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Yes another "Which MTB should I get thread"

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Can I keep this thread alive, even if it's slightly off-topic? I've been riding a Gary Fisher Joshua Z-1 for 13-14 years after riding a Scott without suspension. The Fisher is a full-supension Y-bike and started at 24.5 lbs, but may be more due to heavier tires and other parts being replaced over time. The rear Rock Shox lost it's fluid so it's been only a coil spring for a while and now the bushing at one end has gotten worn and is not as stable as it used to be. Since it is hard to find parts or somebody to rebuild a nearly 15 year old shock, I'm looking for a replacement bike.

 

I'd like to keep my budget about the same as philplug's. I'm somewhat undecided between 29 inch hard tail and 26 inch full suspension and rode one of each the last two days. Yesterday, I rode a Felt 29 inch Nine Elite Carbon, but was in the middle of the city and could only test it by jumping off curbs and riding over some overpasses. I was very impressed by how fast and smooth it. Today I rode a Trek Fuel EX 9 (this is the part that relates to OP) and was able to ride some of the steep fireroads I often ride. While it was comfortable, I thought it felt somewhat sluggish, even with both ends locked out and did not seem any better on climbs than my almost 15 year-old Fisher that has bobbed for a while (and now weaves at the bottom of downhills). It was great on the downhills with super powerful brakes, especially front. I almost crashed when I took a singe-track off-shoot of the fire road and saw deep ruts where I re-joined the road and a lady walking uphill on my side of the road who was not looking up. I twisted out of one pedal and after deciding I wasn't going to crash on a demo ride made it, but got whacked in the calf by the pedal.

 

I can buy either of these bikes for the same $2,200 plus tax. The Felt was a special order at my friend's store that did not get picked up and the price includes a friend's discount. The Trek is a very lightly used demo that may have seen it's first dirt today. I would have to beat out others when the store opens tomorrow as there is only one 18 and 19 inch. There are some higher end models, but they start at $3,000. At the shop with the Trek, they give you unlimited tune-ups and adjustment for lift. At 55 and semi-fit, but almost 6 feet and 200 pounds, I am more of a fire road and cross country rider than a technical single-track rider. I am not above using shuttles and set up my own at Soquel Demostration Forest twice last summer and at Wilder Ranch this summer (both near Santa Cruz). Some of my favorite regular rides are at So. Tahoe and include Red Corral, where uphill is on pavement, and downhill used to include fast, slightly sandy, banked turns and the smooth, hard-packed sandy forest found around Coldstream Canyon. I do end up riding on pavement a lot as I do not have a road bike. Does anyone have any ideas, suggestions or questions?  

post #2 of 22

I own a Fuel EX9, & have ridden all the rides you mention numerous times & never thought my bike was lacking or that I needed anything more.  You are bigger than me though, & the fact that you plan on spending time on the road may bring the 29er into play.  I don't spend a lot of time riding other bikes except occasionally jumping on friends bikes just to feel what they are about.  There are others on here who seem to have more experience in this area, & I am sure they will chime in.

JF

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

4ster - Thanks for the input. There are a lot of deals through this weekend. As of now, I have decided against trying to get the Trek EX demo. 

 

I only have ridden the Flume once, using a shuttle from my wife who dropped me at Spponer Lake and waited with my son for me on the beach at Sand Harbor. I came down Tunnel Creek and remember a wild, sandy downhill. My wife also dropped me at Tahoe Rim/Grass Lake trailhead on CA-89 and I came down Mr. Toad's. Both were done on no-suspension Scott. When I lived on the West Shore of Tahoe in the 70s, I road some dirt in the area on a steel-wheel Motobecone 10-speeed.

 

There is more info on Felt 9s here http://reviews.mtbr.com/felt-2012-nine-series-mountain-bikes and one on craigslist in Santa Cruz for $1,900 http://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/bik/2554164481.html which does not seems like much of a discount compare to what I can get new,,

post #4 of 22

quick comment:  I would check to see how much air the rear shock had in it and how it was setup.  Sounds like it may not have enough air in it. I am 170 and ride mine at 150psi and set (rp23) it in the middle with the shock on full. (no limitation) I would think at your size you would want about 175psi.  My guess is that if it is too low, it may be cause of so much pedal bob. 

post #5 of 22

Out of the two, I'd get the Trek for sure.

post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the comments. At over 50 with some back issues, I'd hate to give up FS and find I couldn't ride what I want for 2-3 hours without hurting my back.

