBS who refused to work with me on price I'll have to seriously think about how badly I want that bike. With the '04 models coming out I could wait and have a newer model for just a few more dollars. In the mean time I think I'll ask around about the reputation of the LBS with the Gary Fisher to see if he practices what he preaches.

    Sorry if I got too far off topic. :)
     
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