Buying a new bike- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. Buying a new bike

    I am looking for the best all around freeride frame/bike. I want a bike that can do everything. I will be riding trails from all-out downhill to xc rides with my family. I want an adjustable bike so it can pedal well. I think I would need a pedal friendly 8 inch travel rear suspension, but it would be cool to have an adjustable suspension & especially the head angle adjust. I weigh 135 and am looking at the Banshee Chapparal Lt, Vp-free, Nomad,Knolly Delirium T/V-tach, Specialized Enduros, Scott Ransom(6-4-L adjustable rear suspension), ect. Since I only have around $3,000 to spend right now, I am thinking of buying a good frame and upgrading components later. Any thoughts/help is appreciated greatly.
    Please don't get angry with me for posting here, I wanted feedback from Canada.

  2. #2
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    hey i posted in your x-post a few times. buy a banshee and get it over with!
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  3. #3
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    Sorry, I think you'll have to comprimise

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho Banshee
    I am looking for the best all around freeride frame/bike. I want a bike that can do everything. I will be riding trails from all-out downhill to xc rides with my family. I want an adjustable bike so it can pedal well. I think I would need a pedal friendly 8 inch travel rear suspension, but it would be cool to have an adjustable suspension & especially the head angle adjust. I weigh 135 and am looking at the Banshee Chapparal Lt, Vp-free, Nomad,Knolly Delirium T/V-tach, Specialized Enduros, Scott Ransom(6-4-L adjustable rear suspension), ect. Since I only have around $3,000 to spend right now, I am thinking of buying a good frame and upgrading components later. Any thoughts/help is appreciated greatly.
    Please don't get angry with me for posting here, I wanted feedback from Canada.
    Psycho, how often do you plan to do all-out DH (like lift accessed stuff). I don't want to be a downer, but one bike can't do a great job of everything. The bikes with 8 inches of travel typically have laid out headtube angles and you usually can't get the seat height and overall geometry to work well for xc riding (even if they pedal efficiently, you can't position your body properly for general pedalling and especially climbing). You are also very light, so pushing around a 45lb. bike will not be fun.

    On the other end of the scale, a super efficient, light weight xc bike obviously doesn't handle dh stuff well, won't do you much good at COP so that is out of the question.

    Although I don't know your full story yet - like the answer to my "how many times will you do the ski hill thing?" I would recommend something along the lines of a Marin Rock Springs or Wolf Ridge. See theMarin Bikes website. There are other bikes out there that are similar and also very good. I like the Marins because of the ease of adjustment between 4" and 6" travel (it has a QR lever) and because of the plush suspension combined with efficient pedalling design.

    Now going back to the chairlift days (why i asked to start with). If you aren't going more than 5 or 6 days a year, just rent at the hill for those days so you don't sacrifice your riding for the rest of the season.

    If you have any questions, feel free to drop by or email. Link to Bike Bros. website

    PS. I hope this is useful information and doesn't just seem like some guy from a bike shop is using this open forum to advertise. I just hate seeing people, after the fact, who realize they didn't spend their money wisely.

    cheers,

  4. #4
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    I want to ride everything, but I already own a xc hardtail

    The best DH trails in my area are not lift accessed. They cart bikes in trucks with trailors and there is nowhere to rent a bike. Depending on how much money I have to spend on trips the bike could see these trails 2-3 times a month plus trips to Whistler and Snowshoe in the summer. I go biking at least every weekend. The bike will probably see a fair amount of regular trail mileage too. And if I find a stunt/drop out there on those trails I will probably do it. I know guys who ride Bullits w/Monster T's on the xc trails. If my current bike dies and gets buried I will be forced to save money for a xc bike later. Right now I am afraid to do anything over a 5 ft. drop on my $300 xc hardtail. It just can't take the abuse I'm putting it through. Right now I am considering buying a 06 Banshee Chap at less than 40 lbs. Is the Wolf Ridge made for taking the abuse of 15ft. drops to flat? Not that I am up to doing this yet, as it is from skinnies to 90 degree corner over teeter-15ft. ground. Can it take the abuse of 5ft. drop to root/rock garden? What do you ride on a Wolf Ridge? Some trails require you to climb a lot, but then they drop and you end up riding some really crazy stuff.

  5. #5
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    Take a read, you yankee whipper snapper!

