1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    What are the downsides/advantages of having "too much bike"?

    Looking at getting either a Trek Remedy or Trek Slash (650b). I am leaning towards the Slash as I'm mostly interested in going downhill and weigh 220 pounds with all my gear. However, I'm sure that the Slash will be overkill for the level I'm currently riding at. I definitely want to improve and grow into it though (over the next 5+ years), but what are problems with having "too much bike" in the meanwhile? Are there any advantages (ie safer, smoother ride through techy stuff)?

    Note: I don't care about the extra weight and money, and poorer climbing that come along with longer travel.

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    The whole point is smoother riding over rough stuff. Suspension raises the speed limit.

    I wouldn't look past five years out for a mountain bike. At least, not in its original role. But keeping you happy for the next five years is not a bad goal. If that kind of riding is where you want to go and you think you'd enjoy riding the bike now, why not?

    My experience with big bikes has led me to expect worse low speed handling and having to think further ahead to get around tight corners. I think if one didn't have a good sense of flow on a trail, including descending, it might be harder to improve to being able to feel that rhythm and flow. Basically, you'd be fighting the bike all the way down, not really riding the trail.

    If you have a functional bike, there's no hurry. Demo, and see if the bike sells itself to you. It's an expensive bike, so your chances of being able to borrow a demo unit from your local rep are probably not bad - ask your shop about it.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    if you have the means to support it, I say GO FOR IT.

    Cos if not, you will spend more time and money upgrading and fixing parts

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    The whole point is smoother riding over rough stuff. Suspension raises the speed limit.

    I wouldn't look past five years out for a mountain bike. At least, not in its original role. But keeping you happy for the next five years is not a bad goal. If that kind of riding is where you want to go and you think you'd enjoy riding the bike now, why not?

    My experience with big bikes has led me to expect worse low speed handling and having to think further ahead to get around tight corners. I think if one didn't have a good sense of flow on a trail, including descending, it might be harder to improve to being able to feel that rhythm and flow. Basically, you'd be fighting the bike all the way down, not really riding the trail.

    If you have a functional bike, there's no hurry. Demo, and see if the bike sells itself to you. It's an expensive bike, so your chances of being able to borrow a demo unit from your local rep are probably not bad - ask your shop about it.
    Definitely looking to raise the speed limit over techy stuff while feeling more confident and stable doing it. Right now I'm on a 4" hardtail and am finding its limits. 5+ years does seem a tad bit long hah. But I definitely wanna keep the bike for a long time. My main concern goes along with what you were saying about "fighting the bike all the way down"--definitely don't want to lose out on the fun if I'm struggling to handle the bike at slower speeds I'll likely initially be riding at. My LBS said they won't be getting any of the new 650b Treks 'til late Nov., possibly Dec., so I have plenty of time to think about it. I just wanna pull the trigger now so I can get it ASAP and not have to wait if they get backordered or somethin.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by skewe View Post
    if you have the means to support it, I say GO FOR IT.

    Cos if not, you will spend more time and money upgrading and fixing parts
    My thoughts entirely, I ride with a guy who upgraded his Remedy fork to a 6" Fox 36. Definitely don't wanna have to do that down the road, so I'm leaning towards starting bigger now. Especially since the geometry will already be optimized for a 6".

  6. #6
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    Planning ahead if you've got the funds is a good idea. As your confidence grows you will tackle tougher trails and your bike will be ready to take whatever you throw at it.
    Let's make like a Bike and get the Huck outta here...

  7. #7
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    I found myself thinking about this thread again today... I feel like the two things my fancy new FS does much better are staying stable when I let it run on a descent, which means I can take them faster, and staying smooth when I pedal through rough sections of flat or ascending trail.

    I was already letting my 80 mm hardtail run a bit, I just had to keep it slower to keep my tires hooked up. And I already pedaled most of the time on flat or climbing trails.

