Help getting started- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Help getting started

    Just getting back into trail riding now that my oldest has taken it up. Buying a bike from my local shop and Iím at the high end of the height scale for a medium frame and the bottom end of the scale for a large. And insight as to which route I should go?

    also, do I get the 27.5Ē or 29er? Keeping in mind Iím a novice and the trails near where I live, and will mostly be riding, are pretty tame. Does one lend itself towards a beginner (havenít ridden in 8+ years)more than the other? Iíve read the debates between the two wheel sizes and Iím not looking to get technical. Just a good set up that I can ride as hard as my kids do and try to keep up

    thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Snow Dog
    Reputation: str8edgMTBMXer's Avatar
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    Welcome back!!! Where do you live/will you be riding?

    I was in the same range as you fit wise...I think it will depend on the bike itself. Not necessarily the wheel size, but the type of bike you choose. I ended up going with a large, but sometimes wish I would have done the medium (probably b/c I am used to having a BMX under me), though the large will be better for my long hauls...

    I got a 2015 Surly Krampus when I got back into it (for the same reasons as you), and it is 29+. After riding a 1994 Trek 830 26er, it was way different, but in a really good way. My plans were/are to just do single track riding, and bike packing. I don't plan on racing, or bombing downhills. The Krampus was like getting 3 bikes in 1.

    The key is to define the style you do not plan on riding. I grew up on BMX in the 70's and 80's, so I knew I wanted a steel frame. I knew I was not going to be doing it X Games style, and that I would be eventually spending long periods of time in the saddle, so I wanted a bike that would be comfortable to ride like that. I knew that I would be definitely be riding in the snow/winter, but did not want a full fat bike, hence the 29+; I knew I would be riding midwest terrain single track (rocky/rooty; small punchy climbs) gravel roads, and also paved rec trails with the wife. I knew I wanted some thing simple to maintain if I am miles from home. I knew that I did not want suspension

    so, make a list. Watch some videos. Realize that wheel size is not the be all/end all of choice, but 26 is eventually gonna be harder to find gear for. Study up a bit on how steel feels versus aluminum versus carbon. There is no absolute right bike, but there are many absolute right factors FOR YOU that you can get in a bike. Fit is probably the most important b/c it is the hardest to change once you commit to a frame.

    Also, test ride if you can...if you have a good bike shop in town

    and keep asking questions here!!!
    Go practice. Figure it out. - Fleas

    15 Surly Krampus - King Amongst Bikes
    LET IT SNOW!

  3. #3
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    Get a bike and ride. You will learn your own preferences after riding a while. This first bike doesnít have to be your last, and even if you miss the mark from an ďideal bikeĒ with your first bike you will still have fun and develop skills. I started on a hard tail 29 and wound up migrating to a fully rigid fat bike. But I still loved riding trails on the 29er.

    Tame trails are good to learn on.

  4. #4
    jcd's best friend
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailberg View Post
    Just getting back into trail riding now that my oldest has taken it up. Buying a bike from my local shop and Iím at the high end of the height scale for a medium frame and the bottom end of the scale for a large. And insight as to which route I should go?

    also, do I get the 27.5Ē or 29er? Keeping in mind Iím a novice and the trails near where I live, and will mostly be riding, are pretty tame. Does one lend itself towards a beginner (havenít ridden in 8+ years)more than the other? Iíve read the debates between the two wheel sizes and Iím not looking to get technical. Just a good set up that I can ride as hard as my kids do and try to keep up

    thanks in advance
    Welcome! When it comes to sizing, let the bike shop fit you properly. I've had different shops do all sorts of ways to check fit. One shop sized my road bike to me and watched me ride it around outside to make sure it was a proper fit. Another shop placed a bike on a trainer and checked the length and saddle height for me while pedaling.