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho Banshee
    I am looking for the best all around freeride frame/bike. I want a bike that can do everything. I will be riding trails from all-out downhill to xc rides with my family. I want an adjustable bike so it can pedal well. I think I would need a pedal friendly 8 inch travel rear suspension, but it would be cool to have an adjustable suspension & especially the head angle adjust. I weigh 135 and am looking at the Banshee Chapparal Lt, Vp-free, Nomad,Knolly Delirium T/V-tach, Specialized Enduros, Scott Ransom(6-4-L adjustable rear suspension), ect. Since I only have around $3,000 to spend right now, I am thinking of buying a good frame and upgrading components later. Any thoughts/help is appreciated greatly.
    Please don't get angry with me for posting here, I wanted feedback from Canada.
    Do not get a xc bike that might have adjustable suspension ranging from 4-6". You will not be happy and will end up breaking it. You do not really need adjustable suspension. If you find a bike that has adjustable suspension and you like it, then fine, but most bikes that have adjustable suspension, end up compromising the overall ride. Usually you end up over sprung or under sprung between travel settings. I have a Transition Preston and the 4" setting is actually better for freeriding than the 5" setting. The 5" mode on my Preston is better for trail riding. The geometry often gets funky with adjustable suspension also.

    You are going to be doing some freeriding, some dh, and xc. Get something that can do all of these things. Eight inches of travel is over kill for what you want to do. Contrary to popular belief, you can get away with 4-6" of travel for most applications. Especially if you are a lighter rider. Frame strength and design are what is important. I had a Santa Cruz Heckler and now a Transition Preston, and both of these bikes can be hucked and ridden xc and are very $cheap$ frames. Both have less than 6" of travel also. Not the best for a rocky dh course, but will still work and you can climb with them.

    The Santa Cruz free is also overkill for you imo. Even though it uses the vpp system, it is better pointed down than going on long uphill rides. The Nomad is better for what you want. The V-tach is seven inches, but the frame is very heavy and you will get worked over doing epics. The Delirium is a better bet for your interests than the V-tach. It has 6" and is designed as a heavy duty trail bike that can take big hits. The frame alone is going to cost three thousand bucks though. The Ransom is designed to do what you want also. Neither the Delirium or Ransom are available yet.

    The Enduro and Banshee Chap are designed with your interests in mind. To help with climbing, it is a good idea to get a fork with around 6" of travel that can be lessened for climbing. Fox, Rockshox, and Marzocchi have good adjustable "do everything" forks in the 6" range.

    Here is a quick list of bikes that I like that would work for you. There are others that I missed, but this will get you started. Now go get one, or place an order dammit!

    Knolly Delirium: This will be sex on wheels and a great hd trail rig with freeriding in mind.
    Turner 6 pack: Do everything frame getting rave reviews. If money is no object, this is one of the best choices for sure. Check the Turner board.
    Ventana X-5/6 Do everything frame more xc than La Bruja or Chamuco. Beautiful craftsmanship on these frames.
    Ventana El Chamuco: HD 6" frame that can do everything. Cheap if you can still find one.
    Ventana La Bruja: Burly 6' frame. Burlier than the Chamuco. Rare, but a few left.
    Banshee Chap: Burly do everything frame.
    SC Nomad: Popular hd frame that can freeride with more travel than the Heckler.
    SC Heckler: Great hd trail frame that can handle some hucks. Cheap and a good bike to learn how to jump and freeride with. My all time favorite so far.
    SC Bullit: Classic freeride frame that pedals well and is bomb proof. Heckler on steroids. May be just what you are looking for.
    Transition Preston: Same class as the Heckler, with a burlier frame for freeriding. Cheap.
    Specialized Enduro: HD trail frame that can do some freeriding. More xc than SXT.
    Specialized SXT: More of a freeride bike than the Enduro. Bigger fork. pedals well.
    Scott Ransom: HD trail/freeride frame.
    Yeti ASX: Popular do anything freeride frame. Climbs well.
    Cannondale Gemini: Like the ASX, it can do everything. Not the DH version though.
    Ellsworth Joker: Light 7" frame that can do it all. Pedals and climbs very well. I had one and liked it a lot. Cheap at some places in the States right now.
    Rocky mountain Slayer: New frame for 06. Beefier and should handle some hucks.
    Last edited by ronny; 12-08-2005 at 04:28 AM.

  6. #6
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    I agree with Ronny

    Quote Originally Posted by ronny


    Do not get a xc bike that might have adjustable suspension ranging from 4-6". You will not be happy and will end up breaking it. You do not really need adjustable suspension. If you find a bike that has adjustable suspension and you like it, then fine, but most bikes that have adjustable suspension, end up compromising the overall ride. Usually you end up over sprung or under sprung between travel settings. I have a Transition Preston and the 4" setting is actually better for freeriding than the 5" setting. The 5" mode on my Preston is better for trail riding. The geometry often gets funky with adjustable suspension also.

    You are going to be doing some freeriding, some dh, and xc. Get something that can do all of these things. Eight inches of travel is over kill for what you want to do. Contrary to popular belief, you can get away with 4-6" of travel for most applications. Especially if you are a lighter rider. Frame strength and design are what is important. I had a Santa Cruz Heckler and now a Transition Preston, and both of these bikes can be hucked and ridden xc and are very $cheap$ frames. Both have less than 6" of travel also. Not the best for a rocky dh course, but will still work and you can climb with them.