    The thing my little hardtail is much better at is on/off handling. It's a lot easier for me to stop and start, make an adjustment by dabbing, change my line in the middle, etc. I feel like there was a relatively easy transition between struggling to figure out a trail and flowing on it. I love the way my new bike rides when I'm in control, but it's a bit of a beast to deal with if I'm stopping and starting and trying to figure things out.

    In other words, if you're going slow and fighting the bike you have, or you have a lot of trouble with low-speed tech... it's going to be worse with more bike to have trouble riding.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    Three years ago I got into biking with a hardtail. It was a blast but as progression goes I was consumed by riding. Every chance I got I read about it, visited websites, watch videos etc...

    As I saw some of these guys on their bikes I couldn't help but want to push my limits and wanted a bike to fit the bill. My first FS bike ended up having 5-1/2" of travel because I wanted something more than XC but less than downhill/freeride. It's been freakn' awesome and I can honestly saw 3yrs later still takes anything I can throw at it.
    Let's make like a Bike and get the Huck outta here...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I found myself thinking about this thread again today... I feel like the two things my fancy new FS does much better are staying stable when I let it run on a descent, which means I can take them faster, and staying smooth when I pedal through rough sections of flat or ascending trail.

    I was already letting my 80 mm hardtail run a bit, I just had to keep it slower to keep my tires hooked up. And I already pedaled most of the time on flat or climbing trails.

    The thing my little hardtail is much better at is on/off handling. It's a lot easier for me to stop and start, make an adjustment by dabbing, change my line in the middle, etc. I feel like there was a relatively easy transition between struggling to figure out a trail and flowing on it. I love the way my new bike rides when I'm in control, but it's a bit of a beast to deal with if I'm stopping and starting and trying to figure things out.

    In other words, if you're going slow and fighting the bike you have, or you have a lot of trouble with low-speed tech... it's going to be worse with more bike to have trouble riding.
    I'm definitely looking at getting something that will be more stable running down rough sections. The hardtail I'm on just bucks me around like a cowboy on a rowdy bronco when I try to pick up the speed.

    I can see what you mean about starting and stopping, but I'd eventually like to just stop stopping altogether--which is a good point in the context of this thread. I don't wanna make learning more difficult than it needs to be...but of course, after I do learn and pick up the speed, I don't want to be left wanting more bike.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by In-Yo-Grill View Post
    Three years ago I got into biking with a hardtail. It was a blast but as progression goes I was consumed by riding. Every chance I got I read about it, visited websites, watch videos etc...

    As I saw some of these guys on their bikes I couldn't help but want to push my limits and wanted a bike to fit the bill. My first FS bike ended up having 5-1/2" of travel because I wanted something more than XC but less than downhill/freeride. It's been freakn' awesome and I can honestly saw 3yrs later still takes anything I can throw at it.
    Sounds like a familiar story hah. All of my spare time is consumed with the things you listed. I really wanna progress my riding and have a bike that I won't want more out of down the road. Another key issue here for me is what I will feel "safer" on. I know a big argument against longer travel bikes is that you don't get as much feedback from the trail, that it's like "cheating". But if I can cheat my way to riding much gnarlier terrain while feeling more stable and secure, than you betcha I will. 5.5" travel sounds like a pretty sweet spot. The Remedy is 5.5" and the Slash is 6.3"...so I guess a main dilemna of mine is whether or not that extra 0.8" will make me more confident and make techy stuff faster and easier, or if it'll just be detrimental to the progression of my riding because I won't be going fast enough to really take advantage of it.

  11. #11
    Bandit 29 FTW!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluntrager View Post
    Sounds like a familiar story hah. All of my spare time is consumed with the things you listed. I really wanna progress my riding and have a bike that I won't want more out of down the road. Another key issue here for me is what I will feel "safer" on. I know a big argument against longer travel bikes is that you don't get as much feedback from the trail, that it's like "cheating". But if I can cheat my way to riding much gnarlier terrain while feeling more stable and secure, than you betcha I will. 5.5" travel sounds like a pretty sweet spot. The Remedy is 5.5" and the Slash is 6.3"...so I guess a main dilemna of mine is whether or not that extra 0.8" will make me more confident and make techy stuff faster and easier, or if it'll just be detrimental to the progression of my riding because I won't be going fast enough to really take advantage of it.
    I believe there is a point of diminishing return. Longer travel bikes tend to be quite a bit heavier and are slacker. If you do more trail riding you will find yourself slower in general and sloppier in the turns. I know a few guys who have heavy bikes but are in good condition and keep with the pack so it's up to you.
    Let's make like a Bike and get the Huck outta here...

