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downhill mountain bike suggestions

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
After watching some friends ride at Gore yesterday, Ive decided that my next toy will be a DH mountain bike. I have a Kona Caldera as an XC rig and love it, so I started looking at Konas. The 2005 Coiler looks sweet as does the Stinky, but both are at the upper end of what I want to spend ($1500ish). I have seen used Stinkys on Ebay for various good prices as well. I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for a $1000-$1500 DH mountain bike or if I should just look for s used one in this price range - thanks.
post #2 of 20
there are no DH bikes worthy of serious DH riding under $3000.

I'm assuming you are serious about a "DH Bike" and don't just mean a 5" travel FS rig.

Sounds like you really don't know riding or bikes. Are you sure you want a DH rig? Do you know what it's like to own one, to ride one, to have to maintain one?

at $1500 the best you're going to find is a WELL-USED (read, falling apart) DH rig.

I suggest either learning a bit more about what you think you want to do, or saving a bit more money, or both.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
I guess I misused the term "downhill". I was looking more for a 5-6" FS rig, i.e. Kona Coiler or Stinky. I do indeed own, ride, and maintain my previously mentioned Kona Caldera, and was thinking about a bike that could handle light downhill riding at ski resorts. I like my Caldera for slower technical riding and faster XC riding, but it is a somewhat light hardtail that isn't too well suited for faster downhill descents.

In short, any recommendations on bikes similar to a Kona Stinky or Coiler?
post #4 of 20
what is "FS"?
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
FS = full suspension
post #6 of 20
you have a lot of work to do.

stinky and coiler are two different bikes. two different sets of geometry. two different purposes intended.

what do you really want to do? do you want to be able to climb and descend? do you want to shuttle all the climbs and descend only?

why do you want a FS rig instead of a HT rig?

how often do you think you'll ride DH on this fictional hypothetical rig?

how often do you think you'll ride other stuff on it?

where do you live?

where do you ride?

why is your limit only $1500?

why are you focusing on Kona bikes only?

answer these and we'll have more to discuss.
post #7 of 20
What size frame are you considering? I have a great "starter" freeride/dh rig I'm selling. It's a 17" frame 1999 FSR Elite (Big Hit) with the following modifications:

-2001 Marzocchi Jr T fork (6 inches of travel).
-BETD swing link and cartridge/roller bearing kit for 6 inches of butter smooth rear travel.
-Fox Vanilla R rear shock w/ 750lb spring.
-XT shifters and derailleurs.
-BRAND NEW Hayes Hydraulic brakes with 8" rotor in front, 6" in back.
-Thompson straight and layback seat posts.
-Hand build wheels (Sun Rhyno lites w/ 14 gauge spokes laced to DT Swiss Onyx hubs)
-Wellgo MG-1 Magnesium platform pedals
-Sachs PC-99 chain
-FSA PIG DH pro headset (bombproof!)
-Titec Berserker DH saddle
-Oury grips
-MAXXIS Highroller 2.5 front tire and MOFO DH 2.35 rear.

I've invested over $3k in it, but I'm asking $850. If the frame is the right size for you, it's a steal. It weighs in at 38 pounds, so it's not too burly to pedal uphill when needed.

Here's a photo of it:
post #8 of 20
that's a good deal. Andrew could take the Vanilla R shock off the frame, send it to Push Industries for a rebuild with platform valving, and $138 extra later, the bike would perform almost as well as a new SPV-valved frame.

Gill's bike is as good as you're going to see at the price he's asking, or even within $300 or so of his price.

http://www.pushindustries.com for Fox rear shock tuning (go to "Services" heading)
post #9 of 20
Thanks for the props Gonz! It really is a sweet bike. I wish I didn't have to sell it, but the stable needs to shrink so I can actually park cars in the garage (imagine that).

I've also heard good things about Push Industries. If I were to keep the bike, I'd be hitting them up for a rear shock rebuild.

On a slightly different note - How's the bike building going? Any chance you'd be interested in building a hardtail dirt jumper frame around 20 or 24 inch wheels? A friend is in the market and I mentioned I knew someone who builds custom frames.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Gill, that bike looks awesome but I doubt that I can afford any bike until the spring or late winter at the earliest. Gonzo, you're right that I need to figure out what I want/need, but that's why I asked advice here. As for your questions...

I want a FS rig because I already have a HT rig and want to ride where a HT rig might not be all that comfortable (fast downhill, drops, etc)

hopefully I'll get to ride it a couple/few days a month in season

I have the Caldera for other stuff - I would use the new bike for lift-serviced freeriding

I live in Westchester county NY

I'd ride in the Catskills and Adirondacks

my limit isn't a hard $1500, but I don't have all too much free money saved up yet (I've been working for only 6 months)

I focused on Konas because I own one and like it

hopefully these answers help - I'm asking advice because I haven't paid much attention to the new bikes out on the market in the last few years
post #11 of 20

Let see if we can focus this more for you.

