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  1. #1
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    Mountain vs Road

    Hi All,
    I am on the fence on purchasing a new bike and I can only choose one because of lack of $$.
    In the last couple of years I have been saving up for another bike and was leaning towards getting a road bike. This would be my first road bike.

    Currently my mountain bike front shock is not locking out and probably needs to be replaced. Since the price of a decent shock will cost the price of the value of the bike if not more, it would probably be better to just buy a new one.

    That being said I am curious to know which way I should go?
    Is it better to give road a try and begin saving for a new mountain bike, or continue to be curious and save for a road bike?

    I know this is MTBR and the answer might be obvious, but I am sure many of you ride both and was hopping to hear from those who do ride both.

  2. #2
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    My opinion would be to get the road bike, we'll cross bike. That way you have a bike you can ride on gravel and road everything. Even some smooth singletrack. I ride both and sometimes it's nice to just open the garage door and ride off. Really improves my fitness level for mountain biking. I still prefer to MTB but I also have grown to enjoy road biking as well. It's especially fun in a group. Big benefit rides are also fun. Nice way to meet new riders. A lot of them MTB too. I'd say go for road/cross bike and save for MTB.


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  3. #3
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    I would say mountain bike.

    You CAN ride a mountain bike on the road, it's kind of hard to ride a road bike on real mountain bike terrain.

    I do both, so I m not biased there. I won't ride road at night, and road riding below 45* is just not nearly as enjoyable, so that means in winter, the mountain bike will get more usage. During the summer, the road bike gets more usage, since 90* and 99% humidity don't play well with slower mountain biking, as well as heavy trail overgrowth.

  4. #4
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    What do you want to do on the road ? If you want to do 3 or more rides a week of many hours get a road bike or cross bike. If you are looking to ride one in a while get a 29er with a set of wheels set up for the road.,or change tires. What about getting a rigid fork for the bike you have now ,and set that up for the road?

  5. #5
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    Tough decision. I have both...and if you're going to ride road only...I'd get a road bike. In my area, we some good road riding right out the front door. Riding my MTB on the road just isn't the same.

  6. #6
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    A cheap road bike will go a lot farther than a cheap mtb. My vote would be get a cheap used road bike, and save up for a fantastic mtb. Unless your goal is to road ride competitively, any old road bike will get you round the block just fine, as long as it fits properly. YOMV

    I picked up a used carbon road bike off CList for 1/3 of new, and you could barely tell it had been used. Still going strong 5 years later. I like road riding, but not enough to sink too much cash into it.

  7. #7
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    It depends. I ended up buying a road bike years ago due to family/2nd child being born. I found I could really only get bike rides in on the road, as it would take me 45 mins to get to some of the better trails in my old area. I'd be looking at 1.5 hrs in travel time + riding time. While if I went on the road, I could ride for 1.5hrs just riding from the apartment. Now that I've changed jobs/moved, I've got more time to ride so I'm riding road less and MTB more. I mainly ride the road to better my endurance for MTBing.

    To 2nd some other posters, check out used bikes. My sister just picked up a $1500 road bike in very good/used condition for $500. You can pick up something used/cheap, ride road, and save up for a new MTB. Or if you're really lucky, find a nice used MTB and save up for a brand spanking new MTB
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  8. #8
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    You have a heavy basic Suntour fork. For $200 you can upgrade to a lighter much better quality Raidon air fork.
    SR Suntour North America Upgrade Program.

  9. #9
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    Do you have good places to ride a road bike? How far do you need to travel to ride a MTB?

    After years of MTB riding, my wife and I bought road bikes to extend our biking season because our trails are in the mountains and snow covered a lot longer than our roads. Road riding become less and less fun each year as my town gets more and more crowded and traffic becomes more and more dangerous. That said, it sure is nice to hop and the road bike and ride 70 miles right from the house.

    I also second the person who said that you can get away with a less expensive road bike a lot easier than a cheap MTB. I bet I have 10k miles on my road bike and I still haven't replaced the chain. They just aren't exposed to the beatings that a MTB needs to endure.

  10. #10
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    get a mountain bike! it's way more fun and i generally enjoy mountain bikers company much more.

    I bought a $100 Craigslist road bike last year to help me get in shape after an injury. it's a late 80's centurion and it's since been used only occasionally as a commuter or errand runner.

    I've done nothing to the bike, except rebuild the rear wheel after i popped a few spokes, for a whopping $18. and i swapped the saddle for one i already had. if you want a cheap road bike and your patient you can score one super cheap.

    get a good mountain bike, you can add a cheap road bike when a good deal comes along.
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  11. #11
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    You'll have to fill in a few more blanks for yourself in order to answer the question, as several other posters have mentioned.

