Jump to content
Braff Zacklin

The Surly Mountain Biking Thread

Recommended Posts

To those who follow the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, downhill competition gets underway this weekend in Losinj, Croatia. XC kicked off a month ago in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Claudio Caluori's course previews are must-sees. Essentially, he charges down each run with a chest cam and helmet cam, usually on the heels of one of the WC qualifiers, who is also cammed up. The alternating perspectives really put you in the saddle and demonstrate just how crazy--and talented--these fuckers are.

Claudio is most famous for his non-stop, over-the-top commentary. His reactions to features, jumps, and obstacles are the sort of thoughts Average Joes like us would have even though he's a former WC DHer and extremely gifted rider in his own right.

For example, here's his preview of last year's finale at Val di Sole (the chest cam shots are absolutely terrifying):

Claudio had a nasty spill running Losinj yesterday, so no preview is available as of yet. Sam Pilgrim shot one last month, however, and it looks like the chunkiest, pedaliest WC DH course to date.

Incidentally, the current best downhiller in the world hails from the U.S.

Edited by Braff Zacklin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are thoughts on 29" hardtails these days?  Any bikes/ brands to look at that are better than others w/o breaking the bank?

Have a 27.5 Santa Cruz Chameleon, but, am thinking of adding another bike to the fleet.  Do more on-road/ flat trail rides for exercise than true mountain biking.  But, enjoy riding a mtb much more than a road bike.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've gotten a couple of rides in on my fat bike so far, mostly single track.

Is it normal not to be able to climb steep, sustained pitches?  I live on the edge of a very hilly area, and that's where all the trails are at.  I ride road bike in that area, and chew up any paved hill I've ever come across.  I can't think of a single time I've had to walk my road bike up a hill.  However, on single track, when I hit anything very steep, I quickly become able to keep pedaling, even in my lowest gear and my feet going flying off the pedals, or my front end starts coming up.  It seems like I can hardly climb anything with my fat bike, at least on single track.  I haven't had any trouble at all on gravel/crushed lime stone.

Am I just a pussy, or is this typical for starting out?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Al_4_ISU said:

I've gotten a couple of rides in on my fat bike so far, mostly single track.

Is it normal not to be able to climb steep, sustained pitches?  I live on the edge of a very hilly area, and that's where all the trails are at.  I ride road bike in that area, and chew up any paved hill I've ever come across.  I can't think of a single time I've had to walk my road bike up a hill.  However, on single track, when I hit anything very steep, I quickly become able to keep pedaling, even in my lowest gear and my feet going flying off the pedals, or my front end starts coming up.  It seems like I can hardly climb anything with my fat bike, at least on single track.  I haven't had any trouble at all on gravel/crushed lime stone.

Am I just a pussy, or is this typical for starting out?

Well, the bike is no doubt a lot heavier than your road bike, and possibly more importantly the wheels have a shit ton more rolling resistance, both friction and inertial, so yeah it can be hard.  Also, if you aren't aware, you typically need to lean forward significantly on any mtb to keep the front wheel down while climbing.  You learn not to bleed speed on an mtb when approaching a climb.  And, you are more likely to encounter significantly steeper grades on a trail than on any road that has been paved, or even graveled (if anyone is paying that much attention to it, it has been graded down).

 

It's rather amazing, to me, how much different the cardio and energy requirements of mtb are from road biking.  Road biking really doesn't prepare you for it unless you do sprint intervals on the regular.  And the combo of coming out of something technical with your adrenaline pumping and having to do a lungbuster climb is something else.

Edited by TwiceHorn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

Well, the bike is no doubt a lot heavier than your road bike, and possibly more importantly the wheels have a shit ton more rolling resistance, both friction and inertial, so yeah it can be hard.  Also, if you aren't aware, you typically need to lean forward significantly on any mtb to keep the front wheel down while climbing.  You learn not to bleed speed on an mtb when approaching a climb.  And, you are more likely to encounter significantly steeper grades on a trail than on any road that has been paved, or even graveled (if anyone is paying that much attention to it, it has been graded down).

 

It's rather amazing, to me, how much different the cardio and energy requirements of mtb are from road biking.  Road biking really doesn't prepare you for it unless you do sprint intervals on the regular.  And the combo of coming out of something technical with your adrenaline pumping and having to do a lungbuster climb is something else.

I've struggled with the flip of this equation, IE dropping into something technical that demands all of your faculties with your lungs about to burst from the climb you just did/attempted.

Appreciate the advice.  I've played with leaning more into the climb, but that just turns into me standing on my pedals, completely off seat, which doesn't get me very far either.

I definitely struggle with timing my gear down to capture as much momentum going into the climb, without being in an impossible gear.

