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  1. #1
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    Steel Hardtail Decisions

    I've been researching steel hardtail mountain bikes and I've narrowed my search to the following. I'm a heavier rider at around 300lbs getting back into riding. I need a versatile bike mainly for singletrack and some roots and rocks. Most trails are equal up and down so I need a climber and descender. Budget is under $2500. I'm considering both 29r and 27+.

    Current choices:

    * Guerrilla Gravity Pedalhead 29r
    Ride2 build: NX with Raceface Aeffect Crank STEM and bars, upgrade to Pike RC or MRP Ribbon 130mm and 29r Maxxis Ardent 2.4mm
    Advantages: USA built frame, great warranty, threaded BB
    Disadvantages: Concerns about low bottom bracket but appears main issues are with 27.5+ builds. 29r with large profile appear adequate clearance

    *Kona Honzo Steel 29r
    Build: SLX or GX, Pike RC, Revelation or Yari 130mm, Stans rims with Maxxis Ardent 2.4mm
    Advantages: Large company backing with lifetime frame warranty. Kona is known to have great customer service.
    Disadvantages: Probably heaviest frame at 7lbs+

    *Jamis Dragonslayer Pro 2018 27.5+
    Build: (prelim info from Google search)-GX Eagle 12spd with SRAM Truvativ Stylo Crank, WTB Scrapper rims with 3.0mm Vittoria Cannoli tires, Reynolds 520 tubes, Fox 34mm Rhythm fork. * probably upgrade the tires to something lighter.
    Advantages: Good build spec with GX Eagle
    Disadvantages: Probably heavy, but may be better with better tires

    * Advocate Hayduke 27.5+
    Build: XT der and shifters, FSA Crank, WTB Scrapper rims with 2.8 Ranger TCS Light tires, Fox 34 Performance or Yari fork 130mm
    Advantages: Reynolds 725 Steel, less aggressive geometry maybe better for local trails, advocacy
    Disadvantages: 5yr warranty, company isn't as well known. Not a lot of info out there, press fit bottom brackets known for creaking (though BB92's seem to be better)

    * Soma Valhallen 27.5+
    Build: SLX or GX drivetrain, Pike RC 130mm or Yari, decent rims and tires.
    Advantages: New frame on market from a growing company, Tange tubing.
    Disadvantages: Not a lot of reviews yet, press fit BB (though BB92's appear ok)

    In terms of popularity the Pedalhead and the Honzo ST have the largest following but looking for real life points for a singletrack and trail machine.

    Jon

  2. #2
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    I would go by the one that has the best geometry that you like for your riding area. I like the new geometry,, slack head angles, which all of these seem to have. Great for when the trail turns downhill. All seem to be fantastic bikes. No wrong choice among them. Maybe the lightest build?
    Last edited by Conan@; 12-29-2017 at 12:57 AM.

  3. #3
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    My guess is the Soma or Pedalhead will be lightest as they are builds with 6lb frames. Weight isn't the only concern though. I've also looked at the Mottobecane Titanium bike that is full XT and has the 27.5+ tires. It's wierd as it only has a Rockshox SID 100mm fork but ensuring else is the stratosphere in terms of build. Thought I could ride as is or try trading the SID for a Yari or Revelation 130mm. I'm also considering the Heller Shagamaw GX1 build that's GX 1x11 with Rockshox Revelation 130mm and the frame is carbon.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker74 View Post
    My guess is the Soma or Pedalhead will be lightest as they are builds with 6lb frames. Weight isn't the only concern though. I've also looked at the Mottobecane Titanium bike that is full XT and has the 27.5+ tires. It's wierd as it only has a Rockshox SID 100mm fork but ensuring else is the stratosphere in terms of build. Thought I could ride as is or try trading the SID for a Yari or Revelation 130mm. I'm also considering the Heller Shagamaw GX1 build that's GX 1x11 with Rockshox Revelation 130mm and the frame is carbon.
    I own a steel Honzo as well as a GG Pistola (FS). Both Kona and GG make good frames; I donít have experience with the others on your list but all sound like capable machines.

    I weigh 2/3rds what you do and my Honzoís weight doesnít bother me at all because the bike fits me so well. Feels playful and capable. I have a couple Revelatlion forks (as well as a couple Pikes and a Fox 36). At your weight Iíd def look for a fork with 35-36mm stanchions. I also think youíll be happiest with Plus wheels & tires, minimum 2.6Ē wide tires. Iím a 29Ē wheel fan but thatís all you. Iím 6í2Ē tall so free to enjoy the benefits of wagon wheels.

    IMO a 1-by drivetrain is the only way to go. Install your dropper lever where your front shifter would have been had you invested in gearing thatís become passť. I employ my dropper more than I shift gears. Trust me, the southpaw location is the spot. One more piece of advice: donít skimp on your brakes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    I own a steel Honzo as well as a GG Pistola (FS). Both Kona and GG make good frames; I donít have experience with the others on your list but all sound like capable machines.

