Any midatlantic bikes to pedal? Not downhill only. Seems all are west coast/bike park- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Any midatlantic bikes to pedal? Not downhill only. Seems all are west coast/bike park

    Have you found a good ride everywhere bike? Here we have a lot of true singletrack and switchbacks.
    In 2017 I rode a number of DEMO days and bikes. I was very disappointed because of terrible geometry, they were unrideable. The pedals and crank arms smash into everything!
    Looking for a trail bike 125-140mm travel bike.
    Might even enjoy a Titanium hardtail that takes 2.6 tires with room to spare for mud, rocks etc.
    Not looking for a boat anker/heavy bike that is better to just coast downhill.
    I appreciate all wisdom.
    Thank you.
    Last edited by mtnbikerva1; 6 Days Ago at 11:01 AM.

  2. #2
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    I've been running a 2016 Stumpy 29 for the last 4 years. A higher engagement hub helps, 170 cranks help, and a slightly longer fork helps.

    It's takes a different riding style with some crank ratcheting. My cranks are still beat to hell, but I've been getting around the Shenandoah Valley just fine.

    You might look at a 27.5 bike that you can squeeze 29 wheels into. It might get you where you want to be on BB height.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikerva1 View Post
    Have you found a good ride everywhere bike? Here we have a lot of true singletrack and switchbacks.
    In 2017 I rode a number of DEMO days and bikes. I was very disappointed because of terrible geometry, they were unrideable. The pedals and crank arms smash into everything!
    Looking for a trail bike 125-140mm travel bike.
    Might even enjoy a Titanium hardtail that takes 2.6 tires with room to spare for mud, rocks etc.
    Not looking for a boat anker/heavy bike that is better to just coast downhill.
    I appreciate all wisdom.
    Thank you.
    Of course, a lot of this depends on the types of trails that you ride, but it sounds like you are frustrated with the same thing that frustrates me: low bottom brackets. My go-to bike is a 2018 Santa Cruz Hightower and I have to say that I love it. I run it with the flip chip in the High position and I extended the fork to 150mm of travel which results in a bottom bracket height of ~13.75" (with 2.4" Maxxis Rekon tires). This is high enough for me that bottom bracket strikes are generally not an issue, although obviously attention is still required.

    The newest bikes that are following the long/low/slack trend just aren't working well for east coast riding. Even the new version of the Hightower (model year 2020 and on) increased the rear wheel travel and dropped the bottom bracket height, so I think pedal strikes would be much more of an issue. The current bike that looks most similar to the original Hightower is the Pivot Switchblade.

    Obviously this is only one data point, but I would recommend the v1 Hightower (model years 2016-2019) to mid-Atlantic riders riding technical trails that are worried about pedal strikes.

    For the record, where I do not absolutely love this bike is on mellower trails with lots of turns. I have an older Specialized Epic that is much better for less technical trails - it just turns quicker and feels more at home on those types of trails. But if I had to pick only one of these two bikes to own, it would be my Hightower.

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    What specs to take into consideration most? bottom bracket height or bb drop? Or something else or a group of specs?
    Since there are no demo days any more it is very difficult to actually test ride.
    Thank you.

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    Have you noticed almost all the MTB bike reviews on YouTube videos are at ski resorts or more west coast/western USA desert type descending and a little pedaling. Not the rocks and roots, soils, flora, and quick change of speed and direction like in the east USA.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikerva1 View Post
    Have you noticed almost all the MTB bike reviews on YouTube videos are at ski resorts or more west coast/western USA desert type descending and a little pedaling. Not the rocks and roots, soils, flora, and quick change of speed and direction like in the east USA.
    Absolutely - I love watching those videos but they bear little to no resemblance to the riding that I do. Either marketing research has shown that those videos help sell bikes or that type of riding is much more prevalent out west.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikerva1 View Post
    What specs to take into consideration most? bottom bracket height or bb drop? Or something else or a group of specs?
    Since there are no demo days any more it is very difficult to actually test ride.
    Thank you.
    Bottom bracket drop and bottom bracket height are two ways of measuring/reporting the same thing. Theoretically, if you take the diameter of the wheel + the tire and subtract the bottom bracket drop you will get the bottom bracket height. That said, I don't believe 29" wheels have an exact 29" diameter, and the height of tires off the rim bead vary quite a bit as well, so I'm personally not exactly sure how to compare the two measurements.

