ready for my first SS. A little advice needed.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    ready for my first SS. A little advice needed.

    I'm stumped on what to do, maybe you guys can push me in the right direction. At this moment I have a 26er geared bike that is ghost shifting like a SOB and needs a new derailer cassette. So although I have a bike, it's barley rideable.

    My LBS caries TREK. So I rode a Marlin and really like the geometry... the rest sucked, but that can all be upgraded. With that said, here are the options I have set... feel free to deviate. I have about $1000 to spend max.

    ONE:
    I can pick up the '12 Marlin for $600 even and be on the trail with a new trouble free SS tomorrow. I would then slowly as time and money allowed upgrade to a good fork (fox, RS, Marz, ext) add hydro brakes, and switch to a nice set of wheels and tubeless tires of my choice, throw on some wider bars, my pedals and start shedding weight. This would allow me to wait for deals and cruise the classifieds.

    TWO:
    Wait for a good deal to come along on a used bike, which may take a little while and I'm impatient and love to ride so I'm not really fond of this idea. (I'd like to buy a new bike by the first of next week)

    THREE:
    Buy the Marlin, ride it stock and build the full carbon SS of my dreams. Over the next year or so then sell off the TREK.

    Also; is there a thread I could be linked to showing what components you guys would ideally use to build an ultra bling, do it all, SS?

    Flame suit on...

  2. #2
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    Santa Cruz has their Chameleon frame for sale for $350. Half price. Buy it and get started with build.
    I LOVE mine, even at $699. Ride your geared while you build the dream SS. Enjoy. As for components, but used light stuff.

  3. #3
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    Have a go at the Marlin. I have also ridden one and the geometry is very nice. Depending on what you want to spend on upgrades, you can get it pretty light. My stock ( except for tubeless ) Raleigh XXIX weighs 27 lbs, and it has a steel frame. You should be able to hit 22-23 lbs without too much fuss, plus I still like metal over composites. Hope this helps.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by henrymiller1 View Post
    Santa Cruz has their Chameleon frame for sale for $350. Half price. Buy it and get started with build.
    I LOVE mine, even at $699. Ride your geared while you build the dream SS. Enjoy. As for components, but used light stuff.
    My issue is my current bike needs a few hundred worth of new parts dumped into it before it's really rideable again. I took it out tonight and if pissed me the fawk off. I'm done riding it!

    I just got an E-mail back on an 09 Rig for $800 but it's like 6 hours away. I could still drive down Tuesday and get it. How do the older GF's compare to the newer TREK G2's. Is it the same geometry? I'll also note it's a 19" frame and I want a 17.5" preferably but can fit the 19".

  5. #5
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    I have a Trek 820 that is pretty beaten down and needs some parts replacing. I plan on doing this slowly over the next year or so and then buy a frame that I want and move the parts over.

    I think it depends on what you want. I am the kind of person that likes to work on my own cars and learn everything and anything I can about a new hobby so thats why I am taking this route.

    Just slowly replace the parts over time and buy the parts that you need now to get the bike riding normally. There is a forte SS conversion kit for $25. Thats what I plan on doing now until I get a new seat. grips, handlebars, etc. and then I will work on replacing the chainring and cog.

  6. #6
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    Get the bike, you'll have loads of fun on the SS.
    The unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by J3SSEB View Post
    Get the bike, you'll have loads of fun on the SS.
    The GF or the Marlin?

    Another issue I have with the GF is the fox RL is only 80mm and I'd like a 120mm and it doesn't have hydro brakes either. So is it worth $200 plus a 12 hour road trip for a bike I'll be adding the same upgrades to... that is used... a little bigger than I wanted. But it does have some parts that are actually worth selling off to fund my aspirations.

  8. #8
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    Why not just convert your current ride to an SS? As you said, the parts need replacing anyway. Get the conversion kit, an SS chainring up front and get into it. While you're getting used to SS riding you will have plenty of time to consider another, "ideal" SS frame to build up.

  9. #9
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    Buy the Marlin and start having fun instantly. Ride a while and see what upgrades you require or want. New bike, LBS support, and correct size. I'd go to LBS pick up the Marlin, then head for beer store and stock up, Ready to ride!

  10. #10
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    When given choices (i.e., when budget allows), always go for new rather than used.

