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Thread: New MTB Guy

  1. #1
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    New MTB Guy

    Hello mtbr community. I'm getting off the road bike for a while and jumping onto the dirt. Hoping to purchase a bike this month and start hitting some trails. I live in Orange County, CA and look forward to exploring my surrounding landscapes.
    I am sticking with my original plan of riding a new hardtail. I've read just a few post and already can see there is a big division on HT vs. FS in today's MTB World. I have my reasons for sticking with a hardtail and would appreciate help finding a good one to buy.
    Thanks for any help or direction on my bike purchase and in getting started .

  2. #2
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    The best mountain bike is the one you like to ride.

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    Welcome :0)

    By a bike you think is cool, that fits you properly and makes you exited about riding it. That's pretty much it.

    One point is that road and MTB fit are not necessarily the same.

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    What they said... what trails are you hitting? I've just started exploring OC trails (South OC) and there are tons of trails. If you are closer to North OC, I ride Chino Hills and Carbon Cyn sometimes.

    Welcome! If you need more help with bikes, the forum needs more info. as in budget/new/used? for one I'm going to recommend Santa Cruz Chameleon.. 27.5+ or 29er. around $1600.00 for the base model.

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    There's no "division" between hardtail and full suss. Just some people cannot imagine the terrain that others think is normal. Horses for courses.

    Have fun.

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    The chameleon 29 and Honzo AL/DL are at top of my list. $2000 budget. Prefer new and just live with decision. I'm in Costa Mesa and plan on riding El Moro, Aliso, and others within 30-hour drive on weekends. Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsmith13 View Post
    The chameleon 29 and Honzo AL/DL are at top of my list. $2000 budget. Prefer new and just live with decision. I'm in Costa Mesa and plan on riding El Moro, Aliso, and others within 30-hour drive on weekends. Thanks
    Sweet, within 30hr drive.. you can hit Las Vegas/AZ/NM

    I just rode part of Aliso 2 weeks ago, it was pretty awesome. Nice bike choices btw!

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    Welcome. Lots of great hardtails within your budget range. I do like both the Honzo and the Chameleon. Another great bike to consider is the Specialized Chisel Expert. You can probably talk a Specialized dealer down to $1740 and it comes with a Reba fork, SRAM GX components (although the cassette is only NX) and TL brakes. It's surprisingly well spec'ed for a specialized bike and weighs only ~ 24lbs stock. Go tubeless, and it will be 23-23.5lb. It might be the best deal out there for a sub-$2000 bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hesitationpoint View Post
    ... SRAM GX components (although the cassette is only NX)...
    Seems the freehub / NX cassette is a common cost savings trick, but I'd try to find something with an XD driver myself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Westy View Post
    Seems the freehub / NX cassette is a common cost savings trick, but I'd try to find something with an XD driver myself.
    At this price point, you will not find an XD Driver bike unless you are talking a mail order bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hesitationpoint View Post
    At this price point, you will not find an XD Driver bike unless you are talking a mail order bike.
    An aluminum HT at any pricepoint with good kit is hard to find these days it seems...

    Chameleon in "R" spec is one... a little above the OPs budget but worth it I think for the upgrades you get. And always love a real threaded bottom bracket!
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Westy View Post
    An aluminum HT at any pricepoint with good kit is hard to find these days it seems...

    Chameleon in "R" spec is one... a little above the OPs budget but worth it I think for the upgrades you get. And always love a real threaded bottom bracket!
    I dunno. He would pay $400-$500 more. He'd get the GX cassette and XD but downgrade to NX on other drivetrain components and go down a level on brakes. Plus, the bike would weigh 3-4lbs more. And the Chisel also has a threaded BB. I would go with the Orbea Alma with the Eagle for $2099 before the Chameleon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hesitationpoint View Post
    I dunno. He would pay $400-$500 more. He'd get the GX cassette and XD but downgrade to NX on other drivetrain components and go down a level on brakes.
    But a better fork.

    Alma is a solid choice too.

    Are Niners going cheap now that they're in bankruptcy? Maybe look at the Air 9 2-star -- GX Eagle with Fox 34 Float.
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    As much as I am a fan of the XD driver, I don't think it is a decision maker on an entry bike. Stock wheels on an entry bike are going to be crap anyway, so the upgrade path would potentially be a whole wheelset where you can also get an XD driver. Having a GX drivetrain would make that easy.