    But other numbers matter as well. A longer wheelbase combined with a slacker headtube angle is going to result in a bike that is stable at speed but it will also be much more difficult to get through tight turns on the trail. Some people, particularly people at the upper end of the recommended height for a frame are sensitive to slacker seat tube angles. I am personally not a big fan of steep seat tube angles - I like to be able to pull up on the pedals when climbing and I think steep seat tubes make this much less effective. I do like the longer wheelbase that my Hightower has, but newer bikes are even longer and I'm not sure I would like that as much.

    Demoing bikes is definitely the way to go. It was never much of an option for me; I've rented a few bikes when traveling over the years, but it has never coincided with when I am making a bike purchase. I bought my Hightower after riding a friend's and deciding that it was plenty good for my purposes. If you have access to other people's bikes that might be a good option.

  8. #8
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    Higher BB and shorter chainstays are Ideal for East Coast mountains. We tend to have more chunk to peddle through and tighter non beamed turns. I'm on a Canfield Riot 13.75" BB 140mm bike. Very short chainstays. The new Pivot Switchblade looks promising.

    Its important to know what the sagged BB height would be.

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    By the way - there are several options that can generally be considered for raising the effective bottom bracket of any bike. They include:
    1) Increasing the travel of the fork
    2) Running 'taller' tires
    3) Using shorter crank arms (assuming pedal strikes is your main issue)

    One or more of these options may not be applicable to any given frame (tire clearance restrictions, max fork length restrictions, etc...), and all of them come with tradeoffs, but it is always good to have options.

    Bottom bracket height is a game of millimeters - every little bit helps in my book. And don't forget that the more travel the rear suspension of the bike has, the more the bottom bracket is going to drop as the rear wheel moves through its travel. This is why I frequently ride on technical, non-downhill sections of trail with my rear shock in its firmest setting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    Higher BB and shorter chainstays are Ideal for East Coast mountains. We tend to have more chunk to peddle through and tighter non beamed turns. I'm on a Canfield Riot 13.75" BB 140mm bike. Very short chainstays. The new Pivot Switchblade looks promising.

    Its important to know what the sagged BB height would be.
    Cerberus - I feel like we must cross paths up in the Frederick watershed, but I don't recall seeing any riders on Canfield Riots. I'll keep my eyes open while I am out riding.

    I have a friend on the new Switchblade. He's been out of mountain biking for 14 years and just getting back into the sport, but he's been loving it.

  11. #11
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    I haven't paid as much attention to BB height lately, but in the same position as those commenting on here.

    Few bikes I'm looking at because they didn't go too extreme like the Ripley and Tallboy V4s
    Giant Trance 29er
    Revel Ranger
    Waiting on the Pivot Trail 429 update.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SqueakyWheel73 View Post
    Cerberus - I feel like we must cross paths up in the Frederick watershed, but I don't recall seeing any riders on Canfield Riots. I'll keep my eyes open while I am out riding.

    I have a friend on the new Switchblade. He's been out of mountain biking for 14 years and just getting back into the sport, but he's been loving it.
    I tend to ride Thursdays and Sundays all day, and evenings. Yeah I know you're pain lol. 13.75" BB and 165mm cranks. And still get strikes here and there. So much to peddle, but not nearly as many as most do...I'm not racheting for miles lol. My Riot is black an orange. My wife rides a rootbeer Wreckoning.

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    Iíve ridden a ton of the modern geo bikes and the Ripley V4 has been the best do it all bike for the area. Iíve had it down at Fountainhead and up to the watershed with everything in between.

    You can get a longer travel bike but most of the trails in the area donít warrant them.

    If you want something even racier the new Epic Evo is a killer as well.

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    Watch out for stack heights too. Theyíre pretty low on some models these days. Iíve found that a higher stack height is better for long, rocky, East-type day rides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidg86 View Post
    Iíve ridden a ton of the modern geo bikes and the Ripley V4 has been the best do it all bike for the area. Iíve had it down at Fountainhead and up to the watershed with everything in between.

    You can get a longer travel bike but most of the trails in the area donít warrant them.

    If you want something even racier the new Epic Evo is a killer as well.
    Didn't care for the V4, prefer my LS or Riot for MD.
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    It took a lot of rides and experimenting to get the V4 feeling comfortable. The steep seat tube angles nowadays required a whole different setup than I was used to.

