Looking for recommendations for a 29er Aluminium XC / trail / bikepacking frame

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  • Looking for recommendations for a 29er Aluminium XC / trail / bikepacking frame
  • nikk
    Member

    Looking for 29er frame to build up a new bike. Want it to be light and reasonably stiff. Using it for recreational trail / XC rides. Will be using it for week+ bikepacking and passably Alps as well, so needs to be a good all rounder. I’m not a rad type of rider at all, the odd wee drop or jump is all I do.

    Looking to run 100mm fork, and up to 2.4″ tyres.

    Currently run a Cannondale Caffene 26er Large, top tube is 622mm and has got a 90mm stem. Head tube is 70 degrees, seat tube 73 degrees. Wheelbase is 1106mm, chainstay length 424mm, bb height 298mm. Mostly happy with this bike, like how fast it is.

    I hired a Genesis Mantle recently and really liked how it rolled, also felt much faster on the downs. Seemed a bit too upright though.

    The following frames are on my shortlist:

    Santa Cruz Highball http://www.santacruzbikes.co.uk/highball/ – bit heavy 1.8kg, short 609mm tt

    Niner Air 9http://www.ninerbikes.com/air9 – nice weight and tt length. Expensive, colour issues, too racy?

    Kinesis FF29 http://www.kinesisbikes.co.uk/products/maxlight/ff29 – bit heavy 1.8kg, can’t run 2.4″ tyres!

    Genesis Mantle – short top tube (610mm), enjoyed riding it though! Frame only availability?

    On-One Scandalhttp://www.on-one.co.uk/i/q/FROOSCSO29V2/on_one_scandal_29er_swap_out_frame_v2 – tt length on 619mm, steeper 72 degrees, weight?

    Orange Clockworkhttp://www.orangebikes.co.uk/bikes/clockwork_frame/ – ???

    Any other good frames come to mind?

    nikk
    Member

    Lunch bump!

    steve_b77
    Member

    Under 4lbs isn’t exactly heavy for a frame that can take 120mm forks, especially a 29’er.

    Why the requirement for frankly massive tyres?

    May have an Orbea Alma Alu 29er for sale (frame only) if you’re interested. I can get measurements later if you’re interested. I am 5’10 and it fits fine – seems to be loads of clearance as no brake bridge.

    nikk
    Member

    steve – yeh, I appreciate 1.8kg isn’t heavy per se, just have an eye to getting light weight. I like large volume tyres run at low pressure on hardtails – better for cushioning and for grip IMHO.

    Margin – thanks, not sure I want a s/h frame however.

    Premier Icon Cheezpleez
    Subscriber

    Sure about ally frame? Lurcher is cheaper and lighter than some of your list, I think.

    fanatic278
    Member

    I have the Santa Cruz you mention. It’s not super light compared to the Giant carbon 29er I demoed. But I use it for much the riding you want it for and find it very comfortable, probably due to the tt and head angle. I prefer my bikes to have an upright stance. Lots of the 29ers have basically the same geometry if I recall correctly. I was looking at the Giant, Canyon and Cannondale.

    I eventually made my decision based on the colour and brand. I’d be kidding myself if I claimed I could tell the stiffness difference.

    Premier Icon Blackhound
    Subscriber

    Happy with my Niner EMD for bikepacking duties. Wheels rarely leave the ground with me on it!

    I rode a few of the bikes in your list, but for longer rides they where stiff as hell and not great for long rides. Wouldn’t dream of riding one for a week off road. So I bought a Salsa El Mar.

    If you’ve got the budget look at Ti, poss steel.

    2.4″ tyres?? if its for comfort get a better frame.

    But if your stuck on aluminium the Niner EMD (as above) is a better all rounder)

    If you are 5’10 or under seriously step back from 29er….I bought into the hype last year….lasted 3 weeks then back on me 26

    Try before you buy please- I can kick arse on my 26er vs most riding friends on 29……..they spent £1000’s ….. I just spent £19.99 on new deore cassette 🙂 ha

    Try before you buy please- I can kick arse on my 26er vs most riding friends on 29……..they spent £1000’s ….. I just spent £19.99 on new deore cassette ha

    I bought into the hype last year….lasted 3 weeks

    Haha

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    Lol @ the heightist, what nonsense. He’s right to say try though.

    nikk
    Member

    Cheezpleez-

    Sure about ally frame?

    No, but trying to focus on one thing at a time, so sticking with alu for the moment.

    fanatic278-
    I have the Santa Cruz you mention. … I use it for much the riding you want it for and find it very comfortable, probably due to the tt and head angle. … Lots of the 29ers have basically the same geometry if I recall correctly.

    Thanks. It seems there is a cm here and a degree there difference for the most part, yes!

    Blackhound –
    Happy with my Niner EMD for bikepacking duties.

    Good to hear!

    Singlespeed_Shep – Member

    I rode a few of the bikes in your list,

    Which ones?

    Singlespeed_Shep –
    but for longer rides they where stiff as hell and not great for long rides. Wouldn’t dream of riding one for a week off road.

    I have ridden a Cannondale Caffeine for about 5 years, it is a stiff alu bike. Did 10 days on it last year. No problems. IMHO it is a case of getting used to it rather than the frame material per se. Also, fat low pressure tyres help.

    Singlespeed_Shep –
    If you’ve got the budget look at Ti, poss steel.

    I have considered both, but wanting to stick with alu for this part of the decision making process. If I can’t find what I want in alu, will look outside of that. Steel is heavy and rusts in salt water, and ti seems to crack. Both can be noodly apparently, not what I want.

    2.4″ tyres?? if its for comfort get a better frame.

