Seeking input on 5 bikes for a Clyde
First of all I want to say thanks. I am new to this group and have been reviewing the info here for a couple of weeks as a guest. I am about to buy my first new bike in 10 years and have found all the info here extremely helpful. I also found out that I am a "Clydesdale" . At first I was hurt, but then I thought, hey who doesn't look at those majestic animals and go WOW . BTW - I'm 6'2" and 255 lbs.
I am currently riding a late 90's Schwinn (Yeti) Homegrown LX/XT with a Judy and a seat post shock. Great bike for it's time, but now I'm older, heavier and there are much plusher rides out there. I haven't ridden much over the last 4 years due to too much business travel, but have started riding again this year with my wife to try to get back into shape. Even in shape, I qualify for a Clyde at a normal weight between 215 and 225.
Some of the basic tips I've picked up reading the different posts are to:
- Get a 20 tooth on the front and a 11-34 cassette for a lower granny gear to carry my mass up the mountains (gravity of course is our friend on the way down)
- Get 36 spoke rims with thicker SS spokes to lessen the chance for breaking rims
- Put on either a 2.1 or 2.3 tire to further reduce damage to rims (Kevlar beaded to reduce weight for little extra $), and
- Get a bigger (7") front rotor for the disc brakes for better stopping power
That said, I've also reviewed this site for recommendations on frames sturdy enough to handle the pounding a Clyde can inflict. I've narrowed it down to 5 main bikes in the $3k range in no particular order that I want to go out and test ride to see what works best for me:
- Gary Fisher Fat Possum XT
- Jamis Dakar XAM 2.0
- Santa Cruz Blur LT
- Specialized Enduro SL Expert FSR
- Yeti 575 Enduro Race
Questions to the group are:
- Does this list have any fatal flaws or obvious omissions for a Clyde?
- Is there any particular shock/fork I should stay away from or gravitate too without increasing the cost of the bike much?
Thanks in advance - Roger
LATE ADDITION - I will be riding in the front range foothills of Denver and up in the mountains around the ski areas, so I was looking at All Mountain bikes.
Last edited by rogerfromco; 06-22-2007 at 10:08 AM.
Fat guy on a bike
Of all those I would point you to the Yeti 575 or the Blur LT.
I don't think theres any make or break on any of them, except maybe that the Enduro SL is not yet proven with its proprietary suspension components.
Other good choices are Ventana X5, Chumba XCL.
I am extremely partial to Hecklers.....biased in fact....but:
Stupid question follows: How is your body proportioned? Long legs, long torso? A lot of geometries will lend credit....don't play the seatpost-stem-crank length game to make a bike fit- use it instead to fine tune.....
Jamis bikes always seem to be a little long on the top tube comparably speaking, as are Fishers....they lend a lot of credit for folks with proportionately longer torso's.... They also suffer from front weight distribution because of this- this is fine for XC riding when speed is your primary goal, but detracts from front end lift capabilities when the going gets technical....for trail riding, a little XC, a little AM, and no primary focus on speed and endurance? They are out IMO as they seem to limit versatility.
Specialized = Specialized proprietary equipment. The cynic in me says it is to lock you to their merchandise for period you own that bike....they say it is custom fit to the bike and therefor better--- I could give you specifics and ramble even more, but suffice it to say that will at some point cause you issue....for certain....they are out as well because of that fat alone IMO.
Yeti and BlurLT are both sweet bikes both capable of taking you up and down the mountain and lasting a good while. They use international standard parts and pieces and have really good geometry for hop'n, juking, jumping, droppin', huckin', and descending...and they won't kill you on the uphills either.
My advice is get a Heckler and don't look back....but since that doesn't fit your criteria...it is between the Yeti and the Blur, and I would lean more to the Yeti...but you......ride em' both if you can and let that decide.....
Body proportions are pretty vanilla I think - 33" inseam. I will definitely try the bikes for fit in the LBSs to make sure they are proportionally correct. I rode my Homegrown for several years before getting it fit, and with a few minor tweaks I was riding without back pain again - had thought I was just getting old!