    I was about to jump ship and stick with my SB100 classic geo until I figured it out. Overall the new bikes are better on ups and downs but kinda tough on flats unless you get your fit dialed.

    Unfortunately with all the changes to geo demo rides are the only way to not make a costly mistake.

    That new Spur though! May be a little too long for the twisty single track.

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    IMHO a 130r/150f is perfect for the Shed and less is needed pretty much elsewhere. My wife rides a Wreckoning because the STA is slacker than the Offering, she's an Evil fan girl. We ride the few trails that warrent a bigger bike and Pisgah often enough to put a bigger bike to use.

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    Ripley V4 here with Ext Storia v3 shock and Formula Selva R at 140mm. Perfect for Shed to Fountainhead. Waiting for EXT ERA fork to arrive.

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  19. #19
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    What about the new Spot Mayhem? In the "high" setting, it's listed at 344.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smartyiak View Post
    What about the new Spot Mayhem? In the "high" setting, it's listed at 344.
    I had the previous version and found it to be an excellent pedaler when on smoother less technical terrain. However when things got rough the anti squat made technicals stuff more difficult and tiresome. On successive small bumps it was quite chatterley too

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    Quote Originally Posted by smartyiak View Post
    What about the new Spot Mayhem? In the "high" setting, it's listed at 344.
    Geo looks good. I've never ridden a spot, heard they're good. 344mm will be good at sag with 170mm cranks or shorter IMHO. You'll peddle through a lot more. Leverage rate and compression are important obviously.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bogeydog View Post
    I had the previous version and found it to be an excellent pedaler when on smoother less technical terrain. However when things got rough the anti squat made technicals stuff more difficult and tiresome. On successive small bumps it was quite chatterley too

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    Disregard what I said lol. I hate a bike that hangs up, or falls into travel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    Disregard what I said lol. I hate a bike that hangs up, or falls into travel.
    I was looking for more reviews to see if they cleared up that issue on the new version....but with COVID, maybe it's just too new for tons to be in the wild?

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidg86 View Post
    Overall the new bikes are better on ups and downs but kinda tough on flats unless you get your fit dialed.

    Agreed. I own a Process 134. The end result is great, but getting the right fit (for the more levelish, rocky rides) was a real chore. Itís like manufacturers think weíre all riding trails that are either straight up or straight down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
    Agreed. I own a Process 134. The end result is great, but getting the right fit (for the more levelish, rocky rides) was a real chore. Itís like manufacturers think weíre all riding trails that are either straight up or straight down.
    I'm riding mostly in Montgomery county, so you know, rolling hills- hated my V4 Ripley- gave it 2 months.

    Ironically my Riot didn't bother my hands/wrist, but I feel like that was because of the shorter ETT and taller stack put me in a more upright seated position
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    IMHO a 130r/150f is perfect for the Shed and less is needed pretty much elsewhere. My wife rides a Wreckoning because the STA is slacker than the Offering, she's an Evil fan girl. We ride the few trails that warrent a bigger bike and Pisgah often enough to put a bigger bike to use.
    What trails/ style do you ride? Ever since you got me pointed in the right direction at the watershed (thanks again btw) I've been there once or twice a week and loving it.

    I'm keeping an eye on new bikes in case my 14 year old 26'er does something I can't get parts for.

    I was looking at 130r/140f bikes or so. Generally I'm riding from the top lot of hamburg. Pretty much anything that's single track is what I'm riding there... none of the freeride stuff, no doubles/tables, not bombing down stuff and shuttling or anything like that.

    I've been getting along with my Kona Dawg 127r/120f but keep thinking just a little more might be nice up front. I'm not a big dude though...160 or so. You think I need to look at something a little higher travel?

    I'm spoiled with bottom bracket height though...I think it's 355mm, but not running the 44t ring up front, just a cheap bash guard. So much nicer than it used to be.

