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NSMB - 2021 - Hardtail Thread

Sept. 11, 2021, 5:04 a.m.
Posts: 844
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Wow I've been away from this thread a bit and some sweet bikes have been posted. I got busy with a big bike upgrade project. I moved from Victoria to the Comox Valley. On one hand that was a special kind of hell having to fix up the old house before sale and then fight people from the lower mainland with a lot more $$ than us to buy a house on the island. Anyways that's over now and given our modest needs/tastes we got a house nice enough we can die in!

I'm super excited to really get out and explore the area. Like most people in Coastal BC I've been to Hornby and Cumby, but the occasional visit and living in the area are totally different. I'm keen on human powered adventures these days and there are so many fresh places I can ride/run/skateboard to from my door that I'm feeling some analysis paralysis! Not an awful problem to have.

Anyway back to hardtails. My Cotic BFeMAX experiment has come to an end. I rode the bike exclusively as my trail shredder for a bit over a year. We've had a lot of good times together, but I couldn't go from thinking it was a great bike to thinking "Man I love this bike and I'm never getting rid of it!" I feel that way about my GG Smash and my Daambuilt custom HT as well as my Surly Krampus that's my urban/gravel SS destroyer. Admittedly that's a high bar to hit, but when you have tasted it with other bikes it's not easy to accept less. What pushed me over the edge was I finally got the suspension overhauled on my FS bike and I as sitting on it in my garage and it just felt "perfect" and I remembered all the adventures we'd been on and started thinking about new ones to come. Then I realized I just didn't have that sort of stoke for the Cotic and life was too short so time to move on!

First the good stuff. Dealing with Cotic was great. Considering I was dealing with a company on another continent across an ocean and in a totally different time zone they made things super easy. The fit/finish of the bike was great. I love dealing with people that are totally passionate about their vision for a bike and that's obvious in the BFeMAX. Every aspect has been considered and tweaked to be what they want. I do LOVE the overload of cage mounts and frame space for frame bags. For the longest bike I've ever owned it was fairly easy to get through a lot of slow tech gnar both up and down. We did a lot of snow riding really well. It really was the first hardtail where I didn't hesitate throwing it down any trail I was game to ride. As expected the long/slack bike was very stable at speed and when thrown down something steep. The tubing was such that it had a really nicely balanced ride quality...not tooo stiff and harsh, but not so flexy it was causing issues with staying on line. I also expected it would be the sort of bike I wouldn't want to ride to the trails so I'd do a lot more driving, but that wasn't the case and we had lots of fully human powered adventures together from my door.

When I bought this frame I intentionally pushed the sizing, chain stays and HTA beyond my comfort zone. I am squarely in the recommended sizing from Cotic and it's not out of line with what other folks my size riding these types of bikes would be on. It's just huge compared to my other bikes...even though they have gotten noticeably longer over the years. By deciding to push my boundaries on a production frame I figured I'd save myself the $$ of making a mistake on a custom frame. After a year of riding my thoughts are that I can 100% ride this size bike and it does very well in the slow janky bits I thought it would struggle with. I can see why folks are enamoured with these long/slack rigs. That said I ended up feeling more of a passenger on this frame than on my Daambuilt. The stability came at a cost of some fun. I like riding bike and throwing it around and launching it off features. If I could ride it faster or was a bit taller I'd probably get into that zone with this bike, but my size and my average MTB skills mean I only barely get there. I've ridden some trails where I unlocked the BFeMAX and that kept me going, but with enough time I've come to realize it's just that one step too big for what I enjoy.

One obvious move is to just get the size down. I did think about that and I am sure I would enjoy it more. If money and garage space were infinite I would. What's stopping me is I didn't love the longer CS. I've always loved short CS and read about how long CS have benefits for bigger frames. The bike definitely felt balanced and I don't know that I would have liked shorter CS with that really big front end on the Large Cotic, but I am fairly sure I wouldn't like the same long CS on a shorter version of the BFeMAX if I got a Medium. The other thing is I really want to try SS on the trails. I could live with using a bolt on chain tensioner to SS an existing bike, but I wouldn't spend the money on a new frame and then use a tensioner. That's just to F-Ugkly for me.

