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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 12-05-12, 01:15 PM   #1
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Any MTBers here?

And by MTBers I mean those who really ride MTBs on MTB trails, not road commuting on a MTB which I know is popular amongst clydes for the stoutness of MTB's. I just built up my first 29er and I'm digging it but I built it with a diamondback frame and cheapo suntour NVX fork that came with it. someone stripped the parts off the frame/fork to put on their commuter build. frame is great, looks really nice but I know the fork is gonna be a dud. I'm 250lbs so anyone that weight or up with advice for me would be great. I'm wondering if I would be better off with a ridgid steel fork than this cheapo thing? it would shed about 3 full pounds off the front end for one thing. I'm leaning towards getting a Manitou Tower Pro, as there are great prices on them right now but with the holidays and it not even really being prime riding season, I'm kinda trying to hold off on spending that much cash. I can probably get a surly karate monkey fork for $75-80
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Old 12-05-12, 01:26 PM   #2
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I am an avid mountain bike guy now dabbling in road bikes. Rigids can be fun but I am not sure if I just had one MTB I would choose a rigid. I kind of like a bit of travel and the right shock setup can work great with Clydes. I think most of today's front suspensions could support your weight without issue.

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Old 12-05-12, 01:58 PM   #3
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I am pretty much a Mountain biker although I enjoy road riding as well and I do real trails with technical descents and tough climbs. This weekend will be driving down to the Sn Diego area to do Mt. Laguna (Big Laguna Trail) before snow fall. For years I rode a great cross country bike - A SC Superlight but recently purchased a new SC Juliana and beefed it up a bit.

You know you are alittle on the beefy side for a full suspension bike but don't let that stop you. Just know you can't do all the jumps and steep drops like those little guys. I know my limitation and ride more cautiously than my skninny little friends. Just something I have to accept.

My 2 cents (but I am not a mechanic) I would stay with the rigid. That cheapie fork is not going to give you much suspension anyway plus there is risk for catastrophic failure. There is a reason good forks cost good money. And no offense friend shedding weight off the bike (for why?) is the last thing you need to worry about... give up sodas for a month and loose 3 pounds off your body - you would be better served.
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Old 12-05-12, 02:21 PM   #4
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I am pretty much a Mountain biker although I enjoy road riding as well and I do real trails with technical descents and tough climbs. This weekend will be driving down to the Sn Diego area to do Mt. Laguna (Big Laguna Trail) before snow fall. For years I rode a great cross country bike - A SC Superlight but recently purchased a new SC Juliana and beefed it up a bit.

You know you are alittle on the beefy side for a full suspension bike but don't let that stop you. Just know you can't do all the jumps and steep drops like those little guys. I know my limitation and ride more cautiously than my skninny little friends. Just something I have to accept.

My 2 cents (but I am not a mechanic) I would stay with the rigid. That cheapie fork is not going to give you much suspension anyway plus there is risk for catastrophic failure. There is a reason good forks cost good money. And no offense friend shedding weight off the bike (for why?) is the last thing you need to worry about... give up sodas for a month and loose 3 pounds off your body - you would be better served.
6'3" 250, 18% bodyfat so not much weight to shed off the body! But I can honestly say in just the few little rides I've done I can really feel how heavy the front end of the bike feels vs the rear end which is why I even mentioned the weight issue. Also, for potential resale value lets be honest, light bikes sell! No interest in full suspension, I know I won't be doing that type of riding and I've been very impressed coming from narrow road tires with just how much cushion some 2.1" tires at 40psi provides! I think where you really hit the hammer on the head is the catastrophic failure part. I'm definately a bit wary of this fork just wanting to self destruct on me!!
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Old 12-05-12, 02:32 PM   #5
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I am an avid mountain bike guy now dabbling in road bikes. Rigids can be fun but I am not sure if I just had one MTB I would choose a rigid. I kind of like a bit of travel and the right shock setup can work great with Clydes. I think most of today's front suspensions could support your weight without issue.

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Very nice looking bikes! What do you weigh? What fork is that that you are running on the hardtail?

Here is a pic of my ride
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Old 12-05-12, 02:57 PM   #6
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I ride a rigid forked Karate Monkey, I'm 6'4 225, it'll beat the hell out of you, but it's a lot of fun.

I wouldn't put that much air in a 2.1" tire, 40 psi is going to have you bouncing all over the place. See how low you can go until you pinch flat. Then bump the pressure up from there.

