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  1. #1
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    Sep 2018

    Trying to turn XC Bike into more of a fun trail bike

    I am relatively new to mountain biking, grew up racing off road motorcycles (enduros, hare scrambles, etc) I bought a bike a few years back and have left it stock. I love riding.

    I want to have more of a bike I can rip on rather than an aggressive XC race bike. I have a 2014 Scott Spark 930. Can I turn this bike into more of a fun trail bike? What can I do? or am I better off selling the bike and buying a more modern bike?

    Can I put a fork with more travel on it (only 100mm now)? I was getting ready to upgrade my groupset to either NX Eagle Crank (1x12) and XT brakes, or a complete XT 1x11 groupset and brakes (opinions?). Also plan on buying a dropper post. What else can I do here, Help! I live in Utah and really want a bike that is more fun to ride and not so geared towards the XC racer.



  2. #2
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    Apr 2014
    I would add bigger, chunkier tires and a slightly wider bar (offset by a shorter stem if the reach is how you like it). I bet you could put a 120mm fork on it to get more suspension and slacken the head tube, but you'll be raising your bottom bracket, which doesn't usually help cornering so it might be a wash. If you really wanted to go wild, you could put an angleset on it and slacken the head tube angle. Offset bushings might be another option (if they work for the Spark) to slacken the head tube angle. It would slacken the seat angle as well, but that might not matter if the bike already has a pretty steep seat tube angle. I believe the Spark 930 was supposed to be pretty capable, so bigger, tougher tires and wider bars might get you a ways in the direction you want to go.

    If it doesn't, you have to ask yourself: Is this bike going to suit what I really want to ride? If what you want to ride is just a bit above what the bike is made for, I'd do something like what I suggest above. But if you're going to start throwing new fork money at it to try to make it something it isn't, you may want to consider selling it and buying a similar year bike more closely aimed at what you'd like to do.

  3. #3
    since 4/10/2009
    Reputation: Harold's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    There really isn't much you can do to it before you destroy the bike's handling, the bike itself, or possibly you. No matter what you do, the bike is still always going to be an xc bike.

    If you want something that's not an xc bike, then buy something that's built to be what you want.

  4. #4
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    May 2006
    If you're looking to buy that many new parts (dropper post, der, shifters, brakes, wider handlebars, shorter stem) plus a new fork, you should consider getting a new bike. New bike will presumably be trail oriented with more slack head angle, lower BB than what you would get after putting a 120 fork on, have a longer top tube to run a shorter stem, wider handlebars, and be able to run wider tires. Your current bike may not fit tires much wider than 2.3.

  5. #5
    Reputation: jcd46's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    Keep the Scott for XC duties, and go for a trail bike.

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  6. #6
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    Reputation: David R's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by suzuki122rm View Post
    I want to have more of a bike I can rip on rather than an aggressive XC race bike.
    Define "rip on".

    Option A would be to make the Scott more of a "down country" bike, by upgrading the fork/wheels/tyres/seatpost with more trail-oriented parts.

    Option B is to sell the Scott and buy a proper trail bike.

    Which one you choose depends how had you want to "rip on" it, and how much you still value the XC performance.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: slimphatty's Avatar
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    Sep 2011
    Get a new bike

  8. #8
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Jul 2005
    I wouldn't spend much money on it, maybe bigger tires, but I'd mainly keep it for XC stuff or sell it. That year of the Fox Evolution stuff that comes on that bike was especially bad, and even if you replace the fork, you still have that rear shock, on an XC frame. A dropper would also help a lot, but spending money on that bike will not be cost effective, not nearly as much as buying a new bike that has some of those features to start with (a frame capable of trail/AM riding). That's primarily an XC race bike you have there and it may not even take tires around 2.35 that would help here.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  9. #9
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    Reputation: LyNx's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
    Highly suggest you either keep that bike for XC type rides/riding and get another more purpose designed trail bike or sell that to buy the new trail bike. By the time you upgrade the forks, wheels, tyres, drivetrain, you'll be close to what you can get something for new.
    I'd highly suggest taking a look on JensonUSA, they have some killer deals on some awesome bikes. I might be a bit biased, but I'd suggest taking look at the Banshee's, either the Spitfire if you want 650B/27.5" or the Prime if you want 29".

    Full SLX build for $2400

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  10. #10
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    Reputation: IPA Rider's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    I have done this type of conversion on my 2012 Epic, which is very close to the Spark in many ways. It had a 32mm stanchion 100mm travel fork that was a noodle and just swapping that for a much more solid 34-120mm fork made a significant difference. Dropper post changed it a lot too...2.35 tires completed the change for me and it is a much more fun bike, but not super progressive.

