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  1. #1
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    Getting serious - need some expert advice

    This is my first post, so I'll give you a quick background. This is my first season mountain biking seriously and I have been using a 2005 Kona Blast hardtail stock. I have quickly noticed that the trails I ride are pretty intense and while I can ride them effectively on the Kona, I think I would feel a lot better with a full suspension setup. I believe the type of riding I do would be 'trail' or 'all mountain.' About 50/50 uphill/downhill but the downhills are often very rocky, narrow and long.

    I came across a fantastic looking 2009 Cannondale Moto 2 which I am very tempted to buy. My question is, having only been biking for a season, would this bike be the type of bike I'm looking for: to be able to do uphills but feel a lot safer and maneuver a lot better on downhills.

    Getting serious - need some expert advice-p4pb9737388.jpg

  2. #2
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    ride for a few more months before you decide to purchase a new bike. test all tire sizes within your terrain. 26" is great in many areas but 29 excels in many as well. Depending on your body size and terrain you might want a 27.5"... I also think most beginners focus to much on rear travel.

    I don't know where you live but I ride a TB LTc and have access to my wifes 4" travel TB. If I want to blaze a course down hill I ride mine. The funny thing is during the sandy/dry season I am modestly faster on her bike. The problem is it is less fun on the downhill.

  3. #3
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    I am not against 29ers and my good friend has a 29" Cannondale hardtail but for me the big issue comes down to cost and I'd much rather get this 2009 bike here for 1700 then a newer 29" or brand new 27.5" w/ lesser components for the same cost.

    For the record I am in CT and we have a lot of woody hilly trails.

  4. #4
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    Thats a pretty big bike. Its going to be much more difficult and slower to climb than your hardtail. It'll gobble up downhill portions.

    The kind of trails you're on now will likely become harder to climb, and maybe a little boring going down. If you're managing them well on a xc hardtail, they'll just disappear on a big bike like that.

    Id look more towards 5 inch trail bikes. They'll be faster, climb better, and still descend quite a bit better. Something with 130-140mm up front.

  5. #5
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    Ride or better demo some of the many steps in travel between your 8 year old hard tail 26 and a 160mm big mountain full suspension. That is a 31.5lb bike with dated tech for rear suspension.

  6. #6
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    And that seems to be a **** load more than I'd pay for it.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  7. #7
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    Thanks so much for all the great advice. I will look for a bike that is a bit more reasonable of a transition.. a little newer with less travel.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bemiller View Post
    Thanks so much for all the great advice. I will look for a bike that is a bit more reasonable of a transition.. a little newer with less travel.
    It doesn't necessarily have to be newer, but for trail/AM you want closer to 120-150mm of travel that is set up for that purpose.

    Also, going from an entry level hardtail from 2005 to a mid to high range full suspension from 2005 or newer will make it a much more capable bike on the techy sections.
    '14 Marin Attack Trail C-XT9
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  9. #9
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    What is the disadvantage of having so much more travel in the front that I wouldn't want for AM or trail?

  10. #10
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    After you get to a certain amount of travel 150-160+, the whole bike is usually designed for one reason, to go down. The frames have slacker head and seat angles, they are usually heavier, and the big negative is they are not as efficient of pedal designs.

    They are simply made for going down. Yes, you can pedal them up, but it wont be enjoyable.

    When you get under 5 inches of travel, bikes are designed to be able to climb as well as descend. You might not be able to descend quite as fast, but they can still do the job.

    For instance, my Marin MV is a 5 inch travel trail bike. The suspension design was created to be able to climb very efficiently and absorb bumps/hits with a bottomless feel.

    I climb as well if not better than I did with my Hardtail, and I am far more confident and capable in downhill sections.

    Hope this helps.
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    The biggest disadvantage is you won't want to ride as much. Your trails will be too easy with less fun.
    And the bike will be harder to pedal uphill from weight and pedal bob
    And it will not turn as fast in the tech sections. Or corner with as tight a line.
    And if it's older you will need to do maintenance from past use on the fork, shock and suspension pivot points.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    The biggest disadvantage is you won't want to ride as much. Your trails will be too easy with less fun.
    I absolutely disagree with this statement. Tons of people have fun riding bikes like this. And I can think of plenty of trails in his area that aren't going to be 'too easy' or 'less fun' on it. Probably the opposite.

