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NSMB - 2020 - Hardtail Thread

Oct. 17, 2020, 10:19 p.m.
Posts: 1254
Joined: Nov. 21, 2002

Posted by: JBV

i'm interested in having a second bike again, and thinking of a low cost hardtail with 2.8 650b tires.  the Commencal Meta HT AM looks good to me. i'm not keen on a purely winch and plummet style hardtail with extreme geometry as i'm thinking of a bike for more mellow rides.  anyone else looking at this bike, or own one?

Good timing. I've been looking into this space extensively the past few months.  I run my hardtail 27.5 x 2.8 in the back and 29 up front. I was primarily looking for aluminum to help drop some weight, and prefer frame only as I've got my own build ready to go, but the models below all had decent value butbits in there $1600-1900 price range.  I had my eye on the Ragley Big Al earlier this year, but covid supply chain issues ended that. 

The Commencal did get updated geo for 2021, but the reach and TT per size is quite short despite the update.

The next class of hardtails I looked into were more 'trail', these included mainly the Specialized Fuse and Norco Fluid HT. Availability for either of these right now is an unknown due to covid presumably. 

Moving along to the more 'enduro' class, I was also quite interested in the Rocky Mountain Growler and Norco Torrent aluminum, both are more aggressive based on the geo. Once again availability was an issue, and the Torrent's ETA was Nov.2021 even, wtf. I've had Chromag Rootdowns in the past and found them a bit overkill for me geo wise, so wasn't sure this is what I would have wanted. 

As I wanted something basically now, I came across the NS Eccentric Evo aluminum. The geo looks on point, seems to be midway between the trail and enduro options I identified. Price is good at $380cdn shipped , and available frame only to boot. Medium and large is available immediately if that's what you need, mine is arriving early next week. https://www.lamacycles.com/en/ns-bikes-octane-one/frames/trail-enduro-dh/2020-ns-eccentric-alu-evo-29-frame

Oct. 18, 2020, 8:33 a.m.
Posts: 2319
Joined: April 25, 2003

Nice option, hot price!

Geo is at https://nsbikes.com/eccentric-alu-evo-29,121,pl.html

Oct. 21, 2020, 5:23 p.m.
Posts: 969
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

Posted by: tashi

Nice option, hot price!

Geo is at https://nsbikes.com/eccentric-alu-evo-29,121,pl.html

But it doesn't actually have an eccentric BB.

Oct. 21, 2020, 9:24 p.m.
Posts: 2319
Joined: April 25, 2003

Posted by: craw

Posted by: tashi

Nice option, hot price!

Geo is at https://nsbikes.com/eccentric-alu-evo-29,121,pl.html

But it doesn't actually have an eccentric BB.

Dude, I ride a “Wildcat” by “Rubber Side Down” Bikes - stupid bike names don’t bother me one bit!

An EBB would have me crossing that off the contender list though. Eiew.

Oct. 21, 2020, 11:04 p.m.
Posts: 1254
Joined: Nov. 21, 2002

An EBB would have me crossing that off the contender list though. Eiew.

Im not an ss guy, but EBB would let you dial in reach, ESTA, RC length, FC length, bb drop. So many options hahaha

Oct. 22, 2020, 3:36 a.m.
Posts: 40
Joined: Feb. 9, 2019

Posted by: UFO

An EBB would have me crossing that off the contender list though. Eiew.

Im not an ss guy, but EBB would let you dial in reach, ESTA, RC length, FC length, bb drop. So many options hahaha

On my EBB frame, the minuscule difference is barely noticable tbqh ^^

More trouble than sliding/swinging dropouts though.

Oct. 24, 2020, 1:38 p.m.
Posts: 128
Joined: Aug. 29, 2010

Here's my current ever evolving build.

