What is the most low maintenance 29er FS bike?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    What is the most low maintenance 29er FS bike?

    Hi, I know this is a silly question, because they all need maintenance, but is there a 29er FS bike that requires less maintenance than others, and if so which is it?

    The reason I am asking, is because I own a V1 Ibis Ripley and as much as I love the bike every 6 months or so creaking reoccurs and need to service it. To say the least, it's a pain in the ass!

    Anyway, it would be interesting to get your input on this.

  2. #2
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    It comes down to how often it's ridden and what conditions it's ridden in.

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    The differential between high and low maintenance FS's these days is so small, I wouldn't worry about it. I think you're a candidate for a threaded BB, but other than that, all of them are reliable - especially within that subgroup.

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    Over my decades of experience, I've found single pivot (and Horst and faux-bar, etc.) to need less fiddling than any of the mini-link bikes (DW, VPP, etc.).

    But honestly, the differences these days are so small, I wouldn't make it a buying decision. But I don't mind working on my bike once in awhile. I kind of enjoy it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    Over my decades of experience, I've found single pivot (and Horst and faux-bar, etc.) to need less fiddling than any of the mini-link bikes (DW, VPP, etc.).

    But honestly, the differences these days are so small, I wouldn't make it a buying decision. But I don't mind working on my bike once in awhile. I kind of enjoy it.
    This.... good simple therapy. Once a season, at the very end, do a full teardown and clean bearing and whatnot of the years muck and grime, make her all shiny and new feeling.

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    Does the Moots Mountaineer count? https://moots.com/bike/mountaineer/
    Ragley Big Wig, Sunday Soundwave (BMX), Nashbar CXSS (workout)

  7. #7
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    how and what are you"servicing"? to remedy the creaking? have you talked to ibis?

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    sure...the one you take impeccable care of. or...the one without suspension.

    In all honesty, it depends what you're having to mess with all the time. Chances are, it's not the frame itself. Rather, it's something attached to the frame.

    If the bike's old enough and has been ridden enough, there's a good chance you're going to start seeing stuff wear out that you don't have to mess with much. Things like pedal rebuilds. Wearing out the saddle (those creak like crazy when they get worn out). Hub service. How often do you service your fork/shock? Especially the shock bushings (those things also make lots of noise when they need replacing). IME, most halfway recent FS bikes do pretty well with pivot bearings. I had a Stumpjumper FSR from 2003 that needed them every year or two and I didn't ride especially hard or especially big miles back then. There are currently 3 FS bikes in my garage (2010, 2014, and 2017 models) and only the bike from 2010 has needed pivot bearings replaced.

    The other things to consider are user-related. Are you using sufficient (but not too much) grease/loctite/retaining compound/fiber grip when you install parts to prevent water/dirt ingress? What are the conditions you ride in? Is it especially wet or dusty? Are you using a torque wrench when tightening fasteners? Do you periodically clean/inspect your stuff?

    This is stuff you'll have to do even if you've got a rigid singlespeed. Your options are to do it yourself, or to pay a shop to do an annual overhaul. Ignoring it is just going to result in a bike that doesn't work as well as it could, and will probably be noisier than everybody else's in your crew. It's better to be proactive about it and be aware of your service intervals so that you can hit multiple jobs at once, rather than just chasing the noise all the time.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm View Post
    how and what are you"servicing"? to remedy the creaking? have you talked to ibis?
    I'd love to do the work myself, however, I'm nervous to do it because I don't want to F anything up. At the same time, I would appreciate learning and do it myself and it is enjoyable as others have said. It takes some time to learn all the intricacies though.

    I've had my bike over 4 years. The creaking comes and goes. Most recently, I had to have the swingarm replaced because a bolt hole stripped. Ibis was kind enough to sell me a swingarm from a V2 Ripley at a decent price that is compatible with mine.

    I had my LBS install everything. When I went on my first ride after the installation it began creaking. I decided to take it back to my LBS since they did the work to double check everything. They even regreased the BB and said it was fine and confirmed that everything was torqued to spec and lubed properly.

