Hypothetical Situation -- Ultimate Clyde Trailbike
There are a lot of threads on this forum about what the best bike for a Clyde is.
There are a lot of bikes that are OK for Clydes, but not great. I think this situation is unacceptable.
It isn't the technology that's restricting our options, it's economics. We can get USA-made custom frames.... for thousands and thousands of dollars. The FOES FXR 2:1 would be a great Clyde trailbike... but they don't seem interested in making an XL or XXL frame. Why? Because they wouldn't sell enough to make a profit.
So, my question: Assuming one of the big manufacturers decides to bite the bullet and make a bonafide, affordable Clydesdale Trailbike, what should the specs be?
By Trailbike, I mean a general-purpose, ride-anywhere mountain bike. Not your XC racer, your downhill racer, or your overbuilt freeride juggernaut. This is a bike light enough to help us keep up with our squirrelly 150lb buddies, but burly enough to keep us from puckering on fast descents.
Bonafide? Low leverage ratio. This bike will work for riders up to 300lbs with an air shock, and up to 350lbs with a coil. Strong, strong frame.
By affordable, I mean $1250 for the frame & shock, and $2500 for the complete bike. This pretty much mandates Asian production (assuming the dollar doesn't collapse tomorrow).
So, what are the specs on this thing? Let's just focus on the frame and shock for now. Getting into which rear derailer to spec would turn this thread into a swamp real quick.
Eff. Top Tube Length on size XL?
1.125 or 1.5 headtube?
Coil or Air?
Progressive or Linear linkage design?
Rear axle type?
Rear Axle Spacing?
Bottom Bracket Width?
Fat guy on a bike
The closest I can come to your list is the Chumba XCL. $1350 for frame. Their build with a Pike is $2800 ($2500 market i think). Its stout enough for most. 69 deg HA, 73 deg seat angle.
In large it might just be a little too short for the taller guys.
The XCL leaves me pretty nonplussed. It has a short top tube for a 6'5" guy, and it has a leverage ratio of 2.5:1. There is nothing special for Superclydes here.
That said, I like the look of the bike, and I've heard it's a blast to ride.
I should clarify my goal with this project. I've looked at pretty much all the heavy-duty trailbikes out there, and I'm not satisfied. This thread is more about inventing a new bike, or at least a set of requirements for a new bike, than reviewing what's already out there.
72 SA, 69 HA
25" top tube
2:1 leverage ratio
135x12 rear axle
73mm BB shell (for compatibility's sake)
direct mount derailer (less crap to deal with)
Saint-compatible axle available
Designed to work with RP23, Monarch, Roco Air w/big air can
Designed for Fox 36, Lyrik, Marzocchi 55 forks
26er w/5" travel for now
29er w/4-5" when a high-volume low pressure 29er fork arrives.
(will have to change rear hub to 150x12 and bb to 83 to compensate for spoke length)
Double-metric mtb man
Don't forget about the Magura Wotan fork. Very stiff and sturdy...little heavier, but hey, we're clydes.
Very true, that thing looks like a jackhammer.
CEO Product Failure
Steel would be an outstanding choice in frame material to assist with the inevitable cracks and breaks. AL? Too finicky. S
I already own the ultimate clydesdale trail bike. Two of them infact. Its called a steel 29er ht. and many manufacturers are making them big enough for super clydes (tt lengths of 25+inches arent uncommon). I go 6ft 2in and 260 lbs so I dont know if I am a super clyde but certainly much bigger than your average 200 lb "clyde". I have had the pleasure of riding in the east and west and have yet to find anywhere that these bikes wont excel on technical xc trails. Here's a pic of my Ted Wojcik and two of my Soma Juice. One ss and one geared.
For a hardtail...I 100% agree. But for a full suspension, steel would not be the appropriate material as it would take quite a bit of it to get the stiffness needed in a full suspension design. This would make a excessively heavy bike. I think Aluminum is a horrible material for non suspended bikes (Hardtails, Road, Cyclocross, etc) but it really shines for a full suspension application as you can really oversize it for strength and stiffness without a huge weight penalty.