 

I'm not sure how the bike suspension was setup. I didn't feel bob, but had to go into first gear a few times to make it up steep, Jones trail out of Los Gatos. After both test ride, I should have immediately done the same route on my Fisher. Maybe I can try that this morrning. I was wondering if tire pressure was lower than I'm used to riding as even the dirt/gravel road along Los Gatos Creek that I usually fly down on my Fisher did not seem that fast. 

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

Moderator is welcome to break the part of this thread beginning with my comments yesterday into new thread title Higher-end Carbon 29er HT vs. Mid-range Aluminum FS 26

 

I rode the same short Los Gatos loop this morning on my older high-end Gary Fisher as I did yesterday on new Trex Fuel EX 9. I did feel like I was breathing harder on the steep uphill and definitely am losing some power to worn-out, no longer able to lock out rear shock. I think I got into the middle ring in the front on the Trex in places where I stayed on small ring on my bike. I still enjoyed the ride enough to go farther up the hill than previous day to Manazanita trail and rode the somewhat techical, alternate single-track, where I turned around and took a couple of iphone pictures I'll try to post later. I did go through the area where I almost crashed the previous day and even knowing that there would be ruts, it was still tough. I meant to time myself on the ride, but did not do very well on that. Other differences were that I rode Trek mid-day and it was about 80 and uncrowded, while I rode my bike early on Saturday morning and it was cool and fairly crowded. I need to do this ride more often in the morning as this area has probably the greatest concentration of beautiful women in No. CA. 

 

I went by store selling Trek demos before and after ride. There were probably 5 or 6 people in line at 8:45 and maybe ten at 9:30. I asked the guy who let me take Trek out what he thought the pressure was in tires and suspension, but he did not know. He really tried hard to sell me the bike, but I declined and went to bike swap at my friend's store where they have decided to let me take out the new special-order HT Felt on dirt. I did not take them up on it today and may wait for a day when I have not ridden 4 days in a row.

 

I've done some research on FS vs. HT. There are many who say that riders think they are going faster on HT than FS, even though they are not. Ideally I'd have both, plus a nice road bike, but I'm trying to get by with one bike and can get higher end, carbon and 29 by giving up FS and staying HT.

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'll stop replying to my own replies after this. I found some good info. in forums at http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-bikes/29er-ht-wait-few-years-buy-29er-fs-bike-668843.html and http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-bikes/29er-ht-wait-few-years-buy-29er-fs-bike-668843.html It's possble I'll go for the Felt HT Carbon 29, then take my time to find rear shock and bushing that works for my Gary Fisher so I have an FS option. The second link ends with some discussion of Specialized Camber which is a FS 29er available through tomorrow for $1700 at another shop in Los Gatos. The salesman recomended Camber and Epic Comp. The Epic Comp FS 29 is on sale for $2,849 (over $3K with CA sales tax). He did not recommend the 28.1 lb. FSR Comp 29 which is on sale for $2,099. Does anyone have thoughrts on these?

 

I've never posted pictures on this website, but these iPhone pictures from this morning's ride look like they are going.

First is as rocky as it gets above Los Gatos and about as rocky as I like to ride.

 

412AsRockyAsItGets.JPG

 

Following is view of Lexington Reservoir, Santa Cruz Mountains and fog that has been keeping summer very pleasant in South Bay Area.

 

413ViewOfLexington+Fog.JPG

 

Last picture in long turn going uphill. I usually only ride this uphill, but turned around at the top and also rode it downhill today. 

 

414LongTurnFromBelow.JPG


Edited by tseeb - 8/20/11 at 7:08pm
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tseeb View Post

Moderator is welcome to break the part of this thread beginning with my comments yesterday into new thread title Higher-end Carbon 29er HT vs. Mid-range Aluminum FS 26

 

 



Here you go!

post #10 of 22

first off all first trail riding I feel that once you have the legs to propells it a FS 29er is by far the easiest fastest way to shred the majority of XC trails.