    I weigh 2/3rds what you do and my Honzoís weight doesnít bother me at all because the bike fits me so well. Feels playful and capable. I have a couple Revelatlion forks (as well as a couple Pikes and a Fox 36). At your weight Iíd def look for a fork with 35-36mm stanchions. I also think youíll be happiest with Plus wheels & tires, minimum 2.6Ē wide tires. Iím a 29Ē wheel fan but thatís all you. Iím 6í2Ē tall so free to enjoy the benefits of wagon wheels.

    IMO a 1-by drivetrain is the only way to go. Install your dropper lever where your front shifter would have been had you invested in gearing thatís become passť. I employ my dropper more than I shift gears. Trust me, the southpaw location is the spot. One more piece of advice: donít skimp on your brakes.
    =sParty
    I agree. I would lean towards the Pedalhead with the Ribbon, 1x, and a strong wheelset (something like a spank 345 or Dt Swiss Ex511). You are big, and will need the extra beefy components to not break things or flex the hell out of them (just a fact of life, I am 235, so understand).


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    I got a great reassuring email back from MRP about my weight and application. The MRP forks take air in both legs but it's not much of a deal especially for being on a hardtail as they recommended same psi to start.

  7. #7
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    It's a good list, minor tradeoffs depending on what you want to get out of it. I'm a big fan of Honzo geometry, I have one on order for this spring.
    Rigid SS 29er
    Hardtail 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

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    The Jamis Dragonslayer Pro is going to be worth a hard look. The 2018 version will have GX Eagle and a Fox 34 Rhythm along with a dropper. MSRP is under what I'm getting on build quotes. The Pedalhead is also still in the running. I also started looking at the Niner Sir9 but the builds are pretty expensive and then there's the whole wierd bottom bracket thing.

    I've been told that for press fit BB's the most dependable are BB92's.

    I'm awaiting a quote on the Soma Valhallen but I wish there were more reviews out there.

    The Kona steel Honzo is still intriguing though although the frame is heavy

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker74 View Post
    The Kona steel Honzo is still intriguing though although the frame is heavy
    Get over it. I promise the Kona won't be more than a pound different than anything else on your list. You'll never know it's there. And if you want to get that pound back, build some wheels. That's a much better place to save weight.

    (I'm not saying the Kona is the best frame, or the right bike for you, but rather the .5-.75 lbs on a 28+ lb hardtail is completely irrelevant.)
    Rigid SS 29er
    Hardtail 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  10. #10
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    Good point

  11. #11
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    So I've narrowed this list down further

    * Guerrilla Gravity Pedalhead 29r
    Ride2 build with Upgrade to GX/E*Thirteen 9-46 Extended Range Cassette with Raceface Aeffect Crank STEM and bars (they've said that they have some red Atlas bars which i'd probably request), Keeping the SR Suntour Aion Fork to keep the costs down and 29r Maxxis Ardent 2.4mm
    Advantages: USA built frame, great warranty, threaded BB
    Disadvantages: Concerns about low bottom bracket but appears main issues are with 27.5+ builds. 29r with large profile appear adequate clearance

    *Jamis Dragonslayer Pro 2018 27.5+
    Build: (prelim info from Google search)-GX Eagle 12spd with SRAM Truvativ Stylo Crank, WTB Scrapper rims with 3.0mm Vittoria Cannoli tires, Reynolds 520 tubes, Fox 34mm Rhythm fork. * probably upgrade the tires to something lighter.
    Advantages: Good build spec with GX Eagle
    Disadvantages: Probably heavy, but may be better with better tires

    * Advocate Hayduke 27.5+
    Build: Not sure what the 2018 builds will look like, but it appears they will be a good value for top notch equipment
    Advantages: Reynolds 725 Steel, less aggressive geometry maybe better for local trails, advocacy
    Disadvantages: 5yr warranty, company isn't as well known. Not a lot of info out there, press fit bottom brackets known for creaking (though BB92's seem to be better)

    I've also started to consider a full suspension bike. The YT Jeffsy is under $2300 and comes with the TRS 9-46 Cassette, FOx Suspension (Rhythm and DPS Shock). WIth Shipping and taxes it would still be under $2500. Another bike that is interesting is the 2017 Diamondback Catch 2 as Aventuron has them on sale for under $2100. It has a Pike and Monarch shock and GX drivetrain. Seems like a good value.

    I still like the simplicity of the hardtails though

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker74 View Post
    The Jamis Dragonslayer Pro is going to be worth a hard look. The 2018 version will have GX Eagle and a Fox 34 Rhythm along with a dropper. MSRP is under what I'm getting on build quotes. The Pedalhead is also still in the running. I also started looking at the Niner Sir9 but the builds are pretty expensive and then there's the whole wierd bottom bracket thing.

    I've been told that for press fit BB's the most dependable are BB92's.

    I'm awaiting a quote on the Soma Valhallen but I wish there were more reviews out there.

    The Kona steel Honzo is still intriguing though although the frame is heavy
    A 300# guy worried about a pound here or there on a bike? C'mon man - I weigh maybe 190# and I can lose a pound before I even leave the house in the morning. And, in all seriousness, all my light parts broke a long time ago.