    Now, between option 1 and 2, why not combine the two. Go for option 1 now, upgrade as you can afford it, including the frame.

    Or as someone else mentioned, convert current bike to SS, then when you are ready, get the new frame and wheels.
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  11. #11
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    I agree with converting your current. My opinion, the Marlin is too heavy. I have an x-cal for my geary, and bought the wife a Marlin and the weight difference is staggering. The Marlin is an anchor and the components suck balls. If you have the desire to build up a carbon bike, convert your current buying a cog, chainring, a chain and a tensioner. Save your $600 for the world's lightest carbon seatpost or something for your new bike.

  12. #12
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    Because my current is a heavy POS and a 26er. Plus after riding the Marlin, my geometry just seems like I'm on a moped vs a sport bike. I just can't see dumping any money into it.

    Aren't the x-caliber, rig and Marlin on the same frames, just different components? Rig has fox fork and SS, x-cal is geared w/ Reba and the Marlin is SS with Suntour... different brakes too, but I think they all share the same rims even.

  13. #13
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    Convert that current bike to singlespeed, unless it has other major problems.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by action fab View Post
    Because my current is a heavy POS and a 26er. Plus after riding the Marlin, my geometry just seems like I'm on a moped vs a sport bike. I just can't see dumping any money into it.

    Aren't the x-caliber, rig and Marlin on the same frames, just different components? Rig has fox fork and SS, x-cal is geared w/ Reba and the Marlin is SS with Suntour... different brakes too, but I think they all share the same rims even.
    im in the same boat...2008 trek 820 isnt exactly light. Either way its your choice but you can always get the current bike you have running with a conversion kit and maybe some other parts. It sounds like you really want a new bike, which is fine, but there are options. I just like bringing things back from the dead and repairing them...whether its a car, bike or anything. Something rewarding to me about fixing things.....

  15. #15
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    Well I own a Fab shop where I build custom vehicles for a living. When I leave the shop, I want to hit the dirt, not wrench on another turd. LOL

    But trust me, I get your point entirely. I'm just not looking to get those kicks from my bike. I've got a GC8 Impreza a wrangler and my customers rides to fulfill that desire. But sadly I don't have the $3k-$4k for what I actually want so I'll have to slowly upgrade to get there. I just look at my current bike and can't find a single part I'd like to reuse. The wheels are junk, crank and drive train are junk, fork is junk, headset, stem and bars are junk, brakes are junk... the frame is okay, but it's not all that agile and it wont fit a 29 or 650b tire. So it's just not worth dumping money into IMO.

    You can see my thread in general asking about my current bike, it's an Aktiva, no one has ever heard of it...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by action fab View Post
    Aren't the x-caliber, rig and Marlin on the same frames, just different components? Rig has fox fork and SS, x-cal is geared w/ Reba and the Marlin is SS with Suntour... different brakes too, but I think they all share the same rims even.
    I bought the wife the geared marlin. I think the frame geometry is the same between x-cal and marlin.. not sure if the material is the same. I lift the Marlin and x-cal onto wall hangers every day and the Marlin is substantially heavier... be it components or frame.. dunno.

    My thought is this - if you're ultimate goal is a super light fast single speed, I don't think the Marlin gets you anything over converting your current bike to SS other than bigger wheels. I think you could convert your current bike to SS pretty inexpensively, then buy a frame to motivate you to start your build.

    dos centavos...

  17. #17
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    Option 3, but instead of the Marlin, get an even cheaper Redline Monocog.

  18. #18
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    I kinda went through the same thing a few years ago. I converted my current bike to a SS until I could build up the one I wanted. If you are going to build a nice SS its better to just build it up from the frame. I couldn't find any high end complete SS bikes and none that had the stuff I wanted.

    $20 and you can convert your current bike into SS for now. It will keep you riding and be on a SS until you can get your dream bike. So far I have 5k in my SS and still adding stuff.

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  19. #19
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    I think what I'll do is give my bike to my roommate and let him dick with it so he can cheaply get into riding, buy the Marlin or that GF and slowly build up my dream bike.

    Can someone tell me if the 09 Rig and 12 Marlin share the same geometry?