1. Will you be pedaling up hill to get to your descents?

2. Will you be riding more than 5 miles on any terrain that is not going downhill?

3. Will your drops be more than 3 feet?

4. Will you be riding 90% of the time on maintained trails that are eastern mud and roots?

5. Would you ride over and through a rock garden where the all rocks are bigger than your head and most are as big as a grown man?

post #12 of 20


Gill, Sweet ride but to big for me. I will pass the info along to my riding buds.

post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
As a beginner in the realm of freeride mountain biking:

I will be taking lifts up the mountain resulting in little by way of ascents

I most likely will not be riding more than 5mi on non-downhill terrain

I doubt that I will be doing drops of more than 3ft initially

I will mostl ikely be riding maintained trails and ski trails

5. no, those are big rocks (maybe to the head-sized ones, though)
post #14 of 20

the reason for the Qs is that a coiler and stinky both are "ride to the top" bikes and the only shuttler Kona makes is the Stab. of course you could build a stinky heavy enough to mimic a stab but then it really wouldn't be a stinky any more would it?

the reason my questions are blunt is because this isn't an emotion-based decision, it's a factual one. cut out the fluff and we find what we need.

do you currently avoid technical terrain like Gore Mtn on your HT? or would you go ahead and ride the HT there, but wish it had more cush?

the main reason for this Q is that it's surely possible to make a HT perform well in DH conditions for the occasional shuttler, and if you're limiting yourself to $1500 or even $2000 you can get a much better HT for the $$. I'm not talking about your Caldera. I'm talking about something more like an Evil Imperial or similar burly HT frame.

also, have you ridden any of the bikes in the 4"-6" rear travel range? for DH and FR there are only really 3 basic designs out there, each with its own (+) and (-) factors. the few basic proprietary weirdnesses are going to be outside your price range anyway.

If you were trying to build a burly and inexpensive bike in the 4"-6" travel arena I would suggest using the Banshee Chaparral frame, which is adjustable among 4" - 5" - 6" rear travel settings. it is extremely burly and will not fail on you. you can build one to resemble a light FS trail/XC rig, or a burly 6" travel rear FR rig. in other words, you could build an inexpensive but strong model right now, and then as you find out what you like or don't about FR/DH, you can reconfigure when parts break or wear out, which is bound to happen if you end up riding lots of lift-served or shuttled mileage.

Banshee's 4-arm rocker design is very similar to the design Kona uses on the Stinky & Coiler. it's a rocker-arm actuated single-pivot system. such systems give up a bit of braking plushness to give much higher lateral rigidity throughout the suspension travel. I like these systems and have two FS rigs using that design (Banshee Scream and Ventana X-5).

you could look around a lot more, you'll hear recommendations for all kinds of stuff, but in the end, for what you want, the Chaparral is best.

a 2d choice -- if you can spend a bit more $$ -- is the Ventana El Chamuco, frames are about $1300.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
I haven't ridden at Gore yet but I've hiked the biking trails and the terrain there is above what I would attempt with my HT. To play devil's advocate, why recommend the Banshee over the Konas since both have the same rear suspension type you like?
post #16 of 20
because I said so...

but since you don't know me, I'll rephrase that.

because I know better than you do. [oops, forgot this: ]

the Kona will break. the Banshee will not.

it's that simple.

Pippin Osborne of Banshee is a shore legend and he knows what are the weaknesses of other companies' bikes. the Banshee frames are built to survive abuse.

not even Kona's Stab is as burly as the Banshee Scream or Chaparral.

and the Banshee and Kona frames cost about the same amount, so there's really no comparison.

the reason to pick the Kona over the Banshee?

you'll never do any drops over 4' high, and you probably will do more XC than FR or DH.
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
I was asking because the base Stinky costs $1600ish and I saw the Banshee priced at about $2500 for a complete bike. I do wish money was no issue, but since I've only been working a little while I don't have much of it around. While the Chaparral may be the best, might it be more bike than I need? The Banshee does look bad-ass and I'd take one in a second, but a used Kona Stinky is more realistic according to my wallet. I also know that getting not a good enough bike is a waste of money, so I'm trying to get the right bike for me at the right price.
post #18 of 20
a "base Stinky" at $1600 is going to have shyte for parts. most likely, the bottom bracket, headset, hubs, & wheelbuild will be inferior. does your Caldera have any such inferior parts?

but as I said, if you think you're more likely to end up riding more XC than DH or FR, go with the Kona... or for that matter, any other complete bike at $15-1600.

a FS rig that is going to see mostly DH mileage is going to wear and age much faster than your Caldera. in your mind or experience, you've already recognized the problem of buying "not enough bike," I'd imagine.

think about that when you think about shaving $$.
post #19 of 20
It's almost the end of the season. You ought to go up to Plattekill for thier next race. I'll bet there will be a lot of nice bikes for sale.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
I agree, but... what to do if I can't afford the Banshee by next season? Anyways, I plan on saving money ASAP for skiing and this new bike, I think cable will be the first victim of the new budget.
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