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Mountain Biking
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downinflames68
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May 9, 2010, 02:08 PM
 
Anybody into mountain biking? Just curious, I have some questions. I used to have a diamondback topanga, ala 2003 or so, which was decent. It was heavy, but durable and decently made. I LOVED my in frame bag..



Anyway, I brought it to Milwaukee, and the next day my garage didn't close when I left, so it got swiped. ****ing sucked. But then, it was winter, so no real loss, other than money. Anyway, after a few weeks of hunting on CL about a month ago, and trying out like 7 bikes, and spending $50 in gas over the course of a few days driving all over WI, I found my new ride.


2006 Specialized FSR XC. I scored it for $450, with a thule roof rack, and the thing is like BRAND NEW. Owner said it used it like twice, so there wasn't a nick or a scratch on it. It's full suspension, which I'm not typically a fan of, but both the front and rear suspension is adjustable, and you can lock it out. So if you're on the road, lock it out, and it acts like a completely rigid hardtail with a fork that barely moves.

Here's the specs:

BikePedia - 2006 Specialized FSR XC Complete Bicycle

$450 for a 1200 bike with a roof rack? YES PLEASE.

Anyway, I'm lucky enough to live right near the Milwaukee river, which is all forest, filled with hiking trails, which we're using as mountain biking trails. My roommate has a trek 69r, and he's really into biking, so he's been showing me the ropes. So far, the learning curve hasn't been painful yet, but it's definitely difficult. I mean, I would go on 'trails' and hop curbs, but I was never on a single track trail barely wider than my bike jumping tree roots and trying not to fall into a river. I'm having some difficulty trying to keep on my legs, instead of my seat, because there's so much crap overhanging the trail, that you ahve to duck a lot. Also, I keep pussing out some of the hairier sections... but overall, it's been a complete blast. Anybody else into getting muddy/dirty and trying not to kill themselves?
     
ghporter
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May 9, 2010, 02:49 PM
 
I have a Specialized Rockhopper, which is outstanding. It's the first bike I've EVER had that actually fit my height. I lock the forks for road riding and if I go off enough to need it, the forks unlock and I get a nicely cushioned ride. Mine is a hard tail, which encourages me to be up off the saddle sometimes, but that's good for handling the bumps. You cannot go wrong with Specialized.

I got a Thule trunk rack at about the same time, and I'm really pleased with it, too.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
imitchellg5
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May 9, 2010, 03:06 PM
 
I'm a fan of mountain biking, although not since my bike was stolen a couple years back. I'd really like to get back into it though. I had some sort of absurdly expensive Trek that I got second hand for a song.
     
Arty50
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May 9, 2010, 09:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
It's full suspension, which I'm not typically a fan of, but both the front and rear suspension is adjustable, and you can lock it out. So if you're on the road, lock it out, and it acts like a completely rigid hardtail with a fork that barely moves.
The days of full suspension bikes being less efficient for pedaling are long gone. Not to say that's the case with all full suspension bikes (ie. some single pivot designs, dh bikes, etc.), but modern suspension design has almost entirely negated the loss in pedaling efficiency that used to be associated with full suspension bikes. Specialized has FSR (a type of horst link, which are awesome), Giant uses Maestro, Trek has ABP, Pivot and Turner use DW-link, Santa Cruz and Intense have VPP, etc.

Additionally, for bikes that do exhibit some pedal feedback you can use shocks that have platform valving which is a form of low speed compression damping. A lot of forks have it too. As a result, lockout is a thing of the past. Basically, platform valving provides a resistance point at the top of the shock stroke. So it will prevent the shock/fork from moving in its travel until you apply enough force to blow past the platform, after which the shock will perform normally through the rest of its stroke. Better shocks/forks have adjustable platform so that you can set when this happens. So on a bike with pedal feedback, the platform generally cancels out the feedback and essentially locks out the travel while pedaling. And naturally, this still allows your suspension to work when you hit bigger obstacles. A traditional lock-out doesn't allow your suspension to cycle at all.