Edited by Al_4_ISU

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was off the bike for a few months with back surgery.  All cleared now  

I’ve been exploring the South Austin Trail Network some lately.  So many little random trails behind neighborhoods are all connected to each other. You can ride from Circle C to the Barton Creek Greenbelt and hardly touch any pavement now.

Violet Crown Trail is fucking up some of the single track and turning it into a wide crushed granite walking path but there’s already new singletrack showing up in the woods abeam the old singletrack.  

Heres a good map to what’s available in southwest Austin these days.  Starting at the trailhead nearest Brodie and Slaughter and heading west behind Bowie HS and Alamo to the Slaughter Creek Preserve loop and back gets me 17 miles.   Nothing real technical.  Just enough to make you pay attention here and there,  a few small drops to jump, and some fun creek crossings to drop into.  Nothing real tough. 

https://www.trailforks.com/region/south-austin-trail-network/map/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/9/2018 at 1:46 PM, Chuychanga said:

I was off the bike for a few months with back surgery.  All cleared now  

I’ve been exploring the South Austin Trail Network some lately.  So many little random trails behind neighborhoods are all connected to each other. You can ride from Circle C to the Barton Creek Greenbelt and hardly touch any pavement now.

Violet Crown Trail is fucking up some of the single track and turning it into a wide crushed granite walking path but there’s already new singletrack showing up in the woods abeam the old singletrack.  

Heres a good map to what’s available in southwest Austin these days.  Starting at the trailhead nearest Brodie and Slaughter and heading west behind Bowie HS and Alamo to the Slaughter Creek Preserve loop and back gets me 17 miles.   Nothing real technical.  Just enough to make you pay attention here and there,  a few small drops to jump, and some fun creek crossings to drop into.  Nothing real tough. 

https://www.trailforks.com/region/south-austin-trail-network/map/

The amazing thing is that there is so much more than what that trailforks map shows.  I've been riding the SATN for years now and I still find new trails at least once a month.  It isn't the most technical, nor is there much elevation, but it is so nice to be able to ride from my front door and hop on a network of 60+ miles of trail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/9/2018 at 7:06 AM, Al_4_ISU said:

Is it normal not to be able to climb steep, sustained pitches?  I live on the edge of a very hilly area, and that's where all the trails are at.  I ride road bike in that area, and chew up any paved hill I've ever come across.  I can't think of a single time I've had to walk my road bike up a hill.  However, on single track, when I hit anything very steep, I quickly become able to keep pedaling, even in my lowest gear and my feet going flying off the pedals, or my front end starts coming up.  It seems like I can hardly climb anything with my fat bike, at least on single track.

Hey, Al. This response might be too late to be of much help, but I'll share what I've learned over the years and maybe it'll do some good.

Also: word diarrhea warning. It's what I do.

1) When your fork drifts or lifts, it's a sign that it isn't properly weighted. The steeper the climb, the more your weight will have to come forward. This means moving forward on the saddle. On the steepest ups, the nose of the saddle should be very close to a particularly sensitive area.

That alone might not be enough for some ascents, however. You'll also need to drop your chest as closely to the stem as possible. It takes some practice, but when you get it right, you will feel like you are "wedged" between the handlebars and the saddle. With your weight distributed thusly, you should be able to climb anything that your lungs and legs allow.

Another trick is to drop your wrists, i.e., the bottom of your palms will be below the grips. This helps because we tend to pull on the bars as we begin to struggle, but with our wrists lowered, we effectively pull down on the fork instead of up.

2) If your feet are flying off the pedals, you are probably overtorqueing the cranks (pushing harder than necessary on the downstroke, which causes the cranks to rotate faster than what your other leg is anticipating). Roadies and beginners tend to do this because they aren't used to pushing such easy gears and haven't yet developed a lighter touch. Overtorqueing can also cause your fork to rise, especially on a steep incline (it's basically an unintentional wheelie).

Practice is key. Using your baby gears more will help develop the timing and coordination for a smoother, more measured downstroke. It might sound like I'm pandering to you but I promise I'm not--it's so easy to spin out or overtorque in those big cogs.

Another solution is to drop your heels slightly. This will help keep the pedal pins secured to the soles of your shoes. But don't drop your heels so low that you pull your feet down and off the pedals--this will cause your shins to be very unhappy.

I only ride platform pedals with sharp grub screws as pins and Five Ten shoes. The grip is so outstanding you have to consciously lift your foot to re-position the pedal. But I went through many seasons of scabby shins.

3) One final concern is weight. I tend to put on the pounds during winter. There's a very steep, rooty, scalloped climb on one of our local trails that I usually cannot clean if I'm over 210 pounds. My legs and lungs give out unless everything is perfect.

Between 200-210, however, I will typically nail the section as long as my line choice isn't too bad and my back wheel doesn't spin out. And at less than 200, I will usually scoot up it, no problem, regardless of line choice or what my rear wheel does.

