Kinda a new guy. Trying to figure out what I want next.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Old Goat
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    Kinda a new guy. Trying to figure out what I want next.

    I started riding in March 2014. Bought a junky sporting goods store special Nishiki (which I now call the Nishitty) due to my ignorance about more quality type equipment. That bike basically started evaporating within 3 months.

    During my time on that I came across a guy on a local trail who was blazing fast freakazoid of a rider. You know what he was riding. That intrigued me big time. You know the internal dialogue we all have also. So when I had to buy a new bike I went to the LBS and bought a Redline Monocog in Dec 2014. Having no idea what I was getting into that stock 32:20 kicked my ass. Humiliated, I started working harder.

    Here I am now 18 months later having ridden that bike 99% of the time and upgraded enough that any more into this makes no sense. I put on Stans arch ex, hope hubs, tubeless ralphs, carbon rigid fork and on-one mary bars. I ride 16,18 and 20cog, trail dependent. And my fitness is good. I am ranking in the top 10-20% on strava leaderboards on local trails. And im just now feeling like the redline is holding me back a bit.

    Could I be faster or more aggressive on other geometry or materials? These are some of the questions im asking myself. What should I be focusing on so hone in on whats next?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    So are you looking for a single speed?

    If so- there are plenty of good options out there- you just need to decide on frame material. I am partial to quality steel.

    If you are not sure if you want to dedicate soley to single, or want a geared bike too, but can't afford both- find a bike sliding, changeable dropouts so you can do both.

    I can change my Vassago Verhauen from SS to geared in about 20 minutes. I only have when I cracked some vertebrae and couldn't yank on the bars SS, but it is nice to know I have the option if I decide to ride up Mt. Everest or something.
    Vassago Cycles, Shadetree Bikes, Flat Tire Bikes, Galfer Brakes USA

  3. #3
    Old Goat
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    Hi! I accidentally sent my post before I was finished.

    Yes I want a dedicated SS. Its all I want and need in a bike. Ive got the weight down on the cog to 24lbs. Without getting too nutty price wise, ideally im shooting for 20-21lbs on the next bike. $3000 all in will be my top budget.

    One thing im sure of is I love the upright position this bike gives me with mary bars. Being hunched makes my back ache. Is it possible to get a more aggressive geo while maintaining an upright positioning? I live on Long Island so theres no downhilling. We have lots of flats. And steep punchy climbs mostly. Short and hard ones.

  4. #4
    Downcountry AF
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    what is your goal? you just want to go faster? what is your idea of more aggressive geo?

    I too am partial to steel frames. with your budget you could look into a high end/custom steel or Ti frame (custom steel frames usually start around $1500). the other obvious way to save weight is a carbon frame, but you'll lose the ride qualities of steel. high end steel or Ti frames will weigh less than your current frame but won't be as light as carbon.

    another great place to spend your money is in the wheels. maybe a wider carbon rim (how much do you weigh?).

    the way you worded the "the redline is holding me back" is probably not the case. pushing a bigger gear, riding more and longer, etc. is the best way to get faster. a quality frame is a good investment, and worth investing in, but don't expect to gain 10% in additional speed from a new frame. it's the engine not vehicle that makes you fast.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  5. #5
    Old Goat
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    what is your goal? you just want to go faster? what is your idea of more aggressive geo?

    I too am partial to steel frames. with your budget you could look into a high end/custom steel or Ti frame (custom steel frames usually start around $1500). the other obvious way to save weight is a carbon frame, but you'll lose the ride qualities of steel. high end steel or Ti frames will weigh less than your current frame but won't be as light as carbon.

    another great place to spend your money is in the wheels. maybe a wider carbon rim (how much do you weigh?).

    the way you worded the "the redline is holding me back" is probably not the case. pushing a bigger gear, riding more and longer, etc. is the best way to get faster. a quality frame is a good investment, and worth investing in, but don't expect to gain 10% in additional speed from a new frame. it's the engine not vehicle that makes you fast.
    My goal is something more flickable for lack of a better description. The cog is a great bike. On steep well ridden hard pack climbs its fine. But when things get steep and techy/rooty it kinda dies for me. The times I need to use more body english to clean stuff it feels really stiff. Same thing on the way down. I know riding rigid has its limits there. But the cog can feel like a box on wheels to me sometimes.

