The old and the new with a couple questions- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    The old and the new with a couple questions

    Started riding in the woods with my youngest (14) as he joined Wa Student Cycling League this year. I'm about to turn 49 and sporting a 25yr old Raleigh M200 while my son is on a Haro V4. We are both finding that we like it a ton, but we are in need of some upgrades.

    First thing I'm looking for is to upgrade the Tektro IO mechanical disk brakes on my son's bike. I'm thinking SLX with metal pads but the best price I see out there right now is $130 from China. I don't get a good feel about that but also don't want to spend too much more than that. Is this possible or is my search fu just weak? I've heard others say it's possible to find a pre-bled full set for $100 but I can't find it.

    Second question is that I'm looking to find myself an upgraded bike and the learning curve is a brick wall. What I'd like is a FS 29er with good hydros, I'm guessing 120mm travel front/back. I'm about 5'8" 200lb but feel cramped on my current 16" frame. I'm not too aggressive, not much of a jumper, but I do like riding the roots and my skill is getting better.

    I think you would consider me an XC rider? The trails I'm riding lately are Lord's Lake and Paradise here in South Snohomish County. I seem to average 1 endo per ride with my old bike's geometry and my stupidity. I'd like to stay under $2000. I've been looking at used bikes but really need to get myself fitted so I know what I'm looking for.

  2. #2
    Bikesexual
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    These guys have some solid bikes. I don't own one but they get great reviews.

    https://www.fezzari.com/all-mountain-trail/wiki-peak

    They also have other choices, including some nice Hard Tails.
    Surly Krampus
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  3. #3
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    Thanks I'll look into those bikes!

    Anyone have a source for the brakes?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by slugdug View Post
    Thanks I'll look into those bikes!

    Anyone have a source for the brakes?
    There is a brake forum where that question maybe answered much quicker. I run SLX on both of my MTB's and they are fantastic brakes, but you probably need more help than that.
    Surly Krampus
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  5. #5
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    Fezzari is a great pricepoint. I wouldn't put any money into the 14 year old's bike. Save up and get him a decent bike at about age 16, when he's at least a bit closer to his final height.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by slugdug View Post
    Thanks I'll look into those bikes!

    Anyone have a source for the brakes?
    Sometimes you have to be patient to find the absolute best pricing.

    I don't like buying stuff like this direct from China. The industry is rife with counterfeiting, and the stuff you get from China is largely packaged oddly. I bought some Avid BB7 brakes this way years ago and they were actually wrapped up in the manuals. I am also suspicious that the rotors at least were counterfeit. Some of it is just OEM extras being sold off to clear warehouses, but you mostly can't tell as a consumer if that's what it is, or whether it's counterfeit and dangerous, until you receive it (and sometimes not until after).

    Buying from Europe is a better option. However that avenue isn't likely to remain open for long. UK dealers used to be especially popular but SRAM and Shimano have both started prohibiting the UK shops from selling to the states. Right now, German shops are still possible, but you have to deal with translated websites (sometimes not well) and currency conversions (also keep in mind that those of us in the states don't pay VAT, so if the shop doesn't remove it based on your ship destination, you have to do so manually).

    The one major issue with ordering from overseas is that you might have delays in customs. That can be unpredictable. Sometimes your stuff might sail through unhindered. Other times it might get held up for weeks.

    Before you go too crazy trying to analyze your bike size, recognize that mtb geometry now is going to be light years different from a bike 25yrs ago. Those size numbers that were so common back then don't make any sense at all in today's geometry numbers, so it'll be rare for you to find sizes listed the same way. Frame LENGTHS are really the more important number and are indicated by Reach. Which wasn't something that was even calculated for frame geometries 25yrs ago. That'll make it hard to make a direct comparison between the two. So IMO, it's best to approach the sizing/fit from a blank slate on your new bike. Of course, you'll inevitably compare to your current bike. But try to keep an open mind about it. The vastly different geometry will probably mean you'll need to adjust your riding technique some, too. So unless you're the sort that's confident that you've figured out what you need to buy it online, this means you'll probably need to do some demos. The demo season in the US is starting up, so you should be able to find opportunities to demo bikes on actual trails relatively nearby.