I'm either going to SS the Daambuilt and go down to 2 trail bikes or get a SS friendly frame with short CS and sliders to move the Cotic parts to. The simplicity of less bikes to deal with is appealing. Especially after moving all my shit up the island. OTOH the Daambuilt is setup perfectly for long days of exploring unloaded or with camping gear and the new area is ripe for that kind of adventure.

Sorry for the wall of text! I figured there might be a bike geek or two here that would be interested in a wrap up of the Cotic.

I'm not sure if I'll sell the Cotic or keep it. I didn't decorate my man cave in the last house because I kept thinking we wouldn't stay long and somehow that turned into 11 years. So this time around I'm putting stuff on the walls and since I am not into paintings or most other art I figure hanging a couple sweet bike frames and some longboard decks on the walls could be the answer. If anyone was super keen on the Cotic [frame only] I'd part with it for 60% of what I paid. No damage. We only had one significant crash and I made sure to cushion the bike with my body!


 Last edited by: Vikb on Oct. 7, 2021, 6:02 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Sept. 11, 2021, 5:06 a.m.
Posts: 844
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: fartymarty

My Krampus with 120mm Pike and -2 HS.  I've done 2 proper rides on it this week and really loving being back ragging a HT.  My Murmur is in the shed getting very jealous...  I'm now running 70mm rise Ergotec 12 degree back sweep bars with 10mm of spacers under the stem and its feeling good.

I love the Krampus. It might be the frame I'll ask to be buried with! Yours is looking good!

Sept. 11, 2021, 5:12 a.m.
Posts: 844
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: michel77

I finally decided to replace my Chromag Surface with something different.  A deal came up on a Why Wayward and I'd been thinking about those a while so decided to pull the trigger. 

Congrats. I love the look of that frame. I had considered getting one for my next SS trail build as I always wanted to try a Ti frame, but the inability to throw an angleset in it made me reconsider. I may still get one later on for a different purpose as they look so nice. It's of those frames where I end up looking at the photos much longer than planned and somehow I got my wallet from the truck and my VISA card out without noticing I had left the computer! ;-)

Enjoy the new ride. I am jealous!

Sept. 11, 2021, 12:59 p.m.
Posts: 232
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Great post Vik thanks. Congratulations on your move to the Comox Valley. We just spent a week in Cumberland and loved the riding and the area. I think I could happily live there .

Back to bikes, I got my first new hardtail in 20 years a month ago. Steel frame Knolly Tyaughton. 65ish degree HT, 75 degree  ST 440mm reach in size small 430 ish mm chainstay, 1190 ish wheel base 29er. Running a 160mm Lyric. I choose to size down on this bike  and I am very glad I did. The bike feels so agile and sporty. Way more so than my size medium Fugitive, even though the static geo numbers are very similar. Is this an inherent property of hardtails as the steepen up and get shorter as the fork compresses? I will happily throw it down anything I would ride my Fugitive down. The Ty handles steep trails just fine, just not as fast as the fully. Climbs better though. I will try to post a few pictures soon.

Cheers, and hope to ride with you again sometime. Guided tour of the Comox Valley?

Sept. 11, 2021, 1:33 p.m.
Posts: 232
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Knolly Tyaughton

Sept. 11, 2021, 2:52 p.m.
Posts: 844
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: skooks

Great post Vik thanks. Congratulations on your move to the Comox Valley. We just spent a week in Cumberland and loved the riding and the area. I think I could happily live there .