    OP -you've got a number of places in your neck of the woods where that bike would be a hoot, specially if you're more interested in having fun on the descents and techy stuff than being the first one up the climbs. That's kinda my style, and my primary bike is a 165/170mm travel set-up that I use if for everything except for a select few lift-accessed trails that I dust off my full DH bike for. Mostly, I ride straight up XC with it in hilly northern Worcester county, but it also sees shuttle runs, 'freeride' type rides, and even some chairlift days.
    I'm not gonna win any XC races on it, but then again, I don't care about XC races. I'm perfectly happy to push a little extra weight up the hill and party on the way down. Know a lot of other people that think the same way too.

    From the review, sounds like this would be a fun bike if you're looking to explore the gravity and 'freeride'ish elements a little more while still having the capability to climb, just maybe not at great speeds. Trumbull, Bluff Point, Diamond Hill, Vietnam in MA, all fun places for that type of bike. If possible, what I might do is pick it up and keep your HT too. That way you've got right tools for different jobs.

    Cannondale Moto2 2008 160mm Trail Bike | Mountain Bike Review

  13. #13
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    Wow more great responses and I'm definitely seeing both sides of the coin here. Slapheadmofo, you definitely aren't too far away so you know what kinda trails we have around here. Thanks for pulling up that review somehow I missed that before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bemiller View Post
    Wow more great responses and I'm definitely seeing both sides of the coin here. Slapheadmofo, you definitely aren't too far away so you know what kinda trails we have around here. Thanks for pulling up that review somehow I missed that before.
    No sweat man.
    Yeah, we've got a lot of variety around here. While a big bike like that can definitely be a lot of fun, there are some also some trade-offs to it. Only you can decide what works for you. And remember, you're not marrying the bike. If it catches your fancy, get it, ride it, have fun with it, learn from it. Then ditch it or sell it to a buddy and try something different. Experiment, ride all sorts of stuff. And just like you don't have to get stuck into a single paradigm when it comes to equipment, also, don't paint your riding experiences into some little niche and then stay within it. Ride lots of places, wear out lots of bikes.

  15. #15
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    It's not only the terrain but personal preferences. Some enjoy going bigger, faster and let the bike do more work, some want their skill and body to work.
    Round and round we go

  16. #16
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    Yep, that Cannondale will climb like a pig and descend like a monster truck.

    But that's a not a bad thing...

    My bike ( that I use for everything) is very similar to that bike ( Mojo HD).

    I have given up trying to be a fast climber and I don't have the time to ride enough to be a really good downhiller.

    So this bike/ the cannondale will let you show up basically anywhere, anytime and be able to ride.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    Some enjoy going bigger, faster and let the bike do more work, some want their skill and body to work.
    Always keep in mind that having skills/fitness and riding a certain type of bike are in no way mutually exclusive. This is kinda like another myth perpetuated by curmudgeons (and wanna-be curmedgeons), that the only way to gain skills is to ride old-school equipment. That's like saying everyone should learn to drive without power brakes, steering, and automatic transmissions; these skills really only pay off if you plan to spend a lot of time driving old jalopys.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Always keep in mind that having skills/fitness and riding a certain type of bike are in no way mutually exclusive.
    so are you saying this bike is an old jalopy (interesting word)? Or maybe better yet explain further.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bemiller View Post
    so are you saying this bike is an old jalopy (interesting word)? Or maybe better yet explain further.
    No, no...the bike looks fine.

    When asking advice as a beginner rider, you might find that there is a myth out there that if you don't start out riding a specific style of bike, you end up a lesser rider somehow. Usually, it's old guys that ride hardtails saying people shouldn't start on out a full suspension bike cuz 'the bike will do all the work and they won't really learn how to ride' or something along those lines. Some people seem to think the only way to get good is to suffer through thousands of jarring miles on a hardtail, whether you like it or not, like one day you're gonna get some sort of 'purist' award for it. It's basically the mtb version of 'Back in my day, we didn't even have FEET! We went everywhere on BLOODY STUMPS! And we LIKED IT!". Screw that - for some people, a big squishy bike is more fun, and fun is the point.


  20. #20
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    do not buy a used bike without checking the ebay completed auctions. You can see the going prices on the bikes you're looking at. Big common mistake that a lot of people make, end up overpaying a lot sometimes.

