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XC/short track full suspension racer for daughter

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
My daughter wants to add Mt bike racing to her repetoire and needs a FS bike for XC and short track racing (she has back issues and doesn't want a hard tail). She is a poor starving college student and is using her own cash so probably wants to keep it under $5K. I know next to nothing about MTB so all suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 24

I used to be involved in MTB Racing from my job working for a tv network that covered it.  This was a while ago though.  What I remember about short track racing is that there is no suspension because the racers are lapping a course that has no technical parts, just an all out race lapping a short dirt road loop.  If it is still the same, any bike with suspension would not allow her to really compete.  For under 5K she should be able to get a good and fairly light FS bike for xc.  Again, a lot of racers will ride a hard tail to save weight. but on a technical course FS can be better.  I ride a Kona Hei Hei which is a nice FS XC bike.  However, mine is a lower end one that lists for under 2K and is thus much heavier than she would want for racing.  Hei Hei's do come in much more expensive configurations as well.  

post #3 of 24

First off, what kind of back issues?  Cycling can make back issues more apparent.  If she's not a regular rider, she may want to experiment with a slightly cheaper bike and see how that goes for her.  Fit will be very important.  $5k is a lot of scratch for a bike.  I compete on a $1400 bike, albeit a hardtail.  Does she have a serious prospect of winning?  She will need some good gear if she intends to compete in racing, beyond the bike.  She'll need a couple of pairs of good shorts at $100 a pop, shoes go for $200 for a good pair.  Sunglasses, gloves, pedals can be $100, tool kit etc. Saddles are very personal so many people change those as well at $100. Depending on terrain, if you're trying to do race mileage, you can go through tires pretty quickly, and good tires are $50-$75 a pop.  So there is much to think about. 

 

First step is to find a reputable shop in your area and start working on her correct size.  If she has back problems this will be even more important.  Her proportions may dictate her bike selection more than brand or parts. If the shop doesn't take you seriously on the sizes, find another shop.  They should measure her inseam and height at least, sometimes torso and arm length as well.  As long as she's purchasing one of the better brands she'll be getting a good bike.  Giant bikes are usually good bang for the buck.  Kona's are nice..I'm eying a Honky Tonk for myself.  Trek has good prices. 

 

And crank is right..short track is basically a hard-tail thing..FS is a waste of energy on that kind of track.  On a longer true XC track, FS can save you some fatigue and allow you to navigate tougher terrain more steadily and with less effort that they mush of FS is a good trade-off.

post #4 of 24

+2 to what crank and scott said.

 

I have actually seen folks riding drop-bar cross bikes on the rare short track races I've been involved with locally. A FS is not the right tool for those, IF we're all talking about the same thing and IF she wants to be competitive. Photo below was taken during a short-track race 10 years ago. I was on a Turner Burner at the time and it was way too much bike for that terrain. (Note the smooth wheelway. Most of the course was actually even smoother than this, and included a lot of actual grass / turf.) The  If you leave the short track out of it I'm sure you'll get more detailed responses. How long are we talking about for XC races? Over what kind of terrain?

 

post #5 of 24

a "poor starving student" with 5K to spend on a bike? no offense intended but that is slightly humorous...

post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by faustus View Post
 

a "poor starving student" with 5K to spend on a bike? no offense intended but that is slightly humorous...


I didn't want to say that..but..  :D

post #7 of 24

Has back issues certainly seems like a valid reason for going to a FS bike. 5K will get her plenty of bike. Suspension has gotten so good that I really doubt it will hinder her very much either and shell have more fun everywhere else. Any bike with 100mm of travel or less is going to be pretty race oriented. She should probably get 11-spd and a single chainring. Disc brakes are a must.

 

A couple of bikes to look at would be:

 

Specialized Epic

Scott Scale

Pivot Mach 4

post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott43 View Post

First off, what kind of back issues?  Cycling can make back issues more apparent.  If she's not a regular rider, she may want to experiment with a slightly cheaper bike and see how that goes for her.  Fit will be very important.  $5k is a lot of scratch for a bike.  I compete on a $1400 bike, albeit a hardtail.  Does she have a serious prospect of winning?  She will need some good gear if she intends to compete in racing, beyond the bike.  She'll need a couple of pairs of good shorts at $100 a pop, shoes go for $200 for a good pair.  Sunglasses, gloves, pedals can be $100, tool kit etc. Saddles are very personal so many people change those as well at $100. Depending on terrain, if you're trying to do race mileage, you can go through tires pretty quickly, and good tires are $50-$75 a pop.  So there is much to think about.

She has raced road, cyclocross and track for years. She is racing for her college team now and wants to be able to help out as much as possible in as many events as possible. The back issue is pretty much related to CX racing, doesn't really have the problem on the road or on the track, which is why she was thinking about a FS. I know firsthand that bike racing is one expensive hobby:). She got hit by a car a couple of years ago, fortunately she was OK but her bike was destroyed. The guy that hit her probably wishes she would have been in a car because her bike was worth more than her car was.
Quote:
Originally Posted by faustus View Post

a "poor starving student" with 5K to spend on a bike? no offense intended but that is slightly humorous...

