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  1. #1
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    What kind of bike for southern AZ?

    Hey guys. I'm in Tucson and looking to get a bike for the trails around here. An example of a trail I'd be riding is the Chiva Falls trail. I was into mountain biking 10 years ago and now I have no idea what the best technology is for that type of trail. I was going into this thinking full suspension, but my local bike shop is pushing a 29er. I had a Klein Attitude Comp (hardtail) when I first moved here 10 years ago and HATED it on the terrain. It couldn't climb well and jarred the crap out of me on the rocky trails here. I'm hoping to not repeat that mistake. What would you guys recommend? 29er or full suspension? Any links to information or recommended bikes is appreciated. Is a budget of $1000-$2000 enough for a decent bike?

  2. #2
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    I would get a full suspension 29er! I am in Tucson and just got a full suspension bike and love it. There will be alot of different opinions on here about what to get. Go ride alot of them and get what feels good to you.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToBeFrank
    29er or full suspension?
    FYI, it does not have to be one or the other. They do make FS 29er bikes.

    BTW, 29" wheels are the fad right now, but they are not the be all, end all.
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianb21
    I would get a full suspension 29er! I am in Tucson and just got a full suspension bike and love it.
    Did you get a FS 29er?

    Quote Originally Posted by brianb21
    Go ride alot of them and get what feels good to you.
    Surely the shops don't let you try them out on a trail do they? I can't imagine riding around in a parking lot is going to help me much.

    BTW, 29" wheels are the fad right now, but they are not the be all, end all.
    I've been googling, but haven't been able to find anything that pinpoints the advantages and disadvantages for the types of terrain. I figured you guys that ride the trails down here would have the most useful information. If you can point me to good threads or websites I can do the research... just need help getting started.

  5. #5
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    Multi-post... sorry

  6. #6
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    Multi-post... sorry

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToBeFrank
    Did you get a FS 29er?



    Surely the shops don't let you try them out on a trail do they? I can't imagine riding around in a parking lot is going to help me much.



    I've been googling, but haven't been able to find anything that pinpoints the advantages and disadvantages for the types of terrain. I figured you guys that ride the trails down here would have the most useful information. If you can point me to good threads or websites I can do the research... just need help getting started.
    Depends on the shop, but some rent bikes and let you use the rental fee on the purchase price.

    I live in Phx, but the terrain is probably similar to Tucson. I have both a 29er hardtail, and a 26er FS, and I enjoy riding both. If you want a smoother ride, go FS. But again, you can get a 29er FS.
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  8. #8
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    Its really up to you but I went the all mountain full suspension route. So far no regrets. The air shocks are fully adjustable so you can make it as soft or firm as you want. I use mine for cross coutry, downhill and a little freeride. Its very versatile. Mine is a Diamondback Mission 1 and I've done a few mods to it. But any "all mountain" bike you prefer would be good. The 29ers are cool. I'm thinking of getting one for smoother trails.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToBeFrank
    Did you get a FS 29er?



    Surely the shops don't let you try them out on a trail do they? I can't imagine riding around in a parking lot is going to help me much.



    I've been googling, but haven't been able to find anything that pinpoints the advantages and disadvantages for the types of terrain. I figured you guys that ride the trails down here would have the most useful information. If you can point me to good threads or websites I can do the research... just need help getting started.

    No i did not. That was what i went to buy but i ended up with a trek fuel ex8. It felt better to me. You need to ride a few bikes to find out what you like! My wife also wanted a 29r till she rode one on the trails. She ended up with the same bike as me.

    We were luck and we were able to attend a demo day from trek/gary fisher. Since it is summer i doubt there are going to be any here but you might ask around. You could always rent one. Broadway bikes has full suspenson bikes for rent. Call and ask for Tim he will square you away.

  10. #10
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    I moved to Tucson in 1995 and used to do Chiva falls on a fully rigid aluminum bike (yes that means rigid fork too!)

    Now I live in Colorado, and I have to tell you, in general, the trails are rougher and rockier in Tucson! Full suspension is good for your body.
    i don't think you need any fancy all mountain set up unless you want to get big air and stuff. I rode a SC Superlight there for years, and it worked great for me (and still does).

