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Thread: What To Buy?

  1. #1
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    What To Buy?

    I'm looking to buy an all-Mtn FS bike to make local downhill singletacks a bit more enjoyable. I've been riding my XC-oriented hardtail for many years, and I need to mix it up.

    I'm basically looking to spend 1k. My friends are all pointing me in the direction of a 2010(ish) SC Nomad. I thought I'd get your opinions of what to look for. I am assuming given my price range, I'll be looking at only aluminum frame and 26" wheels, which is fine.

  2. #2
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    What's your standover height?
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
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  3. #3
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    At that budget, the condition of the bike is realistically going to matter more than the model. With occasional exceptions, a well kept bike from any of the major brands is probably fine.

  4. #4
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    I'm 6'0 and literally a large with all frames, except Orbea.

  5. #5
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    Definitely be sure to get 26" wheels, they are by far the best.

  6. #6
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    If you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it tubeless, I will. I got spare time.

  7. #7
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    ^^ Funny, I was just looking at that bike this morning.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by supermodel159 View Post
    local downhill singletacks
    Where are you riding?

    I agree that at $1000 you're more concerned about condition and components then exact brand or type of bike, but the terrain would factor heavily into what types of general geometry make the most sense.
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by supermodel159 View Post
    I'm looking to buy an all-Mtn FS bike to make local downhill singletacks a bit more enjoyable. I've been riding my XC-oriented hardtail for many years, and I need to mix it up.

    I'm basically looking to spend 1k. My friends are all pointing me in the direction of a 2010(ish) SC Nomad. I thought I'd get your opinions of what to look for. I am assuming given my price range, I'll be looking at only aluminum frame and 26" wheels, which is fine.
    I found a Santa Cruz blur LT on here for $650. Sweet bike! Previous owner had done a lot of upgrades and it's working out pretty good. I was reluctant to go with such a long travel bike (160mm front) for trail riding but have no complaints. Bikes like pivot switchback and mojo HD are proof of concept. Go for a 30 pound bike (or lighter) that has plenty of travel and fits you well and is in good condition. You'll have a blast for years.

  10. #10
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    I'd argue geometry is more important than travel. Give me a 120 or 130mm bike with a 67* HA over steeper bike with more suspension. This will be an issue with bikes of tat vintage. 67 or 68* head angles are the best you'll get. Some offset bushings for the rear shock are a nice upgrade. Cheap too, like $20ish bucks. A longer fork ala that Blur LT is another option. Course that raises the BB too.

    Mind you, my daily driver is 165mm with a 65.5* HA.
    There's nothing better than sliding down snow... flying through the air.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by beaterdit View Post
    I'd argue geometry is more important than travel. Give me a 120 or 130mm bike with a 67* HA over steeper bike with more suspension. This will be an issue with bikes of tat vintage. 67 or 68* head angles are the best you'll get. Some offset bushings for the rear shock are a nice upgrade. Cheap too, like $20ish bucks. A longer fork ala that Blur LT is another option. Course that raises the BB too.

    Mind you, my daily driver is 165mm with a 65.5* HA.
    I'd agree with this, and even more so. I'd say if you want something for "downhill singletrack" like enduro or trail shuttling, you need to look at something that was considered a freeride or light DH bike in the mid to late 00's. Probably get a size larger than what you would normally ride so the top tube length is more in line with modern geometry. You can also use offset bushings on the shock or use a 8.5x2.5" shock (suprisingly easy to come by) in place of a 8.75x2.75" to lower the bottom bracket and slack the head angle. The two that come to mind are the '06-'08 Specialized Big Hit and the Santa Cruz VP Free. Here's a nice clean large Bighit:

    https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/1980498/

    With a wider, lower bar and a 8.5"x2.5" shock, it will keep up modern enduro bikes no problem, while being more durable. Might be nice to get some wider tubeless rims at some point, but not critical.

    VP Free with new drivetrain:

    https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2139728/
    Last edited by Damian Sanders; 05-26-2017 at 08:01 AM.

  12. #12
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    Thanks guys. Most of the trails I ride will be in/around Santa Barbara, which will require pedaling up to get down. So, a pure DH bike is not on my list of options.

  13. #13
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    I personally don't have any firsthand experience with SLO, SB and Santa Monica mountain trails, but I've been told that they are loose and chunky. I think most CA coastal mountain trails are going to be around 2-3K of vert each way, yeah?

    If I were in your position I'd be looking for a used 140-165mm rear travel (5.5-6.5") ride with pretty wide chainstay clearance so that I could run 26" x 2.4" or even wider tires. With a $1000 budget you might want to have a trusted local friend or shop guy vet out any options, as you're either looking at bikes so old that replacement linkage parts could be a real hassle, or 3-year old bikes that aren't kitted with very good components.

    Aluminum is fine, but there are certain bikes that had known issues with the rear triangle/swingarm that you will want to avoid, hence why you should have a trusted friend or shop guy vet your ride. Cracking a rear triangle on a used bike would put you in the position of having a bunch of components that are not really compatible with most of the newest bike frames.

    This may be somewhat controversial, but for your budget, I think you may get more for your money with a single-pivot design than from a used virtual pivot design (FSR, VPP, 4-bar, Horst, DW, etc). Single pivot frames tend to be less expensive and often easier to service. I didn't really know or think about single vs. virtual pivot when I bought my first full suspension bike about 8 years ago; at the tail end of that bike's life, I felt "lucky" that the linkage cross-bolts were still barely holding on. Santa Cruz Hecklers are fun single-pivot bikes, pretty legendary for their versatility and durability. You should be able to get a 26" Heckler fully built for under $1000.

