Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

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Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby EricZ » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:44 am

I'm returning to my roots after 11+ years away and am looking for suggestions in the used bike market under $1000. I'm 6' 200 pounds, 40 years old and have all of the accompanying back pain etc. that comes with it. I would like to get back to the singletrack at Boyce, Apollo, Moraine etc.. I tend to hammer through obstacles rather than gracefully clear them and have always liked light hardtail bikes and never rode 29's, full suspension, suspension seats or disc brakes but am open to suggestions. What do you think?
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby Jason » Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:49 am

EricZ wrote:I'm returning to my roots after 11+ years away and am looking for suggestions in the used bike market under $1000. I'm 6' 200 pounds, 40 years old and have all of the accompanying back pain etc. that comes with it. I would like to get back to the singletrack at Boyce, Apollo, Moraine etc.. I tend to hammer through obstacles rather than gracefully clear them and have always liked light hardtail bikes and never rode 29's, full suspension, suspension seats or disc brakes but am open to suggestions. What do you think?


Make sure you get disc brakes on anything you get.

If you tend to hammer rather than float you might want to get something like a Specialized Stumpjumper full suspension with 26" wheels. For a couple reasons, 29" wheels are not as strong and the full suspension will help with back pain.

You probaly will get a lot of people telling you to just get a 29er hard tail. That is not a bad choice. The bigger wheels are nice, they will roll over the Moraine rocks pretty well. I personally have a hard time with riding a hard tail, I feel much more in control in a full suspension bike. You budget might limit you to a hard tail though.

You can't go wrong with getting a hard tail 29er because they are hot right now and if you don't like it you will be able to sell it quickly.
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby EricZ » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:55 pm

Thanks for the reply. I didn't know what to think of 29's and didn't know how strong they are for my weight. I float the front well but when I try to get fancy with the rear it's anyones guess where it will end up. I'll check the 29 market. Also, any advice on decent full suspension with lockouts on a budget?
Last edited by EricZ on Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby Diamond Jim » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:55 pm

Dude, I have 30 lbs on you and my 29er hardtail is great. The wheels are stronger than you'll need unless you're hucking off of loading docks. If you're six feet tall, don't mess around with the small wheels. I had my 29er hardtail for a year and sold all my 26 full-suspension bikes (3). A 29er hardtail rides like a 26 soft-tail.
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby Shred303 » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:05 am

EricZ wrote:I'm returning to my roots after 11+ years away and am looking for suggestions in the used bike market under $1000.


The Trek Demo day was last weekend. You just missed it. Pivot is having their demo day this weekend. My suggestion would be go to it ride as many bikes as you can and get some ideas.

I don't think you are going to find full suspension on a 'real' bike for under $1000. Well not on a new bike anway.

Ditto Jason. No matter what you decide on, disc brakes are the way to go. I wish I had back all the hours that I spent adjusting brakes and truing rim brake wheels. Probably adds up to weeks.

I ride a FS 29er and some wheels are good some wheels are not. I road on Bontrager Super Stock for an entire race season and they stayed straight as an arrow. That was an amazing wheel. Upgraded to the Botrager Rythms and not so good. I own both a set of Rythm Elites and Comps and neither stayed true for me.
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby EricZ » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:44 am

Good replies. Thanks. I'm trying to follow the 26 vs 29er thread below but it's turning into the same polarizing nonsense that most political things do. Hard to decide who is credible and where the truth lies. I like the reported benefits of 29's but I equally dislike the reported minuses. Guess you're right. I have to demo some different stuff. My current ride is a '95 GT Pantera with marginal canti brakes, 7 speed hub and mid level at best compenentry from the Nirvana days. :oops: Anything modern should be a plus.
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby Shred303 » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:09 pm

In the spirit of starting another 26 29er flame war:

I found that the 26" bikes are faster in the corners. Let me indulge for a minute, you can ask Deluxe, I fly out of the corners even on my 29er but I was never accustomed to other riders pulling away from me in the sharp turns. I found that on my 29er good riders on smaller wheels could. This really pissed me off.

29ers definitely carry more momentum through the rough stuff. If you race this is a big deal. You are always looking for ways to improve your efficiency. Look at the expert starting line at a WVMBA race and you are going to see mostly 29ers. However the pro's out west don't use them. I think the reason is the terrain in a typical West Virginia race really dishes it out. Think Moraine.

Also the 29ers eat the big stuff right up. I found the South Park log piles much less scary on a 29er. Ask anyone whos ridden with me I don't slow down much for log piles.

If you don't race then the question you have to ask is do you pick the less expensive/nibler/ more fun to ride bike over the more expensive more efficient ride* but it may not be so fun when your buddies are crushing it at Moraine with their big wheels and you are flailing in the rock gardens. Seriously though I feel I can ride Moraine just as well on smaller wheels. I think with the smaller wheels it just takes more effort.

Still for me, my focus is on racing, considering the terrain I race on I wouldn't ride a 26" bike.