 

Full suspension bikes have alot of different designs though. FSR flat out sucks.....I am not going to sugar coat it all.  If you rode a FSR and a dual short link design back to back there is not way you would like the FSR design better. it can be band aided with really fancy shocks but if you have suspension you want it to work.

 

That takes us to dual short link suspension. Really for XC style riding looking at anything else is basically saying you do not get physics. Pivot, Santa Cruz, Ibis, Intense, Turner, Giant  are all companies that are on the leading edge of suspension tech. Giant is the only one that is affordable and by far the best value, and in some case the best bike as well...

 

giant makes a Anthem X29 3 and it retails for 2400 bucks. Its feel like it has bigger travel than its 4 inches climbs better than most XC bikes and aside from really steep or gnar its an amaazing singletrack decender.

post #11 of 22

nice trails, based on what i see in those pics, if you are open to different bikes, I am going to vote again for the Giants as Bush said above.  26 or 9r is a personal preference and I still prefer my 6'r .

post #12 of 22

Based on those pictures, I think an AnthemX in either wheelsize would be just about perfect.

 

Try the other bikes too though. If you have access to the demos, you might as well try them for yourself.

post #13 of 22



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tseeb View Post

 

I'd like to keep my budget about the same as philplug's. I'm somewhat undecided between 29 inch hard tail and 26 inch full suspension and rode one of each the last two days. Yesterday, I rode a Felt 29 inch Nine Elite Carbon, but was in the middle of the city and could only test it by jumping off curbs and riding over some overpasses. I was very impressed by how fast and smooth it. Today I rode a Trek Fuel EX 9 (this is the part that relates to OP) and was able to ride some of the steep fireroads I often ride. While it was comfortable, I thought it felt somewhat sluggish, even with both ends locked out and did not seem any better on climbs than my almost 15 year-old Fisher that has bobbed for a while (and now weaves at the bottom of downhills). It was great on the downhills with super powerful brakes, especially front. I almost crashed when I took a singe-track off-shoot of the fire road and saw deep ruts where I re-joined the road and a lady walking uphill on my side of the road who was not looking up. I twisted out of one pedal and after deciding I wasn't going to crash on a demo ride made it, but got whacked in the calf by the pedal.

 

I

When you go to a counselor, they most often just let you talk. A nice way to sort out personal issues. They guide you thru your feelings and impressions and allow you to come to the "ah-ha!" moment. You seem to have said it

 

Note what I bolded.

 

Me? I own a FS bike and a HT. Both good bikes. The HT takes me anywhere I care to ride and does it well. The FS  does the same, but is slower and more comfortable. With that said I like my HT better. The FS is simply a tool for those rougher rides. Just me. Given the choice if I could only have one bike (not the case happily  BTW) I'd choose my steel HT.

 

Just wanted to add that I did a double test ride this week. Monday rode a tough jeep trail ride with some singletrack. Jeeptrail-lots of fist sized rocks, semi steep climbs. Rode the HT. Got knocked around a bit on the jeep trail. Had to walk some sections. Singletrack not so bad. semi-technical. ST was a peice of cake.

 

Yesterday did the exact same ride on the FS. Got knocked around a bit on the jeep trail. Had to walk some sections. Less knocked about, walked less sections. Was less tired. Singletrack a peice of cake. Bottom line the FS was better in the rough stuff, but "better" being the operative word here. I actually found the HT to be just a tab better on the singletrack. It wasn't good and bad. More like good and gooder.

 

Bottom line you will be happy with either bike. Just go with that which says "Hi" to you. (and don't let the current fashion in bikes influence your decision)


Edited by Mr5150 - 8/21/11 at 7:29pm
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

Based on those pictures, I think an AnthemX in either wheelsize would be just about perfect.

 

Try the other bikes too though. If you have access to the demos, you might as well try them for yourself.



Yeppers, +2 or 3.  While I don't in general see the point in 29ers, given the o.p.'s current riding preferences I think the 29er AntehmX will give him the most versatility.  While he currently is riiding extremely smooth trails, being able to expand the menu if he wants is a huge plus.  The first "rocky as I like it to get" pick will get smoothed out a lot on something like the AnthemX, and as for riding on pavement, the slight loss in efficiency versus a HT really isn't a big deal.  If you want to go as fast as possible on pavement a road bike is the answer, and otherwise slightly slower just means a few minutes here or there. 