    Comfort, grip. Don’t think frames make nearly the same difference as low pressure tyres. And frames don’t grip 🙂

    doncorleoni –
    If you are 5’10 or under seriously step back from 29er….I bought into the hype last year….lasted 3 weeks then back on me 26

    Try before you buy please- I can kick arse on my 26er vs most riding friends on 29……..they spent £1000’s ….. I just spent £19.99 on new deore cassette ha

    I am 6 foot.

    I have already hired a Genesis Mantle recently and really liked it. Was faster on the ups and the downs, felt good!

    thomthumb
    Member

    got a scandal 29er. 80mm forks and 2.4 Racing ralphs.

    amazingly capable bike.

    I’m with you on the tyres. for the others; if you haven’t tried a fast rolling fat tyre then try it – revelation for me.

    Ignoring much of what you say.
    Salsa elmarichi in steel
    Salsa mamasita… Can do you an amazing deal on these.

    I’m a believer that weight is no problem if it works with you. A steel frame gives you a smoother ride, as do large tyres. You would not leave your seatpost and saddle behind because they weigh 500g

    I’ve ridden all but the clockwork and the kinesis, some more than others.

    I was looking for a bike for all round comfort and day riding, weight isn’t a massive issue to me got the bike down 22lb at the moment with not the lightest rims, rusting in salt water isn’t an issue to me either.

    but its your money, ride them all as much as you can and pick the closet to your ‘dale. The EMD though is a great bike.

    nikk
    Member

    Singlespeed_Shep –
    ride them all as much as you can and pick the closet to your ‘dale.

    That is much easier said than done unfortunately. Tried to get a demo on the Niner and the Santa Cruz, but there is nothing going on them apparently. It seems almost impossible to get any meaningful demo on any bike, which I suppose is a topic for another thread.

    Singlespeed_Shep –
    weight isn’t a massive issue to me

    charlie the bikemonger –
    I’m a believer that weight is no problem if it works with you.

    I try not to be a weight weenie. Two things though – the lighter the bike is, the more fun it is to be around IMHO. Also, when you are loading up 15+ kilos of bikepacking stuff, any weight you can save from anywhere is a bonus! Anyway, I’ll not place too much emphasis on the frame weight, I’d probably place more on light wheels and tyres, esp on a 29er.

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    That is much easier said than done unfortunately. Tried to get a demo on the Niner and the Santa Cruz, but there is nothing going on them apparently. It seems almost impossible to get any meaningful demo on any bike, which I suppose is a topic for another thread.

    Amen. Ease of demo is one way to cut down the shortlist IMO, if you have an LBS that does decent demos they’ll also support the purchase it seems to me. Also, when it’s a toss up, at least you know if the bike you’ve demo’d is a good fit.

    if you haven’t tried a fast rolling fat tyre then try it – revelation for me.

    Interesting – this is the Krampus theory, big tyre, low profile, lots of contact patch.

    So you’d choose 2.4 Ralphs over 2.25 Nic for instance, even in tricky conditions?

    Or put another way – a big fast tyre over a smaller grippier one?

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    I’m totally with Nikk on the big tyres thing. 2.4s on bigger rims work so well, especially when loaded up. I don’t want ott heavy wheels, but 850-900g tyres (UST/TLR 2.4) and 600g 35mm rims, no problem. Add a bikepacking load and a tired rider and those bigger wheels are worth their weight. Would love to try out some Krampus wheels too – there’s a Krampus front in my future I’m sure.

    the Krampus theory, big tyre, low profile, lots of contact patch

    I think Jeff Jones deserves some credit for starting / pushing the high volume / low PSI / rolling advantage thing – he was onto it with 29ers many years ago but hasn’t got the scale to make the tyres. Great that Surly can though, so many other brands wouldn’t see the point or be interested.
    But ..

    15+ kilos of bikepacking stuff,

    Holy cr4p that’s world touring not bikepacking! : )

    nikk
    Member

    15+ kilos of bikepacking stuff,

    Holy cr4p that’s world touring not bikepacking! : )

    Yeh the weight is off the top of my head. I have been meaning to look out the whole kit and weigh it / figure out how to lighten up, spud.

    Things like boats, paddles, and PFDs adds to the load though for sure. I think without that, I’d loose at least 5 kilos…

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    boats, paddles, and PFDs

    ohhh.. fair enough, full-on packing! )
    PM me james.olsen AT evanscycles.com – I’ve had an idea brewing …. can make you an offer if you have some patience

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    I’m totally with Nikk on the big tyres thing. 2.4s on bigger rims work so well, especially when loaded up.

    Hmm I have a trail bike coming and a 2.35 Ralph in the shed that I bought because it was cheap and now don’t know what to do with. Maybe I’ll give it a try. (Crests though).

    What else have folks used?

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    Ardent 2.4 EXO used tubeless, as long as it’s not too wet. Otherwise a slightly smaller wet conditions tyre like a Purgatory 2.2, still has good volume. It’s the 35mm rims that really make the difference tho, adds a chunk or volume to any tyre. 50mm Rabbit Holes for my next set of wheels. Crest’s won’t support the big tyre well at the 18-22psi you’re after.

    Tried to get a demo on the Niner and the Santa Cruz,

    biketreks ambleside (lakes) and Stif North Yorkshire, usually have demo’s, sorry if you’ve already tried them.

    jameso are you running the velocity P35’s? i’m eyeing up a pair for my salsa currently.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    nikk – am I right in saying you’re near Edinburgh? If so you’re welcome to a ride on my El Mariachi. It’s a medium.

Viewing 26 posts - 1 through 26 (of 26 total)

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