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  1. #1
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    New question here. Advice: New to NorCal trails with an old 26er

    First post here, initiation rituals/hazing I'm not aware of are welcome.

    I grew up trail riding in Connecticut, it's been well over a decade since and now I'm in the Bay Area. I just inherited my dad's '04 Cannondale Jekyll 600 and I'm looking to get riding around the Bay Area and Central Cali. The bike needs a new suspension and tires besides a little TLC. My original plan was to do the bare minimum to get it running, ride it into the ground and then figure out what's next. So here's the advice part-

    Is the frame worth a conversion to 27.5 since I need a front fork anyway? I'm definitely not buying a new bike this year but will definitely prioritize riding this Summer.

    How much of the coastal and central Sierra riding is going to be great on 26? I know the rider matter more than the bike but humor me if you would.

    What else should I do to "modernize" an '04 fs 26er? All advice is welcome while I modernize my knowledge base, bikes have changed since I was in high school...

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Ride what ya got. I still ride a 26" hardtail around here sometimes. Ride it to the ground and get a more modern bike if you end up loving the sport.

  3. #3
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    Indian Ledge was my old stomping ground. 26'er will get it done fine, if you start riding more you'll likely out grow the bike's capabilities way quicker though. The riding here encourages progression

  4. #4
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    You can ride anything on a 26er, and ride it very well. I don't think a 27.5 will fit in the rear. I wouldn't spend too much money on this bike, just get it running safely and ride it. Save your money for a new bike. Why do you think it needs a new shock/fork?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    You can ride anything on a 26er, and ride it very well. I don't think a 27.5 will fit in the rear. I wouldn't spend too much money on this bike, just get it running safely and ride it. Save your money for a new bike. Why do you think it needs a new shock/fork?
    After 10 years in a shed the shock is leaking fluid from the adjustment knob and no one makes the replacement unit or services the model anymore (Rox Shox I think...can't remember its been in the shop for a few weeks waiting for me to get my s**t together).

    Thanks for the replies!! My gut instinct was to just get it going and ride 26 to the ground but the guy at the shop got me thinking about projects...I love a good project...

    Favorite 26" (tubed) tires?

  6. #6
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    Letís see a pic of the bike.
    I would vote to spend as little money on the bike as possible. For the price youíll spend on some new parts, you can probably just get a decent used bike on Craigslist.

  7. #7
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    I like Maxxis Minion DHF's. I also like the Schwalbe Hans Dampf Pacestar as it has a nice set of transition knobs MidPen hard pack. I'm putting whichever I can find cheaper on my wife's 26er bike. Probably Schwalbe.

    On the fork issue, you can probably find a used 26er fork on eBay for less than $100. Might be cheaper and easier than trying to figure out the old one.

  8. #8
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    This is the only photo I have of it right now. It's in good shape besides the shocks.

    Advice: New to NorCal trails with an old 26er-20171222_104944.jpg

  9. #9
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    If you can find a RockShox Tora fork for a good price, snag it. I had one on my singlespeed and loved it. I traded a friend for a more-expensive Fox fork and regretted the trade.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    Letís see a pic of the bike.
    I would vote to spend as little money on the bike as possible. For the price youíll spend on some new parts, you can probably just get a decent used bike on Craigslist.
    This.

    I was hoing to suggest if it is more than 300 bucks to fix, go get a 27.5 hardtail entry model from diamondback or fuji. You will get 27.5 wheel and likely front suspension.

    Used will get you even more.

  11. #11
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    The 26" issue is not an issue. We all rode 26" bikes for years and they still work as well as always. I would tell you to get a Manitou Minute fork and new rear shock and some tires and ride the crap out of it, except for one very important thing. The rear shock on that bike is proprietary and replacements and parts have not been available for years. Even if you could find a good shock, it would likely blow out quickly given its age and that frame is known for cracking the rear mounting yoke.

    You are much better off getting a good used bike that fits you properly. Deals like this are around (no affiliation, just did a quick look on pinkbike):

    https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2187189/
    Riding slowly since 1977.

  12. #12
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    If you can manage to ride on your existing fork for another month or so, I've got a 26" fork I could give you. I'm currently upgrading my 26" bike due to the generosity of another forum member here (thanks Neela!) who gave away his broken frame complete with parts. I'm in the middle of that whole project (and also in the middle of moving to a new house), but once its complete I'll have an extra 26" fork and I'd be happy to pass on the good karma that this forum provided me.

