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  1. #1
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    Is SS for a noob a bad idea?

    Haven't really ridin anything for about 15 years & when I did back in the day it was bmx. Im currently overweight (6'3", 312lbs) & trying to get back in a shape other than ROUND! Would it be silly to have my "everything" bike be a SS? Im digging the Se Stout, but thought someone else that might have some experience on the subject could help...

    Most likely scenario is 70% Road & Packed trail, w/ 30% making up whatever I can throw at it...

  2. #2
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    SS for a noob? Not a terrible idea at all.

    Most kids ride single speeds...

  3. #3
    no, I'm not riding SS
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    I'm a clyde (220#, was 250#), been riding my 29er for about 2 years when I picked up a singlespeed. I cannot begin to tell you how much my strength and endurance has improved because of the SS. It is absolute hell for the first few rides, not to mention trying to figure out the appropriate gearing for your terrain, but now, I can ride everything that I previously rode with my geared, and mostly with faster times. It's quite gratifying and a feeling of accomplishment to clean a 5 mile, 2000' fireroad climb standing the whole way on a singlespeed. Pain, yes, until you try the same ride on your geared and absolutely FLY up it. Go for the SS, you wont regret it.

  4. #4
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    Riding a bike is never a bad idea. Go for the ss and if you want more convincing, start browsing the ss forums and you'll see the light in no time.

    A rigid 29er is a good place to start. Just might want to find some good grips, I use ESI's on my rigid, and maybe look at setting up your tires tubless and maybe running a 2.4 upfront. That combo should give you a little cushion and not beat you up so much.

    You'll learn more and get in shape faster on a ss rigid regardless of what people tell you about getting a geared bike or suspension. The main thing is you gotta enjoy riding your bike though or it doesn't really work.

  5. #5
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    I have both a geared hardtail and a rigid SS. I look at them beside each other and can see which one I like more. I am in love with my SS. I have had it since 2007, rode it a bit, went to college and took my road bike. Now I am back in the mountains and I love taking my SS out and climbing. It hurts more, I can't spin, but I can tell the difference when I ride my geared bike. I can carry more speed just because I am not use to spinning.

    I'd say go test ride a SS and see if you like it. I know I love mine.
    You may be quick, but I'll knock you over

  6. #6
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    I like to challenge myself & the idea that it's more work actually appeals to me... No pain, no gain...

  7. #7
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    The Stout can take gears, so it seems a sensible bike for the price. If you don't like it, a new chain, rear mech, shifter and cassette won't break the bank and give you a 1x9 as a halfway house.

  8. #8
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    Dear BigVaz,

    Do not get a SS. Unless you are in great shape you will not ride it. If you were in great shape you would not weigh 300 pounds! SS is great but very hard work(depends where you live and ride). Start with gears/ and lots of them. Spinning your granny at 45 rpms is better than sitting with a beer. Save the SS for when you love to climb hills, the steeper the better...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yogii
    Dear BigVaz,

    Do not get a SS. Unless you are in great shape you will not ride it. If you were in great shape you would not weigh 300 pounds! SS is great but very hard work(depends where you live and ride). Start with gears/ and lots of them. Spinning your granny at 45 rpms is better than sitting with a beer. Save the SS for when you love to climb hills, the steeper the better...

    I don't agree with this. I know many people who ride SS. They started on a geared bike, rode a few times and hung it up. When they took their bikes back out, they went SS and love it. These aren't super fit people. these are people like us Clydes, big guys who wanna have fun on a bike and don't want to have a ton of issues.
    You may be quick, but I'll knock you over

  10. #10
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    It depends where you ride. The secret to SS success is not riding trails that are too steep or technical for your ability or level of fitness. Take it slow and just have fun.

    Gears are really a double-edged sword. They offer an advantage but they don't make up for a lack of aerobic fitness or leg strength, and they only make the ride easier if you are in the right gear for the situation. As a new rider, you won't know what gear that is, so half the time you will be in the wrong gear, or shift too late, or both, and stall out. Gears are a distraction to a new rider. SS is actually great for noobs for this very reason.

    They require almost no maintenance and are dead simple to work on when they do, another advantage for noobs. And let me tell you, there is no suspension fork on the market that is designed to work properly for guy your size right out of the box. So you might as well save the money and go rigid.

    SE Stout is a great value. I have a 2008.
    Mind your own religion.