    Which bike would you be more likely to ride?
    What's your access to trails or roads that you'd want to ride? Is one or the other easier or more likely for you to take advantage of?

    What's your budget or anticipated budget?
    A tolerable road bike is a lot cheaper than a tolerable mountain bike. I just bought a gravel bike because I want to start logging some fitness hours and miles, and my heavy all-mountain bike doesn't encourage that. I got the gravel bike for far less than I would pay for a cross-country MTB that I'd find acceptable.

    What are your goals? What's fun to you?

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  12. #12
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    I'm shocked at the civility of this thread

    I'm a mountian biker, but I have been riding to work to keep up my fitness and decompress for the past 10 years or so. I have 5 bikes. None of them are a "real" road bike. The closest one has disc brakes and 35c tires. They are all dirt capable because that's what I love to do.

    For the mostly road commute duties, I built up a drop-bar 29er. Super fun bike, and with a couple of parts swaps, it's a full on respectable hardtail mountain bike. Something to think about if you're a mountain biker at heart.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DethWshBkr View Post
    You CAN ride a mountain bike on the road, it's kind of hard to ride a road bike on real mountain bike terrain.
    This. Buy a hardtail and swap the wheels/tyres for slicks and use it on the road. I ride with guys on roadbikes on my hardtail.

    I saw a guy go down a free-ride run on Saturday on a cross-bike. Passed him halfway down with his wheel in his hand!

    As a general purpose, do-it-all bike a good hardtail is hard to beat.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    I'm shocked at the civility of this thread
    Give it time. It's early.

    I'd rather have a low $ road bike and save for a good mountain bike. But I'd also rather have a cheap mountain bike than any road bike.

    Will a road bike really solve your problem? Other than the fork, is there anything wrong with your current bike? the OP's "about" tab says he's got a GT Agressor 3.0. Simple rim brake 26" bike with a cheap suntour fork. If the fork is going out, I'd go rigid for $40 and throw on some super light weight 1.5" tires. Not as light as a road bike, but it will ride well, have a comfortable feel, and easily switch back to a rigid trail bike. Rigid trail bikes are fun, in their own way.

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  15. #15
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    Is this even a real question? Ride on roads and compete with cars and curbside trash, or not.

    During mud season, to get my legs back I road ride my cross check on the blacktop - I call it the Pain Train.

  16. #16
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    If I could only have ONE bike it would be a cross bike with two complete wheelsets (road tires on one, knobbies on the other).

    All of the trails within 30 miles of my house are so boring on anything more than a cross bike and the 30 mile away trails are too muddy to ride for parts of 4 months of the year.

    If I lived somewhere with a ton of year round trail options, mountain bike hands down. But for me there are more pavement and cross trails to ride close to home.

  17. #17
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    I didn't find road riding enjoyable until i had good cycling fitness. MTB is fun even if it's exhausting. Now road riding is a hobby and mtb is a passion, even though i split my time evenly between them.

    A low budget road bike offers 95% of the experience that a fancy one does though, which can't be said about mountain bikes. Road riding is OK most anywhere, too, which can't be said about mtb. I guess it depends.
    I like cheap stuff that works great and is very sturdy.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    I didn't find road riding enjoyable until i had good cycling fitness. MTB is fun even if it's exhausting. Now road riding is a hobby and mtb is a passion, even though i split my time evenly between them.

    A low budget road bike offers 95% of the experience that a fancy one does though, which can't be said about mountain bikes. Road riding is OK most anywhere, too, which can't be said about mtb. I guess it depends.
    good response. i like the way you put that.
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  19. #19
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    Nobody's thrown the "Salsa Fargo" card yet, so I will. Probably not the "budget" bike you were looking for, yet you can get a used Fargo for about what a cheap road and cheap mountain bike would cost. I run 32mm road tires for touring and 2.2s for offroad (with some Bruce Gordon Rock and Roads for gravel and MUP). Just a thought.
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  20. #20
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    I think we're all forgetting a very important point.

    Road bikes are the devil!
    "a hundred travel books isn't worth one real trip"

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by watts888 View Post
    I think we're all forgetting a very important point.

    Road bikes are the devil!
    ^ that's more like it.

    i think the fact that the OP asked the question on a MTB forum is telling. your subconscious wants you to play in the dirt!
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  22. #22
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    Road riding to me is an opportunity to clear mud from my tires.... just sayin'
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  23. #23
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    If I had only one, it'd be a road bike. Right now, I have 3 road bikes and two mtbs.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    If I had only one, it'd be a road bike. Right now, I have 3 road bikes and two mtbs.
    Sounds like you have three too many road bikes.

    N+1 - 3

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  25. #25
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    Bikes are cool.
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  26. #26
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    I guess it really depends on what your goal is. Are you looking to road ride exclusively, or use it to compliment mtb riding?