Some corrections needed IMO
-The Jamis XLT/XAM line is actually a little short on the toptube (I know, I own one) compared to others...nowhere near the length of a Fisher. A quick check of the Jamis website and their geometry will confirm this. I would actually recommend a Jamis for a shorter torso person. The statement on how they ride couldn't be further from the truth and I question whether these statements are hearsay or if there is any first hand knowledge backing them up
Originally Posted by drewactual
-The Specialized is not using a "proprietary" rear shock...its a standard sized shock (7.875"x2.25") made by X-Fusion. So your not in anyway married to it (like you would be with a Maverick for instance). The only thing "proprietary" on the front fork is the hub. The frame still uses a standard 1.125" headtube so your not married to the fork either. Don't discredit this bike, its worth a serious look.
I have no first hand riding experience on the Yeti or the Blur, so I'm not going to comment on those. I have spent some time on the older Heckler design and found it to be a descent ride, but nothing that set my world on fire. I'm sure the new ones are better...why would they be redesigned otherwise? The best riding trail/am frame I've ridden on in the last few years has been the Foes FXR 2:1 5 inch travel frame. That ride was impressive to say the least. Not sure if your willing to consider it, but its not too far off the others your looking at as far as price (the FXR is now a 6 inch travel frame...I would recommend looking at the XCT 5 2:1 as a good comparison).
Hey Roger, I'm in Colorado too (along the front range)
No experience with the first four bikes listed..however..
I have a 575 and absolutley love it..climbs like a dream..just very plush
I'm 6'1 230-240lbs
I did upgrade the rear wheel to a DT Swiss 5.1 laced to a Hadley hub
Good luck in your search
I hope this is not an attempt to flame my opinion....that is how I first took it, but even so it doesn't matter because.....opinions vary.......as far as first hand knowledge I have none with that particular line of bikes, but only with Jamis in general....... Of the two Jamis bikes I owned, one an Exile SS and the other an Exile 27sp, they had issues. I compared the size geo to the products in the Jamis line and they (Like Fishers) seemed longer along the top tube in general.... I don't think it is arguable that a longer top tube distributes the weight of your upper body more so on the bars than a bike with a shorter top tube. It is also not arguable IMO that more weight on the bar limits the technical ability for lifting and hopping....it also put you in a position that would lend more propensity to endo while descending steeps or drops to transition.....
Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
but back to Jamis- the chain-stays on both of those stock bikes were so misaligned it was easily apparent by just looking at it. The paint chipped easily, which due to the fact they were steel framed- required attention after each ride or rust would result. The tolerance in the BB casing, and head tubes on both bikes were crap..... One would slip a headset cup right in w/ slight play...how is that for longevity and safety? The other one suffered the opposite. It was stupid tight. The BB casing on both bikes had to be faced, as one was cross threaded ( I know, due to installation at the shop, but when I started replacing them I seen why- the steel is stupid soft).....I went ahead and faced the other while I was at it- and then I bounced of of a rock while riding a rock garden and put a big ol' dent in the BB case itself......I didn't hit it that hard, again soft steel.....I also noticed that there is a taper for no apparent reason in that area inside the BB casing (weight?) ....stupid.... Maybe a person could get by with a Jamis if they don't ride that often, but for someone who takes the game serious- buy a good bike. Jamis would not respond to emails and straight up told me on the phone "Denting the BB Casing is a little hard to believe"...so I sent pictures via email....dead line, no response......do you wish to hear more or have I made my point?
Proprietary parts and pieces spell trouble. I have zero experience with Specialized. I have seen a few on the trails and the owners seem to be extremely pleased with their purchase, but getting an honest review of a product that cost the $ these things do is often difficult because a person is not likely to volunteer 'yeah I effed up, and should have gotten another'......but that is not fair either. The owners I have talked to seem to be happy with their bikes....but back to proprietary......if that hub is not picked up by the multitudes you will end up like I did with my last C-Dale Jekyll, meaning paying premium prices for a mid-range item. I could have bought a decent lefty hub for around $200, but spend the same $200 and I could have gotten a rock-n-roll hub that fits an industry standard bike... I won't bore you with shock stories about that bike....After all the riding and purchasing and experimenting with bikes available on the market I have developed one hard and fast rule that will cross a bike off the list right off the bat- If there are proprietary parts- it is dropped. That part will fail you and they seem to do it at the least opportune times which makes 'using your buddies', or even finding a part locally too difficult. Swap the fork right off the bat and you will likely be fine with the Specialized I guess, but try to make the deal with the LBS so you get an OEM price (or close too) as after market prices are close to double. Bearings for pivots is the one area that is compromised for my rule.