 

Re: the carbon fiber frame the o.p. mentions,  he doesn't sound like he crashes a lot, and he doesn't seem to do very technical or rocky rides, so on the one hand the carbon could work well for him.  On the other hand, he's kind of preventing any real expansion of types of riding in the future, and always one tumble away from issues.  Particularly for someone not looking to spend much money, my bias is that the utility that someone gets from a carbon frame can be had for a lot less with another material, unless they race and really care about the weight.  If they are willing to spend money, in general titanium still seems like it makes more sense for a MTB.  But, it took me a long time to get an iPod, too.

post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post



 

When you go to a counselor, they most often just let you talk. A nice way to sort out personal issues. They guide you thru your feelings and impressions and allow you to come to the "ah-ha!" moment. You seem to have said it

 

Note what I bolded.

 

Me? I own a FS bike and a HT. Both good bikes. The HT takes me anywhere I care to ride and does it well. The FS  does the same, but is slower and more comfortable. With that said I like my HT better. The FS is simply a tool for those rougher rides. Just me. Given the choice if I could only have one bike (not the case happily  BTW) I'd choose my steel HT.

 

Just wanted to add that I did a double test ride this week. Monday rode a tough jeep trail ride with some singletrack. Jeeptrail-lots of fist sized rocks, semi steep climbs. Rode the HT. Got knocked around a bit on the jeep trail. Had to walk some sections. Singletrack not so bad. semi-technical. ST was a peice of cake.

 

Yesterday did the exact same ride on the FS. Got knocked around a bit on the jeep trail. Had to walk some sections. Less knocked about, walked less sections. Was less tired. Singletrack a peice of cake. Bottom line the FS was better in the rough stuff, but "better" being the operative word here. I actually found the HT to be just a tab better on the singletrack. It wasn't good and bad. More like good and gooder.

 

Bottom line you will be happy with either bike. Just go with that which says "Hi" to you. (and don't let the current fashion in bikes influence your decision)



even if my HT had gears, there is no way it would be faster up or down on real trail than my FS bike.  Its BS that FS bikes climb slower. My limiting factor in almost any ride is traction going up or down, FS bikes maintain traction so much better with way less thought process.  Are you SNpete? The location and bias towards HT and fireroad seems like the same.....

 

The 26er Anthem is twitchy IMO at speed and does not steamroll tech sections like the 29er. Judging by the posters pictures there is nothing tight, or punchy and just open and flowly.

 

to be fair I have some huge legs and can produce huge amounts of power, I do not even notice the extra weight of the 29er wheel even on punchy and tight trails.

 

 

post #16 of 22

It would probably break your budget, but I think an Intense Spider2 or Spider29 would really blow you away. Handmade in Cali for what it's worth.

post #17 of 22


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tseeb View Post

I've never posted pictures on this website, but these iPhone pictures from this morning's ride look like they are going.

First is as rocky as it gets above Los Gatos and about as rocky as I like to ride.

 

412AsRockyAsItGets.JPG

 

Following is view of Lexington Reservoir, Santa Cruz Mountains and fog that has been keeping summer very pleasant in South Bay Area.

 

413ViewOfLexington+Fog.JPG

 

Last picture in long turn going uphill. I usually only ride this uphill, but turned around at the top and also rode it downhill today. 

 

414LongTurnFromBelow.JPG


Trails like that, a hardtail or fully rigid is a great option. Just stay away from aluminum HT if you want  a compliant ride.