    I did demo the Dragonslayer. It is a really nice bike - specifically the frame. I like how it handled, both in cornering and in the up-and-down, and it has that nice steel feel (in spite of the + tires), but personally I am still not sold on plus tires. Also, I demoed the large frame, but I probably should have demoed the XL. Def. a bike worthy of upgrades, although the pro build is already pretty nice.

    I am no longer a Niner fan.

    I don't think you could go wrong with the Honzo. You might benefit from a beefier frame.

    -F
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  13. #13
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    The Dragonslayer Pro 27.5+ is probably the most intriguing. I'm not too concerned about weight. I have however been reading that 3" tires may be a little too wide and 2.8's are the sweet spot for Plus bikes, so what I might do and given I can get a good deal on a Dragonslayer is to put the money back (that was my budget-what I get the pricing for) and either get some 2.8's if the Vittorias don't cut it in terms of rolling resistance, etc.

    I might also be able to get a good deal on a 29'r wheelset and give that a try on the Dragonslayer Pro

    I'm still not keen on buying a bike without riding it..even though theres really no negativity going on about the Pedalhead...Its still going to be $200-300 more than what I can get the Dragonslayer for

    Jon

  14. #14
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    Picked up a Dragonslayer almost 2 years ago. Switched out to a set of 2.8Ē Rekon's about six months agoÖ was a little surprised, what a major difference it made- dropped about a pound, better traction and sharping steering response.

    Just picked up a set of I9 Trail 245 on close out, set them up this weekend and will get my first ride on it next weekendÖ that dropped another 1.7 pounds.

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    Are the I9's 29'r rims? If so i'd be interested to see how 29" 2.4" width tires would do on the Dragonslayer

  16. #16
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    Don't discount a good Alu AM HT i.e. Nukeproof Scout ;-)

    An awesome whip, for sure ^^

    'We'll all make it to the top... Some of us, might not make it to the bottom'
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    I keep hearing that the rear end of the Scout is really rough, i.e. not a lot of compliance

  18. #18
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    Yup, they are 29íers, set up with Maxxis Forekaster 2.35Ē up front and a Rekon 2.25Ē in back.

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    I really like the Jamis Dragonslayer. I bought a fat bike instead of a plus, but my next bike is probably going to be the Jamis. With 30 pound steel plus bikes out there, I'm surprised anyone would even look at aluminum. What's the weight penalty, a pound? If that?

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    Let me know your thoughts on this. I found a decent 29" set online that was reasonable. I'd try less rolling resistance 27.5+ first before the investment though

    Found this set online. These are probably pretty tough given that they are intended for Enduro
    https://www.worldwidecyclery.com/pro...yABEgIRovD_BwE
    Jon
    Last edited by Hiker74; 01-29-2018 at 01:06 PM. Reason: add

  21. #21
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    Have you looked at a Chromag Rootdown,i had one for a while and it was a great steel do it all bike.

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    Yeah just did. Minimum cost is $3100 and that's a Taiwan frame not BC. Pretty steep

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker74 View Post
    I keep hearing that the rear end of the Scout is really rough, i.e. not a lot of compliance
    A good rear wheel/tyre combo... & you're sweet ;-)

    Plus, we're taking hard tails here. How much compliance are you expecting? ;-P

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    Quote Originally Posted by lb2 View Post
    Yup, they are 29íers, set up with Maxxis Forekaster 2.35Ē up front and a Rekon 2.25Ē in back.
    Huh...???

    I'm currently running a 2.35 Hans Dampf & 2.35 Panaracer Rampage on mine & it's cushy enough.

    With a boost fork, you could easily run 2.6 tyres. Make a real All Mountain ripper ^^

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    For the 27.5+ am running the 2.8" Rekons. As a 29er am fine trying out the "smaller" sizes. Didn't go with very wide ID rims for the 29er plus going with 2.6" gets me in the range of what I got going with the 27.5+ wheels... not what I'm looking for with this setup.

  26. #26
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    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

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    Actually, a whole frikin lot Seriously, if you haven't owned and ridden a steel HT, then you have no voice in this discussion, if you had, you would know and understand. Granted any frame can be made to be harsh, just it's much easier with alu. The difference between my alu and steel bikes is AMAZING, won't ever ride another alu HT again and most definitely not with regular size tyres.

    Quote Originally Posted by targnik View Post
    A good rear wheel/tyre combo... & you're sweet ;-)

    Plus, we're taking hard tails here. How much compliance are you expecting? ;-P
    '
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  28. #28
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    I researched extensively for months looking for a 29/650B+ steel hardtail frame. The Honzo and NS Eccentric were both in the running, but in the end I ordered a Pipedream Moxie. Moxie Enduro Hardtail | 27.5/27.5+/29er Compatible

    Probably more than you want to spend unless you have most of a build kit laying around.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Steel Hardtail Decisions-pipedream-moxie-1200x600-shrek.jpg  

    I got some bad ideas in my head.

