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  1. #1
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    Has anyone ever happily downgraded bikes?

    I ride a 2014 tallboy. Love it. It's awesome. But like most people I got upgradeitis and am constantly checking Craigslist for a long travel 29er, or a Nomad.... or whatever is better/different than what I have now.

    It got me wondering if anyone you folks ever happily downgraded bikes and are completely happy?
    Has anyone ridden a like a $7K s-works stumpjumper with an Eagle drive train, saint brakes and downgraded happily to like a base model $1500 alloy camber and never looked back? Or are we mostly spoiled once we ride the better bike packages? What are your thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantastic79 View Post
    I ride a 2014 tallboy. Love it. It's awesome. But like most people I got upgradeitis and am constantly checking Craigslist for a long travel 29er, or a Nomad.... or whatever is better/different than what I have now.

    It got me wondering if anyone you folks ever happily downgraded bikes and are completely happy?
    Has anyone ridden a like a $7K s-works stumpjumper with an Eagle drive train, saint brakes and downgraded happily to like a base model $1500 alloy camber and never looked back? Or are we mostly spoiled once we ride the better bike packages? What are your thoughts?
    We are spoiled.

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  3. #3
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    No, not happily.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  4. #4
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    Downgrading suspension doesn't work.
    Downgrading wheels and tires is no fun either, but it's not as important as suspension.
    All other parts are just extra bling to some extent..

  5. #5
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    when I go visit my son in Colorado I ride a SC Hightower and love it but I did leave it there as I do feel that it is overkill for what I have what I ride here in TX. Here I ride a hardtail and I enjoy it just as much but if I honestly had to choose between the two the SC would come out on top.

  6. #6
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    Went from a 2014 Kona Process 134 to a 2012 Transition Bandit & I was happier on the Bandit (until it broke) >.<

    'We'll all make it to the top... Some of us, might not make it to the bottom'
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  7. #7
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    I'd say in most cases that no, doesn't work, although parts are greatly improved these days compared to 5 years ago, the higher ends stuff is generally a bit lighter, has better sealing, bearings instead of bushings etc, etc.

    What I'm curious about is why you're looking for more travel than your TB has, do you regularly hit jumps/drops greater than 3ft? Hit the bike park regularly, riding the double black trail? Because if you're not doing any of that on a regular basis and most likely won't, the TB is a more than capable XC/Trail bike.

    My suggestion if you think that it's holding you back is to register and take a proper skills course/class and work on you, as that's actually more than likely what's holding you back, don't try throwing travel to make up for lack of skill
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skorp View Post
    Downgrading suspension doesn't work.
    Downgrading wheels and tires is no fun either, but it's not as important as suspension.
    All other parts are just extra bling to some extent..
    Agreed. My first FS was a base model. Anytime after demoing a nicer bike, the suspension is always what I missed most after going back to mine. The better brakes or nicer shifting drivetrain were always nice but I could live without those. However, once you feel better forks/shocks, it's hard to go back.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    I'd say in most cases that no, doesn't work, although parts are greatly improved these days compared to 5 years ago, the higher ends stuff is generally a bit lighter, has better sealing, bearings instead of bushings etc, etc.

    What I'm curious about is why you're looking for more travel than your TB has, do you regularly hit jumps/drops greater than 3ft? Hit the bike park regularly, riding the double black trail? Because if you're not doing any of that on a regular basis and most likely won't, the TB is a more than capable XC/Trail bike.

    My suggestion if you think that it's holding you back is to register and take a proper skills course/class and work on you, as that's actually more than likely what's holding you back, don't try throwing travel to make up for lack of skill
    Thank you for your input. You are probably right. There is nothing wrong with my Tallboy. I don't do big drops or bike parks. It does everything I ask of it very well, and I have a ton of fun on it on every trail so far.

    I guess what bothers me is I bottom out suspension on the front and rear pretty often. When I say bottom out, I'm just referring to the rubber band thingy on my fork and shock. Bike feels fine, stable, comfortable when ridng. It got me wondering what my runs would feel like on a longer travel bike.

    Maybe the best course is to rent a longer travel 29er or 27+ bike and see if I like it. But you are correct. I probably need to work on my skills than throw more suspension in the mix.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantastic79 View Post
    I guess what bothers me is I bottom out suspension on the front and rear pretty often. When I say bottom out, I'm just referring to the rubber band thingy on my fork and shock. Bike feels fine, stable, comfortable when ridng.
    Possibly a stupid question, but have you checked to see if the suspension sag is set properly for you? Having said that, if you're not bottoming out your suspension at least a few times every ride on your regular trails, you probably have too much travel for the trails you're riding.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fairbanks007 View Post
    Possibly a stupid question, but have you checked to see if the suspension sag is set properly for you? Having said that, if you're not bottoming out your suspension at least a few times every ride on your regular trails, you probably have too much travel for the trails you're riding.
    Yep. Check my sag and I'm good. You're probably right about bottoming out regularly. My last bike was a 26" nomad with 160 fork. I never bottomed that out, but then again I didn't ride as hard as I do now.