    When I got it back the second time, it was quiet for a mile, then began creaking again.
    It sounds like its coming from the drivetrain. Maybe there is some play in the BB despite being in good shape. The creaking occurs when I pedal (even off the saddle), but not coasting.

    I've corresponded with Ibis about this numerous times when this occurred previously and understand there is a laundry list of culprits it could be. One time, I accidentally fixed it by greasing the rear axle when I replaced the tire.

    Since my LBS isn't an Ibis dealer, I was thinking of having an Ibis dealer nearby take a look at it to see if they can diagnose the problem? I wonder if this would make a difference. My LBS is very competent, however, an Ibis dealer may have an edge since they probably have some specific insight on common issues with Ibis bikes?

    Please advise.

    Thanks people!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by norbyd View Post
    My LBS is very competent, however, an Ibis dealer may have an edge since they probably have some specific insight on common issues with Ibis bikes?
    Nope. The ONLY thing the brand of bike determines is how easy it is for the shop to obtain proprietary parts and for you to get warranty service from the manufacturer.

    At 4yrs old, your bike is well overdue to be disassembled, cleaned, and serviced.

    Frankly, no shop wants to mess with chasing creaks. It takes an inordinate amount of time to isolate a noise and chances are, it's some piddly little thing that they're not going to get any money for dealing with. So if you're going to chase each individual noise as it pops up, you're going to have to do it on your own time. The shop is probably going to check for mechanical function and that's about it. If everything is actually working, then the noise is an aesthetic thing.

    It's not their job to do routine cleaning of your bike, either. A LOT of noises come down to that alone. If you pay them to overhaul your bike, that generally does include some pretty detailed cleaning. You'll pay for it, too. Lots of shops will offer overhaul discounts during their slow season, and that's when it's best to have them do that job. But things like getting the dirt off the outside, taking care of the chain, etc are up to the owner. Some shops (but not all) will include a little cleaning as part of certain tune up packages, too. They're also more likely to spend a little more time on creaks if you're paying them for more work. Just depends on how they handle those kinds of things. Some shops emphasize meticulous work. Others emphasize clearing the service board and getting customers' bikes back sooner.

    Now, given the work you recently had done, though, I'd be working to isolate the sound as best I can, keeping it in mind as you work through other possibilities. Taking things apart and cleaning them, then reinstalling them carefully and with good use of grease/loctite/fiber grip/retaining compound where called for. If you're thinking drivetrain, start with drivetrain bits. ALL of them. Any spot where one part touches another, even the smallest parts. I've had creaks caused by housing ferrules in a housing stop that had a little dust in it. Chainring bolts are a possibility. The cassette is a possibility. The thru axle is a possibility.

  11. #11
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    Harold,

    Thanks, I appreciate your knowledge and insight on this.

    I usually have my bike serviced at least on an annual basis or whenever needed.
    I'd like to start doing it myself but need time to learn - it would be more satisfying.

    I agree with what you said about shops only having so much time to chase creaks.
    I try to do it myself but it's like chasing a ghost sometimes. I'll see what I can do
    before bugging my LBS again.

    Maybe I should just get a hardtail!...LOL. Joking.

  12. #12
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    Fwiw, I like giant's for FS bikes that are low maintenance. For whatever reason, the pivots on Giant FS bikes seem to need little to no maintenance to be happy. You'll go through the front lower pivot bearings faster then the others because of the maestro's propensity to hold water in the little pocket below the shock and that fouls the bearings... but even then we're talking once every 2 years +/-.

    I've had good luck with kona's although not all their bikes are created equal for maintenance. Santacruz is obviously a good choice because of the warranties.

    But like the above posters have said, it depends on a lot of things. Modern FS bikes need some sort of all bolts check at least every other month (if you're riding 1-2 times a week) and at a minimum, an annual suspension service. I would recommend a lower leg and air can service at far shorter intervals, but plenty of people don't do that and they still ride regularly and have fun. Even if their bikes aren't operating at their optimum due to deferred maintenance.

  13. #13
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    When I had my swingarm replaced recently, while I was at it I had them service the suspension ( never had it done in 4 years!..WTF!). I'm not an aggressive rider, and on average ride 1-2 times per week.

