Using a SC Heckler for downhilling- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Using a SC Heckler for downhilling

    Can Santa Cruz Hecklers handle downhilling? I live in S.F. bay area and there are plenty of places to XC ride. I currently use a Trek 6000 hardtail. Given where I live there is no downhilling except for this one little area. Closest place is in Northstar, Tahoe, which is 4 hours away. Would I have to rent a downhill bike or can the Heckler handle as that is the next bike I plan to Buy?
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  2. #2
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    No. Get a V-10 or equivalent for N*.

  3. #3
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    Depends on what you mean by "handle".
    I've had fun at Northstar on a hardtail 29er with a 100mm fork, but it limited the trails I could ride (spent most of my time doing jumps on Livewire).
    If you're dead set on the Heckler, put a 160mm fork and larger brake rotors on it.
    A 2nd set of burlier wheels with downhill tires would be nice for Northstar.
    It wouldn't be the best bike for Northstar, but if you have the skills, it's doable.
    Don't listen to the naysayers. Yeah, a V10 is a lot better, but not everyone can afford to have a dedicated downhill bike.

  4. #4
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    I ride a pitch pro with a talas 36, hope pro II mavic 823, combo and 2.5" minions (with many many more mods) for mammoth and N*. The pitch is my current do it all bike while I build up a DH bike. I can ride everything at mammoth just fine with shock treatment being the only real exception.

    A burly AM build is completely capable of handling most of the stuff on both of those mountains. If you want to ride at 10/10ths you're going to need 8" of rear travel or more. If you really want a do it all for the norcal area I'd consider maybe a nomad or an uzzi.

  5. #5
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    kind of

    I ride a heckler at my do all bike but it really doesn't do anything excellent. I have mine set up with the x9 am kit, lyrik coil and added bigger brake rotors.

    On xc rides it's too much for sure. I took a trip to colorado and rode around the fruita area and it felt perffect for the riding around there. I'm a bigger buy (220lbs) and I chose the heckler to ride mostly xc and get me into the more aggressive freeriding and downhilling. Itr works well for downhill lines that are "easier". Once the trail starts to get very rockey, steep, and fast the bike feels stable but you can tell its not a freeride or downhill bike. Is riding it on downhill trails doable? Yep. It will be the most fun on the tamer lines.

  6. #6
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    I rode a heckler there for 2 seasons. It was rough, but totally doable.

    A 5-6 inch travel bike is a perfect bay area trail bike.

  7. #7
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    I'd say slap a 160 fork on there as long as it's a newer frame. I wouldn't trust an older frame with a long-travel fork like that on it. But a new one with a Lyric or 36, then a good coil shock, and some 7"/8" rotors and you'll be fine.

    It will be rough, but you'll be fine.
    Meh.

  8. #8
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    It's a trail bike. Yes you can ride DH, do resort riding, and even race DH on it. Is it optimal for that? No, but it is capable. It is a better bike for the majority of riding than a DH rig.

    With a 150-160mm fork DH is pretty stable, but for everything else I prefer mine with a shorter fork. I think the Heckler and a Pike or 20mm Revelation is a great rig for a do-it-all.

    I have 2 wheelsets, used to have 2 shocks (but found I never take the coil off), and aspire to having a 2nd fork for DH abuse (currently on a 150mm Revelation). The coil shock is a huge improvement, especially if you are more gravity oriented. Tires and wheels also play a big part in DH stability, too light and you get deflected off course easily. Lastly the longer fork slacks things out and helps at higher speeds.
    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine
    that's the stupidest idea this side of pinkbike.

  9. #9
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    i rode an SC Heckler for two years DHing. slapped a Jr T on it along with some decent wheel/tires and ripped it. still have the bike but it has been relegated to trail ride duty.

  10. #10
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    Yes you can use a Heckler at N*. Depending on your bike handling skills however, you might feel overwhelmed but the gnarlier stuff. You can always bypass stunts, but there are sections where having a 67-68 degree headtube angle even with a 160mm fork just wont be confidence inspiring. If you get a Heckler and intend on riding DH with it, get it with a coil shock, Talas 36(so you can knock it down for xc rides), and 2 sets of tires. Maxxis Minion DH 2.5's or Nevegals.

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    i think a Heckler itīs an all purpouse bike! you can ride so well , downhilling....( i supose isntī the best bike for a Red Bull Rampage! :P ) , but you can slap a 160mm perfectly , with a good wheels and an downhilling tire ( Kenda or Intense in my opinion ).
    and better than other similar bikes ( with the same rear travel ) cause itīs a monopivot!
    Fox 36 + dhx5 + Dt Swiss + Nevegal 2.35 ???