    I was surprised how low the bb is on newer bikes. I figured they'd be up higher considering the wheel and frame changes. Interesting to see all the changes after being out of it for so long.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    I tend to ride Thursdays and Sundays all day, and evenings. Yeah I know you're pain lol. 13.75" BB and 165mm cranks. And still get strikes here and there. So much to peddle, but not nearly as many as most do...I'm not racheting for miles lol. My Riot is black an orange. My wife rides a rootbeer Wreckoning.
    I might see you up there on a Sunday then. I've been riding with some folks in Michaux on the weekends this past summer, but still like to get rides in up there. I'm on a mango Hightower - not exactly subtle...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    Disregard what I said lol. I hate a bike that hangs up, or falls into travel.
    Funny - I don't mind bikes with higher antisquat since they keep the bike higher in its travel when pedaling through rock gardens. I can't deal with the designs that sink into their travel though. That feeling drives me crazy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FredCoMTB View Post
    What trails/ style do you ride? Ever since you got me pointed in the right direction at the watershed (thanks again btw) I've been there once or twice a week and loving it.

    ...Generally I'm riding from the top lot of hamburg. Pretty much anything that's single track is what I'm riding there... none of the freeride stuff, no doubles/tables, not bombing down stuff and shuttling or anything like that.
    Have you ridden the trails in the northern part of the Watershed like Salamander, Vandal or Pit? Those are some of my favorites, and are great if you want classic watershed XC-style riding. Also, if you haven't tried it yet, you need to go hit Boundary Line. Its got jumps and doubles on it, but you can avoid taking air on them and that trail is a ton of fun to go down. It also has the only decent berms in the watershed.

    Quote Originally Posted by FredCoMTB View Post
    I was looking at 130r/140f bikes or so. I've been getting along with my Kona Dawg 127r/120f but keep thinking just a little more might be nice up front. I'm not a big dude though...160 or so. You think I need to look at something a little higher travel?

    I was surprised how low the bb is on newer bikes. I figured they'd be up higher considering the wheel and frame changes. Interesting to see all the changes after being out of it for so long.
    If you can ride everything you want to ride, then I wouldn't necessarily be looking for another bike. But, there is no doubt in my mind that the newer geometries put you in a better position to avoid going OTB, and the newer suspension is generally better as well. I've already done my rant in this thread regarding how low bikes are nowadays, but I would definitely be aware of this if/when you are shopping around. I rented an Ibis Ripmo when I was out west last year and I really liked it. But it felt very low to me. I bumped into someone riding one in the watershed and he confirmed that he gets a lot of pedal strikes with it. Every design has its trade-offs for sure....

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    Quote Originally Posted by FredCoMTB View Post
    What trails/ style do you ride? Ever since you got me pointed in the right direction at the watershed (thanks again btw) I've been there once or twice a week and loving it.

    I'm keeping an eye on new bikes in case my 14 year old 26'er does something I can't get parts for.

    I was looking at 130r/140f bikes or so. Generally I'm riding from the top lot of hamburg. Pretty much anything that's single track is what I'm riding there... none of the freeride stuff, no doubles/tables, not bombing down stuff and shuttling or anything like that.

    I've been getting along with my Kona Dawg 127r/120f but keep thinking just a little more might be nice up front. I'm not a big dude though...160 or so. You think I need to look at something a little higher travel?

    I'm spoiled with bottom bracket height though...I think it's 355mm, but not running the 44t ring up front, just a cheap bash guard. So much nicer than it used to be.

    I was surprised how low the bb is on newer bikes. I figured they'd be up higher considering the wheel and frame changes. Interesting to see all the changes after being out of it for so long.

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    Ride what you have until it holds you back. More travel isn't necessary there until your speed picks up. Which is hard to do there until you know the trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SqueakyWheel73 View Post
    I might see you up there on a Sunday then. I've been riding with some folks in Michaux on the weekends this past summer, but still like to get rides in up there. I'm on a mango Hightower - not exactly subtle...
    I'm pretty sure I have seen you than. I love orange bikes lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SqueakyWheel73 View Post
    Funny - I don't mind bikes with higher antisquat since they keep the bike higher in its travel when pedaling through rock gardens. I can't deal with the designs that sink into their travel though. That feeling drives me crazy.
    I like bikes with around 100% AS. Suspension design is important too much at sag hangs up...but Id ride a Knolly if I didn't care about it.

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    For the OP check out the Revel Rascal. I'd put a 150mm fork on it to raise it up a bit, the suspension has 100% antisquat and dosen't hang up. Unother bike that really has my attention is the Forbidden Druid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SqueakyWheel73 View Post
    Have you ridden the trails in the northern part of the Watershed like Salamander, Vandal or Pit? Those are some of my favorites, and are great if you want classic watershed XC-style riding. Also, if you haven't tried it yet, you need to go hit Boundary Line. Its got jumps and doubles on it, but you can avoid taking air on them and that trail is a ton of fun to go down. It also has the only decent berms in the watershed.



