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  1. #1
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    SoCal League : what type bike

    Our high school is joining the league this year and we are all wondering what kind of courses the races will be on. The kids will be purchasing bikes soon and are curious what type of bike would be well suited for the type of racing done. Heights range from 6'3" to 5'2". Some have raced in the past and others are just starting out in the sport. Should they go hardtail or dual suspension? 26, 27.5,29? Any help and suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Within budget..... No need to buy an expensive bike to get started. We see them all, 26 to 29, rigid to full sus, Wall Mart to custom. My best advice would be to have them spend some time riding a few, and spend within budget.

  3. #3
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    Hey there! Glad to hear that another school will be joining us. The courses in the socal league are very fast and nontechnical. 29er is definitely the way to go on these courses. The improved rolling speed will automatically bump you up a few places (I know because a teammate did this last year and he jumped up 15 spots). And I'd suggest getting a hard tail for the lighter weight and reduced price tag. Our courses as so smooth and nontechnical that a FS rig really isn't needed.

    Good Luck!

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    Penn addressed the financial concerns but didn't address the actual course conditions. My Name is Patrick Liddy, I won Freshman D1 last year and am going into JV this year. For the first four races I raced a 2012 S works Stumpjumper Ht Size Large. I felt that for three out of the four courses, (Vail, Beach to Boulders, and Keyesville) the hard tail was fine. At the 2nd race in the series, Riverside, I was caught off guard by the high frequency bumps, and felt like I needed a full suspension. For the last two races, (Los Olivos and States) I raced my 2013 Epic S-works XX1. Personally, I think that the benefits of a full suspension outweigh the slight loss in efficiency. For your team, I would consider a hard tail 29er. I Absolutely would not consider a 26 or 27.5 wheel size. 29er is undoubtedly the way to go. Depending on the budget, I would ask a local bike shop to give you a team discount on some 2013 Specialized Stumpjumper expert Hardtails. You should be able to pick one up for under 3,000 new. My local bike shop, Montrose Bike shop, gives a 20% discount on all bikes and merchandise to Socal League riders.

    Patrick

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrickrl32 View Post
    Penn addressed the financial concerns but didn't address the actual course conditions. My Name is Patrick Liddy, I won Freshman D1 last year and am going into JV this year. For the first four races I raced a 2012 S works Stumpjumper Ht Size Large. I felt that for three out of the four courses, (Vail, Beach to Boulders, and Keyesville) the hard tail was fine. At the 2nd race in the series, Riverside, I was caught off guard by the high frequency bumps, and felt like I needed a full suspension. For the last two races, (Los Olivos and States) I raced my 2013 Epic S-works XX1. Personally, I think that the benefits of a full suspension outweigh the slight loss in efficiency. For your team, I would consider a hard tail 29er. I Absolutely would not consider a 26 or 27.5 wheel size. 29er is undoubtedly the way to go. Depending on the budget, I would ask a local bike shop to give you a team discount on some 2013 Specialized Stumpjumper expert Hardtails. You should be able to pick one up for under 3,000 new. My local bike shop, Montrose Bike shop, gives a 20% discount on all bikes and merchandise to Socal League riders.

    Patrick
    How close was Jacob to you in the overall standings last year? It's gonna be fun to watch you guys duke it out this year

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by HSracer View Post
    How close was Jacob to you in the overall standings last year? It's gonna be fun to watch you guys duke it out this year
    HSracer,

    Jacob kind of lost it the last couple of races. We were close the first couple of races, but I was pretty much on my own for the rest of the SoCal races. Unfortunately, I came down with the flu the week before states, so I had a really bad race. I ended up finishing sixth, behind 3 SoCal riders. JV is going to be tough this year because there are quite a few really fast kids coming directly to JV. By the way who are you and what class did you race?

    Patrick

  7. #7
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    Geez, some really good info and some really bad advice, all mixed together. All on MTBR, go figure

    Wheel size doesn't matter.
    Price and dealer support can be everything.
    If budget is a big issue, go HT. Always.
    I guide and rent bikes in Northern Utah

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  8. #8
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    You're saying the wheel size and bike doesn't matter? This coach asked what type of bike would be best suited to the courses. 29er is an obvious advantage. If you don't care about giving your kids the best chance to win then the wheel size doesn't matter. Thanks for repeating my points about the hardtail and dealer support, but that was a useless and inflammatory post.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrickrl32 View Post
    HSracer,

    Jacob kind of lost it the last couple of races. We were close the first couple of races, but I was pretty much on my own for the rest of the SoCal races. Unfortunately, I came down with the flu the week before states, so I had a really bad race. I ended up finishing sixth, behind 3 SoCal riders. JV is going to be tough this year because there are quite a few really fast kids coming directly to JV. By the way who are you and what class did you race?

