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  1. #1
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    New question here. Time for a new bike, but unsure about riding style

    I can't decide which type of bike I should get. I ride mostly XC and road, but only because that's about all I have to ride around here. I enjoy technical, intermediate downhill, and small gravity a lot. I'm thinking I should get an All Mountain bike so I can trust my bike to withstand whatever obstacles I encounter. Some might say I should just stick with XC, but I don't care about going fast and far. If I get an All Mountain bike, my endurance will just grow if the bike is holding me back while doing XC stuff.

    I live in the Louisville area and I still have my first bike, a 2011 Trek Marlin 29er. Time for a new bike, but unsure about riding style-18737.jpg

    I'm 5'9" and 145 lbs. I don't have a lot of money so at most I can save up a few hundred bucks and sell my bike for about $500. So my budget is about $1000, and I am comfortable with building my own bike as long as I am sure the parts I'm getting are a suitable match.

    I feel like I made a bad choice getting a 29er. They are great for beginners but now I want more agility and less weight. I don't care about attack angles when I can just bunny hop over an obstacle instead of rolling over it. Given the ability to bunny hop, which is something I'm still working on and is very uncomfortable on an XC 29er, this gives me opportunity to hit a lot more obstacles, things that I don't feel comfortable hitting with my current bike because of the wheel size.

    Please give me suggestions on frame types and full bikes. And if you have any critique on my opinions, I'd love to hear them also. I've only been riding for about a year and so I don't really have much experience or knowledge on any other bikes than my own.

  2. #2
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    You sound like a good candidate for an all mountain hardtail. The ht feeling you're familiar with, coupled with a playfull AM geometry and a 130-150 fork. With some bargain hunting possibly doable close to your budget.

    Check the AMHT thread for inspiration

  3. #3
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    1. You say you want less weight I can't imagine that any AM bike you're going to find under $1000 will be lighter than your Marlin.
    2. There's no good reason bunny hopping an XC 29er should be any less comfortable than bunny hopping an AM bike. A shorter stem and a wider, higher rise bar might make all the difference in the world.
    3. Overall, it seems to me that you're attributing too much to wheel size. It certainly shouldn't be the limiting factor in what sort of obstacles you're willing to hit. I don't mean to be rude, but it really sounds like the issue is more about your current skill level than what size wheels you ride.
    4. Quality bikes are super expensive these days. Better/fatter tires and the above mentioned stem/bar change might be a better short term fix while you save for a bike in the $2000-$3000 price range.
    The glass is twice as large as it needs to be

  4. #4
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    Definitely not the wheel size, or weight, at least in regards to hopping. I learned to hop on a fatbike and hop just fine on my AM HT 29er.

    The geometry on the other hand... too long of an effective top tube and long chainstays will kill your hopping real quick. You can adjust that with stem length and bar height, as suggested, but that won't shorten your stays or slacken your head angle, which you'll want for the riding you describe.

    Something with short stays and a slack HT is what you want. Long travel hardtail? That's what I ride, and think it would be a fine choice for the likes of Fort Duffield.

  5. #5
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    Your situation sounds somewhat similar to mine a little while back. I bought an older stumpy fsr to get back into riding bikes after not having ridden in years and within a few months decided that wasn't really the bike I wanted. Eventually I decided on an on one 456. I live in western KY so the terrain is probably similar, but I wanted the burlier frame than the normal inbred due to my clyde status (6'3" 270-280). Also I wasn't looking to race, I just wanted to have some fun on the trails.

    While researching what I did want I went ahead and upgraded some components of the old bike, and since I like to tinker I just kept stockpiling parts until I had everything, then stripped the old bike and built the new one up in my living room. I still consider myself a beginner but went ahead and built the bike for where I want to get skill wise as opposed to where I was, that way I couldn't blame the bike.

    Your bike is still worth some money so you might not want to go the exact same route but if your not scared to do it yourself then I recommend going that way. That way you get the bike you want and I'll admit I have a little more pride about it compared to bikes my buddies have bought complete.

    tl;dr version: look at the on one 456

  6. #6
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    How about a 4x bike? It can jump, do trails, pump tracks etc, you'd give up a bit climbing over an XC bike and lose a little bit of gnar descent compared with a longer travel hard tail, but honestly I'm not so sure hard tails really need over 120mm travel. Fairly slack HA, short chain-stay. DJ forks last really well, even if they are a bit heavier than their XC cousins, Manitou Circus are quite light for a DJ fork.. People worry that the seat will be too low for efficient pedaling. but I find that running a 400mm post is just about perfect.

  7. #7
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    Take a look at the Cannondale Trail SL 3.
    26" with a 1 1/2" head tube ( burly) lightweight and in your price range.
    At $1000 budget, I wouldn't consider the all mountain hardtail. I thought those started at $1500-2k.

