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  #1  
Old July 13th, 2015, 01:03 PM
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Trail Mountain Bikes

Hey All

Wanted to pick the brain of the collective who are big time mountain bikers and who keep up with all the latest and best MTB stuff.

I've decided to retire my Specialized Enduro Pro (circa 1990 something) which hasn't gotten any use the last 3-5 years. I want something a little more durable but just as capable for mostly trails, cross country and regular downhill stuff (i.e. no dedicated ski slope downhill from a lift, but the regular go up a mountain, come down the mountain variety). I was a big time rider up until a few years ago, semi pro, and competitive, until kids, work, and life just pushed it to the back burner, but now I'm back. No more competitive stuff, but will always want to push myself, and like my D90, want to be able to go anywhere whenever.

I went to a couple of bike shops. No budget initially in mind, but definitely, I'm not ready for a $10k+ bike for my once in a while former passion. One pushed the entry level stump jumper, which is obviously familiar to me and a definite upgrade (I think). Another shop pushed the Kona 134 (which further research online suggested the DL version of the 134).

They both seem ok, and around where I want to be. I like the single drive technology out now as long as it allows me to do my uphills in granny like I used to, but also to push hard on the flats and downhills. I believe the Sram x1x11 are the ones to look for ???

Anyway, giving a budget of <$4k, what say the experts and why?

Thanks in advance all.
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  #2  
Old July 13th, 2015, 01:20 PM
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barry f
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This is the first thing you do. You wait until Oct when the 16s come out and you get a 2015 bike that was 6k for 4k.

Since you like Specialized I would get an Enduro Expert 29 or 650. Either way you will be beyond happy.

Personally I ride a Rocky Mountain Instinct BC. It's a 29er with 140/130 travel and I'm running full XTR with their new 1x11 drivetrain. I'm personally a shimano fan but you cant go wrong with the sram stuff either.

If your bike is from the 90s, at this point you could buy the cheapest crap out there and still feel like you are light years ahead of where you were.

I do keep up with the latest and greatest. I suggest you don't bother as it will make you nuts. In the last few years, bike companies have things down to a science to make you feel like you have outdated stuff.

Your bike probably has quick release axles.

Bikes for the last few years are all 100mm through axle in the front and 142 in the back. As of 2016 most companies are going to 110 in front and 148 in the back. They claim it's stiffer. I think they just want people to have to buy a new frame, fork, and wheels to keep up with standards.
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  #3  
Old July 13th, 2015, 02:34 PM
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lol I have no suggestions if you like specialized... worst company ever... run by a bunch of douche bags.

- if you want a trail thrasher and can handle single speed... go pick up a new superfly they are cheap and light(aluminum model) and attack any trail aggressively, it is a very fun bike. I have a carbon one, it is my favorite out of like 9 bikes lol
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Old July 13th, 2015, 02:37 PM
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Keep em coming guys. Not a specialized guy at all. Just something I rode forever. Actually would like to move away from specialized.
Talk to me about aluminum vs carbon. Worth the change???
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  #5  
Old July 13th, 2015, 02:45 PM
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I like my Kona.
But if and when I replace it, I'm going to give Bianchi a look.
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  #6  
Old July 13th, 2015, 02:46 PM
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Carbon is worth it. I rather have a great frame with shit components than a shit frame with great components.

Carbon is stiffer and lighter.

As for companies I kinda hate Specialized too for being this huge brand that insists on making every single part on a bike. They claim it is because they can make it better but I think it is to squeeze profit out of every part.

Sadly I like Trek and would buy one but I cant see how they are any better. The way they treated Lemond is reason enough to hate them but who cares.

There is so much good shit out there it is hard to go wrong.
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Are there shocks that I can addjust up and down like my friends LX460? That would be very cool!
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  #7  
Old July 13th, 2015, 03:32 PM
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I couldn't be happier with my Specialized Camber Comp Carbon 29er. In my book, the best balance of materials (i.e. carbon frame and wheel set; aluminum rear triangle) and components in the budget you're at. I upgraded my brakes (including carbon fiber brake levers - which sound silly for weight savings, but make a huge difference in the late fall in Vermont because they're far less cold than metal), clipless and went with tubeless tires. That unsprung weight actually does make a difference.

Since your heydays, there hasn't been as huge a leap for mankind as a full suspension 29er... it literally took 20 years off my aging body and has allowed me to ride technical trails that I thought were impenetrable.

You won't know until you ride them - hopefully you've got a bike shop around you that allows for long test rides.