Back to bikes, I got my first new hardtail in 20 years a month ago. Steel frame Knolly Tyaughton. 65ish degree HT, 75 degree  ST 440mm reach in size small 430 ish mm chainstay, 1190 ish wheel base 29er. Running a 160mm Lyric. I choose to size down on this bike  and I am very glad I did. The bike feels so agile and sporty. Way more so than my size medium Fugitive, even though the static geo numbers are very similar. Is this an inherent property of hardtails as the steepen up and get shorter as the fork compresses? I will happily throw it down anything I would ride my Fugitive down. The Ty handles steep trails just fine, just not as fast as the fully. Climbs better though. I will try to post a few pictures soon.

Cheers, and hope to ride with you again sometime. Guided tour of the Comox Valley?

The Ty looks great. I'm glad you are enjoying it. I'm happy to see Knolly make a modern hardtail. For sure we'll get together and do some hardtailing the Cumby area. I'll be spending the winter getting to know the trails well and figuring out some hardtail friendly routes.

The best way to compare HTs and FS bikes is the sagged geo on the HT vs. the static geo on the FS bike. That'll give you a better sense of how they ride. Obviously there's a lot more to it, but it gets you in the ballpark. Especially with a 160mm fork at 25% sag your HT will steepen something like 2 degrees. When you sit on your Fug it'll slacken further, but in the attack position it should sink down into its travel more evenly.

I really like having both options. :-)

Sept. 11, 2021, 6:23 p.m.
Posts: 920
Joined: March 15, 2013

I saw Noel on a raw one of those a couple weeks ago. Looked so fucking good, I was instantly jealous lol.

Sept. 11, 2021, 10 p.m.
Posts: 232
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Yes, the ti Ty is a thing of beauty!

Sept. 14, 2021, 4:15 p.m.
Posts: 1144
Joined: May 11, 2018

I was hoping to survey the group for any custom geo advice they have. I am looking to get a custom, fully rigid bike to ride with my wife. She finds I go too fast all the time and wishes I was still riding my fully rigid surley. To be clear, I'm not racing down the hill or anything, I just try not to use my brakes and she likes to use hers more. I tried using the old karate monkey but the geometry just isn't the ride I'm looking for. 

I was thinking of getting a custom hardtail and rigid fork. My plan is to copy a chromag stylus geo in size large but put a 29er wheel up front. I have very little experience with rigid forks with regards to offset and ac height. I figure I will use the sagged geo off my primer to decide on the fork length. I ride my primer with a 170mm fork and with a 10mm spacer under the stem and about 25% sag, the position is perfect. As I am using the stylus 27.5 geo, I took the ac height off a 27.5 lyric at 170mm travel, subtract 20mm for the bigger 29 wheel height and another 40mm off for 25% sag giving an ac height of about 500mm. 

Wondering what others think about these calculations? I looked up the article by Andrew on his waltworks v2 and he seems to keep the front end fairly low. Am I missing something? Or is that just how he likes it. I have long legs and short torso so seem to always like the front end higher than the stack. Because of my long legs, my bars always end up below my saddle even with 25mm rise and 20mm of spacers - hence overforking my bikes.

Thoughts?

Sept. 14, 2021, 5:58 p.m.
Posts: 844
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: RAHrider

I was thinking of getting a custom hardtail and rigid fork.

I've never ridden one of these, but if I my GF left me alone at home long enough I might order one of these just for my full Retrogrouch late-life crisis. ;-)

http://stoogecycles.co.uk/

SS and riding would keep my speed in check!


 Last edited by: Vikb on Sept. 14, 2021, 5:59 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Sept. 14, 2021, 6:17 p.m.
Posts: 844
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: RAHrider

I was thinking of getting a custom hardtail and rigid fork. My plan is to copy a chromag stylus geo in size large but put a 29er wheel up front. I have very little experience with rigid forks with regards to offset and ac height. I figure I will use the sagged geo off my primer to decide on the fork length. I ride my primer with a 170mm fork and with a 10mm spacer under the stem and about 25% sag, the position is perfect. As I am using the stylus 27.5 geo, I took the ac height off a 27.5 lyric at 170mm travel, subtract 20mm for the bigger 29 wheel height and another 40mm off for 25% sag giving an ac height of about 500mm. 