  12. #12
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    I'd highly suggest you either up your pressure 5-10 PSI and/or add some volume spacers, should end easily bottoming out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phantastic79 View Post
    Yep. Check my sag and I'm good. You're probably right about bottoming out regularly. My last bike was a 26" nomad with 160 fork. I never bottomed that out, but then again I didn't ride as hard as I do now.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    I'd highly suggest you either up your pressure 5-10 PSI and/or add some volume spacers, should end easily bottoming out.
    Thanks I'll try that.

  14. #14
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    Yes,
    A few years ago I happily downgraded the brakes on my Trance from hydraulic to mechanical for more ease of service in the back country.

    Last year I got rid of my 2014 Niner Jet 9 and went back to a 2008 FELT Nine hardtail as my primary ride because I prefer the simplicity and the way the hardtail rides.

    Last month, just 8 weeks after purchase, I downgraded the wheels, fork, cranks, and drive train on my current main rider because I wanted the parts on all of my bikes to be interchangeable and didn't want to deal with proprietary parts and expensive replacements. Gone are the carbon Lefty, Project 321 Wheels, and the XX-1 drivetrain, all replaced with downgraded components.

  15. #15
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    Whether it's an upgrade or a downgrade is sometimes a matter of opinion, or situation specific. More is not always better.
    Do the math.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    Whether it's an upgrade or a downgrade is sometimes a matter of opinion, or situation specific. More is not always better.
    +1


    I used to think I had to have a CF frame and hoops. Then I got an alloy bike and wheels and realized I could afford another bike. I gave my CF stuff to my friend and my wife and have not missed it.

    I had, probably, over 6k in my last CF bike. While I owned it I bought a used steel HT for 800, rode it on the Divide, then sold it for 700. So yes, specific situation.

  17. #17
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    If it makes you happy, how is it a downgrade?
    trust the tread

    '06 Cannondale Prophet 1000

  18. #18
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    Not downgraded, but resisted upgrades. I'm stuck at Mechanical Discs, coil spring, open oil bath forks, Steel, Ht, 26. 6 speed drive train, just left the SS only world after over 15 years. As simple as possible, cheap, back of the Bubble. I wrote a piece about living at the back of the Bubble.

    https://mtbvt.com/archives/20642

  19. #19
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    Years ago I bought a rigid steel SS 29er for $250 as a training bike. 2 months later I sold my FS geared bike and have been riding SS ever since. Best downgrade I ever made.
    “Weak men cannot handle power. It will either crush them, or they will use it to crush others.”
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  20. #20
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    Not sure if it was a downgrade, but I went from a 2015 Giant Reign 2, to a 2016 Commencal Meta TR. Couldn't be happier..

  21. #21
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    Went from a $3000 carbon frame to a $1400 frame. Picked up that frame on sale as a backup and to hang spare parts on. Turns out that frame suit my riding style and needs far better. Better geo, better suspension design.

    So, while cost-wise it was a significant down grade it turned out to be a performance upgrade.


    Would I be really happy with a performance downgrade on my main rig - no.

  22. #22
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    Nope, not yet, I am still on my way up. I used to ride my stepdaughters 24" huffy, I could ride down hills that I could not walk up, and comfortably come to a controlled stop. Did not have to think about corners no matter how sharp they were. Went from that to an abandoned 29" someone left at work, put $185 into it with low gears, tires etc. Do not miss that bike-35 lb hardtail. Put the mountain bike gears on an old road bike with gravel tires, it is a good bike for steep roads and gravel, really bad on the single track. My upgrade is a 2015 Trek Excalibur, equilvant of a rockhopper. Very happy. Like to get a new Trek Fuel EX5 that is $1500, still not a hundred percent that I want the extra weight. My issue is climbing, and I do not really care about speed or cornering, the hardtail may be the best bike for me.
    How am I supposed to pick a line through this.

  23. #23
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    I have my FS bike and my old ass 90s steel hardrock. While my FS Cannondale was down for repair I went out and rode the old bike. at that time it was single speed. very much of a downgrade in regards of design. But it was fun because it was different. And I was still faster than my friends. but thats not saying much.
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  24. #24
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    No. I have never downgraded, happily or not.

  25. #25
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    ^^^
    Kind of a similar thing only different. I built a new aluminum Stache single speed with a rigid carbon fork and descent light weight (1800gram) 35mm AL wheels. The handle bar and seat post are carbon. The bike weights 20.5lbs with 3" tires. So not exactly a cheap SS. I have been riding it exclusively (25+) rides since the middle of January.

    Then yesterday I rode the '16 Fuel EX full carbon bike. (24lbs with 120mm front and rear) We rode 2000+ vertical with only 12 miles. The terrain was full chunk with loads of rock gardens and drops.

    You know what? The SS is super fun, but it doesn't do what the FEX does. Apples and Oranges for sure. But the FEX is a broadsword while the SS Stache is a scalpel.