  14. #14
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    Sometimes the creak on a bike might not be where you are thinking it comes from. I have a creak that I thought was coming from the pivots on my bike. It drove me nuts since nothing I did would fix the creak. Until one day I was fiddling with my rear derailleur. Turns out that the creaking was coming from the clutch on the rear derailleur!

    I live in So Cal so its pretty dry out here. I haven't really done much maintenance to any of my full suspension bikes.

  15. #15
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    While I agree with the comments that modern bikes are generally pretty good and similarly durable and creak prone/resistant, the Ripley V1/2/3 is probably slightly more prone to creaks than typical due to the unique nature of the eccentric linkage system. I am a big fan of the Ripley, but this is not an uncommon issue. The eccentric assemblies are particular about being correctly assembled and torqued. And there is an updated eccentric design that replaced the early V1 version, has yours been upgraded to the "Gnar-Core"? The torque specs have been changed over the years since the Ripley was introduced. An experienced Ibis dealer actually would be a good idea for rooting out a very persistent and stubborn creak, if it is indeed lurking in the proprietary bits. Another possible source is where the clevis and shock bolt together. Lot's of good info if you go digging into the Ibis forum here. But otherwise they are just as prone to random hardware creaks as any other bike. Servicing the eccentrics yourself is not super hard, but they are a bit tricky to get aligned correctly to put it back together, especially the first time you do it. It may feel like a puzzle until you get it right.

    The new V4 Ripley may very well go to the other side of this trend and be quieter than the average bike of similar complexity, due to using Igus bushings at one set of the primary linkages, I expect these to run quiet and trouble free for extended intervals compared to standard cartridge bearings, although this is still to be proven true due to the newness of the bike. The very similar Ripmo seems to be holding up well, though, from what I have heard.

    In my own experience, besides random problems with drivetrain components, saddles and seatposts are the most common sources of creaks, and often simply removing, cleaning and reinstalling will clear it up.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RS VR6 View Post
    Sometimes the creak on a bike might not be where you are thinking it comes from. I have a creak that I thought was coming from the pivots on my bike. It drove me nuts since nothing I did would fix the creak. Until one day I was fiddling with my rear derailleur. Turns out that the creaking was coming from the clutch on the rear derailleur!

    I live in So Cal so its pretty dry out here. I haven't really done much maintenance to any of my full suspension bikes.

    I had a similar issue, where it drove me nuts and it turned out to be the rear axle. Regreased it and it was silent again. This time, however, my mechanic mentioned that was greased. So I'll have to troubleshoot some more or take it to a mechanic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velodonata View Post
    While I agree with the comments that modern bikes are generally pretty good and similarly durable and creak prone/resistant, the Ripley V1/2/3 is probably slightly more prone to creaks than typical due to the unique nature of the eccentric linkage system. I am a big fan of the Ripley, but this is not an uncommon issue. The eccentric assemblies are particular about being correctly assembled and torqued. And there is an updated eccentric design that replaced the early V1 version, has yours been upgraded to the "Gnar-Core"? The torque specs have been changed over the years since the Ripley was introduced. An experienced Ibis dealer actually would be a good idea for rooting out a very persistent and stubborn creak, if it is indeed lurking in the proprietary bits. Another possible source is where the clevis and shock bolt together. Lot's of good info if you go digging into the Ibis forum here. But otherwise they are just as prone to random hardware creaks as any other bike. Servicing the eccentrics yourself is not super hard, but they are a bit tricky to get aligned correctly to put it back together, especially the first time you do it. It may feel like a puzzle until you get it right.

    The new V4 Ripley may very well go to the other side of this trend and be quieter than the average bike of similar complexity, due to using Igus bushings at one set of the primary linkages, I expect these to run quiet and trouble free for extended intervals compared to standard cartridge bearings, although this is still to be proven true due to the newness of the bike. The very similar Ripmo seems to be holding up well, though, from what I have heard.

    In my own experience, besides random problems with drivetrain components, saddles and seatposts are the most common sources of creaks, and often simply removing, cleaning and reinstalling will clear it up.
    You made some great points here.

