Buying advice - First 29er- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Buying advice - First 29er

    Ok, I am ready to make the leap to a 29er. I am leaning towards a hardtail for two reasons (1) price, (2) 29er HTs are supposed to be as smooth as short travel 26" full susp. If anyone can offer opinion on the second point I would like to hear it. -note that I am a 6'3" 225lb rider, working on getting below 200 by summer. Also I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of VA...i.e. I am not interested in singlespeeds or completely rigid suspensions.

    I am looking at a Motobecane Fantom 29Pro SL. The price is 995 and here are a few component highlights:
    fork - Rockshox Reba SL (w/ mission control, poploc adjust, 100mm travel)
    Shifters - XT
    Rear der - XTR
    Front der - Deore
    Brakes - Avid Juicy 7
    Wheels - WTB Laserdisc 29 rims w/ Formula hubs

    My nearest LBS is over an hour away and there are actually 2 of them almost next door to one another. One is a Trek/Gary Fisher dealer, the other is a BMC/KHS dealer. I would like to support an LBS (even if it is further away) as long as they have the right bike for me.

    From what I have gathered neither Trek nor BMC offer a 29er. KHS offers one w/suspension and gears, but the drivetrain is all Deore w/Rockshox Tora fork. and the price is about $100 more than the Fantom Pro.

    Gary Fisher offers several 29ers, but the closest thing I can find to the Fantom is the X-Caliber. Unfortunately, the price is $1589 and the groupo is inferior. Sram x.7 shifters and rear der, Sram x.9 front der (this is actually an upgrade over the fantom). The wheelset is their own brand (Bontrager Duster) rim with Shimano hubs. i don't know how this compares to the wheelset on the Fantom. Also the fork is a Fox F80 RL 29, which I cannot find any information about on its own so again i do not know how well this compares to the Reba SL.

    A few more points:
    -I purchased my road bike through BD and I am very happy with them as a company (but would still prefer to support a LBS if possible).
    -Assembly is a push; it is a pain, but I have a pretty extensive shop and kinda enjoy the process.
    -I realize that the online posted price of LBS bikes is typically higher than the price the LBS will actually sell the bike. But it has been my experience that those discounts are generally in the 100-200 range, which still leaves the xcaliber nearly 400 over the fantom.
    - My actually price limit is near the 1500 mark (would consider 2000 for a truly amazing deal).


    OK, ANY suggestions are WELCOME!!! Please let me know what you think.
    P=DAL, P=DAL, P=DAL!

  2. #2
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    Hi,

    You are quite a big guy, short compared to me, but at least you are trying =-)

    The main question we need to ask before any advice is:

    What riding are you capable of, and what do you want to be doing in a few years?
    How do you ride and what do you want from your bike.

  3. #3
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    I will be using it primarily for recreational singletrack riding (lots of climbing), occasional cat 3/4 races, but nothing serious on the racing front. I want a fast capable alternative to my Trek Fuel EX8.
    P=DAL, P=DAL, P=DAL!

  4. #4
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    Most important thing is frame and fork. Drivetrain can always be upgraded later.

    The only thing that turned me off of Bikes Direct was lack of local presence. I am sure their customer service is great but if I have a warranty issue I like the ability to physically take my bike to a dealer to handle the issue as opposed to shipping it off somewhere. That is just my preference.


    As far as comparing the smoothness of a 29er hardtail to a short travel full suspension 26" bike...you will have to judge that for yourself. I don't find this to be true.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by A1an
    Most important thing is frame and fork. Drivetrain can always be upgraded later.

    The only thing that turned me off of Bikes Direct was lack of local presence. I am sure their customer service is great but if I have a warranty issue I like the ability to physically take my bike to a dealer to handle the issue as opposed to shipping it off somewhere. That is just my preference.
    This is definitely a consideration of mine as well. I would pay a few dollars more for the same basic setup through an LBS, even if its not very local - but I don't feel good about spending several hundred dollars more for an inferior bike. I don't know whether the GF is inferior to the Fantom or not. The drivetrain is certainly better on Fantom, but wheels and shock...I don't know?
    P=DAL, P=DAL, P=DAL!