    There are lots of legitimate reasons to ride a less expensive bike from a more expensive bike. Sometimes that change isn't always downgrade. If the older bike was state-of-the-art 10 years ago (or even 5 years ago) and the new bike is middle of the pack today, the new bike will be almost always be better. Bikes have changed that much. But make no mistake of it, all things being equal, going down will never be as satisfying.

  26. #26
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    It's tough to downgrade. Like driving an Audi and then swapping over to a Kia. Once you have a nice piece of equipment, anything less is a bummer.
    Stick around if you're housebroken...

  27. #27
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    Not so sure that I'd call this a down grade but I used to ride a full suspension Stumpjumper 29er and thought I would never ride anything but FS again. Now, I ride a rigid fat bike and a rigid Surly Krampus.
    I might put a Pike on the Krampus... Jury's still out.
    I like turtles

  28. #28
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    It may be a physical downgrade but if if keeps you happy for something new who cares. unless its a next or huffy. then your gonna die.
    Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
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  29. #29
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    Haven't really just done the exact same thing, had a rigid Monkey I use quite a bit, but just bought a new Unit with bit more modern geo than the '08 Monkey, enjoying riding that, rigid now on all my trails. Can't say except for the lack of suspension that it's a downgrade as it's all XT parts and decent wheels. Really is opening my eyes to just what you don't notice/take for granted when riding FS - never really rode the Monkey on the steeper, more tech trails, but riding the Unit on everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    Not so sure that I'd call this a down grade but I used to ride a full suspension Stumpjumper 29er and thought I would never ride anything but FS again. Now, I ride a rigid fat bike and a rigid Surly Krampus.
    I might put a Pike on the Krampus... Jury's still out.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantastic79 View Post
    It got me wondering if anyone you folks ever happily downgraded bikes and are completely happy?
    Yes, a long time ago, and still happy.

    I was very much into "the latest and greatest" from the early 90's until about 2008, when I built up a rigid single speed out of old parts to commute to work, and found that bike was the most fun of all the bikes in my stable. I eventually sold all the other bikes, and never looked back.

    I built up the bike I'm riding now for about $500.00, and it's the best bike I've ever owned. 26er with rigid frame and fork, 8 speed, v-brakes. It's the only bike I've ridden for years, and I have no plans to "upgrade".


    .

  31. #31
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    this is my downgrade ride when my FS is down or just feel like messing around and making my friends angry that im still faster than they are on an old bike.

    unknown year specialized hardrock GSX. XT drivetrain 1x10 FSA SL-X canti brakes and carbon bar.

    Has anyone ever happily downgraded bikes?-steel.jpg
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantastic79 View Post
    Thank you for your input. You are probably right. There is nothing wrong with my Tallboy. I don't do big drops or bike parks. It does everything I ask of it very well, and I have a ton of fun on it on every trail so far.

    I guess what bothers me is I bottom out suspension on the front and rear pretty often. When I say bottom out, I'm just referring to the rubber band thingy on my fork and shock. Bike feels fine, stable, comfortable when ridng. It got me wondering what my runs would feel like on a longer travel bike.

    Maybe the best course is to rent a longer travel 29er or 27+ bike and see if I like it. But you are correct. I probably need to work on my skills than throw more suspension in the mix.
    From what I've been told, you should be using all of your suspension at some point when you ride. I regularly bottom out as you described; not that I feel I need more suspension, I just notice the band is showing I used the fork to its full potential.

  33. #33
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    Generally my fork or spork since it's a lefty gets about 3/4 to full travel. My rear bottoms out on a good dh run but I ride on trail mode on the ctd all the time. Only once have I knocked the o ring off but I also got a seat up my.... Then wrecked.

    It's amazing what technique and body position can do. The best suspension is you, not the bike.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankout View Post
    It's tough to downgrade. Like driving an Audi and then swapping over to a Kia. Once you have a nice piece of equipment, anything less is a bummer.
    Ya but at least the Kia is realizable and inexpensive to fix.

    Yes I've downgraded a few times over the years. Went from a 5k plus indyfab custom ti 29er built up with nice parts. Rode and raced that for years then sold it and bought a new Kona unit SS 29er rigid for 475.00 (my shop cost) didn't upgrade a dAmn thing and was just as happy or more so than on the Indy fab as I felt for 475.00 the bike was a way bigger smile per dollar value and I preferred the stock geo of the unit over my Indy. Plus steel was a bit stiffer than my high end ti frame. Another bonus.

    It ain't about the bike.

  35. #35
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    OK, so I'm only here because I am bored for the moment.

    I was never on any sort of quest for the next best thing. Heck, my main ride is now 5 yrs. old and has no suspension. Even so, it has really good wheels and brakes, a (allegedly) really good frame, and XT level drivetrain, with lower end cockpit. Durable as I could hope without being overly heavy.

    THEN I bought a fatbike. I had anticipated that the fatbike so-called craze was just some over-hyped articles, so I went sorta cheap with the thought of unloading it within a year. Still got a Bluto, but low-end hydraulics, X5, heavy wheels, questionable hubs, bargain basement cockpit. To say it's a downgrade from my 29er is being polite.