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    Wow, thanks for all the comments and knowledge being passed on. Hardtails seem to be grouped into different categories: light weight XC racers, "cheaper" trail play bikes, everyday rides with moderate fork travel, and "long" travel 130-150mm all mountain bombers. All kind of specialized around what rider wants to accomplish.
    I'm looking for something I can ride out my garage to local park trails 70%, throw into truck for some moderate trail riding 30% of time. I'd like the geometry to be comfortable to ride on flats, but able to handle some hills as well. (cake and eat it...?)
    Thanks again for your suggestions and subsequent comments. Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsmith13 View Post
    Wow, thanks for all the comments and knowledge being passed on. Hardtails seem to be grouped into different categories: light weight XC racers, "cheaper" trail play bikes, everyday rides with moderate fork travel, and "long" travel
    Same is true for a full suspension bike.

    I would talk to your local bike shop (I am close friends with Neighborhood Cyclery in Moreno Valley) to see if they carry, or can get something like what you want. Maybe even have a demo bike to try out.

    I'm personally not brand loyal. Lot's of bikes will check the blocks for you. Don't let "XC racer" fool you, a modern XC hardtail is an amazing trail bike these days. XC race courses are very technical and demanding, they aren't just pedal fests. So an XC bike is designed to be very well behaved in the hard stuff. You might be able to get a sense of the height in this photo. This is at a local enduro type trail network that shall remain unnamed on my XC hardtail race bike.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails New MTB Guy-gopr3956_moment.jpg  


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    The XC bike just puts the rider in more control. You rely more on yourself than on the bike, but at the same time have to deal with less of the heft that is associated with bikes which do a lot of the work for the rider. You're put in a very good position to react to rough terrain, if you feel up to the challenge.

    Watching XC racers compete neck-and-neck with Enduro guys, due to their athletic ability, can teach you a lot about technique. Problem is that it takes a lot of hard work to get to that point and it can generally fade away from injury and time off. Not to mention that it comes with a level of risk that's only really offset in proportion to your current fitness/exhaustion level. Hence why casual folks end up on expensive FS bikes.
    We're all on the same ship, and it's sinking.

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    Giant Fathom 29 1?

    https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/fathom-29-1

    Nice SLX 1x11 with Deore brakes and a dropper!
    The cake is a lie.

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    i demoed the Chameleon 29er in Santa Cruz, its awesome but a lot of people are having problems with the Novatec hubs (see the SC thread) why SC keeps putting crappy hubs on their bikes, idk. before the Novatcs, that had shitty SRAM hubs

    i have Deore hubs on my HT, bikes 8 years old, zero problems

    whatever

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsmith13 View Post
    I've read just a few post and already can see there is a big division on HT vs. FS in today's MTB World.
    This isn't actually a big issue in the real world. I'd recommend not pigeonholing yourself by taking sides either. I ride a Giant Fathom, it's classified as an XC bike but it's more like a HT trail bike. It can handle whatever you throw at it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kubikeman View Post
    Giant Fathom 29 1?

    https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/fathom-29-1

    Nice SLX 1x11 with Deore brakes and a dropper!
    On my list for sure. Any real world knowledge out there?

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    I'd put a Trek Stache 5 or 7 on your list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nauc View Post
    i demoed the Chameleon 29er in Santa Cruz, its awesome but a lot of people are having problems with the Novatec hubs (see the SC thread) why SC keeps putting crappy hubs on their bikes, idk. before the Novatcs, that had shitty SRAM hubs

    i have Deore hubs on my HT, bikes 8 years old, zero problems

    whatever
    I actually just got a new Chameleon 29 R a few weeks ago and mine came with SRAM Hubs. I sent an email to SC about them and they said that they had changed them up due to supply issues and because they had better luck with the SRAM Hubs over the Novatec. Said they had been getting a lot of complaints about the Novatec Hubs. Honestly, I have read a lot of complaints about those SRAM Hubs too, but it does look like they are changing it up.

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    Stopped second guessing myself and bought SC Chameleon today. looking forward to breaking it in this weekend. Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsmith13 View Post
    Stopped second guessing myself and bought SC Chameleon today. looking forward to breaking it in this weekend. Thanks
    Congrats, & good luck.

    Been on h/t for many years and even as I get older and more brittle, I don't think I'll need anything else. Currently a steel 27.5 + and doing more better than ever.

    Enjoy.
    In the Middle Ages, the biggest mistake was not putting on your armor because you were 'just going down to the corner.'

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    New bike smell... mmm :0)

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsmith13 View Post
    Stopped second guessing myself and bought SC Chameleon today. looking forward to breaking it in this weekend. Thanks
    Awesome, congrats!

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