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Author Topic: What's your favorite type of bike for local trails and why? XC, Trail, etc?  (Read 1070 times)

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Offline bjdraw

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We are very fortunate to have such diverse trails within driving distance, but that also creates a touch decision for those who, for whatever reason, only own one bike. I think it'd be useful for everyone getting into mountain biking to know everyone's favorite type of bike for our area and why.

Cross Country (XC), Trail, All-Mountain, Down-hill, etc?

Chainslap did an excellent job of defining them:

XC:  This is a bike built for speed over moderate terrain.  The bike is usually a hardtail of FS up to 4.5 inches of travel.  They will usually weigh less than 25lbs have steep head tube angles (70-72 in a 26 inch form).  This bike accelerates and turns very quickly and will be a race oriented bike.  They will also have a more flat back riding position, rougher ride and be a little twitchy on technical decents.  A few examples include: Specialized Epic,  Elsworth truth,  Giant Anthem, Niner Air 9 Carbon.

All Mountain:  This bike is made to handle very technical obstacles and park type environments, but is not quite a full on downhill bike as it will still go uphill.  Most of these bikes are of the 26 inch variety and will have 6 to 7 inches of travel, 2.35-2.5" tires and rugged components.  These will have head tube angles of 66-67 degrees and weigh 30-35lbs depending on build.  Their agility in the buff comes at the price of slow climbing and turning response.  A few examples include: Santa Cruz Nomad, Specialized Enduro, Pivot Firebird and Ibis Mojo HD

Trail: This is the Swiss Army Knife of mountain biking and probably the most popular.  Suspension travel is usually 5-6 inches for 26ers, most FS 29ers, and some hardtails will hit this catagory as well.  Head tube angles will be 67 to 70 degrees, and bikes will wiegh aprox 24 to 30lbs.  These bikes will have a bit more relaxed riding position than the xc type and will be at home on all but the most technical trails.  They will handle the rough with more confidence than xc's and some will be nearly as fast.  75% of the bikes you see at our local trails will be of this type and are the logical choice for most people who can have only one bike.  Examples include:  Specialized Stumpjumper FSR,  Giant Trance, Elsworth Epiphany, Ibis Mojo, Trek (Fisher) Rumblefish, Pivot 5.7 and the list is endless.

Within each group you will find a vast selection of different pricepoints, suspension designs, component mixes and wheel sizes.  Take an honest look at how and where you will be riding 90% of the time and try as many bikes in that catagory that your budget will allow.

Offline Alan

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SS rigid 29er.  Perfect for everything FL has to offer.   

Offline bjdraw

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SS rigid 29er.  Perfect for everything FL has to offer.   

Nice. What is the head tube angle? Why do you believe a rigid is perfect for trails with so many roots?

Offline Alan

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Not sure...maybe 72 degrees.  Rigid on rooty trails isn't nearly as bad as everyone thinks it is.

Offline bjdraw

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Oh, I've ridden a ridged on roots, it isn't bad. Not perfect, though, either.

Offline kj

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SS rigid 29er.  Perfect for everything FL has to offer.
yep.

Offline bruceS

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SS rigid 26er :D :D

Offline bjdraw

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Thanks Bruce, but what is the head tube angle and why do you believe a single speed rigid bike with 26-inch wheels is the most appropriate for our local trails?

Offline kj

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71 degrees with a Vassago ODIS fork; steel frame and fork.

The trails on which I can offer an opinion are Boyette, Alafia, and Santos. Though I expect the logic will apply to Croom & Flatwoods / Morris Bridge trails also.  First, I think itís important to establish this point Ė I am not a great rider. Technically Iím acceptable; I can clean all of Boyette and Santos (except Magic Mountain) with a 32/17 ratio and most of Alafia (except Gatorback) but, in my opinion, anyone who is in comparable (or better) physical condition with a few years of riding every weekend is probably just as good if not better than I.  Many others are far faster, or climb better, or cleaner than me; in opposition to the common assumption - there is no arrogance in my choice of bike.

There are three primary reasons why I ride what I ride, they are:
1.   Florida has no big hit trails.   Santos offers soaring opportunities for X-Games hopefuls; I am not one. And aside from Gatorback, among the local trails, there simply isnít anything which I feel requires suspension to absorb impact and maintain control while riding, even aggressively.  Carter might offer something more than I can address?
2.   Simplicity; this might be an often-spoken point, but itís true for me. I think of nothing Ė NOTHING Ė than carry speed, choose a clean line and CLIMB. After ride maintenance with a chain cleaning and lube and thatís about it. I like that it doesnít require anything more.
3.   I like how it feels. Thatís hard to convey objectively but is no less true. Iíve ridden a bunch of bikes, and each has something neat and noteworthy about them, but I keep coming back to my simple rigid. It works optimally for me and the way I ride.

Surely these reasons are not compelling for everyone; no one personís reasons will be, and Iím not making commissions for selling anything. For me, the way I ride in the places I ride, I have the right bike; but who knows, maybe in a year or two itíll be something else. 2013 will be my 4th year on this bike and it is the only bike I own.

« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 05:06:35 PM by kj »

Offline bjdraw

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Nicely done KJ. One quick follow up. How does your bike handle Ridgeline with that steep head tube angle? Exactly as you'd like, or it is a compromise that allows you to fly through the switchbacks on other trails?

Offline kj

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It handles Ridgeline beautifully.  This fork, the ODIS, has a 45mm offset which turns quick enough to keep a tight line on the switchbacks but is raked out enough that it never feels tippy on steep descents.  I loved it when riding FATS last year, the smooth flowing banked turns seemed perfectly laid out and the bike just railed without ever oversteering. The bike was capable of descending faster than I was willing to attempt.

The chainstays are 450mm which gives it a long wheelbase and provides a terrain resonance I'd describe as perfectly balanced between jarring and bouncy.


Offline Orion_134

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Offline bruceS

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Thanks Bruce, but what is the head tube angle and why do you believe a single speed rigid bike with 26-inch wheels is the most appropriate for our local trails?

67 degrees and I don't think a SS 26 inch ride is appropriate :D
26"rigids are not for everyone. Not because rigid riders are any better at riding but because most people do not want to feel after a ride like they were thrown in a bag and beat with bats :o at least that's how I feel but I am getting old!. Bottom line is it will beat you to hell (even with good technique) and scare the s#%!@ out of you on rough decents. I just like the challenge and satisfaction it gives ME when I clear a rough section of large roots or rocks. I did ride a FS for a short while and it made everything smaller and less scary to ride and that took away the satisfaction for ME. That being said, if I was competing in any MTB discipline seriously I would choose the best bike designed for that style of riding but I don't so I'll stick with the ole' SS 26" rigid as my weapon of choice ;)


 

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