    I was pleasantly surprised all around. Performance has been good... better than expected, and I might even say excellent. With the knowledge and foresight that it was a lower-end bike, I was pretty proactive in maintaining it in as good of working order as I could, but that also encouraged me to abuse it like a rented mule that swims. I haven't had a bad day on it yet, even when I crashed and cracked a rib (the rest of that day was good enough to make up for it).

    So, a "downgrade" might hold some advantages in spite of possibly some extra maintenance - less fear of theft, lower cost of entry, lower cost of repair/replacement (lower fear of expensive repair), less-finicky components...
    If reliability becomes an issue, it's not even worth leaving the store with it, but if you hit on the right bike, the "downgrade" can downgrade your stress level.

    -F

    PS - and yes, I have demo'd a few bikes - light bikes... expensive bikes - they are nice, but I could never justify them after enjoying my cheap foray into fatbiking so much. The ROI just isn't there.
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    Yes, a long time ago, and still happy.

    I was very much into "the latest and greatest" from the early 90's until about 2008, when I built up a rigid single speed out of old parts to commute to work, and found that bike was the most fun of all the bikes in my stable. I eventually sold all the other bikes, and never looked back.

    I built up the bike I'm riding now for about $500.00, and it's the best bike I've ever owned. 26er with rigid frame and fork, 8 speed, v-brakes. It's the only bike I've ridden for years, and I have no plans to "upgrade".


    .
    I think I'm going to have to try a single speed simple bike. You are the nth person to rave about how cool it is, but I never understood why. Perhaps I will get once I try it.

  37. #37
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    I dunno why. maybe its the being a kid again thing.
    Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
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  38. #38
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    I don't know if this counts but you can 'downgrade' your tire size and make it+ in your same standard fork. How did it go for the people that have done it?


    https://www.singletracks.com/blog/mt...ires-from-wtb/

    Over the past few years many riders have purchased 27.5 bikes, only to have plus-envy once 27.5+ bikes started catching on. Some intrepid 29er owners (including yours truly) found they could convert their bikes to 27.5+ using WTB Scraper rims and Trailblazer tires. In fact, the Scraper/Trailblazer combo was designed with this purpose in mind.

    Now, WTB is offering a similar conversion solution for standard 27.5″ owners who are looking to go wide. The new Scraper 26+ rims are 40mm wide, 5mm narrower than the original 27.5+ Scraper rims, which should provide the optimal tire profile while maintaining compatibility with the widest range of 27.5 frames and forks. I’m running the older, 45mm Scraper 27.5+ rims on my 29er, and I’ve definitely found myself wishing the rims were narrower for an improved tire profile. So, this seems like a great move. In fact, WTB now offers two versions of the Scraper 27.5+ rims: i45 (45mm internal width) and i40 (40mm internal width). The new 26+ Scrapers are only offered in i40 at the moment.

    On the tire side, WTB now has 26″ Ranger tires in stock, in both 2.8″ and 3.0″ widths. The 2.8″ width is a good bet for 27.5 conversions while the 3.0″ tire is probably better suited to dedicated 26+ bikes like the Jamis Dragonfly or Jamis Eden. WTB makes two other plus tires–the Trailblazer and Trail Boss–but these are not currently offered in in the 26″ diameter.

    In related tire news, WTB is also offering Ranger plus tires with tougher casings for more aggressive riding. Early plus tires focused on keeping rotational weight low since the tires were bigger overall. But many riders found the light casings didn’t offer enough stability or puncture protection. Ranger tires are offered with either TCS Tough or TCS Light casing, depending on the rider’s intended usage and preference.

    With so many options and even the ability to run modern plus tires on older bikes, it’s a great time to be a consumer!


    COMMENTS: this is going to only work on the front, not the back if you have a 135mm XC rear axle. Another issue for people on a budget is that the +wheels are usually at least $400 and again, you almost certainly can't put them in the back of an XC bike, especially if you have a front derailleur (tire will rub). Purchasing only the front +wheel is almost as expensive as the wheelset. Add the $75 or so +tire and you are probably over $500. You could buy a brand-new 27.5+ hardtail bike for $1100 so I dunno how realistic buying $400+ wheels are to do this. You'd really have to love your current 27.5" bike to do this (or your 29" to do the 27.5+ tire and wheel). Or...

    If you can keep it to 2.8 for the +tire you can try putting them on a standard 26" rim (only 19-21mm internal width). Or standard 29" wheel with 27.5+ tire. For 26+ on a standard rim, that's a 3.4x to 3.7x tire to rim ratio, kinda scary but it's doable. So the "downgrade" is only $60-90 for the tire and a standard 26" rim that you can probably get for $80 or so (I already have two). I'm going to try it. What do you gain and lose, since this is a downgrade thread?

    A. If you started with a standard 27.5 x 2.1 tire, that is 27.5 inches high, you'd have on paper the same height of 26+ tire as a standard 27.5" tire (26 x 2.8 is theoretically 27.8 inches high). Nice! And you have 0.7 inches more width. That is not a downgrade!