And, in the for-what-its-worth category, the most hardcore of my friends are all swearing by fat tires. I, myself, prefer to keep my exercise seasonal - skis for winter; bikes for the rest of the year. But these guys now ride - and giggle - year round.
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  #8  
Old July 13th, 2015, 03:35 PM
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Dr Dread, give my cousin a call. He's a genius and owns a solid shop in AR.

Tell him Clay sent you.

David Neal
mojocycling.com
(479) 271-7201
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  #9  
Old July 13th, 2015, 03:36 PM
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I'm partial to my local bike companies. Living on the North Shore of Vancouver, it all kinda took off here in the 90's. Kona, Rocky Mountain, Brodie and Norco are really big here being local companies.

One of the best ways to buy a bike is Pinkbike Buy and Sell Mountain Bikes, Gear and Parts - Pinkbike they have a buy/sell section that is pretty amazing, you can search by lots of different parameters (like location, price etc.) bikes, parts so on and so on.

For example, I just bought my son a 2003 Rocky Mountain ETSX-50 (about $4000 new, plus it has a $1,000 new fork.) Excellent condition and well cared for...$550!!

I'm getting back into it as well, same deal, used to race here locally as the sport was developing, lived in Whistler for a couple years, then along came the wife, kids and so on. Now my oldest is 11 he's ready to get out there and ride some of the crazy stuff we have here, so I'm all in. He's kicking my butt! Loving the big advances in design and technology in bikes that has happened over the last 10- 15 years.

Have a look through pinchbeck and see what you can find. there's also tons of great info there, reviews, etc.

This is the reaction after his first ride on the new (used) bike...
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  #10  
Old July 13th, 2015, 03:40 PM
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Wow so you guys are digging these monster truck looking tires ?? Can you really do stretches of hills and cross country maneuvers over shit?
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  #11  
Old July 13th, 2015, 05:20 PM
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Thanks for that awesome link, Scott!! My 14 yr old son has just outgrown his Specialized and wants a Rocky Mountain now like mine. I love my Rocky and think they're a great company. And yeah, he is kicking my fat ass on the trails LOL. I told him I will buy him a new bike but its frame is gonna be all steel with some lead weights for good measure.
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  #12  
Old July 13th, 2015, 05:44 PM
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I have been riding/racing my Moots Ti hard-tail for years. It's light, durable, and a great cross country machine. They also have the YBB and full suspension options. I visited their factory during the Bicycle tour of Colorado a few years back. Everything is still hand made and shaped. They are worth the entry price.

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  #13  
Old July 13th, 2015, 05:54 PM
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If anyone is looking for a good mountain bike I'm looking to sell mine. Its a Niner EMD medium frame, 2x10, tubeless, etc.. Not sure if any of you would be interested, but feel free to shoot me a message. Sorry for the hijack.

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  #14  
Old July 13th, 2015, 06:17 PM
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I ride a Carbon Devinci Troy and love it, but my next bike will be one of these

YT USA

The consumer direct sales model just can't be beat, the component spec vs price will not be found at any LBS.

Three things I've learned in the past few years;
1. Slack head angles are awesome, (I pushed my bike from 67deg. to 66deg. head angle.)
2. Get a 1x11 drivetrain
3. Stiffness is key, especially forks, wheels and bars; the stiffer the better
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  #15  
Old July 13th, 2015, 06:46 PM
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Craig Spaeth
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I am riding a Transition Scout that is really similar to the Kona 134. I switched down to the 27.5 wheels in order to have the option of running a front derailed if I need to. I went with a 1x10 and so far I am really happy with it using a 26 tooth up front and a 42 ring in the back. I would look for a company that has been working on super short chain stay geometry. It makes a big wheel bike ride super snappy and hoppable. A carbon frame is one place to save weight but I went with the Derby 40 mm wide carbon wheels and they are Awesome! I am 215 lbs. and I can run 27lbs of pressure in the back and 19 in the front. It makes them super grippy and really fun in loose conditions.