  6. #6
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    The components on that Fisher would make me consider going that way (aside from the XTR derailleur, that's obviously top shelf). I'm no authority...in the process of building my 1st 29er, so take it with a grain of salt, but I have used Sram x.7 and x.9 stuff and it's killer. Also that Fox fork is nice from what I have read (again no experience).
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  7. #7
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    Both forks are good and there is always a huge debate on whether or not the REBA is better than the Fox. I personally like the REBA better but the Fox on my Paragon is pretty damn good.

    The Bontrager Duster wheels on the GF are supposed to be pretty stout. I cannot recall if they are tubeless ready or not. I am sure you can find some good feedback on those wheels in the 29er forum. Try a search and see what you can find out.

    As far as frame goes I couldn't tell you about the Motobecane. What kind of warranty comes with it?
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  8. #8
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    Do a search and you will find some reports on CS from Bikes Direct that are not so favorable. As far as the Fisher goes, the wheels and especially the hubs are better, and the Fox to me is a big upgrade over the Reba. The drivetrain components eventually wear out, regardless of the level, so what you are left with is the frame and fork. If you explain your case to your LBS, maybe they can work with you, especially on accessories, where there is more margin to play with. By all means, give your LBS a shot before you commit to a mail-order off-brand.

  9. #9
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    I have been riding & racing with the Sram x7 shifters & x9 RD for 4 yrs now and I have never had a problem with them. XT came on that bike and it didn't last long, I'm hard on drivetrains or the Shimano stuf is c***ola most likly a little of both..

    Ask your LBS for a racers 10% or 15% discount on the bike and the up grading of parts
    as you go. And when you get your weight down to 200lbs than reward yourself with a better wheels.

    Bike shop 1 hour away.
    Mail ording 2 to 5 days away.
    Needing parts two days before a race? Damm! the the bike shop went out of business.
    Motosbecanes are just butt uglyI bikes.
    And about the fox fork, fox will have a handlebar remot lockout comming out around March. The GF has a life time warranty!

  10. #10
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    It's not for everyone, but I personally had a great time building my own 29er from ebay parts. It takes some serious bargain hunting to keep costs down but I am very happy with the results. I'm running a reba race, 719's, X7 drivetrain, and BB7's.

    Total cost, just north of $1000 and the only parts I recycled were the brakes, everything else, brand new! If you have something else to ride in the meantime, building a bike is a fun project. This was my first build and I had a great time.

    Here's a pic

  11. #11
    Tulsa
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    spot longboard on ebay is a nice choice too

    some guy has brand new in box geared ones that are decently equiped

    search if interested, otherwise there's a new Bikes Direct question from a new mtbr guy every few hours here so a search in this forum will give you reams of insite
    wherever you go, there you are

  12. #12
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    Don't buy into the idea that your 29HT will feel similar to a short travel duelly 26er.
    The larger wheel will take the edge off small trail chatter like the stuff you get on fire roads but that is all. In the end its still a hardtail and when the going gets rough it will not perform very different to any other hardtail.
    I bought into that idea when I bought my Salsa El Mariachi. That bike's duties are now urban commuting only. I now have a RIP9 which I am happy with.
    If you're a big guy and want to smoothen the ride out a little then go for a short travel FS 29er.

  13. #13
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    how about GF Mamba this is my first 29er & in tight budget it cost USD 995.00 is it a good buy for a newbie in 29er like me..

    thanks

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugor
    Don't buy into the idea that your 29HT will feel similar to a short travel duelly 26er. The larger wheel will take the edge off small trail chatter like the stuff you get on fire roads but that is all. In the end its still a hardtail and when the going gets rough it will not perform very different to any other hardtail. I bought into that idea when I bought my Salsa El Mariachi. That bike's duties are now urban commuting only. I now have a RIP9 which I am happy with. If you're a big guy and want to smoothen the ride out a little then go for a short travel FS 29er.
    Well said.

  15. #15
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    Regarding Motobecane 29ers, there is a difference in frame geometry between their Aluminum 29ers and their Ti 29ers. Most notably, the geometery of the Motobecane Ti 29ers (Ti Fly Team 29er) is virtually identical to the Gary Fisher G2 29er geometry. See for yourself:

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...TI_29_2010.htm

    http://www.fisherbikes.com/bike/model/x-caliber

    This Ti Fly Team frame also comes with a RS Rebe Race shock. The one difference between the Gary Fisher G2 with the Fox fork and the Ti Fly Team 29er is a slight difference in the fork offset.