    I use them to compliment my mtb riding and improve fitness and I buy old cheap road bikes. I have not gone pawn shop searching in couple years, but I've had several nice steel road bikes that were relatively high end in their day and never paid over $200, most were under $100. There can be nice scores out there if you're willing to hunt. I rode each of them for a while and flipped them on Craigslist to hipsters for profit, because hipsters seem to like lugged steel.

    Currently my 'road' bike is a 1984 (I think) Stumpjumper that I use for occasional hill intervals when I'm short on time and also and pull my kids in the trailer with it. I've maybe got $100 into it.

    I think I'll take a peak at some pawn shops on the way home from work now.

  27. #27
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    Look into repairing the lock out.
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  28. #28
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    I love my road bike & road riding. I got it for $600 and I've put well over 4000 miles on it, easy.

    If someone told me I have 5 hours of ride time available, and the weather is nice for either road or MTB, I'd pick the MTB every time. But if its a choice between riding road and not riding at all, I'd easily pick the road.
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  29. #29
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    I do both pretty actively, however I would say it is probably a 80% road, 20% kind of split.

    My biggest problem with mountain biking is that I can't really ride it from my house to the trail. So riding after work generally involves packing up, traveling to the trail, riding, packing back up, traveling home. So on average it adds about 1-1.5 hours of "process time" that feels like pure waste. While I still transport my road bike occasionally to better trail systems (paved), I can still ride the country rollers by my house as well.

    I am also a triathlete and primarily use mountain biking as a "fun" cross train. So I typically have to put many miles on my roadie, but being able to cut get some strength/cross on the mountain bike is a blast.

    The most important part though, the tailgating. Tailgating after a 40-50 mile road ride basically consists of a bunch of people hanging out by the trunks of their cars. Tailgating after a romp on the local singletrack usually involves lots of beer and bonfires.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by TSpice View Post
    I would say it is probably a 80% road, 20% kind of split.
    so wouldn't that be 90% road and 10% MTN?
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    so wouldn't that be 90% road and 10% MTN?
    i see what you did there.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    so wouldn't that be 90% road and 10% MTN?
    It actually requires the use of integrals and differentials to determine the exact percentage.

    That or it can be assumed it was a typo and it was meant as 80% road, 20% MTB.

    Either way.

  33. #33
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    Go ahead and get the road bike.

    A few things to consider:
    You can ride mountain bike on pave road and dirt.
    Riding on the street can be quite dangerous with lots of idiots driving.
    Accidents on road bike usually occurs at much faster speed than mountain bike.
    Road bike can be fun on closed course because it's fast and grippy.
    It brings a whole new world of pain on the climb, but also bring new experience of joy on two wheel.

    Good luck.

  34. #34
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    If you do urban riding or commuting, I highly recommend going something more mtb-like. If you're in recently developed suburbs with a lot of cycling friendly streets (ex. southwest US), and there's long stretches of clean road and/or cycle path (ex. rail trail), then you can better take advantage of the road bike (better aerodynamics, higher gearing, lower weight, reduced drag from tires & bearings/seals, etc.) and risks are minimized (easier to lose control). A flat bar road bike is also an option; drop bars, if you use them, may have you bending your neck back merely to look far enough ahead...

    Florida had a ton of cycle paths, but I still preferred a mtb-like bike. NY, definitely mtb cause of lack of paved shoulders and potholes, etc. CA and TX, road bike is very viable here, but after a few accidents and near-accidents, I reconsidered it. There's risks in mtb too, but the risk-reward favors the rewards more for mtb I've found, with much better scenery, and more options to deal with mindless/careless people and other traffic. Give your shitty tires a second life too, with higher/easier tubeless compatibility. Choose accordingly.
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  35. #35
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    80% road, 10% road and 10% mtb.

    For the record, I say Mountain Bike. I gave up on the road years ago. Too many texting drivers in giant SUV's. They don't even feel you if they run you over.
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  36. #36
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    I have both. I ride them different ways.

    My road bike was built as a purpose-built commuter. I wanted it to be rugged enough for questionable roads, as I lived in rural East TX for several years. So I built it around a steel touring bike frame. I've taken it on a bit of singletrack, even. I have it set up now a little more versatile than previously. I started SS with a different frame (as my rides were short), went 1x10 when I got the Salsa Vaya frame a few years ago, and it's now a really wide range 2x10 with a road compact crankset but an 11-36 mtb rear end. I ride it with 700x38 tires right now.

    It's not really competitive with road riders on a spirited and aggressive road ride, but I keep up just fine with a mid-pace group ride and can spend my share of time doing pulls at the front. With a 34x36 low gear, it's low enough for most gravel road stuff except for the absolute steepest of gravel road climbs. It is easily the most versatile bike that I own.