    B. If you started with a 27.5 x 2.5 tire, that's 28.4 inches high, then you lose 0.6 inches of height with the 26 x 2.8 tire but still gain 0.3 inches width. I think this is a trade off that's worth it. 27.8 inches high still rolls over stuff pretty good, and 2.8 inches wide should be noticeable for traction compared to 2.5. Cross your fingers that the 3.4x to 3.7x tire to rim doesn't have problems on faster corners...
    Hypercritical is good. Hypocritical is bad. Nice people can still be bad people.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    OK, so I'm only here because I am bored for the moment.

    I was never on any sort of quest for the next best thing. Heck, my main ride is now 5 yrs. old and has no suspension. Even so, it has really good wheels and brakes, a (allegedly) really good frame, and XT level drivetrain, with lower end cockpit. Durable as I could hope without being overly heavy.

    THEN I bought a fatbike. I had anticipated that the fatbike so-called craze was just some over-hyped articles, so I went sorta cheap with the thought of unloading it within a year. Still got a Bluto, but low-end hydraulics, X5, heavy wheels, questionable hubs, bargain basement cockpit. To say it's a downgrade from my 29er is being polite.

    I was pleasantly surprised all around. Performance has been good... better than expected, and I might even say excellent. With the knowledge and foresight that it was a lower-end bike, I was pretty proactive in maintaining it in as good of working order as I could, but that also encouraged me to abuse it like a rented mule that swims. I haven't had a bad day on it yet, even when I crashed and cracked a rib (the rest of that day was good enough to make up for it).

    So, a "downgrade" might hold some advantages in spite of possibly some extra maintenance - less fear of theft, lower cost of entry, lower cost of repair/replacement (lower fear of expensive repair), less-finicky components...
    If reliability becomes an issue, it's not even worth leaving the store with it, but if you hit on the right bike, the "downgrade" can downgrade your stress level.

    -F

    PS - and yes, I have demo'd a few bikes - light bikes... expensive bikes - they are nice, but I could never justify them after enjoying my cheap foray into fatbiking so much. The ROI just isn't there.

    How much was the fatbike, $1000?

    I've noticed a $35-50 wider tire up front does more for performance than anything else. I dunno why there are so many elitists on here that say everything under $1500 is crap that doesn't deserve to be called a mountain bike. For $1000 you can buy a bike with technology the pros were using 20 years ago. So the pros were riding crap 20 years ago, is that the definition? I watched a video of a professional downhill racer compare his current racing bike with the one he started with 15 years ago. He went down about a 4 minute course with both bikes to compare times. The time difference? 4 seconds. The 15 year-old bike with 15 year-old technology had essentially the same time as the new bike with current (and astronomically expensive) technology. That's a pretty powerful argument against everyone 'needing' to buy an expensive new bike
    Hypercritical is good. Hypocritical is bad. Nice people can still be bad people.

  40. #40
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    ^^^

    You bring up a good point. Go watch Road Bike Party on Youtube and it's easy to realize that individual talent is much more important than your frame/components/tires.

    I've had people pass me on the trail on their ten year old hardtail and I actually love it when that happens because it's help me remember that it's not the bike, it's the rider.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantastic79 View Post
    I think I'm going to have to try a single speed simple bike. You are the nth person to rave about how cool it is, but I never understood why. Perhaps I will get once I try it.
    I'm running an internally geared rear hub with 8 speeds now. The single speed was great for getting around town and doing short/flat rides, but for longer rides in actual mountains, gears make it a lot more enjoyable for me. Might also have something to do with my age and weight.


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  42. #42
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    i currently enjoy riding my BMX more than my MTB's, but my MTB's are thousands of dollars more. does that count?


  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    How much was the fatbike, $1000?
    W/O the Bluto fork it woulda been $999.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  44. #44
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    I can't really say that I have ever downgraded a whole bike, as I never get around to actually selling any of them. They're like my kids, I'm far too attached to them!

    I have downgraded parts of a bike and been happy, though. I recently went from Campagnolo Centaur Carbon cranks to Centaur Alloy cranks on my CX bike and couldn't be happier.

    The Carbon jobs were 170mm and I felt like I just couldn't get any power through them. The new ones are 172.5 (standard) and, OK, it is only a 5 mm difference but it FEELS soooo much better.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skorp View Post
    Downgrading suspension doesn't work.
    Downgrading wheels and tires is no fun either, but it's not as important as suspension.
    All other parts are just extra bling to some extent..
    Pretty much this, though I would say that good hydraulic brakes are a distant third for me in terms of level of importance. It's not all that expensive to get a decent set, though, and once you go beyond a basic level of decent it's mostly just bling.

