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¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ SuperDork
7/7/17 8:15 a.m.

It has been years since I smashed up my hip by doing something dumb on a mountain bike- I want to get back into it, but am in a position where I don't really know to what degree. As such, I'm looking for something that I can both ride on trails and do light downhill with to see what agrees with me (and my various injuries) and what I enjoy. Does something like this Specialized FSR Enduro make sense? It's at the top of what I want to spend ($500), but then again I think if I get something too cheap and flimsy I'll burn out fast when I have to work on it too much.

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler UberDork
7/7/17 8:32 a.m.

I'm wanting to do this, too, mainly because of the amount of weight I've gained in the ~15 years since I was biking regularly. I'm taking more of a GRM approach, though. I'm "restomodding" the 1992 Trek 950 I rode throughout the 90s. It's been hanging in my barn for years. I got a new fork and some V-brakes for it, still a work in progress.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ SuperDork
7/7/17 8:34 a.m.

In reply to Tom_Spangler:

I like that idea too, since that's the sort of thing I grew up riding- but 160lb highschool me broke a LOT of wheels, bent frames, etc, so I think something stronger may be in order for 185lb me.

singleslammer
singleslammer PowerDork
7/7/17 8:55 a.m.

I have been thinking about doing this too but my problem is finding the time. I already have a nice Gary Fisher 29er from 2010, I just need to get off my ass.

singleslammer
singleslammer PowerDork
7/7/17 8:56 a.m.

Do you need the full suspension? My GF is a hard tail and worked great when I was riding.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
7/7/17 9:13 a.m.

If you are wanting to ride in the rowdier side (your mention of light downhill) then a good dual suspension bike is definitely more fun. Yo can do it on a hardtail, particularly one of the slacker geometry 29er HTs from recent years, but the dual extends your capabilities and beats you much less. The dual suspension also transfers less impact to the wheels which helps them live longer. Finding a good Dual for $500 may be a challenge.

The FSR Enduros were good bikes that were longer travel for their day and are a great way to get back into it, but make sure the shocks are in good shape or you'll pay for rebuilding them. I rode a Specialized FSR-XC Pro from the same era until the end of last year. Speshy liked to use proprietary length shocks so there weren't many options for cheap replacement. I had mine rebuilt for around $150 per shock a couple years ago. Although it was shorter travel I love flying downhills and I beat that thing stupid with no problems until I seized a bearing and removing it messed up the swing arm. Bearing kits for the rear sus are getting scarce but run $80-$100. Be aware that higher quality 26" parts are becoming more and more scarce.

Just for reference, I stepped up to a Trek EX8 last year when I blew up the FSR. It's about the same weight with 2x the travel and much slacker geometry. It goes down the roughest stuff on our trails like you're on a bobsled run. It also cost 5x as much as my first CAR, but what the hell.

At the trail head last night:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ SuperDork
7/7/17 9:41 a.m.
singleslammer wrote: Do you need the full suspension?

Not necessarily, and I always had hardtails before, but with my now "refurbished" hip and arthritis in a bunch of places it seems like a good idea.

singleslammer
singleslammer PowerDork
7/7/17 9:48 a.m.

I would go with Clyde's suggestion then. If you are a bionic now, I think that spending an extra bill for something that keeps you out of the hospital or the chiropractor is worth it. Preventative care and all.

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler UberDork
7/7/17 10:00 a.m.
singleslammer wrote: I would go with Clyde's suggestion then. If you are a bionic now, I think that spending an extra bill for something that keeps you out of the hospital or the chiropractor is worth it. Preventative care and all.

Good point. My old 950 is (obviously) a hardtail. I've owned one full-suspension bike, and it was horrible (Trek VRX 200), so it sort of put me off them. I just passed on my 2002 Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo to my son, so I figured I'd go back to the bike I started on, but I'm getting a nice base of arthritis in my lower back, so I may regret that. On the other hand, here in Michigan it's all singletrack, not much in the way of rocks or anything. Just trails through the woods.

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke SuperDork
7/7/17 10:04 a.m.

I say pick up a used full suspension bike. Hopefully the more knowledgeable bicycle guys chime in with some suggestions because this area is outside my limited knowledge.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
7/7/17 10:10 a.m.

Dual suspensions do help with back pain and general impact soreness, and that difference gets more pronounced the rougher the terrain gets. But the thing that makes a BIGGER difference in back pain is making sure the bike is properly fitted to you. Not just frame size, but correctly setting up saddle height for leg extension, saddle fore/aft for knee placement, and most importantly stem length and handlebar height for reach. A lot of people pay for professional fits, but you can get to 90% without paying that money with some DIY techniques and a willingness to swap parts (which isn't cheap sometimes.)

