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  1. #1
    dmo
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    researching new FS bike, need advice

    Its been years since I've gotten a new bike so I'm starting to look into what new bike to consider. My last few rides have been the old FSR style Intense bikes with 26" wheels. I want something for XC, no racing, no big drops and crazy technical stuff. I'm 5'6" and about 165lb so would probably want a SM or XSM frame. Should I get a 26", 27.5", 29" wheeled bike? I've narrowed the list to Ibis, Niner, Intense, Pivot and Yeti. What have people found to work well on the trails in MA and New England? Any pointers on a LBS to get the frame from?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    StartBiking!
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    JRA Cycles in Medford pretty much carries all those manufactures you mentioned. My best advice to you is to go demo some bikes. You won't know what fits you until you try it. I think JRA will let you demo a bike for $60 a day and then let you put that money towards a bike you purchase from them.

    JRA Cycles
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  3. #3
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    researching new FS bike, need advice

    I'm not positive but I remember a few years back hearing about clearance issues on 29ers on frames that small? Something to possibly consider


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  4. #4
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    +1 for JRA
    Also, have you considered rocky mountain? You should demo an altitude from JRA.
    At your height don't buy a 29er. Flat out just don't consider it, especially since we're talking about New England riding. As for 27.5 vs 26 I would say DEFINITELY go for 27.5 after reading what you are looking for. If you had written that you enjoy the crazy technical stuff I would probably say go 26 but in this case 27.5 for sure. Also I would go for a small frame with 27.5 wheels.. medium with 26.. XS with 29.. My brother is same size as you on a medium 26' frame and it fits great but is lengthy enough to be nice and stable when going fast. Also have a 5'7 friend on a small santa cruz 27.5 that fits great.

    As for what works well in New England and MA specifically.. I have found that the vast majority of popular, well maintained, and NOT dog walker infested trail systems in this state are the most enjoyable when ridden with a FS bike with 130-170mm of travel. This applies whether you are going as fast as possible bombing off/down everything or if you're just cruising along. I have a hardtail, a light short travel (120mm) FS, and a 160mm FS, and I am ALWAYS on the 160mm FS. Smooths out the trail and I am still able to maintain average ride speeds of 12-13mph on tame trails that dont have gnarly climbs and downs.

    There is the possibility that the nearby terrain coupled with your riding style might actually mate quite well with a bike that is capable of big hits even if you don't plan on hitting anything very large.

  5. #5
    dmo
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    What's the issue with 29ers? Standover height or geo? Ive heard that 29ers work better as hardtails?

    Thanks!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmo View Post
    What's the issue with 29ers? Standover height or geo? Ive heard that 29ers work better as hardtails?

    Thanks!
    Nothing at all wrong with 29ers. I just would not want to ride one in MA if I was under 5'8, too cumbersome. Combination of standover, geo, and larger wheels just makes the tight stuff that much more difficult. As for 29er "working better" as hardtails I'm not really sure, I know that I would NEVER consider getting a 29er FS but I would consider a 29er hardtail for strict XC racing since I'm 5'10. If I was 5'8 or less I would likely go for 27.5 for racing. I actually ride with a guy who is 5'11 on a KHS hardtail 29er and he gets really beaten up when we do more technical trails. He has the skills to ride smoothly through everything but it simply takes WAY more effort to maneuver a big cumbersome 29er than it does for me to maneuver my FS 26er even though it weighs more.

  7. #7
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    29ers roll over every thing better. There should be some demos at our big ride, The Wicked Ride of the East, Sunday Oct. 27th at Harold Parker State Forest. At 5'6", a 27.5 might be better for you.

  8. #8
    CP
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    Test ride as many bikes as you can/have the time to...Only you will be able to tell if a 29er, a 27.5, or a 26 will work at your height...crowd sourcing what wheel size to buy is not a good place to start. I repeat, ride a 29er, ride a 27.5, etc etc, before you make the decision of which wheel size to narrow your search down to.
    There aren't many events left in the season where you can try multiple bikes back to back, but certainly go to those. Wicked Ride is a good start.

  9. #9
    rdb
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    +1 on Wicked Ride to demo some bikes. I agree with C.P. You need to ride all wheel sizes before deciding. If you search the threads, many people at 5'6" or under a riding a 29er. Lot of tall dudes riding 26" and loving it.

    As for suspension travel, as you go up in travel, the head tube angle (HTA) starts to slacken a bit, which makes for more stable descending, slightly less efficient climbing. So when you demo try to find some steep climbs and try those, then turn around and go back down. I ride a 4 inch travel FS 29er XC and it works great for me. Yes, a little more cumbersome when doing tight turns, but rolls over everything. That said, for my next bike I would get something a little less XC and more trail oriented, especially since I don't race. I want something with a less steep HTA, more friendly when descending.

    Any bike you choose is going to have some tradeoffs, so try some out, short travel, long travel, 29er, 27.5. That will allow you to get an idea of what wheel size and travel works for you. Then you can narrow down your decision.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.P. View Post
    ...I repeat, ride a 29er, ride a 27.5, etc etc, before you make the decision of which wheel size to narrow your search down to.
    +2.

    Ignore the generalizations.

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