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  1. #1
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    New guy with questions

    I am new here, and this is my first post. Please bear with me, I am REALLY green, and I don't mean I'm a tree hugger. I am old enough to be a Grandfather to some of you and I have been riding road bikes for a number of years. Most of my riding buddies have been swapping to M/TB's and I am going to do the same., but I know absolutely nothing about them. I will be doing mostly single track trail type riding with no jumping or big drops, etc becasue I don't bounce like I did years ago.
    A local guy is selling an '09 Kona CoilAir that is in new condition for about than half the original price he paid, but I am not sure a Free Ride bike will work as well for trail riding, and I seriously doubt that I will ever be doing any down hill stuff.
    What say you? Will that bike perform well enough to give a beginner a fun ride on medium single track trails or is the geometry just too much DH oriented for riding trails. Would I be better off with a cheaper hard tail bike?

    Thanks,

    Wayne

  2. #2
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    It would be best if you can get a trail or XC full suspension as it beats you up less than hardtail. A coilair is a bit too much bike for your kind of riding. You'd want something in 4-5.5" of travel.

  3. #3
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    I know I am showing my ignorance here, but why would too much suspension be a problem for the type of riding I'll be doing?

    Wayne

  4. #4
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    You are doing fine with questioning. To keep this simple 2 things that relate directly to riding are
    1 weight; more travel in general equal more weight say 1.5-2 lbs every inch of travel you add. You want to have about enough travel for your need. Riding singletrack no drops/no jumps usually you can do with 4-5.5" of travel. that weight around 25-31lbs. You can still enjoy the climb and be comfortable and confidence to attack the descends with gusto. If your trail only require 4-5 inch of travel you just lugging the extra weight.

    2 geometry; the XC and trail bikes are more neutral or center than FR-freeride or DH-Downhill bikes which are more rear bias. FR bikes usually feature slacker or more relax head angle to help leveling out the steeper down grade. It also make it easier to put the weight over the rear to keep your weight center over the pedal However the slack HA would make the front wheel flop from one side to another and it takes more to muscles the bike on the climb to keep it on line.

    You can ride the coilair on your trail it would be a bit heavier and the climb would not be as snappy as the lighter XC bike and the suspension both F/R may not be as firm and efficient. If you are not racing with your buddies why not, it's a great exercise and when you point the bike downhill you'll have a big smile coming.

    Hope this help a bit.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the explanation. I was already wondering about the HA since I had seen it was like 67* on the CoilAir and about 72-73* on most XC bikes. I assume that means that the CoilAir handles much slower in tight single track stuff, but not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing for a beginner.
    I may try the Kona anyway, if it does not work well, I can probably sell it without too much risk of losing money becasue it looks brand new. The guy bought it new last fall and rode it a couple of times but he wants to sell it so he can switch to a 29er (maybe he already found out its too much bike for what he needs).

    Thanks again,

    Wayne

  6. #6
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    Ask the guy if you can take the Coil Air for an extended test ride. It turns out you may like it. The big, slack bike will not be anywhere as taught as a XC bike, will handle lazier, etc. Think big 'ol Cadillac vs Ferarri. It will be more comfortable in the long run though.

    And yes, while it will be a little harder to climb some of the steeper/longer climbs, it doesn't mean the bike or you won't be able to do it. Many, many guys ride trails on big, heavy freeride bikes.

    Oh yeah, the biggest advantage? They tend to be more forgiving when stuff gets rough, or you get in a little over your head.

  7. #7
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    Some good advice there. Definitely try it if you can. If you're not in pretty rough country the 4-5 inch range may suite you alot better for several reasons. You're riding with friends. If you're stronger than them you won't notice the weight difference. If you're not you might find them waiting for you more than you would prefer. Unless you've ridden full suspension much at all you'll notice a very mushy feeling bike. Even a short travel bike has a very different feel from a road bike and you may not like it at first. Long travel just accentuates that problem. If you are riding tight trails the slacker bike will take more experience to learn to ride well where the quicker handling bike will be easier to flick through the corners and change lines. I've been riding a bullit with 8 inches of travel for over 10 years. I bought a 4-5 inch bike a couple years ago for most of my rides with friends and some of my more epic rides. I really notice the weight when I'm above 11,000 feet now. It's a good mix. I still love the cushier ride of my long travel bike for my aging body and it just tears up the rock gardens. Good luck and enjoy.

  8. #8
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    OK, guys, you convinced me that I need to buy a XC bike. Went to Bikes Direct Website and looked at options and found three that I like in my Price Range, about $800. Two 29ers and a Full suspension bike:
    2011 Gravity 29Point3 at $750
    2010 Motobecane Phantom 29 Pro at $800
    2010 Motobecane Phantom Trail DS at $800

    What say you? Are there better bikes for that money out there? Is a 29er a good choice for a beginner?

    Wayne

  9. #9
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    29er is a good choice for beginner. How tall are you? From that list I would not get the FS for sure. It's would yield a crappy ride. If you like FS then consider the used bike that can be found on CL in your location like this Santa Cruz Blur

    I've seen a few bikes in your area but I don't know the size you'd fit.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Meuir
    OK, guys, you convinced me that I need to buy a XC bike. Went to Bikes Direct Website and looked at options and found three that I like in my Price Range, about $800. Two 29ers and a Full suspension bike:
    2011 Gravity 29Point3 at $750
    2010 Motobecane Phantom 29 Pro at $800
    2010 Motobecane Phantom Trail DS at $800

    What say you? Are there better bikes for that money out there? Is a 29er a good choice for a beginner?