  11. #11
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    ^Im just about certain i'll be ordering the 2009 Stout from BikesDirect in the next week or two. I think the first upgrade will be to disc brakes, unless something else really stands out once I get the bike.

  12. #12
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    BB7s are a good affordable choice but don't be too anxious to upgrade the clinchers right away. Remember MTBers lived with rim brakes for years, they work just fine. My opinion is to upgrade to discs if / when you upgrade the wheels to disc-only.

    Do keep in mind that discs with horizontal DOs can be a little tricky to get lined up properly. Nothing too bad, but a bit more effort than rim brakes.
    Mind your own religion.

  13. #13
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    Good input PoisonDartFrog, I have seen way too many people get too caught up with upgrading their bikes (at times I have been one of these people) and they forget to ride it. I am running BB5s and I love them. I would say that if you upgrade to Mechanical disks, I would get a 185mm rotor for the front. I have a 160mm and it can get rather heated on any long downhill.
    You may be quick, but I'll knock you over

  14. #14
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    I've had the upgrade bug with some other hobbies & it can get expensive! (i.e. paintball, motorcycles etc...)

    I just really like the look of discs (yes im a noob) plus, from what I gather, they stop better. I've also read the 185mm up front would be better for my size.

    I figure I should be able to buy the Stout, a set of bb7's & new stem (heard the stocker isn't good) for around a grand total of $500.00.

    I'll be happy with it as a start. Then next winter if I really get into it, i'll probably do fork & wheels. Seems like all the reviews I read say the SE Stout has a really "Stout" (pun intended) frame & should last me a long time!

  15. #15
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    Sounds like a hell of a deal. I think I have about that much in my Monocog now. I hope you love your SS as much as I love mine.
    You may be quick, but I'll knock you over

  16. #16
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    just keep in mind:
    your Heart Rate will incrase by about 20% almost instantly when you stand and begin cranking out of the saddle.

    if you're a newb, and 312 lbs, SS will just make breaking into riding less pleasant, but like was said, it will incrase your leg power quite an insane amount.
    Good luck to you whatever you decide!

  17. #17
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    He should be riding flat trails until his fitness improves a bit.

    Either way, you can spin or you can mash. But it takes the same exact amount of energy to get up that hill, gears or not.
    Mind your own religion.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoisonDartFrog
    But it takes the same exact amount of energy to get up that hill, gears or not.
    Only if you make the false assumption of 100% efficiency.
    Why would I care about 150g of bike weight, I just ate 400g of cookies while reading this?

  19. #19
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    My 2009 Stout is en route to my mother in laws in MO as we speak, so I'll have something to play on when we visit next week. I am taking a rear gear setup in case I really hate it as a SS. I don't think my wife knows how many spares I'll have in my luggage for fettling it tho - that might get me in trouble!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaveGiant
    Only if you make the false assumption of 100% efficiency.
    Really, how does that work?

    Taller gears means less force is required at the pedals, but the trade-off is that you have to pedal faster. In the end, the same exact amount of work is done moving a mass from point A to point B.

    That is unless you have figured out a way to get free energy out of your gear cluster, which would be pretty cool.
    Mind your own religion.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iridethedirt
    just keep in mind: your Heart Rate will incrase by about 20% almost instantly when you stand and begin cranking out of the saddle.
    Are you kidding me? That means if your riding at 150 and stand up you instantly go to 180....I guess depending on your fitness level then I could see this being true but I would think it out of the ordinary, even for a noob clyde. Maybe for the first week but your body will adapt fairly quickly to out of the saddle riding.

    OP browse the ss forum or cross post this thread there. I don't think but maybe a couple responses have been from people who actually ride ss. You'll do dine man just don't give up.

  22. #22
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    I would consider myself a SS noob having just purchased a Kona Unit. Iím glad I gave single speed a try. I did upgrade it to a hardtail, but single speed has been an easy transition. I still ride my 2X10 on longer rides, but it is easier to take out the single speed for shorter rides.
    KanzaKrūzer
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  23. #23
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoisonDartFrog
    Taller gears means less force is required at the pedals, but the trade-off is that you have to pedal faster.
    I think you got that backwards.

    Anyway, going up a long and steep hill can be hard. On a singlespeed it can be even harder, unless you have ridiculously low gearing. I take the uphills as challenges. Sometimes I choose to walk. Sometimes I don't have a choice.

