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  1. #1
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    After 11 years what am I in for with a new mtn bike?

    Repeating a bit from my intro post. I'm 46 and mountain biking forever up until a few years ago when I got hurt walking. Took a while to heal and never really got back on a bike until recently. My current bike is an old 2002 Gary Fisher Sugar 3 Disk that was upgraded to an XTR drive train in 2003-2004. Obviously I tend to hand on to things I decided that it's time for a new mountain bike. LBS is steering towards a Rumblefish but says I should wait and see if the Roscoe comes out. Anyhow Im getting something in the March - April time frame.

    My question is how much of a surprise am I in for when I start test riding. Have the improvements been that drastic over the last decade. Will I be grinning like an idiot?

    Im pretty excited.

    thanks
    drew

  2. #2
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    I would say yes. While there was a long thread recently full of posts claiming nothing much has changed in the last 10 years, I think you'll notice the cumulative effect of many incremental improvements. Shifting will be better, brakes will work better, forks and shocks work better, suspension designs have matured, and the whole package will be stiffer. You'll also notice that cockpit posture is more upright these days for most bikes that aren't in the XC racing category.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  3. #3
    govt kontrakt projkt mgr
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    Well I have an 04 stumpjumper. And now a 13 Pivot Mach 5.7c. Biggest change is the through axels keep the wheels where ya tell em to go.

    I used to swear I'd hate full suspension and disc brakes and longer travel. Now I have all that and I'm lovin it

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    ...the whole package will be stiffer.
    You said *stiffer*.

  5. #5
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    After about 10 years off, I've gotten back into MTB as well. I was blown away by modern tires and tubeless/stan's no tubes sealant for trail riding. A season and a half so far without a flat.

  6. #6
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    I don't know if you're looking at 29in or 650b's, but I'm rolling through stuff that used to stop me on 26in wheels. I'm loving 29s.

  7. #7
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    I'm in almost same situation! Except a bit further out. Older than you. Skipped many years. My old bike was a '96 Rockhopper with squeaky annoying calipers. Hated cleaning those rims. The geometry back then, for some reason, was a forward-leaning race posture which I had gotten used to.

    Now I'm grinning ear to ear looking at the '13 Trek Mamba!

  8. #8
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    i keep my bikes forever also so when i upgraded i waited to get the lightest possible bike with the components i wanted. I scored a 2010 leftover last year for 35% off, way more $ than i should have spent but amortize it over a few years and using it often it made more sense to get something high end that i wouldn't want to bail on after a few years. I notice the lighter weight and the acceleration

  9. #9
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    My LBS is steering me towards a 29er. My concern is that I keep reading the bikes are slow to get going and that concerns me a bit. Most of my riding is and will be nasty narrow trails full of rocks, roots and fallen trees.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by imschur View Post
    My LBS is steering me towards a 29er. My concern is that I keep reading the bikes are slow to get going and that concerns me a bit. Most of my riding is and will be nasty narrow trails full of rocks, roots and fallen trees.
    I was concerned about that at first, but I think the combination of bigger wheels, but a much lighter bike has equaled out...if not made it faster to get moving

    ...and I think you'll find that the newer bikes are lighter.



    The only "down" side is that the bigger wheels are got as easy to place properly...but the fact that they'll roll over all kinds of stuff negates that. I'm not saying you're just along for the ride...you can place them, but it's a little more work when you're moving real slow. Still, I'd go 29. I can't see myself going back to 26.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by imschur View Post
    My LBS is steering me towards a 29er. My concern is that I keep reading the bikes are slow to get going and that concerns me a bit. Most of my riding is and will be nasty narrow trails full of rocks, roots and fallen trees.
    I ride the same terrain. I'm older than you and just replaced my 9 year old Giant 26er.

    Here's a review I wrote that might help your decision.

    HouseNotes Jet 9 RDO Pics & Amateur Review
    Single Track Rules!

  12. #12
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    I was in a similar boat as you recently got a new bike. 29er's and tubeless are some of the biggest improvements you'll want and appreciate. The suspension is a lot better as well. It's not always the case but top tubes seem a little shorter which may be an issue if you are dead set on your current riding position.

  13. #13
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    Thanks folks.

    I have no geometry preferences. Been away too long and my body is now used to a road bike so any bike will be foreign. The Sugar was for lack of a better description weight forward and it took monumental effort to get the front wheel off the ground to get it started over objects. Sounds like the 29er will have me rolling right over those objects. I'm convinced. Cant wait to test some bikes out.

    How about drivetrain improvements? The sugars like mine were prone to chain suck. It was something inherent to the design. I swapped out everything with XTR and it helped but did not cure the bike. It did improve shifting tremendously though.

    If MSRP's are an indication of street price the Rumblefish Elite at about $3000 is where I would like to be. The RF Pro is a pretty big difference in price but it's XT over SLX. Im guessing but is the SLX the former LX?

    Im also not hell bent on the Treks. My favorite LBS offers them and Cannondales, Specialized is around as is Yeti but the shops are unknown to me.

    Also control related but important due to a birth defect is the fingers on my right hand are very short, about knuckle length. That's been a bit of a distraction with the road bike. Any mechanical advantages I can gain with controls is of great importance.

