Buzzard or Solaris (c.f. FF29)?

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  • Buzzard or Solaris (c.f. FF29)?
  • Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    I’m toying with the idea of swapping my FF29 for either a Solaris or a Buzzard, but not sure if it’s worth the effort.

    Rides mainly consist of a couple of hours messing around on the hills/mountains of the North East of Scotland. So, lots of climbing (which I enjoy) and some rocky descents (which I’m trying to learn how to enjoy).

    The FF29 is amazing on the climbs, but for some reason I’ve never found that it inspires much confidence on the downs. I can get down pretty much anything I’d care to ride, but it’s a slightly nervous affair. Min you, my frame of reference here is a 26″ Five and maybe it’s expecting too much for a 29er HT to feel as stable as a Five on the way down.

    The overriding feeling on the FF29 is that my weight is more over the front wheel. I’m sure that’s part of what makes it such a good climber, but on the way down I get a feeling of being perched over that front wheel. I could just try a shorter stem than the current 70mm job and work more on getting my weight back, but something with the weight a bit more to the rear might be more fun. Something that was a bit easier to manual would be nicer too, but again a bit of skill might do the job just as well.

    So, what do you reckon? Would a Solaris or a Buzzard be a bit more fun on the way down without giving up too much on the climbs, or should I just stick with the FF29 and learn to ride it better?

    Premier Icon fenboy
    Subscriber

    IMO I’d say the buzzard would help on the descents as its a more down orientated bike but its not light! so will be slower on the ups? the FF29 is probably very similar in intent to the solaris so not sure you’d notice any real benefit unless you like steel bikes and the way they ride over alu. The FF29 is a great bike I’d try fatter tyres, 120mm fork (if not using this already) maybe a shorter stem before changing it to anything else. or get a full sus 29r??

    slackalice
    Member

    Fit a dropper post? That you would then be able to position further back and lower your centre of gravity might well help you to offset the head angle.

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    Thanks. Just to clarify the FF29 already has a dropper and 120mm forks. As i say it will get down anything I have the nerve to ride (which isn’t much to be honest), but it rarely inspires confidence, if you know what I mean.

    On paper the head angle of the Solaris and the Buzzard are the same (and both a couple of degrees slacker than the FF29). The Buzzard has shorter chainstays (425 vs 440) and a shorter ETT. It’s also around 1.5 lb heavier, although that’s still a tiny fraction (<1%) of the overall (bike+rider) weight.

    Premier Icon soulwood
    Subscriber

    RP, I can’t offer any advice on riding a FF29 nor a buzzard but I ride a Solaris. Before my test ride I had a Niner MCR and I thought it was awesomely fast. I recall thinking to myself that the Solaris really had to be special to better the MCR. My first thought on the Solaris was how much front wheel I could see, a 70mm stem with a long top tube and slacker head angle made a big difference. It’s taken some time to get dialled into to off reading the Solaris after so many years on a Soul,but contrary to what a lot of people say about 29ers, I found the Solaris easier to manual than my Soul. My Solaris is extremely capable downhill as well as everything else.

    Premier Icon Clink
    Subscriber

    Trek Stache? Slacker but still relatively light? Or do what I’ve just done – got hold of a Voodoo Bizango frame to build up. Takes 120mm forks, slackish, and light.

    Premier Icon Normal Man
    Subscriber

    Before spending out on a new bike (unless you want to) it might be worth trying a shorter stem on the FF29.*

    *once you’ve healed up. All the best with that BTW.

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    Thanks, the doc seems happy enough with the way the fracture is healing and I’ve got some cool bruises. Just wish I could get out of this damn sling.

    Of course a new bike is always good, but there is a part of me that thinks I should persevere with the FF29, if only because it climbs so well. It’s just not a bike that I’ve ever really felt comfortable on and returning from a crash I’m going to be pretty nervous for a while anyway I guess.

    Direct comparisons of the Solaris or Buzzard would be great, but failing that comparisons of either with other more XC focussed 29ers (like the Niner MCR) are also very helpful (thanks soulwood).

    bikeneil
    Member

    I went from a FF29 to a Solaris. I much prefer the Solaris. I ran them both with 120 forks. The FF29 i felt was just a little too harsh for more than a couple of hours or so, but the Solaris i can ride all day. I love it. It’s 1×10 with Tubeless wheels (which make a massive difference).

    http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f210/bikeneil/Cotic/20130908_083103.jpg%5B/img%5D

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    Buzzard I’d say.

    You deserve your own forum.

    Premier Icon metalheart
    Subscriber

    I’ve found the Solaris a good match for the North East. I’m not a natural descender (too old, hurt myself enough in the past) but find it reassuring enough for my needs. Run at 100 btw.


    Singletrack Fungle by Metalheart-UK, on Flickr

    Can’t comment on the Buzzard I’m afraid.

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    (too old, hurt myself enough in the past)

    I can relate to that. Paid my fracture clinic dues. No more.

    Partly this is why I like my (buzzard alike) Yelli Screamy. It’s slack and stable. Fun but forgiving.

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    My own forum ? Is that a polite way of saying “shut the **** up” 🙂 I guess I have been toying with the idea of the Buzzard for quite a while.

    I’m definitely hoping to join the “no more fractures” team after this one. If only because my wife is threatening not to rescue me if I break it again before it’s fully up to strength, which takes the best part of a year I think !

    The fact that I haven’t actually got round to buying a Buzzard, despite all these threads and the recent price drop should tell me something.

    I guess my feeling with the Buzzard is that it will be a lot more fun going down than the FF29, but a lot more work going up. If I want to work a bit harder on the way up for more grins on the way down I’ve got the Five. So the Buzzard makes sense as a 29er to replace the Five, but I’m not sure I’m at that point yet and a 29er to complement the Five needs to be a noticeably better XC mile muncher. A Yelli might be better in that respect, being Alu and lighter.

    Metalheart’s picture also reminds me that I’d resolved to get out on the trails around Aboyne this year. I bought some maps of that area a while back and would like to try some longer rides, just exploring all those trails. Something I’m even more keen on now that I’ve looked at the rest of the pictures in that set.

    Anyway, thanks for all the comments. As usual they’ve been very helpful in getting me to understand what I want. I promise to shut up about it now. For a little while, at least 🙂

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    Side by side I’d choose a Yelli over a Buzzard, but a Yelli is knocking on to 800 quid, the Buzzard is 300. My Yelli was second hand.

    Both would be perfectly satisfactory mile muncher with sensible weight wheels and tyres on. Rotational mass on wheels is material for 29ers, a gram on the tyre is like adding 3 grams to the frame.

    The short CS/slack front geometry just means versatile, easy, fun and comfy to ride I think. The idea that “trail geometry” is for hard core riding, and is compromised elsewhere, is a bit overcooked IMO.

    A little bit of weight in the frame is not material IMO relative to the whole build, except perhaps for a racer looking for that last 2% of marginal gain.

    I promise to shut up about it now. For a little while, at least

    Please don’t do that!

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