Moving to Anchorage- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Moving to Anchorage

    Hi all. First post here. I will be moving to Anchorage this summer and am looking to get a mountain bike in Denver before I head up. I have been removed from biking for a while, but rode a lot of bmx type stuff when I was younger. I am looking to get into mountain biking, but don't know what kind of setup would be appropriate for the trails/conditions in the area. I was looking to go 29er, but that is open like everything else. Should I be looking hardtail or full suspension? I really like the idea of single speed for the simplicity and low maintenance if hardtail, but is this a ridiculous idea for Alaska? I picture myself as more of a trail/singletrack rider. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    is buachail foighneach me
    Reputation: sean salach's Avatar
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    Singlespeed 29er works fine in AK. Most people that ride ss-29 up here run 32 x 19 or 32 x 20 in the summer. However, if you're just getting back into riding after a long time off, a ss will work you. Plenty of really fun singletrack in Anchorage and some epic riding just south of there on the Kenai Penninsula.

    Hardtail or FS is 100% personal. There are trails with lot's of roots up here, and some with rocks, but most are fairly smooth. Your average mtb'er up here spans the full range from rigid ss to hardtail, to fs. If where you're from is really rocky/technical, fs will probably be way overkill for you up here.

  3. #3
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    I agree with Sean, even though I don't own a 29r yet. I have a 5.5 inch travel trail bike that works for everything, but is overkill on most things south central-xcountry oriented. I travel to ride often, and the bike works well everywhere. There are some really cool, alpine type rides that a full suspension bike is a lot of fun on here, that I wouldn't take a 29 hard tail on. Those 29r's can't keep up in the steep technical, but they seem real solid going up, x-country, and down the smoother lines. I'm considering buying a hard tail 29r for the long rides on the peninsula, most of the hillside stuff, and longer endurance type x-country rides. I guess it really depends on what kind of riding you want to get into. A solid fs bike will keep you happy on everything you could find up here, while being a bit much for some of it. A 29r will keep you happy on most things up here, but wouldn't be a bike I'd take on some of the stuff I like to ride up here.
    "Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."

  4. #4
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    Get a slack trail bike. Alyeska will be spinning 4 and 6 three days a week this summer. Going down is fun, not having to ride up to go down is funner.

  5. #5
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    I am not a fan of 29ers but I do enjoy a couple of inches of cross country travel to soak up some of the terrain. It is a good combination and gives you something to take south for more technical stuff.

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    Valhalla

    Why no 29? I've been nearly convinced to buy one. I haven't heard of someone disliking them.

    Definitely right about Alyeska, and having a bike to travel with, and do EVERYTHING there is up here rather than having a bike that is really good for some of the stuff here.

    My final advice would be to pick up a quality 5 inch trail bike.

    Final.
    "Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."

  7. #7
    is buachail foighneach me
    Reputation: sean salach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfbkr50
    ...........There are some really cool, alpine type rides that a full suspension bike is a lot of fun on here, that I wouldn't take a 29 hard tail on. Those 29r's can't keep up in the steep technical, but they seem real solid going up, x-country, and down the smoother lines. .......


    It's not 29ers, it's the people you're riding with....


    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/1261665336/" title="luke's ride by anrothardonn, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm2.static.flickr.com/1126/1261665336_c43ffbede2.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="luke's ride"></a>

  8. #8
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    Spandex boy...

    would be smoked on that line. I'd bet a 29r couldn't keep up with a 26 on any descent in ak that had a root, or a rock in it. Maybe the hillside, roads.
    "Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."

  9. #9
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    I started Mt.Biking in Anchorage along time ago, a 29er HT would well for AK trails. But, you might consider the new Salsa Spearfish as a short travel FS.

    Wish I was moving back there.

  10. #10
    is buachail foighneach me
    Reputation: sean salach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfbkr50
    would be smoked on that line. I'd bet a 29r couldn't keep up with a 26 on any descent in ak that had a root, or a rock in it. Maybe the hillside, roads.

    If the 26 and the 29 both had the same amount and type of suspension, and the same amount of gears, I bet you would eat those words with a spoon. I'm sure you've got enough of an ability to reason to see that a larger wheel that rolls faster over bumps(this is a fact, and it should be obvious) will roll faster over bumps when attached to a similarly built bicycle.

  11. #11
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    I had a rant posted, but decided this thread was answering a question from a new to be AK rider. I was offering my opinion, got cocky when I saw the rock garden and dude on a 29r. I think you are right about comparison of the two. I think when the trail gets to a certain pitch, and obstacles to a certain technical degree, and the trail twisting to a certain point, a 26 would be better. I agree that a 29 full suspension bike on most of the trails we have up here would be a faster (with the same rider) bike than a 26. I don't know if it would be my do it all bike though. They don't make 29 inch downhill rigs for a reason.

    Thanks for being condescending. That was rad.
    Last edited by Elfbkr50; 04-02-2011 at 06:07 PM.
    "Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the replies. Sorry if I stirred up a "which is better: 26 vs 29". I think I am leaning towards a SS 29er for the time being. I don't see myself getting into much technical stuff when I am just getting back into biking. If all goes well I'm sure there will be plenty more bikes down the road!