I just upgraded my wheels to Stan's ZTR Flows EX with a Racing Ralph tubeless ready tire, I'm running 22 in the front and 24 in the back. So, that is another option for you.
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Old 12-05-12, 03:02 PM   #7
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I ride a rigid forked Karate Monkey, I'm 6'4 225, it'll beat the hell out of you, but it's a lot of fun.

I wouldn't put that much air in a 2.1" tire, 40 psi is going to have you bouncing all over the place. See how low you can go until you pinch flat. Then bump the pressure up from there.

I just upgraded my wheels to Stan's ZTR Flows EX with a Racing Ralph tubeless ready tire, I'm running 22 in the front and 24 in the back. So, that is another option for you.
Should have mentioned I only had that much air in the tires because I've been out riding this bike on the street mostly. when I take her out for some real riding the pressure will be a bit lower. The Mezcals i'm running seem a bit similar to the racing ralphs in terms of the specs. Chainlove has had some deals on the racing ralphs, I may pull the trigger and get a set of them.
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Old 12-05-12, 03:29 PM   #8
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DiscTruckerMF I would suggest heading over to the mtbr forums. There's some good info here, but there's some really good technical info on a dedicated clyde subforum there. I trawled through there when I was entertaining the idea of getting into mtb riding about 6mths ago. Some really good info there that is backed up by experience and fact. I enjoyed the journey until I added up the cost of a good bike and found it was going to be a bit too expensive for me to get into. I race road and track and mtb was a bit too much to take out of the wallet.
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Old 12-05-12, 03:50 PM   #9
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DiscTruckerMF I would suggest heading over to the mtbr forums. There's some good info here, but there's some really good technical info on a dedicated clyde subforum there. I trawled through there when I was entertaining the idea of getting into mtb riding about 6mths ago. Some really good info there that is backed up by experience and fact. I enjoyed the journey until I added up the cost of a good bike and found it was going to be a bit too expensive for me to get into. I race road and track and mtb was a bit too much to take out of the wallet.
yeah, I've been over there. their clydes section isn't as active as this just as bike forums mtb section is kinda dead so I'm trying to glean info from all sources.

If you can wrench yourself it doesn't have to be too expensive. my bike has a solid frame to start with and I'm still under $1000 on this build and it's got an SLX Crank and shifters and then XT FD, RD, and brakes. My best bang for the buck moment was the deal on the wheels that I got from Chainlove. Only paid $230 for these wheels and the worst review on them was that they were a smidge heavy for XC use but that essentially means they are perfect clyde wheels!
of course higher likelihood of crashing and breaking mtb stuff so that can get expensive!
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Old 12-05-12, 04:04 PM   #10
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I'm a MTBer trying to be a roadie is the term I use. 75% of my rides are on my MTB, though I do get into the roadie swing every now n then.

I'd say a rigid STEEL fork would be better then a cheapo suspension fork. Cheapo being a sub $300 fork. Save your coin for a nice manitou, reba or fox or shop used if you have a normal sized frame. I ran a kenda nev 2.35 @ around 23-25psi up front and something skinny & light weight in the back for ease of spinning it up to speed.


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Old 12-05-12, 05:02 PM   #11
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6'3" 250, 18% bodyfat so not much weight to shed off the body! But I can honestly say in just the few little rides I've done I can really feel how heavy the front end of the bike feels vs the rear end which is why I even mentioned the weight issue. Also, for potential resale value lets be honest, light bikes sell! No interest in full suspension, I know I won't be doing that type of riding and I've been very impressed coming from narrow road tires with just how much cushion some 2.1" tires at 40psi provides! I think where you really hit the hammer on the head is the catastrophic failure part. I'm definately a bit wary of this fork just wanting to self destruct on me!!
Funny story - a good friend (little skinny guy BTW) wanted to get into MTB but his wife would not let him spend any money so he got a bike at Walmart ($300) and went riding with friends. Strong althlete; he was able to do alot of the technical stuff but just could not keep up with the longer travel bikes. One day we are riding together and he says "is my bike suppose to do this?" He lifts up the front end and the fork separated out of the piston sleeves. He was one bad ride away from the bike coming apart. If you watch enough Youtube Vids you have seen this happen.

Too many riders are more concerned about weight than function. If you are putting together a race bike with at least full XT, a good fork and shock and light weight wheels (expect to pay about $5,000 - that's what my Juliana has cost me so far) than you can think about weight but at the lower end (my bike is around 24 lbs) you sacrifice function in order to shave weight. You could easily lose 3 lbs off your body and have the same effect. Bottom line unless you weigh 135 there is little difference between a 22 lbs bike and a 30 lbs bike. You still have to move your 250 lbs forward. Also a MTB bike is suppose be alittle weighty and sturdy - this is not a road bike - road bikes can be flimsy and light weight (my LAndshark weighs around 20 lbs); MTB bikes need to be able to withstand force and pressure.