    Frank

  12. #12
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    I have an '08 Heckler with a 140 Float RLC 32. I mostly ride downhill up in Oregon at Post Canyon, Black Rock, etc. My friends have Nomads and Giant Reign X bikes. Those work better, but I can go down the same stuff as them so far. That said we're not doing the burliest lines either (maybe up to 8ft drops with a decent landing). If you wanna do more serious downhill riding a Nomad would work better, but if you want an all-around bike that can go downhill the Heckler is a good choice. My friends do suffer more on uphill sections and comment on how light my bike is.

  13. #13
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    can you do a heckler....yes, but would you really want to?? renting a bike is loss of income....buy a good DH bike used for around a grand....you will have way more fun and your body will thank you (you won't be as sore)
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

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    Quote Originally Posted by genemk
    I have an '08 Heckler with a 140 Float RLC 32. I mostly ride downhill up in Oregon at Post Canyon, Black Rock, etc. My friends have Nomads and Giant Reign X bikes. Those work better, but I can go down the same stuff as them so far. That said we're not doing the burliest lines either (maybe up to 8ft drops with a decent landing). If you wanna do more serious downhill riding a Nomad would work better, but if you want an all-around bike that can go downhill the Heckler is a good choice. My friends do suffer more on uphill sections and comment on how light my bike is.
    thanks for the input, but N* is way harder then Blackrock...I can't tell what Post Canyon is like but all Blackrock trails are as smooth or smoother then XC trails...man they are side walk smooth....yeah they have stunts but I wouldn't think twice riding a hardtail on those trails,...they are that smooth....N* is very bumpy
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  15. #15
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    If you have a hard on for the Santa Cruz single pivot why not just get a Bullit?

    It is a bit slacker with more travel so it will be A LOT more capable on DH stuff without making XC and AM stuff a nightmare. Or consider the Nomad, it is a great all around bike that will rip on DH stuff.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHIVER ME TIMBERS
    thanks for the input, but N* is way harder then Blackrock...I can't tell what Post Canyon is like but all Blackrock trails are as smooth or smoother then XC trails...man they are side walk smooth....yeah they have stunts but I wouldn't think twice riding a hardtail on those trails,...they are that smooth....N* is very bumpy
    Yeah, I've ridden N* plenty of times. It's nearly AZ-rocky, with a few fresh inches/feet of dust usually. If you are used to riding trails that are smooth with big launches, jumps, gaps, and drops, you aren't going to be NEARLY as capable of pulling off the same stuff in the tighter/rockier/gnarlier stuff at N* and similer places. It's kind of like how we sometimes have pissed-off riders that don't really understand what AZ-rocks mean, they come out asking to do "technical" rides. We bring them on said technical rides. They end up physically or mentally broken and go home, never to return. It's cool that N* has some features a little more like the A-line stuff now, but I'm sure it's mostly like it used to be, and that mountain ain't no A-line.

    Do you want to do "full on DH riding" or not? The reason you go to Northstar is because you want to do "full on DH riding". If not, there are plenty of other good ride options that involve lots of downhill.

    A heckler would obviously be better than a hardtail or XC FS bike, but you should go do Toads or some other fun Tahoe "all-mountain" rides if that's what you're going to ride. It would be far more fun. Do some auburn shuttles or something. I sure wouldn't ride a Heckler at Northstar when those other riding possibilities exist.

    Good example:

    I just drove my WRX through a crapload of snow to go on a hike. I got stuck in a foot of crusty stuff, but I got unstuck. Yes, I *can* drive my WRX in the snow, but it sucks due to the turbo comming on too fast and tires that ain't worth a crap in the snow. Don't be like me.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  17. #17
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    Is it the best bike for the job? No, but the bike can handle Northstar. You just may be slower than your friends on bigger rigs

    If you ride up there a couple times a season, rent or ride what you have, but be careful cause one season there on my heckler and I ended up with a DH fever...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnmark
    Is it the best bike for the job? No, but the bike can handle Northstar. You just may be slower than your friends on bigger rigs

    If you ride up there a couple times a season, rent or ride what you have, but be careful cause one season there on my heckler and I ended up with a DH fever...
    I guess all depends on what one means by "handle" Northstar. Can you ride 80%-90% of the trails with it? Yes. Will you have fun? No.