When you design a bike properly though, especially with some of the systems I mentioned above, platform isn't generally necessary though. That's a good thing since the sacrifice with platform is that you lose some small bump compliance.

The beauty of all this is that without sacrificing pedalability you get suspension travel for the when the climb gets rough. Which is especially important when you're climbing up technical terrain. Full suspension is actually a benefit, not a hindrance, for technical climbing.

And if you still don't buy it, just look at what pro-xc racers are using. The vast majority of them are on full squish rigs now, even the crazy century guys. Lance Armstrong broke the course record at last year's Leadville 100 on a Trek fs rig. A lot, if not most, of the other riders in that race were on fs rigs too.

If you're not dirt jumping (one of the last areas where rear suspension is a liability) and if you have the extra money to spend, a fs bike is the way to go for most riding now.

Mountain biking has come a long way in the last few years, and the options out there are awesome now. Most importantly of course...riding is really friggen' fun.

Edit: Propedal = platform. That's the #2 setting on your Triad shock.
( Last edited by Arty50; May 9, 2010 at 09:33 PM. )
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boy8cookie
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May 9, 2010, 09:42 PM
 
I've actually been looking to get into this sport for a while, but I haven't been able to decide on a bike. The CL options are limited in Hawaii, so I'll likely end up purchasing new. Any recommendations? I'm looking for a fs bike with disc brakes and I'm not looking to spend more than 2k$
     
Gankdawg
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May 9, 2010, 09:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
69r
Huh...huh...huh.....you said 69er....

I really like mountain biking but need to get out more. I have a Kona Fire Mountain, so nothing really fancy, but I like it. Lots of good trails around here except they are about 45-60 mins by car away.

I, too, had a mountain bike stolen. It was a Univega Alpina.

Great score on the bike and rack, Rob.
     
Arty50
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May 10, 2010, 02:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by boy8cookie View Post
I've actually been looking to get into this sport for a while, but I haven't been able to decide on a bike. The CL options are limited in Hawaii, so I'll likely end up purchasing new. Any recommendations? I'm looking for a fs bike with disc brakes and I'm not looking to spend more than 2k$
It depends on the type of terrain you'll be riding:

XC/Trail:
Giant Trance
Trek Fuel EX
Specialized FSRxc

Trail/All Mountain:
Giant Reign
Specialized Stumpjumper
Specialized Pitch

If you're going to be doing really long rides (30+ miles) on smooth trails or get into XC racing, I'd go with an XC/Trail bike. If you're planning on doing more moderate length rides, and will be stepping up to rockier trails, go with a Trail/AM bike.

The Specialized Pitch is a great bike at an amazing price. I also hear great things about the Reign from some friends who I trust thoroughly. The Reign will cost you a touch more though. Best of all, both of these bikes pedal extremely well and descend even better. So you can take them on multi-hour 20-30 mile rides and you'll be just fine. Even better, you'll have plenty of travel to suck up most anything on the way down. They're both extremely versatile bikes.

The Stumpjumper is more "pure trail" if you will, so it sits in between these two categories.

If you're not going to be doing really big rides or get into racing, I'd highly recommend going the Pitch/Reign route.
"My friend, there are two kinds of people in this world:
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OreoCookie
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May 10, 2010, 05:34 AM
 
Yes, I am very much into mountain biking
I have a hardtail, reason being that when I bought a bike 5 years, I had the choice of a low-end fully or a decent hardtail. I went for the hardtail and I haven't regretted it yet. I have really gotten to love disc brakes (I see that your new bike doesn't have any, but I can only recommend them).