Hope this helps. If nothing else, you've read your book for the month.

Anyway, keep practicing and keep challenging yourself.

-- BZ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/27/2018 at 1:40 PM, Braff Zacklin said:

Hey, Al. This response might be too late to be of much help, but I'll share what I've learned over the years and maybe it'll do some good.

Also: word diarrhea warning. It's what I do.

1) When your fork drifts or lifts, it's a sign that it isn't properly weighted. The steeper the climb, the more your weight will have to come forward. This means moving forward on the saddle. On the steepest ups, the nose of the saddle should be very close to a particularly sensitive area.

That alone might not be enough for some ascents, however. You'll also need to drop your chest as closely to the stem as possible. It takes some practice, but when you get it right, you will feel like you are "wedged" between the handlebars and the saddle. With your weight distributed thusly, you should be able to climb anything that your lungs and legs allow.

Another trick is to drop your wrists, i.e., the bottom of your palms will be below the grips. This helps because we tend to pull on the bars as we begin to struggle, but with our wrists lowered, we effectively pull down on the fork instead of up.

2) If your feet are flying off the pedals, you are probably overtorqueing the cranks (pushing harder than necessary on the downstroke, which causes the cranks to rotate faster than what your other leg is anticipating). Roadies and beginners tend to do this because they aren't used to pushing such easy gears and haven't yet developed a lighter touch. Overtorqueing can also cause your fork to rise, especially on a steep incline (it's basically an unintentional wheelie).

Practice is key. Using your baby gears more will help develop the timing and coordination for a smoother, more measured downstroke. It might sound like I'm pandering to you but I promise I'm not--it's so easy to spin out or overtorque in those big cogs.

Another solution is to drop your heels slightly. This will help keep the pedal pins secured to the soles of your shoes. But don't drop your heels so low that you pull your feet down and off the pedals--this will cause your shins to be very unhappy.

I only ride platform pedals with sharp grub screws as pins and Five Ten shoes. The grip is so outstanding you have to consciously lift your foot to re-position the pedal. But I went through many seasons of scabby shins.

3) One final concern is weight. I tend to put on the pounds during winter. There's a very steep, rooty, scalloped climb on one of our local trails that I usually cannot clean if I'm over 210 pounds. My legs and lungs give out unless everything is perfect.

Between 200-210, however, I will typically nail the section as long as my line choice isn't too bad and my back wheel doesn't spin out. And at less than 200, I will usually scoot up it, no problem, regardless of line choice or what my rear wheel does.

Hope this helps. If nothing else, you've read your book for the month.

Anyway, keep practicing and keep challenging yourself.

-- BZ

Lots of good stuff in there.

I'll definitely implement these techniques.  I also need to get my weight down.  Come out of winter around 230 most years and might get to 210 after harvest.  I'm sure that's not helping anything.

Had a damn good ride on Sunday AM, getting in ahead of the 100 degree heat.  Rode at Yellow River State Forest in Northeast Iowa.  It's a mix of narrow gravel forest service roads, and multi use single track.  I utilized the gravel for the long sustained climbs, and used the single track for more rolling ridge top riding, or bottom land stuff.  The only time I had to get off the bike was trying to climb some shorter, muddy pitches where horses had badly rutted things up.  And of course the surprisingly deep and fast creek crossing where I had to wade through dick-deep water and carry the bike.

unnamed_1.jpg

unnamed_2.jpg

unnamed_3.jpg

unnamed_4.jpgunnamed.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, I'm thinking of upgrading my bike.  I ride an older, low end 29er hardtail with various upgrade limitations like a straight headset, small QR, etc.  I'm mostly an exercise rider and don't do the DFW "hardcore" trails very often, just because they are far away, but also because I am old and a pussy.

 

I'm looking at full squish in the form of the Marin Hawk Hill 2. http://reviews.mtbr.com/marin-hawk-hill-review  I don't need the full squish by any means, but I'd kinda like to try it and it might make things a little easier on my gettin-old bod.  The only problems I have ever had riding the hardtail is some wrist pain that goes away.  Bike seems like a helluva deal at a little less than $2k and it gets rave reviews for its geometry and component set.

 

Dumb idea?

Edited by TwiceHorn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are two schools of thought:

Eddy Merckx allegedly said, "Don't buy upgrades, ride up grades."

However, some surly fucker is fond of countering, "Regardless of what you spent, if it helps keep you motivated to ride, then it's worth it."

I believe wholeheartedly in both.

 

Dig the looks, geo, and spec of the Hawk Hill 2. Checks all the boxes for me: slack-but-not-crazy-slack HTA, shortish chainstays, good BB height, dropper post, tubeless-ready tires, modern standards (Boost hubs, tapered fork, etc.), decent fork, good shock, etc. Price is right, too.