Yes, tongue was firmly in cheek.
post #9 of 24
post #10 of 24


That's a lovely bike.  I just can't justify paying more for my bicycle than I paid for my Yamaha R6.  :D

post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrash View Post


She has raced road, cyclocross and track for years. She is racing for her college team now and wants to be able to help out as much as possible in as many events as possible. The back issue is pretty much related to CX racing, doesn't really have the problem on the road or on the track, which is why she was thinking about a FS. I know firsthand that bike racing is one expensive hobby:). She got hit by a car a couple of years ago, fortunately she was OK but her bike was destroyed. The guy that hit her probably wishes she would have been in a car because her bike was worth more than her car was.
 

 

She's good to go then.  I didn't think she had any riding experience.  Epic had great advice about specifics.  She probably is already aware of her sizing requirements so just check the geometry charts and see what fits her build.  Most of the good bikes are relatively equal.  I prefer Shimano components myself but SRAM has come a long way.  I'd suggest she get lockouts for front and rear shocks if she's going full suspension.  I find it invaluable on my front.  I don't think she'll have significant issues with her back to be honest. I don't want to speculate on her specific condition, but usually back pain when riding is position and pedalling related, not so much impact.  Have fun!

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott43 View Post
 


That's a lovely bike.  I just can't justify paying more for my bicycle than I paid for my Yamaha R6.  :D


For 5K, she probably can't get Nino's wheels and tires, but I'm sure she can get something pretty close.

post #13 of 24
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott43 View Post
 


That's a lovely bike.  I just can't justify paying more for my bicycle than I paid for my Yamaha R6.  :D


Sure you can. You can use bike much longer then R6... well at least I could, as I know I'm stupid enough to be dead in 14 days with that thing, and that's reason, why I didn't seat on motor bike since middle of Uni, and I never will, even though I would love to :) Well I guess it's not much better going down 60km/h between trees with mtb, but still feels safer :)
As for OP... I admit I have no idea about bike prices in USA, but over here you get one helluva bike for $5k. Yes you can't get Shurter's Scott for that money (you would still need to add some $3k for that), but you get really really close to it. If you cut some really exotic stuff (like for example going for mechanic XTR instead of electronic DI2 XTR), you can get most of top models from pretty much every company for this money.

post #15 of 24

You know, I was looking at tires yesterday and I ended up buying $10 tires for the hack bike.  I did notice though, for the first time for me, tires over $100 for mtb's.  Wow.  More expensive than car tires!  I get it..I was in the business..but man..they better be damn fast, indestructible tires for that kinda coin! 

post #16 of 24

List price is not really what they normally go by (at least over here in Europe). But otherwise yes, Schwalbe/Conti top end tires (at least those I'm riding, Schwalbe Rocket Ron/Thunder Burt, or Conti Race King) have list price in 50-60eur/tire range, but you can easily get (brand new current year tires, not old stock) for around 30-35eur/tire, which is still far from cheap. And at least for xc tires, I would hardly say they are indestructible... They are fast, but not really indestructible. This year I'm already on my third rear tire already, and I have only about 1000km on my mtb till now. Last year I went through another 4 tires all together, but 2 years ago, I made through whole season with single pair :)

When you start comparing bike stuff to car stuff your head starts to ache. Bike tires worth about same as car tires, bikes worth as much as smaller car (new not some rusted old box) etc... insane!

post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott43 View Post
 

You know, I was looking at tires yesterday and I ended up buying $10 tires for the hack bike.  I did notice though, for the first time for me, tires over $100 for mtb's.  Wow.  More expensive than car tires!  I get it..I was in the business..but man..they better be damn fast, indestructible tires for that kinda coin! 


Have you looked at fat bike tires? Some of them are $300!!! And people buy them!

post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 


Have you looked at fat bike tires? Some of them are $300!!! And people buy them!


That's crazy..I mean..I just don't get it.  DOT race tires for my motorcycle were less than that!  Ouch..

post #19 of 24

Epic unless you live in Alaska (and bike in winter), fat bikes are hype (I'm really not going to discuss "all those great things they offer") so it's pretty normal to pay for this :) If you want to be seen as really cool guy (with totally useless bike) you need to pay for this, so $300 is cheap... they should be $500 at least, so those owning fat bike could feel even more special :D

post #20 of 24

QBP had a monopoly on fat tires and priced them accordingly.    Prices were finally starting to come down,  as more manufactures entered the market.   Then some manufactures decided to change the size to 27.5.  You can still get a serviceable fatbke for around $600, with tires.

 

Fat tires are better on anything really soft, snow, sand, mud or turf.   YMMV.

post #21 of 24

How 'bout this bad boy?

 

http://www.bikerumor.com/2015/05/27/nove-mesto-world-cup-xc-pro-bike-check-kulavy-wins-on-s-works-epic/#more-102355

 

Loving the upside down fork. When I was at the Mont St Anne World Cup last year, these were visibly stiffer than the other XC forks.

post #22 of 24

Some say RS1 is stiffer, others it's much less stiff then SID, but I have never tried it so no idea what it really is... logic tells me it's less stiff but that doesn't mean a thing :) Thing is, it's definitely almost 200g heavier then SID, not to mention you need new wheelset. But at least, prices went down to somehow normal level from last year's $2000+front hub (just saw week or two ago RS-1 with hub for 700eur). Otherwise I don't like Specialized, especially not fully :P

post #23 of 24

Not saying it always translates perfectly, but USD forks have been de rigeur on motorcycles for at least 10 years.  The logic being you're clamping the larger, stiffer part in the triple clamp as opposed to the stanchion tube.  I suppose that trend will continue in bicycles as well.  I personally couldn't tell the difference between a well set up USD fork and its RSU equivalent..  But I was never that fast..  :(

post #24 of 24
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