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    Nice bike Travis. I wish someone in the USA would start shipping in frames from Stanton and sell complete bikes. They keep the cost reasonable and they have a great reputation in the UK. Hardtails seem to have more love in the UK than they do in the US. I would love to have a Stanton Slackline with 27.5+ tires. I have something for red bikes...https://www.stantonbikes.com/product...-853-next-gen/

  30. #30
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    UK seems to be the centre of the hardtail universe these days.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  31. #31
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    Being over 6ft, I just can't see any love for Stanton, their XL has a 450mm reach, which is by todays standard about what you'd expect for the avg size Large, what my XL Paradox from 2012 had and they seem to have no intention to increase their sizing to accommodate anyone over 6ft, so I ignore them now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker74 View Post
    Nice bike Travis. I wish someone in the USA would start shipping in frames from Stanton and sell complete bikes. They keep the cost reasonable and they have a great reputation in the UK. Hardtails seem to have more love in the UK than they do in the US. I would love to have a Stanton Slackline with 27.5+ tires. I have something for red bikes...https://www.stantonbikes.com/product...-853-next-gen/
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  32. #32
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    I was looking for around 460mm of reach with a short enough seat tube to fit my 160mm Revive. Moxie has 470mm of reach in long and 510mm in longer. Oddly to me anyway, the seat tubes on both are 420mm. I would up that a bit on the longer.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

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    Iím a Clyde at 6í3 270#. Have been on a Xxl Tallboy LTc for 3 years now. Iím tired of dealing with the rear suspension at my size. So Iím currently waiting for a XL Guerrilla Gravity Pedalhead Frame to arrive. I had looked at a few other steel Hardtails ( chromag, honzo , moxie) but kept coming back to the PH. Everyone who has reviewed it has loved it and the 140mm fork , modern geo and threaded bottom bracket checked a lot of boxes for the. The guys at GG are amazing to work with, now if they could please send me my frame so I can get this amazing build started that would be awesome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    Actually, a whole frikin lot Seriously, if you haven't owned and ridden a steel HT, then you have no voice in this discussion, if you had, you would know and understand. Granted any frame can be made to be harsh, just it's much easier with alu. The difference between my alu and steel bikes is AMAZING, won't ever ride another alu HT again and most definitely not with regular size tyres.
    :meh:

    Your loss

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    I think it's really important to consider the terrain and your riding fantasy when choosing a bike. I demo'd a GG Pedalhead and it is just not for the type of trails in my area. I found the PH to be to aggressive. The bottom bracket was way to low and the bike was way to long (I ride a large but demo'd a medium). The tires were way to heavy. The wheelbase was way to long.
    My trails require near constant peddling, lots of roots and rocks, and most importantly short punchy climbs. Yes the GG is a rad bike and it's for someone other than me who lives somewhere else.

    I also demo'd a Norco Fluid HT. The build was on the low end but the bike was so much more fun and was a "fit" with the style of riding and trails in my local. Now I would not buy the Fluid since it has a weird rear axle spacing (I want to say it's 141mm wide).

    Hiker74 where to you ride and what are the trails like?

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    I'm in Indiana and there's some flats as well as the same amount of climbing to downhill. Most trails are hardback. For the Pedalhead I was looking at 29r not 27.5+. The alternative is the Jamis Dragonslayer Pro which is 27.5+ but probably less aggressive

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    And there's the main issue. I haven't ridden the Pedalhead but I have ridden a Dragonslayer sport with the same wheels and tires and I liked it. The bike shop I'd get it from is super cool and old school. I can demo a Pedalhead about an hr away and I'll probably do that.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Georgia_Rider View Post
    I think it's really important to consider the terrain and your riding fantasy when choosing a bike. I demo'd a GG Pedalhead and it is just not for the type of trails in my area. I found the PH to be to aggressive. The bottom bracket was way to low and the bike was way to long (I ride a large but demo'd a medium). The tires were way to heavy. The wheelbase was way to long.
    My trails require near constant peddling, lots of roots and rocks, and most importantly short punchy climbs. Yes the GG is a rad bike and it's for someone other than me who lives somewhere else.

    I also demo'd a Norco Fluid HT. The build was on the low end but the bike was so much more fun and was a "fit" with the style of riding and trails in my local. Now I would not buy the Fluid since it has a weird rear axle spacing (I want to say it's 141mm wide).

    Hiker74 where to you ride and what are the trails like?
    True. My favourite trails have longer fast down hill sections. We have some super tight, twisty stuff, but I think of them as connecters to link up the good stuff. If I still lived on the prairies I would not have ordered a Moxie, but here in BC it makes sense for me.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  39. #39
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    Got my first ride in since setting it up as a 29er. It was a short one, main thing that stood out- the Dragonslayer felt much lighter on her feet, quicker to accelerate and steering response. It also was a little less cush in the ride and a drop in grip. All in all a nice change of pace and like being able to make the switch.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Steel Hardtail Decisions-6986336d-139b-46c4-af43-56283dbf8313.jpg  

    Steel Hardtail Decisions-c3feab90-14be-495a-bd0c-9249541f83a9.jpg  


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    Looks sweet. How much clearance do you have on the front fender? Also what width are the tires? Would 2.4 29r Ardents fit?