The fitting process is less critical on MTB than road because you are generally moving around and standing more. The offset there is when you first start back riding you may be sitting more on a MTB than normal until your fitness level comes back up.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/7/17 10:15 a.m.

In reply to ¯_(ツ)_/¯:

That's a good bike for $500. I'm fairly certain it was closer to $3000 when new. Fox forks are good, although tend to be a tad needy on the service-side (but most are these days).

I ride at Nox every few months. I'll let you know the next time I'm up there.

Many of the trail systems near you don't necessarily "require" full suspension (many get by on hardtails and fully rigid), but it is nice in a few places. Nox is either-or. You can definitely go fast there on a hardtail, but there are a few sections where being able to bomb through on a full-squish bike is fun.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
7/7/17 10:29 a.m.

Here's a good intro to bike fitting: https://youtu.be/1VYhyppWTDc

This focussed on a road bike, but MTB is similar. I'd go a little shorter on saddle height, a little shorter on reach, and a little higher on handlebar position for a trail bike.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ SuperDork
7/12/17 8:52 a.m.

The FSR Enduro and a whole bunch of other sellers are completely unresponsive (because craigslist).

Opinions on stretching the budget for this Santa Cruz?

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
7/12/17 10:44 a.m.

dude, I almost sent you a link to that one when you first posted but it was higher than you were talking. That's a killer bike. Santa Cruz makes niiiiice stuff. The RP23 rear shock is good, as is the Revelation fork. The Avid brakes are fine - I ran Avid Juicy 3s for years. they were a bit noisy but performed well. I'd be all over that one.

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr UltraDork
7/12/17 11:10 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ wrote: The FSR Enduro and a whole bunch of other sellers are completely unresponsive (because craigslist). Opinions on stretching the budget for this Santa Cruz?

Yessss! Did you get this yet?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ SuperDork
7/12/17 11:10 a.m.

In reply to ultraclyde:

I figured it might be worth stretching for, especially since I used to drool over the Heckler at my local shop back in the day. Going to check it out tonight!

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/12/17 11:21 a.m.

I agree that Blur looks nice for the price.

java230
java230 SuperDork
7/12/17 11:30 a.m.

This is relevant to my interests! I have my old Kona HT in the garage that could use some love.... But a CL dual suspension bike sure sounds nice. Was just up in the park I used to ride at last evening, made me miss it.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/12/17 11:44 a.m.

With the current popularity of 29" and 27.5" wheel bikes, older high-end 26" bikes can be found used for a fraction of their original cost. In some cases, the drive train parts are obsolete and long out of production, but thanks to eBay and vintage-bike FB trading groups that's not really a big deal. A lot of high-end NOS parts can be found for less than their original MSRP.

Ransom
Ransom PowerDork
7/12/17 12:07 p.m.

My recent experience after trading up from a really, really nice Kona 26" hardtail XC bike for a Hei Hei DL Trail is that modern long-front-center geometry makes a difference, 29" wheels make a difference, and full suspension makes a difference. The Kula was my first disc bike, and those make a difference, too!

I also feel like trails in general (at least in my part of the world) have gotten considerably more "constructed" and technical, even just basic singletrack. Which means I can't really replicate the "I was happy on a hardtail in '90" experience.

Getting all that probably means a newer and more expensive bike. Obviously, you can have a blast on anything, as I've been doing for close to 30 years now. But I really dig the Hei Hei. I can honestly say I have more fun on it than I did on the Kula.

java230
java230 SuperDork
7/12/17 12:16 p.m.

Why are frame sizes such a mystery?? Ugh There is a 17" Konda Stinky Six that looks appealing to me..... But I cant find any frame size info on older models.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ SuperDork
7/14/17 7:06 a.m.

I picked that Blur LT up and it has been raining ever since

I've got everything adjusted and aired up appropriately so it's ready to party when things dry out enough- the quality of this thing is incredible, a far cry from the Diamondback and K2 garbage I used to ride.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
7/14/17 7:45 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ wrote: I picked that Blur LT up and it has been raining ever since I've got everything adjusted and aired up appropriately so it's ready to party when things dry out enough- the quality of this thing is incredible, a far cry from the Diamondback and K2 garbage I used to ride.

Awesome! well, except the rain, but that's the way it usually goes. Man, I wish I was close enough to go ride with you. If it's like my experiences when buying a bike that is a serious tech jump, the first ride is always a religious experience.

Ransom
Ransom PowerDork
7/14/17 8:36 a.m.

In reply to ¯_(ツ)_/¯:

Congrats!

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