    If you can ride everything you want to ride, then I wouldn't necessarily be looking for another bike. But, there is no doubt in my mind that the newer geometries put you in a better position to avoid going OTB, and the newer suspension is generally better as well. I've already done my rant in this thread regarding how low bikes are nowadays, but I would definitely be aware of this if/when you are shopping around. I rented an Ibis Ripmo when I was out west last year and I really liked it. But it felt very low to me. I bumped into someone riding one in the watershed and he confirmed that he gets a lot of pedal strikes with it. Every design has its trade-offs for sure....
    Those trails I'm going to get to this month and check them out. I'm closer to the south so usually when I goI'll park at lower hamburg, sometimes upper if I only have 90 minutes or so to ride (2 kids, work, etc etc.). Twice a month I get out for a longer ride so I'll probably ride salamander out to the end of blue near Cunningham and back blue then maybe check out pit and viper.

    The middle part of the blue trail is pretty much my wheelhouse... that nice moderate climb with rocks and roots down the other side.

    Planning to ride what I have until I have an undying urge or parts failure that can't be reasonably fixed. It's old but I'm still liking it for sure.

    I do have an even older bike that's like an old school freeride light that's about 6 inches front and back that I might take down the south side sometime soon. It weighs almost 40 lbs though, so definitely not going all over on that one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    Ride what you have until it holds you back. More travel isn't necessary there until your speed picks up. Which is hard to do there until you know the trails.
    Agree with that... one or two oh shit moments have occurred...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I'm riding mostly in Montgomery county, so you know, rolling hills- hated my V4 Ripley- gave it 2 months.

    Ironically my Riot didn't bother my hands/wrist, but I feel like that was because of the shorter ETT and taller stack put me in a more upright seated position
    No doubt you didn't like the Ripley. You have said it a a bazillion times. It didn't work for you. It's ok. Certain bikes don't work for you and me. But geez, you have a vendetta against the Ripley.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bogeydog View Post
    No doubt you didn't like the Ripley. You have said it a a bazillion times. It didn't work for you. It's ok. Certain bikes don't work for you and me. But geez, you have a vendetta against the Ripley.

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    Not at all. On one and still own 2. Should I not share my experience when someone asks? I've even said the V4 may have worked if I sized down, would have been very close to my Riot.

    Why do you think so many similar threads pop up? I just share my experience as a counter to all the people that say the new geo is perfect everywhere and it's you, you just need to get used to it etc..

    Not everyone is on here as much of some of us, so they don't see other threads where people have had similar experiences. He asked about a ride everywhere bike- I disagree as obviously some others in this thread and others do, that the new geo trend isn't a good ride everywhere bike.
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    How is the Santa Cruz HIGHTOWER? Pedal strikes on 175 cranks?
    Great for FountainHead, Elizabethís Furnace...
    Likes and dislikes?
    Thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikerva1 View Post
    How is the Santa Cruz HIGHTOWER? Pedal strikes on 175 cranks?
    Great for FountainHead, Elizabethís Furnace...
    Likes and dislikes?
    Thank you!
    While I definitely have to be careful, I donít get many pedal strikes with my 2018 Hightower riding in the Frederick Watershed and Michaux. I am running 175mm cranks, but I also use the following configuration:
    - 29Ē wheels
    - Flipchip in high setting (this is the recommended setting when running 27.5+ tires)
    - 150mm fork (stock is 140mm)

    Again, this is a V1 Hightower. The V2 models (shock in the lower position on the frame) sit lower and have more travel - I think pedal strikes will be a bigger issue with the V2 model. Of course, this is armchair engineering - only one way to know for sure...

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikerva1 View Post
    How is the Santa Cruz HIGHTOWER? Pedal strikes on 175 cranks?
    Great for FountainHead, Elizabethís Furnace...
    Likes and dislikes?
    Thank you!
    Bike Dr in Frederick does SC. You might be able to rent/demo one.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    Bike Dr in Frederick does SC. You might be able to rent/demo one.
    I think i might have seen one there the other day it was either gray or tan. Definitely a medium travel bike with low shock placement. I didn't check it out because there was a line at the door. You might wanna call ahead if you go on a weekend. They only let a few people in at a time to keep people spaced out. For good reason... not a complaint.

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

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