    The Santa Cruz free is also overkill for you imo. Even though it uses the vpp system, it is better pointed down than going on long uphill rides. The Nomad is better for what you want. The V-tach is seven inches, but the frame is very heavy and you will get worked over doing epics. The Delirium is a better bet for your interests than the V-tach. It has 6" and is designed as a heavy duty trail bike that can take big hits. The frame alone is going to cost three thousand bucks though. The Ransom is designed to do what you want also. Neither the Delirium or Ransom are available yet.

    The Enduro and Banshee Chap are designed with your interests in mind. To help with climbing, it is a good idea to get a fork with around 6" of travel that can be lessened for climbing. Fox, Rockshox, and Marzocchi have good adjustable "do everything" forks in the 6" range.

    Here is a quick list of bikes that I like that would work for you. There are others that I missed, but this will get you started. Now go get one, or place an order dammit!

    Knolly Delirium: This will be sex on wheels and a great hd trail rig with freeriding in mind.
    Turner 6 pack: Do everything frame getting rave reviews. If money is no object, this is one of the best choices for sure. Check the Turner board.
    Ventana X-5/6 Do everything frame more xc than La Bruja or Chamuco. Beautiful craftsmanship on these frames.
    Ventana El Chamuco: HD 6" frame that can do everything. Cheap if you can still find one.
    Ventana La Bruja: Burly 6' frame. Burlier than the Chamuco. Rare, but a few left.
    Banshee Chap: Burly do everything frame.
    SC Nomad: Popular hd frame that can freeride with more travel than the Heckler.
    SC Heckler: Great hd trail frame that can handle some hucks. Cheap and a good bike to learn how to jump and freeride with. My all time favorite so far.
    SC Bullit: Classic freeride frame that pedals well and is bomb proof. Heckler on steroids. May be just what you are looking for.
    Transition Preston: Same class as the Heckler, with a burlier frame for freeriding. Cheap.
    Specialized Enduro: HD trail frame that can do some freeriding. More xc than SXT.
    Specialized SXT: More of a freeride bike than the Enduro. Bigger fork. pedals well.
    Scott Ransom: HD trail/freeride frame.
    Yeti ASX: Popular do anything freeride frame. Climbs well.
    Cannondale Gemini: Like the ASX, it can do everything. Not the DH version though.
    Ellsworth Joker: Light 7" frame that can do it all. Pedals and climbs very well. I had one and liked it a lot. Cheap at some places in the States right now.
    Rocky mountain Slayer: New frame for 06. Beefier and should handle some hucks.
    Yes, If you own an XC hardtail you will be able to focus this new bike more towards freeriding.
    I disagree regarding how good the Marin's adjustable suspension is - it's amazing, but is too light weight for what you want to do.
    Ronny makes some excellent suggestions so I guess you have a shopping list now and just have to pick out your new bike.
    I'm going to suggest one more bike just to throw one in that almost no one knows about: Commencal Supreme 6.3 6" travel, good efficient pedaller 37.5lbs.

  7. #7
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    Hey Psycho Banshee:

    How about a reply directly from one of the manufacturers

    Of course, I represent my company and my opinions are going to be biased. That being said, I'm somewhat up to date on what's out in the market and probably have a somewhat informed opinion that is based more on fact that advertising dollars.

    In terms of our products, Ronny is bang on. The V-tach is a very heavy duty bike. It has close to 8" of travel (196mm or 7.7") and the frame alone weighs between 12 and 13 pounds. You can not really build this bike up properly for under 40-41 pounds of weight. Anything lighter duty will really be outside of the original design and intended use of the frame.

    The V-tach IS a very pedalable bike and capable of substantial climbing. I've ridden all over Moab and in Fruita on this bike with a 888 fork (for three weeks straight), as well as done 70km long XC races on it with over 4000' vertical feet of climbing. However, while it's certainly possible to do this kind of riding on a big bike, as Ronny suggests, there are better options.

    In my personal opinion, what you really need is a heavy duty trail bike. Of the high end frames that Ronny mentioned in his list, the Turner 6 pack and the Ventanas are excellent frames suitable for what you're looking to do, and of very high manufacturing quality. Other frames that might be a bit easier on your budget that are heavy duty enough for what you're looking for would be the Chaparral, the SX Trail and probably the Transition Preston. One other cool choice which was not mentioned here is the Canfield Brother's new Balance frame. The other "all mountain" frames (apart from the Bullit, which is more a free ride frame) are significantly lighter duty and despite what their manufacturers state, are probably not going to hold up to the kind of riding that you're looking at doing. Of course, if you're fairly lightweight, this might not be a big concern.

