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First full suss (for a hard tail riding weight weenie)

mattrixdesign2mattrixdesign2 Posts: 644
edited December 2017 in MTB buying advice
I have ridden a hardtail xc for years, I like to be able to tackle and get up the hills fast and overcome challenges, then I enjoy the thrill of going down the other side (but not as fast as a lot of people). I always thought I would stick with a HT, but as I rapidly approach 40 and doing longer rides, my body is starting to complain. I also like to mix up some competitive riding (race CX in winter, and a little XC in summer) and would like to try some Enduro events.

So I have started to consider a full suss, with about £2-2.7k to spend. It's not clear to me on what is what, with the Trail V's Enduro and the varied travel in between, I know very little about the Roxshox models up front, even less about the rear shox (I'd rather keep with the brand I know but would also consider Fox).

Obviously these bikes will smooth the trail on the down, what I don't want is one that is overly limited for climbing, I still want to get up those hills and not be the one pushing. This has also had me considering weights, i don't have the biggest upper body strength but do have strong legs for climbing.

The final problem is that I am not going to be able to try any bikes on the trails, best I'll get is the local bikes shops and maybe a ride around a car park.

It's currently narrowed down to 2 models:

Trek Fuel EX 7 29 (29 wheels, ALU frame, ok spec, cheaper)
Rockshox Reba RL Fork
Fox Performance Float Evol Shock
Sram NX 1x11 Drivetrain
Sram Level T Brakes

BMC Speed Fox SF2 Trail Crew (650b, Carbon front, hi spec, more expensive)
Rear Shock: Cane Creek DB Inline (150mm)
Fork: Rockshox Pike RC, Solo Air (150mm)
Gearing and breaking is XT

I also want to see a Whyte, I have not got around to it yet, was going to consider the Cube Stereo but reviews are not always glowing. Seen the Norcos and seemed overly weighty.

I suppose what I want to know, is out of the Trek and the BMC which one would be the best all rounder, including climbing.

Anything else to consider?


  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,795
    Coming from an HT is suspect you would hate the Trek, they are very mushy feeling at the rear, some people like that, others hate it, as a closet hardtailer I dislike it and have a very firm pedal platform on my FS to make it feel more hardtail like (that it weighs sub 10kg helps a bit).

    I would suggest either the BMC or the Whyte, the Whyte is meant to have a fairly supportive rear. (Admit to some small bias as I’m in the middle of building my next bike which is a Whyte frame).
    Current steed - Whyte T129, 2013 frame, mongrel Revelations, Giant dropper, Stans S1 wheelset. 12, Magura Trail Sport brakes, 1x11. 12.8Kg
  • Thanks for that. How do these bikes compare to a HT when climbing hard, do the help or hinder. The fatter tyres will likely help for grip. Currently ride a Trek Superfly with 2.2 tyres and I will be keeping it for short XC events.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,795
    It depends on the climb, if it’s fairly smooth then the weight and slight efficiency gain of an HT will leave it ahead, if it’s quite a technical climb, with lots of features, then the suspension allows the wheel to follow the terrain better and also it goes up steps more efficiently and can put the FS ahead.

    Worth a watch
    Current steed - Whyte T129, 2013 frame, mongrel Revelations, Giant dropper, Stans S1 wheelset. 12, Magura Trail Sport brakes, 1x11. 12.8Kg
  • jamskijamski Posts: 737
    I’m looking at just over the £2k mark at the moment and Bird and Whyte are the two I’m concidering. Leaning very much towards the Bird but can’t decide between the 120 (120mm rear 130mm front) or the 145 (145mm rear, 150mm front). My old full suss was 130mm rear and 140mm front and climbed fine, and I’m a rubbish climber. I’m reluctant to go less than that as I’m more likely to hammer the downs, and many people say the 145 climbs well.

    Anyhoo, May be worth a look for you.
    Daddy, Husband, Designer, Biker, Gamer, Geek
    Bird Aeris 120 | Boardman Team 650b | Boardman Pro FS | Calibre Two.two
  • 02gf7402gf74 Posts: 1,168
    Full suspension with rear lock out is best of both worlds.

    Specialized epic is a good compromise for a hardtal with rear suspension, obviously if you want to hurtle over 4ft drops you would need more travel and beefier frame.

    Cannondale scalpel is a rival for the epic.
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