stout rider, what bike?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. stout rider, what bike?

    i used to mtb a lot back in the 80s-90s (full rigid, obviously) and rode a lot of crazy backwoods stuff back in Canada, though never at today's DH speeds. that was long before the explosion of choice that bike shoppers have today. i'm getting back into it, for fun and fitness, looking for a smoother ride than my old hardtail on 2" rubber, and so i'm wondering what kind of bike(s) i should be looking to spend 2500-3000 on.

    i'm short (5'5"), stout (210 lbs), not a particularly aggressive rider but i do appreciate a decent amount of standover clearance for those sudden lurching stops (inseam in 27" range). i love riding the local trails which can be everything from good gravel runs through the hills to rooty/boggy/loose rock off-piste tracks. i do like rough-tracking it but have no interest in hammering my way through.

    i generally ride 20-50 kms 3-5 times a week in all weathers (frequent rain, very little snow), don't see much more than 500 ft climbs but would definitely rather peddle than push ("i'm a biker not a hiker" as the man said). a little bikepacking sounds attractive but i have no immediate plans.

    i have no interest in racing anyone or even besting personal times from previous rides; as long as i can ride pretty much anywhere and anything i'm generally happy to mosey along enjoying the scenery, at a respectably elevated heart rate of course; i have no problems limiting my shredding to unsolicited junk mail.

    i like the idea of fat bikes -- roll-over, traction, relatively cushy -- but honestly don't need the fattest tires (see very little sand or snow) so 3-4" max rubber sounds fine to me, but i'm only guessing. i'm used to riding triples from back in the day so i reckon i'd prefer 2x over 1x. i recently trashed my wrist so i'm thinking front sus might be a good idea to ease the agro a little once i'm back in the saddle. i've got nothing against rear sus other than i probably don't need it and likely can't afford it anyway. i'd rate strength and durability as being far more important to me than latest/greatest/lightest every time.

    from what i've seen and read in my recent months of self-schooling i'm guessing i'd be classed as a trail/all-mountain/adventure biker though i'm happy to be corrected on that if it's called for.

    so, if someone like the above hit you up for "next bike?" advice what would you suggest?

  2. #2
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    Im riding a DB El Oso with 4" Juggernauts and the riding I do is like you described. It has good components and a Bluto up front. DB runs some sales and they can be had in the $1500 range
    Last edited by mcg3745; 08-13-2017 at 12:56 PM. Reason: Add UScurrency

  3. #3
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    thank you, looks like quite a nice bike. standover is a wee problem though (for me): 31".

  4. #4
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    I couldnt find a standover number in specs and didnt realize it was that high! My frame is a large and with the 4" tires it does help lower it a bit compared to the larger 4.5 stock treads, but not that much. Good luck with your search!

  5. #5
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    thanks, steep learning curve after 20 years out of the game, that's proving to be one of the big challenges. for instance, who needs full sus? is that just a racer/shredder thing and not really applicable to me and my type of riding? that's my guess but not at all sure.

  6. #6
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    I am 6 3 270 and I ride a surly karate monkey. 27.5 x 3" tires. Cannot say enough good about it.
    Trek Farley
    Surly Karate Monkey
    Specialized Chisel

  7. #7
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    Most all the decent bikes out there are ok for the stout rider. I LOVE the Farley 7. Great bike. I run mine with a 3.8 on 27.5 wheels. Don't count out the 1x. Get it with a11-42t cassette and you will be good. I really have come to like it. I don't really ride my old lefty any more as I like the way the 1x and fat tires feel. Try to go and demo a few bikes then feel it out from there. You are the only one who knows what feels good to you.

    On the FS it kinda depends on where and what you ride. Rocks and roots feel a lot better on a FS. I am at this time looking into FS as I broke my back a few years ago and I am starting to have trouble on the rough. I am 60yo and I can swing it. If you are riding a lot of flow then probably don't need FS. I know on flow I love a HT.

