Best bike/setup for MacRun Fight Trail and Whopper?

Hi Folks,

I ride lots but likely 85% MacRun / Fight Trail and 15% Whopper. I have had bikes with dual crown DH forks, and bikes with big travel - pigs.

My current ride is a 140/130 Intense Spider 27.5. I like to ride fast and chase KOMs. I know I could likely go faster on a 120/100 29er, but I also like some squish and comfort and I like a poppy fun bike too…

I am thinking of staying with my current formula and getting a SC 5010, 27.5 but have also contemplated a Trek Fuel or a Giant Trance 29, or also going in the other direction to 150/140 or staying with similar travel but gingko 29…so tell me…

What is the best setup for fast MacRun rides?

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I like 29 for McIntosh Run, the rollover helps on some of the more technical features. But I’ve also ridden my 26” single speed dirt jumper with 100mm travel in there. Both those bikes are hard tails. Go with what feels good to you. :man_shrugging:t3:

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Depends on rider skill level and style IMO.

If you looked at a top 10 leader board on various segments encompassing various terrain, the bikes range from xc-full on enduro rigs with various tire set ups. 27.5 - 29er.

Which section of fight trail/mrwa are you considering going after?

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I am a 20+ year rider with Ontario, NS, and BC experience. I have many top 10s at MacRun and Whopper and consistently in top 20 on strava.

I love my current bike and would love more comfort but fear getting a pig. I also fear the 29 a bit, but it seems that I am in the minority.

I just have no experience on a 29er. Too bad the demo days are likely not happening this year. Maybe 2022

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My point about strava, was more about looking at various styles and bike set ups all within seconds of one another. (Thats not even considering how many glitches there are with that App) rather then anyone being a KOM or QOM or in the top 10 elusive leaderboard.

Point was more about looking at what you want to achieve above and beyond what your current bike is capable of with you as a pilot on which type of terrain.

The argument of 27.5/29er is a whole other discussion IMO.

There are obviously plenty of both around with various results.!


I’m running a custom set up that I really love, 150/120, playful rear with good pedal performance, but when you point it into the nasties it’s more than willing to soak up hits.

I am currently not at my top performance, but this bike has accomplished very good times at Victoria Park, and suspect by end of summer I’ll be turning those over for new better times. I think 140/120 like the Django is the sweet spot for a lot of Nova Scotia.


I ride both Mac Run and Whooper with my Rocky Mountain Element with 120/100. I have no issues ripping off Krown’s.


It would be nice to hear solid arguments on why a certain setup is better than another.

I hear Nino Schurter can kick ass on a DH trail without a dropper but doesn’t mean it’s recommended.

What works best at McRun and why?


IMO it has to do with fitness, skillset and discipline background, and overall experience as a rider.

If I was to rate those on whats more important for (fight/mrwa) i would say fitness is the most important factor.

Typically from what I have seen, faster more aggressive riders run stiffer less forgiving set ups.

Also, we are talking about MRWA/Fight which is an aggressive xc playground.

My ideal set up for all of the Fight Area would be far different then what I actually ride in there.


I have ridden a 170r/180f 27.5 SC Nomad, 110r/130f 27.5 XC bike, and 140r/160f 29er in there and agree with Enduro_Performance’s comment that what keeps me rolling faster is my improved (improving :)) fitness… the enduro bike was actually smoother than the XC bike as I got faster it saved me from getting beaten up so much… and as the skills improve its gonna make it all faster… also helps if you frequent the old school lines and trails.

I think your 130/140 27.5 set up is probably good for FT and might be lighter than an equivalent 29er 100/120 so you may end up gaining on some things (roll over) and losing on others (weight). There are a couple of spots in there I feel the 29er rolls better but for the rest of it it feels kinda the same to me (after only one ride so not an exhaustive test).

As a taller heavier rider I just bought the 29er (Pivot SB) and it feels very poppy, climbs well, but is also solid at the same time which to me is a good balance… if your lighter you can maybe get away with a more of an XC bike and get the same kind of balance.



I ride MR 95% of the time I am out. I ride it on a 2003 Kona Stinky with dual crown fork and 6" of travel.

The single biggest thing that improved my riding - improving my stamina.

That and upgrading from a tiny cassette in the rear to something larger so It will climb.

Interesting enough (no real value, but funny) some of my best times at fight were on a 100mm 29r hardtail with 3x9, fitness was the best it’s been in a hot minute, and sheer ignorance of the risks propelled me along.