  46. #46
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    There was a guy in a different forum that went from a normal, sub $1000 XC bike to an 'aggressive' trail bike, I think he went from a 100mm fork to 140mm. Of course the new trail bike is more expensive, and now he's complaining that the new bike is twitchy and unstable. I've heard that's common when you jump fork sizes over 20mm on the same bike, so I guess he's feeling the 40mm jump on a different bike (aside from any different geometry). Someone else also told me to be careful upgrading forks too much on the same bike because they have problems now after they themselves did the upgrade, they supposedly get more sloppy/twitchy, and a big jump can crack the frame of a bike that was not designed to handle a big fork (and a big jump). So while I'm still a neophyte to upgrades, it seems like upgrading the fork a lot is the most risky plan, and I'm sure there are many people that went back to the normal fork after this happened to them. Drivetrain upgrades to me don't make a lot of sense either, unless maybe your bike is old but still has a lot of other great tech on it. The two upgrades I've noticed that by far make the most bang for the buck are the widest possible tires on front and back, and hydraulic brakes, ANY hydraulic brakes. I still remember the bad old days with mechanical disks and rim brakes, yuck...
    Hypercritical is good. Hypocritical is bad. Nice people can still be bad people.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankout View Post
    It's tough to downgrade. Like driving an Audi and then swapping over to a Kia. Once you have a nice piece of equipment, anything less is a bummer.
    More like going from a new Corvette to a vintage Porsch imho. Apples and oranges. One has a soul and a feel that will never be recreated, the other is just the latest piece of technology that does all the work for you. Is the Corvette faster? Usually. More fun? Not likely.


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  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    More like going from a new Corvette to a vintage Porsch imho. Apples and oranges. One has a soul and a feel that will never be recreated, the other is just the latest piece of technology that does all the work for you. Is the Corvette faster? Usually. More fun? Not likely.
    CJ you cant be more wrong with this. I recently took out my 2001 100mm DualSus race bike, smooth/healthy SID fork, XTR 8speed. A nice bike from those days. Compared to my '15 140mm Trail bike it is slow and cumbersome. The trails have changed, they are faster/smoother with more berm and jumps than what I raced on 15yrs ago. The changing trail highlights the changing geometry. The 'new' bike smooth's any root or landing of course, but it also will make the turns faster and more fun. I say "it will" but I have to drive it and that is not a dumbed down thing. Takes skill and gives joy.
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  49. #49
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    Guess it depends on what you consider a "downgrade". I have my $5000 XC HT (not including upgrades), and I picked up a $3000 enduro. Obviously, the components on a high end hard tail are going to be way better than what is on a long travel bike for about half the price. Is the enduro heavy? Yes. Are the wheels junk? (I broke the rear wheel in weeks I think. Is it a downgrade? It isn't a low spec XC HT, it is a totally different bike.

    I don't plan to have high end bikes much, once I am done with this HT I will probably replace it with something lower end and take my racing less seriously.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim c View Post
    CJ you cant be more wrong with this.
    Clearly, you're missing the point.




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  51. #51
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    I've "downgraded" my bike twice in a row now. My definition of downgrade would be a higher MSRP to lower MSRP. Went from a 2014 Rocky Mountain Instinct (carbon frame, middle-to-high end components) to a 2017 Specialized Enduro. Wasn't happy with this downgrade. The Enduro was probably the "better" bike with more modern components and geometry, but it felt like driving a tank.

    I then "downgraded" again to the base model 2018 YT Jeffsy. This one has me over the moon. Definitely the most fun bike I've ever ridden. Thought I was going to have to spend $$$$ to find a great bike so I demoed a bunch of Santa Cruz and Trek bikes but decided to go with the Jeffsy instead. Couldn't be happier with the decision to "downgrade".

    So I'd say a downgrade doesn't have to be a bad thing if it means you find something that represents a good bang for your buck and better fits your riding style.

  52. #52
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    I got ride of my Trance for a single speed 29er hardtail and didn't regret it for a second. My new bike is in FedEx's hands right now, and it doesn't even have a squishy fork. I'm very excited.

    For me, getting on a less complicated bike made me upgrade my skills and fitness, which has had a bigger net increase in my enjoyment. I'm not a dedicated single speeder--sometimes I throw gears on there, and that's fun, too--but for me and my local trails, I'm both faster and having more fun on a simpler bike. If I lived somewhere with big drops and mega chunk, it'd probably be a different story.
    "Never trust a man in a blue trench coat. Never drive a car when you're dead." -- Tom Waits

  53. #53
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    Yes.
    I bought a 2010 Gary Fisher SuperFly 100.
    A couple years ago I bought an aluminum Crave SS.
    I ride the Crave now more than the SuperFly 100.
    The only thing I put on the SS were pedals. Everything else is stock.
    And I used to be the guy who had to have the latest and greatest and lightest!
    I just like riding my mountain bike.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    Clearly, you're missing the point.




    .
    oh man thinks for that clip. I loved being inthere with him, he did a great job of describing what was going on.
    Some would say that '66 had no soul compared to the Porsch in your 1st post, but that's not my point.
    What I was on about is how happy my 'new' (3yr old) bike makes me. The '01 fails me; I can't get up the speeds so it's not as much fun to rail around the trail.
    As to what I think you're implying here, I agree vintage is cool. But in this case cool ain't fast.
    My old Dakar will never have the lust-worthy aura of a '60s Sports car (I don't think) so there is a big difference in old MTB sh*t.
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  55. #55
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    timely
    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/rc-man...aff-rides.html
    Riding old stuff is fun, but not that fun.
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim c View Post
    timely
    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/rc-man...aff-rides.html
    Riding old stuff is fun, but not that fun.
    Jesus, the OP asked for people's opinions. There is no right or wrong. You like shiny new things, some of us prefer older stuff.

