Ottawa area bike choices- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Ottawa area bike choices

    Planning on upgrading this year from an 8 year old Trance 26er. Most traffic here is from South Western Ontario, but Ottawa is very different (rocks on rocks on rocks).

    For those in this area riding SMH, Fortune, etc what are the recent local trends? Looking at the RM Instict and Altitude and hoping to demo this spring. Demo'd some Intense bikes last year and the 27.5 was more fun and nimble, and easier to stay on line, while the 29er was harder to keep on track but easier to recover when things went squirly.

    I like the technical rocky parts of SMH and while wanting to improve my speed decending, I'm never going to be sending it.
    2015 Brodie Romax
    2011 Giant Trance X3 "Andre"
    2013 Rocky Mountain SoloCX "Han"

  2. #2
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    I've ridden SMH a number of times, never at Fortune. Rode a lot out in the Maritimes which is generally pretty similar riding. (Currently living in BC, and ridden a lot in S. Ontario).

    In S. Ontario my trail/all around bike was a 120mm 27.5 (Scott Spark). In the Maritimes it was a 140mm 27.5 (Giant Trance) and now out west I'm on a 150mm 29er (Santa Cruz Hightower LT).

    I think all those bikes matched well to the riding in each place, as well as my style. Which is pretty fast and aggressive (both up and down...though not so much up anymore in BC). Both the Instinct and Altitude are pretty aggressive trail bikes. If you aren't going to 'send it', they may be more bike than you will end up using. Which is fine, but it also might mean pushing around more bike than you truly need. Depends if you care.

    If I moved back east right now (Ottawa or East Coast), I'd find my Hightower a bit tedious and would probably move down to 'less bike'. My Trance was about the best, go anywhere, do anything bike I could imagine. I did some 'fun' relay racing on it, it also go me through a 3 month trip around BC riding some pretty gnarly stuff, and lots of riding in between.

    There is no wrong answer, a new bike is going to be a big upgrade from the 8 year old Trance. Ultimately if enjoying riding a bike, that's all that matters.

    As for 27.5 versus 29er. If I'm trying to go fast up, down or horizontally, the 29er is my preference (holds the line far better). Slow technical stuff, the 27.5's seem to be more enjoyably and nimble. Lots of personal preference there however.
    Straight outta Rossland

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the input Cpt. The modern bikes are *so* different from older bikes that a lot of a demo is spent just trying to adjust. I like the idea of slightly more bike than I need as drops and I are not friends, so a bit of a safety net is comforting. I suppose I could just try to get better though lol.
    2015 Brodie Romax
    2011 Giant Trance X3 "Andre"
    2013 Rocky Mountain SoloCX "Han"

  4. #4
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    Beyond the travel, I think the geometry changes on a newer bike is what will take it to another level when you upgrade. You have a Trance and like it, so my first suggestion would be to look at a new 27.5 Trance. Light and capable bike.

    I am down in the Toronto area and have a Transition Scout; not much travel on the bike with 125mm, but it hasn't slowed the bike down much. I've ridden it out in Quebec a bunch, down in North Carolina and even at Bromont. Though that said, I am building a Banshee Rune for those days (ditching the DH bike).

  5. #5
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    I'm seeing 2 different groups with quite different setup.

    1. XC/techy folks riding Kanata Lakes and shared trails in Gatineau park / Larose forest (could be wrong spelling for the last one) - these guys are on mid-travel bikes with 110-130mm of travel, some are on HT bikes.

    2. Folks doing DH on Camp Fortune & MSM on serious DH bikes that are pain to be going uphill on.

    I like to do both, and I did few black DH trails on Fortune on my 100/100 XC bike with no dropper, but it was dodgy at the times. Getting all mountain bike this winter, will see how it will go. For now - shredding it on alpine skis

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by borisotto View Post
    I'm seeing 2 different groups with quite different setup.

    1. XC/techy folks riding Kanata Lakes and shared trails in Gatineau park / Larose forest (could be wrong spelling for the last one) - these guys are on mid-travel bikes with 110-130mm of travel, some are on HT bikes.

    2. Folks doing DH on Camp Fortune & MSM on serious DH bikes that are pain to be going uphill on.

    I like to do both, and I did few black DH trails on Fortune on my 100/100 XC bike with no dropper, but it was dodgy at the times. Getting all mountain bike this winter, will see how it will go. For now - shredding it on alpine skis
    Luckily now you can get a bike that might not be a master of either one of those, but is still pretty damn good at both.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canadmos View Post
    Luckily now you can get a bike that might not be a master of either one of those, but is still pretty damn good at both.
    Yes, seems pretty hard to buy a bad bike these days.
    2015 Brodie Romax
    2011 Giant Trance X3 "Andre"
    2013 Rocky Mountain SoloCX "Han"

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canadmos View Post
    Luckily now you can get a bike that might not be a master of either one of those, but is still pretty damn good at both.
    Quote Originally Posted by bishskate View Post
    Yes, seems pretty hard to buy a bad bike these days.
    Yep.

    Most of my Ottawa buddies are riding bikes like the RM Altitude, Instinct, Devinci Troy and Intense Spider, so sort of a range of what I would call trail bikes. Most of them also have dedicated DH bikes for Fortune DH and the odd trip to Bromont or Highland or whatever. I ride a 2017 Troy and wold have no issues riding it on any of the Ottawa area trails including the DH ones at Fortune, though it would be faster on a DH bike.

    I actually learned to ride singletrack and DH in Ottawa back in 2002/03 and I rode all of the stuff on Fortune at the time on a 2002 RM Switch with a 68 degree HA and a whopping 5" of travel and a 9mm QR fork, including the legendary and long off limits Jacob's Ladder. My Troy is way more capable than that bike was in both the up and down directions. Like, unbelievably better.

    I always loved the techy trails around Ottawa. SMH, Fortune and more recently Carp. What they lack in elevation change, they make up for in gnarliness. Good fun except for when it's eleventy million degrees in the summer and the mosquitoes will eat you alive (particularly at SMH).

  9. #9
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    I'm in Orleans and during the season I'm often at Larose on a 2018 HT with 120mm fork and I'd say that's plenty for that area. I would say the majority in that area are on HT. I'll be trying Kanata this year and maybe Fortune again on my HT as I don't ride out in those areas and I don't see myself driving that far every weekend when Larose is 17mins away.

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