    Yes, I did upgrade to the gnarcores.

    I'm nervous to mess with the eccentrics which is why I take it to my LBS. I have checked the torque though. This time around I think it could be something in the drivetrain. It wouldn't be a bad idea I think to replace the BB, although my mechanic said it was ok. It could be something internal in the BB? Since it's never been replaced. Although I'm thinking it could be the seat/seatpost since there is a subtle amount of lateral play or maybe the deraileur or hangar? I'll try to do some troubleshooting before taking it in to my LBS.

    As you mentioned, I did hear the V4 is a bit more maintenance free then the previous models and am tempted to get one, however, I really like my V1, despite the notorious creaking issue it has, it is very light and nimble, it seems like the subsequent models including the V4 are a few pounds heavier (although they have improved stability). Mine is under 26lbs. Also, I like how it's a bit shorter in length than the LS models, to me it seems a bit more maneuverable.

    Thanks for your input!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by norbyd View Post
    You made some great points here.

    Yes, I did upgrade to the gnarcores.

    I'm nervous to mess with the eccentrics which is why I take it to my LBS. I have checked the torque though. This time around I think it could be something in the drivetrain. It wouldn't be a bad idea I think to replace the BB, although my mechanic said it was ok. It could be something internal in the BB? Since it's never been replaced. Although I'm thinking it could be the seat/seatpost since there is a subtle amount of lateral play or maybe the deraileur or hangar? I'll try to do some troubleshooting before taking it in to my LBS.

    As you mentioned, I did hear the V4 is a bit more maintenance free then the previous models and am tempted to get one, however, I really like my V1, despite the notorious creaking issue it has, it is very light and nimble, it seems like the subsequent models including the V4 are a few pounds heavier. Mine is under 26lbs. Also, I like how it's a bit shorter in length than the LS models since to me it's a bit more maneuverable.

    Thanks for your input!
    If the BB still feels smooth when spinning the cranks with the chain off, it's probably fine, but it is a 4 year old press-fit BB so it's not entirely without concern. They are cheap enough I would replace it proactively if you intend to keep the bike. I would definitely remove, clean, check and reinstall all the basic components (seatpost, saddle, stem, cranks, etc.) just to be thorough.

    One thing about the eccentrics, there is a bolt on each that holds them together that can't be reached without pulling the swingarm. If you do decide to check it, with practice you can get the swingarm off in a couple of minutes and back on almost as fast. The entire trick is having the eccentrics in the right position to slide into the grooves on the inside of the swingarm that are there just for that step. And make sure you have the updated assembly procedure and torque specs for everything.

    Your Ripley is still a great bike, so is the new one but it would definitely ride and fit different than you are accustomed to. The new one could probably be built up lighter than your current one, with the same parts spec. I believe the V4 frame is lighter, somewhat due to the removal of the eccentrics from the design. If not it's very close. But current build spec is a longer dropper and bigger tires than would ever fit on a V1 or V2, those could add a pound or more.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velodonata View Post
    If the BB still feels smooth when spinning the cranks with the chain off, it's probably fine, but it is a 4 year old press-fit BB so it's not entirely without concern. They are cheap enough I would replace it proactively if you intend to keep the bike. I would definitely remove, clean, check and reinstall all the basic components (seatpost, saddle, stem, cranks, etc.) just to be thorough.

    One thing about the eccentrics, there is a bolt on each that holds them together that can't be reached without pulling the swingarm. If you do decide to check it, with practice you can get the swingarm off in a couple of minutes and back on almost as fast. The entire trick is having the eccentrics in the right position to slide into the grooves on the inside of the swingarm that are there just for that step. And make sure you have the updated assembly procedure and torque specs for everything.

    Your Ripley is still a great bike, so is the new one but it would definitely ride and fit different than you are accustomed to. The new one could probably be built up lighter than your current one, with the same parts spec. I believe the V4 frame is lighter, somewhat due to the removal of the eccentrics from the design. If not it's very close. But current build spec is a longer dropper and bigger tires than would ever fit on a V1 or V2, those could add a pound or more.
    I'm considering just having my LBS replace the BB - to be proactive like you said, that way I know it's new as well.