*Deluxe posted a link to a really interesting article. A 24 Hour Solo rider alternated laps between a 29er and 26" bike. Both were set up with power meter hubs. Conclusion was the 26" bike was more efficient, however he said he would still choose the 29er on the really rough courses in the east.
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby Intense1 » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:19 pm

Everyone has different likes and dislikes. We are blessed with all types of riding in the Pittsburgh area so my advice would be to decide which type you enjoy the most and find a bike that feels good to you when you're riding that type of terrain. The good news is, no matter which direction you go, it will be an improvement over your current bike :) Although, those old triple triangles did pedal well in my opinion. Disc brakes are a huge improvement over those old canti's, just wait until you ride in the snow and are actually able to stop. Regardless of the diameter you choose, a good set of tires makes a big difference. I prefer WTB motoraptors for everything but ice, then we break out the studs. :D
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby Deluxe » Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:13 pm

Yes indeed. Lots of different considerations when picking size, but I think what it has sort of boiled down to for me is rider height and inseam. If you are over 5'8" definitely don't don't bother with 26 (unless of course you are hucking Frankenstein or SuperConn)...it just looks silly. Like a circus clown. I am right there at barely 5'8" with stubby wrestler legs though, so I eventually settled on 26. I feel like I am being swallowed up on a 29er. Head to head for amateurs like me, the times are exactly the same (if you are concerned about times). Over the period of a month last year, I rode the same 7 mile loop in North Park, same conditions (nutrition, weather, lighting), Ventana El Chiquillo hardtail (26) vs. GF Rig(?) hardtail (29) kindly lent to me by one of the GF 29er crew (much props to Travis and TJ and the gents at Top Gear), and my times were essentially the same. Indeed I found myself gaining higher speeds on the 29er but overshooting turns because I was used to cornering them on 26 in wheels. Eventually though, you do adjust fire going into the turns with the 29er (there seems to be a brief learning curve). As for brakes, I agree with all on the disc, but a set of Avid Black Ops stop as well as any mech disc, and they are much lighter and easier to adjust too.

Gerry Pflug (NUE Champion and all around bad actor) believes that the 29er is 3% faster. That equates to about a 12 minute improvement for a guy like me in a 50 mile race...so sort of silly reason to go 29er unless you have a shot at beating Schalk or Eatough. If you are tall, buy a 29er. If you downhill or freeride, or are short, consider 26 (not to say though that short people should not ride 29ers). As far as wheel strength it's all relative. I have seen McWilly clean a 4-5 footer on a 29er hardtail, and by my estimate, he is well over 200 pounds. I have also seen several taco'ed 26 wheels at the bottom of the lift at Seven Springs (shitty bikes or rims possibly). Frankly, as far as bumps in the trail, I can't feel a damn bit of difference between the 26 and 29 - they all jolt my shoulder and elbow joints exactly the same...and slow me down exactly the same. The right thing though is to buy a bike that is within your capabilities, is intended for the use for which you purchased it, and is sexy.

Best of luck!

PS: Shred does fly out the turns but ask him about that one tree... winkee emoticon.
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby Jason » Wed Jun 23, 2010 6:59 pm

Deluxe wrote:As far as wheel strength it's all relative. I have seen McWilly clean a 4-5 footer on a 29er hardtail, and by my estimate, he is well over 200 pounds. I have also seen several taco'ed 26 wheels at the bottom of the lift at Seven Springs (shitty bikes or rims possibly).



There is no debate about strength, a bigger wheel is weaker, it is a leverage thing. For most people, that does not matter, they don't ride hard enough to taco wheels. To some it matters.

To say you saw taco'ed 26er wheels at 7springs, it is like saying you saw a taco'ed 20" BMX wheels at the skate park. It happens and I bet you all the money in the world that if you put a larger wheel in the same situation that the smaller wheel failed in, the larger wheel would fail also.

Like I said above, to mast people who don't ride their bikes at 110%, this does not matter. The original poster pointed out that he rides hard. If he is tacoing 26er wheels fairly often, then he is going to taco more 29er wheels. If he has never taco'ed a 26er, then he probaly will be fine on a 29er.


Ok, back on topic. With your budget in mind, you might find a better equipped 26" wheel bike in your price range because 29" wheel bikes are hot right now. Although you can always upgrade the 29" bike as you go along. It would be a lot more expensive to upgrade the 26" wheel bike to 29" (New wheels, tires, Fork and frame).
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby TigerFist » Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:30 pm

People are really evangelical about 26" vs 29er right now. My advice is to go to your local shop or call in some favors from friends, try out one o' each (superstar treatment!) and decide on your own. They ride differently for sure, so you def. want to try out before you make a decision. I have a GF 29er I've been riding for a little over a year, and it's awesome. My backup bike is a Specialized 26 hard tail, which is also great to ride. I've taco'd the 26" tires, not the 29". But I'm sure if I had the same wreck on the 29er it would have destroyed the wheels too.

Just for reference, I'm 6'1" 230#, and I never feel like the 29er doesn't fit me well because of my size.

Bushwhacker was kind enough to trade his Giant 26" full suspension for a short ride with me through South Park, and I was pretty much in love with it. But he puts quite a lot of time and money into his bike, which I'm not sure I could finance. But the point is, I highly recommend trying things out.
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby gearhead313 » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:43 pm

for the love of god, let the man get a 26" bike and be done with it... SHEESH.
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby Shred303 » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:48 pm

Jason wrote:There is no debate about strength, a bigger wheel is weaker, it is a leverage thing.