    Heckler's a fine bike. Yes, you can make it more DH worthy by using 160mm+ fork, DH tires, etc. But will I ever take it to N*/Mammoth/Whistler/etc. for DH, after having ridden DH bikes for those type of riding? No. Most people wouldn't either. No fun.

    Yes, it takes money and right equipment (and/or women ) to have fun. Just ask Tiger.

    <object width="560" height="340"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/JeTrs-X6FPs&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/JeTrs-X6FPs&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="560" height="340"></embed></object>

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    Do you want to do "full on DH riding" or not? The reason you go to Northstar is because you want to do "full on DH riding". If not, there are plenty of other good ride options that involve lots of downhill.
    I would love to do DH riding and would prefer a DH bike, but there is really no area in S.F. bay except for this one little place in Pacifica, CA. Realisticlly, how many runs can I get in without a shuttle. As far as N*, I can see myself going there once a month during the season cus 4 hrs away.

    Best bet, I'll most likely continue using my Trek 6000 2008 for my usual XC rides. I'm able to do doubles with it also. This way I can just save money and in summer of 2010 I can use that money to rent the bike and stay a Tahoe several days at a time. Started MTBking at age 30 in 2008 and want to experience and get good in DH riding before I'm any older.

    What's an affordable and good DH bike anyway?
    A spotless bike is a bored bike.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacing08
    I would love to do DH riding and would prefer a DH bike, but there is really no area in S.F. bay except for this one little place in Pacifica, CA. Realisticlly, how many runs can I get in without a shuttle. As far as N*, I can see myself going there once a month during the season cus 4 hrs away.

    Best bet, I'll most likely continue using my Trek 6000 2008 for my usual XC rides. I'm able to do doubles with it also. This way I can just save money and in summer of 2010 I can use that money to rent the bike and stay a Tahoe several days at a time. Started MTBking at age 30 in 2008 and want to experience and get good in DH riding before I'm any older.

    What's an affordable and good DH bike anyway?
    Just throwing these out there for you to consider:

    Trek Scratch
    Santa Cruz Nomad with burly build
    Giant Reign X
    Specialized SX Trail

    You could still have fun with these around your local spots, they can be pedalled around (depending on set-up a little bit, but even so), and they will put up with the abuse you plan on for Tahoe, and let you enjoy yourself as well (not full-on DH comfort, but pretty close, AND possibly more fun on the FR side of the equation). So that is one option.

    You could also go down the used DH bike route (since you would keep your hardtail for XC duties) - $2-2.5k should give you a choice of bikes in good condition. Last year's Giant glory, Spesh Demo (8, preferably), Morewood Izimu maybe (although harder to find used), + there are others (people can chime in I'm sure).

    Oh and don't worry about getting into the game late...you can do this for longer than you think... Just check out the "how old are people in the DH/FR forum" thread if you can find it...
    The key is to build up to bigger/gnarlier stuff gradually (and invest in lots of armor!). Just the right mix of caution and balls out approach should see you through...welcome to the dark side!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacing08
    Started MTBking at age 30 in 2008 and want to experience and get good in DH riding before I'm any older.
    I started when I was 38 and I am now 46
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    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  22. #22
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    If I were to get a DH bike I was thinking Norco Atomik or Kona Stab. They both have respectable reviews and are in my price range ($3000).

    I don't know about getting an AM for my purposes anymore. My Trek 6000 serves me well for my area and I want that full feeling of downhilling. Plus I can see myself going to Tahoe frequently during the seasons. I already know I'll be hooked. Why keep spending money on rentals? I also do have that one little downhill area 20 mins away from here I live. That would be fun to session. If curious check it out at www.pacificafreeride.com. Never been there yet.

    Sorry, just thinking out loud on the forum and trying to rationalize with myself. It is an expensive investment.
    A spotless bike is a bored bike.

  23. #23
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    Get the heckler!

    I've been riding my heckler for 3 years and just had it at Northstar in October. I have VP Free for DH, but it was out of commission that weekend so I just took the heckler. Just be sure to put a 160mm fork on there and it'll easily handle any trail or stunt there. It was my first time at N* in a few years, and I cleaned every single trail on the mountain, no problem (actually much faster than many of the DH bikes that were on the trails). It may not be as forgiving with only 6" of travel, but it keeps it challenging and fun. If you have decent skills, the heckler can rip. Best bike you can buy if you ask me.
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