It sounds to me as if you're happier with a fully anyway, riding trails and all. As always, you can (and should) invest into some nice equipment:
(1) A good helmet and gloves. This is not optional.
(2) A camelbak. Most backpacks nowadays are compatible with them.
(3) Bike shoes and pedals. I chose softer MTB shoes instead of harder marathon shoes and pedals that I can use with and without clips. This comes in very handy when you get into terrain and you prefer to keep things lose.
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Arty50
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May 10, 2010, 11:19 AM
 
BTW, also check out local shops. Usually they'll have demos they're willing to sell too.
"My friend, there are two kinds of people in this world:
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pooka
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May 10, 2010, 12:03 PM
 
Sweet deal, man. Tons of people go "hardcore" and then lose interest within a few months. I've picked up some sweet gear from those cats.

That said, be careful. I had to quit riding last year when I crushed two vertebrae in my back. Gimpy no ride no more. But I'm a huge pussy. You all man.

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OreoCookie
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May 10, 2010, 12:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by Arty50 View Post
BTW, also check out local shops. Usually they'll have demos they're willing to sell too.
Good point. And they'll shave off a few percent if you're willing to get more equipment.
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boy8cookie
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May 10, 2010, 03:54 PM
 
Thanks Arty50, some very useful information. I'm liking the pitch bike you recommended, and it fits the type of rides I'll be doing.
     
downinflames68  (op)
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May 11, 2010, 01:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Yes, I am very much into mountain biking
I have a hardtail, reason being that when I bought a bike 5 years, I had the choice of a low-end fully or a decent hardtail. I went for the hardtail and I haven't regretted it yet. I have really gotten to love disc brakes (I see that your new bike doesn't have any, but I can only recommend them).

It sounds to me as if you're happier with a fully anyway, riding trails and all. As always, you can (and should) invest into some nice equipment:
(1) A good helmet and gloves. This is not optional.
(2) A camelbak. Most backpacks nowadays are compatible with them.
(3) Bike shoes and pedals. I chose softer MTB shoes instead of harder marathon shoes and pedals that I can use with and without clips. This comes in very handy when you get into terrain and you prefer to keep things lose.
It does have disc brake mounting points, if I decided to upgrade, but after user the trek, I don't know. I'm not terribly impressed. The only time my braking is compromised is after a huge puddle or a ton of mud, and even then it's not bad. I think I'll just stick with the V-brakes for now. As for gloves, that would be nice, but I'm not really pushing myself enough to need a helmet. I have one, I just haven't been wearing it.
     
Arty50
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May 11, 2010, 02:23 AM
 
Helmet always, especially if you're riding on pavement at any time. Cars are way more dangerous than nearly anything on the trail, unless of course you're riding along a very exposed piece of trail and fall off a cliff. Still, I might take that over a car. I've had several friends (mostly roadies) get hit by cars. It's never good.

As for v-brakes vs. discs, there's no comparison. On a flat trail, you won't notice much of a difference, but once you get going downhill the difference is night an day. Discs are much more powerful, especially once you step up to FR/DH brakes. I've been on a few rides where v-brakes would have outright failed on me.

One more thing for boy8 and anyone else looking to get into riding. If you're not new to the biking world, then please disregard the following. If you are, then there's something important to consider when purchasing a new bike. A big question is whether to purchase from an online retailer or your local bike shop.

When you purchase online, you get a box with the frame and all the parts in it. And assuming your new to riding, you're probably not familiar with wrenching either. So you'll want to take it to you LBS anyway. They'll set the bike up for a small fee, and you'll be on your way.

However, if you buy the bike from the LBS directly, almost every bike shop I know of will toss in free service for a while. They'll also let you swap out parts. If your seat doesn't fit, they'll let you switch out for another. Same with the bar stem, they'll toss on a shorter or longer one if you want it. Some shops will even give you a custom fitting session, but that's not as important with mtb's as it is with road bikes. They'll also give you free adjustments for a while. All this work is worth it's weight in gold. So even if you find a bike for $200 cheaper online, it may cost you more in the long run. Also keep in mind that a bike is like a car. You can negotiate price with shops. Just don't be too cheap, or they might be a little more stingy with the service.

