new mtb advice needed - which to get?
Last Post 12/02/2013 12:44 PM by 79 pmooney. 6 Replies.
Author Messages


12/01/2013 12:09 PM
For my young adult son, skilled rider of average height, for hard recreational riding in New England, which can be pretty rocky and technical.
27.5 looks interesting.
Not even sure he'll want dual suspension.

Gonzo Cyclist


12/01/2013 12:36 PM
I tell people ride as many as possible, then narrow it down to five or so, then to three, ride them again, and then make a decision from there. Find a local shop that does demo's, we do that at my shop, makes a ton of sense to try before you buy. I also tell people to hone their skill on a hardtail, and then get the squish bike as an additional bike, right tool for the job I like to say.
Also, what is the budget? Some great stuff out there, Santa Cruz Alloy Highball starts in the 1700 range, then as you step up the components, like a Fox shock, Shimano XT, etc, it can get to 3000 real quick. We have had some awesome bikes from Breezer, a Lightening 29'er runs 2299.00, has a great steel frame, a decent Rockshox, XT components, and SLX brakes, the bike is an steal, and we have been blowing them out 1900 lately
Some great deals out there as the snow starts to fly, We sell Santa Cruz, Pivot, Turner, and we just brought in the Lapierre Dual Suspension offerings with the new Ei smart shock, pretty amazing and cool stuff. 29'er and 27.5
Any body doing any demos in your neck of the woods? Even though the season is winding down, that's a great place to check out some bikes of all sorts, squish and hardtail
I have mixed feelings about the 27.5 bikes, but they are the best long travel for All Mountain style of riding if he's looking for something that will do everything well, and still take some big hits


12/01/2013 01:39 PM
Learned something new! Squish. I like it! I've always called hardtails harda**es.

My first bike, the Peugeot UO-8, went fixed with sew-ups for its later years. BB height off the road was maybe 10 3/8 inches, With 165 cranks, I regularly spun off the left pedal dust cap on turns. (The right cap was self tightening.) Pedals were a regular replacement item. The bike's nickname? Slinky.



12/01/2013 09:28 PM
Gonzo, please expand on your 27.5 reservations. I get the advantage that 27.5 allows for more travel than 29, but for my son the travel requirements will be in the 4-5.5 inch range, not a Norco Killer B 6" range.
FWIW, I've been on 29ers for a few years and like the ride but don't like the reduced maneuverability in our East Coast tight twisty bumpies.

Ben, the complete term is "full squish".

PA, where are you?


12/02/2013 08:42 AM
LSD, depends on the bike. If you get a newer 29er the geometry is a lot better for the tight stuff. Agree with Gonzo on the hardtail, plus I'm not missing the maintenance of a squish. You haven't lived until you've replaced every bearing on a Blur with homemade presses and such. I have ridden a 650b a few times after a while on the 29er and it did feel like I could flick it around more and stuff like that but I missed the ability to ride rocks and that sort of thing. A properly sorted steel 29er with a good tubeless setup is a great combo for just about everything other than goon riding

What I have noticed, Salsa dealers have lots of stock and its getting cold out. I bet you could walk out with a great deal on a El Mariachi


12/02/2013 09:45 AM
I have owned all sorts of 26" wheel bikes until last fall when I bought a Superfly 100. 29ers are cheating it has change the game so much. Instant better rider. Instant faster. Instant energy savings. Most XC style of riding but even on the single track I can just work new lines and so many of the obstacles that stopped me are now just blips. I did ride a couple of 29ers and the first was a 2012 stump jumper. Like the wheels but the geometry was not so inspiring.
I got a 2013 superbly 100 on a demo ride and I would not give it back. Yes I bought it. About the only thing new about the bike is turning circle has grown a bit so yes tight switchbacks are different but since the bike is generally more capable it is an adjustment in technique more than an obstacle to achievement. For riders that only spend time in single track I appreciate the 29er might be a harder sell but i think that once the rider learns the new techniques they would switch to bigger wheels and I think if the bike fits a 29er is the choice I recommend


12/02/2013 12:44 PM
We are slowly reinventing the wheel, so to speak. 40 years ago, we bumbled into MTBing, modifying bikes sized for kids for off road use, completely ignoring research that was done at the turn of the last century establishing the best wheel size for the terrain ridden. (Around 1900, the brightest minds on the planet were designing bicycles, not space platforms and computers.) The findings? 27"/700c was about optimum for smooth surfaces. As the surface became rougher, optimum wheel diameter INCREASES.

We now ride paved roads of smoothness those researchers never dreamed. If we wanted, we could move down to a smaller smooth road standard of say 650c with no adverse consequences at all. Still, millions of road bicycles have established those researchers knew what they were talking about. Now, we are slowly figuring out what they said about wheel diameter for unimproved surfaces was also correct.

I.m glad the aircraft industry has not suffered the same knowledge loss!


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