    Again, this is my opinion, but here's the truth: there are no "magic metals" or anything else available on the market. Sure, alloys vary in strength and elongation, but this isn't going to make a 7.5 pound frame as strong as a 10 pound frame. If you consider tha most frame manufacturers know what they're doing design wise, then a heavier, more over built frame is going to be overall stronger in more applications as well as survive "mistakes" (i.e. crashes) better. There's simply more material, tubes are thicker, pivots are heavier duty, rear ends are more laterally stiff, etc... There are a lot of frames in the 6-7" all mountain category: some are basically glorified long travel XC or trail bikes, while others will handle a pretty severe pounding.

    Of course, we offer the Delirium T - a frame that is designed for EXACTLY what you are looking at doing.

    From our website:

    QUOTE:

    Versatility is the hallmark of the new Delirium T All Mountain Frame. A frame perfectly suited to epic big mountain climbs leading to unknown decents while still at home on technical trails and forays into lift serviced riding.

    The DeliriumT uses the same Quad DRAC bearing and dual 17mm axle pivot system as its heavier-duty sibling to ensure a high degree of lateral rigidity. However, the lighter frame package makes it suitable for extended climbing and epic all day riding. Featuring adjustable head angle and chain stay length, the DeliriumT can be quickly transformed into a nimble slope style competitor or short course DH racer.

    Clearance for 2.7" tires and climbing capable 16.4" chain stays mated with Knolly's patent pending Four by 4 Linkage create a truly versatile frame. A range of four frame sizes accomodates rider heights from 5'1" and up.

    END QUOTE

    In terms of availability, the Delirium T is currently in prototyping and will not be released until April of 2006. The MSRP of our frame is $2500 USD or $3000 CDN with the Fox DHX Air shock (we also offer optional coil shocks for this frame). However, this pretty much taps out your budget for your bike.

    So, there are many options at various price points available in the market, but I definitely think that you should stick with a heavier duty all mountain frame built up wtih around 6" of travel (remember, people where racing DH courses way faster than most of us ride with 6" bikes no more than 4-5 years ago). Mount up a solid 6" fork and you should be good to go. Again, this is just my personal opinion.

    Good luck with your search!

    Cheers,
    Last edited by knollybikes.com; 12-09-2005 at 02:50 AM.
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  8. #8
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    Well, you can't get better advice than that. It is impressive that you use the V-Tach for extensive trail riding. I have heard how well the Tach pedals and didn't mean to imply that a big bike can't be used on epics. A beginner rider on a 44lb bike would be hating life for a while. I have a riding buddy that could keep up with me on a 44lb Big Hit, except on steep climbs, while I had a 38lb Heckler. He weighs about 60lbs less though.(I had to come up with an excuse). Riding skills, conditioning, and a good bike help a lot.

    I can't wait to see the new Delirium and read/hear some reviews. From what was being said at Interbike, the Delirium is going to be very popular, despite the price.

    Thanks, Noel.

  9. #9
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    Some damage control.

    "I disagree regarding how good the Marin's adjustable suspension is - it's amazing, but is too light weight for what you want to do".

    Imo, most bikes make a compromise with adjustable suspension, especially if it is a large travel difference. I didn't say all though. There are some good ones out there. I have never seriously rode a Marin. Just a sit and trackstand test in the bike shop. I have heard good things about the newer Marins.

    I have had three bikes with adjustable suspension. The Cannondale Gemini, Ellsworth Joker, and Transition Preston. The Joker didn't really have adjustable suspension, but rather an entirely different shock is needed to alternate between 5 & 7" of rear travel. I think it is a bigger problem when a Freeride bike with 7"+ travel has adjustments that range into xc territory. Smaller increments work better imo.

    The Older Gemini had three travel adjustments and it just felt weird to me in the lower travel adjustments. Under sprung and mushy feeling. The longer 7" setting did not bob and I could do the same riding in this mode without any noticeable compromise compared to the lower travel settings.

    My Preston has a 5" and 4" setting and the 5" mode feels undersprung for freeriding, but is still good for general trail riding. If I see a good hit when in 5" mode, I will probably bottom the shock. To me, this is a compromise. I generally prefer one travel mode and a well designed bike with a good shock usually only needs one travel setting. Not to say that bikes with adjustable travel are poorly designed. My Preston has adjustable travel and I think it is a good bike overall.

    I could climb hills all day with my 7" Joker. I would just dial down the fork to 5" and climb. I have found 7" bikes like the Gemini, and Bullit pedal and climb very well and adjustable suspension is not really needed. An adjustable fork makes for a better swiss army knife to make a bike more versatile.

    Whatever works, right?

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