I think something 130/120 with 29r wheels and a super efficient rear end would be ideal at fight if all you care about is Strava. Between that and SB100 type bikes dominate BC Bike Race, and for good reason, good pedal efficiency, but can take bigger hits than many expect, and are ultra capable descenders.

Paired with Fitness, Stamina and Strength (totally underrated, but the ability to buy out short burst at huge wattage can get you through the nasties and keep momentum). When I was the fastest on the bike I was 6 foot 5, 230 pounds and deadlifting 500 pounds, squatting 400, and in prep for a powerlifting meet.

The one lift I always thought really helped was conditioning type training, so frame carries and farmers walks @ 375 to 410 for 100 feet. And the stair climber for 80 to 120 floors every morning.

Tl;dr strength, stamina, conditioning and cardio all play key roles in going fast. Cross training certainly greatly improves my bike performance and luckily covid rules ending means we can all get some gym time.

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Im running a trek fuel ex 7. When i first got the bike the suspension was really soft i wss burning up energy like crazy and it felt slow… after increasing the air pressure in it it was runnint faster. 140/130 travel. Fitness wise i was a long time hardcore weight lifter… i foind quickly that heavy lifting is more of a hinderance for riding then beneficial. The slow controlled movements with heavy weight creates d.o.m.s delayed onst muscle soreness which makes pedalling harder the next day or two after… 4-500 lb deads. 3-400 lb squat 9-1200 lb leg presses 315 bench and 130 lb dumbell press

Converting to lighter weight high reps allowed for longer rides and riding faster…

I cant speak about my conditioning right now as im hardly gettijg any saddle time or weights do to excessive work commitments. Mid august hoping that changes

I never had that issue, but as a big guy I think it’s was finding a balance. At that time I was sneaking into a lot of top 10s on climbs and the less technical XC stuff. Mind you I didn’t do any slow
Movement, bar path and explosiveness were what I trained for so in a meet I could pull higher than I was in training, I also was doing caber throwing at that time.

Different type of training… fast twitcy musles compsred to slow twitch which is more effectivr for putting on size

If you strip it down to the basics, power to weight ratio is the science of it.

If we both can hold 300W for 5 mins on any climb in fight, but I weigh less I am going to move faster. There are for sure other factors such as conditions, bike set up etc.

Having x amount of muscles that look sick means legit nothing if you cant use them properly.

The other thing to consider is a faster set up isnt always the most durable or comfortable to ride.


I think this is it, however durability of the body goes up with weight training, it’s almost worth looking into a MTB specific plan made by a pro

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Durability can be achieved with very specific weight training. Not all.

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Not so sure there is a correct answer, as Enduro said, the top 10 at MacRun is full of every bike type. If you want the absolute fastest bike, a modern XC race bike is hard to beat, but some of the fastest times in there are from guys on big travel 29ers.

I ride a 130/120 travel 29er and I love it, its a perfect do-all bike. But I doubt I would be much slower/faster on an enduro bike, or a XC race bike, its more about fitness/ability to nail consistent top 10’s around here, if that is your ultimate goal.


Great thread for sparking convo! It’s kinda like a “who’s the best guitarist?” or “who makes the fastest car” arguments- soooo many variables and none of us are probably aren’t referencing the same criteria or measuring sticks.
Define “best”? Best for hitting the bigger lines and features? Best for ripping the climbing segs? Best for longer segs? Best for most comfortable ride? Best for ripping 2 hrs in the trail with the highest avg speed and no stopping to shoot the shit?
Quite simply, the rider with the most efficient, smoothest, most skilled riding technique combined with the best fitness is going to be the fastest over an extended ride in trails such as MRWA/Whopper. Tim S rides a hardtail with an 80mm fork and 2.1" tires cuz that’s all he owns and I can assure you he will cover 20k in MRWA before 99% of riders cover 12. But if he was on a 120/100 mm duallie he’d cover 21k in the same time.
Keep in mind, segments are usually short and are only an indicator of skill/speed/fitness. The old mantra of "Strava is to racing like sparring is to cage fighting is too true. This is one of the reasons people race. The list of people who are fast for 30-60-90 secs on a segment they know by heart is much longer than the list of people who are actually fast and can win/place/show in races. One good three point shot for a basket in your driveway doesn’t mean you can do it in a game.

I guess my personal equipment prefs if I’m going to go rip those trails with a focus on speed would be 120-130mm, 2.3-2.4 tubeless rubber @ 20-23 lbs, a dropper, tire liner in the rr, clipless pedals, and a platform that climbs efficiently.
If I’m going out for a less speed focused ride and want to tackle some bigger features (thinking trails generally outside the reg’ network here) and get loose the 150’ish mm range is ideal.