Thoughts?

Is the bike meant to be a purpose built rigid with a custom fork? If so the fork length is somewhat irrelevant. You can get the bars at whatever height you want them with a long enough headtube/steerer combo. Then you just need to tell the builder what size 29 tire you want to run and they'll figure out the dimensions.

If you want to run a suspension fork as well than you'll have to build the frame for that and get a rigid fork made that replicates the sagged geo.

I like high bars, but I don't want a really long fork to get them there. I'd rather have a shorter fork and a longer headtube + riser bar. If I redid my Daambuilt hardtail one thing I'd change is make the HTL 135mm instead of the current 115mm.

Sept. 14, 2021, 9:12 p.m.
Posts: 1144
Joined: May 11, 2018

Posted by: Vikb

Posted by: RAHrider

I was thinking of getting a custom hardtail and rigid fork. My plan is to copy a chromag stylus geo in size large but put a 29er wheel up front. I have very little experience with rigid forks with regards to offset and ac height. I figure I will use the sagged geo off my primer to decide on the fork length. I ride my primer with a 170mm fork and with a 10mm spacer under the stem and about 25% sag, the position is perfect. As I am using the stylus 27.5 geo, I took the ac height off a 27.5 lyric at 170mm travel, subtract 20mm for the bigger 29 wheel height and another 40mm off for 25% sag giving an ac height of about 500mm. 

Thoughts?

Is the bike meant to be a purpose built rigid with a custom fork? If so the fork length is somewhat irrelevant. You can get the bars at whatever height you want them with a long enough headtube/steerer combo. Then you just need to tell the builder what size 29 tire you want to run and they'll figure out the dimensions.

If you want to run a suspension fork as well than you'll have to build the frame for that and get a rigid fork made that replicates the sagged geo.

I like high bars, but I don't want a really long fork to get them there. I'd rather have a shorter fork and a longer headtube + riser bar. If I redid my Daambuilt hardtail one thing I'd change is make the HTL 135mm instead of the current 115mm.

hmmmmm. I was thinking of building it with the expectation that I could run a suspension fork. I was mainly unsure if I should get the fork set at the sagged height? a little lower? Also wondering if my math makes sense to people?

I was planning to get the headtube a little longer than on the stylus. For some reason they use a 95mm headtube on all sizes but a XL. My Primer uses a 115mm headtube. I was thinking of going 120.

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:27 p.m.
Posts: 907
Joined: Nov. 18, 2015

I think that asking yourself if you want 29+ tire capability is a legit question for a hardtail.

So good, but not for everyone!

Sept. 15, 2021, 3:07 p.m.
Posts: 1144
Joined: May 11, 2018

Hmm hadn't thought of 29+. I am going to get clearance for 27.5x2.8 in the back, I suppose I could put 2.8 both front and back seeing as how a rigid fork will have clearance for as big a tire as I like.

Sept. 15, 2021, 3:30 p.m.
Posts: 163
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Posted by: RAHrider

I figure I will use the sagged geo off my primer to decide on the fork length. I ride my primer with a 170mm fork and with a 10mm spacer under the stem and about 25% sag, the position is perfect. As I am using the stylus 27.5 geo, I took the ac height off a 27.5 lyric at 170mm travel, subtract 20mm for the bigger 29 wheel height and another 40mm off for 25% sag giving an ac height of about 500mm. 

My hardtail is currently rigid - the Surly Karate Monkey fork is 490mm A-C, boost, at least 15mm/side clearance around a DHF 29x2.5 on a 30mm rim, and has all the bosses. 

It's heavy, but you wanted to go slower, right? 

The bike you're describing sounds a bit like mine. Pipedream Moxie. 27.5x2.8 rear, 29 front, 44mm headtube, steel... Maybe more shopping around could save you the custom hassle? (totally understand if that's part of the appeal).

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