Long travel vs Short Travel EMTB?


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12:38 AM
Nov 16, 2020
Feel free to flame me if I missed some threads on this when I searched.

I'm about to buy my first emtb, and I'm totally torn between a long travel 27.5 (170/180) or shorter travel 29 (150/160). At the moment it's Norco Range vs Sight VLT's.

I currently own analog 2020 Norco Sight C1 and a steel Torrent. I've raced DH, Enduro etc etc in the past but don't have any real experience with ebikes.

Basically, I'm getting old and my knees are struggling to let me keep doing what I love. But, I don't know which type of bike works best with an electronic motor. I'm not going to be racing it, but I want something capable on proper DH but also very serviceable on regular trail/xc rides. Something fun. I get that the 27.5 with be more agile, but with the extra travel will it be too muted on trail rides? Or does the motor overcome that? Or is it better to go the shorter travel 29?
It's gonna boil down to your personal preference. Both bikes are very capable. I would suggest you buy the bike that best fits most of the trails you ride. I purchased the Norco Range VLT because I am constantly seeking out gnarly trails, jumps and steep descents so I wanted more travel and smaller wheels. Here's a video of my Range VLT on the trails I typically ride...

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Thanks man. I swear I saw one of those crashes on Pinkbike Friday Fails. Lol.

May I ask what sort of distance you get on a full charge? Do you ride in Eco, Trail or Boost most? Any issues when just on general trail rides?
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I weigh about 165-170lbs with gear. I can get about 25 miles and 4500 feet of climbing using 80% eco, 15% trail and 5% boost (boost for steepest parts of climbs). I estimate I can probably get about 5500 ft of elevation if I do 100% eco. I typically don't like to ride for much more than 25 miles and 5000 feet so the 630Wh battery is perfect for me.
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Regarding trail riding... No issues whatsoever. Yes the suspension mutes easier trails, but I usually end up going faster which makes it fun. I don't think you can go wrong with either of your 2 choices.
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I've previously owned a Knolly Delirium with 170/180 and 27.5 wheels so I guess I have some experience on a bike of that travel, but in honesty I didn't do much general trail riding on it.

But I now own a 2020 Norco Sight C1 29 and it does most things well, and suits what I ride under my own power. I like riding a bit of everything from DH to XC trails, depending on my mood. I have great trail centers all around me that have a perfect mix so it's making it hard to pick just one ebike to rule them all. So my interest in the Range VLT over the Sight VLT is that it might open the possibility to enjoying the DH more, and with the addition of the electric motor perhaps not loosing much if one day I just decide to go ride trail/xc. Anyway, just thinking out loud. :)

Do you you ever ride in full Boost? What is your mileage like then?
FME, procure what you want to descend on since they'll all be great ascending or on flat terrain. I've got a Haibike-Yahama hardtail which suits me well, but many other systems are comparable/better.
I am a 29er fan and would not personally want 170-180 travel either way. It would not feel like a trail bike to me. Keep in mind I have been on 29ers for 10+ years and nothing over 140 mm rear travel. I find it to be too much beyond that and they feel lost like dirt bikes. I do like 27.5+ though. Mine is 27.5+ with 150/140 (Pivot Shuttle) but can take 29er wheels so I'm going to build up a set. For trail riding and general AM stuff, it is fantastic.
I feel like 160mm and 29" wheels is sort of the sweet spot for these bikes. The motor is really covering up much of the penalty you'd pay for climbing over a short-travel trail bike, but I really don't see the point in going any longer. These are big, heavy beasts, and while they've got beefed up components in various places (like the Fox 36 e-version that uses 34 internals so it can have thicker stanchions), they're just not the kind of bike you're going to be smashing off 4-foot drops to flat on. A well-behaved 29er with 150-160mm of quality suspension front and rear will pretty much cover all the bases, IMO. I would totally go for the Sight.
I’m all in for the Trek Rail. 29”, modern geometry, longish’ suspension travel, XT drivetrain. Will never buy another mtb without a motor. Analog bikes and riders are becoming obsolete. Never look back.