    I weigh 195lbs. I have never expected to get faster by dropping dollars. Putting in time is the only way that happens.

  6. #6
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    The surest ways to make a bike more responsive to rider input is: steeper head tube angle ('cog is plenty steep), more fork offset (if your carbon fork has 38mm offset, it needs to go), shorter chainstays (the cog's are pretty long, even with dropouts slammed forward), and shorter stem. I guess a narrower handlebar is another factor, but the Marys are friggin' narrow. A shorter top tube is another strategy, although that may get you banned from MTBR...

    Perhaps too much attention has been placed on short chainstays, but I still think anything beyond 17" is a negative for the average SS rider. If you're leggy, like a short stem, ride at fast speeds, or climb walls, then longer stays have advantages. YMMV.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrispyGoat View Post
    im shooting for 20-21lbs on the next bike. $3000 all in will be my top budget.
    I'm not sure about other SSers, but I never get a new SS. I've had lots of different frames, bars, forks, stems, rims, tires, but I don't buy more than one new part at a time. This has been going on for 10 years. Granted, problems with standards are looming for me: I have a 9mm QR front hub, 135mm rear spacing, straight fork, and non-tapered head tube. But all the stuff is practically unbreakable, so I'm not concerned.

    If you want to get faster, you could get something like I9 hubs laced to Chinese carbon rims. Noisy and possibly stiffer riding, but super responsive. Any other changes you make aren't going to make much of a difference. Carbon frame maybe?

  8. #8
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    If you're comfortable on your bike and just want more speed, a carbon wheelset is well within your budget. Your wheels are nice, but you can get a wheelset that is stiffer, lighter, and wider.

  9. #9
    Downcountry AF
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrispyGoat View Post
    My goal is something more flickable for lack of a better description. The cog is a great bike. On steep well ridden hard pack climbs its fine. But when things get steep and techy/rooty it kinda dies for me. The times I need to use more body english to clean stuff it feels really stiff. Same thing on the way down. I know riding rigid has its limits there. But the cog can feel like a box on wheels to me sometimes.

    I weigh 195lbs. I have never expected to get faster by dropping dollars. Putting in time is the only way that happens.
    I think i got the impression you were planning on just upgrading the frame the first time i read this. are you planning on starting all over?

    I would keep the parts you like and have already purchased, and just upgrade a few things like the frame, cranks, and maybe wheels. you didn't mention if you already had carbon bars and seatpost, but those are two easy upgrades too.

    i'm still not 100% clear on what you want. it sounds like your not totally satisfied with the way you frame rides. if you switch to a carbon frame it will be stiff and light but you will lose the lively ride of steel.

    some frames you could start looking at are the Carver Ti 420, Vassago Verhauen, spot rocker, Gunnar Ruffian. there's a ton of nice steel/Ti frames that would work well. look for OX Platinum or Reynolds 853 steel tubing. either one will ride better than your current frame which is lower end chromoly.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrispyGoat View Post
    On steep well ridden hard pack climbs its fine. But when things get steep and techy/rooty it kinda dies for me. The times I need to use more body english to clean stuff it feels really stiff. Same thing on the way down.
    This is the part that has me confused.

  11. #11
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    I picked up a Niner SIR for $2200, and it came in around 21 lbs. If you spend the remaining 800 on a lighter wheelset it would drop the weight a bit lower even, and it rides like a dream.

