I have been on this site for years, reading comments and this is the first time I registered and made a post. As is often said, I am amazed by the passion shared by mountain bikers all over the globe and I am one of them.
I am looking for a bike for my frequent use and am open to any options or creations from those of you who may have been down this path in the past.
First of all a description of my use. I ride two and three times a week here in Pennsylvania, usually in the morning before work and before the kiddo’s get to crawling around. My goal is to enjoy the thrill of the ride, have fun whereby I keep the legs moving and maintain some reasonable level of fitness. So when the fun and thrill of the ride is gone, so goes the desire to get out and ride. Spinning is a necessary evil in order to get to enjoyable part.
Second: a few details of my most frequent ride. Time is limited to 45 minutes up to 1.5 hours. I can pedal less than one mile from my home and be at the trail head. Right out of the gate I have a hill to climb ranging from gradual to steep. It is about a one mile grind to the top where it levels out and has plenty of little jumps and banks to rip around on. The entire length of the trail is relatively smooth, some portions get a little rooty but no rock gardens to contend with. From there I blast around the edge of the plateau for a half hour or so before I pick the best downhill route to the bottom and can take as long as a 20 minutes if I stretch it out to get on the asphalt and head home. I enjoy hitting jumps and switchbacks and always enjoy the downhill speed.
Third: A description of my riding. Self proclaimed gym class hero. I will never be seen as great mountain biker but then again I usually ride alone and don’t need to impress anyone. My less than stellar jumps and speed feed my own ego keep a smile on my face. I am 5’10” and a fit 200lbs with a 32 inch inseam that always has me jumping between sizes on test rides. As of late, I have two bikes that are in decent condition but on opposite ends of the spectrum. The first is a medium FS Cannondale Free-ride, I think it is a 1997 model and an older Gary Fisher HT, Large. They both were collecting dust with friends who passed them along for me to use and to return when I see fit.
Fourth: So what Bike to buy: I’ll start with what I think would work best. I feel a 2x10 hard tail 29er slacked out would be great, particularly in the snowy months. The Trek Stache felt the best so far but if I could find a bike with a 130 or 140mm fork and a bit more slack I suspect the fun factor may really peak. I am not opposed to either a FS or even considering the 650b models. I have read all I can about the new Explosif and DB Mason but no luck finding anything like that to test ride around my area. Perhaps putting longer fork on used bike will fit the bill. I have no experience building a bike but I would not rule it out. Maybe a custom shop could build something up. The single front ring sounds great but who am I fooling, I need the granny gear. My limited experience with 29er’s has shown the big wheels difficult to pass up.
Financially, I would like to stay under $2,200 under 2k would be ideal and that number has me wondering if it is worth it for a hard tail. I am not picky as far as aluminum, steel or other.
In advance, thank you for any reply, advice or questions. I appreciate the help.
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