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  1. #1
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    Wissahickon - hardtail, FS, 29er?

    I'm on the hunt for a new bike, and I'm having a seriously hard time trying to decide what direction to go in so I thought I'd solicit some opinions from strangers on the internet

    Short version: What is everyone riding in wissahickon? What type of bike best suits the terrain?

    Long(er) version
    : I live a few blocks from wissahickon, so the majority of my riding will be done there.

    I guess my first question is does anyone ride wissahickon on a hardtail? I've been through a bunch of trails before on a FS 29'er (didn't like the bike - that's another story), but my limited experience in the woods (yes, I'm a roadie) leaves me to think the more technical terrain would be harder on a hardtail (on the cyclist and on the bike). I didn't care for the overall sluggish feeling of the 29'er, but the full suspension was nice.

    My budget isn't super high ($1200'ish), so a hardtail would allow me to get something nicer than a lower level FS, but is a hardtail suited for those more technical trails, or would a FS trail bike just make more sense. I don't plan on doing anything more than trail or XC riding - but to me, those trails in wissahickon are fairly brutal (keep in mind I'm used to endless miles of pavement with some chipseal and potholes thrown in for good measure).

    I was considering going hardtail and tubeless, so I could drop the PSI for the technical stuff and add some air for places like pennypack park.

    I'm not against building the bike myself either, actually it's my preference, but from building many road bikes I know that for this purpose I can probably get better bang for my buck hitting the LBS for closeouts instead. I've checked out places like pricepoint, bikes direct, etc, etc and I still think the better deal to be had is the LBS closeouts - I may just be more limited to my options.

    Thoughts? and thanks in advance for any advice.

  2. #2
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    29er hardtail is all you need. Less maintenance than a full suspension and lighter too.
    I ride a rigid One Nine and a Dos Niner there and in Pennypack all the time.
    Air Nine One Nine, and a few Cannondale....rip Salsa
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  3. #3
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    Wiss isn't really all that rooty/rocky, either. A 26 inch hardtail would be just fine, too. I think a full suspension bike might be more forgiving, though...

  4. #4
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    ^ it isn't? oh man, I much be more of a chicken **** than I initially thought The trails on the west side seem pretty rocky to me, in particular the base of some climbs. I'll ride 100 miles on my road bike in philly traffic, but put me on a trail with some rocks and I'm like a little school girl

    My final decision will be off the overall feel after a few test rides, but it sounds like I could really just go with anything and make do just fine. Just need to hone my skills a bit more.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by grahny
    ^ it isn't? oh man, I much be more of a chicken **** than I initially thought The trails on the west side seem pretty rocky to me, in particular the base of some climbs.
    Well, I live in Pottstown and ride French Creek, Mt. Penn, and Bear Creek a lot. They are much rockier than Wiss. I guess it's relative, though.

    But like I said, I think you'll enjoy it more on a full suspension bike.

  6. #6
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    Just get whatever you are most comfortable with. I do just fine with my low end 26" hard tail, it just requires a bit more finesse.

    Riding a hard tail will force you to take smoother lines and work you a little harder. With a full suspension you can just plow your way through things.

    It's really all up to your riding style.

  7. #7
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    maybe just ride your current bike this winter, work on your technique, save some more dough, then get a bike with adjustable rear travel like the Titus MotoLite. http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...9.aspx?sc=FRGL It can definitely be built up for under $2K if you do your homework on component/drive train shopping and some of the wrenching yourself. Next best bet is the 29 HT which work well for wissa and fit in your budget today.

  8. #8
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    Like ridenfish39 mentioned, 29er hardtail with tubeless wheels and you're good to go. I rode the Wiss for 2 years on a full suspension till this past winter. Made switch to a 29er hardtail and I haven't touched any other bike since!!

    Work on your technique and you'll figure out the lines. Where in the neighborhood are you? Most of us that ride their non-stop live in the immediate area, including myself. I'm only 2 blocks from the park.

  9. #9
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    it can be ridden on a rigid singlespeed if you want...

    thats what i do and it is way cheaper than anything both in the initial build and the subequent maintenence.

    i got two one year olds (twins) i barely have time to ride let alone maintain a bike. rigid ss insures that if i have two hours, i will be able to ride for two hours, no maintenence to get in the way of riding my bike.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the suggestions, much appreciated. I think I'm leaning hardtail 29er at this point.

    @mtrostle... I'm in roxborough, near gorgas park. I work from home, and have weekday mornings until noon everyday to ride

  11. #11
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    I second the 29er with tubeless setup. I've got a Niner MCR so the steel frame and tubeless helps wick up all the bumps.

  12. #12
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    Never seen so many bikes - and 29ers specifically - as I did this Sunday at the Wiss. It was crazy. Like me and my full suspension 26" bike were from an alien planet.

  13. #13
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    Get a 29 Hardtail, and take it easy on Demo 2.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejfiii
    Never seen so many bikes - and 29ers specifically - as I did this Sunday at the Wiss. It was crazy. Like me and my full suspension 26" bike were from an alien planet.
    Like an advanced, superior alien planet?

    Many of them were probably single speeds , and some of those were full rigid

  15. #15
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    Anybody who tells you that the bike they ride is the best for this place or that place is a kook. I understand that you don't have the budget right now for multiple bikes, so whatever you get will be some sort of compromise. You'll never know the answer until you own several different bikes and ride all of them there. I ride my old hardtail there, I ride my FS bike there... they both have their advantages in spots. I usually lean to the FS there because I can go quite a bit faster on the declines. I like to go as fast as possible.

    That said, you're not going to get a very nice FS bike for $1200.

  16. #16
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    ^ good points. Compromise is definitely understood.

    I think I may go the bikes direct '10 fly team 29 (ti) route. I'm a big fan of Ti (Lynskey on the road). The budget will have to be upped in order to get it, but the deal seems hard to pass up. I know exactly what minor changes I would make to some components over the winter/spring (saddle, post, stem, bars, grips), some of which I already have laying around, so it should also provide the remedy for short-term upgraditis.

    Tough call though. I have a few more LBS' to visit first.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by grahny
    I have a few more LBS' to visit first.
    Have you gone to Wissahickon Cyclery yet? Those guys love 29" hardtails and single speeds. They even make their own in the back of the shop.

  18. #18
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    those engins are sexy!!!!

    your gonna have to up the budget a bit more to get one of them though...

  19. #19
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    Haven't been to wissahickon cyclery yet, but it's on my list.

    ...and those engins are really nice. I looked at them for road bikes a few years ago. Definitely out of my current price range though for what I can spend on a mountain bike.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by grahny
    Haven't been to wissahickon cyclery yet, but it's on my list.

    ...and those engins are really nice. I looked at them for road bikes a few years ago. Definitely out of my current price range though for what I can spend on a mountain bike.
    Check your PM's.
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