Saying ..."why would they be redesigned otherwise?" when referring to the Heckler is a lame argument. Very lame in fact- I have never met one owner of any of the three designs that have had an issue with that bike. Bearings are available easily direct from SC, and cost is minimal. Stories of breaking frames are rare, though stories of massive drops and gaps are common. You can dress it down for tough XC and get it around 27-29lbs, or beef the hades out of it and still be under 36lbs....it is the most versatile bike I have ever ridden. The Blur I would assume is also a good bike based on the quality of other SC's I am familiar with. I have never seen a Yeti in person, nor have I talked with an owner of the Yeti's first hand....but I do read that they are tops in quality and function.
Roger- again, I would recommend the Yeti, followed closely by the Blur...that is my opinion and it is just as valuable (or not) as mtbiker72's.
Given your size, you want a stiff, well built bike. I would suggest the Yeti 575, Ventana X-5 and Chumba XCL. I have the X-5 and it is super stiff, balanced and extremely well made. Additionally, Ventana has top of the line customer service. Though I have not ridden the XCL, I understand from those that own it that it is highly regarded and that Chumba has excellent customer service. You can probably get Chumba to set you up for a demo ride. I have also heard very good things about the 575 from dealers and 575 owners. Whatever you do, make sure you take whatever bikes you are seriously considering out for a "real world" test ride. Good luck on your decision and keep riding!
Originally Posted by Mordy
Honestly, from the criteria you give, I think a much shorter list might be of "all mountain" style bikes you should avoid for being too flimsy.
Here's my list of bikes to avoid:
OK, now that that is out of the way, let's talk wheelsets. 32 spokes with 14/15/14 butted spokes is fine. A well built rim is a good idea, but that doesn't mean you need a wide, heavy burly rim, just well designed and built. Something like a Mavic 717 comes to mind. I've been riding them for a few years with no problems and I haven't been less than 255lbs since some time back in the 90's.
Your idea of using a 20 tooth granny, a larger rotor up front and no less than 2.1 tires are sound and I would recommend them. I use 8" rotors front and rear and wish I had gone with a 7" in the rear for a better balance. I also use a 20 tooth granny with an 11-34 cassete and find it invaluable to keep me pedaling instead of pushing. I like 2.3" and even 2.5" tires, but right now I've got about 40lbs on you.
As for obvious omissions on your bike list, there are so many nice bikes out there right now that I think you should swing a leg over as many as possible. I ride a Giant Reign and think you should check them out. A fine ride at a decent price. But like I said, get out there and look at all that is available as there is so much to choose from these days.
For $3,000, I could build myself a slammin' ride and put the $$$ into the components I want and not skimp out on the fork or wheels like bike companies do.
Check for a weight limit on the blur. I'd imagine the LT is beefed up from the original so you may be good to go. The original had a weight limit of 210 or so. I think.
You seem to be on a good path. In general all of the setups you listed are nice.
"You want to do WHAT???!!
What about for a complete NOOBE?
I have been looking on the internet and the Motolite, Heckler and 575 all seem to get raves, depending on where you look. Would any of these be appropriate for a total noobe?
you must pardon my bias for the Heckler, but I will try to explain briefly-
When I first started riding I looked at the Heckler.... I thought 'too much $'......I then proceded to explore........five bikes later (at what point I could have bought three Hecklers) I go back to the first position and got the Heckler......Three of those first five bikes broke under my considerable mass, two of them are still with me- but haven't seen the light of day since I built the Heckler....
I am extremely happy now, the only thing I have done to the SC is replace bearings (pivot, and at a massive cost of $20 from SC direct )...it has lasted 3 times longer than the first five combined......
I can't say you will be as happy......but between the Heckler and the 575 I think you could cut off a lot of frustration and searching.
all of this of course, is FWIW.
Not Flaming, Strongly Disaggreeing
Originally Posted by drewactual
If I was flaming, I'd called you a derogatory name or something.
I did, however disagree with your statements about the Jamis and Specialized product because A) I own a Jamis XLT and know exactly how it rides and how the geometry is. The fact is, you were deadpan wrong about not only the geometry, but your blind comments about how it rides. You simply have no experience (which you've admitted) with the XAM/XLT line from Jamis and because of this, you should have refrained from making assumptions on how it rides. B) You also said the Specialized was full of proprietary parts...simply not true. The "housebrand" rear shock is nothing more than a X-Fusion shock in a standard size (in fact, older Enduro's would be more proprietary because they did not use a standard size Fox shock). Yes, the hub is proprietary with a 25mm axle...so your choice of front hubs is limited for now (there are aftermarket lefty and 24mm hubs for Maverick forks...I'm sure someone will make a nicer 25mm hub soon). Also, as a former warranty manager for a large Seattle are shop...I can say with first hand experience that Specialized backs their product better than any other manufacturer I ever dealt with (that includes the Trek family, Rocky Mountain, Kona, Cannondale, AND Santa Cruz).