Is Marin direct-to-consumer these days?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Braff Zacklin said:

There are two schools of thought:

Eddy Merckx allegedly said, "Don't buy upgrades, ride up grades."

However, some surly fucker is fond of countering, "Regardless of what you spent, if it helps keep you motivated to ride, then it's worth it."

I believe wholeheartedly in both.

 

Dig the looks, geo, and spec of the Hawk Hill 2. Checks all the boxes for me: slack-but-not-crazy-slack HTA, shortish chainstays, good BB height, dropper post, tubeless-ready tires, modern standards (Boost hubs, tapered fork, etc.), decent fork, good shock, etc. Price is right, too.

Is Marin direct-to-consumer these days?

Thanks. No, performance bike among others. I have always wanted to upgrade the fork on my bike and lighten the wheels, but the mentioned things limit that. Also, 1x11 or really probably 1x anything really appeals as well and I believe that I am similarly limited by the wheels and pedestrian crank/bb I have. Assuming I can get some fitting help at performance bike, it would be a pretty serious all-round upgrade. 

 

Is the squish a dumb idea for a guy who doesn't ride too much technical stuff? 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is no sin in being overbiked.

That said, if I saw someone with a trail or enduro sled sessioning paved greenways, I'd give 'im shit.

Forgot to mention that 1x is also on point. Converted to 1x10 in 2013 and haven't looked back. Squishy trail bike just bumped up to 1x11 with a Sunrace 11-46T cassette. Old 1x10 setup was passed on to the hardtail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again, thanks.  I have never spent much time on a full squish bike and have one question that may kind of seal the deal.  On my hardtail, I think I just get generally fatigued? from all the pummeling I take.  After I complete a longish loop on any of the local trails, I just have little interest in repeating it.  It's not conditioning, per se, it's almost a boredom, fuck-that-I'm-tired-don't-want-to-bonk halfway out kind of thing.  I'd actually like to keep going for workout purposes but the specter of repeating a loop deters me.  I'm wondering if the squish might help with that.

When I embarked on this hobby I stayed cheap and low end with the hardtail and it has served my purposes well by insuring that I would ride enough to justify its purchase and now the purchase of an upgrade.

Also, I don't ride paved.  Just flattish single-track with a few technical sections here and there.  Road riding bores the living shit out of me (see first paragraph).  Some of the looser, rockier, more up and down trails here kind of scare the shit out of me, even though most of the time I screw up the courage to do something that scares me, I handle it with aplomb.

None of you guys would consider this much of an upgrade, you'd just consider my starter bike a POS and this my first real MTB.  Also, how much bigger is the maintenance burden on a full suspension?

 

Edited by TwiceHorn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve had full suspension for a decade and haven’t done shit for maintenance. That Tallboy in my pic earlier was purchased in ‘12 IIRC and I haven’t done a damn thing to it other than 2 tuneups and greasing the chain with boeshield.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dumb question, but according to Marin, the "max height" for an L is 6-1, which is also the min height for XL.  At 6-1, seems rare that I am a tweener on frame sizes, but here it is.

Type S M L XL
A. STACK (MM) 578.6 583.2 587.8 592.4
B. REACH (MM) 418 437.2 450.9 464.5
C. HEADTUBE ANGLE 67.5° 67.5° 67.5° 67.5°
D. HEADTUBE LENGTH (MM) 115 120 125 130
E. SEATTUBE ANGLE VIRTUAL 73.8° 73.5° 73.2° 73°
F. SEATTUBE ANGLE ACTUAL 69.5° 69.5° 69.5° 69.5°
G. SEATTUBE LENGTH (MM) 385 435 485 535
H. TOPTUBE ACTUAL (MM) 545 565.2 585.2 609.1
I. TOPTUBE EFFECTIVE (MM) 586.7 610 630 640
J. BOTTOM BRACKET HEIGHT (MM) 337 337 337 337
K. BOTTOM BRACKET DROP (MM) 18 18 18 18
L. CHAINSTAY (MM) 430 430 430 430
M. WHEELBASE (MM) 1128 1148.6 1164.1 1179.7
N. STANDOVER HEIGHT (MM) 668.7 697.5 741.8 783.4
O. FORK OFFSET (MM) 42 42 42 42
SEATPOST DIAMETER (MM) 30.9 30.9 30.9 30.9
HANDLEBAR WIDTH (MM) 780 780 780 780
STEM LENGTH (MM) 45 45 45 45
CRANK LENGTH (MM) 170 175 175 175

The standover difference is 1.5," but  reach is a little over .5"  So not tons of difference.  I'm not sure I will be able to ride, much less sit, both frames.  I think conventional wisdom is to go smaller on an MTB.

