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  1. #1
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    Can upgrades make a bike more nimble?

    I have a KHS Sixfifty 600 (hardtail, XC set-up). I am pretty happy with the bike, but it's not as nimble as I would like. Is there anything I can do - new wheels, new fork, etc. - to make it more nimble, or is the frame the limiting factor?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Upgrading to lighter parts might make it a little easier to throw around. Other than that you are basically at the mercy of the frame geometry and wheel base length. You've got a fairly steep head angle on that bike so it should corner nicely for XC use.

    Can you maybe elaborate a little more on what you mean by "nimble" -- cornering at high/lo speeds, tackling obstacles, changing lines, etc.
    All good things in all good time

  3. #3
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    I'm looking more to get it up and over obstacles easier. The cornering is fine, it's just harder to get it off the ground than some other bikes.

    I'm a noob, so I don't know how noticeable a lighter wheel set or better fork would be. I don't want to spend a lot of money on something that is going to be marginally better. For example, the dropper post was money well spent, but would lighter wheels make much difference?

  4. #4
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    That fork is ok weight wise. Its only about a lb(.5kg) heavier than the lightest comparable fox fork. When I upgraded the wheels on my last bike and went tubeless I dropped probably 1.5-2lbs of weight from wheels and tires. That is the furthest extremity from my body, and it is unsprung rotational mass. I noticed a huge difference in the bikes playfulness (especially in the air).

    I dont think the frame is holding you back much.

    Another area to drop some quick weight is by going to a 1x9 drivetrain setup with a NW chaining. That drops about a lb of weight.

    Unsprung mass - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Hope this helps!

  5. #5
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    Wheels are you are going feel a difference,you could try some lighter tires and go tubeless.Some new skills could help with some of your issues.Track stands,bunny hopping ,wheelies ,manuals . Youtube has how to videos .

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the replies. Now I need to start shopping around for some wheel sets.

  7. #7
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    Along similar lines as the wheels, if you cannot afford a good set of light wheels, simply installing a lighter set of tires can net you noticeable gains. New rubber is usually considered one of the best bang-for-buck changes you can make.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Along similar lines as the wheels, if you cannot afford a good set of light wheels, simply installing a lighter set of tires can net you noticeable gains. New rubber is usually considered one of the best bang-for-buck changes you can make.

    Ditto:

    Tires and wheels definitely make a huge difference in speed and handling.

    I'm also going to suggest cockpit layout. I'm not sure if you are low and stretched or more upright, but higher / closer bars sometimes help with the nimble feel.

    Finally, in my limited experience frame geometry is very important for handling. Slacker head tube, more upright position will enable a more nimble bmx like feel.....but might sacrifice comfort.....

  9. #9
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    what is your current stem length? and bar width? Have you tried putting on a shorter stem and some wider bars?

    I know it isn't XC approved but a 50mm stem and some 740+ bars will make a huge difference in handling and the ability to make the bike do what you want.

    Making your bike lighter can help but so can making your self lighter and or stronger... getting fitter and developing some stronger skills will make a big difference.

    as for getting the bike up and down of obstacles, the frame is going to be the biggest limiting factor. shorter wheel base, shorter top tube and shorter chain stays will make a bike feel more nimble and easy to move around but will make it less XC and less comfy for long rides. If the plan is to keep that bike I would look at getting your cockpit set up correctly and then going towards new wheels but the biggest thing I"ve seen with most new riders is fitness and skills.... get Mastering Mountain Bike Skills from Leelikesbikes.com and check out james wilson at bikejames.com. that will be a good start or see if there is a local skills clinic you can get in... but don't just go to some local joe that thinks they know what they are doing, check into the person. Learning bad technique early will only lead to bad habits and more work when you actually want to improve... good luck!

  10. #10
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    Right now that bike either has Crossmarks or Racing Ralphs which are pretty dang light XC tires.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by moefosho View Post
    Right now that bike either has Crossmarks or Racing Ralphs which are pretty dang light XC tires.
    Yeah, it has Crossmarks. I'm thinking about switching out the Weinmann + Crossmark set-up with something tubeless. The LBS was suggesting the Mavic Crossroc @ $500 for the wheelset, including tires.

    Skill and fitness improvement is for sure.

  12. #12
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    For $500 I would be looking at these carbon wheelsets
    carbon MTB 650B wheel mountain bike 27.5 wheels Light-Bicycle

    Lighter stiffer, and only a little bit more cash.

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