    Good luck
    2013 Cannondale F29 1 Alloy
    2013 Cervelo S5 Rival
    2012 Trek X01 crosser
    2017 Trek Farley 7
    2017Trek Domane SLR 6

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by stayshiny View Post
    i have no interest in racing anyone or even besting personal times from previous rides; as long as i can ride pretty much anywhere and anything i'm generally happy to mosey along enjoying the scenery, at a respectably elevated heart rate of course; i have no problems limiting my shredding to unsolicited junk mail.

    so, if someone like the above hit you up for "next bike?" advice what would you suggest?
    ...unsolicited junk mail.....

    I think a plus bike fits the bill. If you know sand/snow is not really in the equation then plus probably makes more sense for an all-around go anywhere bike that will adventure from time to time, all at a medium pace.

    Regarding gearing you'd need to look at a gearing calculator to see what your old 3x has, if anything, over a modern 1x. I'd wager that you could find a 1x system that works happily for your intended usage. Unless of course you've got killer climbs followed by long fire road descents. If you gear for the climbs you'll be spun out on the downs, but it doesn't sound like that matters, you'll just coast along at anything over 20mph anyway.

  9. #9
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    thanks guys, good things to think about.

    i must admit that when i realized the scene was making a big swing toward 1x over 2x i thought "wtf! where are the granny gears?" and dismissed it pretty much out of hand. as indicated above that would be jumping to conclusions because i've never actually sat down and crunched the gear ratios to find out what, if anything, i'd be losing at the low end. must do that before proceeding.

    for gearing it is the low end that matters most for me. i'd always rather slow pedal a steep ascent or a difficult section than walk it. can't say why really, just that pushing the bike feels like defeat even though sometimes walking would be faster than grinding it out on the granny gears. speed just isn't my thing these days so spinning out on the downs isn't something i really give much thought to, happy to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

    as to stand-over heights i respect what you're saying fishboy316 but i've always found it pretty tricky to find bikes offering 27"-ish SO, mostly limited to hardtails. a few Salsas do, 9zero7s are good, ditto a number of Rocky Mountains, only Specialized's Hellga does afaik, etc.

    very few FS plus bikes have SO less than 30" though the odd one comes in at 29" or so. you only have to nut yourself a few times to learn that proper SO matters rather a lot, especially if you're prone to pushing yourself into situations where coming off the saddle fairly suddenly is not an uncommon experience.

    of course improved riding strength and skills can do a lot to limit crotch-meets-toptube experiences but i'd rather not have the problem at all. imo a bit of SO clearance gives you some measure of freedom to reach beyond your current skills -- that "wtf, i'll give it a shot" feeling -- and for me that's a pretty important component of what makes riding new trails the blissful thing it can be.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by stayshiny View Post

    i must admit that when i realized the scene was making a big swing toward 1x over 2x i thought "wtf! where are the granny gears?" and dismissed it pretty much out of hand. as indicated above that would be jumping to conclusions because i've never actually sat down and crunched the gear ratios to find out what, if anything, i'd be losing at the low end. must do that before proceeding.
    My 1991 GT had something like a 44/34/24T up front and 12-28T out back. The 44 was never really a viable gear in the east coast woods. Had to be on gravel or better and probably pointed somewhat down to use it.

    Modern 1x you can get 28T (up to 38T) front and 9-50T rear off the shelf. If you don't mind hunting around you can find a 22T front for ultimate stump pulling power.

    Nothing wrong with the other systems, just it doesn't sound like your riding demands it. Find a bike and ride it as is until something breaks and you need to replace.

  11. #11
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    Farley 7 should work.
    Or a plus bike.

  12. #12
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    5'8" ~210# with gear and ride a Growler with 4.8" tires and rigid during the winter or 4" and suspended the rest of the year, fun well equipped bike for the price.

  13. #13
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    again, thanks all. would very much like to see the actual standover heights of the small sizes of the Farley 7 and the Growlers.

    Trek seems to have a botched geometry chart for the F7 -- the 15.5" frame is listed as having SO of 30.6" whereas the 17.5" has SO of 29.5" ??? -- and Growler doesn't give the SO at all.

    @bme107 : "Nothing wrong with the other systems, just it doesn't sound like your riding demands it." sounds like truth to me, and good advice. thank you.

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