|Originally posted by fudman:
How about dispensing advice to SCSA and myself about :
1. disc brakes yes or no? (no/?? have both Avid and shimano V euqally happy with both)
2. pedal systems (Time ATAC/I prefer over SPD)
3. Wheels - tubeless anyone? (mavic crossride/always liked mavic)
4. Tires (michelin/really like michelin)
5. Shifting system (SRAM/prefer over Shimano)
6. Cranks/Chaninrings (Race Face/prefer high end shimano).
7. BB (shimano XT or +/ prefer over aftermarket)
8. Front shock (SID/??)
9. Stem (rithchey/have had cheaper stems and yes there is a difference)
At the risk of alienating those that may disagree with my rather strong opinions, here are my thoughts.
1. The need for disc brakes depends entirely on the type of riding you will do. If you live in a dry climate, discs are pretty well unnecessary for XC riding. If you have an urepentant urge to get discs, then get them -- but understand, you are adding unnecessary mechanical complexity. Of my 3 MTBs, only one has disc brakes - my freeride full suspension bike. On the other two, I run Avid V brakes. IMHO, Shimano V's are overrated and overpriced. I think Avid makes the best calipers and levers, bar none.
2. Time ATAC pedals and Crank Bros Eggbeater pedals are the best, bar none. Nothing else matches their reliability, mechanical simplicity, and invulnerability to foul conditions. I have tried the other major types (Shimano/Ritchey, Look and Onza) and none holds a candle. Speedplay and BeBop are peculiar in that they have unfettered rotation, which is odd to me and many others. Besides, they are more complicated mechanically than ATACs or Eggbeaters.
3. Tubeless wheels are a laughingstock, designed for leg-shaving XC racer geeks. I wouldn't run them if you paid me. As to wheels, the best buys are on lower-priced custom wheels, which will suit your riding and will last longer than others. The two best sources are Mike Garcia at www.oddsandendos.com
and Colorado Cyclist. I've used wheels from Colo Cyc on several bikes, and they last a VERY long time. Mike Garcia's wheels are a very close second, and are priced better than Colo Cyclist. Avoid the pre-made models by Mavic, Sun/Ringle, Shimano, etc., and do NOT buy machine-built wheels. Hand-built wheels are exponentially more durable.
4. Tires are the most personal part of the bike that actually touches the trail. Grips and saddles are the most personal parts that touch your body. I have had consistently good luck with WTB tires, Panaracer tires, Continental tires, Hutchinson tires, and Bontrager tires. IMHO, the best all-around XC tire made today is the Panaracer Fire XC Pro in the 127 tpi model made in Japan. If you ride excluslively on hardpack trails, the Hutchinson Python Airlight is better than the Panaracers, but it's not trustworthy in loose gravel or very sloppy descents. On my MTBs I run the following:
Singlspeed: Continental Vertical ProTection 2.3 front, Hutchinson Python Airlight rear
Hardtail: Panaracer Fire XC Pro 127tpi, 2.1 size, both front & rear.
FS: (freeride wheelset) WTB MotoRaptor 2.4 front, WTB MutanoRaptor 2.4 rear... about to switch to WTB Weirwolf 2.5 front.
FS: (epic ride wheelset) Continental Vertical ProTection 2.3 front, Hutchinson Python Airlight rear.
5. Drivetrain - I prefer SRAM twist shifters, but that is purely personal. There are die-hard Shimano Rapidfire folks out there, too. As to derailleurs, the best front der for the $$ is the Shimano XT, and my preference for rear der is SRAM 9.0 with the Shimano XT a close second.
6. Crankset - this is debatable. I like Truvativ products for their value, but Shimano's Hollowtech XT and LX are great values too. I run a 2001 Truvativ Stylo Team ISIS on my FS rig, a 1999 Shimano Hollowtech XT square-taper on my hardtail, and a 2001 FSA Afterburner square-taper on my singlespeed. RaceFace are high quality but also high-priced, except for their Prodigy line, which are high quality but relatively heavy.
7. Bottom Bracket - for square-taper crank holes, the Shimano UN-72 remains the undisputed value/durability/quality champion. For ISIS-spec splined crank holes, I think it's a toss-up among any of Truvativ, FSA or RaceFace. If cost is no object, Chris King or Phil Wood is the way to go, but remember, you must have compatibility between the crank hole and the BB spindle. You cannot run an ISIS splined part with a square-taper part or vice-versa. Chris King's ISIS BB hasn't yet been released, and I think Phil Wood's BBs are square taper too.
8. Suspension Forks - Marzocchi are far and away the most dependable and plushest, even if a wee bit heavier than others. I run Marzocchi forks exclusively. I see no reason to save a few grams with a RockJunx SID, which is a flexy noodle that doesn't steer accurately and offers only a slightly softer ride than a rigid fork. The Manitou SX-R from 2001 and 2000 is a phenomenal value, almost as plush as a Marzocchi, as light as a RockJunx, and less flexy than a SID or Judy. Fox forks are very well made but are in their first year of production. I would recommend using one if you buy it from Larry Mettler at www.mtnhighcyclery.com,
because Larry stands behind his products and his prices on forks are unbeatable. The Fox is the only fork I would use other than Marzocchi.
9. Stems - one of the great myths in the MTB world is the supposed superiority of Thomson stems and seatposts. BAH! There are much better products and much better values. I like the Titec stems and posts, especially the Knucklehead DH models that are available for a very low $20-25 directly from Titec at www.titec.com
in their "Specials" section. Other companies make nice stems - Thomson, RaceFace, Easton come to mind - but you will pay through the nose for them, and they aren't any better-performing than the Titec Knucklehead DH model.[ May 03, 2002, 11:52 AM: Message edited by: gonzostrike ]