 

Any thoughts on this?

Edited by TwiceHorn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if in between frame sizes go smaller...  especially on mtb.  Less weight (less metal), better geometry, lower center of gravity...  just make sure you are not cramped.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, boss.  Good points.  I can't imagine that .6" in reach is going to make me cramped, but if it does, I guess that can be handled with a stem change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, apparently Marin has similar frames in the B17 and Rift Zone in 27.5+ and 29.  However, I suppose that makes enough difference that the rave reviews may not apply, particularly to the 29.

All other things being equal, I would look at a 29er, but the variety is bewildering, so this one, with its right price and uniformly good reviews seems to be "the one."

In other words, should I care about 29?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd go 29...  but I think that is a preference thing...  less unstrung weight does feel good, but so does that big rolling radius

On the frame size make sure your junk isn't going to become intimate with the top tube if you go larger...

 

also YOU NEED TO RIDE THEM...  one will feel better.. if not, doesn't really matter

Edited by Loco

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/4/2018 at 3:19 PM, TexasHooch said:

A buddy of mine has bad boy, and I'd love to have one of my own.

surly-wednesday-fat-bike_-10-e1440627641

v1WTOlb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/2/2018 at 3:05 PM, CooterBrown said:

I’ve had full suspension for a decade and haven’t done shit for maintenance. That Tallboy in my pic earlier was purchased in ‘12 IIRC and I haven’t done a damn thing to it other than 2 tuneups and greasing the chain with boeshield.

I have a Tallboy.1 (2011 I think).  I have done quite a bit of maintenance.

Broke the bolts on the upper link and so replaced all bolts, axles, etc in the linkages. 

Blown rear shock and front fork.  Of course those really need to be rebuilt every year or 2.

I need to re-grease the lower link every year at least, but they give you the grease gun for that and it's easy.

Bottom line is that full suspension bikes are more complicated and have more moving parts, so they will require more maintenance than a hardtail.  With that said, I much prefer full squish because it is so much easier on my 45 year old back and gives me confidence to hit more technical trail, bigger drops, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/3/2018 at 4:37 PM, Loco said:

I'd go 29...  but I think that is a preference thing...  less unstrung weight does feel good, but so does that big rolling radius

On the frame size make sure your junk isn't going to become intimate with the top tube if you go larger...

 

also YOU NEED TO RIDE THEM...  one will feel better.. if not, doesn't really matter

Completely agree with the bolded part.  Bikes are very much a personal preference and I can't imagine purchasing one without test riding first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, KuЯdt said:

Completely agree with the bolded part.  Bikes are very much a personal preference and I can't imagine purchasing one without test riding first.

Went out to performance bike today, good salesman.  Sat a medium 27.5 (hawk hill) and  large 29 (rift zone, same basic bike).  Just sat.  The guy was bigger than I and rec'd an XL and the L 29er was a little cramped to the point that I didn't think a stem or seat adjustment was going to do it (well a long stem would have, but long stem), I was pretty far over the front axle just sitting it and leaning forward.  Going to order a 27.5 hawk hill in XL and go ride it around, no obligation.  Guy also warned me to hold off buying until next weekend, when it's "triple points."  That will pay for pedals and some other shit.

 

These newfangled wide bars kind of freak me out.  I sweatergawd there are some tree gates I won't get through.

 

Is the relative "twitchiness" of the 27.5 gonna have me running into trees and shit coming from a 29er?

Edited by TwiceHorn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

agree on the bars, I used to cut mine WAY down... less than shoulder width

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At 6-1, I would think a 29er would suit you better.  But again, ride them and see.   I'm the same height as you and I prefer 29ers, though admittedly I haven't spent all that much time on 27.5.

If you can go back to perf bike and at least ride around in the parking lot - ride over parking blocks, curbs, whatever obstacles you can find - that can give you some sense of what feels good to you.

Body type can make a difference as well.  For instance If your 6-1 is made up of all torso and stubby legs, maybe a 27.5 is better.

The longer bars do take some getting used to.  I'm comfortable in the 700mm range.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am an honest 6'0", and the bars on both of my trail bikes are 740mm. I've gotten used to it, but no way would I want wider for myself. Half the time I come off my bike these days, it's because I clipped something with my bars that I didn't think I was close to hitting.

Of course, I could just be a dork.

@TwiceHorn As with handlebar width, bike frame and wheel size boil down to personal fit and preference. People rode 26-inchers for decades without killing themselves, so I'm sure you'll be fine on 650b or 29.

One last tip: Don't pay sticker. Be ready to walk away if the shop won't move on the price.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Braff Zacklin said:

I am an honest 6'0", and the bars on both of my trail bikes are 740mm. I've gotten used to it, but no way would I want wider for myself. Half the time I come off my bike these days, it's because I clipped something with my bars that I didn't think I was close to hitting.