    My personal preference goes back much further than the monkey motion machine being reviewed in that article. Of course it's somewhat nostalgic, but it's probably also partly related to being a BMX kid in the 70's, and the skills developed at that time are deeply implanted in my DNA. It just feels right. It's just more fun....for me, and according to Strava, still faster than 90+% of the other people on the trail, even with an old fat guy riding it.



    .

  57. #57
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    I went from a 10k 2016 22lb yeti asr with carbon everything, xtr everything to a $3200 30lb 2017 trek remedy 8 with alu everything, xt/slx. best decision ive ever made. so much more fun and comfortable.



    Has anyone ever happily downgraded bikes?-29177255_1894878583879989_3308566086086705824_n.jpgHas anyone ever happily downgraded bikes?-18921789_1434302666627729_7157639162942897399_n.jpg

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    Jesus, the OP asked for people's opinions. There is no right or wrong. You like shiny new things, some of us prefer older stuff.
    OK CJ I'm fine with your position, I simply enjoy engaging other riders. I thought we were (generally) discussing what is fun about the trail.
    Only thing you typed I totaly disagree with is calling my 3yr old bike "shiny new".ha
    I really enjoy riding multiple bikes. They are all so different, sometimes I switch bikes with my pals for a hour, and I often demo new when those vans are at the trailhead. All in the name of fun.
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantastic79 View Post
    I think I'm going to have to try a single speed simple bike. You are the nth person to rave about how cool it is, but I never understood why. Perhaps I will get once I try it.
    Ha, you can put "n+1" to dual use.
    “Weak men cannot handle power. It will either crush them, or they will use it to crush others.”
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  60. #60
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    I happily downgraded back in 2008, when I decided that I wanted to try riding a singlespeed. I didn't want to go broke finding out that it wasn't for me, so I bought a cheap Motobecane Outcast 26 SS. Shipped to my door, it was $329.

    That bike became my go to ride until 2014, when I "downgraded" again and bought a 2001 Homegrown hardtail and built the SS that I really wanted. That downgrade cost me quite a bit though, so it probably doesn't count.

    CJ is right about the "soul" of the classics though. We have a 2009 Benz which does everything so well. Comfort, mileage, performance, it has it all. Then I jump in my '67 Pontiac and fall in love all over again.
    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckha62 View Post
    I happily downgraded back in 2008, when I decided that I wanted to try riding a singlespeed. I didn't want to go broke finding out that it wasn't for me, so I bought a cheap Motobecane Outcast 26 SS. Shipped to my door, it was $329.

    That bike became my go to ride until 2014, when I "downgraded" again and bought a 2001 Homegrown hardtail and built the SS that I really wanted. That downgrade cost me quite a bit though, so it probably doesn't count.

    CJ is right about the "soul" of the classics though. We have a 2009 Benz which does everything so well. Comfort, mileage, performance, it has it all. Then I jump in my '67 Pontiac and fall in love all over again.

    What is the engine size of the '67 Pontiac? I had as a teen a '67 Plymouth Fury with the 383 cubic inch V-8, I think the HP rating back then was about 340. 3 gears, 50 mph in 1st gear. Unfortunately my parents sold it for $300; I didn't have enough money to fix it up.
    Hypercritical is good. Hypocritical is bad. Nice people can still be bad people.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    What is the engine size of the '67 Pontiac? I had as a teen a '67 Plymouth Fury with the 383 cubic inch V-8, I think the HP rating back then was about 340. 3 gears, 50 mph in 1st gear.
    Aw now you've done it! You got me thinking about my highschool ride, a '66 Malibu SS. Sweeet
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    I'd say in most cases that no, doesn't work, although parts are greatly improved these days compared to 5 years ago, the higher ends stuff is generally a bit lighter, has better sealing, bearings instead of bushings etc, etc.

    What I'm curious about is why you're looking for more travel than your TB has, do you regularly hit jumps/drops greater than 3ft? Hit the bike park regularly, riding the double black trail? Because if you're not doing any of that on a regular basis and most likely won't, the TB is a more than capable XC/Trail bike.

    My suggestion if you think that it's holding you back is to register and take a proper skills course/class and work on you, as that's actually more than likely what's holding you back, don't try throwing travel to make up for lack of skill

    It really all boils down to this: does someone want to take larger jumps and go downhill over say 20 mph (sorry for excluding XC racing because that's a relatively small percentage compared to AM and downhill). If yes to (all of) the above, plan on spending at least $1500. Skill level is important but it can't stop a smaller fork from bottoming out on a larger jump. If no big jumps or daredevil downhill runs, something under $1200 is going to be fine for the vast majority of us. Air forks are $200 now, or even less. I just saw a Manitou 27.5+ 120mm air fork for $200, I'm like WTF why didn't I get that one!!! (I may still get it lol). There are hardtails with 2x10 or 1x11 gearing, air fork, 27 lbs for $1100. That is going to be more than enough bike for people who are just doing the beginner and intermediate stuff. In fact I just saw a Diamondback Mason Trail bike on sale for $659, 27.5+ x 3.0, air fork, 1x11, how can that bike not be great for the average trail!?!Would you really call that bike downgraded? I've only been doing this recently, but 20 years ago, what was the cost for a bike with equivalent performance to that one above? $3000? $5000?