    At this point, I would base a decision first on frame geometry and second on getting the best possible parts for that frame. For me personally, I like the GF G2 geometry, but I dislike the idea of spending $1500 (X-caliber) or $2000 (Paragon) for a heavy bike with low-end Shimano parts. So I am either going to buy the Motobecane Ti Fly Team complete bike or the frame/fork and build it up.

  16. #16
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    Maybe I should stick with 26 in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugor
    Don't buy into the idea that your 29HT will feel similar to a short travel duelly 26er.
    The larger wheel will take the edge off small trail chatter like the stuff you get on fire roads but that is all. In the end its still a hardtail and when the going gets rough it will not perform very different to any other hardtail.
    I bought into that idea when I bought my Salsa El Mariachi. That bike's duties are now urban commuting only. I now have a RIP9 which I am happy with.
    If you're a big guy and want to smoothen the ride out a little then go for a short travel FS 29er.
    I already have a pretty well equipped FS (Trek Fuel EX8), and a well equipped HT (GF Marlin w/ lots of upgrades). Maybe I shouldn't concern myself with adding a 29er to my inventory so much. I was thinking that the 29er HT would be a nice in-between bike.

    thanks for the input - this is the type of insight I was look for (and yet hoping it would go the other way).
    P=DAL, P=DAL, P=DAL!

  17. #17
    m9r
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    are you deadset on keeping the Marlin... have you considered getting frame + wheelset and swapping the parts over?

  18. #18
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    I wouldn't give up on the 29er idea considering your height, and riding conditions. In my experience 29ers roll faster, use momentum better, and go over logs, and roots with ease. At 6'1" I've ridden countless Blue Ridge trails, and swear by larger wheels.
    Sad truth is HT 29ers don't feel like full suspension 26" bikes, especially not aluminum (ouch). Titanium, steel, and carbon will feel much more compliant than a 26" HT, but nothing like 4" of travel.
    For 2k max it'll be hard to find a complete 29er full sus. Call around to see about picking up a clearance deal on a '09. I know here in NC a few shops have some deals. PM me if you need more details.

  19. #19
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    TB- Fleabay or MTBR classifieds. Lots of great deals to be had on used 29ers and the best way to try them out to decide if they are for you. If you decide they're not for you resell on fairly priced 29ers is easy.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by m9r
    are you deadset on keeping the Marlin... have you considered getting frame + wheelset and swapping the parts over?
    I'm embarrassed to say no, I hadn't really considered this option. I've just always read and heard that it's nearly impossible to beat the deal offered on a complete bike with a build up.
    P=DAL, P=DAL, P=DAL!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by twobournes
    I'm embarrassed to say no, I hadn't really considered this option. I've just always read and heard that it's nearly impossible to beat the deal offered on a complete bike with a build up.
    You don't need to feel embarrassed. I have a 2001 GF Hoo Koo E Koo and have considered the following options:

    (1) Replacing all worn components including drive train, fork, headset, v-brakes, and wheels. This will cost a minimum of $700 using Shimano LX-grade components...and I still have a 26er! OUCH.

    (2) Buying a Motobecane Ti Fly Team 29er frame/fork for $1100 and building it up from there. This will cost a minimum of $2300 using Shimano SLX-grade components. Again OUCH.

    I don't mind spending $2000 on a new mountain bike, but I want the best value for my dollar. So...I have determined that it is best for me to wait for (1) the restocking of the $2000 Ti Fly Team 29er (April), or (2) one of two new models of the Fantom Ti 29ers that will range from $1500 to $2000 (summer). I hate to wait, but if I want the best value for the dollar spent, that is my only choice.

  22. #22
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    Buy from the LBS! In hindsight, I purchased a bike from a shop >3 hours away to save some $. That was shortsighted. Have had problems with the bike and had to take to the LBS by my house for repairs which cost $ out of my pocket. These repairs would likely have been covered by the shop where I bought the bike, but do not want to spend another day in the car down and back for every related issue.
    2010 Gary Fisher Rumblefish II
    Well done is better than well said.