Any of the newer style geometry bikes will be a great improvement over what you are currently riding.
Good luck with your search.
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  #16  
Old July 13th, 2015, 06:58 PM
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What D-Bag has said, I agree with. I'm not a "competitive" rider like you were, however I can generally ride with higher level riders of all ages. !0 yrs. ago I decided to just go with Yeti as there are so many brands and choices. They are conservative in their approach, not doing the fad thing until it's proven to be a solid performer.
That said, I ride full suspension, mainly for comfort over the gnarly stuff. I have 26, 27.5, and 29ers. The 29er will roll over more stuff, you have more freedom to go through a line, as opposed to needing to be selective of your line, and your times will be slightly faster. That said, the smaller wheels will be more fun and require a bit more "driving". If you come from a BMX background, you may want to stay with smaller wheels.
4-5" travel is plenty in either size wheel....bigger travel is not necessarily better unless you're doing large mountain downhill.
I'll go out on a limb and say a used boutique bike with top end components is your best buy, assuming it has led an easy life. Should you become interested in that approach, I have a superb Yeti SB95c carbon with top drawer componetry that you would love if it fits (L). Very low hrs., and mint, just slightly above your pain threshold, but worth it.
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  #17  
Old July 13th, 2015, 08:52 PM
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Barry hit the nails on the head. And there are really good responses/tips/advice.

- I would say not to get a used bike unless it is a local buddy and you can ride it and see how it fits. There are some great deals on stuff like PinkBike but if the OP is asking for advice on here he might not know what exactly he wants

- I am more of a fan of brands like Kona, Rocky Mountain and Transition and a bunch of others over Specialized and Trek. But the big guys do make nice bikes and might get more bang for your buck too.

- I would find a local shop that you bond with. One that might have some demo's or a weekly group ride or even just has a good attitude. See what the local people are riding. If they ride a lot they will find what works on the local terrain. Having said that most of the new bikes are so good they can ride a lot of different style and stuff very well.

- Like Barry said the bike industry is kooky so don't over think it if you can. 20mm thru axles were totally fine but they had to do 15mm - now the bump from 142 to 148? Then the 650b, fat tires, mid-big tires, bunch of different BB standards, tapered HT's. A lot of it is really good but sometimes makes things too complicated. It might be the reason I am still running 26's and dig at the trails more than I actually ride them.
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  #18  
Old July 14th, 2015, 12:07 AM
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Thanks guys. So much to think of.
So far I have...
Go for carbon...
I definitely need FSR....
I think coming from my 26" life, 29" might be too drastic for now... I like to pick my lines and 650b may be the best compromise/upgrade
I'm 6'2, 225lbs, so I use a Large, sorry Jimmy.
One problem I had with my Specialized was it's components were blah (even though they were upgraded and I believe the high end of the Enduro series at the time), but lots of chain slip and other annoying shit, so like the idea of gently used but like anything how can I tell??? The pinkbike site has very little near me, and I have to ride and feel any used bike I buy (sorry John)
My search of the best of the local bike shops to me provided two which were bleh at best. One is a chain that basically just do specialized (which is officially off the list), and the other does the Konas as starters then goes up to Santa Cruz and other high end custom stuff.
Just want to buy my bike and go riding as the more I learn the dizzier I get. I travelled from CT to Canada to Colorado to Utah for bike trips so local scene only won't help if I get back into it as I hope to.
Geez, it'd be so much easier to get a new Defender
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  #19  
Old July 14th, 2015, 01:10 AM
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If you are lucky enough to find something in a large nearby in the used market, it would be a bonus. If you buy used, definitely I recommend test riding. Most important is the frame, if your head tube or down tube is cracked or has signs of stress or welding, game over. Anything else can be removed and replaced. A good offroad bike is very similar to a D90. As things break, you upgrade, personalize, make it your own. Any component can be removed and upgraded. It's all personal taste.

Kona has some excellent XC full suspension bikes, and Santa Cruz as well. Go to the local stores and test ride, test ride, test ride. Keep looking on Pinkbike, as good deals do come up often, but are scooped up quickly. I have missed out on stuff I have seen here locally, posted in the morning and gone by the afternoon. Craigslist is also a good spot to look, but be wary of stolen bikes. Usually if you ask a sell why they are selling, or where they got the bike, the thieves are pretty obvious.

The other route.. Test drive, find your size, buy a frame and build.... compared to a Defender, it's all cheap!
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  #20  
Old July 14th, 2015, 01:33 AM
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My first carbon frame was a 1990 Ned Overend Stumpjumper and when the third frame delaminated SpecialEd said tough shit. So although their carbon frames might be a good value, I think the company sucks. It really comes down to what fits, and which wheels suit your riding style. Rent some bikes decide on 26/27.5/29" wheels and if SpecialEd bikes fit and geometry are your preference, the decision is easy. My new carbon full-suspension 29er is so damn light, there is not much weight penalty compared to my hard tail 29ers.

My short list would be Pivot Cycles or Kona. I like Turner as a company (made in USA!), but after owning a Blur and a 5 Spot they just do not work for me.

If you are ever in Austin/Houston look me up for a ride.
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