    Wayne
    If you want a FS bike, spend the extra $200 & get the Phantom Pro FS.

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...om29pro_SL.htm

    The rear air shock W/LO will work a lot beter than the KS coil over on the Phantom Trail & the Reba fork is a lot better than the Dart 3.

    You are probably getting $500 worth of suspension upgrade as welll as juice brakes for that extra $200.

    Either bike has a "faux bar rear suspension which is a good system it's not a true "horst link" but the only time a horst link will differ from the faux bar is during hard braking. The Pro is a much better value IMO.

    And people that tell you a 29er hard tail will ride as good aa a FS bike are full of it.

    If you are as old as I am (61) a hardtail can be a real PITA. (literally)

    I have a hard tail hybrid W/700 45C wheels tires which is for all entents & purposes a "29" & it does not handle washboard trails & tree roots like my FS MTB.
    Last edited by XCSKIBUM; 04-29-2011 at 03:21 AM.
    Those that say "hardtails rule" never rode the miles I ride on the trails I ride.

  11. #11
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    Cheap FS sucks, just don't do it. A lot of guys are riding relatively groomed XC trails where a quality HT would be all anyone would need. Unless you're 1.) bombing true rocky singletrack descents, 2.) doing FR stuff, or 3.) your body simply can't take the pounding (of a XC trail) anymore, full-squish isn't that necessary. FS is heavier, more expensive, and needs more maintenance so you really should decide whether you truly "need" it. If you decide you do need it, spend some $ and get quality or don't bother.

    Yeah, I have 6.5" FS in the form of a GT Sanction 1.0 and it's useful for several trails I ride including one rightly called "Boulder". A lot of the other trails I could honestly enjoy better with a lighter HT with 4-5" travel max. Unfortunately, right now I can afford really only one do-it-all FS rig plus my SS HT project bike.

    On a separate note, I like mimi's recommendation on the SC Blur. I have a friend who just got one and its a solid ride.

  12. #12
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    Mimi1885, I am a little over 6' and weigh 185. The Santa Cruz Blur is probably too small for me at 16".
    I am also headed toward Medicare like a runaway freight train, 64 3/4, so I ain't gonna be a threat to anyone on the trails. This for me is just a good way to stay in shape and keep the old ticker ticking.

    When I was younger, I spent most of my free time riding enduro/trail motorcycles, but that was many years ago during the days of 4" suspension, front and rear. Back in those days, dirt bikes were simply street bikes with the lights and fenders removed and big hairy knhobby replacing the rear street tire. My favorite bike at that time was a Ducati 250. We didn't do any big air tricks in those days.

    I'll look into the FS bikes a little more.

    Wayne

  13. #13
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    Wayne - I'm in my mid 40's and would highly recommend FS,without a doubt. Even riding a Forest Service Road is a completely different experience on FS.

    I have a 29'er and like it, but I'm a clyde and look like an elephant on a 26.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the input, guys! I am going to research a few more bikes before I decide. Money, to a point, is sorta irrevalent but on the other hand, I may give off-roading a try and find out it's not my cup of tea, and I don't want to be so far in that I lose my arse. I have ridden a few hard tails, but not off road. One in particular that fit me well was a size large GT. It was not an expensive bike, $600 IIRC, and I don't remember the model, but it felt very solid, shifting was effortless, very light, gearing was typical MTB, a little low for the road, mechanical discs that worked well.
    I may elect to get into off-road that way and upgrade later if I really enjoy it.

    Wayne

  15. #15
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    Some excellent advice out there. It's also a good time for shops to be having some demo days. Used is an excellent way to go. You're really not going to get a FS worth a crap for less than a couple or three grand new. I started out on rigid a long time ago and will never go back. I feel way to beat up afterwards and the last time I rode one was probably 8 or 9 years ago. If the trails down there are pretty smooth for the most part though a hardtail with a good quality fork might be ok. My personal experience with 29ers is that they hook up better on the climbs but steer slower. For someone over 6 foot and if you start out with one you may never know the difference but they aren't my preference.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtdonk
    You're really not going to get a FS worth a crap for less than a couple or three grand new.

    That's just not true.

    One of the LBSs has several Fuji FS MTBs W/true horst link rear suspension, good drivetrains, LO rear air shocks, good hyd disc brakes & great forks for less than $1500.

    That $995 Motobocane is a pretty nice bike. I agree that the $800 FS bikefrom BD is crap, but only because it has a crap shock & fork.

    It's not neccessary to have the latest & greatest technology to have a good performing FS MTB & what's the obsession W/saving a few #. A pair of 20oz water bottles weigh 2# when filled W/water. If you're not riding ion competition what's the big deal?
    Last edited by XCSKIBUM; 04-29-2011 at 05:04 AM.
    Those that say "hardtails rule" never rode the miles I ride on the trails I ride.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by XCSKIBUM

    That $995 Motobocane is a pretty nice bike. I agree that the $800 FS bikefrom BD is crap, but only because it has a crap shock & fork.

    It's not neccessary to have the latest & greatest technology to have a good performing FS MTB & what's the obsession W/saving a few #. A pair of 20oz water bottles weigh 2# when filled W/water. If you're not riding ion competition what's the big deal?
    Even a $1900 FS from bd with RS monach 4.2 and reba team still can not out perform cheaper GT, Giant, Santa Cruz SinglePivot, ect.

    BD FS is crap because it has crappy design not because of fancy shock and fork, high ratio shock leverage ill location linkage would still produce a poor ride.

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