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Thread: perfect bike

  1. #1
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    perfect bike

    I know this is sort of a silly question but I'm gonna ask it anyway... What's the perfect bike for the Midwest? The reason I ask is b/c I've got two bikes now that are much better suited for western riding but I live in chicago. I want to get rid of both and get what I consider a perfect Midwestern mountian bike (a hardtail 29er). Whadda think? Do we really need 5" all mountain bikes or are we better served with a light 29er?
    "You can become a very fast donkey, but you'll never be a thoroughbred..."

  2. #2
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    Now you know there is no such thing.
    I would agree a 5" all mountain bike is overkill for the vast majority of midwest trails, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun on one in the midwest. If I were to only own one bike, it would probably be a reasonably lightweight (not race lite) hardtail 26er with 80-100mm of travel. But thankfully I don't have to make that choice. I ride midwest trails on a bunch of hardtails with travel ranging from 63mm to 120mm, a 4" full suspension, and even a rigid singlespeed and a road bike with cross tires. .
    I've yet to ride a 29er so I can't give an informed opinion on that, other than to say the only ones I've seen so far have been on bike paths. I'm just sayin...
    Ok, before I get flamed on the 29er comment, I really like mtn bikes and like to ride them all, so there's a reasonable chance that I'll own 29er at some point. I just think it's funny that I have yet to see one on a real mtn bike trail, but have seen a bunch of them on bike paths recently.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  3. #3
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    Depends where you ride, just like everywhere else in the world. Our local trails are full of roots and ruts. There is definitely a benefit to FS trail bikes

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    I have a ton of bikes and end up on my SS 29r most of the time.

  5. #5
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    I ride mostly at Palos and this is where my idea was hatched. I noticed that people were riding the gambit of bikes, from full-on 40lb freeride bikes (i'm actually one of them) to department store specials. I have a Switchblade (for sale now) and an SX Trail (also for sale) for riding around mostly smooth trails with a few logs and sticks. I'm borrowing my friends GF Cobia (which is a 29er hardtail) and I'm actually thinking its perfect for us midwest riders. My one caveat is that the bike is really living up to it's category... hardtail! The aluminum frame is very stiff, which sucks for me and my weak back. For this reason I'm thinking of having a cromo frame made for me by Strong with an emphasis on vertical compliance or go balls-to-the-wall and get a moots with the ybb. I met a fella on the trail last week with a '96 ybb moots and he (of course) said it was perfect for thrashing around palos but he had a 29er moots on its way to replace it... I'm really wondering if anybody else had this sort of idea or am I the only one thinking we are way too suspended here in Chicago?
    "You can become a very fast donkey, but you'll never be a thoroughbred..."

  6. #6
    Witty McWitterson
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    Steel 29er here too. Rigid no less. Works for me. Though I do have to admit, I do have a hankerin' for a FS. The Salsa BigMama is lookin' pretty hot.

    Most riders I know are on 29"er ss's in these parts.
    Just a regular guy.

  7. #7
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    Alright, you can't ***** about your bad back on an alu hardtail, and then say "riding around mostly smooth trails with a few logs and sticks", and "I the only one thinking we are way too suspended here in Chicago?" all in the same post.

    I've seen the guys with the freeride bikes on the trails, but I also know that there are little spots around where some of them will put those freeride bikes to good use. So just because they happen to be riding it on an easy trail when you see them, doesn't mean that's the only use that bike gets.

    Then again, there are a lot of riders that just think more is always better, so they buy a 40 lb FS for their bikepath rides, and then come to these forums asking "what size slicks can I put on this bike?".
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  8. #8
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    ha ha, trailville, i know, I'm a bit of contradiction, I apologize. Truth be told, I want a bike to do everything... trail riding, hauling my soon-to-be-born son around Frankfort, and attempting to keep up with my roady friend and btw the frame has to survive at least 100 years. I know a FS bike will be great in Palos, especially for a guy with a sore back, but I don't want to suffer riding a FS on the streets. I'm thinking I can do all those things with a hardtail 29er b/c I live in the midwest and I don't live in AZ anymore. I'm willing to make a slight compromise on offroad agility so i can ride a lighter bike on the streets.
    "You can become a very fast donkey, but you'll never be a thoroughbred..."