  20. #20
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    The 09 Rig is not a good deal. I almost picked one up in 2010 for $960 brand new. Good thing I didn't, because many reported frames cracking. They do have lifetime warranty, but if you're the second owner, you're screwed.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by phsycle View Post
    The 09 Rig is not a good deal. I almost picked one up in 2010 for $960 brand new. Good thing I didn't, because many reported frames cracking. They do have lifetime warranty, but if you're the second owner, you're screwed.
    So you think the Marlin would be a better deal? I looked at the specs some more. The 09 rig ran BB-7's and the Marlin runs similar novela brakes. I can buy a used Reba or Marz air fork for $200-$300 and be pretty happy. SO... with that said I'd be at the same price for a brand new bike and support my LBS while I build myself a carbon.

    My roommate is totally opposed to a SS and wants to keep my bike geared. LOL he is totally new to this so it may be best till he builds some muscles/experience.

  22. #22
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    If it's between that and the Marlin, then I'd go Marlin, simply because it's cheaper.

    If it were my money, I'd get a used Kona Unit, Surly Karate Monkey, Redline Monocog (Flight) for $5-600 and rail on that until you get your other bike built up.

    i.e. - 2011 Kona Unit 29er 18" medium frame | eBay

    Seems like a good deal. No affiliation with the seller. There is a Redline Monocog Flight on ebay as well. Not sure what size you need.
    Last edited by phsycle; 08-17-2012 at 11:57 AM.

  23. #23
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    Buy the Marlin from LBS and go ride! So many good reasons to go this route over others. Plus, you could instantly buy a new or slightly used fork with the money saved.

    I've been constantly upgrading my SS bike for years. That's half the fun! You will really notice and appreciate the upgrades you make to it, and it keeps riding fun and interesting. I've gone through (bought, traded, sold, broke) numerous geared bikes in the time of the SS, but it always remains and is not going anywhere.

    Also, biggest upgrade in terms of weight and performance you can make is the wheels and going tubeless, and you can easily find a good used set for $400. Good luck, and welcome to our world.
    Something with wheels and brakes.

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  24. #24
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    Just picked up the Marlin from my LBS. About to go rip on it!

    Thanks and if you want to keep the comments about upgrades coming that would be awesome.

  25. #25
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    As many suggested, convert your present bike into a ss. Ride it for a few weeks/months and fing out is ss is really for you.

    I converted my 20 yr old Trek 830 a little over a year ago. It went from a little toy project t my ride of choice. Lately I feel like I am cheating on her with my new 29er ss.

  26. #26
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    Life is short, max out your credit card and get the dream bike today.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by febikes View Post
    Life is short, max out your credit card and get the dream bike today.
    I don't do credit, I live a cash lifestyle.

    As for the Marlin... I love it! The SS is so awesome! I rode with a seasoned rider tonight. The guy was on a Santa Cruz Blur and a very competent rider. I was leaving him in my dust. On the uphills he'd catch me but never did he come close to passing and never did I have to push.

    The fork and tires/wheels suck balls though. They'll need to go soon.
    Last edited by action fab; 08-17-2012 at 07:02 PM.

  28. #28
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    nice! any pics?

    i just got a used SS marlin frame. just waiting for good deals on the parts i need for it. i agree that the stock wheels and tires do suck. planning to go full rigid on it.

  29. #29
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    Yeah, here it is awkwardly on my bike rack which doesn't fit it properly. Looks like I'll be adding a roof rack.


    And at Cedar Glades for my first ride.


  30. #30
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    Look like a ... bike!

    If you only use the bike on trails, remove the reflectors: they are just another thing that can break.
    If you also use the bike in traffic, keep them: they do improve your visibility during low-light hours.
    For riding in low-light conditions, get some lights too.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    If you only use the bike on trails, remove the reflectors: they are just another thing that can break.
    If you also use the bike in traffic, keep them: they do improve your visibility during low-light hours.
    For riding in low-light conditions, get some lights too.
    Really? Wow! Thank you Captain Obvious, you may very well have just saved my life!

    Seriously though, reflectors are gone already.

  32. #32
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    Nice bike, Hope ya enjoy!

  33. #33
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    I never understood the anti-reflector comments. I have kept the rear one on just in case I get get on a road (between trails) later then I thought I would.

  34. #34
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    All I gotta say is "why the fawk would TREK put such shotty tires on such a fast bike?"

    So today started with a swap to my wellgo LU-A8's which are heavy and will get swapped soon. But they're a good start and grip well.