  12. #12
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    If fast and fun is what you want, look at the steel Transition TransAM 29 frame with a single speed setup. 16.5" chain stay length and plenty slack with a 130mm fork. I don't think you could get it to 21 pounds though. Fully geared (1x10) with a 130mm fork, 1700g wheels and dropper seatpost, my TransAM 29 weighs about 28-29 pounds.

    On the other hand, have you seen/tried a Kona Unit? This is my sole SS and I love it. It's got a 17.1" chainstay, but it's got a 42.5" wheelbase. The 2016's got slacker geo than previous years. With carbon bar, seatpost, and fork, it weighs 24 and change pounds.

  13. #13
    Old Goat
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    I am 100% in the market for a new rig. The cog will be a backup.

    There are a lot of good suggestions here. I have investigated different materials. I got to ride a Lynskey frame recently. It was def different than steel. Like you could twist the bike going straight just by pulling on bars. Maybe thats good for tweaking that body english on steep, loose climbs etc?

    The carbon niner SS was also on my list of bikes to check out. But now the Sir is also. My favorite lbs is also a niner dealer, so plus there. I have read reviews that say the niner steel is really good as far as responsiveness.

    My dealer was also saying that due to my height, 5.11. That I am in between a med and large on severals brands so maybe thats why I feel unsatisfied. Just wish I had enough time to sample everything. Unfortunately my schedule is hectic and ride time/leisure is minimal. Thats why im on here attempting to glean hints that will help me.

    I really appreciate the heartfelt responses to my vague inquires.

  14. #14
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    I've heard good things about those SIR9s but I doubt I'll ever go back to an EBB.

    Have you looked at Vassago's VerHauen? Their medium (18") should fit you perfectly.

    And yes, A nicer frame will improve your ride. Those cogs were tanks...I still have my 2006.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrispyGoat View Post
    I am 100% in the market for a new rig. The cog will be a backup.

    There are a lot of good suggestions here. I have investigated different materials. I got to ride a Lynskey frame recently. It was def different than steel. Like you could twist the bike going straight just by pulling on bars. Maybe thats good for tweaking that body english on steep, loose climbs etc?

    The carbon niner SS was also on my list of bikes to check out. But now the Sir is also. My favorite lbs is also a niner dealer, so plus there. I have read reviews that say the niner steel is really good as far as responsiveness.

    My dealer was also saying that due to my height, 5.11. That I am in between a med and large on severals brands so maybe thats why I feel unsatisfied. Just wish I had enough time to sample everything. Unfortunately my schedule is hectic and ride time/leisure is minimal. Thats why im on here attempting to glean hints that will help me.

    I really appreciate the heartfelt responses to my vague inquires.
    I am 5'10" (ok, 5'9 3/4"...) and a large was too big for me. A friend of mine who loves Niners is 5'11" with a freakishly long inseam, and he can't get enough seatpost out of a medium, but the top tube would work for him, but he can make a large work just fine. If your inseam isn't like 34", you can probably make a medium work, however it depends on your riding style. I HATE big frames, but others would always pick the bigger of two if given an option, so it really comes down to preference.

  16. #16
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    5'11 and 195...if you want to go faster lose 20 lbs. Aside from that, with your budget I'd build up a nice light Carbon SS. You'll always have the Cog around when you want to remember what steel feels like. Don't get hung up on riding rigid though, you'd be surprised how much a nice suspension fork will help with maintaining higher speeds.

  17. #17
    more skier than biker
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    Pivot LES carbon frame...transfer rest of your parts over.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmctav23 View Post
    5'11 and 195...if you want to go faster lose 20 lbs. Aside from that, with your budget I'd build up a nice light Carbon SS. You'll always have the Cog around when you want to remember what steel feels like. Don't get hung up on riding rigid though, you'd be surprised how much a nice suspension fork will help with maintaining higher speeds.
    I hear this a lot on MTBR and other cycling sites. Wish I could drop 20 and be able to function. I work a physically demanding job. Long hours with a long commute. If I ate any less I would have zero energy. My day starts at 830am wake up. And I get home around 1245AM. My waist is 34USA and bone on hips already...I am a pretty muscular dude.