    I plan to keep it for at least a year longer, but am contemplating keeping it or selling it to my brother who wants it, this way I can keep it in the family!...LOL.

    I think my next bike will be another Ripley. They just suit me well. I've demo'd the V3 and loved it and know I will love the V4 ( essentially a cross between the Ripley and Ripmo (which I've demo'd already ) ) without even demo'ing... LOL. I'm wondering if I see a great deal on a V3 with a great setup, if I should buy it, or buy the V4. The V4 may be worth getting for the new linkage alone? If I get the V4, unless I see a great deal somewhere, will probably have midrange parts, whereas if I get the V3, I'll probably have better parts due to a better deal on an older bike.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by norbyd View Post
    I'm considering just having my LBS replace the BB - to be proactive like you said, that way I know it's new as well.

    I plan to keep it for at least a year longer, but am contemplating keeping it or selling it to my brother who wants it, this way I can keep it in the family!...LOL.

    I think my next bike will be another Ripley. They just suit me well. I've demo'd the V3 and loved it and know I will love the V4 ( essentially a cross between the Ripley and Ripmo (which I've demo'd already ) ) without even demo'ing... LOL. I'm wondering if I see a great deal on a V3 with a great setup, if I should buy it, or buy the V4. The V4 may be worth getting for the new linkage alone? If I get the V4, unless I see a great deal somewhere, will probably have midrange parts, whereas if I get the V3, I'll probably have better parts due to a better deal on an older bike.
    I have a V4 frame on order for a mid July delivery, as much as I like the original Ripley design I feel like the V4 is a superior bike and somewhat more future-proof. But the V3 is pretty darn nice too and there are some great deals on them right now. You really can't go wrong.

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    From what I've seen, periodically checking the security of pivot bolts can go long way on any brand. No need to re-torque them. Just put a wrench on them and exert some force to check that they're not coming loose. Once they do get loose, they can move and wallow out the bores and threads making it more difficult to keep them secure and not creak.
    Do the math.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velodonata View Post
    I have a V4 frame on order for a mid July delivery, as much as I like the original Ripley design I feel like the V4 is a superior bike and somewhat more future-proof. But the V3 is pretty darn nice too and there are some great deals on them right now. You really can't go wrong.
    So far, I've heard nothing but great things about the V4. I might commit to getting one but am in no rush. Probably the next year or so. Maybe I can eventually pick one up used and in good shape like I did with my V1.

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    Press fit BB, ugh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by norbyd View Post
    Hi, I know this is a silly question, because they all need maintenance, but is there a 29er FS bike that requires less maintenance than others, and if so which is it?

    The reason I am asking, is because I own a V1 Ibis Ripley and as much as I love the bike every 6 months or so creaking reoccurs and need to service it. To say the least, it's a pain in the ass!

    Anyway, it would be interesting to get your input on this.
    Maintenance issues/creaks & clicks...these are part(s) of the reason I choose to ride hardtails...seriously.
    "Caught my first tube this morning....sir!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by go-pirates View Post
    Maintenance issues/creaks & clicks...these are part(s) of the reason I choose to ride hardtails...seriously.
    It has crossed my mind! What do you ride? Do you miss FS?

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    I currently ride a 2019 Santa Cruz Chameleon R+ build. I rode FS for a decade (before stuff started getting really good...lol!). I don't miss FS at all...but I know they are really good, and reliable, these days. One of these days I might get back on board with a FS, but for now, I'm quite content (pushing 50 y.o.). Simple is good!
    "Caught my first tube this morning....sir!"

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    And while I am up, I have to say that a good single-pivot design, such as the Kona Hei Hei, or Orange, seems like it would be a durable, fuss-free design (?). Fewer moving parts. But just about every design (FS, or HT) has it's pros and cons. Good luck in your search, and keep us posted in terms of what you decide.
    "Caught my first tube this morning....sir!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by go-pirates View Post
    And while I am up, I have to say that a good single-pivot design, such as the Kona Hei Hei, or Orange, seems like it would be a durable, fuss-free design (?). Fewer moving parts. But just about every design (FS, or HT) has it's pros and cons. Good luck in your search, and keep us posted in terms of what you decide.
    This is my thinking as well.