    Patrick
    I raced JV last year and placed 16th or 17th overall. Not too bad considering it was my first year and I wasn't really on a race bike. I've actually been training this year and have a new race bike so next year should be good

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrickrl32 View Post
    You're saying the wheel size and bike doesn't matter? This coach asked what type of bike would be best suited to the courses. 29er is an obvious advantage. If you don't care about giving your kids the best chance to win then the wheel size doesn't matter. Thanks for repeating my points about the hardtail and dealer support, but that was a useless and inflammatory post.
    I am a coach. I know how it is to start a team and to have everyone asking the "what bike" question. For 90% of kids, it comes down to money. Not the size of wheel. Wheel size is not where you should begin your search, nor is starting off with your experience with $10,000 bikes. A FS 29er is the ultimate bike, I fully agree, but a good one doesn't come cheap. Hence your suggestion that they start looking at a bike startin under $3000 is ridiculous. The parents on my team would have a heart attack and mutiny if I suggested that. I'm glad it works for you but it is not a suggestion you should be making. I'm sure the new coach rolled his eyes at it as well. My suggestions stand. If you felt my post was inflammatory (I didn't point any fingers), then maybe the shoe fit.
    I guide and rent bikes in Northern Utah

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    I am a coach. I know how it is to start a team and to have everyone asking the "what bike" question. For 90% of kids, it comes down to money. Not the size of wheel. Wheel size is not where you should begin your search, nor is starting off with your experience with $10,000 bikes. A FS 29er is the ultimate bike, I fully agree, but a good one doesn't come cheap. Hence your suggestion that they start looking at a bike startin under $3000 is ridiculous. The parents on my team would have a heart attack and mutiny if I suggested that. I'm glad it works for you but it is not a suggestion you should be making. I'm sure the new coach rolled his eyes at it as well. My suggestions stand. If you felt my post was inflammatory (I didn't point any fingers), then maybe the shoe fit.
    I don't think he was suggesting that everyone get those bikes, however his perspective might be a bit off considering he's riding all S-Works bikes. I would suggest something like the Rockhopper 29. It's pretty cheap, especially if you get it used. I think you'll find cheap 29ers have replaced yesteryears cheap 26ers

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by HSracer View Post
    I don't think he was suggesting that everyone get those bikes, however his perspective might be a bit off considering he's riding all S-Works bikes. I would suggest something like the Rockhopper 29. It's pretty cheap, especially if you get it used. I think you'll find cheap 29ers have replaced yesteryears cheap 26ers
    Good suggestion. I do agree on the whole 29er thing. I only ride 29ers but...these days 26ers come real cheap. I think many people would argue with the 29er makes you faster thing, mainly Nino Shurter, but we shouldn't be arguing wheel size in this forum.
    I guide and rent bikes in Northern Utah

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  13. #13
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    Suggesting that this coach look at a high quality bike is far from ridiculous. I would argue that more than half of the kids in the SoCal league have a so called "expensive" bike. I'm fortunate enough to have parents that can buy me the best equipment to make the experience more enjoyable and to make me more competitive, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't have stated my experiences with the bikes I have ridden. I don't know about your team, but I ride with a number of competitive teams, and there isn't one person on a bike under 3,000 dollars on any of the teams. Every competitive kid I know has a high quality bike. Not necessarily because they are well off, but because they are dedicated and found a way to make it happen. Maybe we have varying opinions on what expensive is, but that is no reason to say that I am giving bad advice. You have to remember that you are the adult and I am the high school student; you should not be rolling your eyes at anything a high school athlete is trying to contribute, and you're simply ignorant if you believe that the bike doesn't matter to the student rider. I said your post was inflammatory because the only thing you added was that there was good and bad advice provided. You then went on to re iterate what penn had said. Because the OP didn't mention a specific price point or even anything about a budget, so I suggested what I consider reasonable.

    Patrick

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    I'm with Silentfoe on this. I have 10 seasons as a High school Coach with 2 teams; founder/director/coach/fundraiser. The focus on the podium is overworked for 85% of the racers/riders. In addition, they ride between 10 and 12 times more in training than on the race course. The real importance is the experience, especially if you are just trying to get things going. Once a rider starts to excel, and that will show no matter what they ride, then you worry about a heavy focus on the bike. By that time the team and its leadership may have found ways to make some nice deals through the League or local sponsorship.