2019 Kona HonzoST XL (diy paint stripped)

Works Components -2 angleset (approx HA is hi 64 / lo 65)

2021 Lyrik Ultimate RC2 160mm

Chromag bits - FU50 bars, RangerV2 stem 60mm, stem spacers, seat clamp

GX / SunRace / KMC / OneUp Switch oval drivetrain

OneUp 210 dropper

Spank 359 Vibrocore wheelset

Maxxis 3.0 DHF MaxxTerra front, WTB 2.6 Vigilante Light High Grip rear

CuchCore front/rear

With the high rise bars and more room for stem spacers (25mm under stem) along with the 210mm dropper it's the first time ever that my saddle is lower than my bars with the seat down!

I always run the dropouts in the longest setting.

For reference I'm 200cm (6'6")

Oct. 24, 2020, 2:37 p.m.
Posts: 1007
Joined: March 15, 2013

^^^ I'll take one please.

Oct. 25, 2020, 4:56 a.m.
Posts: 1522
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Sorry about the chubby middle aged dude that is ruining this ^^ photo, but I couldn't get this weirdo to leave my bike alone long enough to get a good shot!

The Cotic is a pretty big departure from previous bikes I've ridden. I'm not yet at a point where I fully have a handle on it and I feel like I am still adapting my riding to the bike. Going down the long WB and slack front end plus big grippy tires make this bike very relaxing. I have a Tannus Tubeless insert in the rear and I've stopped really thinking about the rear rim whereas on my Daambuilt hardtail I'd finesse the rear through chunk to prevent flats/rim damage. No issues so far. The longer WB and in particular longer CS climbs pretty well and works its way through tighter slower speed tech pretty well. Not quite as good/easy as my shorter bikes, but well enough the handicap is small. It's also possible this differential will shrink as I get used to the longer bike and how to maneuver it on the trail. 

I'm running a 160mm fork and I am pretty sure I'm drop that down to 140mm in 2021 at some point. Either with a -1 deg WC headset or with a standard headset. I don't need that much fork and the BB is high enough I don't need the extra clearance.

Despite the more aggressive tires/geo. I've still been riding this bike to the trails for 30-40K+ days and while it's not as easy as on my Daambuilt with Rekons it's not punishing. It still feels better than driving. I let my truck insurance lapse so that helps with my motivation to ride to the trails! ;-)

This frame is definitely stiffer than my Daambuilt. That frame was designed to be flexy and if I push it hard, particularly at speed with camping gear, I can get it to flex enough to be noticeable. The flipside is that makes it super comfortable and a killer climber for epic days in the saddle. The Cotic is stiff enough I can't flex the frame enough to make the flex noticeable, which means I can push it hard going down at speed and it's very precise/confidence inspiring, but I wouldn't want to ride it for 12hrs+ day after day. It's not overly stiff. It feels appropriate for a frame that can take a 160mm fork. Horses for courses.

So far so good. I'm looking forward to the winter getting to know this bike. :-)

Oct. 25, 2020, 11:20 a.m.
Posts: 1300
Joined: May 11, 2018

Looking good Vic! Are you finding you are riding it harder/better than your other bikes or is it the same but more comfortable? I was a bit curious how you'd like the super slack front end and long WB and I'm wondering why you are thinking of shortening it? I wonder how the geo would work with the shorter fork and steeper HTA. Part of what allows the new geo to put so much weight on the bars is the slack HTA and long fork. Judging by how slack that bike is though, it would probably still be OK. How is the bike at getting on the rear wheel and bunny hopping? Oh, and how is the tannus insert? I found the CC was an instant improvement in the ride with substantial dampening - does the tannus do this as well?

Oct. 25, 2020, 11:27 a.m.
Posts: 1522
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: RAHrider

Looking good Vic! Are you finding you are riding it harder/better than your other bikes or is it the same but more comfortable? I was a bit curious how you'd like the super slack front end and long WB and I'm wondering why you are thinking of shortening it? I wonder how the geo would work with the shorter fork and steeper HTA. Part of what allows the new geo to put so much weight on the bars is the slack HTA and long fork. Judging by how slack that bike is though, it would probably still be OK. How is the bike at getting on the rear wheel and bunny hopping? Oh, and how is the tannus insert? I found the CC was an instant improvement in the ride with substantial dampening - does the tannus do this as well?