  9. #9
    I need skills
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    ask a bike salesman

    I noticed your public profile states you sell bikes. Based on that, the need for you to ask your question confuses me.

    I'll enter the fray though. If you know where you'll be riding your bike, you will also know the minimum requirements needed to safely and comfortably ride at these spots. Which makes your question very subjective.

    There are downhill courses in the midwest, there is dirt jumping, cycleX, smooth single track and rough single track.

    Any good bike salesman knows the consumer's perfect bike will be the next bike they want to buy.

  10. #10
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    i should update my profile... i haven't sold a bike in several years, and based on how well my titus and SX sale is going, it doesn't look like i'll be selling another bike for long time. But you're right, i did sell bikes and a buying a bike is subjective decision. I guess i want to be done buying and selling bikes, i just want a bike that i can ride almost anywhere and do almost anything. I've been in the cycling industry for a number of years and i know most people will say that a bike like that isn't possible, but with a 29er i think it might come close. I might be a bit naive in my thinking but I'm also crossing somethings off my list of possible futures; downhill racer, freeride junky, or any pro racer of any sport. So my bikes don't have to be those sort of things to me.
    Last edited by homey; 08-21-2008 at 07:45 AM.
    "You can become a very fast donkey, but you'll never be a thoroughbred..."

  11. #11
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    Up here in wisconsin and agree there is no one perfect bike for the area, but there are perfect bikes. Last year I rode an aluminum hardtail with 120mm, and it was perfect for the riding I did. This year I live closer to some more technical stuff and ride a 5.5" FS Ibex with 130mm up front. It's definitely not overkill, I've seen people will full-on downhill rigs up here, it all depends on what you ride. I live right on a paved trail and there are 2' - 3' drops I can find, as well as an area underneath a bridge that's sort of like a mini downhill, I just ride whatever I find and have fun. So my philosophy has been buy a bike for what you want to be doing, and if you do less for a while, so what. I put my ride together for pretty cheap (less than 1000 into it) though i did reuse some parts and I couldn't be happier. Then again, it's always entertaining to ride a decked out FS allmountain rig to the coffee shop... feels like pulling up to the grocery store in a tank

  12. #12
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    I think for the types of tails out at Palos the 29er is hard to beat, fast flowing buffed single track and double track. This is where the 29er excels. I own a Racer X 29er and a Salsa Dos niner, both low in the rear end travel department, but most of palos you don't need much anyway.
    I too live in Frankfort and both bikes can rip up the old plank trail to Joliet and back no problem.

  13. #13
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    My weapon of choice is an Intense 6.6 with an RS Lyrik 2 step. I ride all over the place. Palos is my locals so it suits me fine.

    Is that the perfect bike for the Midwest? It is for me.
    Team MOJO Wheels.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by homey
    I know this is sort of a silly question but I'm gonna ask it anyway... What's the perfect bike for the Midwest? The reason I ask is b/c I've got two bikes now that are much better suited for western riding but I live in chicago. I want to get rid of both and get what I consider a perfect Midwestern mountian bike (a hardtail 29er). Whadda think? Do we really need 5" all mountain bikes or are we better served with a light 29er?
    Right here:

    Covert done.

    I'll qualify my comments by stating I don't race and am at a point in life where 1/2 Century ride doesn't mean 50 miles as much as it means iced knee, ibuprofen, gray hair and bifocals. I love my rigid single speed but on some trails it means 2-10 days of suffering w/knee and shoulder afterward.

    My wife and I rented and demo'd bikes before adding the Covert. I concluded a 29 incher is probably the way to for a hard way or a rigid bike but most didn't seem right for my poor balance and the slow and tight riding. I think that view would change if my riding was mostly at easy trails like the Kettles, Nine Mile etc....

    Even at easy trails I find my 140 mm bike rolls just fine and at a place like Kettles I make up speed by being able to ride any line and go down the hills faster than about anybody else around.

    At a place like BMSP or a trip to Marquette 5+ inches are why I probably don't complain about the rocks being too much. Riding my beloved Yo Eddy around the Berryman loop was followed by a day of pain where riding my Enduro around same loop was 50 minutes faster for the heavier bike and being ready to ride Council Bluff the next day.

    My Covert is 29 to 30.5 pounds depending upon how it's dressed (Egg Beaters vs. Stepdowns, lighter vs. big meat tires etc....). Its weight is a 1/3 pound more than a new generation Heckler with shock. The shorter wheelbase of a Heckler would probably be nice for places like parts of BMSP or 25.5.