Some folks infer that you just can't get a 29er wheel that holds up well enough and that is not the case. In many riders practical experience 29er wheels held up the same and even better inspite of the leverage thing. Perhaps that reason is just dumb luck or chance or perhaps there is another reason for it. Who knows but it's certainly worth mentioning because with all the ranting and raving that goes on you'd expect that us 29er riders would be riding around with spare wheels and truing stands strapped onto our bikes.
Deluxe wrote:PS: Shred does fly out the turns but ask him about that one tree... :wink:

Stupid tree :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby Jason » Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:43 am

Shred303 wrote:Some folks infer that you just can't get a 29er wheel that holds up well enough and that is not the case. In many riders practical experience 29er wheels held up the same and even better inspite of the leverage thing. Perhaps that reason is just dumb luck or chance or perhaps there is another reason for it. Who knows but it's certainly worth mentioning because with all the ranting and raving that goes on you'd expect that us 29er riders would be riding around with spare wheels and truing stands strapped onto our bikes.


29" wheels are plenty strong for most folks. There are lots of 29"/700c heavy duty rim options out there for people who ride hard.
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby Deluxe » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:26 pm

Post deleted...this whole thread is becoming circular logic. Eric just get help at a good LBS. And if it breaks, get a lawyer. Have fun and welcome back to the community of mountain bikers!
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby Deluxe » Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:49 pm

Shred - where is the Pivot demo day and what day? I am looking at the Firebird. I have heard that one of my favorite LBSs stopped carrying that brand. Who sells them around here if you know?
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby aarons » Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:00 pm

29ers make it easy to go fast on technical flat areas.
29 inch hardtails are a lighter weight way to attain speed on an xc course than a 26inch full suspension bike.

26 inch full suspension bikes are just plain fun, and are the bike of choice for going really scary fast down a hill.

Regardless of what anyone says, jumping on a squishy full-suspension bike just feels more fun than any hardtail.

both bikes are fun, just fun in slightly different ways.
You can probably get a better bike for the price with a 29inch front-suspension bike than a 26inch full-suspension bike.
Although if you are buying used you might be able to find someone trying to unload a 26inch full-suspension for a deal.
Any way you cut it, you are going to have fun.
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby Shred303 » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:37 pm

Deluxe wrote:Shred - where is the Pivot demo day and what day?


Saturday (Tomorrow 12 - 4) up around the swimming pool.


We wanted to give everyone a heads up about taking out a Pivot for a test ride at North Park on Sunday, June 27th. There will be full size runs of Mach 4's, Mach 5's, Mach 429's and Firebirds available from Noon to 4:00PM at the Deer Browse Grove #1 across from the swimming pool at North Park. Hope to see you there!



THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS FROM THE FOUNDER OF PIVOT CYCLES


Welcome to PIVOT CYCLES™
We feel it’s time to set a new bar in Mountain Bike Full Suspension design and we’ve created Pivot Cycles™ to do just that! We are about to redefine what you want and need in your next mountain bike!
Pivot Cycles™ was born from a simple idea – to build a better mountain bike and take your enjoyment of cycling to the next level.
Pivot Cycles™ embodies everything we want – not only in a mountain bike, but in a mountain bike company. This is our passion and our life. If you add up the combined cycling experience of everyone involved here at Pivot it is well over 100 years.
For me, Pivot Cycles™ is the result of 20 years building some of the highest quality, best performing full suspension bikes in the world. Pivot™ builds on my reputation for designing and manufacturing suspension bikes that feature great feel throughout the suspension travel, and have excellent pedaling performance, with unparalleled frame stiffness and durability. We’ve taken this winning combination to a new level with innovative new technology that gives you more of what you love about full suspension mountain bikes, and less of what you don’t!
We lay awake at night thinking of the perfect suspension curves, shock valving, linkage ratios, bearing tolerances, weight, materials and anything else that goes into perfecting a mountain bike so that you don’t have to. We are relentless about perfecting the details that will make your ride better.
Ultimately, making our customers happy by producing the highest quality, best performing bicycles in the world with unparalleled customer service is what Pivot Cycles™ is all about.
Welcome to Pivot Cycles™, where Technology and Full Suspension Performance have just been redefined.
Sincerely,
Chris Cocalis
President/CEO Pivot Cycles™

Dirty Harrys Bicycles Inc.
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http://www.dirtyharrys.net
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Re: Returning to dirt after 11+ years - baffled by bike choices

Postby nomad » Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:04 pm

Which is it sat or sun The 27th is sunday?
Saturday (Tomorrow 12 - 4) up around the swimming pool.


[quote]We wanted to give everyone a heads up about taking out a Pivot for a test ride at North Park on Sunday, June 27th. There will be full size runs of Mach 4's, Mach 5's, Mach 429's and Firebirds available from Noon to 4:00PM at the Deer Browse Grove #1 across from the swimming pool at North Park. Hope to see you there!
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