    ... whatever. I enjoy riding singlespeed. I don't worry about others agreeing with me.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoisonDartFrog
    Gears are really a double-edged sword. They offer an advantage but they don't make up for a lack of aerobic fitness or leg strength, and they only make the ride easier if you are in the right gear for the situation. As a new rider, you won't know what gear that is, so half the time you will be in the wrong gear, or shift too late, or both, and stall out. Gears are a distraction to a new rider. SS is actually great for noobs for this very reason
    Great advice. SS will be tough and it will kick your ass when first starting out but if you stick with it you will have a ton of fun, just be prepared for some frustrating walks up long hills.

    Rigid is a ton of fun and very addicting, a well set up rigid bike will teach you great bike control and reflex. You'll be able to pick clean lines much better than someone who starts on a FS, and riding a SS, you'll already be standing a good bit and using your arms and legs as all the suspension you need.

    My 2cents, nobody should start on a full suspension. Rigid geared bike or rigid singlespeed for all beginners that way you learn to enjoy the benefits of suspension without seeing it as a requirement.

  25. #25
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    Sometimes you walk a steep climb faster than the guys in granny gear can spin up it...

    To the OP, one more thing to think about. If you find the 32/18 (32-tooth chainring and 18-tooth cog) that came on your bike to be too tough to pedal at first, consider going down to your LBS and having them swap in a 20-tooth cog on the back. This should be really cheap to do and it will make your ride about 10% easier (but 10% slower for the same pedaling cadence...).

    I have a set of cogs in 16, 18, and 20 tooth sizes. 18t is the default, 16t for flat / fast trails with no climbing, or street riding, and 20t for those hilly rides. I may even get a 22t for some epic climbs in the Texas Hill Country.

    Contrary to popular belief, singlespeeders DO change gears... we just do it the garage the night before the ride.

    Someone once told me that the rides don't get easier, you just get faster. Good luck, be safe, have fun, and don't quit!
    Mind your own religion.

  26. #26
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    I would second the 20t cog change if you plan on doing any kind of climbing. Starting out, I rode a 20t and then I felt too strong and jumped to a 16.... big mistake. The 18 is a good all around gear.
    You may be quick, but I'll knock you over

  27. #27
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    I hover around 210-205lbs and have been SSing for a long time. I figure I'm never going to dance up the hills like the skinny guys on featherlight Carbon/Ti bikes! It don't matter if I'm geared or not, I still have to push the bike up the steepest hills. I focus on strength, duarbility and the K.I.S.S. factor (keep it simple stupid) in my bikes. Less time fixing, more time riding. That has worked for me. I go for long rides at my own pace and have a good time. What else matters?

  28. #28
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    I run a 1 x 9... wasn't a problem last year because I had been riding a lot, but now starting the season I am struggling. Hopefully it won't last long though...

    I love the idea of a SS because I'm OCD about things working right and rattles and every little thing.
    EAT, DRINK, AND BE MERRY... FOR TOMORROW WE DIE.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by crump582
    I run a 1 x 9... wasn't a problem last year because I had been riding a lot, but now starting the season I am struggling. Hopefully it won't last long though...

    I love the idea of a SS because I'm OCD about things working right and rattles and every little thing.

    ^
    This x100.

    I have a CX bike. I always worry about gears. Surprise, the 3rd ride i was out on, my front derailleur is now out of alignment. New bike, quirks happen.

    Just less stuff to worry about... so you can focus on other things. Like riding.

  30. #30
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    **UPDATE** Went with the Stout & took it on a maiden voyage last night. Absolutely love it, but there's this one thing... Within the first 1/2 block im already spinning out... Is this what I should expect from a SS on the street? lol. Im guessing it will be much better when I hit some trails. Im not complaining, just hought it was funny.

  31. #31
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    With trail gearing it does not take me 1/2 block to spin out on a flat street

    Learning to spin faster delays the spin out. Sometimes the fastest thing on flat ground is to alternate betwen furious spinning and coasting.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  32. #32
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    Yes! I learned that already... lol

    I was pedaling like a maniac for 1/2 a block & coasting the rest. I was keeping up with the geared bike next to me...

  33. #33
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    I hate my SS on the road. Spinning is a new part of your life. Wouldn't trade it for the world once you get on the dirt though!