Originally Posted by bingemtbr
The leverage ratio is the real trick here...most manufacturers have not joined in the 2:1 (which I think is a great idea) leverage ratio camp. But there is no reason why a 4" travel bike can accomplish this easily. Once you get past 4.5", you run into the restriction that the major shock manufacturers are not making 2.5" stroke lightweight air shocks. Though Fox is making the heavier duty DHX Air in upto a 3" stroke. I'm 225lbs and have found that a 2.5:1 ratio works well but I can see where a 300lbs Clyde would want a lower leverage ratio.
I think the Niner RIP 9 is running a relatively low 2.25:1 ratio...and costs $1549 for the frame and shock. Close to the request
Fat guy on a bike
I've had ok times riding a 2.5:1 shock ratio. I haven't put a lot of miles on one, but I was doing ok. It was when i rode above 2.7 that things just didn't fly well. (I'm over 300, er was, i'm getting close to getting under i think)
The RIP 9 actually popped into my head, but I did not list as i thought it was probably too expensive as a good build will run more than $2500. Well, 9er wheels are getting cheaper, but i don't know how tough they are. Anyone have experience on a 29" Rhyno lite wheelset?
The Chumba could use a little larger of a size, which I more or less stated.
Superclydesdales need an obvious option
A lot of people around here (SF Bay Area) ride Stumpjumper FSRs. They're good bikes, they're a good value, and there's plenty of places to buy them (Mike's Bikes, Alameda Bicycle, Solano Cyclery, etc...).
From the Solano Cyclery Website:
"If we could only sell one full suspension bike this year, this'd be the one."
I'd be riding a Stumpjumper as well, but I never got them to work well for me. The 2007 FSR has a leverage ratio of almost 2.7:1. That's no good for a 300lb guy.
I was excited to hear that SBC was introducing a cheaper, long travel bike for 2008 -- the Pitch. The Pike is a good fork for a Clyde, but... 2.6:1 is not good enough.
I bought a Heckler because it's got a 2.3:1 ratio, and it works with many different thru-axle forks. The chain often skips off the 34t cog when I'm cranking uphill. Derailer alignment? Pawls skipping? Frame flexing? Wallet bleeding.
Bike Industry folks, consider this thread an invitation to put together a bike for the Superclydes that won't cost us an arm and a leg. A superclyde arm counts as a regular person's leg anyhow.
We need an everyday trailbike that starts at size XL, that has a 2:1 ratio, that has a 20mm axle in front and a 12mm axle in the rear, without the DH/FR geometry.
This will be the first bike that people working in bike shops will think of when a 300 or 350lb rider comes in looking for a bike... and rider will be a lot happier with it than they will with a Kona Hoss.
Big guys who don't lose a lot of weight biking will be happy to keep this bike, because they need it.
Big guys who lose a lot of weight biking will be happy to keep this bike because it's a great bike, and because they can easily put lighter parts on it.
So that's what I'm talking about.... the bike that I wanted the Pitch to be.
I weigh 285 lbs and have had no problems with Specialized Enduro, Titus Moto-lite or an IndyFab29erSS (steel) I think the solution to your problem exists with many bikes. You just have to get one and have it set up to what suits you. Concentrate on wheels and forks. Get them stout enough to stand up to your weight. You don't have to break the bank to do that either. When I started mountain biking I weighed over 400lbs and had a Trek 6000. Never had a problem and just recently gave that bike away still totally mechanically perfect. I think that you think you need a lot more bike than you really do. Check out the Specialized Enduro. I know they make one big enough for you. Then upgrade. You should still be within your budget
Actually, I took a long hard look at a 2005 S-Works Enduro frame (on closeout @ $900), but I decided not to buy it:
1.) The '05 Enduro (not the SX Trail) is not officially compatible with a coilover shock. The gap in the seat tube is big enough for an air shock. Some people have managed to get a DHX or Cane Creek Double Barrel in there, but some of these mods have required alterations on the frame (when welds protrude too far) or the shock (when the boost valve is too close to the frame). I am not that industrious.