I can tell you from experience since I began MTB in the 80's and started on a fully rigid steel Rockhopper and have now moved up to a nicely put together full suspension bike - you do get what you pay for. I used to think 2 - 3" of travel was enough. I now have 5 and am thinking would like 6... but I could still do everything on that rigid bike I now do with my full suspension bike. Point is we are still big people and need to be concerned about stressing out components. Yes it will be fun until the bike breaks apart and the least of your problems is a broken collarbone and head injury (ask me how I know that).

Jakkar's Niners are great bike and form follows function. Just think about safety first and then make a choice.
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Old 12-05-12, 05:06 PM   #12
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I ran a kenda nev 2.35 @ around 23-25psi up front and something skinny & light weight in the back for ease of spinning it up to speed.
I also run Kenda Nevergals but 2.2 - I generally keep the pressure between 35 - 40 and have no problems but I do weigh less.
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Old 12-05-12, 05:47 PM   #13
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a good friend (little skinny guy BTW) wanted to get into MTB but his wife would not let him spend any money so he got a bike at Walmart ($300)
Forgive my ignorance (I'm single and intend to stay that way), but I see this all over the place. Husband wants to spend some hard-earned money on something, but "my wife won't let me". Why do people feel the need to try to tell other people how to spend their money that they worked for?

Back to mountain biking. I'm a mountain biker too, but I weigh about 100 lbs less, so I can't be of much help. I ride a Trek Wahoo 29er hardtail, but I have no idea how that bike would hold up under a heavier rider. It is a low-end bike.


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Old 12-05-12, 06:08 PM   #14
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And by MTBers I mean those who really ride MTBs on MTB trails, not road commuting on a MTB which I know is popular amongst clydes for the stoutness of MTB's. I just built up my first 29er and I'm digging it but I built it with a diamondback frame and cheapo suntour NVX fork that came with it. someone stripped the parts off the frame/fork to put on their commuter build. frame is great, looks really nice but I know the fork is gonna be a dud. I'm 250lbs so anyone that weight or up with advice for me would be great. I'm wondering if I would be better off with a ridgid steel fork than this cheapo thing? it would shed about 3 full pounds off the front end for one thing. I'm leaning towards getting a Manitou Tower Pro, as there are great prices on them right now but with the holidays and it not even really being prime riding season, I'm kinda trying to hold off on spending that much cash. I can probably get a surly karate monkey fork for $75-80
While a suspension fork adds some comfort to the ride, it's greatest asset is in added control. I started on rigid bikes and you have to be far more careful about your lines and how you ride than with a front suspension. One of the most common ways to crash on a rigid bike is to get the wheel trapped in a rut that runs in your direction of travel. To get out of the rut, you have to steer into it before you can turn away from it. The rigid fork has no give so the wheel will just remained trapped against the side of the rut until you stop or fall over. With a suspension fork...even a bad one...the fork will 'give' and allow the wheel to climb up and out of the rut. You still have to countersteer into the rut but the wheel will catch on irregularities and is more likely to climb out.

A suspension fork also has advantages when climbing since the fork will again 'give' and ride up and over obstacles rather then be stopped by them. On the downhill side, the suspension fork helps the bike keep its line rather than just ricocheting off rocks as you hit them at speed.

Manitou shocks aren't bad but they aren't the best either. On the plus side, they have very positive lockouts and they are fairly well built. On the minus side, you can't have them rebuilt and revalved by PUSH which really improves the performance of shocks. I would suggest that you stay away from Rock Shox. I've had a couple and have never been pleased with them even after having PUSH modify them. They are really soft and the lock out is non-existent. My favorite forks are Fox. They are very well built, plush, have a superb lockout and PUSH will do just about anything you want on them. They also cost more than the Manitou or Rock Shox.

Here's my 3 mountain bikes

A 1998 Specialized Stumpjumper Pro



If you look at the link, you'll see that the bike is radically different. Every single part of the bike has been replaced...including the frame It's my main winter ride.