  8. #8
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    Time for a new bike, but unsure about riding style

    Giant makes great bikes and gives a ton for your dollar.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontman View Post

    I feel like I made a bad choice getting a 29er. They are great for beginners but now I want more agility and less weight. I don't care about attack angles when I can just bunny hop over an obstacle instead of rolling over it. Given the ability to bunny hop, which is something I'm still working on and is very uncomfortable on an XC 29er, this gives me opportunity to hit a lot more obstacles, things that I don't feel comfortable hitting with my current bike because of the wheel size.
    Demo as many bikes as your local shops will allow and don't allow anyone to push you into a wheel size based on their own personal bias. Shops will push 29'ers and the second coming of Chri...I mean 27.5" bikes, because that's what they ordered this year, not because it's best for you or your riding style.

    Have any friends with 26" wheeled bikes? See if you can swap with them to try it out. You may find the agility and playability is just what you're looking for.

    Your $1000 would go a lot farther in the used market. If you're a shrewd buyer and can assess (or have friends that can) the quality of what you're buying, you might consider that an option. A quick look in the $1000 market on Pinkbike yields some decent finds:

    XTR equipped Yeti ASR
    Yeti ASR - Pinkbike

    Cannondale Prophet:
    2006 Cannondale Prophet Size:M - Pinkbike

    AM hardtail anyone?:
    2012 Revolt hard tail - Pinkbike

    Santa Cruz Chameleon:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon - Pinkbike

  10. #10
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    I'm becoming really fond of the 456 frame. It's just what I'm looking for and not too pricey. Too bad they are out of stock right now. Shipping it from the UK might be expensive though. I'll start looking on pinkbikes, craigslist, and ebay. 4X bikes are AKA dirt-jumpers right? My riding buddy has a Giant STP and although it feels amazing on street and jumps, I wouldn't want anything to do with it on an agressive trail, especially because of the single speed aspect.

    So, any suggestions on build-kits for the 456? Also, since this is my first build and I don't have an exact idea on what kind of stem to get, I should just stick with the geometry of the 456 complete bike right? Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! I took everyone's input into consideration.

  11. #11
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    Check out the AM hardtail thread, that should give you an idea of what bikes there are out there.

    As for build, I'd just buy a complete bike off the used market. For 1K you could get a pretty sweet hardtail setup. I'd look at quality wheels and fork over other parts due to the high cost
    Just another redneck with a bike

  12. #12
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    That Revolt looks pretty sweet! Awesome build kit for that price! You could always swap the parts over to a FS bike down the road if you wanted too

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontman View Post
    I'm becoming really fond of the 456 frame. It's just what I'm looking for and not too pricey. Too bad they are out of stock right now. Shipping it from the UK might be expensive though. I'll start looking on pinkbikes, craigslist, and ebay. 4X bikes are AKA dirt-jumpers right? My riding buddy has a Giant STP and although it feels amazing on street and jumps, I wouldn't want anything to do with it on an agressive trail, especially because of the single speed aspect.

    So, any suggestions on build-kits for the 456? Also, since this is my first build and I don't have an exact idea on what kind of stem to get, I should just stick with the geometry of the 456 complete bike right? Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! I took everyone's input into consideration.

    If you're unable to get an on-one shipped from the UK, you might look into the Transition Trans AM 26 or maybe even an older Vagrant.

  14. #14
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    If your funds are limited and you allready have a bike stick with what you got. If you can save up a few hundred bucks get a new wheel set or a better fork. Thats just my advice.

    Sounds like your sick of the current bike and want a new one. Thats cool too. Get a transition klunker and keep the 29er.

    When you say itermediate down hill what exactly do you mean?

  15. #15
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    Don't forget that there are some fantastic bikes that fit neatly between an XC hardtail and a long travel AM bike. It seems people these days think it's either one or the other. It's not!

    There are some amazing bikes that weigh less than 27 pounds, have 4"-5" of travel, and are fun to ride up AND down. Some brands call these trail bikes but it seems more and more that companies are either selling XC or AM.

    I would guess that 80% or more of mountain bikers who actually ride singletrack are a perfect match for a trail bike.
    I live with fear and danger every day. And on the weekends she lets me go mountain biking.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    If your funds are limited and you allready have a bike stick with what you got. If you can save up a few hundred bucks get a new wheel set or a better fork. Thats just my advice.

    Sounds like your sick of the current bike and want a new one. Thats cool too. Get a transition klunker and keep the 29er.

    When you say itermediate down hill what exactly do you mean?
    By intermediate I mean whatever hills that my area offers. I'm not ready to go to Colorado or Whistler just yet and so for now I want a strong, well rounded bike.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    Don't forget that there are some fantastic bikes that fit neatly between an XC hardtail and a long travel AM bike. It seems people these days think it's either one or the other. It's not!