    Anyhow feel free to toss suggestions at me. This might be my last mountain bike and i want to buy right.


    Sorry for derailing my own thread

    Thanks again all

    Drew

  14. #14
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    same here. recently getting back in. good luck

  15. #15
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    SLX takes the place of LX in the hierarchy, yes, but it would be a mistake to think of it in the same way, IMO. SLX is really solid componentry at a good price, and I think it's much closer to XT in quality than LX was.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    You said *stiffer*.
    Phrasing!

    I worked one of those student painter jobs the summer after B&B debuted. I wish I had a dollar for every time one of us said: "Uh... That was, uh, other kids."
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

    Riding in Helena? Everything you need to know, right here.

  17. #17
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    For brake leavers for short fingers, a lot of brakes nowadays come with reach adjustments, so you can set the leaver to be really close to the grip with a simple spin of a wheel. Just check the brakes on the bikes you are looking at have that.

    Also you might also want to look at twist grips if your right thumb is short as well.

  18. #18
    Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum
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    I would say that if you want a new mtb, then get one. Keep your old bike if possible and go 29er.
    Big Wheels Keep On Rolling

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  19. #19
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    for 3k you can get quite a bike!

    with your short fingers, definitely check out Sram's gripshift which has been greatly improved. and I like TRP lever ergonomics.

    and if this might be your 'last bike' why not build it yourself. Sram XX1 drivetrain is 'the' newest thing you can get - great range, light weight, never drop a chain, silent, simple.

    Bikes have improved with lighter, stiffer frames and improved geometries. Even steel bikes are way better since the alloy tech has gotten better.

    Tires are improved as are rim technologies like tubeless and way decreased weight.

    For 3k I feel like you could build a great bike and check all the boxes for a fantastic denouement.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by imschur View Post
    My question is how much of a surprise am I in for when I start test riding. Have the improvements been that drastic over the last decade. Will I be grinning like an idiot?
    To answer the last question first, yes, definitely, no doubt about it.

    In terms of improvements, well, it depends. Rear suspension has come a hell of a long way since then, we've learned how to make the whole thing work as a system instead of slapping some shocks & linkages together and hoping for the best. Compared to your Sugar 3 (which I have some experience with since the shop sold them), modern suspension will soak up bumps better, hold a better line, pedal better, and it's just better in every way, no question at all.

    Front suspension, I'd say big improvement with maybe 1 or 2 exceptions. My Manitou X-vert Super will still hold its own against nearly any of its modern counterparts, it only loses out in stiffness while its damper is still as good or better than anything we have today. But that fork was really ahead of its time, the RS, Marzocchi, and Fox forks from back then are nowhere near as good as their current offerings (our shop called them "Rock Sux" back then, for good reason). We have more travel, stiffer forks, and better dampers, with only a minor increase in weight.

    With drivetrains I'm going to go against the grain and say no, with the exception of ergonomics. I happen to have a full M950 series XTR drivetrain from those days and I've ridden the modern versions. The new stuff is definitely lighter and is more comfortable with better ergonomics, but I don't feel it shifts any better on the trails or does anything which my old XTR can't do. 2X10 drivetrains are nice in that they ditch a chainring, but the narrower chain & cog spacing makes them more finicky and prone to jamming with vegetation & dirt. Many people will say that the new BB designs are far stronger & stiffer than in the old days, but I'd be lying if I said I could tell the difference between Octalink and BB30. I used to bend square taper BB's on a regular basis, but once I got to Octalink I never had any further issues and everything since then has felt the same to me.

    Brakes, I think is much like front suspension. If you're one of the lucky folks who got their hands on an M755 XT disc from back in the day then modern disc brakes aren't really an improvement except in weight and ease of setup. For nearly everything else, modern brakes are a massive step up in performance. 13 years ago we'd just figured out how to make disc brakes which didn't explode or puke up fluid, the ergonomics sucked, the feel sucked, they were either squishy or very on-off feeling, and half the time they either squealed like Ned Beatty in Deliverance or honked worse than a Canada Goose.

    Everything else has been a gradual refinement. The longer top tube short stem combo that Gary Fisher called "genesis geometry" back in the day is now more or less standard in most bikes from pretty much every manufacturer. Handlebars are wider and there have been some geometry tweaks to make bikes more stable yet responsive. Tires are another component which has improved a fair bit (and gotten a hell of a lot more expensive). Lighter, and lots more grip for the same rolling resistance.

  21. #21
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    2013 rumblefish elite sitting next to me as i type this.

    Sooooo in love with this bike. I was always a GT guy, wasnt really thinking Trek when i went looking for my bike. Considering that i had broken two (GT) frames this year i started looking at warranties and found Trek bikes offer lifetime on even their FS frames.

    Knew i wanted a 29r, went with the fit, travel, and feel of the fish over the superfly.... zero regrets.

    Marvel of modern engineering under me when i ride now. Yes, quite a bit better than bikes from 11 years ago.

  22. #22
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    You'll also notice that cockpit posture is more upright these days for most bikes that aren't in the XC racing category.

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