    I think test riding some other bikes might help...
    Riding: '91 Carbon Epic Stumpjumper w/1" Slicks and a Rack on the Back

  11. #11
    jcd's best friend
    Reputation: Battery's Avatar
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    May 2016
    I would get a 2nd bike for trail duty. N+1 is alive and well!
    Trek Emonda | Transition Sentinel

  12. #12
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    Sep 2018
    Thanks for the input guys, truth be told I didn't really understand what I was buying when I got the bike, I think I'm going to add an inexpensive dropper, maybe upgrade the brakes and most likely buy a high end YT 27.5 jeffsy within the next year or so once I have the funds, thanks for the input

  13. #13
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    Jun 2015
    Quote Originally Posted by suzuki122rm View Post
    Thanks for the input guys, truth be told I didn't really understand what I was buying when I got the bike, I think I'm going to add an inexpensive dropper, maybe upgrade the brakes and most likely buy a high end YT 27.5 jeffsy within the next year or so once I have the funds, thanks for the input
    I did the exact same thing with first buying a XC bike without a complete understanding, then bought a trail bike.

    I'm really glad I have both now. The older XC still gets ridden far more than I figured it would.

  14. #14
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    Nov 2006
    I just 'upgraded' my 2015 Spark 900. I wanted more similar handling to my newer trail bike (Intense Primer). I put a Fox 34 Stepcast 120mm fork with a 44mm offset on the Spark as well as wider bars and it handles great, in my opinion. Not a cheap upgrade but it kept me from selling the bike and looking for a new "race bike" although not sure how much more of those I have in me. Raising the BB isn't a big deal for a bike with such a low one to start with. I already had a dropper. I'm planning on putting a Rekon on the rear and maybe a Forekaster on the front for more trail handling purposes. I may replace the rear shock with a newer one as I agree with that the shock/fork technologies of that time period are inferior to what's available today. You can go with a cheaper fork than a stepcast and get the same geometry. YMMV

  15. #15
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    May 2018
    Recently changed my brand new xc ht to singlespeed and angleset 2 degree slacker and lenghtened fork from 100 to 120. Put on a dropper too.
    Then bought a new Scott genius 700 tuned...

    Looking at your bike and situation i have no doubt in the priorities.

    1. Put on a angleset. Old school steep geo is idiotic even on xc unless you have Nino Skills. Its just idiotic. Slack out that hta. Its still a xc bike but more easy to ride. Gives you longer wheelbase too. Cheap and good is Workscomponents.

    2. Go from 700 to 760 wide bar. Get a cheap one for 15 usd on ebay. Then shorten stem 1-2cm. Get cheap stuff.

    3. Get a cheap dropper.

    4. You dont need brakes now Save that. Same for new gear. That is low priority.

    5. If funds permit get 120mm fork. Eg suntour axon. Its good to change fork and get angleset at same time.

    That is a nice bike then. Just better. Even when you get a proper trail bike. If you do step 1-5 at the same time and eg put on 2.35 burlier tyres it will feel like a new bike 100%. Because it is.

    Seriously do it all at the same time and get a shock. And then tell is about it good luck.

  16. #16
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    May 2012
    Ok so bike has a 69.5 deg HA in the "low" setting and solid M615 brakes 180/160mm. Drivetrain need not be changed to make it more trail.

    Here is what you need to do.

    1) Appropriate tires. 2.25 to 2.4 in a "trail" tread. There are plenty so take your pick. These will fit fine 21mm wheels.
    2) Dropper post you have a 31.6 post diameter so that will give you plenty of options.
    3) Wider handlebar - 740-760 with shorter stem.
    4) 120 mm fork.

    Don't do any more.

    Not sure what tires you have now, but no need to run XC tires. Heck my light "XC" bike runs 2.35 Ikon in front and 2.2 XR2 in the rear. Used to run a XR3. I would think an XR3 or maybe XR4 front with XR3 rear is good combo. However there are many good tires with more lugs than an typical XC tire.

    Dropper post will make the biggest difference. I have one my "Enduro" bike (2013 Santa Cruz solo (aka 5010) 130/125, 68 deg HA). With the seat down the bike can tackle just about any trail. With seat up I can pedal well. It is heavier than my XC bikes so does not climb as well, but that dropper is transformative on that bike. I don't run one on my XC bikes (100/100 and HT Singlespeed).

    Wider bars than the 700's you have will give more control. Combine with a shorter stem to keep the same feel. It not dramatic like a dropper, but nice to have.

    120 mm fork will slacken the bike out and give more confidence and add more travel to allow it be more plus. Nothing bad about this other than the cost unless you can get one used. Might not be worth the expense though.

    Now as for fun.. Well personally I have more miles on my XC bikes than my "trail/Enduro" bike. I live in Phx Az and ride year round (3-5 times a week). Rocks every where. I ride in mtns in summer and the deserts in winter. If I lived in Park city/Salt Lake or rode that area alot my 2018 Epic would be the perfect bike (100/100 XC bike, light and responsive. Perfect for lots of climbing per mile). If I rode Moab all the time then my 5010 would get more use for the chunk.
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

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