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Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/14/17 10:06 a.m.

Congrats! Yep - the rain has been a bummer.

BTW - if you plan to ride at Nox, there is a website/FB page that updates the trail conditions. The trails do not drain well, so they are often closed on what otherwise might look like a nice day. A couple of times I've done the hour long drive up there only to go, "Berk..." Fortunately, Ralph Stover drains a lot better and isn't too far away.

java230
java230 SuperDork
7/14/17 10:20 a.m.

Awesome!!!

Well since you got yours im going ti fully Hijack this thread.

So I have been looking at more FR than XC bikes, because I used to like to do stupid things like big drops and I still think it sounds fun..... I need something that I can still pedal around and uphill tho.

Sooo I found a Transition Bottle Rocket, Sounds just right, a little heavy, but built locally and bomb proof.

The other option is the Santa Cruz, VP Free, heavier, and longer travel.... I think the bottle rocket will climb better.

Thoughts?

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/14/17 11:58 a.m.

In reply to java230:

Looking at the specs archived on Pinkbike, it looks like one of the early "park" FR bikes. With an externally routed dropper post it might work OK as a trail bike, but climbing wasn't really what the bike was designed for. The geometry looks to be on the short side compared to current trends, but is typical for the era (the VP Free will be similar).

Depending on what your budget is, any of the fairly recent "enduro" bikes are essentially designed for aggressive trail riding with a few drops thrown in. I've done about 8' drops on my 2014 Intense Carbine without issues, although to good landing transitions. It has about 6" of rear travel and about 6.5" in the front. Climbs very well (also has an internally routed dropper post).

java230
java230 SuperDork
7/14/17 12:05 p.m.

In reply to Ian F:

Yep that was kinda what I saw on both, the Bottle Rocket, is supposed to be a bit more playful and easy to throw around. A full sized seat post will fit in the bottle rocket. Im ok with ok climbing, as long as its not a complete turd. My last bike was a early 90's Kona Cinder Cone HT. Still have that one it just will cost as much in parts to fix up again as something a decade newer with two shocks :D

I don't want to spend the $$$ people seem to want for the newer enduro bikes.... But yes they do sound like what I am looking for.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/14/17 1:39 p.m.

In reply to java230:

Yeah... I'll admit I've become somewhat numb to the cost of high end bikes these days. But because what is "hot" changes so fast these days, resale values can plummet. For example, a pro-level DH race bike with 26" wheels that cost $8000 four years ago would be hard to sell for $2000 now due to the general switch to 27.5" wheels (as now 29" wheel DH bikes are coming).

java230
java230 SuperDork
7/14/17 1:42 p.m.

In reply to Ian F:

Yes exactly, thats where I come in, yesterdays (still very good!) tech at GRM kind of prices! People will make 26" parts forever....

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/14/17 1:52 p.m.

In reply to java230:

Sort of... companies made a lot of old-tech parts. Enough that you an still find NOS parts from the mid-90's. But SRAM and Shimano stop producing parts one the latest lines come out. Over the last few years, bike companies have become more like car and motorcycle companies when it comes to brand-specific parts. Specialized was one to the first to do this with rear suspension shocks. And now there is a myriad of different bottom brackets and headset types. Plus about 6 different rear axle widths.

It can be enough to drive you nuts when trying to build a bike from a bare frame.

java230
java230 SuperDork
7/14/17 2:33 p.m.

In reply to Ian F:

Good to know. I haven't messed with building bikes in a decade. Ive still got my old Kona, but it was stripped for parts one night outside an apartment I lived at. So its kinda a janky pile of mismatched stuff these days. I could just rebuild that frame too. But I need everything but brakes, wheels, cranks and grips basically.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
7/14/17 3:03 p.m.

It's hard to make a solid case for rebuilding a bike that's 10+ years old unless you are emotionally attached. Performance of the new stuff is much better. I say this as someone who happily stuck to riding a 26" bike until the end of last year. The switch to longer travel, better designed dual sus with 29" wheels was like hitting the easy button. Suddenly all the trails felt like you had pounded all the roots down and made them all just a little down hill. Basically, the bikes get more go out of your energy input - the suspension gets more efficient every year and the bigger wheels really do roll over stuff better. Earlier designs weren't as agile as a 26", but newer ones have mostly lost that handicap.