    Buy smart. Hardtail, discs, 3x9 with a service contract at an LBS so you aren't doing all the wrenching.
    I don't rattle.

  15. #15
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    If this is how you interact with people, let alone a teenager, I'm glad you're not my kids coach. Here's a hint -- explain your position (like you did above) -- rather than throw out an unsupported statement. I think you'll find you be more effective "coach" that way.
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=PeT;10781551] Here's a hint -- explain your position QUOTE]

    Or we could have a conversation instead of neg repping people right? Maybe you should have a dog in the fight before you step in behind the scenes to throw rep around. Thanks anyway for the advice.

    You get all kinds of advice on this site, hence my glib comment which wasn't directed at anyone for sake of hurt feelings. Apparently the injured party identified themselves though.

    My advice was sound and based on experience which, excluding B.M., is more than the other posters.

    I am genuinely interested in helping the O.P. and I kept it simple.
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  17. #17
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    I'll sum it up for the OP. A 10,000 dollar super bike isn't at all necessary. I raced on an old 26er with v-brakes and did just fine. Find a cheap, somewhat upgradable HT. 29er takes precedent over 26, but anything is good.

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    Berkeley Mike, I'm not sure how you could side with silent foe on this. His post was undeniably inflammatory, and nothing more. I can't believe you agree with his stance that the bike doesn't make a difference at all. We all know that is completely false. I'm sure that you know being an experienced coach, that a high quality bike makes the entire experience better. But this isn't a thread to discuss the ethics of buying an expensive bike for a high school athlete ( I believe there are multiple threads for that) the OP simply asked what type of bike is best for the courses that his kids will experience. We all agreed that the best balance of performance and economy would be a 29er hardtail. What makes me defensive is an adult coach who posts a rude and inflammatory comment in response to two high schoolers who are simply trying to offer their opinions. His posts tell me a lot about his character, and I am sure that his team's results reflect the same thing.

    Patrick

  19. #19
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    Ok. Please show in quotes where I was "inflammatory", the "bike doesn't make a difference at all" or any other comment that was "rude".

    Otherwise I have just been giving direct and clear responses to bad information based on little experience.

    Edit: Unless directly asked by the O.P., I'll opt out now. This didn't need to get to this point.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Or we could have a conversation instead of neg repping people right? Maybe you should have a dog in the fight before you step in behind the scenes to throw rep around.
    Low-value flip answers deserve negative repping -- it should be everyone's "fight". I didn't negative rep you because I disagreed -- there was no substance in that post other than snark, hence the negative rep. I think the negative vibe that runs through mtbr is disturbing and that you didn't think your comment wasn't directed at anyone is indicative of the pervasiveness of that sentiment. I immediately saw it as a shot at someone who was trying to be helpful (and who had the courage to ID themselves and the foresight to give their credentials), and I also feel it's a shame that you as a "coach" with so much "experience" still apparently don't seem to see it.

    To the OP -- I agree it's most important to get kids on serviceable bikes and riding, but all else being equal (meaning $), many in the Colorado league have also found greatest success on hardtail 29ers of all pedigrees. My kid moved from a mid-range 26" full suspension to a nice 29er (used, might have been $3K when new) and moved from top just outside of top 10 to top 5 (field of ~50) - enough races on both bikes over a two-year span to make me think there was something to it beyond just randomness in the sample. What really works in terms of value is picking up the used bikes from people who know how to take care of them and are moving to their next ride -- it helps to have experience in judging the quality of the bike and knowing if the previous owner kept up on the maintenance. Perhaps you have that capability, but around here a friendly bike shop owner and his mechanics have hooked several of the kids up with nice used bikes as a customer moves on to their next "super-bike" -- works out for everyone (kid gets a potentially great bike at a mid-line bike price, shop sells new bike to rich guy, rich guy gets something in return for his "old" good bike). Perhaps you might cultivate a similar relationship with a local bike shop.
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  21. #21
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    Geez, some really good info and some really bad advice, all mixed together. All on MTBR, go figure

    Wheel size doesn't matter.
    Price and dealer support can be everything.
    If budget is a big issue, go HT. Always.


    I felt that the first paragraph was completely unnecessary, and I'm not sure about you, but when people say that the advice I gave was bad, I get offended

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrickrl32 View Post
    Geez, some really good info and some really bad advice, all mixed together. All on MTBR, go figure

    Wheel size doesn't matter.
    Price and dealer support can be everything.
    If budget is a big issue, go HT. Always.


