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Freedom Challenge bike selection question?


racman
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Having browsed the FC site forum I noticed that most of the competitors seem to favor a simple Hard Tail MTB with simple v-brake system over an expensive dual suspension MTB. Surely the Cape Epic (and others) have proven that a good dual-sus is just as reliable but has the added benefit of greater comfort etc which will no doubt improve performance. I understand that the "races" are two different animals but I am still very suprised at the percieved lack of reliability of a dual sus for the Freedom Challenge.

 

Or am I missing something?

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When you do the Epic, you have an army of mechanics waiting at the end of each stage to take your broken bike off your hands. Hell there even used to be a shimano service station at the 1/2 way mark in prior epics. You want a bike that is simple and reliable. You have to carry spares or be able to source what you need enroute. You also want to spend as little time possible fixing mechanicals when they occur. Re-alligning a bent rotor will take you hours even if you have the right tools. The technology and reliability of rear suspension systems seems to have advanced in leaps and bounds in the last 3 years, but having to replace the seals on your rear shock in the middle of nowhere is not an option for most riders.

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When you do the Epic, you have an army of mechanics waiting at the end of each stage to take your broken bike off your hands. Hell there even used to be a shimano service station at the 1/2 way mark in prior epics. You want a bike that is simple and reliable. You have to carry spares or be able to source what you need enroute. You also want to spend as little time possible fixing mechanicals when they occur. Re-alligning a bent rotor will take you hours even if you have the right tools. The technology and reliability of rear suspension systems seems to have advanced in leaps and bounds in the last 3 years, but having to replace the seals on your rear shock in the middle of nowhere is not an option for most riders.

 

Ok, thx. Do the guys use suspension seat posts on their HT's or just standard?

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Ok, thx. Do the guys use suspension seat posts on their HT's or just standard?

 

Most of the guys actually ride full suspension bikes. (Anthem, Epic, Scalpel, Mojo etc are all popular choices) Full suspension makes things more comfy, especially with the extra weight on your back and the long riding days (8-12 hours) Many guys do still use hardtails but I've never come across any suspension seatposts.

 

29er hardtails are becoming more popular though, there were 4 this year. Having done it on both types, I would opt for a 29er again, hardtail if I was racing and being a weight weenie, full-sus if I was just cruising.

 

Bike reliability is an issue so you tend to ride more conservatively (not hammering down sections you normally would) Interestingly there have been multiple bike failures over the years, across all brands and material types. This year's fastest finisher, Carl Crous, broke one of the swinglinks on his Mojo (aluminium part that failed, not the carbon...) and took a second bike and a 12 hour time penalty - this bumped him down to second spot overall. Afterwards, he said if he ever did it again, he would choose a hardtail.

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Most of the guys actually ride full suspension bikes. (Anthem, Epic, Scalpel, Mojo etc ......

 

(Cut quote short to avoid a long post :D )

 

Thx, I see there wasa a relatively strong view in favour of a Ti HT in the past as well.

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(Cut quote short to avoid a long post :D )

 

Thx, I see there wasa a relatively strong view in favour of a Ti HT in the past as well.

 

There were 2 or 3 titanium HT's this year, one was a 29er. I've spent some time on a steel HT and can vouch for the extra comfort it gives, Ti is supposed to be the same but much lighter.

 

In 2006, there was a Ti HT frame failure (cracked at a weld) which was repaired on the trail with a piece of steel bar and cable ties.

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there's a bit of legacy info on the FC forum, and hardtails with v-brakes (including a giant rincon) won the race the first few times.

 

the mindshift is that disc brakes and multi pivots have improved in reliability. this year issues seem to be all about hubs, but i think it's more coincidence than something due to conditions.

 

a lot of the time breakages are isolated incidents and are often preventable (ie. Carl is either unlucky or good at breaking bikes).

 

you can read what you want into past figures, but only 100 odd people have ever finished the race so it's a low sample set.

 

steve burnett

fc on a superlight with v-brakes

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