    Your local shops should have some info about those. You can also find that information online directly from bike manufacturers, who usually post events on their websites and/or social media pages.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by slugdug View Post
    Second question is that I'm looking to find myself an upgraded bike and the learning curve is a brick wall. What I'd like is a FS 29er with good hydros, I'm guessing 120mm travel front/back. I'm about 5'8" 200lb but feel cramped on my current 16" frame. I'm not too aggressive, not much of a jumper, but I do like riding the roots and my skill is getting better.
    If you'd prefer to look at something you can try in a LBS and make sure fits before buying, the entry level Marin FS bikes seem to be getting very good reviews and would seem to meet your criteria. The Rift Zone is their 29er with 120/120 travel with hydro brakes and some of the models are under $2k. It has the newer geometry and a very upgradeable frame, which is nice for the price point.

  8. #8
    jcd's best friend
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    Nice to meet a fellow Washingtonian! I live in the Tacoma area. If you want a riding location that's more suitable for your skill level, drive down to Duthie Hill in Issaquah. They have green trails that are perfect for your bikes.

    I'm not 100 percent sure which shops are great in your area but if you want a huge selection of bikes for all prices, check out Center Cycle in Renton at http://www.centercycle.com.
    Trek Émonda | Transition Scout | Transition PBJ | Framed Attack Pro

  9. #9
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    Thanks all I'll check into your options! Lots of good info here.

    Back at ya Battery! In the few posts I've read here so far it seems you are a bad influence on the bike buying scene. I work down in Renton, sounds like a great place to hit on the way home. I've been wanting to check out Duthie as well my Son has hit that one.

    Thanks again I'll keep searching

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by slugdug View Post
    Thanks all I'll check into your options! Lots of good info here.

    Back at ya Battery! In the few posts I've read here so far it seems you are a bad influence on the bike buying scene. I work down in Renton, sounds like a great place to hit on the way home. I've been wanting to check out Duthie as well my Son has hit that one.

    Thanks again I'll keep searching
    Don't believe the fake news you read on here!

    In other news, Center Cycle is pretty awesome with their deals. They are willing to bargain and push out old models too. You can almost always find a deal on a Specialized or Giant bike in that shop. Last summer, they knocked an additional $200 off a 2018 bike (on top of the current discounts offered) just to entice me to take it home.

    They have this 2018 Stumpjumper for $2199 and I bet you they will sell under $2k just to push it out the door. They typically blow out the Stumpjumper Comp models at the end of every year.

    https://www.centercycle.com/product/...5-307266-1.htm
    Trek Émonda | Transition Scout | Transition PBJ | Framed Attack Pro

  11. #11
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    Uhg, I think I'm falling for the stumpie comp alloy 29 . . .

  12. #12
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    Why in the world would Specialized put tektro brakes on the new ST SJ? I thought tektro was synonymous with garbage?

  13. #13
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    Tektro brakes are budget brakes, their pads are kinda meh but you can put Shimano pads on and get much better braking performance. Tektro has also been trickling down technologies from the trp quadium and slates.


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  14. #14
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    I am sure Tektro brakes are cheaper than Shimano. If you want a cheaper bike, you have to compromise somewhere. Anything is better than SRAM brakes, IMO.

    Tektro is not that bad, but I second the Shimano pad suggestion. I had TPR Spyres on a CX bike at one point and they were meh. I put Shimano pads in them and they were much better after that.

  15. #15
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    Always glad to see more people getting out there .

    I don't live too far from you, and my most frequented trail areas are Lord Hill, and Paradise Valley Conservation area, just like you. And like you, I started out on an older bike (not as old though :P).

    Out of curiosity, what trails do you enjoy the most in those places? You say you are primarily an XC rider, but just curious if the trails you prefer line up with that.

    Mostly I'm curious because Lord Hill is described in trailforks as an "XC" style trail system... but a few of the trails (and, IMO, the better trails), are decidedly more "all mountain" or "gravity inspired".

