Pitch Base: Adventure With an Entry Level Bike- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Pitch Base: Adventure With an Entry Level Bike

    I blew out the rear hub on my 98 stumpy M2 a couple days ago. Was looking at new wheels, but some XT/mavic disc wheels were mocking me from the rafters. I hate change, and I truly love the M2, but lots have changed in 21yrs, and rear disc was high priority. Started looking at a new frame to swap it all over to. Needed something for light trail use and chasing my 4yo while doubling between chase and trailer duty for the 2yo. I’m a bit of a bike snob, so I like to have nice/expensive parts, but at the same time I don’t spend for the sake of having the best... so I’m quite, shrewd? Since this was replacing my M2, and not my 0S-Works FSR, I needed to keep a strict budget in mind. Aka, spend as little as possible on a HT beater. Btw, don’t mention the name “S-Works” when talking with a bike salesman... it puts “HT beater” in a completely different price bracket.

    Was looking at some older frames, breezer, Rocky Mountain, etc, while hunting the ever elusive 18” on-one inbred. All frames I was considering were in the $200-300 range and required a complete tear down of the M2, and build-up. This is totally feasible with all that extra time I have with two very active kids. HA!

    Was waffling for a few days on grand choices, then this happened.








    2019 Pitch base, small, $430.09 out the door.

    Figured might as well get the stripper model since half my very nicer components will swap over.

    Immediately started swapping parts over from the M2, to un-entry level the bike a touch. Stole the fancy seat and Thompson elite post off the FSR, and amazingly enough I didn’t have to adjust the seat angle. Then laughed that my seat and post cost half as much as the whole bike. Also tossed on a set of old school DX platforms I had on the work bench, and installed the Thule trailer hitch. Chopped 3” off the bars, 1.5” from each side.

    Next up is a pair of Raceface Turbine SL cranks, and front/rear shimano D615 hydro discs, and XT shifting front and rear as I have a few moments for a 2x9.

    Figured I’d try out the 27.5 thing, then upgrade if I’m hooked... or back to 26ers I go.

    Initial thoughts:

    I had a Drill Sergeant once tell me, “if you set your expectations low, it’s easier to achieve your goals.” I’m sure he was motivating me, but that quote stuck with me, and this bike does just that.

    Fit is great for my long trunk/short legs. I used to be 5’7, but years of the gov’t trying to destroy me has shrunk my spine to round out at 5’6. With the small frame I can just feel my wobbly bits kissing the toptube while straddling it; bout the same as my medium 26” FSR. Bike is lighter than I imagined, and was bunny hopping 1’ with ease. She climbs like a billy goat, new generation geometry, you have me sold.

    Fork is good if your Wii Fit doesn’t say “that’s obese” in a cute school girl voice. Or you leave the bike path. Or have ever used a mid to high end fork in the past. She’s a noodle. Almost as bad as the Mars carbon I was given a few years back. I can feel the slots in the brake rotors as the fork flexes under breaking, and compression is chunky. Topping out clunk can be felt and heard. That said, for a sub 150lb kid, might be all the fork you need.

    Brakes. Mechanical discs on this thing are mushy and paired with plastic levers. I long for the likes of some used BB7s with dirty cables. These will be changed as soon as I have time to cut/bleed lines on the deore. The frame has internal routs for front and rear shifting, rear brake, and dropper post, which is a nice feature.

    Shifting is clunky/gritty but works and every gear engages. Easy fix with XT soon, the third bike they’ll be on in 10yrs.

    Wheels, we’ll see, not hopeful.

    All in all the bike was exactly what I wanted. A good frame tossed together with cheap parts I could ride the day I got it home, perfectly mediocre. Going to make good recipient for the higher end bits I already have in the shop. If you are like me, and are picky about parts, it’s a great start. If you want to buy and ride without mods ever, step to a higher trim like the sport or shop for a bike without the obligatory specialized tax. On yeah, I love the color.
    Last edited by corprin; 03-25-2019 at 04:19 AM.

  2. #2
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    Nice. I like that color. Enjoy it!

    My first MTB about a year ago was a '18 Pitch Comp. Rode the shit out of it for months, for the money it was a great bike. I still have it and I'm not sure if I should sell it or maybe gift it to someone who's in need.
    2019 Santa Cruz 5010 Carbon C. R Build, in Purple.
    Spank//i9//Deity//Magura//MRP

  3. #3
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    Nice additions. Id like to see what else you change as a I have a 2018 Pitch Expert and may try an air fork vs buying a new bike
    2019 Kona Honzo
    SOLD - 2018 Specialized Pitch Expert

  4. #4
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    Did some upgrades when the kiddos allowed me time.

    Raided the spare parts bin for some hydro brakes and better shifters. I swapped the XTs onto my wife’s SC Julianna, and put her LXs on the beater.





    And my raceface turbine SL cranks and old school DX plats. I shaved about 1.5-2lbs with these parts alone.


  5. #5
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    So this fork is getting a bit sketchy. I’m no spring chicken, nor a feather, so 28mm stantions are on the chopping block.

    I have a freshly rebuilt and tuned/modded 2009 Reba Team that will bolt into the Pitch frame, but it’s a 26”. It appears RS started making a 27.5 after the 2012 evolution, leaving me with a seemingly limited choice of 26 or 29er legs. Anyone know of a 27.5 lower leg compatible with the 09-11 Reba? If so, you’ll be my hero

    Running the Reba with 29er legs at 80mm will net me a ATC of 485, 100mm at 508. Stock 27.5 suntour 100mm fork is 495 ATC, but small frame has 80mm so I’m at around 475 ATC (M-XL pitches have 100mm forks stock).

    To get this out of the way... Why do this? Because a $200 set of lowers makes a way better 80mm fork than a $200 100mm fork out of the box.

    Anyone see issues with running a 09 Reba team 29er at 80mm on a 27.5... or would this be sacrilege?

    Ran the numbers for a 29er Reba ay 80 and 100mm.

    My old school brain says wayyyy too slack, but this new geometry is making me a believer.

    80mm stocker -> Reba 29er at 80mm



    80mm stocker -> Reba 29er at 100mm


  6. #6
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    While plodding around ebay I ran across a fine gent selling a set of 2009-11 Reba 29er lowers for <$100 shipped. They looked clean and seller stated they were from an abondoned project. So I snapped them up and hoped for the best.

    The Reba is now sporting some new longer legs, and with sag I only gained about 12mm total atc. Honestly I can’t even tell there was a change in geometry. What I can tell is the epically different ride feel, small bump compliance, turn in compliance, and comfort with having a 32mm dual air fork with 100mm of travel.

    I even like how the fork stickers lend well to the blue/rediscover of the base pitch.


    Quote Originally Posted by NigelMTB View Post
    Nice additions. Id like to see what else you change as a I have a 2018 Pitch Expert and may try an air fork vs buying a new bike
    I say go for it. It really is a good frame/starting point.

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