2.) As appealing as highly efficient suspension designs are, there is something to be said for simplicity and cheap maintenance. I ended up buying an '07 Heckler. It has a leverage ratio of 2.3:1. I use a DHX Coil with a 700lb spring, and too many turns of preload. I could use a 750lb spring, but it is not available. My riding weight is probably between 320 and 325lbs. I've been having a problem with the chain skipping under heavy load. I'm not sure exactly what's causing it.
I stand by my conviction that these three features on a XC/Trail geometry bike would make mountain biking better for Superclydesdales:
1.) 2:1 leverage ratio -- use a lighter shock, or get more out of a heavy shock
2.) stiff rear end -- 12mm thru-axle, box-section/internally ribbed chainstays, yokes, whatever. Mostly for steep climbing.
3.) strong rear wheel (especially important for 29ers) -- 150mm rear dropout spacing.
There's already a bike that's doing most of this: the Lenz Lunchbox (search for it in the 29er forum). It's got everything but the 2:1 ratio. The Zinn Gigabike is similar (and is in fact welded by the same guy), but it has a very high bottom bracket designed to work well with Zinn's $500 custom cranks.
beanfink, pony up the extra cash and get custom Ventana, they make beautiful bikes, custom sizing, and very sturdy.
6'5" 285... Worked at many big shops, sold tons of bikes...
I sold maybe 5-10 bikes/frames to folks of my size. I say this because I agree with Beanfink on what a clyde needs, 100%. For a manufacturer to make a frame/bike to fit that bill they'd have to charge an arm and a leg since the production run would be much smaller than your average Joe-sized dude applicable frame. A hardtail is easy take a Kona Chute and tweak the geometry... Poof you have a Kona Hoss.
Now if an already existing design/model simply added an XL (25" tt) that's a whole different ball of wax.
That Chumba is pretty sick...
edouble I'm with you man, I ride a custom (Royal Cycles, of Burlington, Vermont) 29'er. I can honestly say with this bike I can ride 95% of what I did on my old Bullit's and Stinkies.
If people are set on FS bikes, then maybe contacting a builder like Hairy Gary (builds lots of clyde friendly FS/customs), Ventana (MY next bike), or even Doug Curtlo, he builds steal main frames that are matched with Ventana rear ends (Klydesdale, look him up, he rides a FS 29'er like this)... Anyway maybe Doug would be willing to change the location of the shock mount on the main frame to change the leverage ratio, worth a call, I'm sure you'd have to work out that geometry/ratios before he did anything.
I just think from a business standpoint a large manufacturer, even the mid-sized ones simply wouldn't make any money trying to sell a bike for an admittedly small population (2.2% of the population is 6'5" or taller).
If necessity is the mother of invention, laziness is the deadbeat dad that knocked her up.
I sent an email to Foes basically begging them to make an FXR 2:1 in size XL (25" top tube). That would be a pretty strong contender for Ultimate Clyde aluminum full suspension bike.
I don't think the Hoss is the ultimate Clyde trailbike. Aluminum, 26", no suspension, poor parts spec. How many 300lb guys actually ride stock Hosses and like them?
A steel 29er is a great trailbike (I have one -- a Karate Monkey), but there are definitely things I feel less comfortable doing on that than on my Heckler.
Custom is probably going to be your best option to get what you want out of a bike but no doubt your wallet's going to end up reallly light. I am 6'4" 215 and wish there were more XL / XXL options out there. Turner makes XXL's, Chumba and Ventana do custom bikes. I ride with a super clyde (6'3" 325lb+) he rode a Heckler and didn't like the rear flex, he just ordered a Nomad / DHX-C. I rode a Nomad and thought @ the proper sag I had to run too much air for my weight.