  23. #23
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    As previously mentioned, don't bother looking at the drivetrain with a microscope. It actually sounds like they're throwing in a golden egg so you don't notice that the goose has full blown AIDS. THe Fisher, in this case is the much better buy, the SRAM X-7 is an excellent deraileur, and the WTB with no name Formula hub gives out in less than a season. I had one on my Haro Mary SS. Also, the brakes on the Fisher are a way better upgrade than the BB7's.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamlin11
    As previously mentioned, don't bother looking at the drivetrain with a microscope. It actually sounds like they're throwing in a golden egg so you don't notice that the goose has full blown AIDS. THe Fisher, in this case is the much better buy, the SRAM X-7 is an excellent deraileur, and the WTB with no name Formula hub gives out in less than a season. I had one on my Haro Mary SS. Also, the brakes on the Fisher are a way better upgrade than the BB7's.
    Good to hear from someone with some experience on this wheelset. Regarding the brakes however, the Moto is running Juicy 7's (or elixir's - I'm sure the choice is inventory based but either would be near the top of the Avid line up). The GF is a double downgrade to the Juicy 3's.
    It is beginning to look to me that the GF is indeed the better purchase (especially if I can get the price down just a smidge more - dealer quoted me 1450 on phone). And if the wheelset is junk, which I was afraid that they might be, coupled with an inferior fork the downgraded drivetrain/brakes seem much less important. The question is whether or not the Bontrager Dusters are a significantly better wheelset.
    P=DAL, P=DAL, P=DAL!

  25. #25
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    Yes, the Dusters are good. I have them on my SS and am happy with them. Seal up nicely either ghetto tubeless or with the Bonty strip system (better choice). The GF is by far the better bike. As others have said, don't expect it to ride like a FS bike; it's still a hardtail.

    I'd buy the GF and ditch the old 26 HT. That's a good stable: A FS 26er that you like and a nice 29 HT.

  26. #26
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    At your height, trust me, you will like the feel of a 29er.

    Every bike i rode felt too small until I went 29er.

    Go demo one before you make your choice.

    p.s. both the reba and fox are really nice forks.

  27. #27
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    At your height, trust me, you will like the feel of a 29er.

    Every bike i rode felt too small until I went 29er.

    Go demo one before you make your choice.

    p.s. both the reba and fox are really nice forks.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by twobournes
    Good to hear from someone with some experience on this wheelset. Regarding the brakes however, the Moto is running Juicy 7's (or elixir's - I'm sure the choice is inventory based but either would be near the top of the Avid line up). The GF is a double downgrade to the Juicy 3's.
    It is beginning to look to me that the GF is indeed the better purchase (especially if I can get the price down just a smidge more - dealer quoted me 1450 on phone). And if the wheelset is junk, which I was afraid that they might be, coupled with an inferior fork the downgraded drivetrain/brakes seem much less important. The question is whether or not the Bontrager Dusters are a significantly better wheelset.
    Aside from them being a bit on the heavy side I haven't heard anything bad about the Dusters. Bontrager puts one hell of a warranty (FIVE years) on their parts so I can imagine those wheels/hubs are built to last with proper maintenance and as long as you ride the bike within its limits (i.e. no downhill or freeride stunts).
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by twobournes
    Good to hear from someone with some experience on this wheelset. Regarding the brakes however, the Moto is running Juicy 7's (or elixir's - I'm sure the choice is inventory based but either would be near the top of the Avid line up). The GF is a double downgrade to the Juicy 3's.
    It is beginning to look to me that the GF is indeed the better purchase (especially if I can get the price down just a smidge more - dealer quoted me 1450 on phone). And if the wheelset is junk, which I was afraid that they might be, coupled with an inferior fork the downgraded drivetrain/brakes seem much less important. The question is whether or not the Bontrager Dusters are a significantly better wheelset.
    My GT Peace came with the WTB SD AMs with M525 hubs which I think are a grade up from the Trails, at 220# these rims wil not stay true, no jumps, but some minor rock garden stuff. Not just my opinion but others here as well(FRs seem to be strong enough though), I don't think the 32H helps any for a Clyde. The M525 hubs are real crap for clydes, pawls have a history of breaking check the reviews or do a search here I uploaded some pics of the internal damage in a thread title containing "worst hub ever" (originally about teh m475 hub but these and the mc18 all Alivio-level share the same freehub body). Can't comment on the Duster rims or the gravity hubs.
    Last edited by socal_jack; 02-04-2010 at 03:10 PM.