  41. #41
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    Am running a 2.35 Forekaster up front with a 2.25 Rekon in back. No problem clearing a 2.4 up front. In the back have the adjustable sliding drop out all the way forward. Might be close for a 2.4Ētire but you can slide it back another 15mm if needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Georgia_Rider View Post
    I think it's really important to consider the terrain and your riding fantasy when choosing a bike. I demo'd a GG Pedalhead and it is just not for the type of trails in my area. I found the PH to be to aggressive. The bottom bracket was way to low and the bike was way to long (I ride a large but demo'd a medium). The tires were way to heavy. The wheelbase was way to long.
    My trails require near constant peddling, lots of roots and rocks, and most importantly short punchy climbs. Yes the GG is a rad bike and it's for someone other than me who lives somewhere else.

    I also demo'd a Norco Fluid HT. The build was on the low end but the bike was so much more fun and was a "fit" with the style of riding and trails in my local. Now I would not buy the Fluid since it has a weird rear axle spacing (I want to say it's 141mm wide).

    Hiker74 where to you ride and what are the trails like?

    How well did the Pedalhead climb, I need a good climber and what do you mean by too aggressive? Thanks

  43. #43
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    Build is finished. Just need some better weather to let her rip.


  44. #44
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    What about a Karate Monkey or Ritchey P29?

    The P29 frame may have a few year old geo and features but weighs in just a little more than some AL. A nice build for the $$ too.

    The KM is as up to date if that's whats wanted.

    To bad no Moxie in the US.

  45. #45
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    I've ridden a built karate monkey with 27.5+. It was really wonkey with the over kill dirt wizard tires. I wish I could ride one with lower rolling resistance tires. At $1499usd is quite a bunch of money. I'd add a $700 Yari or used/closeout Pike and maybe a $200 dropper post which would take it to almost $2500 which is a lot for a bike with NX components

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by scycllerist View Post
    What about a Karate Monkey or Ritchey P29?

    The P29 frame may have a few year old geo and features but weighs in just a little more than some AL. A nice build for the $$ too.

    The KM is as up to date if that's whats wanted.
    ^ That's apples and oranges. Ritchey is a XC race bike, you can call it old geo and not be wrong but really it's XC geo and won't change.

    The KM is a Trail hardtail. It's not weight weenie and shouldn't be compared with such bikes. It's rad, but different.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker74 View Post
    I've ridden a built karate monkey with 27.5+. It was really wonkey with the over kill dirt wizard tires. I wish I could ride one with lower rolling resistance tires. At $1499usd is quite a bunch of money. I'd add a $700 Yari or used/closeout Pike and maybe a $200 dropper post which would take it to almost $2500 which is a lot for a bike with NX components
    You can, they're called 29ers. They roll faster but have less grip. Life's full of tradeoffs.
    Rigid SS 29er
    Hardtail 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  47. #47
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    Nimble9


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    I think I just saw your bike Friday! By chance are you in Indy? I considered one of these

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker74 View Post
    I'd add a $700 Yari or used/closeout Pike and maybe a $200 dropper post which would take it to almost $2500 which is a lot for a bike with NX components
    Making a bike the way one wants it is expensive. Most economical builds are wanting some components or two or three changed out and as consumers we either find those parts used or at a discount or pay for a bike in a higher price range. I have yet to figure out whats the best value. Buy cheap and upgrade or pony up. It's a shame we can't get more granular upgrades at a companies discount which they get from economics of scale.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    ^ That's apples and oranges. Ritchey is a XC race bike, you can call it old geo and not be wrong but really it's XC geo and won't change.
    Agreed, Have you riden a bike with the P-29 frame? What's your opinion?

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker74 View Post
    I think I just saw your bike Friday! By chance are you in Indy? I considered one of these
    Yes i am in Indy. Finally got my dropper parts in and was able to finish it up sat


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  52. #52
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    ^ no, but I've owned similar frames like the 2011 Jamis Dragon Race (Reynolds 853). I owned it for 3 seasons and rode/raced the crap out of it. It rode really nicely but I was never in love with the geo. Alternately, I also owned a 2011 Kona Unit and absolutely loved it. It's similar in that it's "old school XC geo" but was way more fun. It also didn't ride as plush as the nicer steel frame on the Jamis (The Kona was Reynolds 520).

    There's a lot of variables, and personal preference (subjective) plays a big roll. Tire clearance can be an issue on some XC frames. That's fine if your more focused on racing, but for generally trail riding it's not the best option for everyone.

    I've never ridden a Ritchey, but considered one a few years back. I've since moved on.
    Rigid SS 29er
    Hardtail 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  53. #53
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    For steel bikes I'm having a tough time seeing a bike with a greater value than the following:

    Jamis Dragonslayer Pro. GX Eagle, Fox 34 Rhythm, SLX Brakes, Scraper rims.

    Advocate Hayduke. Nothing definitive on the 2018 build but I was told they would be less than 2017 and they are switching to Fox forks

    I also rode a Scott Scale 710 with GX Eagle and Fox 32. It felt weird but maybe on a trail it might be better.