  34. #34
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    Started biking riding geared all mountain, then moved to SS hardtail. Really liked the simplicity of SS and the response from the Hardtail...but my knees sure hate it.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcgong
    Started biking riding geared all mountain, then moved to SS hardtail. Really liked the simplicity of SS and the response from the Hardtail...but my knees sure hate it.
    Try an easier gear. You'll ride a little slower, but your knees will be happy. I had to do that on my commuter. Seems like I'm spinning too fast sometimes, until the wind turns against me on one of the gradual hills on the way home.
    Not getting any younger (46), got to preserve what's left. No need to grind your knees down prematurely, just to look macho to the spandex warrior on that carbon road bike!

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba Dinglespeed
    Try an easier gear. You'll ride a little slower, but your knees will be happy. I had to do that on my commuter. Seems like I'm spinning too fast sometimes, until the wind turns against me on one of the gradual hills on the way home.
    Not getting any younger (46), got to preserve what's left. No need to grind your knees down prematurely, just to look macho to the spandex warrior on that carbon road bike!

    Thanks for the Tip. I'm already running 32/20 and spinning out like crazy on the flats. I actually have a week left knee and had some PT done on it already. I still ride my SS, just less frequently now.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcgong
    Thanks for the Tip. I'm already running 32/20 and spinning out like crazy on the flats. I actually have a week left knee and had some PT done on it already. I still ride my SS, just less frequently now.
    That's cool! I'm going to PT school and commute there on an 80s MTB converted to SS! 42x14 for streets, canal banks and bike paths, 38x16/34x20 dinglespeed set up on my trail bike.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by 14Stone
    I hate my SS on the road. Spinning is a new part of your life. Wouldn't trade it for the world once you get on the dirt though!
    SS is awesome on dirt but boring on the road. Fixed is fun on the road but I'm scared to try it in the mountains.

  39. #39
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    If you ride with people that aren't noobs and aren't riding single speeds, go 1x9 with a small cage rear dereailuer. Why get rid of versatility? For a little weight? For pride in telling people you did a trail on a SS? You can get a work out on any bike with a 27 or 30 speeds, it's called "don't shift".. .

    There was a noob on a SS on my last group ride. He couldn't keep up with the slowest riders in the group and we were runnin 14 deep. It was a technical/climby trail though. I think he about puked 6 miles into the ride.

    The only way I'd ever get a SS is if I won the lottery and didn't want to buy a beach cruiser.. .
    back at it
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba Dinglespeed
    That's cool! I'm going to PT school and commute there on an 80s MTB converted to SS! 42x14 for streets, canal banks and bike paths, 38x16/34x20 dinglespeed set up on my trail bike.

    Some tall gears you got there

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by berny2435
    If you ride with people that aren't noobs and aren't riding single speeds, go 1x9 with a small cage rear dereailuer. Why get rid of versatility? For a little weight? For pride in telling people you did a trail on a SS? You can get a work out on any bike with a 27 or 30 speeds, it's called "don't shift".. .

    There was a noob on a SS on my last group ride. He couldn't keep up with the slowest riders in the group and we were runnin 14 deep. It was a technical/climby trail though. I think he about puked 6 miles into the ride.

    The only way I'd ever get a SS is if I won the lottery and didn't want to buy a beach cruiser.. .
    Your group ride example has nothing at all to do with a style of bike chosen by your fellow rider, but rather his fitness level. The mere fact that you remembered that he puked 6 miles in, rather then the fact he decided to join your group on a ride, is an unfortunate reminder that even though we share a common sport, some people have no intentions on helping others enjoy it.

    While people spin in granny, I'm standing, mashing grapes, and wrestling bulls. We both get to the top, sometimes slower, sometimes faster then one another. But if someone is struggling on a ride that I'm on, then that's an opportunity to work with another rider. Not an opportunity to use that riders misfortune as a poorly used point.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by 14Stone
    Your group ride example has nothing at all to do with a style of bike chosen by your fellow rider, but rather his fitness level. The mere fact that you remembered that he puked 6 miles in, rather then the fact he decided to join your group on a ride, is an unfortunate reminder that even though we share a common sport, some people have no intentions on helping others enjoy it.

    While people spin in granny, I'm standing, mashing grapes, and wrestling bulls. We both get to the top, sometimes slower, sometimes faster then one another. But if someone is struggling on a ride that I'm on, then that's an opportunity to work with another rider. Not an opportunity to use that riders misfortune as a poorly used point.
    sounds like I offended you. Sorry but not really. I'm not really making fun of him. I didn't call him an idiot or anything.. . Just pointing out that for a noob, a little more versatility is ideal. We waited for him plenty of times to catch up and he had buddy with him riding a rigid SS too.. . If you want a steep Physical, mental, and technical learning curve, ride a rigid SS. Yeah, you'll probably gain strength and skill faster but for me, recreational riding is more about having fun.
    back at it
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  43. #43
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    Sorry, its possible my perception of your post was skewed a bit, not really offended, more just question your representing of a poorer side of biking.