Either way, find a good LBS and take care of their employees when they take care of you. If the shop guys do a nice job with your bike, bring them beer. They will remember you in the future and take extra good care of you when you take care of them.
"My friend, there are two kinds of people in this world:
those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig."

-Clint in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"
     
boy8cookie
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May 11, 2010, 03:43 AM
 
Appreciate the tips, thanks a bunch. I'm gonna check out the local shops this weekend.
     
OreoCookie
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May 11, 2010, 06:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
It does have disc brake mounting points, if I decided to upgrade, but after user the trek, I don't know. I'm not terribly impressed. The only time my braking is compromised is after a huge puddle or a ton of mud, and even then it's not bad. I think I'll just stick with the V-brakes for now.
Good disc brakes are way, way better than V brakes. When I bought my bike, I tried a cheaper model which included different (read: cheaper) disc brakes. I upgraded to the one I have now solely because of the better brakes. It's not necessarily about the diameter, too. The other big plus of hydraulic brakes is that they are self-adjusting and require much less force.
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
As for gloves, that would be nice, but I'm not really pushing myself enough to need a helmet. I have one, I just haven't been wearing it.
Regarding the helmet: think again, even slow collisions can cause a lot of damage, especially when you're on gravel which is like a natural skin grater with rocks. A helmet is an absolute, absolute must. I probably would've spent a significant time span in hospitals if I hadn't worn a helmet.

Ditto for gloves: they're a necessity -- unless you think scars are cool. (I have misplaced my gloves for one day -- and that day I fell. I can post a picture of the scar if you want )
Originally Posted by Arty50 View Post
Helmet always, especially if you're riding on pavement at any time. Cars are way more dangerous than nearly anything on the trail, unless of course you're riding along a very exposed piece of trail and fall off a cliff. Still, I might take that over a car. I've had several friends (mostly roadies) get hit by cars. It's never good.

As for v-brakes vs. discs, there's no comparison. On a flat trail, you won't notice much of a difference, but once you get going downhill the difference is night an day. Discs are much more powerful, especially once you step up to FR/DH brakes. I've been on a few rides where v-brakes would have outright failed on me.
I absolutely agree.
My disc brakes just don't fade. I went 1400 height meters downhill (and I had to brake a lot, there were a lot of dumb (motor) bikers going uphill ) and the only thing that was fading was the strength in my fingers. For half of the way, I had to use two fingers to brake
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
Laminar
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May 11, 2010, 09:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
As for gloves, that would be nice, but I'm not really pushing myself enough to need a helmet. I have one, I just haven't been wearing it.
Yeah, me either.

     
ChrisF
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May 11, 2010, 09:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
I'm not really pushing myself enough to need a helmet. I have one, I just haven't been wearing it.
Random stuff happens. Wear a helmet.
     
paul w
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May 11, 2010, 10:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by ChrisF View Post
Random stuff happens. Wear a helmet.
Truth. Wear a helmet.
     
ghporter
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May 11, 2010, 09:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
As for gloves, that would be nice, but I'm not really pushing myself enough to need a helmet. I have one, I just haven't been wearing it.
Rob, if you fall off the bike STANDING STILL you can cause serious injury. Just from your head falling from where it is on your shoulders. WEAR your helmet. And spend $30 for some basic gloves so you won't be in considerable pain when (not if) you part ways with your bike. For example, getting used to clip pedals is a great way to learn about landing...

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
abbaZaba
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May 11, 2010, 11:10 PM
 
I used to be hardcore into mountain biking. I went out a trip to Moab, Utah, pretty much the mecca of mountain biking and it was probably the best trip I've ever been on. I did get altitude sickness though which sucked.

We also shipped our bikes out with us, which was a bad idea. they got lost in the mail and we ended up just renting some NICE FS bikes and it was awesome. I've not been riding a lot since going to college but I would like to get back into it.