    There are some amazing bikes that weigh less than 27 pounds, have 4"-5" of travel, and are fun to ride up AND down. Some brands call these trail bikes but it seems more and more that companies are either selling XC or AM.

    I would guess that 80% or more of mountain bikers who actually ride singletrack are a perfect match for a trail bike.
    Can you give some examples?

    Also, my friend suggested the Jamis Komodo. Any thoughts on that?

  18. #18
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    I have a Kona Taro on the way. It sounds like what you may be looking for. Check it out.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontman View Post
    Can you give some examples?

    Also, my friend suggested the Jamis Komodo. Any thoughts on that?
    Yeti ASR-5 is ridiculously light for a 5" travel bike. Mine climbs FAR better than my HT and with 5" of travel is super fun and fast on the descents. I don't know much about other brands but I'm guessing the big boys also make a stiff, light, medium travel trail bike.
    I live with fear and danger every day. And on the weekends she lets me go mountain biking.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    Yeti ASR-5 is ridiculously light for a 5" travel bike. Mine climbs FAR better than my HT and with 5" of travel is super fun and fast on the descents. I don't know much about other brands but I'm guessing the big boys also make a stiff, light, medium travel trail bike.
    giant trance, trek fuel x series, specialized camber, gt sensor, jamis xct, cannondale rz, diamondback sortie are some more options to the used market in the 120 travel aka 5in bikes. Maybe you could find one less than 5 years old or so depending on componentry package.

    but from a geometry point of view, your marlin or other Xc heatubes usually come in at 70/71 degrees. Where as 5in bikes are around 68/69 degrees at the headtube. Slackened out a bit to increase confidence downhill but as close to xc as you can get to still pedal well uphill. Also slightly sturdier builds but not AM heavy. Usually staying at or under 30lbs. I personally love full suspension. When its time to push hard that's where they shine in stability. But to each there own. Once you learn how to preload an fs it actually helps you bunny hop off little lips and stuff. Its just a matter of being in rythum with how your supension is tuned.

  21. #21
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    Your bike weighs about 32lbs. It has a recreational fork that weighs 5.8lbs. It's meant for bike paths.
    You haven't really ridden a 29 trail bike.
    Put on a 3 lb 2012 Reba, an ArchEx front wheel and a 600g tire.
    You drop weight and have some of the components for your next build.
    With a light front end and about a 26 lb total your ride experience would be changed. You could ride more difficult trails and develop a lot of skills/have fun.

  22. #22
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    ^ Thats just silly. Thats an xc bike through and through. Nothing about that is meant for the bike path.

    You can push a 5 inch trail bike with a 140mm fork really really hard. If all your trails are xc kinda stuff, you'd really hate pushing a burly 6 inch AM bike all over the place. It would just make the trails boring and exhausting.

  23. #23
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    A 29er is a beginners bike? Hah...for many many many years we all rode 26 inch bikes to learn the sport...sometimes even 20 or 24 inch, depending on our size and age. We are just starting to see some very capable long travel 29ers...technology doesn't happen overnight. I ride my full suspension XC bike on everything I encounter. The only terrain that makes me nervous is extreme technical downhill or drop offs larger then 5-6 ft. Could only imagine what kind of terrain I could conquer with a longer travel 29er. Being 6'1 the bigger wheels fit me extremely well...benefits outweighs negatives.

    So my suggestion...forget all the myths or the "he said so" information you've heard. Regardless of wheel size, find a bike that fits "you". All mountain is such a broad category of riding...I consider all mtn being that your bike is capable of riding the entire mountain...including the climbs.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    ^ Thats just silly. Thats an xc bike through and through. Nothing about that is meant for the bike path.
    Sorry if I wrote in a way that lets it be misinterpreted. The bike path only refers to the fork. The bike would be on the way to being a good trail bike with a non bike path fork.
    Suntour as the fork manufacturer knows what it's meant for more than we do.
    From Suntour's website---
    "RTR: Recreational trail
    Work out with your buddies: No rough terrain,no steep climbs or downhills! Just floating along the city river or through the forest behind your house." That's bike path.

    The bike is quite capable with a dual air Reba or Manitou Tower Pro or Epicon from Nick at Suntour under the upgrade program(thread in Beginners) and an ArchEx front wheel and Nobby Nic Performance tire at 20psi.

    Ride your bike setup right and you won't be looking for something else for awhile.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by drz400sm View Post
    A 29er is a beginners bike? Hah...
    You can blame the bike industry and more specifically retail shops for this one. Shops typically direct new riders to big wheels for the stability and with the assumption a new rider won't necessarily be looking to "play" off of every feature on the trail. So yeah...there's a self fulfilling stigma.

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