    Then I washed the front out on an uneven transition from a nice whoop on the trail. This resulted in a nice head wound and rash all down my left side.



    So thankfully Parkside Cycle is only a few miles from the trail so I swung in (still bleeding all over myself) and had them swap on a 29x2.2 Saguaro GEAX steer tire. I'll go back and get a rear and convert to tubeless next week probably. But the difference was phenomenal! Great tire so far. The Bontrager TLR's are freaking worthless!

  35. #35
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    My Schwinn bicycle helmet didn't do a dang bit of good, so tomorrow, I'm going to get a full face.

  36. #36
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    The tires made you crash? really?

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBuddy View Post
    The tires made you crash? really?
    Really!!! LOL seriously don't wear a full face helmet on a SS hardtail crashes suck just try not too ready for my first SS. A little advice needed.-imageuploadedbytapatalk1345376400.261633.jpg here is my new RIG I'm loving it too

  38. #38
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    Yeah, crashes happen. As your skills progress, they'll happen less often.
    Just get a high quality brain bucket, like this one, but a full-face helmet is overkill IMHOP, especially on a 29er HT SS.

    And make sure it's fastened snug. Did the helmet slip off your head to cause that wound? That looks pretty gnarly.
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  39. #39
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    I'm telling you the lack of traction with the Spock tire was unreal in my local terrain. I literally could not use the front breaks before and would wash, time after time with the new bike where my junk 26er would stick and carve. Once I added the geax tire, the bike felt like a whole new animal. I was able to carry way more speed and not once did I get the feeling the bike wanted to push out again.

    Now, being the stock tire did suck, I'm sure you could chalk it up to rider error for pushing it too hard, knowing the tire sucked.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by sslikesnake View Post
    Yeah, crashes happen. As your skills progress, they'll happen less often.
    Just get a high quality brain bucket, like this one, but a full-face helmet is overkill IMHOP, especially on a 29er HT SS.

    And make sure it's fastened snug. Did the helmet slip off your head to cause that wound? That looks pretty gnarly.
    No, the cut is just below the helmet line, it was on very tight and did not slip. I see myself face planting again, and honestly I have a brother who is now mentally challenged from a brain injury from falling head first, so I'm a bit paranoid about my melon.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by action fab View Post
    No, the cut is just below the helmet line, it was on very tight and did not slip. I see myself face planting again, and honestly I have a brother who is now mentally challenged from a brain injury from falling head first, so I'm a bit paranoid about my melon.
    This is why I like skate style helmets as they often have a little more coverage. They can be had super cheap too!

  42. #42
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    I'm seriously considering getting a full face helmet. Being on rigid and immature, I tend to do a lot of "check this out" stuff.
    I think my current helmet is good enough for my head, but I can definitely see myself smashing my face in, judging by the few close calls I've had.
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4nbstd View Post
    I'm seriously considering getting a full face helmet. Being on rigid and immature, I tend to do a lot of "check this out" stuff.
    I think my current helmet is good enough for my head, but I can definitely see myself smashing my face in, judging by the few close calls I've had.
    Exactly. I'm 24, and for as long as I can remember I've pushed the limits of every hobby I've gotten involved in. I always have to do the biggest/fastest/hardest thing. There's a reason I quit MX and refuse to ride a moto anymore. I'll kill myself... might still on my bicycle too. Went out with my roommate tonight and before you know it were downtown and I'm jumping off seven stair cases. I just know I'm an adrenaline junky and the best I can do is protect myself with safety gear.

  44. #44
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    I am curious, Actionfab, how much do you weigh and how much pressure are you running in your front tire? the tire did not cause you to crash, but running your pressure too high and/or the limits of that fork might have make the bike unpredictable. you are well aware of the quality of that fork I see.

    I full-face helmet is just silly for XC use. you will pass out from heat stroke before you make it up any hill.

    congrats on the bike though. aside from that fork and the brakes, it's a solid bike for starting out on SS riding.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I am curious, Actionfab, how much do you weigh and how much pressure are you running in your front tire? the tire did not cause you to crash, but running your pressure too high and/or the limits of that fork might have make the bike unpredictable. you are well aware of the quality of that fork I see.