    It's to the point that my wife wanted to ride with me, at least sometimes, when I do some pavement. She is less comfortable on actual roads, but she got a bike with similar capabilities. Hers has a more traditional cyclocross gearing, but the idea is that she can take her bike onto the same sorts of terrain that I can take mine. So far, she's very pleased with her choice to get a more versatile road bike than a pavement-specific one.

  37. #37
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    Road bike! wait...

    Mountain vs Road-screen-shot-2015-12-14-9.23.43-am.jpg

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  38. #38
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    Kudos for road biking on snow. And that dirt looks mighty smooth.
    "a hundred travel books isn't worth one real trip"

  39. #39
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    You can never have too many bikes and it's nice to have a variety so you're ready for as many rides as possible.

    Some of my most memorable rides have been long distance road tours and overnights. I highly recommend getting into it.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by watts888 View Post
    Kudos for road biking on snow. And that dirt looks mighty smooth.
    All dirt looks smooth at 46 mph (fred woo-hoo-hoo-hoo speed )


    It's a Surly Ogre with 2.0" Nokian studded 29er tires. I ain't no dummy.
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  41. #41
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    I'd say to get yourself a cheap road bike and then flip the bars upside down so that you can bungee in a case of beer between the drops.

    That way you'll have the perfect bike to run down to the store for smokes and beer.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    I'd say to get yourself a cheap road bike and then flip the bars upside down so that you can bungee in a case of beer between the drops.

    That way you'll have the perfect bike to run down to the store for smokes and beer.



    And ride wheelies.
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiretracks View Post
    And ride wheelies.
    Now you're getting hipster. Stop it. Next think you know, whiskey flask bottle cages.
    "a hundred travel books isn't worth one real trip"

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by watts888 View Post
    Now you're getting hipster. Stop it. Next think you know, whiskey flask bottle cages.
    I'm not totally against that one. i mean i don't personally but i occasionally ride with a group of guys who pretty much all have a flask on them at all times during our night rides. it's cool, i just know if theres more than one mechanical break down you'll likely be buzzed by then time you get back to the car.
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  45. #45
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    The real question is why the heck do you even need a fork lockout? I never use mine and I ride single speed. If that's all that's wrong with the fork, then go ahead and keep your current mountain bike, buy a road bike, and then save for a decent mountain bike. But if the fork really is toast, then buy a mountain bike first since mountain biking is way more fun than road riding.

  46. #46
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    What's with you guys and all the math?

  47. #47
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    I have three mountain bikes and one road bike. I have a set of 700C Panaracers on a set of 29er wheels and use my mountain bike with road tires more on the road than my road bike. It's the only place I can use the BIG chain ring.
    A bad day of cycling is better than a good day at work

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  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    What's with you guys and all the math?
    Don't blame us, blame the mountain bikers of ole. Can you match the numbers with parts-time period game?


    14-28
    11-32
    11-36
    10-40
    11-42
    11-46

    22-32-42
    24-36-42
    26-38
    36

    70 deg
    68 deg

    68 deg
    71 deg

    120mm
    45mm

    580mm
    760mm

    170mm
    175mm

    260mm
    275mm
    290mm
    "a hundred travel books isn't worth one real trip"

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by watts888 View Post
    Don't blame us, blame the mountain bikers of ole. Can you match the numbers with parts-time period game?


    14-28 7 speed
    11-32 9 speed
    11-36 9 speed
    10-40 10 speed wide rangs
    11-42 11 speed
    11-46 new 11 speed

    22-32-42 my old 3 x 9
    24-36-42 another 3 x
    26-38 2 x 10
    36 1 x 11

    70 deg seat tube angle
    68 deg head tube angle

    68 deg head tube angle
    71 deg seat tube angle

    120mm travel
    45mm stroke

    580mm old bars
    760mm new bars

    170mm dh cranks
    175mm xc/fr cranks

    260mm ?
    275mm ?
    290mm ?
    That's my guess
    My name is Chris and I ride a Prophet 650b with a Lefty.

  50. #50
    wanna ride bikes?
    Reputation: *OneSpeed*'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    2,609
    Quote Originally Posted by watts888 View Post
    Don't blame us, blame the mountain bikers of ole. Can you match the numbers with parts-time period game?


    14-28
    11-32
    11-36
    10-40
    11-42
    11-46

    22-32-42
    24-36-42
    26-38
    36

    70 deg
    68 deg

    68 deg
    71 deg

    120mm
    45mm

    580mm
    760mm

    170mm
    175mm

    260mm
    275mm
    290mm
    that's not math, that's just numbers, angles and measurements.
    Rigid SS 29er
    Fat Lefty
    29+

    Hardtail 29er- dead forever
    SS cyclocross
    all steel, all the time

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