Of course, I could just be a dork.

@TwiceHorn As with handlebar width, bike frame and wheel size boil down to personal fit and preference. People rode 26-inchers for decades without killing themselves, so I'm sure you'll be fine on 650b or 29.

One last tip: Don't pay sticker. Be ready to walk away if the shop won't move on the price.

Thanks man.  I may be a special case. Lol.  Does the geometry on the Rift Zone, 29er, match up to the Hawk Hill, in your estimation?  Looks about the same to me with slight accommodations for the larger wheels.  Anything strike you as off?  Maybe I should just go with 29 because it's what I know.  I don't really know what my preferences are, though.  I think I am kind of used to the "point and shoot,"  "stay on line" tendencies of the 29 which might get me in a little trouble with the 27.5.

A. STACK (MM) 609 614 619 623
B. REACH (MM) 420 441 460 490
C. HEADTUBE ANGLE 67.5° 67.5° 67.5° 67.5°
D. HEADTUBE LENGTH (MM) 100 105 110 115
E. SEATTUBE ANGLE VIRTUAL 74.8° 74.8° 74.8° 74.8°
F. SEATTUBE ANGLE ACTUAL 67.4° 67.4° 67.4° 67.4°
G. SEATTUBE LENGTH (MM) 385 420 450 480
H. TOPTUBE ACTUAL (MM) 538 558 580 614
I. TOPTUBE EFFECTIVE (MM) 585 612 636 670
J. BOTTOM BRACKET HEIGHT (MM) 337.5 337.5 337.5 337.5
K. BOTTOM BRACKET DROP (MM) 38.5 38.5 38.5 38.5
L. CHAINSTAY (MM) 435 435 435 435
M. WHEELBASE (MM) 1134 1156 1178 1209
N. STANDOVER HEIGHT (MM) 684 713 725 750
O. FORK OFFSET (MM) 51 51 51 51
SEATPOST DIAMETER (MM) 30.9 30.9 30.9 30.9
HANDLEBAR WIDTH (MM) 780 780 780 780
STEM LENGTH (MM) 45 45 45 45
CRANK LENGTH (MM) 170 175 175 175
Edited by TwiceHorn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rift Zone seems like a bigger bike across the board (stack, reach, ETT, WB, etc.). Since you're a tweener, maybe XL in the Hawk Hill and L in the Rift Zone?

My hardtail is actually a medium frame, but my squishy is large. Both are 650b, and I've tweaked the cockpits for both so that they feel similar.

All things considered, I'd go with KuЯdt's recommendation to ride both, if possible, and see which fits you best.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Braff Zacklin said:

Rift Zone seems like a bigger bike across the board (stack, reach, ETT, WB, etc.). Since you're a tweener, maybe XL in the Hawk Hill and L in the Rift Zone?

My hardtail is actually a medium frame, but my squishy is large. Both are 650b, and I've tweaked the cockpits for both so that they feel similar.

All things considered, I'd go with KuЯdt's recommendation to ride both, if possible, and see which fits you best.

 

 

Yeah it is a tad bigger, also has a cut off at 6-2 between the L and XL.  But chainstays, headtube angle, seat angle are all pretty similar to the Hawk Hill.  I figured out that the Hawk Hill came out last year, and the B17 and Rift Zone this year, so they haven't been reviewed as extensively.

 

I think the guy would order up whatever I wanted, let me ride and just stick it in the rack if I didn't buy.  But then I would feel really fucking bad wheedling him on the price.  And does a big retail shop like Perf cut prices? 

 

Thank you all very much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, good point. I've no idea about Performance. We only have local shops here; some wheel and deal, some don't. My go-to shop is crazy aggressive; he can usually match or beat online shops like JensonUSA on parts.

Another thing to consider (this is how I bought my full-suspension bike 2.5 years ago)--ask your LBS if there are any bikes on clearance. They should be able to check QBP (or the other wholesaler, I forget that company's name) and see what's up. It might be last year's model for a second-tier brand (Norco, KHS, etc.), but the discount potentially could be massive.

For example, the sticker on my squishy was just under $3K, but I paid less than $1700, including tax. The drawback is I did not get to ride it before I bought it, which is always a roll of the dice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Braff Zacklin said:

Oh, good point. I've no idea about Performance. We only have local shops here; some wheel and deal, some don't. My go-to shop is crazy aggressive; he can usually match or beat online shops like JensonUSA on parts.

Another thing to consider (this is how I bought my full-suspension bike 2.5 years ago)--ask your LBS if there are any bikes on clearance. They should be able to check QBP (or the other wholesaler, I forget that company's name) and see what's up. It might be last year's model for a second-tier brand (Norco, KHS, etc.), but the discount potentially could be massive.