  21. #21
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    You'll have to do better but nice try.
    Round and round we go

  22. #22
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    Haha well for the record I decided to purchase the Cannondale. At first the idea of having that much front suspension was a bit daunting but I think that the adjustable front fork is a great asset. Furthermore all I have read about this bike is positive. I don't think it's outrageously heavy and the components are solid. So we'll see in a few days how everything looks when it shows up.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bemiller View Post
    Haha well for the record I decided to purchase the Cannondale. At first the idea of having that much front suspension was a bit daunting but I think that the adjustable front fork is a great asset. Furthermore all I have read about this bike is positive. I don't think it's outrageously heavy and the components are solid. So we'll see in a few days how everything looks when it shows up.
    Since you purchased it... Long travel bikes tend to have higher bottom bracket heights. Because of this dropper posts( dropping your post) becomes more of a necessity than on standard bikes. If this happens on your bike, it will feel tall/ nervous going downhill.

    Good luck!

  24. #24
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    I have a Moto...it is not my only bike but I ride it a lot on varying trails..true the bike is a heavy rig..it will climb..just not fast..but it will whip you into shape..at least that is what I keep telling myself when I am on a climb with it..when descending I just let it rip..tracks well..stable.. nice plush ride..I still ride hard tails....and enjoy it...but I always have fun on my Moto when I take it out for a ride..I have thought of selling it but just can not bring myself to because it is a fun bike to ride.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by saidrick View Post
    Since you purchased it... Long travel bikes tend to have higher bottom bracket heights. Because of this dropper posts( dropping your post) becomes more of a necessity than on standard bikes. If this happens on your bike, it will feel tall/ nervous going downhill.

    Good luck!
    Could you explain a little more by what you mean when you say "dropper posts" and what would precipitate me feeling "tall and nervous"??

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bemiller View Post
    This is my first post, so I'll give you a quick background. This is my first season mountain biking seriously and I have been using a 2005 Kona Blast hardtail stock. I have quickly noticed that the trails I ride are pretty intense and while I can ride them effectively on the Kona, I think I would feel a lot better with a full suspension setup. I believe the type of riding I do would be 'trail' or 'all mountain.' About 50/50 uphill/downhill but the downhills are often very rocky, narrow and long.

    I came across a fantastic looking 2009 Cannondale Moto 2 which I am very tempted to buy. My question is, having only been biking for a season, would this bike be the type of bike I'm looking for: to be able to do uphills but feel a lot safer and maneuver a lot better on downhills.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  27. #27
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    Cool beans, if you like it that's all that should matter. Since you already have a ht this should be an excellent addition. Good luck with it.
    Round and round we go

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bemiller View Post
    Could you explain a little more by what you mean when you say "dropper posts" and what would precipitate me feeling "tall and nervous"??
    They make seatposts where you can hit a switch and your seat will drop a few inches, hit it again, it comes back up to where it was. They're popular these days, and can be convenient, but are far from a necessity on any bike. They give you a little bit of extra room to move around on steep downhills. Or you can just do it the old fashioned way, with your seatpost quick release lever, at the top of any wildly steep and nasty descent.

    Basically, a lot of bikers LOVE spending money on upgrades, and will try to get you to do the same. If you have $$ and like to spend it on gadgets, there's lot of opportunity to shop for stuff, some of which might actually enhance your riding experience in some measurable amount. Mostly though, when someone tries to tell you that you 'have to have' something, specially an expensive something, it's not really the case. Ride the bike the way it is for now, replace stuff as it wears out or breaks. Don't get sucked into the hype on upgrading all the time - it's expensive and the benefits are marginal. For the price of a dropper post, I personally would instead by a decent BMX bike, or a used road bike, or a season pass to Highland Mt.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    Cool beans, if you like it that's all that should matter. Since you already have a ht this should be an excellent addition. Good luck with it.
    Thanks very much. And worst case scenario is I'll sell it. But we'll see pretty soon!

    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    They make seatposts where you can hit a switch and your seat will drop a few inches, hit it again, it comes back up to where it was. They're popular these days, and can be convenient, but are far from a necessity on any bike. They give you a little bit of extra room to move around on steep downhills. Or you can just do it the old fashioned way, with your seatpost quick release lever, at the top of any wildly steep and nasty descent.
    Haha pretty cool technology though. I'm hoping that, if everything is in working order, i won't need to upgrade anything this season at least.

    Great information too!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bemiller View Post
    Thanks very much. And worst case scenario is I'll sell it. But we'll see pretty soon!



