Western Mass setup tips?

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  • 05-17-2007
    Western Mass setup tips?
    Moving to Amherst at the end of the summer, and I'm wondering how to set up my bike for Mass riding. Right now my Heckler has a California epic XC build; lots of squish, but pretty lightweight. Every pic I've seen of riding in MA seems to involve jumping off of big rocks, so I'm wondering if I should beef it up a bit. Any recommendations?
  • 05-18-2007
    You'll find more hucking oriented riding in eastern, MA than in the Pioneer Valley (1.5-2 hours away).

    Think of very rugged xc for the Amherst area (way more than California-Basalt rocks and deciduous forest roots make a very unique trail tread...forget the glorious, long, dusty flat rocks and washes of SoCal).

    Also, western, ma is very hilly-and climbing is endemic-I've had the opportunity to help guide visitors from eastern, ma and other places who find their burlier bikes a bit of a drag on the climbing which is inescapable.

    The rugged-epic xc-ish build (of your Heckler) is perfect for western, ma...or just about anywhere, really.

    Please PM me when you move-I'm pretty proud of our riding area and always eager to help transplants (which I once was) get oriented to the riding.

    Have a good summer.
  • 05-20-2007
    The other thing we have a lot of out here is mud. Depending on the trails, riding anytime into mid May is going to be a wet experience, and for a few days after some decent rains the trails stay pretty damp.

    Like Superbman said... forget about those long dusty rides. I don't rind anything special, just a Rockhopper, and it handles the local area pretty well. Just maintaining your gear properly is a huge thing around here, because the rocks, roots, and mud have a tendency to wear out components pretty quickly.

    You'll love it in Amherst. I went to school out there some years ago and would move back in a heartbeat (granted, all the college girls probably have something to do with that perception ;) )
  • 05-20-2007
    Stoked. That's about what I was expecting. And I know all about muddy trails...lived in Hawaii for a year. Thanks for the tips, I'll hopefully be seeing you guys mid-August sometime.
  • 05-20-2007
    Great Barrington Area?
    Will be in Great Barrington area over Memorial Day wkend and would love some ideas as to where in the area I can do some mountain bike riding.... If nothing to ride in the area, will stick with road riding that weekend.

    Any help is appreciated.

  • 05-20-2007
    best bet is to hit the Arcadian shop on rtes 20/ 7 (Lenox Pittsfield Rd) in Lenox-ask about routes and rides with the locals within. Or just buy a Yokun ridge/ kennedy park map and ride from the shop itself (right on the trails)--frankly this is a fantastic ride--well reviewed on the mtbr.com trail review under Yokun Ridge.

    Daves Bike shop in Pittsfield and certainly Berkshire Bike and Blade in Great Barrington can also put you on to great rides. Berkshire riding is some of the best anywhere in the usa--really. But it can be somewhat hard to find.

    the Road riding is pretty great too if you don't hook up with the mountain riding.
  • 05-21-2007
    Great Barrington Area?
    Thanks! Will check it out.
  • 06-08-2007
    2 Attachment(s)
    Amherst trails
    Rode there for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Hooked up with a guy who knows the area and he led a 3.5 hr ride. We started on Pelham rd and headed N. on the Amethyst Brook trail. Long but gradual climb to the top of the ridge, mostly smooth with a couple of rock gardens. Down the other side and onto the Robert Frost trail. More technical with shorter climbs but almost all of them make-able. Eventually we climb to the top of Mt. Toby, then head back. It was a good ride but not as rocky as I was hoping. You don't need a lot of travel for this loop. Next time I head up that way I'm going to try the Bachelor st trails.
    The only pic I took was from the top of Mt Toby. A little haze, but still a great day for a ride.

    The Mt Toby pic is the second one.
  • 06-20-2007
    Ice Station
    Fat - tighten up on the squish, 4" F and R is more than adequate, make sure you have a 44T in front and 34T in rear and you should be cool!

    When you arrive - hit Competitive Edge Ski & Bike in Hadley (on Route 9 right near Umass campus) and talk to the cats there about local trails (Holyoke Range is the best - and can ride right to it). They know the trails as good as anyone in the area. Laughing Dog bikes in downtown Amherst is a good shop also. Anyone should know where these shops are.

    If you are going to UMASS - they have group rides right out of campus, and used to have a club room/workshop with tools to work on your rig.

    You will LOVE it in Amherst - I spent 6 years there, and now live 45 minutes away, and miss it every day, but still head there to chill now and then. It is straight up live, and the girls are plentiful and tight! A great college town!

  • 07-06-2007
    I live over in Montgomery, about 30 minutes from Amherst. I have been riding for a while, but just set up a Heckler for riding over here in Western MA. Just looking for others that ride in the area. I ride with a few people,but is seems that they always have something else. Trying to get out more than once every 2 weeks..
  • 07-21-2007
    Almost anywhere, the trails won't be incredibly popular, which means the trail heads and trails themselves won't be particular well kept, although there are dozens of exceptions. I find lots of trails to be rooty, muddy, with the ocassional dry patches and rock gardens which you must both climb and descend. I prefer to run light-use xc rims (370g Velocity VXC'S and 395g Mavic XC 717'S) for the trails, coupled with relatively wide AM tires (2.2" - 2.5") this allows me to climb the rocky and muddy sections with ease, but without being held back by the weight penalties of heavier rims. It works well for the variety of trail conditions around MA, and I actively do a lot of jumps, drops, and technical maneuvers with this setup.