  12. #12
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    What are the downsides/advantages of having "too much bike"?

    Pros and cons,
    Cons

    Geometry :slacker angle makes climbing a bit more challenging, your handlebar wander a bit on the climb. High bottom bracket may offer grater ground clearance but lack corner like its on rail xc height bb. Though designer like Dave weagle of DW-link makes them long and low, long TT and low bb, short chainstay makes for fun fun fun.

    Weight, well you know it's coming already.

    Pros
    Geometry: slacker head angle flattened steep descend, makes handling feel less twitchy and easier to control than xc.

    Weight: there are quite a few bikes 6"+ that not only climb great but weight less than 30lbs. As the matter of fact, most from this list can be even lighter than 25 lbs for only a few more house payments. the days of heavy long travel only are over.

    Comfort and control, less body absorption or survival mode but more attacking the trail with more confidence. If you are younger getting your body all beat up by a HT is no big deal, you'd recover in a few hours, wish I can say the same when you are older.


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  13. #13
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    I definitely like the idea of spending less time in survival mode and attacking with more confidence. I'm only 24...so recovery is not an issue...I just want to avoid getting beat up in the first place.

    Another few side questions to help further this discussion:

    How much difference does 2.5 degrees slacker on the head tube angle make in terms of preventing going over the bars? (where I ride going over the bars means going face first into boulders)

    What does bottom bracket drop refer to?

    How much difference does 1.2 cm make in terms of effective ground clearance? (One of my main fears is smashing my crank on a rock)

    How much is low speed corning affected by 2.2 cm of trail?

    Is a 4.1 cm difference in wheelbase significant?

    How does a longer frame reach influence the handling characteristics of the bike? Here we're talking a difference of 2.3 cm.

  14. #14
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    What are the downsides/advantages of having "too much bike"?

    One of the number from your question change from typical setting then any change would affect handling in one way or another. However, designers tweak overall geo number it's hard to say that a bike would always handle the same at so and so degree head angle.

    Good example would be the Cannondale scalpel, definitely xc with pretty sharp handling hence the name, but the head angle is/was 69*. There's not really any one magic number, though many companies wish they know and can bottled it.

    Best is not just look and study the numbers but test ride. Especially you mentioned 650b that's another set of numbers altogether.


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    One of the number from your question change from typical setting then any change would affect handling in one way or another. However, designers tweak overall geo number it's hard to say that a bike would always handle the same at so and so degree head angle.

    Good example would be the Cannondale scalpel, definitely xc with pretty sharp handling hence the name, but the head angle is/was 69*. There's not really any one magic number, though many companies wish they know and can bottled it.

    Best is not just look and study the numbers but test ride. Especially you mentioned 650b that's another set of numbers altogether.


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    Good point, all the numbers really do just come together for one beautiful ride I'm sure. The numbers I listed were actually just differences between the Remedy AL and Slash on the 18.5" frame, so I was hoping it'd be easier to analyze handling characteristics based on them in that context. Anyways, I'm probably overthinking things a bit and a test ride would provide much more valuable information. The major problem I foresee with that though is that I'd like the Remedy more now, but the Slash more later.

  16. #16
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    The easy solution would be to find a bike shop that will let you rent them both. Most places that rent will let you put your rental fees towards a purchase. So if you know you are going to buy one or the other, rent both for a day and it will make your choice easier.

    That being said, if you already know you plan on riding aggressively and improving your skills, the bigger bike would probably be the better choice. After that, you'll have multiple bikes anyway, so it won't matter

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