    A single pivot (I have a Kona Process 153, but there are many others) will have less pivot hardware than bikes with multi-pivot suspension setups. Also, bikes with larger/better sealed bearings likely have a better chance as well.

    But as others have said, when/where you ride, as well as how you maintain things will likely have a larger effect.

  29. #29
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    Low maintenance FS mtb ???

    Does not exist.

    End discussion.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by go-pirates View Post
    Maintenance issues/creaks & clicks...these are part(s) of the reason I choose to ride hardtails...seriously.
    Same here. I sold off my most recent FS 3 years ago, but still have 3 hardtails.

  31. #31
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    Funk La Ruta.

    No bearings or linkages. Just uses the flex of titanium for around 60mm of travel. It smooths out the trail much more than you would think for so little travel.

    Titanium frame that won't corrode and can also survive abuse

    No paint. Scratches can be buffed out with a scotchbrite pad.

    Threaded bb






    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Low maintenance FS mtb ???

    Does not exist.

    End discussion.
    All depends on how you define "low maintenance" though. "Low maintenance" is a pretty ambiguous and subjective term. What's the threshold? One inescapable fact is that all bicycles require maintenance. And rear suspension isn't the part of bicycles that requires the most attention. Chain drives and pneumatic tires require more attention than pretty much anything else on a bicycle. But even the simplest bicycles to maintain (track bikes) have both of those things.

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    If you have a V1- watch this.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNebDTwadd8
    Ripley LS v3
    OG Ripley v2 handed down to son

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    If you have a V1- watch this.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNebDTwadd8
    Thanks, I've watched this a long time ago. Yeah, there are a lot of culprits involved
    in causing creaks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coke View Post
    Funk La Ruta.

    No bearings or linkages. Just uses the flex of titanium for around 60mm of travel. It smooths out the trail much more than you would think for so little travel.

    Titanium frame that won't corrode and can also survive abuse

    No paint. Scratches can be buffed out with a scotchbrite pad.

    Threaded bb






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    Who is the manufacture?

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by norbyd View Post
    Who is the manufacture?
    Funk

    https://www.funkcycles.com/29pluslaruta


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    Quote Originally Posted by go-pirates View Post
    I currently ride a 2019 Santa Cruz Chameleon R+ build. I rode FS for a decade (before stuff started getting really good...lol!). I don't miss FS at all...but I know they are really good, and reliable, these days. One of these days I might get back on board with a FS, but for now, I'm quite content (pushing 50 y.o.). Simple is good!
    I'm debating on switching to a hardtail for the "simple is good" reason. But will I miss the rear suspension? That is the question!...LOL.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by norbyd View Post
    I'm debating on switching to a hardtail for the "simple is good" reason. But will I miss the rear suspension? That is the question!...LOL.
    I don't ride places with tons of roots or rocks like New England, but I don't miss my FS bikes at all. I typically only ride Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. 90% of my trips to Moab over the past 10 years have been on either a hard-tail or on a soft tail with 1" of pivotless rear travel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by norbyd View Post
    I'm debating on switching to a hardtail for the "simple is good" reason. But will I miss the rear suspension? That is the question!...LOL.
    My answer is yes. I really like having both. Some days it's a hardtail day. Others it's a FS day. I ride a lot of the same trails on both bikes and it's fun to smash on the FS and then be a little more precise on a hardtail.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by norbyd View Post
    I'm debating on switching to a hardtail for the "simple is good" reason. But will I miss the rear suspension? That is the question!...LOL.
    I do not miss rear suspension. I ride in central North Carolina. Lots of guys ride FS on our local trails here, but it is definitely not necessary. I have 27.5x3.0 tires on wide rims, and this set-up provides plenty of comfort. As you probably know, a hardtail requires you to be more active when you ride; picking good lines, using body english, etc. But to me, that is part of the fun.
    "Caught my first tube this morning....sir!"

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