    I started riding in October, and I rode for months on an old XC hardtail. I ended up picking up a Kona Process 153 (longer travel 29'er) for exactly your budget from JensonUSA at the beginning of the year, and am so far loving it. So deals like that exist... but it may take a while before you find one. From what I can tell, most deals are at either the start of the new year, or the end of the riding season (Sept/Oct - ish).

    Its worth noting, that Tims Bike Shop in Everett has the best bike rental/demo deal I've seen in the area. $150 for a 5 day rental/demo. From what I can tell online, its 5 days on ANY bike they have, so I think you can swap bikes/etc mid week, trying to find what you like the most.

    Additionally, the full price of the rental, can be put towards a purchase of ANY bike there... They were telling me that one guy dropped $900 in demos before he found his perfect bike... so all that money went towards that bike.

    Oh, and the Duthie hill bike fair is coming up. Its a two day event in June, where you pay ~$60, and can demo as many bikes as you want. So again, if you're not sure what you're wanting, that may be a great place to get a better idea.

    Regarding brakes.

    I tend to find the best deals for components at JensonUSA. Looks like a set of SLX brakes from there is ~$80/each ($160 for front and rear combined) at the moment. So more expensive than the ones straight from china... but not dramatically so. They also have some Deore stuff for $67/each, and some even lower end stuff for $40/each.

    Other places I've used, and know to be reputable are places like chainreactioncycles, competitivecyclist, and worldwidecyclery. I'm sure there are others, but those are the main ones that I typically look at when shopping for deals. Like you, I've heard of getting better deals... but the few links that I've seen that have substantially lower prices... I don't know if I trust (either with my CC info... or not having correct/real parts).) industries.

    Good luck on your search, and maybe I'll see you out there riding sometime .

  16. #16
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    It's good to hear that the tektro hyds will take shimano pads. If I go that way I'll have to give that a try. I guess I'm wondering if the Stumpie ST is too much bike for me to justify. The one thing my old bike has going for it is it is pretty light. I hear the 2019 SJ is 30-34lb.

    I like Paradise the best, I'm kinda all over the place, I keep trying loyds and southern traverse but I've also pulled a couple endos there, red alder was fun but there are a couple big bumps I had to stop and pull the bike over, I guess I like it all but I'm getting to the point where I think about serious injury and I really shouldn't be jumping any more. Balance is goofy from ear issues.

    Lord Hill has some killer climbs (at least for me). I just about got myself lost on a lake loop trail that was fun but I ended up at a private property dead end and ended up back at the beaver lk trail, that was a nice one. I need to use that trail ap.

    I guess one thing I'm struggling with while trying to figure this out is just how much travel I truly "need". Will a short travel 120\120 do it or is a 150/150 only for folks who do drops and jumps?

    Kona is another one that I've been looking into. Seems like they put nice components in their packages. I'll start looking around at Jenson. I think I really need to be doing some demo bikes to figure out what feels right although most anything is going to be light years ahead of what I'm on now. I will look at Tims for the demo. I've been there a few times and I thought they were a good shop!

    Thanks for the info on the Duthie fair. That sounds like it shouldn't be missed.

    Thanks a ton for all the info! If you do see me I'll be the old slow riding guy, out of breath with bruises.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by slugdug View Post
    It's good to hear that the tektro hyds will take shimano pads. If I go that way I'll have to give that a try. I guess I'm wondering if the Stumpie ST is too much bike for me to justify. The one thing my old bike has going for it is it is pretty light. I hear the 2019 SJ is 30-34lb.

    I guess one thing I'm struggling with while trying to figure this out is just how much travel I truly "need". Will a short travel 120\120 do it or is a 150/150 only for folks who do drops and jumps?
    I dont think the SJ is in that weight range. I had a 2016 Stumpy and it was around 28-29 pounds.

    For our area, almost any travel will work depending on what you want to ride. We are lucky to have plenty of XC trails along with more challenging stuff used for enduro racing. If you don't see yourself as a hardcore shredder, the Stumpjumper ST is more than enough travel for our trails here. If you plan on riding Tiger Mountain, a bit more travel front and rear would benefit you.