I'm still getting used to the bike so I am not doing anything super radical with it. My post above pretty much sums up my comments/feelings at the moment.

This frame was designed to be run with 140mm - 160mm forks. So I am not thinking of doing anything in terms of changing the fork travel that isn't within the intent of the bike. If I had an adjustable fork I'd just try 150mm on the way down to 140mm. Since I have to buy a new airshaft I'll have to pick one. If I put a 140mm fork on it with a -1 deg headset the front end geo won't be much different and the seattube is quite slack so that won't suffer due to the change either.

Oct. 25, 2020, 12:20 p.m.
Posts: 1300
Joined: May 11, 2018

Ahhh, interesting. I was thinking backwards. I was thinking you were going to use a angleset to steepen the HTA to keep the handlebars at the same height. Don't know why I thought that....I've been doing the opposite thing on all my hardtails. I find the extra travel doesn't really affect the climbing and I can push the bike harder with 160. I have a 150 lyric airshaft you can have for cheap if you want. It's the old one but you could put your debonair bits on it and it would be modernized. $25 shipped? Or $10 if you want to come ride Cumberland and pick it up....

Oct. 25, 2020, 2:56 p.m.
Posts: 1522
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: RAHrider

Ahhh, interesting. I was thinking backwards. I was thinking you were going to use a angleset to steepen the HTA to keep the handlebars at the same height. Don't know why I thought that....I've been doing the opposite thing on all my hardtails. I find the extra travel doesn't really affect the climbing and I can push the bike harder with 160. I have a 150 lyric airshaft you can have for cheap if you want. It's the old one but you could put your debonair bits on it and it would be modernized. $25 shipped? Or $10 if you want to come ride Cumberland and pick it up....

I'll either shorten the fork and leave the normal headset in or shorten it and get a Works Component headset to slack it out 1 deg. Shortening the fork will steepen the HTA so I wouldn't want to steepen it some more on top of that. Thanks for the offer of the airshaft. I'll keep that in mind.


 Last edited by: Vikb on Oct. 25, 2020, 2:57 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Nov. 1, 2020, 10:28 p.m.
Posts: 1300
Joined: May 11, 2018

The frame definitely makes a difference. It's subtle and I am sure some riders may not appreciate it but if you ride enough hardtails, there is a noticeable difference. I would liken it to not having enough rebound on your suspension and feeling more of the trail chatter than you want. Some frames also just feel sluggish and don't transfer power well. I think if you put big tires on though, the difference will be all that noticeable.

Nov. 2, 2020, 4:29 a.m.
Posts: 1522
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: JBV

so since you guys are the HT experts, riddle me this:  i read a lot of comments about how stiff this that and the other HT frame is. lots of grumbling. i'm confused. aren't hardtails stiff and boardy in the back end? like, all of them?  what am i missing?

Frame material matters a ton for how your hardtail will feel. You can go from one that is so stiff it's unpleasant to ride to one that feels very forgiving/comfortable even on rough ground. A hardtail will never feel like a full-suspension bike, but don't discount frame flex as something not important since the back end is rigid anyways. I like my hardtails on the flexier side. Not only do they feel great to ride it makes them climb really nicely. Look up Bicycle Quarterly - Planning if you want an explanation of that.

Tires and wheels are also important to how a hardtail feels/rides. I avoid stiffer wheels and definitely want a big softer tire on my hardtail. Thing is you can always swap in different wheels and tires, but if you get a frame with poor flex characteristics you have to live with it or buy a whole new frame.

One important thing to note is that what constitutes "perfect flex" for me at 185lbs riding medium spicy trails on Van Isle could be too stiff for a lighter/more conservative rider or too flexy for a heavier/more aggressive rider. There is no one size fits all answer.

When I have ridden overly stiff hardtails they've felt dead and uncomfortable. They didn't climb well for me. I was happy to go home and get off them. When I've had a hardtail that flexed well for me it felt fun and fast and I don't want to turn the bike for home. So it's something I won't compromise on.

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