  13. #13
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    5 or 6" Travel bike will do anything you need up here. Dont leave yourself wishing you needed more, in the travel area. The geometry and suspension options (propel/lockouts on front/rear) of 5 & 6" trail and All Mountain bikes allow you more ability to get business done pointing down with just as much effeciency going up. Not that im an XC racer, never have been, or never will be, but my 6" bike will pedal up most likely anything I can muster the strength to go up, and gets it on like a mini DH rig in the steep and technical and handles the hits just fine. If I feel the need to pedal it all day, I switch tires to something lighter that rolls faster that suits the need.

    As others mentioned, Alyeska will also be opening for lift access which has some good lines to be offered, and will keep progressing. I saw alot of people over the bars right off the lift on bikes that didnt favor Alyeska in the geometry department last year.

    Congrats on the move btw......

  14. #14
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    Well there's been a pretty large change in the direction I'm heading as far as bike selection. I appreciate all the help in my "computer search", but when I finally got off my butt and test rode some bikes I realized that I would have the most fun on a 5-6" trail bike as my do-it-all. With the bmx background 29ers felt massive and once I got used to full suspension I really started to like it. I haven't had anything out on trails, but parking lot tests including some stair rides (and jumps) made me a believer. The only catch is that going the fullie route also increased the price by at least 50%

    Either way, i'm super stoked to get back on a bike!

    @nojoke: what kind of geometry are you talking about for Alyeska? How slack are you riding? I seemed to feel most comfortable around 68 degrees in my limited testing. Anything slacker than that personally felt a little too relaxed for longer rides.

  15. #15
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    For now...

    The Alyeska trails are entirely rideable on a 68 degree head tube angle or so. There wasn't anything there that you couldn't clear on a bike like that and it would still be a good xcountry type bike. Hopefully, they get some stuff that would be downright scary on anything but a gravity rig. For a general idea, I ride a Turner 5 Spot built with dh rims. It's no x country racer at 34 lbs, but it feels great on the downhills, climbs very well in steep technical stuff, and isn't shy to go on 100 mile endurance rides. A lighter wheelset would definitely be nice.
    Good luck.
    "Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."

  16. #16
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    I'm on an 08 SX Trail I have the option of running the HA at 67.5 or 66.5. I keep it at 66.5 I've got two rings up front and propedal doesn't climb great but gets the job done. Besides its way more satisfying to clean a climb on a slack 37ish pound bike than a 20 pound xc racer.

  17. #17
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    Sorry for the late reply....67 degrees is what my back in factory at, although I have a modified seatstay which drops it some, so Im not sure now.

    The bikes I were referring to were mostly HT's in the XC style head angle

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the feedback. My other question is regarding suspension travel. I am looking at an Ibis Mojo HD so I have the option to go 140 mm or 160 mm. I am leaning towards the 140 as I think it will be a little more versatile for longer rides and just getting back into biking. However, the 160 didn't feel as sluggish as I anticipated when pedaling. Taking into consideration that this will be my one do-it-all bike for trails, longer rides and some downhill oriented fun, what travel length would you all recommend? Obviously this in kind of hard not knowing the types of trails up there so I appreciate all the help.

    If I go 140 there is also the option of putting a 150 mm or a 150/130 Talas fork for a kind of middle road. Thanks.

  19. #19
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    That is a sweet looking bike. I'm moving into 160mm travel, Talas 36 this summer. I'm 6'2 and weigh 215lbs, and the standard stanchion, (non-through axle) was a little flexy for me. I'm confident this new fork will be just fine on all the stuff up here. It will be more than I need in a lot of cases, but will be there when I need it kind of situation. You can adjust travel on a talas, and there is a lockout as well. With an RP23 in the back, you can set up a pretty firm ride, and move to a real plush one when you need it.
    "Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."

  20. #20
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    Personally I would go with a 160mm. With that you get 2 inches of extra travel and with the 36mm stanchion the bike feels alot more rigid as well + 20mm thru. I guarantee if you start riding alyeska alot youll want more than a 140mm small axle setup.

    I have a Talas 36 RC2 on my bike and never have really needed the talas option. Maybe even look at a float. It will save you some weight also.

    I have a dhx coil on my bike. Works alot better for my type of riding the plushness and compliance thru the complete stroke is alot better than any air I have ever ridden. For climbing/long rides I give it a couple turns preload and crank propedal up and it has no issues with pedal bob etc.

  21. #21
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    Bringing my SantaCruz V-10c to Alyeska this year, anyone know when they open?

  22. #22
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    Depends on the snow, I heard lower mountain possibly by mid-late May.

  23. #23
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    Finally got it!

    I finally got my bike to bring to Anchorage. I will be flying up later this month with my new Ibis Mojo HD. Because I was buying a complete I went with the SLX kit from Ibis to save some cash and will upgrade as needed. I haven't had it out on the trail yet so I've included a few shiny bike pics below. When I get up there I will be looking for some easy trails to get my legs back. Any recommendations on where to start? STA trails? Kincaid? Once I get used to my new ride maybe I can hook up with some of you guys to give Alyeska a whirl. Thanks for the help along the way. Can't wait to get up there.






  24. #24
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    Oh good lord that bike is sexy. Mmmmm carbon

  25. #25
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    Chad,

    Anchorage's hillside /STA trails are a great place to start. Lots of trail signs and maps at most intersections. Just remember the bear spray and bells! There were some angry bull moose out the night. That made for some entertainment!

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