For example, the sticker on my squishy was just under $3K, but I paid less than $1700, including tax. The drawback is I did not get to ride it before I bought it, which is always a roll of the dice.

PB does have a low-price guarantee but I'm not finding this anywhere but for full-boat retail and PB is 100 off that. .  I find looking at mtb kind of gives me tired head because of all the variations in this and that (ohhh great components, but oops no boost, or nice fork but something else kinda sucks or its a 2x or 3x or something) and I have to rely on more expert riders and reviews for geometry evaluations in a lot of cases.

Apparently, Marin was bought out and hired a guy from Specialized and they have updated their line across the board with good results.  The Hawk Hill was first last year, and the others have followed, and they have a super-funky Wolf Ridge that people are digging on the high end.  So I don't think I'm going to find one of these used, or last year's model or anything, and it's kind of rare to see a bike or line of bikes in this price range reviewed so well and without gigantic compromises in some component or another.  These seem to be just across-the-board pretty decent, with no weird mismatches (SLX FD and Suntour RD and shit like that).The only bike that's across the board better reviewed is the Canyon Spectral, but it's another $800 more than the Hawk/Rift 2 and currently out of stock and online only.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As long as the bike you buy fits you and you enjoy riding it, I doubt you'll be unhappy with your purchase regardless of its price.

The two models you've discussed both look like good bikes for good prices. You're gonna come out on top no matter what you choose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Braff Zacklin said:

As long as the bike you buy fits you and you enjoy riding it, I doubt you'll be unhappy with your purchase regardless of its price.

The two models you've discussed both look like good bikes for good prices. You're gonna come out on top no matter what you choose.

Thanks much.  My best riding buddy is a single-speed rigid fork maniac and he's no help on these things and I have a few other hacker buddies that just dumped 3-4k in their first bikes and accordingly aren't very critical of their own rides, much less able to offer much advice generally speaking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

honestly it seems like you've got it narrowed down, but it also seems like you are spec sheet shopping.  If I were you, I'd ride every bike/brand I could before dropping good money on a bike.   

csb

I love Yeti's (not cooler stickers), just something about the geometry that feels great to me.   A buddy of mine had a Yeti FRO that was the best bike/ magic carpet ride I've ever been on.  Threw my leg over it for the first time and it felt like home...  no learning curve... just perfect.   I still wish I had just bit the bullet and cloned his machine...  just magical. 

So years later after, beating myself to a bloody pulp on my hard-tail Klein, I went shopping for my next bike.   Top O' the list Yeti...  but at that time there weren't very many of those bikes on the east coast, never mind S Florida.   I spent 2-3 days just going shop to shop to ride everything that qualified.  I rode probably 20 bikes, some were instant No's, some were maybe's and a small handful of real candidates.  I even drove down to a shop deep in Dade County just to ride the few offerings they had from Yeti. (same homey feel, liked it right away) While I was there I saw another bike from a brand I didn't recognize and the guy at the shop said they were small company with a quality product.  So I rode it... and was blown away, it was better than the Yeti in every objective way except that I knew I needed to change out the stem and seat, but over roots, curbs, parking bumpers, it was better. I was stunned, but...

I bought the Yeti, I still love this bike, but I always wonder if I made the right choice, and was totally shocked the other brand was so DAMNED good.

I would have had to change out the stem and seat on the other brand, but the real killer was the Canadian flag paint job on the Rocky Mountain...  15yrs later, I'm still conflicted about if I made the right choice (stupid, I know)

kinda like this, but a 1000x worse, fucking maple leafs everywhere

Spoiler

Suzi-Q.-1995.jpg

/csb

Can't tell shit from spec sheet, don't try, ride them all!  You can probably check out some other people's rides on busy day/trail head, I've done that too.

Edited by Loco

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, some truth to spec sheet shopping.  I don't know how else to sort through the currently overwhelming number of pretty decent bikes out there.  Hell,  Trek and Specialized have fairly confusing lineups all by themselves. So, I keep my eye on the various sites/fora for mid- to low-price bikes that are getting lots of play/good reviews.  Gives me a way to narrow it down some.

 

And part of it is that I look at the things I might do to my hardtail to enhance it, e.g. better fork, and find those things in newer bikes in my price range.  If I rode everything, Id end up with a 6k bike, easy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/5/2018 at 10:58 PM, TwiceHorn said:

 Went out to performance bike today, good salesman.  Sat a medium 27.5 (hawk hill) and  large 29 (rift zone, same basic bike).  Just sat.  The guy was bigger than I and rec'd an XL and the L 29er was a little cramped to the point that I didn't think a stem or seat adjustment was going to do it (well a long stem would have, but long stem), I was pretty far over the front axle just sitting it and leaning forward.  Going to order a 27.5 hawk hill in XL and go ride it around, no obligation.  Guy also warned me to hold off buying until next weekend, when it's "triple points."  That will pay for pedals and some other shit.