    You should travel up to Bellingham and test ride some Transition bikes! Go demo a Transition Scout. That's what I ride and it's a great all rounder bike for just about anything here in WA state. Depending on your sizing, you might find one on closeout too. Transition has a closeout section for bikes they are trying to push out the door. They discount them pretty good too.
    Trek Émonda | Transition Scout | Transition PBJ | Framed Attack Pro

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by slugdug View Post
    It's good to hear that the tektro hyds will take shimano pads. If I go that way I'll have to give that a try. I guess I'm wondering if the Stumpie ST is too much bike for me to justify. The one thing my old bike has going for it is it is pretty light. I hear the 2019 SJ is 30-34lb.

    I like Paradise the best, I'm kinda all over the place, I keep trying loyds and southern traverse but I've also pulled a couple endos there, red alder was fun but there are a couple big bumps I had to stop and pull the bike over, I guess I like it all but I'm getting to the point where I think about serious injury and I really shouldn't be jumping any more. Balance is goofy from ear issues.

    Lord Hill has some killer climbs (at least for me). I just about got myself lost on a lake loop trail that was fun but I ended up at a private property dead end and ended up back at the beaver lk trail, that was a nice one. I need to use that trail ap.

    I guess one thing I'm struggling with while trying to figure this out is just how much travel I truly "need". Will a short travel 120\120 do it or is a 150/150 only for folks who do drops and jumps?

    Kona is another one that I've been looking into. Seems like they put nice components in their packages. I'll start looking around at Jenson. I think I really need to be doing some demo bikes to figure out what feels right although most anything is going to be light years ahead of what I'm on now. I will look at Tims for the demo. I've been there a few times and I thought they were a good shop!

    Thanks for the info on the Duthie fair. That sounds like it shouldn't be missed.

    Thanks a ton for all the info! If you do see me I'll be the old slow riding guy, out of breath with bruises.
    Paradise Valley is definitely more on the "XC/Cross country" side of things as far as trail systems go around here. It is also exceptionally rooty. Have you tried "Twisted hemlock"? It ends close to loyds trail, and while the entrance looks a bit scary (narrow part between two trees, with a root), the rest of it is a pretty smooth, and flowy trail. IMO, its the best trail in paradise valley, by a long shot.

    Lord hill has some steep climbs, with the worst one being the climb back to the truck/car at the end of the ride, so I totally agree with you there . It sounds like you were on the temple pond loop there when you got lost. There is one part where it does seem like it goes to private property (it doesn't, but there is a sign close by that is easy to confuse with the main trail. I did that my first time there too). I'd recommend that you try Upper Springboard, and maybe Redline there. They are both still more XC style trails, but with some good turns, and are great fun. Springboard does have a jump or two on it, but they're both optional (ie, off to the side, and you can easily avoid/go around them). I usually recommend goldeneye there as well, but that may be a bit steep/fast/jumpy (although, the jumps are optional on that trail as well). Perhaps its worth a look though, as I do personally think thats the best trail in the system.

    I was originally trying to find a shorter/mid-travel bike as well. Its not that longer travel bikes are only for drops/jumps, but IMO, for dealing with rougher terrain at faster speeds. So longer travel is typically more appreciated on fast, rough trails (hence why downhill bikes have very large travel... the high speeds, and rough trails). For the stuff you're saying you like, I wouldn't think you'd need tons, but it also wouldn't hurt, and may make it more comfortable when riding, which you may appreciate.

    I found the deal on the longer travel kona ($1000 off), and ended up going with that (mostly because of the deal). I was worried the longer travel would make it hard to pedal (it doesn't, at least IMO). I'd say you'd be happy with anything in the 120-150mm rear travel range. The Transition Scout that Battery recommended is great. Similar bikes include the Santa Cruz 5010, Whyte T130, Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt, and many more.

    Good luck finding something you like .

  19. #19
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    BTW, no need metal pads unless your kid is burning long steep downhills and finding brakes fading. Standard resins perform quicker, (no warm up) a little cheaper, dont wear rotors as fast.

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