    I am going to ride an orbea loki as well.

    I'm not ruling out Aluminum yet.

    Jon

  54. #54
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    I'm not sure I believe a hardtail can be better than my Pipedream Moxie. I was almost considering not owning a full suspension bike, and I live on Vancouver Island. Uphill, downhill, even tight and twisty. Pipedream Moxie
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  55. #55
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    Talking value in terms of price and value. I can't afford a pipedream

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker74 View Post
    Talking value in terms of price and value. I can't afford a pipedream
    OOPS, I was looking at frames only and it's cheaper than a Pedalhead.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  57. #57
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    Please let us know what you decide in the end and why.

    I am currently looking at bikes to replace my 2015 X-Caliber 9 next year. I want a chromoly, 27.5+, hardtail trail bike, yet my budget is at $1500. This puts the Dragonslayer Sport at the top of my list with the Marin Pine Mountain 1 taking up the 2nd spot. Unfortunately, I ride a XL, which is impossible to find in shops, so I am relying on posts like these.

  58. #58
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    So I have been narrowing down my choices

    Heres what i'm coming up with

    1. Pedalhead
    I can get a Pedalhead with a made in Colorado MRP Ribbon fork, XT drivetrail (with a Sunrace 11-46 Cassette vs the Ethirteen Cassette) and Guide Brakes and 29r Wheelset for under $3K Shipped. Sounds like a bang on build. Hubs are DT Swiss while most big brands i'm looking at are using Novatec or Formula...which seems to not be near as robust for heavier guys like me. It also has a BSA Bottom Bracket

    2. Norco Torrent 1HT. LBS is quoting me under $2400. It has a nice wheelset (Spank Oozy) and DVO Diamond Fork. The GX 1x11 seems to have a lot of praise out there as well. Bottom bracket is not deathly low either. I'm unsure about 27.5+ as well as i'm not for sure about the Novatec hubs, but overall this bike seems like a really good value. Norco seems to really know service and response as well because I seem to always get answers to questions in about an hr or less.

    3. Santa Cruz Chameleon 29r R Build (I rode the 27.5+ version and did not like it a lot). Price would be around $2300. The build kit is a little lacking especially compared to the Norco which has similar geometry (although the SC has shorter chainstays). The local seller for Santa Cruz is really top notch. I really like them a lot, but they don't seem to want to deal on pricing at all.

    4. Orbea Loki H10 Model. I really like the specs on this bike, but there is not a lot of coverage for this brand. I know one place with a demo model I could ride a large to check it out. Theres also a 2017 LTD model on Orbea's website for $2300 with the Kashima fork and XT.

    5. Jamis Dragonslayer Pro. I really want to like this bike. It has GX Eagle and SLX Brakes. It also has a durable WTB Scraper wheelset. The Geometry is concerning as the standover for even the medium is 806mm and my inseam is about 800mm! The reach on the medium is only 406mm? I'd say that might be a little cramped. I guess I could add a longer stem, but to get where i'd want to be it might make it a little twitchy? Thoughts? Its very intriging this bike, but seems to have dated geometry.

    I'm also interested what the specs on the Advocate Hayduke will be along with the Spot Rocker

  59. #59
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    Steel Hardtail Decisions

    Del

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    If you have not looked into Chromag bikes it might be worth taking a look.

    Chromag Bikes - Chromag Bikes | Bikes | Rootdown BA 29" / 27.5"

  61. #61
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    Here is my review of the GG Pedalhead after a few months.

    GG Pedalhead review
    https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?sha...5&share_type=t

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker74 View Post
    I've ridden a built karate monkey with 27.5+. It was really wonkey with the over kill dirt wizard tires. I wish I could ride one with lower rolling resistance tires.
    My "other" bike is a Surly Instigator 2.0. It's not a 29er--it was designed as a 26-plus--but easily adapts to 27.5 and is all cro-mo steel.

    Definitely not the lightest frame (Surly is burly!), but it's a great all-arounder. Think the HTA is 67.5 degrees with a 140mm 27.5-inch fork. It can easily accommodate 2.4-inch tires in back. Climbs and descends great.

    Surly no longer sells complete Instigators, but I believe frames are still available. I built mine up a year ago with takeoffs, mostly from my full-susser.

    Just my $0.02.

  63. #63
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    I think those are all solid choices, but of them, I'd buy the Pedalhead. Great build, the geo has gotten people really excited, everyone I know who has a GG loves it, and it is a cool company.

  64. #64
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    Iíve narrowed my choices

    Medium Pedalhead
    White Knuckles color
    Red decals
    Red handlebar
    XT der, XT shifters
    Raceface Aeffect Cranks
    XT Brakes
    RockShox Pike RC 130mm
    29r M1900ís
    Maxxis Minion F
    Maxxis Agressor rear
    KS Dropper

    Orbea Laufey H10 27.5+
    Blue/turquoise color
    Fox Perf Float 34 130mm
    XT rear der, SLX shifters
    XT Brakes (upgrade)
    Sunringle Duroc 40
    Maxxis Rekon tires 2.8
    Raceface aeffect dropper

    Chromag Rootdown 29r
    Fanatic Bike SLX Build
    Fox 36 (grip damper) 150mm
    SLX Brakes
    Aeffect cranks
    XT der and Shifters (upgrade from SLX)
    Raceface Aeffect 30mm 29r rims
    Maxxis Ardent 2.4 tires (upgraded from DHF/DHR minions)

    Thoughts?