As far as my comments on the Heckler...I demo'd an older Heckler (2003ish...they don't make model years) and found the bike to be OK...but not inspiring. I also found it to be a bit flexy in the swing arm...and I'm 230lbs so that's important to Clydes. In fact, Santa Cruz quit making the Heckler all together for a while. So my comment about why they would redesign it is valid...they stopped making the old ones because they weren't selling enough of them to be profitable. Now they have redesigned it and I'm sure they are stiffer and a better bike...but haven't ridden one so like my original post...I wont make any comments on the new design.
If you stick with what you know first hand...then you find your comments being challenged for their legitimacy.
I would recommend SC Blur I currently ride a SC Heckler, I feel Santa Cruz over builds all there frames. If I could recommend something not on your list take a look at Morewood. I have recently bought a Morewood Ndiza I love it, I dont feel I could ever break it. I took it off 6ft drops this weekend and it handled it great.
As you have been given excellent advice so far, I will only chime in with a few minor thoughts.
A 20t granny--most bikes are going to come with a 4 arm 104 bcd crankarm, which means the smallest granny ring available will be a 22t. I know that Extralite makes them, of course ($$$), but I have not seen any one else do so. And if anyone out there is familiar with an additional source for a 20t granny on a 104 bcd 4 arm crank, please chime in. If you run a 5 arm compact is is not problem, you can get them from Middleburn.
If you have the chance to spec your wheelset (you may not) I would seriously go with 36h, and a wider rim if possible. it will make for a stronger wheel and give you slightly more volume with larger tires.
I will definitely work closely with the LBS on getting the right rims. I cracked both stock rims that came on my Homegrown the first season and then got some beefier Mavics that have lasted me the other 9 years! I don't want to make the same mistake twice. With the $$$ I'll be dropping, the last thing I want to do is walk back into the shop to replace broken parts cause I went cheap to get out the door the first time.
for wheels I would recommend the Azonic Outlaws, I think they are some of the strongest wheels I have ever ridden. They can be with qr or thru axles. and the price is right at 250.00
Double-metric mtb man
DT 5.1's would be another good option. I'm another Clyde and have been looking at 5.1's laced to Hope Pro II's (I like the convertable aspects and ability to deal with copious mud of the Hopes).
I am currently riding a Fisher Cake as more of a trail / XC frame. For a bigger rider, you may find yourself cramped on the Jamis....someone else metioned that they are short in the top tube and I concur. The Fat Possum may or may not be okay. There have been comments about the rear end being flexy, esp. for larger riders like us. For myself, even though I've been a Fisher fan for the last few bikes, my next bike will be a build and won't be a Fisher unless they come up with something AM made for western / mountains riding.
Also worth considering are the Rocky Mountain Slayer, SC Heckler, SC Nomad and Intense 6.6 (though the latter two may be over your range, depending on US pricing).
Don't forget Titus.
Rims DT Swiss 5.1d no doubt about it! Super solid!
Hub, I have Hope Pro II in the front and Hadley Freeride in the rear, both solid!
I'll never go below a 2.35 tire. Ever. Love my Kenda Nevagals.
Just got a Marzocchi 66 ATA Z1, 7" of lovin! Sweet fork!
Love my fox DHX 5.0 Coil!
I like WTB seats.
Thomson seatpost, stems.
Oury grips are nice
Decent bar (monkey lite, seems to be popular)
I prefer Times Pedals to SPDs. SPDs good to learn on, but times are more forgiving, easier in, more solid in, easy out. I have the platform ATACs, so I can get more foot on the pedal besides just my cleat and also wear with non-biking shoes.
SRAM chain, with the power link. Trail side friendly.
Shifters...SRAM or ****mano.
Nothing higher than an XT Rear Deraileur. LX is ok. XTR too brittle.
8" disc in the front is great. Maguras are sweet brakes. Folks like Avids too.