  30. #30
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    Ok, for anyone still interested: I went to the BMC/ KHS dealer to try and resolve my dilemma and it turns out that the KHS Flagstaff (KHS's FS 29er) is riding on pretty good parts but the price was a bit higher than could afford. The shop owner told me that if the supplier had any leftover 09 models there would be a significant price reduction, and indeed they had 2 left. He offered it to me for about 1450 (the same price as the GF Xcaliber HT), and I couldn't pass up the deal. A full suspension 29er, which a few of you suggested would be better than the HT for me, at the price of the GF hard tail. I hope I love it! The shop told me that this bike runs the same rear suspension linkage as Specialized - the Horst link (I think?)

    Anyway, it has recv'd nothing but glowing reviews on here. My only consideration was that the warranty is only 3 years vs. lifetime with GF - but shop owner assured me that I would be taken care of. Hopefully I won't need to call him on that promise.

    I've been pouring over this decision for a while now and wanted to ride a 29er first, but the GF dealer said he has one on order but it won't be here until JUNE! The shop I bought from doesn't stock 29ers either (this is NOT a very cylce rich area -though it should be). I have about a week before the bike will arrive (coming from CA to NC), so I am in the first stages of buyer's remorse right now - worried that I may have made a mistake with the only bicycle purchase that I will be able to make for QUITE some time.
    P=DAL, P=DAL, P=DAL!

  31. #31
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    judging by the specs on KHS's website for the '09 flagstaff, it looks like you got a combination of components from both bikes you were looking at. KHS is a trusted brand and the flagstaff appears to be one of their finest bikes. People will suggest you upgrade this or that but if you take care of your equipment, you will only need to replace it as it wears out. As long as you feel comfortable with your decision than let it rest and enjoy your new ride.

  32. #32
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    TB, I just went from 26ers to 29ers . I went out for the first time today on my FS Salsa Big Mama WOW! what a ride your going to LOVE IT! .... I went from a 2005 Giant NRS and a leader HT 26ers.. I am so happy I went to the 29ers and did I tell you that I am so happy I went to the 29ers..

    injoy!

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by twobournes
    Ok, for anyone still interested: I went to the BMC/ KHS dealer to try and resolve my dilemma and it turns out that the KHS Flagstaff (KHS's FS 29er) is riding on pretty good parts but the price was a bit higher than could afford. The shop owner told me that if the supplier had any leftover 09 models there would be a significant price reduction, and indeed they had 2 left. He offered it to me for about 1450 (the same price as the GF Xcaliber HT), and I couldn't pass up the deal. A full suspension 29er, which a few of you suggested would be better than the HT for me, at the price of the GF hard tail. I hope I love it! The shop told me that this bike runs the same rear suspension linkage as Specialized - the Horst link (I think?)

    Anyway, it has recv'd nothing but glowing reviews on here. My only consideration was that the warranty is only 3 years vs. lifetime with GF - but shop owner assured me that I would be taken care of. Hopefully I won't need to call him on that promise.

    I've been pouring over this decision for a while now and wanted to ride a 29er first, but the GF dealer said he has one on order but it won't be here until JUNE! The shop I bought from doesn't stock 29ers either (this is NOT a very cylce rich area -though it should be). I have about a week before the bike will arrive (coming from CA to NC), so I am in the first stages of buyer's remorse right now - worried that I may have made a mistake with the only bicycle purchase that I will be able to make for QUITE some time.

    No reason for buyers remorse
    You got a great bike on a great deal

    KHS is a top notch company and the chance of a defect on that bike is very close to Zero; do not think twice about the 3-year warranty; I would worry more about as asteroid strike than a KHS frame failure.

    You will love that bike
    Have Fun

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by twobournes
    ....so I am in the first stages of buyer's remorse right now - worried that I may have made a mistake with the only bicycle purchase that I will be able to make for QUITE some time.
    If you still have buyer's remorse in June, I suggest you take a trip to Banff and ride that bike like you stole it:

    http://tourdivide.org/


    Happy Trails!

  35. #35
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    looking into upgrading my forks on my wahoo 29er, found some rock shox REBE stuff used and new on ebay ranging from 300-400 up and a set of recon solo tk's for 270$ at price point also by rock shox not sure what to do, i ride xc and some down hill with a bit of road here and there im 230lbs and dropping, any thoughts

  36. #36
    gravity fighter
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    I would ask in the 29er components section and the Clyde section since your over 200lbs.


    Especially since this thread is from 2010 and most of the posters are probably dead by now.

  37. #37
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    Haha thank u, new to the forum thing

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