    For my weight the Fox 36 is intriguing but the travel is really long. I need an all around bike but need something thatíll climb as well as decend. I like the Pedalhead and was going for the MRP Ribbon fork but itís 6weeks lead time. Should I do the Pedalhead with Pike, Laufey with Fox 34, Rootdown with Fox 36, Pedalhead with Ribbon?

    Jon

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker74 View Post
    Iíve narrowed my choices

    /snip

    Thoughts?

    I like the Pedalhead and was going for the MRP Ribbon fork but itís 6weeks lead time.

    Jon
    Jon, buy one and ride it! The season is upon us (for a lot of areas). This thread was started 4 months ago. 6 more weeks isn't going to being that much longer if you truly want the Ribbon. I hope you get on two wheels sooner than later.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker74 View Post
    I like the Pedalhead and was going for the MRP Ribbon fork but itís 6weeks lead time.
    I just got a GG bike with a Ribbon. I had to wait a few weeks. It was worth it. You are going to have that bike for years unless you are one of those guys that flips bikes every few months [doesn't sound like it]...so get the spec you want it will be worth the wait.

    The sooner you get the bike ordered the sooner you'll be riding it.

    FWIW - GG was great to deal with. The CS and the bike met all my expectations and was as advertised. I'm considering a Pedalhead for the coming winter. Looks like a rad bike.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  67. #67
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    Pedalhead and Rootdown are both solid choices. I have a hardtail with a 150mm fork and it climbs great. Don't fear too much fork travel as long as the frame is properly designed for it. Ribbon VS 36, both are great forks, but MRP is in CO and so are you. I would be very tempted to go Ribbon coil on either just on what my gut says. Or maybe it's the pizza I had yesterday? Orbea's geometry is dated and the frame is aluminum which knocks it out of contention for me.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  68. #68
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    At your size, with the trails you describe, Iím not understanding the 27.5+ choice. The 29Ē wheel will give better rollover, carry speed better and also provide a higher BB.

    Iím 6í1Ē and have been riding rigid hardtail and SS for most of 12 years. Having ridden both wheel sizes extensively, to me, the 27.5+ is not as capable for what you describe your riding conditions to be.

    Jiust me .02 worth.

    Good luck with whatever you decide
    If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains,
    you're lucky enough.

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    Steel Hardtail Decisions

    A new one to add to the mix. RSD middle child.

    http://www.rsdbikes.com/portfolio/middlechild-cr-mo/


  70. #70
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    Go for the Pedalhead! Its the only bike that has consistently made your list.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by M320 View Post
    A new one to add to the mix. RSD middle child.

    http://www.rsdbikes.com/portfolio/middlechild-cr-mo/

    What a great looking bike. Personally I'd run it 29x2.6" (website says it'll do this). As a singlespeed! Yeah, it'll do that, too. Nice.
    =sParty
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  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by beer_coffee_water View Post
    Go for the Pedalhead! Its the only bike that has consistently made your list.
    I struck the Pedalhead off my list because of the 120mm fork. Love my Moxie with 150mm up front, and if I replace my 34 I will try 160mm because more.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    I struck the Pedalhead off my list because of the 120mm fork. Love my Moxie with 150mm up front, and if I replace my 34 I will try 160mm because more.
    The Pedalhead specs are based off a 140mm fork. Does very well most of the time with 140mm. Although I do feel 150mm could be beneficial at times downhill.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    What a great looking bike. Personally I'd run it 29x2.6" (website says it'll do this). As a singlespeed! Yeah, it'll do that, too. Nice.
    =sParty
    Iím currently running 29er 2.6 front and rear on my pedalhead. It Has been working out very well so far

  75. #75
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    Closing the loop while I now wait patiently...

    LOADING...

    Whoa...what did I just do! I just placed an order for a red and white Guerrilla Gravity Pedalhead!

    Specs
    Medium Frame
    RockShox Pike RC 130mm
    170mm Aeffect Cranks 30t chainring
    29r Wheelset
    Maxxis Minion DHF 2.3 Front Tire
    Maxxis Agressor 2.3 Rear Tire
    White Knuckles with Red Decals
    Red Atlas Handlebar
    Shimano XT Der/XT Shifter
    Sunrace 11-46 (better gear spacing than XT cassette)
    Shimano XT 8000 Brakes

    I am a buyer by trade which makes me a compulsive researcher and Iíve been stewing on this decision for about a year. I looked at multiple bikes and considered so many factors such as ease of maintenance (XT tried and true components), RockShox Pike (North American Svc center is where I live), burly frame, USA made, value of build kit, and responsiveness of Jubal and Bobby at Guerrilla Gravity as well (no one is as responsive as these guys!)

