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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Deciding between building a Chinese 29er or buying a hybrid bike

    Hey folks, I wanted to get some feedback from those of you who have 29ers. I'm primarily a roadie (I mostly ride a Specialized Tarmac SL3 and a Specialized Transition for triathlons). I also have a Kona Dawg full suspension from 2003. It's heavier than a grand piano and for what I currently use it for, it's really no fun to ride. My mountain biking days are, for the most part, behind me, and I only use the Kona to go on "family rides" with the kids trailer in tow, on local MUP and fire road trails. The suspension is overkill and when towing the kids with that heavy bike it can be a royal ***** getting up hills. Now that I'm more into road riding, I'm used to a certain feel and responsiveness to a rigid carbon frame.

    With that said, I am thinking of selling the Kona and just buying a hybrid bike for those easy recreational rides with the family. It would be something along the lines of a Specialezed Sirrus which is sort of a relaxed flat bar road bike that you can ride on gravel path. However, for a much lower cost, I have been noticing these Chinese carbon 29er frames, and they seem to be fairly well made. I'm tempted to just buy one of those with a set of 29" wheels, and swap all (or most) of the compatible parts from the Kona to lighten it up and make it more versatile as a recreation bike with slick tires. The Kona is fairly well equipped wiith Hayes hydraulic disc brakes and Deore LX drivetrain.

    FWIW, I'm well enough accomplished with wrenching skills and building bikes from scratch, so that shouldn't be a factor.

    I guess what I'm really looking for is feedback on how a 29er feels compared to a normal 26"... and are the frame geometries such that it would feel comfortable to ride casually for a few hours at a time in a non-aggressive setup. Also, from what anyone can tell, will 27 speed Shimano drivetrain components, and non-BB30 bottom brackets from 2003 still be compatible with current 29er frames?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Re: Deciding between building a Chinese 29er or buying a hybrid bike

    Ride what you have and think about it as training. If you are struggling up hills then you are getting stronger

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    I wouldn't pick carbon for a muck around bike - I'd always be worried about putting a deep scratch on it. For what you are talking about, I think I'd sell the Kona and build up a fully rigid and put cross type wheels and tires on it. Then work on picking up a set of MTB wheels used. If you decide you want front suspension you can keep an eye out for a good deal on a fork. Lots of cheap frames around - OnOne Inbred, several of the shops have Leader frames.
    You could even think about building it with drop bars.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: seat_boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    One thing to think about is that the hybrid will come ready to use for racks, fenders, child trailers, etc. Trying to get most of this stuff with a disc only CF Chinese frame will generally involve some bodges.

    I think once you figure out the cost of the frame ($400), fork ($100?), wheels ($150+), tires, etc... it will be comparable to a mid level Sirrus.

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