 

Like was mentioned above CTKook, spending 2300 on a nice FS will expand the menu to more technical trails, but won't really be better for riding buffed out smooth hardpack.

post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the advice. I continue to read it. I was in Los Gatos again yesterday for the 4th day out of last 6, but even though I was across the street from bike store with Trek demos on sale, I didn't go in to see what was left. I've repaired the pinch flat my son got crossing RR tracks in Santa Cruz last Wed. and also replaced the weak front tire on old Diamond Back HT that has mostly been going unused this summer. We bought it used for my wife who does not taking her hydrid off pavement, but my son ended up riding it and taking it to college last year. I can ride it for the next few weeks so at least I have something to ride to avoid possibly doing damage to my Gary Fisher while researching and looking some more. So I plan to:

 

1. Look at Giants at local shops to see what they carry, how close to list they are getting and try to get a demo.

2. Look at shops at Kirkwood and South Tahoe, where I will be over Labor Day to see what deals they have

3. Try to get to Northstar before mountain biking closes to see what they have a get a demo  

post #19 of 22



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post





even if my HT had gears, there is no way it would be faster up or down on real trail than my FS bike.  Its BS that FS bikes climb slower. My limiting factor in almost any ride is traction going up or down, FS bikes maintain traction so much better with way less thought process.  Are you SNpete? The location and bias towards HT and fireroad seems like the same.....

 

The 26er Anthem is twitchy IMO at speed and does not steamroll tech sections like the 29er. Judging by the posters pictures there is nothing tight, or punchy and just open and flowly.

 

to be fair I have some huge legs and can produce huge amounts of power, I do not even notice the extra weight of the 29er wheel even on punchy and tight trails.

 

 


Well Bushwacker,

 

What can I say. Reading your threads it is clear that you are one of the best skiers and mtn bikers in North America. Me-not so much, but I know what I like. And I am half way decent-or so I am told.Seeing the pics from the OP fellow, I question the need for any suspension at all on his part. I wish we had singletrack that tame in my neck of the woods. Ah to just cruz on nice flowey trails. Well actualy we do have some. 100 yards from my house is this trail. Goes for eight miles. But it is an exception.

 

P4230012.JPG

 

We also have this sorta stuff. No doubt something *you* could do on a rigid SS. Me, maybe. Most trails in my area are a mix between the above and below.

 

P5200025a.JPG

 

I think FS bikes are great. Otherwise I wouldn't have one. HTs are great too. My point was if the OP fellow liked that Carbon HT, he oughta get it. Esp. judging by the pics of the trails he rides. And in my experience-having been smoked by more than one rider on a POS bike-it is about the rider more than the bike.

 

Do I need a FS bike? No. Do I want a FS bike? Yes.

 

 


Edited by Mr5150 - 8/22/11 at 9:27pm
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 

Mr5150 - What trail is the first picture? You don't have to identify where you live. Along the NID?

 

I did a long ride on my son's bike yesterday, but it was mostly paved trails at Coyote Hills and along Alameda Creek. ThenI put bike on front of VTA bus for the first time to get from Fremont BART to Milpitas. I then barely caught light rail at Great Mall for an amazingly fast trip home.

 

I have a couple more options that I added below:

First three were listed above

1. Look at Giants at local shops to see what they carry, how close to list they are getting and try to get a demo.

2. Look at shops at Kirkwood and South Tahoe, where I will be over Labor Day to see what deals they have

3. Try to get to Northstar before mountain biking closes to see what they have and get a demo 

Following are new to this list although at least one was discussed

4. Demo the HT Felt on dirt.

5. Send my shock to be rebuilt and bushings to be replaced.

While I'll continue to pursue the first three options, I am also going with the last one as I got a return call from someone who said he can repair my shock for $75-150. Whether I sell or continue to ride the Gary Fisher, it would be better with a working rear shock.

 

Following is early morning picture of one of the ponds at Coyote Hills.

417CoyoteHillsA.JPG


Edited by tseeb - 8/24/11 at 12:40pm
post #21 of 22



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tseeb View Post

Mr5150 - What trail is the first picture? You don't have to identify where you live. Along the NID?

 

I

Check your PM box
post #22 of 22

I have been enjoying my Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er this summer: http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCProduct.jsp?spid=52808&scid=1000&scname=Mountain 

It's a hardtail with front suspension lockout and hydraulic disc brakes that's working well on open dirt and grassy paths, dirt roads, processed gravel roads, rough pot-holed paved roads, and my long steep peastone dressed macadam driveway. The best part is being able to go for rides right out of my garage!


Edited by CHRISfromRI - 8/25/11 at 12:03am
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