    My diet yesterday.
    Breakfast 1015am - 2 eggs on toast with cheddar and ketchup.
    Lunch 245pm - 1 cup of veggie fried rice.
    Dinner 8pm - 3 pieces corn on the cob, 2 pork ribs on bone, 1(2ounce) burger(no bun), hand full of olives. Hand full of potato chips
    Snack on the way home 1145pm - half a chocolate bar.
    ------

    I am considering front suspension for the new bike. Def with lockout for climbing. That bob is aggravating.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by garcia View Post
    I am 5'10" (ok, 5'9 3/4"...) and a large was too big for me. A friend of mine who loves Niners is 5'11" with a freakishly long inseam, and he can't get enough seatpost out of a medium, but the top tube would work for him, but he can make a large work just fine. If your inseam isn't like 34", you can probably make a medium work, however it depends on your riding style. I HATE big frames, but others would always pick the bigger of two if given an option, so it really comes down to preference.
    I just measured my inseam. Its 32'. I guess I need to be looking at mediums?

  20. #20
    Old Goat
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    sidenote- I am unable to reply to threads on mobile. Is this the case for mtbr in genral?

  21. #21
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    Depending on your terrain, the rigid fork could be holding you back. That sounds like blasphemy on this forum, but unless your trails are all buttery smooth, you can blast through techy stuff, climbing and descending, with some squish on the front.

  22. #22
    Downcountry AF
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Depending on your terrain, the rigid fork could be holding you back. That sounds like blasphemy on this forum, but unless your trails are all buttery smooth, you can blast through techy stuff, climbing and descending, with some squish on the front.
    he's on long island, i've never ridden there but i doubt there is much to be gained with suspension.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrispyGoat View Post
    I am considering front suspension for the new bike. Def with lockout for climbing. That bob is aggravating.
    People seem split on how aggravating the "bob" with a suspension fork is. Some hardly notice it, others despise it. I think it comes down to one's climbing style: if your standing climbs find you nearly vertical, and you utilize a lot of dance/bounce/mash when pedaling, the bob is very annoying b/c it absorbs your bounce instead of delivering it to the pedals/drivetrain. On the other hand, if you hold your torso in a more stable and horizontal position, utilize less bounce, and turn circles, then a suspension fork can be all positive and nearly no negative.

    Personally, I'm definitely a dancer/bouncer, and don't even like a "locked out" suspension fork.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrispyGoat View Post
    I just measured my inseam. Its 32'. I guess I need to be looking at mediums?
    If you got it up there nice and snug when measuring, then I'd guess you'd be better off on a Large. Your torso is longer than mine and I would never think of riding a Medium (and I prefer shorter bikes). Is your Redline a 19"? That's a traditional "large" size SS.

  25. #25
    Old Goat
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    You would be surprised. Yah most of here is flatland. But the glacier that created LI left some serious hills on the Northern half. Nothing like a sustained mountain climb with switches. But short and steep stuff. Scramble up, bomb down quickies.

    I also ride up in the Catskill Mountains. Suspension is preferred there. Mucho rocks n roots.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryder1 View Post
    I'm definitely a dancer/bouncer, and don't even like a "locked out" suspension fork.

    Me too. The SS shuffle uphill is my signature move.

  27. #27
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    Lynskey is having a summer sale. Kinda tempted...

    Could easily convert that mt29 or ridgeline to SS, no?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryder1 View Post
    If you got it up there nice and snug when measuring, then I'd guess you'd be better off on a Large. Your torso is longer than mine and I would never think of riding a Medium (and I prefer shorter bikes). Is your Redline a 19"? That's a traditional "large" size SS.
    Yes the cog is large. I feel like im climbing onto it, not mounting. lol

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