And yeah, we were doing some pretty gnarly stuff, massive jumps and some freeriding, but some of my worst injuries came just riding trails. Falling off and getting stabbed by sticks and stuff. Always wear a helmet. I broke my collar bone once after the ride was OVER and I was going down a hill to wait for a ride home. Accidents don't wait for appropriate times to happen. if I wasn't wearing a helmet, I would have been much more seriously injured.

I still really really want to convert my old Specialized Stumpjumper into a single speed and go on rides, but I don't know if I'll ever get around to it. I always loved singlespeeds though. (good looks on buying a Specialized. I'm a fan of them)
     
Arty50
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May 14, 2010, 05:47 PM
 
Moab is like kinda fun and stuff.
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those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig."

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imitchellg5
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May 14, 2010, 06:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
As for gloves, that would be nice, but I'm not really pushing myself enough to need a helmet. I have one, I just haven't been wearing it.
That's not very wise. I'd probably be dead five times over if I didn't wear a helmet, and that's just from riding down my driveway.
     
downinflames68  (op)
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May 14, 2010, 10:29 PM
 
Wow. Today I went for a few hours. Literally like 1/3 of the trail was UNDER WATER. It was ****ing insane. I ate shit a few times, but came out relatively unscathed. Still not digging the helmet, I might start using mine if I get more aggressive/fast. Right now the courses are so technical that I'm rarely going over 10mph.
     
Laminar
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May 15, 2010, 10:51 PM
 
Oh, good point.
     
Jawbone54
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May 16, 2010, 07:17 AM
 
Good god.........

Wear the helmet.

I've been thinking about getting into it too. I have a small group of friends that go relatively often, and I've been saying I'd like to join them for around two years. I'll be referencing this thread again if I really decide to take the plunge.
     
moep
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May 16, 2010, 01:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
Still not digging the helmet, I might start using mine if I get more aggressive/fast. Right now the courses are so technical that I'm rarely going over 10mph.


I’m mostly into downhill these days but still riding my dated Kona, although I’m looking to upgrade to something heavier this autumn as I get shuttled 90% of the time. I would never even imagine riding without full kit on (fullface, chest/shoulder/back protector, hip/tailbone protector, elbow guards, gloves and knee/shin guards).
You get used to it after a while and riding without gear feels like driving without a safety belt — wrong. Then again, the definition of "Mountain Biking" is a broad one — grocery shopping on a FS is mountain biking too.
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Nivag
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May 18, 2010, 06:01 AM
 
I was sent this link yesterday pleasant commute on Vimeo

pretty cool commute home, though don't fancy the ride to work
     
Laminar
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May 18, 2010, 10:29 AM
 
Dang, I wouldn't be doing that ride with bare knees.
     
ghporter
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May 18, 2010, 06:44 PM
 
The lens on that camera didn't help the feeling of impending DOOM on that long, downhill route. I'd think the guy has to replace his brake shoes every few days...even with the speed that he's going on that ride.

One of the guys at my bike shop does an 18 mile commute IN TOWN (San Antonio isn't particularly bike friendly) every day. So yeah, he's pretty lean and buff, but he has some stories about near misses and very near hits that make my skin crawl. I'm going to stick to very back back streets and controlled trail riding in a few (albeit pretty rough) parks like Government Canyon (not there yet!) and Olmos Park...

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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May 22, 2010, 11:18 AM
 
I just replaced my brakes (Hayes FX-9) with Magura Louise. Does anyone have experience with them? I'll take them for a spin next week … 
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
Arty50
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May 23, 2010, 08:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I just replaced my brakes (Hayes FX-9) with Magura Louise. Does anyone have experience with them? I'll take them for a spin next week … 
Maguras rock. I have a set of Martas on the little bike and Gustavs on the big bike. Both are awesome. Great stopping power (especially the Gustavs) and incredible modulation. I'm betting you'll be stoked.
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