  

A good place to buy a bike from if you're iffy on size is REI. You can return bikes for 1 full year just like any other product you buy there.  I bought my Salsa Journeyman from there for that reason. I couldn't find one to test ride and I wasn't familiar with their sizing so I had to make an educated guess. I guessed correctly luckily.  Also, the 10% dividend is a plus. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, ShaggyBevo RIP said:

Looking to buy a bike for the first time in decades. Holy crap has tech passed me by. Disc brakes? Mind blown.

Oh, dude.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Disc brakes are one of the best and most necessary innovations for mountain biking. That said, early hydraulics were hit or miss, so much so that you were often better off with a pair of cable-actuated mechanicals (a la Avid BB7s).

These days, however, even entry-level Shimanos that cost about $35 for a complete, pre-bled brakeset are more than adequate for most. I also find the low-end ones easier to service (bleed and flush), and replacement pads are super cheap compared to the fancy finned ones for XT and XTR (which you don't have to use, btw).

I'm also a big fan of tubeless tires and dropper posts. Slacker is better, but it's not as important to me as getting the damned seat out of the way.

I care very little about wheel sizes, hub standards, tapered headtubes, and carbon anything. And I hate--fucking hate--press-fit bottom brackets.

But if the industry can pick a series of standards and stick to them for a decade or two, I'll be thrilled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can pry the BB7s from my cold dead hands!  (probably at the bottom of a long wet technical decent)

<abesimpson> In my day you had to pick a good line, maneuver the bike there, get behind the saddle, and feather your brakes just so....  sure you were grievously injured, but you liked it and when your bones healed ...  today's fat kids with your huge diameter tubeless tires, low seat, and wizard breaking just float down sections while updating your myspacebook 

I seriously hate how I used to be one of the best technical riders on the trail to hanging on for dear life while noob bozos on big wheel bikes just crush stuff.  They don't even sweat it, just lean back hold on and let the bike do everything.  It throws off the flow of the trails imho.  I just want to put them on my old hardtail and take a lap with them.  Every now and then I see an older guy crushing it on hardtail... artwork</abesimpson>

 

anybody remember this glorious bastard...  

tinker_%2315.jpg

 

Edited by Loco

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You can pry the BB7s from my cold dead hands!  (probably at the bottom of a long wet technical decent)
In my day you had to pick a good line, maneuver the bike there, get behind the saddle, and feather your brakes just so....  sure you were grievously injured, but you liked it and when your bones healed ...  today's fat kids with your huge diameter tubeless tires, low seat, and wizard breaking just float down sections while updating your myspacebook 
I seriously hate how I used to be one of the best technical riders on the trail to hanging on for dear life while noob bozos on big wheel bikes just crush stuff.  They don't even sweat it, just lean back hold on and let the bike do everything.  It throws off the flow of the trails imho.  I just want to put them on my old hardtail and take a lap with them.  Every now and then I see an older guy crushing it on hardtail... artwork

 
anybody remember this glorious bastard...  
tinker_%2315.jpg
 
Good ol' Tinker, he was a badass. And Tomac back in the day too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm also a big fan of tubeless tires



For me, tubeless was the biggest game changer. I did ghetto tubeless for a while but still had leaks but no puncture flats. Finally bought a Stans wheelset and it has been bullet proof. I set it up in ‘13 and haven’t added fluid since. I know it’s bone dry but it’s a running joke now to see how long I can go without a flat. I haven’t had one yet. Pre-tubeless I had a dozen or more per year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good ol' Tinker, he was a badass.


One of his teammates was my kid’s rec volleyball coach. She’s a smoke show and if SSS ever existed again, I’d find some of her Instagram modeling pics to post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I rode the Hawk Hill and the Rift Zone, both.  I decided on the Rift Zone because the 29 felt more natural to me or what I'm used to, anyway.  Havent hit a trail yet, but noodling around on the street and in the parks trying to bunny hop the thing and get used to the way it turns, etc.

1x11 is niiiice.  No slap, no worrying about cross-chaining. No janky ass FD. Me rikey.  Also, these 2.9cm rims mount some fat-ass tires, rude ass even.

 

Funniest thing.  I have a trunk rack on my car.  I did not quite anticipate the changes to its set up required by the FS frame.  I was sweating like a whore in church this afternoon trying to strap that sumbitch in.

Edited by TwiceHorn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




Football ... Basketball ... Baseball ... Other Sports ... Recruiting ... Gambling ... Movies & TV ... Music ... Hobbies ... Lulz ... Food & Travel ... Daily Texan ... Help ... For Sale ... Politics ... Board Discussion
×
×
  • Create New...