  11. #11
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    You need 5 bikes. The first one is optional. 1. Cross country bike for cross country stuff. (I don't have one of these, I use number 5 for this). 2. All mountain bike with 6 inches of travel like a Titus El Guapo or Specialized Enduro. 3. Gnar Gnar bike for full on downhill at south mountain and sunrise 7 or 8 inches of travel. SIngle Speed for easy stuff like sweetwater in tucson or the mcdowells in Phoenix. 4. A very cheap cruiser bike for the bars on bikes rides. 5. A full on dirt jump bike for the fun fun fun. I also use this bike for the XC stuff which is why number 1 is optional. Just go out and buy each of these and you'll be set. If you can only afford one, go with number 2 as it will work pretty good for all of the riding. I rode with a dude from Ky Camp to pistol hill road on the AZ trail, he was riding a specialized enduro and had a blast on it. It was 56 miles. I've also seen some big drops hit on that same bike.
    "I tried to live always free and above board like you" Cool Hand Luke

  12. #12
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    Hmmmm............Is it spam if I live here in Tucson, and tell you that I have a Titus Motolite for sale? Made by an Arizona company that knows our type of riding.

    Size large, 5 inch travel rear, 5.5" front, Fox TALAS RLC fork with adjustable travel. Sram drivetrain, Juicy 7 brakes. Light and efficient enough to pedal on mild trails, and burly enough to handle the roughest trails. It has been a very worthy bike for the area. $1,500

    I'm now on a Lenz Behemoth, 5" travel 29er. Wheel size comes down to personal preference. I really like the 29er, but some like 26ers, and they both get the job done. You still have to pedal them. A 5 inch all mountain bike is really hard to beat for versatility IMO.

    A rigid 29er does roll over rocks better than a 26" wheel, but it is still rigid, and still beats you up on the really rough trails. Full suspension climbs up steep, rocky hills better, and lets you safely enjoy the downhills without much penalty as far as efficiency. If I was to have one bike for around here it would be a 5 or 6 inch travel trail bike, or a 4 or 5 inch travel 29er.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by twowheelsdown2002
    Hmmmm............Is it spam if I live here in Tucson, and tell you that I have a Titus Motolite for sale?
    Yes.

  14. #14
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    As someone who rode hard tails while living in Tucson, I vote full suspension. Whenever I'd borrow one it was like magic, the regular trails were suddenly so much more fun!
    "It was like a German, techno-weird, acid trip." - The Hoff -

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve
    Yes.
    Oh well. He did ask, and is in the area.

    And I did not start a specific sales post. To me that is spam. I actually was about to go out and wash the bike tonight to take pictures to post in the classifieds here on MTBR when I saw this post.

    I recently bought a fork and wheels for my Behemoth when I asked about build suggestions on a post, and was made a great offer on the post, so I don't see the harm, sometimes it helps someone out. And I will be paying for an ad if it makes you feel better.

  16. #16
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    I don't see the harm either. But you asked if it was spam. If I was the op, I would appreciate the info.

  17. #17
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    5-6 inch travel fs bike would be optimal. The terrain around Tucson varies a bit and at times having 6 inches of travel is a plus. That said, if all you are going to do is sweetwater, a hard tail 29er would suffice. If you are going to venture out and do stuff in Mount Lemmon, 50yr, AZT, etc etc, a fs is your bike.

    Titus(if you wanna stay local) will lend you a bike to demo. I recently demo'd an enduro in Colorado and absoluely loved it. It climbed surprisingly well, and descended like a dream. Say what you want about the big bad evil empire, but at the end of the day they build a good bike.

    As far as 29er, or 26? Try them both and decide for yourself. I am not sold on the idea of a 29er but that means nothing. Anyone who says that one is better than the other is full of sh!t. There is no science behind the argument and at the end of the day(and I am no engineer), the circumfrence of a 29er is only 3 inches greater which translates to only 1.5 inches more where the the wheel would impact anything in it's way. I recently bought a truck and went from a 32 inch tire to a 35 inch tire and noticed a difference when driving over wash board roads. Not sure that difference would have been as noticeable had I been driving over boulders. My 2 cents. Hope that helps.