    Haha pretty cool technology though. I'm hoping that, if everything is in working order, i won't need to upgrade anything this season at least.

    Great information too!
    Dropper seat post will improve your riding more than any other upgrade. Wheelset would be second but is also much more expensive

  31. #31
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    Agreed ^' if you feel you're too low when climbing, or too hi when descending, a dropper is a good purchase, especially if you no liky or find it hard to get behind the saddle. If you've never had a need or want to change saddle height, and you still just love to buy upgrades, you can buy me one.
    Round and round we go

  32. #32
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    A note on my previous post:

    You don't need to buy a seat post dropper, however some of the big travel bikes will require more of back AND down position when descending. This is because of the higher BB height.

    This may not be an issue for you and or your bike's design.
    However, this was my experience, I tried manually dropping the post all the time and decided that the dropper was well worth the money.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    Agreed ^' if you feel you're too low when climbing, or too hi when descending, a dropper is a good purchase, especially if you no liky or find it hard to get behind the saddle. If you've never had a need or want to change saddle height, and you still just love to buy upgrades, you can buy me one.
    I'll definitely keep that in mind (not buying you one)

    Quote Originally Posted by saidrick View Post
    A note on my previous post:

    You don't need to buy a seat post dropper, however some of the big travel bikes will require more of back AND down position when descending. This is because of the higher BB height.

    This may not be an issue for you and or your bike's design.
    However, this was my experience, I tried manually dropping the post all the time and decided that the dropper was well worth the money.
    Interesting, certainly getting acclimated to this new setup will take a little while but I'm curious to see if my experience reflects yous

    Quote Originally Posted by LB412 View Post
    Dropper seat post will improve your riding more than any other upgrade. Wheelset would be second but is also much more expensive
    That's quite a statement. Is that others' opinions?

  34. #34
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    That IS quite a statement. Congratulations. Enjoy it. Like you said, you can always sell it if you don't like it.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bemiller View Post
    That's quite a statement. Is that others' opinions?
    Meh.

    Nothing improves your riding as much as riding does.
    You can probably do a week at Whistler for the price of a high end wheelset, including airfare and bike rental. That'll improve your riding 100 times more than the best wheelset or seatpost on earth.

    Component upgrades are WAY overrated, particularly on the internet and in certain publications. The short list of things that REALLY make a difference are decent brakes, tires, and a drivetrain that works fairly smoothly (doesn't have to be high-end, just not worn out). Also, tools and a workstand are a great investment; I'd almost put them in the 'must have' column, unless you like to overpay the local shop every time something goes out of whack (which is constantly). Spend the time to adjust your bike to fit you, learn how to dial your suspension and tune your bike up. Don't be afraid to change things around to see how it affects your ride.

    You've got a pretty active NEMBA chapter in CT too. Join them for some trail building or group rides sometime. Local knowledge is priceless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bemiller View Post
    Wow more great responses and I'm definitely seeing both sides of the coin here. Slapheadmofo, you definitely aren't too far away so you know what kinda trails we have around here. Thanks for pulling up that review somehow I missed that before.
    Don't forget to try the third side of the coin.

    Test ride a Fat Bike !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bemiller View Post
    Haha well for the record I decided to purchase the Cannondale. At first the idea of having that much front suspension was a bit daunting but I think that the adjustable front fork is a great asset. Furthermore all I have read about this bike is positive. I don't think it's outrageously heavy and the components are solid. So we'll see in a few days how everything looks when it shows up.
    Too Late !

    Enjoy the ride.

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    Bike Built!

    Getting serious - need some expert advice-moto-2.jpg

    So I put the bike together, brought it to a shop for tuning, and have brought it out several times now. Definitely a different experience for me, I have to say that this bike is not much heavier than my old Kona despite the extra weight in the center from the rear suspension. The carbon frame really detracts from the overall weight which is excellent. I have been riding the front suspension at 130mm instead of the top end 160 mm and I think this is perfect for me right now. The suspension tuning is definitely the most difficult for me, especially the rear. But I am trying to get a hang of it through trial and error and riding on different settings. Thanks for everyone's help!

  39. #39
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    Once you get it reasonably dialed in and you're pretty comfortably on it, throw it in the suby and do a day trip to Highland Mt in NH sometime. That thing looks like it would be a party on a lot of their trails.

    Diamond Hill looks really fun too. These guys are pretty active there:
    RI NEMBA

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