    I felt that the first paragraph was completely unnecessary, and I'm not sure about you, but when people say that the advice I gave was bad, I get offended

    Cool down there Patrick. Let it go. You're arguing with someone who has years of experience over you. Don't be so defensive. You can learn a lot from these guys. Look up what the word sophomore means, seeing as how you are one and are acting like it.

    On a side note, to OP. Good luck! Can't wait to see you guys out there! If you don't already know, Matt Gunnell is the Socal director and a great guy, so if you have any questions I'm sure he'd be happy to help.

    For more info: SoCal

  23. #23
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    Pat and racer,,, My best advice would be to read between the lines. Foe offered great advice, maybe a little coarse, but still great advice. B Mike echoed the same. Nothing wrong in what you both stated and I would hope the adults read it in the same between the lines way. At this point, the only wrong answer would be to give up entirely and fold the team.
    In a way, I am sure the OP knew the answer but maybe wanted supporting advice. When starting a team, the last thing you should think about is advising an expensive purchase,, and yes 3K qualifies as such no matter where that lies in the MSRP food chain. Wheel size should be a concern, but not a limiting factor in the purchase. Several of you described moving up from 26" when ready, getting better along the way, and this should also be an option for the OP. My belief is to get the kids started, and get them hooked. I am their coach, not their parent, in no way should I dictate a family money decision. Now, I can recommend, help find deals, but their budget is their budget.

    LIke I said earlier, we have them all show up on Sunday, and I see the same smiles, high fives, exhaustive grunts, from every wheel size and frame material rider.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by patrickrl32 View Post
    Berkeley Mike, I'm not sure how you could side with silent foe on this. His post was undeniably inflammatory, and nothing more. I can't believe you agree with his stance that the bike doesn't make a difference at all. We all know that is completely false. I'm sure that you know being an experienced coach, that a high quality bike makes the entire experience better. But this isn't a thread to discuss the ethics of buying an expensive bike for a high school athlete ( I believe there are multiple threads for that) the OP simply asked what type of bike is best for the courses that his kids will experience. We all agreed that the best balance of performance and economy would be a 29er hardtail. What makes me defensive is an adult coach who posts a rude and inflammatory comment in response to two high schoolers who are simply trying to offer their opinions. His posts tell me a lot about his character, and I am sure that his team's results reflect the same thing.

    Patrick
    From this I am not sure what you know and you seem ready to presume much for the sake of a line of thought. That may be just your process but it isn't mine.


    The OP is starting his participation and asking a question about type of bike for the course. My answer is not so much for the course but for the success of the program. As such I am suggesting that it is not the right question. That may be where you and focus differently. As a leader I value priorities, timing, practicalities, the ongoing vitality of the team, its support system, and the essential value of experience.

    Absent those considerations teams can simply fail. Unless a team can continue as a whole, no one rides.
    I don't rattle.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by HSracer View Post
    Cool down there Patrick. Let it go. You're arguing with someone who has years of experience over you. Don't be so defensive. You can learn a lot from these guys. Look up what the word sophomore means, seeing as how you are one and are acting like it.

    On a side note, to OP. Good luck! Can't wait to see you guys out there! If you don't already know, Matt Gunnell is the Socal director and a great guy, so if you have any questions I'm sure he'd be happy to help.

    For more info: SoCal
    HSracer,

    I look forward to meeting you at the first race, and wish you luck in varsity. As for my post, I wasn't trying to re light the argument. If you look you will find that SilentFoe asked me to post what I thought was inflammatory.

    Berkeley Mike,
    I have absolutely no doubt in your coaching ability and believe that you handled the response significantly better than SilentFoe. I, lacking the experience of coaching a team and also being an independent rider, cannot know what it takes to keep a team going, but, there was no reason for Silent Foe to say that my post was "really bad advice." If he had read my post more carefully, he would have found that I said, "depending on the budget" for my suggestion of what I consider a mid-line price for a quality bike. As far as the "we all agreed, etc.." We did all agree. Every single poster said that a 29er hard tail would be best for the money, and the other two points are completely obvious. The OP asked what the best bike would be for terrain, he didn't mention price. Im sure that he is well aware of his riders' budgets as their coach. But a budget is just that- A budget- it shouldn't dictate the majority of you bike purchase. It means you have to stay in a certain range, but it shouldn't be the deciding factor on the bike you purchase. As I said, I can't speak on the intricacies of running a team, but I think a bike budget should be the last thing on anybody's mind.

    Patrick

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