    All I'm saying though is that while SS can be difficult to ride.. I actually think the opposite. Versatility while excellent in the hands of someone who knows how to use it, can actually overwhelm people in climbs and technical areas. I actually have simplified my ride significantly. I am a notoriously bad gear hunter / forgetter. I will find myself in the worst gears ever when hitting a climb. Instead of gear hunting, I have 2 speeds now:

    1. Not going to happen. *Read: Walk it*
    2. Stand and deliver.

    Its possibly perception, but I do believe fully that a SS is no more difficult to ride then a geared bike. I actually find it easier, and much less stressful. I have no problems with hills, technical or not. But the limiting factor isn't my bike.Its my fitness.

    If SSing appeals to you, then it does, if it doesn't then it doesn't. But anyone can start on any type of bike. I just happen to enjoy riding a BMX. With 29" tires.

  44. #44
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    I do find myself shifting more than I should on the uphill or all of a sudden being way to spinny when going down after I just went up. In AZ we have a lot of down and up areas with desert washes around the mountians. Cross chaining and shifting under power can definitely cause drivetrain issues. I've definitely made those mistakes and I've replaced parts b/c of them. Now that I think about it more, I guess this is why running 1x10 is more popular now. more gears to grab without cross chaining too bad.. . grab 8 instead of 7 (thinking minus very top and very bottom)

    if I go down to using one bike, I think my next drivetrain setup is going to be 10 speed but that wont be for a year or so. Going to test out my wits getting into more DH type stuff with my Titus El guapo but also give it a run with longer 10-20 mile all mountain type riding around Arizona.
    back at it
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  45. #45
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    Not really a noob here.. I am a clyde tho.. I have been for the most part out off the trails for some years..so you could say, I am a little bit new..
    Anyway, I ordered a Dawes DE SS. Just got it today, set it up and took her for a spin.
    The gearing (32x18) seems tame on the road..it is. For trails around these parts.. perfect.

    I agree that a ss will do nothing more than make you a fitter faster rider in short order.
    Don't worry about being fast outta the gate. Take your time.. go at it slow and ramp up as you begin to feel stronger. From one clyde to another.. GO-GO-GO!!!
    TREK X CALIBER 6, MOTOBECANE USA MIRAGE SLX

  46. #46
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    Like sir Big Vanz, im also a clyde (5"11 260ish)

    Reading all your posts i was encouraged to go for SS rather than get a geared for my first MTB. I think im fit enough for a SS since i do play basketball but its been a while since i last played. Do you think the Kona Unit 11' steel SS will handle me just fine? I do plan to swap the tires for the Big Apples since i read that its a good pavement tire.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by batzomighty
    Like sir Big Vanz, im also a clyde (5"11 260ish)

    Reading all your posts i was encouraged to go for SS rather than get a geared for my first MTB. I think im fit enough for a SS since i do play basketball but its been a while since i last played. Do you think the Kona Unit 11' steel SS will handle me just fine? I do plan to swap the tires for the Big Apples since i read that its a good pavement tire.
    I'm 6'5" 250 lbs. and my 2011 Kona Unit handles great. Took it out for a ride today and it finally feels like I have dialed in the handle bar height. May try to take a couple photos tomorrow and post a photo.
    KanzaKrūzer
    Salsa Warbird | Kona Unit

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by KanzaKrūzer
    I'm 6'5" 250 lbs. and my 2011 Kona Unit handles great. Took it out for a ride today and it finally feels like I have dialed in the handle bar height. May try to take a couple photos tomorrow and post a photo.
    I would love to see those pics! Im still saving my allowance for the unit. So hard to be a student! haha

  49. #49
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    I'm just starting to...getting ready to look at a GT Ruckus SS..XL frame stock 32/16 gears..gonna try it out in the neighborhood till i get the wind back to try trails.

    Hey i gotta start sometime.

    I know next to nothing about gearing so should 32/18 make much difference or should i just jump to 32/20?

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by batzomighty
    I would love to see those pics! Im still saving my allowance for the unit. So hard to be a student! haha
    Here are three quick shots.




    KanzaKrūzer
    Salsa Warbird | Kona Unit

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