  13. #13
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    Don't get too caught up in wheel size - I've been riding 26" for years (my bike is an '06 Heckler). I'm at the point where I'm trying to minimize the money I put into the bike since I'm planning on an upgrade, but for now it's all I've got and I enjoy the trails plenty.

    The geometry is where it'll feel its age more. On higher speed trails my bike feels pretty unstable, and I suspect that's more of a steep head angle and short wheelbase thing and less of a 26" thing. I'd recommend swapping out for a shorter stem and wider bars - this is a relatively cheap fix to the geometry issue.

    Edit: I mainly ride Skeggs and most of the stuff in SC. I've ridden this bike in Squamish/Whistler in the last year and it felt kinda sketch on the steeps.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by phogan22 View Post

    The geometry is where it'll feel its age more. On higher speed trails my bike feels pretty unstable, and I suspect that's more of a steep head angle and short wheelbase thing and less of a 26" thing. I'd recommend swapping out for a shorter stem and wider bars - this is a relatively cheap fix to the geometry issue.
    Unfortunately, wider bars and shorter stem don't fix the steeper head angle. Not as much of an issue if you only have one bike, but was the final reason I finally upgraded my IF hardtail to a new frame. The 26" wheels were still great, the bike felt fine with a 70mm stem and 750 bars, but holy cow, after riding my trail bike with a 66.5 degree head angle, and my DH bike with a 63 degree head angle, that old school 71 degree head angle on the hardtail was downright squirrely. I can't count the number of times I almost went off the trail (in some cases did) because the bike turned in so fast compared to what I have gotten used to.
    Riding slowly since 1977.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cary View Post
    Unfortunately, wider bars and shorter stem don't fix the steeper head angle. Not as much of an issue if you only have one bike, but was the final reason I finally upgraded my IF hardtail to a new frame. The 26" wheels were still great, the bike felt fine with a 70mm stem and 750 bars, but holy cow, after riding my trail bike with a 66.5 degree head angle, and my DH bike with a 63 degree head angle, that old school 71 degree head angle on the hardtail was downright squirrely. I can't count the number of times I almost went off the trail (in some cases did) because the bike turned in so fast compared to what I have gotten used to.
    Oh of course.. maybe "fix" was the wrong word, but going from my old long stem/narrow bars to short stem/wider bars was an instant improvement in confidence and stability for less than $100. I'm also at a 69* head angle which isn't quite 71*

  16. #16
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    @Scott M: That's a beautiful offer, I appreciate that. I'm probably going to stick a new fork on it so I can start riding, the old one is real bad. I'm sure you'll find someone to pay it forward to.

    @Cary: Great feedback, thanks. I went back to the shop and looked more closely at the rear shock. It's not leaking oil and needed air, seems to be holding for now- if it breaks then you're right the bike is probably toast, but I'm going to contact fox to see if they at least still make air seals for it.

    Really stoked on all the knowledge offered in this thread. After I hear back tomorrow about the state of affairs with the rear shock, which I now think works fine anyway, I'm going to stick a Rockshox coil spring fork on it, Kenda Nevegals, and start riding while I feel out the need for bar/stem swap.

  17. #17
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    I have a first gen Jekyll and just had my rear shock totally rebuilt by Risse Racing for 100 bucks. Parts are still available, I also picked up the air seal kit from Fox on EBay.

  18. #18
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    I wouldn't spend a dime on it. You will though, as the temptation is there. Dump it and get something a bit more modern (a 2012, for example).

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydub View Post
    After 10 years in a shed the shock is leaking fluid from the adjustment knob and no one makes the replacement unit or services the model anymore (Rox Shox I think...can't remember its been in the shop for a few weeks waiting for me to get my s**t together).

    Thanks for the replies!! My gut instinct was to just get it going and ride 26 to the ground but the guy at the shop got me thinking about projects...I love a good project...

    Favorite 26" (tubed) tires?
    Risse Racing for the rear shock....as Bluegixxer600 suggested you can probably get them to do a rebuild. Or if you want new you can get one of their shocks, either the Genesis for $200 or the Astro for $300.

    Fav 26 tubed tires are WTB Weirwolf, Bronson, or Moto.
    Last edited by Bokchoicowboy; 02-13-2018 at 07:42 AM.
    "You're messing with my zen thing, man!"

  20. #20
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    Ride it as is and as hard as possible until it breaks. Then fix it yourself and figure out why it broke.

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