A 1998 Moots YBB. A sweet titanium softtail



And a 2003 Specialized S-Works Epic that started life as a Stumpjumper FSR Expert 120



If you ever consider going full suspension, consider the Specialized Brain technology. The original FSR inchwormed down the trail no matter how much I pumped up the rear shock. It made for a very poor ride that just zapped me on rides. I hated it. The Epic's shock has a lock out that keeps the rear rigid...like a hardtail...when you are pedaling. No matter how much you push down from the saddle, the rear remains solid. But when the wheel get impacted from below, the rear starts to move. Once the need for the suspension is over, it locks back up without any input from the rider. Perfect for us large guys who can easily overwhelm suspensions.
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Old 12-05-12, 06:09 PM   #15
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I primarily mountain bike, just ride the road for daily workouts mostly. If you are building on a budget, go rigid with the fattest tire you can find. I wouldn't bother with any of the budget suspension forks. I mostly ride a Monocog 29er and a Salsa Fargo on trails now, both are rigid. I had tried a Manitou air fork on the Monocog for a spell, but it didn't hold up. I had broken the stock forks on my old Specialized Rockhopper and Hardrock before I went rigid on everything 6 years ago.
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Old 12-05-12, 06:15 PM   #16
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I think the Wahoo is a different painted from from the Cobia and diffrent parts. The frame should hold up fine and Trek has a great warranty if otherwise. Just upgrade the parts as they wear out. The OEM stuff isn't so great.

BTW I'm "lucky" my wife doesn't oppose any of my purchases as long as the house and bills are paid for. She understands the difference between cheap bike parts and how I ride. Often at get tothers when talking with non biker about getting into it, they say they want to spend 200-300 on a bike and quickly think about the big box stores. I tell them I wouldn't trust going off a curb on one of those bikes none the less hitting the dirt on it. Also mention that I paid more for my helmet then they want to spend on an entire bike. Yes I get funny looks but I tell them I value my head more then a cheap bike then its like Oh....good point
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Old 12-05-12, 06:31 PM   #17
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While a suspension fork adds some comfort to the ride, it's greatest asset is in added control. I started on rigid bikes and you have to be far more careful about your lines and how you ride than with a front suspension.

I always tell folks its is bets to start out rigid or on a hardtail as it teaches skill - full suspension (and a 29 wheel) makes things too easy.


One of the most common ways to crash on a rigid bike is to get the wheel trapped in a rut that runs in your direction of travel. To get out of the rut, you have to steer into it before you can turn away from it. The rigid fork has no give so the wheel will just remained trapped against the side of the rut until you stop or fall over. With a suspension fork...even a bad one...the fork will 'give' and allow the wheel to climb up and out of the rut.

Sometimes... fell into a rut last weekend and had a bad fall. I do admit I panic'd alittle (OK alot it was deep!) - if I just stayed and rode it out I would have been OK. Full suspension does make things easy but you still need to understand what you are doing. Sometimes I panic and forget...

A suspension fork also has advantages when climbing since the fork will again 'give' and ride up and over obstacles rather then be stopped by them. On the downhill side, the suspension fork helps the bike keep its line rather than just ricocheting off rocks as you hit them at speed.

Main reason I advocate a good front fork.

.


Also about the cost of bikes... I just think peole don't understand how expensive bikes can be... everyone remembers the Wally World bike they got for Christmas and thought that was expensive! I see so many $6 - 9000 bikes out there it's amazing.

Freight... I did finally talk my friend and his wife into spending $1400 on a close out Santa Cruz Superlight. He is so much happier - his wife to now that she understands he could have died on that other bike.

But I understand being "singular" myself... I love the fact I control my own destiny and money!

Also also re rigids... they have become cool again. Finally when I finally got a decent full suspension bike all my friends are going back to rigid singlespeeds. What's up with that??? BTW talk about light weight - there's where you lose a few lbs don't have gears!
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Old 12-05-12, 06:46 PM   #18
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Freight... I did finally talk my friend and his wife into spending $1400 on a close out Santa Cruz Superlight. He is so much happier - his wife to now that she understands he could have died on that other bike.

But I understand being "singular" myself... I love the fact I control my own destiny and money!

Also also re rigids... they have become cool again. Finally when I finally got a decent full suspension bike all my friends are going back to rigid singlespeeds. What's up with that??? BTW talk about light weight - there's where you lose a few lbs don't have gears!
I'm glad you were able to convince him to get a better, safer bike . The thought of anyone doing any real mountain biking on a WalGoose makes me grimace!

Single-speed road bikes are big around here. I don't know enough mountain bikers personally to know if SS MTB is popular. With the terrain we have, I would think a regular geared bike would make more sense. I just can't picture myself climbing that steep "Mercy Mile" climb in Auburn on a single-speed. Gasp!
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Old 12-05-12, 08:08 PM   #19
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Not so much anymore, but heres mine:

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Old 12-06-12, 08:24 AM   #20
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I always tell folks its is bets to start out rigid or on a hardtail as it teaches skill - full suspension (and a 29 wheel) makes things too easy.