    Every few days there is a beginner that signs up here and says that they want to get into mountain biking, and their budget is $3000. But why? Why not learn for a couple years on a normal bike? 20 years ago that Diamondback Mason bike above wouldn't be considered a normal bike, it would have been a performance monster. Could you imagine putting that bike up against 26" bikes with skinny tires in a mountain race? My bike right now with the upgrades is only worth $800 but it's so good on normal trails that I haven't crashed in several months, it's scary to even try to push the limits and see what my personal limits are now with it, the front end is so planted with the air fork and 2.5 inch wide tires that it almost rides itself. I'm doing speeds that are relatively moderate now but were unthinkable to me a couple of years ago. No need for an expensive bike, I'm not even close to the crash limit with a sub-$1000 bike.
    Hypercritical is good. Hypocritical is bad. Nice people can still be bad people.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    What is the engine size of the '67 Pontiac? I had as a teen a '67 Plymouth Fury with the 383 cubic inch V-8, I think the HP rating back then was about 340. 3 gears, 50 mph in 1st gear. Unfortunately my parents sold it for $300; I didn't have enough money to fix it up.

    It's a GTO with a 400 HO (360 hp) and TH 400 automatic. Rides and drives like new. No squeaks, no rattles, great brakes and VERY impressive acceleration. Passes everything but a gas station.
    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"

  65. #65
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    I downgraded from a full squish to a hard tail plus bike..
    feels like the biggest Upgrade I ever did :P
    “I seek only the Flow”,
    Climbing Is Supposed To Be Hard,
    Shut Up Legs :P

  66. #66
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    I've been retro-upgrading for years. Full rigid Fat and Ti gravel bike. Don't know that I've lost anything.
    The most expensive bike in the world is still cheaper than the cheapest open heart surgery.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osco View Post
    I downgraded from a full squish to a hard tail plus bike..
    feels like the biggest Upgrade I ever did :P
    Thats interesting. You prefer a hardtail? Can you do all the same runs as your squishy bike and have just as much fun. My limited knowledge of hardtails are that they are cheaper /simpler and jump/climb better but don't descend as well.

  68. #68
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    Enjoy reading the ideas and perspectives here.

    I see a few that sound like their ideal bike is a simpler set up. Maybe that illustrates they have what they want or are happy with and not 'settling'. If so, that should by most standards be an upgrade.

    I fear riding a high-end lightweight bike only because a simple, durable hardtail that is really light might be a blast and a lot less work but way more than I care to spend or justify. Not sure I could come back from that nor do I care to seek / investigate.

    Added -
    I guess in my case, keeping to current tech every ten to 15 years is my upgrade strategy and now that I say it out loud - pretty lame.
    My bikes are little more than evidence I updated more than upgraded.

    My first-
    A rigid frame w/ cantilever brakes, sub $400 was entry-level in 1991.

    Number 2-
    Ten years later, upgrade / update to trend of alum frame, front sus and v-brakes retailing at $250 over then-current entry level.

    Number 3-
    Sixteen years later- Back to steel. Still a HT, add modern geo with disc brakes and SLX sub $1500.

    This has to be the bare minimum of scant upgrades if that when considering the advances and bang-for buck.
    I'm certain "keeping it simple" wasn't the intent but accomplished by fitting with my budget and I am thankful I haven't had any fussy failures, finicky bikes or expensive components to replace.
    The 91 is original minus tire replacements, a few saddle experiments and a broken shifter/brake lever that was replaced. The 01 had never needed a fix or replacement for any component and has few changes other than fit and saddle. Both bikes have had at least one or possibly two professional tunes in their life and I've handle the rim truing and minor adjustments as needed. I'm not a bike mech and don't care to be tuning or wrenching any more than necessary.
    Simple maintenance to keep these things rolling has won me over but there is no arguing I could sure live with a bike that is lighter. My current adventure/trail bike comes in at a tad over 30# but I could sure use a bit more riding to get back in shape too! That pays health dividends I suppose.
    Last edited by bachman1961; 03-16-2018 at 02:54 PM.
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  69. #69
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    No! Bikes are like flying first class. Once you get a taste of the good stuff up front, you never want to Fly coach again
    Last edited by ALimon; 03-17-2018 at 11:42 AM.

  70. #70
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    I have a couple of reasonably mid/high end bikes. A few years ago I got a free single speed, coaster break pure china crap beach cruiser. I've put so many rides around town on that and even done a 40 miler on it. For whatever reason that bike is just pure fun.

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