The new stuff is harder to figure out what fits and what doesn't, but smaller line manufacturers like SC, Kona, etc tend to stick to more common specs than people like Trek or speshy. Those guys have the R&D budget to define their own standards.

EDIT: to add another take on it, when my 26" dual sus with 3" travel died, I was seriously looking at replacing it with a 27.5+ tire hardtail because they felt the same on most of the trail. The only place the dual was better was the drops. the bigger wheel size/tire combo made up for the suspension. The wide 29" tires and 5" of travel are in a different league.

java230
java230 SuperDork
7/14/17 3:18 p.m.

In reply to ultraclyde:

Your edit is interesting. I am looking at older 26" dual suspension (5-7" ish) bikes. Maybe I should look for a hard tail 29"?

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
7/14/17 3:53 p.m.

In reply to java230:

If you're talking 5+ inches of travel a plus tire hardtail won't match it. You need that kind of travel if you're doing drops over 3 feet on every ride. Your knees will thank you.

Note too I'm talking about plus (extra wide) tires in bigger sizes too. Like over 3" wide but not "fat tires" at 4" and over.

Sheesh, the options.

java230
java230 SuperDork
7/14/17 5:22 p.m.

In reply to ultraclyde:

I don't need that much travel by any means.... All the stuff I've been looking at seems to be running 2.75 ish tires

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/15/17 8:35 a.m.
java230 wrote: In reply to ultraclyde: Your edit is interesting. I am looking at older 26" dual suspension (5-7" ish) bikes. Maybe I should look for a hard tail 29"?

Perhaps. But you need to get out, so get whatever you can find/afford. Resist the urge to upgrade or modify it, and if you keep at it save up for something newer. A typical 29er hardtail will have about a 4" travel fork - something that would have been considered "DH" 20 years ago. A modern 29er hardtail is an incredibly capable bike. Partly because they are generally patterned after World Cup XC race bikes and WC XC race course have become very technical over the past few years with features that would have been eye-openers on a DH race course 20 years ago.

Otherwise, I don't disagree with ultraclyde - my current "everyday trail bike" is a new Intense Primer - 29" wheels and about 5" travel front and rear. The bike is stunningly capable and one of the best handling and most playful bikes I've ever had. The only thing that really holds it back right now is tires - I am a DH racer, so I tend to ride rather aggressively and the lighter casing trail tires have proven a bit too light for my riding style. Fortunately, the new mainstream interest in 29er DH bikes has resulted in a crop of new 29er DH tires.

However, that capability comes at a price. The bike wasn't cheap and the bike I have was one of the less expensive spec bikes Intense sells, although I've changed out a few parts.

IMG_20170608_121434251

I also have a 27.5+ hardtail in my quiver. A semi-custom Vassago Ver Hauen:

IMG_20160904_145533079

The bike is pretty amazing for aggressive trail riding. I've done bigger drops and jumps on it than I would have thought it capable of. For example (one of the jumps on a line at Sprain, NY last fall/winter):

15726549_1307044902696417_8180813358070950206_n

And then be able to do 20+ mile trail rides on it at Kingdom Trails in VT. During that same ride, I followed my teammate (riding his enduro bike) off a 6' drop - blind - without looking at it first. The bike took it like a champ.

One last thing - dropper posts. I seriously don't know how we lived without them. Being able to quickly slam the seat down and out of the way for descending or jumping was a game changer for me and made riding even more fun.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ SuperDork
7/15/17 3:17 p.m.

Just got back from Nockamixon- hot damn this bike is good! I'm very rusty and not in any sort of cardio shape, but the suspension smooths things out beautifully and handles really well; the back end is pretty perfect with just the sag set and the rebound damping tweaked to where I like it, I think I'll experiment with taking some air out of the fork before riding again since the front seemed a bit stiff. The thing handles so intuitively that the couple of times I thought I was in trouble, the tiny bit of muscle memory which survived 5 years off the bike was able to save me. Thanks for your help guys!

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
7/15/17 6:09 p.m.

In reply to ¯_(ツ)_/¯:

Hell yeah! Thats awesome. Glad to see you back on the trails.

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