    I full-face helmet is just silly for XC use. you will pass out from heat stroke before you make it up any hill.

    congrats on the bike though. aside from that fork and the brakes, it's a solid bike for starting out on SS riding.
    130 lbs

    About 28-29psi

    Although the fork does suck, it didn't bottom out and I'm pretty sure it wasn't the lead culprit. The fact is the factory tires are not ment for the loose terrain we have here. Once switching to the geax I haven't had a single issue. With the bontrager I wasn't even able to use my front brakes, now I can jam them hard and whip the tail around sharp switch backs.


    As for XC and a full face. Most of the riding I do is balls out, jump every whoop, bash every berm. I also like to frDHride and DH, so it makes since for my riding style.

  46. #46
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    yes, a meatier tire will help a lot with cornering, but everything about that bike does not suit your riding style.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4nbstd View Post
    I'm seriously considering getting a full face helmet. Being on rigid and immature, I tend to do a lot of "check this out" stuff.
    I think my current helmet is good enough for my head, but I can definitely see myself smashing my face in, judging by the few close calls I've had.
    If it makes you feel any better, when I was younger we never wore any helmets at all and still managed to do all the "check this out, look mom no hands" stuff and we still survived. Not that I recommend that to anyone with half a brain (which I no doubt lacked).

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by action fab View Post
    Exactly. I'm 24, and for as long as I can remember I've pushed the limits of every hobby I've gotten involved in. I always have to do the biggest/fastest/hardest thing. There's a reason I quit MX and refuse to ride a moto anymore. I'll kill myself... might still on my bicycle too. Went out with my roommate tonight and before you know it were downtown and I'm jumping off seven stair cases. I just know I'm an adrenaline junky and the best I can do is protect myself with safety gear.
    My #1 goal on every ride is to not get hurt. I think when you get down to it that is also the goal of most people who do well in any sport. Getting hurt sucks and it gets in the way of your skill development because you spend time dealing with injury rather then actually riding your bike.

    Focus on skills development and you will enjoy the sport more and for much longer. With times your skills will develop. Safety pads and full face helmets are generally not going to give you as much protection as you think. From what you say I actually recommend you ride without a helmet because it might help you develop the skills.

    We all crash but it is best to do as much as possible to avoid crashes rather then hope to have safety gear protect for protection.

    Sure I wear a helmet but I never assume it will help me in a crash. If the helmet does help it is a bonus but I don't ride more aggressively because I have it one.

    Good luck with the recovery and hopefully the scar will impress chicks.

  49. #49
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    Ahhh, I'm fine with the cuts, rash and bruises. It's the broken bones and possibility of brain trauma that scare me. Like is said my baby brother is now mentally challenged from a bad fall, not to mentione that my dad is the coroner and a first responder, my mom is an ICU nurse. So I get to hear all the horror stories. We have a ton of mtn biking here in the Ouachitas.

    I'm still going to push the envelope, as I do. But I'll take what precautions I can.

    One thing I'll also add. I am using every bit of my 100mm fork regularly. Would stepping up to a 120-140mm fork when I upgrade make the bike terrible to ride? I'm already going to throw the G2 geometry out the window since the only fork available with a 51mm offset is the fox fork used on the rig which is only 100mm and I'd like to step up to a bit more travel.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by action fab View Post
    Ahhh, I'm fine with the cuts, rash and bruises. It's the broken bones and possibility of brain trauma that scare me. Like is said my baby brother is now mentally challenged from a bad fall, not to mentione that my dad is the coroner and a first responder, my mom is an ICU nurse. So I get to hear all the horror stories. We have a ton of mtn biking here in the Ouachitas.

    I'm still going to push the envelope, as I do. But I'll take what precautions I can.

    One thing I'll also add. I am using every bit of my 100mm fork regularly. Would stepping up to a 120-140mm fork when I upgrade make the bike terrible to ride? I'm already going to throw the G2 geometry out the window since the only fork available with a 51mm offset is the fox fork used on the rig which is only 100mm and I'd like to step up to a bit more travel.
    You don't seem to get the fact that you are using a bike that is not designed or intended for your style of use. Maybe sell it and buy something alittle more to match the full face helmet

  51. #51
    mtbr member
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    Aug 2012
    Posts
    43
    I get that but at this time I can't afford what I want, and if I can slowly throw some money into this and make it work, at least I'll be on the trails.

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