    I would not worry too much about all the debates over suspension design. I had and have Horst-type suspension 1993 through present and I will admit the squat of our Enduro gives incredible traction at times but that's only a sub-set of all riding and on the whole I'm liking the super stiff back and platform with the single pivot.

    I rode and rented late model Fishers and Treks including a Remedy 9 at a Trek Visit and checked out the current Mongoose offerings with Pacific staff. The Remedy 9 should be at the top of anybody's list who can drop $5000 and the Mongoose Teocali bikes absolutely defy their price.

    You can rent Fishers (29 hard way, Hi Fi) by the Kettles trails, EX 8s at Trek Stores and Spec. FSRs at Erik's shops. You'll see current and prototype Pacific products around Madison and last word from the Mongoose product manager was expanded dealers in the area.

    Have fun shopping, and my vote for my riding remains with a 5-6 inch 26 inch wheel bike.

  15. #15
    the WALKING DEAD
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    Here is what I own. 2006 Iron Horse MKIII. 2007 Specialized Epic. 2008 Niner EMD. The Epic doesn't get ridden too often anymore. The EMD rolls about as smooth and is lighter, simpler, quiter, and climbs just as good. For a 4" race bike, the Epic is not particularily light. The MKIII is a very comfortable bike, but needs a granny gear to climb the hills that are done in the middle ring on the EMD. The MKIII just erases everything in its path, but it is heavy. If you decide to get a hardtail, make sure it is a 29er. If you want a suspension bike, I wouldn't look at 4" bikes. Move up to 5.5" bikes. They aren't much heavier but perform about twice as well.
    Your momma's so nasty, she keeps ice between her legs just to keep the crabs fresh.

  16. #16
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    fully rigid

    I ride a fully rigid, light @20lbs. SS Lynskey pro29er and love it! I spend most most my trail time down state, Kickapoo, Farmdale, Indy -- most of which is similar to Palos. I have a great time and keep up fine with my suspended buddies. However, I recommend running tubeless. When I first got my bike I ran tubes around 35 pounds and it beat me up some. Now I run 25 and the ride is much much better.

  17. #17
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    My one caveat is that the bike is really living up to it's category... hardtail! The aluminum frame is very stiff, which sucks for me and my weak back.
    I live in south east ohio and ride the following two bikes all over the trails here:

    Trek 6000 - this was my #1 trail bike for a while. I have very few upgrades on it just ergon grips and a wtb saddle and shimano 520 clipless pedals

    GF Cobia 29er - I added a set of ergon bar end style grips, a wtb saddle, some shimano 520's, and a thudbuster seat post.
    - With the thud buster seat post and a comfy saddle and 29er wheels at lower pressure I have the closest thing to a FS bike on a $1300 price tag. I love my cobia and ride it everywhere. I have slicks for bike path riding and stock tires for riding trails. I love it and I do think for the area I am in (lots of roots, rock gardens, and uphill sections) it works perfectly.

    Test out a 29er on dirt and see how you like it. The thud buster truly makes a huge difference if you have a bad back (I have one too!)

  18. #18
    Got 3 nipples.
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    My 2 cents...the 29'er SS as well. I just got rid of my 5-spot cuz it I kept having to apologize to it for why I was chosing the SS. I am riding the Rig right now, partly because I broke my last g-fixer and got a deal on this. I also have an IH 7point sitting in the garage and just can't seem to get rid of it. I don't leave the house with these two bikes with the same goal for riding in mind. I'd suggest riding in your "new" neck of the woods a half-dozen rides, decide what kind of riding you are going to do and then get the bike that fits the bill.

    I think the hardest thing about choosing one bike is deciding what kind of rider you are AND what kind of riding your buddies do. It sucks when your buds are hucking stuff and there you sit on your rigid SS thinking to yourself, "If I ride off of that more than likely something is going to break." At the same time, I hate it when I decide to bring the big bike out so I can catch a few fun lines and hucks but every time a hill comes around the corner I see my friends disappear over the hill while I crack a lung trying to stick with them.

    Long story short...pick riding style, choose bike, and then ride chosen bike like a 3-peckered billy goat.
    Making "easy" look hard.

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