The "Ultimate Clyde Trailbike" is a Knolly Endorphin.
5.5" of travel on a 2.25" stroke shock (coils available up to 800lbs)
2.4:1 leverage ratio
True 4-bar suspension (Knolly 4x4)
Handles 6.3" forks, designed around 5" forks. TALAS 36 is a great match.
Size XL has a 25" ETT
Check it out. The frame is a bit on the OMGWTF$$$ side, but I'm enjoying the heck out of my Endorphin.
FWIW, the Cornutt shock and system won't support clyde weight categories.
Originally Posted by beanfink
Originally Posted by beanfink
LOL, so you totally went outside of the parameters of your original requirements and settled on a high-$$$ USA-made frame. One might note that retail on that frame is within 10% of your spec'd COMPLETE build!
I am sure you will be as happy on your Endo as I am on my Terremoto (which have damn similar geo when you run that Endo with a 160mm fork).
All that being said, I do agree with you on the lack of options for entry-level clyde bikes.
Last edited by CharacterZero; 07-28-2008 at 09:35 AM.
I have one. 6'5" 240.
Originally Posted by beanfink
Great bike. Should be on your short list.
I totally exceeded the frame price of the hypothetical bike, but my Knolly is way more fun to ride than my hypothetical bike.
FWIW, the dollar *has* partially collapsed since I started this thread. American-made frames are still more expensive than Asian-made frames, but the gap is closing. We're going to see a significant price increase on the 2009 Asian stuff, and smaller discounts on surplus 2008 stuff.
Still, if a major bike manufacturer decided to step up and produce this Hypothetical Ultimate Clyde Trailbike, I'd buy one.
Here's something to read:
The HUCT Project
(Hypothetical Ultimate Clyde Trailbike)
Parameters, version 0.2
5 inch trailbike. Does for a 300lb rider what a Blur LT, Stumpjumper FSR, or Kona Dawg would do for a 175lb rider.
72 or 73 degree seat angle
68 or 69 degree head angle
There's no reason this bike couldn't be offered in XS-XXL, but the point is to offer it in XL and XXL.
XL will have a 25" ETT. XXL will have a 26" ETT.
Material: Aluminum. No Carbon, please.
Tube Thickness: Beefy. No crumpled downtubes allowed.
Head Tube Diameter: 1.5" head tubes are stiffer, and allow longer welds between frame tubes. That said, this frame isn't meant for hucking. A 1.125" fork is appropriate.
Pivots: Beefy. Frame should not flex under hard cornering, even under a 300lb rider.
Seat Tube: Full length. Tall Clydes need a high saddle to get good leg extension. Heavy clydes often have a high center of gravity, so it's very important to be able to drop the saddle all the way down and get it out of the way. A 41cm Thomson post requires a full length, uninterrupted seat tube.
Front Derailer: Whatever works for the frame design -- regular clamp, DMD, E-Type....
Rear Hub Size: 135mm on a 26" wheel bike.
Dropouts: Bolt-on. This way you can offer 10x135mm and 12x135mm options, as well as an easy way to replace the derailer hanger.
Travel: 5 or 5.5 inches.
Design: Manufacturer-dependent. Please don't use the shock as a sideload-bearing structure (Prophet, Heckler).
Rate: Rising! This is very important for Clydes. We blow through the travel of falling rate bikes.
Shock Type: Coil. Feels good, goes well with rising rate. With an air shock at high pressure, this bike might not get full travel.
Shock Size: 7.875" x 2.25". This will work better than an 8.5" x 2.5" shock because 800lb coils are available for the 2.25" shock.
What it is / (Where it's made + How many made) = Price
That was a fun read. I like the specs you laid out--I would definitely want the air shock as an option for people on the lower end of the clyde spectrum. Wish they'd make one, since I won't be able to afford an Knolly Endorphin anytime soon.
I'd say the sizes should go L-XXL, or maybe M-XXL. No need to make this bike for people smaller than that.