Posted by: Hepcat
Interesting project. I commute on the road to the trail head too and have long sought that balance of road/trail worthiness.
I had a dedicated XC race bike for a while and that mostly worked.
Lately I'm running faster tires on the long travel bike and it's working too. Next step is to throw a Fox DPX2 on there for the lock-out.
In the future may try something like the Process 111, or a new Commmencal TR 29.
Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
Yeah, it's finding what I feel to be the right balance between being able to do 50-100km days in relative comfort on a bike that has some chops and can handle a bit of tech. So something like Severed or say Crinkum/Leppard should totally be in the wheelhouse and say the steeps on TNT would really be pushing the limit mainly due to wheel strength and fork. I get you on the tires and how that can make a huge difference and add a little pucker factor at times which is always fun. So it could become a game of building a small travel, lightweight frame with a slightly burlier wheelset and tire combo that can handle the odd foray into rocky goodness.
The more I poke around on the web the more it seems something like the newer FS Revolvers with a decent wheelset/tire combo could be the ticket. There are a few for sale but price is an issue as they push the budget well north of my $1200 magic number. That's what made my 2003 Explosif work so well, I picked it up for $500 and besides spending a few bucks on a new RD when it came time to replace the chain and cassette, it's cost me nothing and has served me very well. The main drawback to that bike is the geometry though, particularly on steep climbs as the front end tends to wander a bit. I don't really wanna go with a longer stem and upgrading the fork is limited due to the straight steerer. I could spend $$$$ on a great fork and also move up to 27.5 wheels, but at that point I might as well just go for a new ride and get modern/better geometry.
I've done a good job min-maxing my last two rides and I want to continue that trend and pull off another winner. Ultimately budget will determine what I come up with.