  18. #18
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    Thank you very much for the suggestions. I've decided I'm definitely going to go FS. Now I've just got to pick out a bike. I'm leaning towards a Giant Trance, either X2 or X3. twowheelsdown2002, sending you a PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToBeFrank
    Thank you very much for the suggestions. I've decided I'm definitely going to go FS. Now I've just got to pick out a bike. I'm leaning towards a Giant Trance, either X2 or X3. twowheelsdown2002, sending you a PM.
    FS 29er, the Lenz Leviathan or Behemoth....best bikes I have ever ridden.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by azepicriderandrunner
    FS 29er, the Lenz Leviathan or Behemoth....best bikes I have ever ridden.
    I bought the older model longer chainstay frame recently, and then Enel pointed me to an almost new frame with the short chainstays from a guy in Colorado. So I bought it and it arrives tomorrow.

    Looks like I will be selling my long chainstay Behemoth frame now.

  21. #21
    Tucson, AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by twowheelsdown2002
    I bought the older model longer chainstay frame recently, and then Enel pointed me to an almost new frame with the short chainstays from a guy in Colorado. So I bought it and it arrives tomorrow.

    Looks like I will be selling my long chainstay Behemoth frame now.
    Nice My new Leviathan came in the mail last week. The new Moth is said to arrive sometime in June.

  22. #22
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    I live in Tucson and I really like my carbon hardtail. I don't think you have to have full suspension to ride the trails here, i think that is kind of a subjective decision and what kind of a riding style you have. I have had FS and I like HT a lot better.

  23. #23
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    Go FS, your back will thank you later. Hardtails are great for what they are, but FS design has gotten leaps and bounds better, so why not take advantage. I'm a 26er guy myself and am resisting the 29er out of spite, don't like trendy things. 5-6" of travel will handle everything out here, it's a good all-rounder. I have an Ellsworth Moment and there's nothing in the Tucson area I won't ride it off of or down(nerves allowing anyway) Talk to Fairwheel and see if they'll let you demo a Fisher, they also have a Trek Session(I think) that they'll let you take out as long as you take Dane with you. My $.02

    - Duncan

    Can't believe no one has plugged www.tucsonmtb.com, since your from the OP it's a great place to meet up with local riders, if you haven't checked it out already.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by azmtb31
    I live in Tucson and I really like my carbon hardtail. I don't think you have to have full suspension to ride the trails here, i think that is kind of a subjective decision and what kind of a riding style you have. I have had FS and I like HT a lot better.
    Broke a ti frame (running it SS, rigid) a few months ago...I'd hate to see what I would do to a carbon frame.

  25. #25
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    I've been riding and racing mine a ton for almost the last year and it has been great. I tried running hard tail rigid w/ a carbon fork a few years ago, and that was too much for me, I think I lasted two weeks. But keep in mind I don't have time to do awesome bike packing trips like some people do so, maybe I would feel differently if I did.

  26. #26
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    I haven't ridden Chiva Falls, but live in Phoenix, have ridden several Tucons trails, and have owned a Trance, plus about every type of bike (just got a softail!). I think you're on the right track: 26" FS bike with about 5 inches. If you can't go much over $1500 and you're tall, you might also look at 29er hardtails (Gary Fisher, Giant, Specialized, etc).

    Quote Originally Posted by ToBeFrank
    I'm leaning towards a Giant Trance, either X2 or X3.
    Solid choice, especially since you can usually get fit for one using models on the floor. The X2 is a great bike at a great price. If you're serious, splurge for the better spec. The Trances ride a bit low, which means snagging your pedals on rocks more often, but the upside is that they are really stable and handle great. And the Giant suspension is top-notch.

    Most major brands have a bike in that "class" - Stumpjumper, Fuel EX, etc.
    2017 Diamondback Haanjo
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  27. #27
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    Broadway bikes doesnt rent FS bikes anymore.
    For overall Am riding, A horst link type bike will be best overall, others might do a little better for more specific kinds of riding

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by le_buzz
    Broadway bikes doesnt rent FS bikes anymore.
    For overall Am riding, A horst link type bike will be best overall, others might do a little better for more specific kinds of riding
    I rented a full suspension Gary Fisher from Broadway bikes around the middle of April.
    Horst link the best? A very bold statement indeed.

  29. #29
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    They still rent FS over there. So what did the op end up with??

  30. #30
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    Nothing yet, but I'm definitely going FS. I got to get out to the bike shops here in town. I've been out of the scene so long I don't know which shops are reputable anymore. How much are shops around here willing to deal off MSRP?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan2W1
    Can't believe no one has plugged www.tucsonmtb.com, since your from the OP it's a great place to meet up with local riders, if you haven't checked it out already.
    Sweet! Thanks for the link... joining the forums.

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