I'm either going 7" or 8" in the rear when I save up. (not sure I need the 8", but maybe more than 6" to match the front)
FYI, I got up to 20% discount when I did a mass purchase for all my bike and gear at one shop. I was only buying 1 bike. Yes you betcha on 2+.
Does your bike shop carry all those brands??
if not get a rental for a week for $200 shipped to you at competive cyclist Definitely try before you buy.
You also get that money towards purchase of bike, with customizations.
Once you decide on a rig, pay for a fitting ($50-75) unless it comes with your bike purchase. Then you'll order the proper parts and be assured of a proper fit of bike to your body. Saddle position, stem length, etc, everything. It's a beautiful thing!
You could custom rig what you want for $3000+ easy an avoid "stock part waste".
Stock parts are for clydes.
Trade in and up (they'll give you credit for what comes stock).
You'll save by doing it now, rather than later, after something breaks.
Most of this stuff you could find posts here with lots of comments on saddles, forks, rims, etc.
Just do a search of the forum.
At 6'4" and 245 lbs, I ride and recommend the Turner Flux. I even ride it on FSA XC 300 wheelsets with no issues (once the aluminium nipples were replaced with brass counterparts).
Try the Flux
Word. I have also heard that AtomLabs makes some killer prebuilts as well.
Originally Posted by BLH2
Would have to agree, I just sold my Flux a while back, but while I had it it was a great bike for an XC bike. I even e-mailed Turner about my weight, they said no problem.
Originally Posted by bentfork
EDIT: I did another search an found out that ActionTec makes a 20t Ti granny that will fit a 4 arm crank. Cambria has them.
Last edited by Random Drivel; 06-25-2007 at 02:29 PM.
Double-metric mtb man
I`ve got no opinion on the Flux.
The only Turner I`ve ever seen up here was the ultralight race bike...looked nice enough, but if I tried to park my plentiful carcass on it, it`d have snapped like a toothpick or I woulda had a full bike wedgie....neither were on my "to do" list
"You want to do WHAT???!!
Thanks to all for the advice
Just to give an update...ended up between the Heckler and the Motolite. Tried both, liked both, but Biker Bob at the Hamilton Bike shop took a standard Heckler kit, changed the rear suspension, upgraded the front fork, upgraded the brakes, changed the saddle, upgraded the wheels and did a bunch of other stuff for a song. This bike is just tuned for a clyde of my weight. Just couldn't walk away. So now I am the proud owner of a Titus Motolite.....what about the Heckler you ask? Got my wife looking at it....don't you think that would be perfect for a wifey wanting to have "quality time"? Told her I would trade her hour for hour....shopping *(yech) for mountain biking.......we will see where this goes. LOL
Not sure if it is too late to comment as I didnt have a chance to read everyones posts.. Anyways.. here are my 2 cents... I was 323lbs 6'1" (now 309 lbs) and recently bought the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR EXpert in XL.. It has no problems with my height or my weight. The Fox Talas and Float are great and the Brain Fade thingingy seems to work fine.. I am totally stoked on the bike and it is right in your price range.. Good luck..
Update on My Purchase
Well, after 4 rides on the XL frame Nomad I am loving it. I am surprised how well it climbs. It's a little light on the front end while climbing, but I'm going to try a little longer and lower angle stem to get a little more aggressive riding position for the climbs. I havenít weighed it yet, because I have a few more items to change out, but I'm guessing it's between 32-34 pounds, but you'd never know it on the trail.
I'm still dialing in the Fox DHX Air, but have 265 pounds in the main chamber (I weigh 255) with the rebound set near the middle and it's working well for me. Saw a lot of negative opinion on the DHX Air for heavier riders, but I canít complain at this point.
I was a little hesitant with this purchase because it was not one of the original bikes I had lined out based on my research for similar sized riders and I was already experiencing information overload from all the options out there. But I heard a few suggestions for it on MTBR and at the shops, so I found one in my size that was built out, which was not easy, to test ride and liked the way it felt the best. Riding it over curbs and up inclines on the streets I was surprised how plush it was on the bumps, yet stable on the climbs.
I'm a convert!
Thanks for all the input,
I'm a little late so my advice wouldn't matter, but I think you made a good choice. I would have added the Mountain Cycle Fury to the list of bikes though.
Originally Posted by rogerfromco
My main comment, based on some very hard experiance, would have been to stay away from the Jamis.
I don't know, if some people that own XLTs just don't ride them that hard, or if Jamis has terrible quality control issues that results in some good and some bad frames.
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