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    I struck the Pedalhead off my list because of the 120mm fork. Love my Moxie with 150mm up front, and if I replace my 34 I will try 160mm because more.
    I've fantasy built a Pedalhead and I'd run a 140mm fork. I'm not interested in anything longer up front on a hardtail. Doesn't buy me anything as I still gotta get that rigid backend through the gnar.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker74 View Post
    Closing the loop while I now wait patiently...

    LOADING...

    Whoa...what did I just do! I just placed an order for a red and white Guerrilla Gravity Pedalhead!
    You won't regret it. I'm 15 months on a Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol and can say this company makes GOOD STUFF right here in the good ol' US of A and they're DANG NICE peeps to do biz wit!
    You gonna like it, I tells ya.
    =sParty
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    We get old because we quit riding.

  78. #78
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    Awesome choice, looking forward to photos. I am seriously considering a Ribbon fo my Moxie so I can experiment with fork length.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  79. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    I've fantasy built a Pedalhead and I'd run a 140mm fork. I'm not interested in anything longer up front on a hardtail. Doesn't buy me anything as I still gotta get that rigid backend through the gnar.
    Love ❤️ my nine with 120. Having the short travel but otherwise slack front end. Has reinvigorated my love for riding hard tails. The geo or ďshapeĒ (as the Britís would say) of the bike remains consistent no matter whatís happening to the front end. With a 2.8 in the rear it doesnít ride like a hardtail it rides like a short travel full sus. If you havenít tried it Iíd highly recommend it, itís bloody brilliant.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Michael

    Ride on!

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by geraldooka View Post
    Love ❤️ my nine with 120. Having the short travel but otherwise slack front end. Has reinvigorated my love for riding hard tails. The geo or ďshapeĒ (as the Britís would say) of the bike remains consistent no matter whatís happening to the front end. With a 2.8 in the rear it doesnít ride like a hardtail it rides like a short travel full sus. If you havenít tried it Iíd highly recommend it, itís bloody brilliant.
    What length are you going to run the Ribbon on your HT?
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    What length are you going to run the Ribbon on your HT?
    I originally had it setup as 120 but had them swap it to 130 last minute mainly because my current fork is very basic and does not have the concept of negative travel. I know when I moved to the more sophisticated Pike on my other bike from another fork sans negative travel it surprised me how much the fork sagged without weight on it. Also on this particular frame the the B.B. is quite low in plus mode at a hair over 300mm so any little bit will help there. I expect on the new hardtail Iíd happily run it at 120 with a proper B.B. height for our terrain and 2.8 rubber. My point is the low travel minimizes odd handling characteristics (dramatic shifts in headtube angle, wheelbase and trail) Iíve previously disliked about riding hardtails enough so that I had little interest in owning a hardtail again. I donít notice any odd steering changes whilst riding this bike.
    Michael

    Ride on!

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by geraldooka View Post
    My point is the low travel minimizes odd handling characteristics (dramatic shifts in headtube angle, wheelbase and trail) Iíve previously disliked about riding hardtails enough so that I had little interest in owning a hardtail again.
    How much travel were the forks you had on those HTs?
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    How much travel were the forks you had on those HTs?
    My previous N9 was run at 140. It also had a steeper head angle among other differences which would further exacerbate handling issues throughout travel.


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    Great thread man, really excited to see you grab the ride you wanted. I obsess over purchases as well lol, great minds and all that!

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiker74 View Post
    Closing the loop while I now wait patiently...

    LOADING...

    Whoa...what did I just do! I just placed an order for a red and white Guerrilla Gravity Pedalhead!

    Specs
    Medium Frame
    RockShox Pike RC 130mm
    170mm Aeffect Cranks 30t chainring
    29r Wheelset
    Maxxis Minion DHF 2.3 Front Tire
    Maxxis Agressor 2.3 Rear Tire
    White Knuckles with Red Decals
    Red Atlas Handlebar
    Shimano XT Der/XT Shifter
    Sunrace 11-46 (better gear spacing than XT cassette)
    Shimano XT 8000 Brakes

    I am a buyer by trade which makes me a compulsive researcher and Iíve been stewing on this decision for about a year. I looked at multiple bikes and considered so many factors such as ease of maintenance (XT tried and true components), RockShox Pike (North American Svc center is where I live), burly frame, USA made, value of build kit, and responsiveness of Jubal and Bobby at Guerrilla Gravity as well (no one is as responsive as these guys!)
    Congrats, looks like a nice set up and you did all the homework. I'm sure you'll be more than glad pulling the trigger.

    These threads are of great interest and help seeing all the input and perspectives and in the end, it's just so damn subjective; How you ride mostly, Other times, Where you live, Weather, Topography etc.... oh, and budget !!

    I'm happily planning my first bikepack route and details on my recent update; Marin Pine One.
    In the Middle Ages, the biggest mistake was not putting on your armor because you were 'just going down to the corner.'

  86. #86
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    more pix pleaseeee

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    Last Post: 01-27-2011, 09:01 AM
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