Advantages/Disadvantages of more travel on a hardtail.

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  • Advantages/Disadvantages of more travel on a hardtail.
  • stevious
    Member

    So, my current hardtail is the Rockhopper I bought years ago which I have been upgrading as bits wore out. I really like it as a bike, and now it’s got lighter wheels than it had I don’t really have any complaints about how it handles and whatnot.

    The next thing to ‘go’ on the bike will be the forks (Recon 100mm jobs). Last time I had them serviced TFT reckoned it was their last time before they’re fecked so when Autumn comes I’m likely to be looking at new forks. This is likely to coincide with a pay rise so I could upgrade the frame too as a wee pressie.

    So here’s the question, what benefits to my riding am I likely to see if I go for something like a 130mm fork with the appropriate frame? Will it start to be come a pain to pilot on the uphills?

    Type of riding is local woods around Inverness, bits and bobs of trail centres and the odd highland epic bog trot.

    130mm forks are good if you like riding rough downhill tracks. I even used 150mm forks on my hardtail in the alps, however the braking bumps are rough and you need all the help you can get.

    Here in the uk for general xc stuff like you describe, I have my forks set at 95mm as the bike seems to feel much more responsive.

    I dont see the point in wallowing about in lots of travel if you’re trying to ride xc/trail centres/jumps etc.

    Premier Icon R.lepecha
    Subscriber

    go rigid.

    I tried 150mm, but its too much, if you’re using that much travel to its potential then the rest of you is beaten to a pulp in under a minute.

    130mm on something like a 456 is about right IMO, it just works, and you dont feel like beignon a hardtail is holding you back too badly.

    100mm is more than enough for most people, it might struggle when the going gets really tough, but you’ll be so much quicker everywhere else it wont matter.

    stevious
    Member

    So are all these long travel hardtails really for gnarlcore downhilling then? Is all the stuff about slack geometry really for superheroes and not mediocre riders such as myself?

    Should add, I’m not looking for a skill compensator, just wondering if I might find a bigger travel HT more fun.

    Fun – yes
    Faster – probably not

    I’ve got one and I’m no gnarr core hero, and round here the lighter 100mm bike is faster.

    shindiggy
    Member

    I love my original 456 with 150 mill forks, My crown to axle length is the same as the Fox RLC 125’s that came of my bike. So the way I see it is that i was getting an extra inch of travel for free 🙂

    Premier Icon Fishd
    Subscriber

    I’ve got a Ragley mmmBop which feels pretty much perfect for 90% of the stuff at Llandegla when the Talas forks are set to 130mm. Can crank them up to 150mm for tech descents but to be honest, 130mm feels like a sweet spot. Not too bad on the climbs and great everywhere else.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    Should add, I’m not looking for a skill compensator, just wondering if I might find a bigger travel HT more fun.

    Depends how you ride, where you ride, what bike it is, what it is you find fun or not. I really like longer-travel hardtails, 140mm-150mm, but for me it’s as much or more about the geometry as the amount of travel.

    Most short-travel hardtails tend towards racy and twitchy, which is maybe great on nadgery singletrack, but less lovely if you’re banging down something steep and rocky. Everyone’s different. Maybe see if you can borrow something longer travel off a mate for a few hours and see what you make of it.

    Or you could just take the word of a bunch of people who don’t know you on the internet and who may or may not share your personal preferences.

    2wheels1guy
    Member

    I’ve got 100mm rebas on my Orange P7, this feels ok but I am going to remove the spacer to get 120mm as I think that is perfect for the XC/trail stuff i do.
    I think 120mm gives the perfect combo of good climbing while keeping the front wheel down and adequate travel when needed.
    There is the fashion to get as much travel as possible, whether it is needed or not.
    It wasn’t that long ago that 80-100mm was generous and 120-140mm was for the downhillers!

    Where about in Inverness do you ride?
    I’m from there but don’t ride there, was thinking of taking my bike up next time.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    I think 120mm gives the perfect combo of good climbing while keeping the front wheel down and adequate travel when needed.

    Doesn’t that depend on the frame?

    LMT
    Member

    When i got my P7 i kitted her out with some Revs running at 140mm found as a hardtail too much bounce and tbh i never used the full 140mm even when i tackled the downhill stuff at cannock. When i serviced them i stuck the spacer in so they now run at 125mm much better handling bike now.

    2wheels1guy
    Member

    BadlyWiredDog – Member

    I think 120mm gives the perfect combo of good climbing while keeping the front wheel down and adequate travel when needed.

    Doesn’t that depend on the frame?

    Yes, you’re right, so I don’t see the point of super slack hardtails with 150mm forks.
    Maybe i’m not gnarr enough.
    😀

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Depends so much on the frame… Frinstance, my Mmmbop with 140mm of fork is a great bit of kit- climbs well, descends brilliantly. But then, it was designed for it. It’s not the travel that counts so much though, I’d be happy with a 100mm frame with the same geometry as the Mmmbop has at 140mm frinstance.

    It does help to have good forks o;course, someone said up the page about “wallowing about”- none of my forks do that.

    Maybe wallowing isnt the right word, its just annoying having to go through 140mm of travel when you want to do a stunt

    I’ve ridden an Inbred with 100mm for years, recently went to 80mm forks and the handling is much more fun, getting too old for long travel 😥

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    I’ve ridden an Inbred with 100mm for years, recently went to 80mm forks and the handling is much more fun

    The original 853 Inbred was not very nice with anything over 80mm, according to many. My mate Pete ran it with 68mm and loved it.

    My Soul is just right with 130s (and very little sag) even singlespeeding.

    stevious
    Member

    @BadlyWiredDog – good point on getting a try of one before thinking about buying. I’m just in the pondering stage at the moment so am really just wondering what all the hype is.

    @2wheels – not done much riding in Inverness as I’m posted in Fort William during the week, but have explored a bit of Craig Phadraig (sp?) and the Mast area as it’s right on my doorstep. The trails there seem to be a mixture of steep/rooty/off camber which is a lark.

    Not so interested on advice on how much travel or what frame at this point, just what I can expect to find different about say a Soul or Blue Pig over the current bike.

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    If your frame is designed to climb well and descend well with a 130 fork (and designers like Brant and Cy have pretty much sorted that now) then provided you get the right size frame, bars, stem etc. you will be amazed how it does everything so well.

    I went from a Cannondale with 52mm travel to my Soul. Strangely, the benefits weren’t immediately noticeable (it takes time to adapt) but I appreciate it now. That’s not to say the ‘dale wouldn’t be better suited to some styles of riding (XC racing) so either take the plunge blind or try and get a test ride.

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