|The short answer is; "Yes. You will be able to feel the difference between the Superfly's 69.5-degree and the Highball's 70.5-degree head angles." Because they are 29ers, however, and have similar geometry, they should feel relatively stable, and their handling will be close enough that you won't have any issues. My experience riding technical trails on a variety of 29ers with similar number is, as long as they are in the 70-degree to 69-ish range, they steer, descend and corner about the same. The tipping point seems to occur at and below 68 degrees. As head angles become appreciably slacker, they create proportionally larger changes in wheelbase and weight transfer that have more dynamic effects upon handling.|
Both the Superfly and the Highball are intended to be cross-country/trail bikes, so I assume that you are comfortable riding steeper geometry than most Pinkbike members prefer. If you do plan to ride more aggressive terrain, then you'll probably be searching for a longer-stroke fork in the near future. An additional 20 to 30 millimeters of travel will put the Santa Cruz's head angle closer to the Trek's and give you a big advantage on the downs. And, if you want a slacker, more fashion-forward feel, you could always choose the less-expensive option and pop for a adjustable-angle headset from a reputable parts maker. - RC
|I'll assume by the fact you ride a YT Tues that you have no bike shop allegiance and are happy to buy products online. Combined with your UK location, I don't think you can beat Superstar's wheel deals. I haven't used a specific downhill wheelset from Superstar but I did review, with success, a pair of 29er enduro wheels from them two years ago. There's a range of in-house and other rims on the website and the custom builder makes it easy to select colors, rim and hub sizes and freehub bodies. Knock them out of shape and you can post them back to take advantage of free lifetime truing. If you trash a rim, Superstar will build a new rim and spokes on to your old hub and post it back to you for around 30 GBP. Complete wheelsets range from 179 - 289 GBP.|
If you want to splash a bit more cash, the quality and longevity of Hope hubs are renowned worldwide and the Pro4 hubs are their best yet. Try lacing these to FR570 rims from DT Swiss for a compliant downhill wheelset. The Stan's Flow you suggested could save you 120 grams per pair compared to the DT rims, they are not downhill rims but should survive if you ride on the lighter side of the spectrum. - Paul Aston
|Hey, Shiremux. Your question is actually a couple dozen questions packed in one Gigantor interrogative. Let's get parsing. Is a carbon frame a good idea for someone who doesn't classify him or herself as a "shredder"? Is a carbon frame a good idea for riders who don't possess a malnourished, Ring Wraith-esque build? Is a carbon frame a good idea when the company designing it is relatively new to the carbon game? At some level, you're posing all of those questions...|
Is it a good material for beginning riders? It can be a good material for any level of rider. Carbon has the potential to be both bomber and lightweight. There are plenty of positively ancient Trek Y-Bikes and Cannondale Ravens out on the trails and, as you noted, the technology has grown in sophistication by leaps and bounds since those early days. Not all carbon frames are equal - not by a long shot. Carbon components are truly handmade products and the quality of fiber, resin, layup, molding and execution all have a direct impact on their final ride quality and durability.
As for the matter of rider weight, there are also countless riders who put more of a hurt on the scales than you do, and who've been safely riding carbon frames for years now.
Should you buy a carbon frame from a company that only recently got into the carbon frame game? That's a tougher question to answer. All things being equal, most people would recommend going with a brand that has a proven track record with the material in question. That said, plenty of brands have also jumped in these waters and had stellar first-year reliability. Santa Cruz and Intense, for instance, came roaring out of the gate years ago with very reliable frames. I think it really comes down to the brand's overall track record for reliability and for supporting riders when their bikes and components do happen to go pear shaped. Do riders feel that the bike brand does a good job of supporting their customers? That's what truly matters.
Now, having said all that, I'm also going to suggest that you sort of forget about the frame material for a moment. Bear with me...
Yes, carbon can be, for lack of a better word, "rad". But I think ride quality, geometry and reliability are all more important than the material the frame is made from. Does the bike fit you? That's question number one. Does the frame's geometry mesh with your riding style and/or terrain? Does the company consistently nail it with suspension pivots that don't shit the bed? Is this a suspension design that pedals well yet doesn't sacrifice downhill performance? Those are the questions I'd be asking first.
I'll put it this way: I'd rather ride a really dialed aluminum frame than a janky, poorly executed carbon one. I'm not implying that the NS Snabb falls into that latter category, but I am saying that we riders often place too much emphasis on frame material. Ask yourself the other big-picture questions first and then worry about carbon later. I know, it may seem like I'm not answering your question, but I am. Or at least, I hope I'm reframing your question in a way that's useful. Cheers. - Vernon Felton
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