    When it comes to a 27.5 or a 29er, you can't really go wrong with either. I would sit on both and see how they feel. Depending on where you live, you can take the bike out for a ride and see what wheel size feels best. My bike shop is located right next to a rocky waterfront and on top of a hill so I do my test rides up and down the waterfront which has plenty of climbs, gravel, dirt, steps, and other fun stuff.

    Which bikes have you checked out so far?
    Trek …monda | Transition Scout | Transition PBJ | Framed Attack Pro

  5. #5
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    Kind of a gross oversimplification in the wheel size issue. If you are a former BMX or dirt bike rider that is used to wheelies, manuals, jumping, and generally tossing your bike around, you will probably appreciate a 27.5 wheel. If you are more of a road rider that wants to get off-road and see what the trails have to offer, you may appreciate 29 wheels more.

    Tons of exceptions to these "rules," but starting out, it's probably a decent rule of thumb. A 29" wheel bike is going to roll over things more easily without need to get the front wheel up (and will be a bit harder to get the front wheel up), and will be slightly faster in straight lines than a 27.5 (and a little bit harder to turn and maneuver).

    As noted, you can't go very wrong with either wheel size. A parking lot ride or even a short trail ride probably isn't going to reveal that much to you, other than very generalized fit and feel. It will probably reveal more about fit issues of particular frames and sizes than anything about wheel size.

  6. #6
    Bikesexual
    Reputation: jcd46's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iliketexmex View Post
    Get a bike and ride. You will learn your own preferences after riding a while. This first bike doesnít have to be your last, and even if you miss the mark from an ďideal bikeĒ with your first bike you will still have fun and develop skills. I started on a hard tail 29 and wound up migrating to a fully rigid fat bike. But I still loved riding trails on the 29er.

    Tame trails are good to learn on.
    I agree with this! Until you start riding something, you won't know what you like, or what your goals are.

    The most important is to get riding, and then you can figure things out.

    It was a long road for me, but I'm old and I ride easier trails for the most part, so now I ride rigid and a gravel bike, it works perfect for what I do. One bike may get suspension, but yet to be determined.

    What's your budget? Tons of solid HTs from 1k and up.
    Surly Krampus
    All City MMD
    Kona Unit
    Surly Cross-Check

  7. #7
    slow
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    Bike size will vary between brands and even within brands. In one brand, I fit a large in one model and a medium in a different model by the same brand. Pick up a bike that fits your budget and is comfortable and let it be your baseline for future bike choices.

  8. #8
    jcd's best friend
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    It was a long road for me, but I'm old and I ride easier trails for the most part, so now I ride rigid and a gravel bike, it works perfect for what I do. One bike may get suspension, but yet to be determined.
    Here is a recent photo of JCD on his bike.

    Name:  hqdefault.jpg
Views: 86
Size:  34.6 KB
    Trek …monda | Transition Scout | Transition PBJ | Framed Attack Pro

  9. #9
    Bikesexual
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    Quote Originally Posted by Battery View Post
    Here is a recent photo of JCD on his bike.

    Name:  hqdefault.jpg
Views: 86
Size:  34.6 KB
    I can sue you for using my pix without approval.
    Surly Krampus
    All City MMD
    Kona Unit
    Surly Cross-Check

  10. #10
    jcd's best friend
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    I can sue you for using my pix without approval.
    Help getting started-1k2d1m.jpg
    Trek …monda | Transition Scout | Transition PBJ | Framed Attack Pro

  11. #11
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    OP. Since the trails in your area can be sandy 2.8 27.5+ tire capable bikes or bikes that can take 2.5 or larger 29 tires will help.
    Compare what you see in the shops with a Nukeproof Scout 29 or 27.5+
    Air fork tapered with 15x110 Boost front hub and 148 rear, 29mm inner rim width wheels for wide tires, current slack geo.
    https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/.../rp-prod170308
    https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/.../rp-prod170309
    Sizing depends on height and your actual inseam. Two guys the same height --- one with a short torso/long legs will fit on a medium vs the one with a long torso needs a large.
    If you can demo a bike on your local Hulk trails you'll get better fit info.

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