Greetings everyone from a first-time poster...
This is my first post so bear with me. It may be a bit long but I'm trying to include all relevant info, rather than just a generic "what's the best bike to get?" request.
First-off, before anyone suggests I should get fitted and try different bikes at my local bike shop (a good idea of course), I live in Kenya and have no decent local shop and my only option is internet research prior to a blind online purchase. So I'm hoping you all can help me out a bit in my quest to buy an appropriate 29er, which unfortunately I'll have to do over the internet without trying it.
I'm getting back into biking after an, errr…., 20 year gap. I just bought an old secondhand 19" Specialized Rockhopper 26er as a temporary bike to keep me going until I can work out what kind of new one I should get. It's too small for me, I know, like I say it's just a temporary bike until I can work out what I need. Here is me on it, to give an idea of my proportions:
As you can see it's too small. The biggest I've been able to try here is an old steel framed 21.5" 26er, and even with that I wan't happy with the sizing, I just felt far too much "on top of" the bike and not "in the bike". Does that make sense? My center of gravity felt too high and too far forward and I didn't feel confident going at any reasonable speed downhill on rough ground. That was partly a question of size but also I think riding position. After reading a bunch on the 'net, but with little practical experience of different sizes & styles, I am pretty sure I want a 29er hardtail.
My measurements (in inches):
Lower Leg: 24
Sternal notch: 62
...so I'm 6'3" and fairly slim, weight about 84KG/185lbs. Putting all this info in here gave these results for what they call the "XC fit":
standover height range: 34.1 - 34.8 inches
virtual top tube length: 25 - 25.4 inches
stem length: 11.2 - 12.8 cm
BB saddle position: 81.1 - 82.7 cm
saddle handlebar: 60.2 - 61.8 cm
My intended usage:
1. A versatile bike for mostly leisure purposes but that can deal with forest singletracks, flat terrain with small rocks, and potholed roads. So far I've been doing a 10-15km run on forest tracks that arent that steep but there are frequent small embedded rocks and roots. I tried it on a rigid front fork – ouch, I didn't like the bumpiness – and found a hard tail to be much better. Most rides would be half an hour to a couple hours at most.
2. I'm a fairly mellow rider - I don't need to go fast or on very steep or technical terrain - and definitely prefer to be seated if possible. This is all for fun and getting fit, not for racing or competing.
3. Most of all I want a comfortable ride and prefer a more upright riding position than some of the MTBs I've tried (which may just be a question of adjustment). If I'm cruising downhill on an easy path I'd like to be able to sit reasonably upright. I'm not going to be doing jumping, riding over big rocks, or twisty technical stuff.
4. I sometimes have back problems - nothing serious but some lower back stiffness and tense shoulders. I've noticed after my recent rides that my shoulders are somewhat tense. I don't know if this is relevant or not.
My main questions revolve around sizing issues:
From what I've been reading a 22" frame should probably about right (do I need to go even higher?). But what other factors come into play in terms of riding comfort over this type of terrain? I've been reading a lot about head angles, BB height, chainstay length, top tube length, slack geometry, etc but am a bit confused. My limited reading suggests that a bike with slack head angles and geometry might be good for my intended usage, but pease correct me if I'm wrong on that. Some articles have suggested crank size matters. What are the key factors that I should be looking for?
With that in mind, I should add that I hate bikes that look "flashy" - no bright multicolours etc, minimal logos please. I just want a quality well-finished bike with decent solid components that will last and be versatile for the different uses I've mentioned. I'm open to steel or aluminium. Oh, and I want gears - no single-speeds.
Some of the bikes I've been looking at: Just on the 'net, mostly based on positive reviews and also styling, include:
Surly Ogre – but I'd either have to do a new build or buy the complete bike and change the front rigid forks for shocks.
Surly Karate Monkey Ops (if/when it becomes available)
Specialized Rockhopper Comp 2013 (just because it's all black seemingly unlike 90% of ready-made bikes which seem to have too many colours and logos)
Some On-One, Cube, Salsa, Charge, and Kona models
Ideally I'd do a new build, but practically I think that would be difficult given that I'd have to buy the components blind and hope they'd all work together. Unless people think I could find a UK builder who could guide me as to components and put it all together for me, but I suspect that would end up too expensive. So I'm looking for a complete bike and I guess my budget could range from about £500 up to a maximum of £1,500. I like the idea of an internally-geared hub, but seems that would be out of my budget, but nice to have the mounting option for later. I also like the idea of having the option to later add bags/rack to carry stuff for longer day-trips but it's not at all essential. I'd consider adding a suspension seatpost later if people think it would be worthwhile.
Getting the size and geometry right appears to be the top priority and I would be very grateful if anyone of a similar size and shape can give some insights.
I would likely need to buy whatever I finally choose from either UK (preferred) or Europe for shipping reasons. From USA remains possible, but more hassle for me.
Phew, so with all that said, and hoping I haven't left any important details out, kindly give me your thoughts on sizing and suggested models and I will be most grateful. And if I'm way off or focussing on the wrong things, feel free to tell me!
Thanks a lot.
Results 1 to 10 of 10