    I also agree with these guys saying that "old school" geometry (meaning, older than 5 years, hah!) is something to watch out for - try to avoid short effective top tubes (they didn't measure frame "reach" until recently) and steep head angles. I'd even avoid 68 degrees head angle with your coastal mountain terrain and look for 67 or 66 degrees. 67 degrees is what today's 5" trail bikes are rocking. 65.5-66 is magic on chunky downhill trails and still allows for decent climbing. You can usually google the year and model of a bike to find its geometry online.

    You also may want to budget for the fact that almost anything you buy is likely going to need $150 in new tires, cables, and brake pads.
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SchralphMacchio View Post
    I personally don't have any firsthand experience with SLO, SB and Santa Monica mountain trails, but I've been told that they are loose and chunky. I think most CA coastal mountain trails are going to be around 2-3K of vert each way, yeah?

    If I were in your position I'd be looking for a used 140-165mm rear travel (5.5-6.5") ride with pretty wide chainstay clearance so that I could run 26" x 2.4" or even wider tires. With a $1000 budget you might want to have a trusted local friend or shop guy vet out any options, as you're either looking at bikes so old that replacement linkage parts could be a real hassle, or 3-year old bikes that aren't kitted with very good components.

    Aluminum is fine, but there are certain bikes that had known issues with the rear triangle/swingarm that you will want to avoid, hence why you should have a trusted friend or shop guy vet your ride. Cracking a rear triangle on a used bike would put you in the position of having a bunch of components that are not really compatible with most of the newest bike frames.

    This may be somewhat controversial, but for your budget, I think you may get more for your money with a single-pivot design than from a used virtual pivot design (FSR, VPP, 4-bar, Horst, DW, etc). Single pivot frames tend to be less expensive and often easier to service. I didn't really know or think about single vs. virtual pivot when I bought my first full suspension bike about 8 years ago; at the tail end of that bike's life, I felt "lucky" that the linkage cross-bolts were still barely holding on. Santa Cruz Hecklers are fun single-pivot bikes, pretty legendary for their versatility and durability. You should be able to get a 26" Heckler fully built for under $1000.

    I also agree with these guys saying that "old school" geometry (meaning, older than 5 years, hah!) is something to watch out for - try to avoid short effective top tubes (they didn't measure frame "reach" until recently) and steep head angles. I'd even avoid 68 degrees head angle with your coastal mountain terrain and look for 67 or 66 degrees. 67 degrees is what today's 5" trail bikes are rocking. 65.5-66 is magic on chunky downhill trails and still allows for decent climbing. You can usually google the year and model of a bike to find its geometry online.

    You also may want to budget for the fact that almost anything you buy is likely going to need $150 in new tires, cables, and brake pads.
    ^^ Roger that; thanks for the thoughtful response. A few mags have been offering old bikes up for sale. I'm sure I will find something.

  15. #15
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    Looks like I found an Ibis Mojo HD locally that will work out for me.

    Big thanks to greasyslope for offering up two of his beloved Nomads.

  16. #16
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    Congrats! That bike has a great linkage design for climbing and descending. It will probably climb better than your hardtail!

    Since the bike is a slightly older generation, it is a little more on the "old school" geometry with a tight cockpit (shorter front end), so it's a bit more BMX feeling than jet fighter feeling.

    I would ride the snot out of it and eventually consider these upgrades, in order of importance:
    1) Dropper post. This will help more for rolling terrain than with the long climbs and long descents you have in coastal mountains ... but it is a game changer and worth the extra bucks and extra weight. These are typically $100+ used and $325 new.

    2a) Not sure if you have the stock bars and stem (the original Mojo was 680mm stock bars and 90mm stem, not sure if same for HD) or newer ones, but getting carbon 760 mm bars or even 780 for your height and a used 70mm stem would make the front end feel less cramped and more stable. If you have a short torso you can go shorter stem but the Mojo design is so short up front I wouldn't go below 60mm stem unless I sized the frame up (like an XL frame for you). I went with Chinese carbon bars for my wife's Mojo for like $60 ... and used lightweight stems are easy to find for cheap. This will also lighten the front end to make it feel more nimble over rocks etc.

    2b) A -1 or -1.5 degree angleset to slack out the head angle. This will improve the way the bike rolls over chunks and make it feel less squirrelly in corners. It would cost about $100 bucks and time in someone's shop who has the tools to pull and install a headset.

    3) If your drivetrain is getting old, going to 1x10 or 1x11 will save a 1/2 pound of weight. But the Mojo suspension works better with a 2x10 or 3x9, and going to 1x10 can require a lot of fiddling and planning of buying the right parts, that is a pain if you're not mechanically inclined.
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by beaterdit View Post
    I'd argue geometry is more important than travel. Give me a 120 or 130mm bike with a 67* HA over steeper bike with more suspension. This will be an issue with bikes of tat vintage. 67 or 68* head angles are the best you'll get. Some offset bushings for the rear shock are a nice upgrade. Cheap too, like $20ish bucks. A longer fork ala that Blur LT is another option. Course that raises the BB too.

    Mind you, my daily driver is 165mm with a 65.5* HA.
    I'm new to long travel full suspension bikes. Having a high bottom bracket causes higher center of gravity-what all does that mess with?

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