Main reason I advocate a good front fork.
Although I learned how to mountain bike on a rigid bike, I wouldn't suggest it for a new rider. The idea is to get them to ride and a rigid has a steep learning curve. Front suspension and/or full suspension is easier to learn and the rider can instantly enjoy off-road riding. I feel the point isn't to teach the newbie how to ride but to provide them with an experience that brings them back for more.

As to the fork, even a cheap fork can help with control. Let's not forget that all but the pogo sticks you find on Helmart bikes are more sophisticated then the first generation Manitou fork which is what I started on. They are probably even better than the World Class racing shocks of 10 years ago. A 'good' shock is a joy to ride but a cheap shock will get the job done.
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Old 12-06-12, 09:27 AM   #21
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I started out years ago as strictly a mountain biker and slowly evolved into riding both road and MTB. I did that as a matter of concenience because where I lived in Va we used to have to drive 1.5 hours each way to Williamsburg to get to any appreciable trails. Since I've moved to PA and now have over 100 miles of singletrack within 30 minutes of my house I mostly mountain bike because I've always preferred singletrack MTB over road riding. I've had more mountain bikes than I can count and had a full stable of mountain bikes when I moved to PA but had a firesale and reduced it down to the one bike I found myself choosing over the rest all the time. I personally prefer full suspension over hardtails but I agree with cycco's post above, front suspension gives you more control in rough terrain over a rigid so I would at a minimum get at least a front suspension bike.
Here's a pic of my bike I took at a trail head during a recent trip to Richmond. It's an old 97 Ellsworth Truth with M950 XTR.
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Old 12-06-12, 10:44 AM   #22
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Lots of good info here guys, thanks.
Regarding Manitou forks. The Tower Pro is the one I"m looking at and it can be had for about $375 right now at pricepoint. There have been nothing but stellar reviews on that particular fork though I have heard that they have made some crap in the past. The big selling point with the Tower pro is that you can upgrade the ride kit and the chief engineer at Manitou came across a post that one of the clydes made on MTBR.com and actually had a lot of correspondence with him which resulted in them creating a XX-firm "Clydesdale" spring for that fork.

Totally see how even a cheap fork could be helpful to some degree , I really need to get out on the trails and just see how this fork does for now. I've really only taking it on the city streets and a couple of very small dirt paths, no real trails with it. riding it uphill on the street I don't seem to notice me wasting much energy until I stand up on the pedals and then it's absolutely a pogo stick, I will not be doing any standing climbing on this fork if I know whats good for me! As for weight of the bike, I agree there is no need to be fixated on it and as a clyde, you sort of want a certain amount of weight because you know it means it's durable but bottom line, there is no need for a 6 lb fork on a bike especially when we know that weight doesn't necessarily even mean it's a durable part. Getting rid of this fork is a primary goal to improve performance and the weigh savings just so happens to be a bonus!
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Old 12-06-12, 11:20 AM   #23
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I had a mani Minute 29er w/ absolute valving. AWESOME fork. I like that fork better then the REBA i have now. I'm sure the Tower Pro is better then the older Minutes and has thicker stanchion.
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Old 12-06-12, 11:42 AM   #24
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I used to MTB alot. I built up a 26" from a 1994 Cannondale frame which I still ride. This was about 4 years ago. It has a 1" head tube so I was limited to front shocks. Found a Rock Shox Judy on craigslist brand new so bought it and put it on. I was weighing in around 260 when I built it and was riding it. I am on the East Coast so we have lots of rock gardens, boulders, and stuff to ride over. Some very technical trails as they say. I haven't had any problems with the fork or the bike so far. I am down to 230 and still riding it. Due to the geometry of the old frame I used to endo a lot because I would get over confident in my abilities and try new stuff and fail. It's all good though because it taught me how to fall when MTB riding single track. I haven't pulled the trigger on a 29er yet because I am undecided between a hard tail or full suspension. I was leaning toward full suspension but thinking that may be overkill for what I what I ride or want to ride.
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Old 12-06-12, 02:22 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freighttraininguphill View Post
Single-speed road bikes are big around here. I don't know enough mountain bikers personally to know if SS MTB is popular. With the terrain we have, I would think a regular geared bike would make more sense. I just can't picture myself climbing that
I think you would be surprised on what and where I see singlespeeders... it really is popular here especially with the old timers who have already been there and done that... they climb the toughest climbs (and come down some gnarly descents)... as I am struggling in my granny, granny, some singlespeeder will fly past me.... sucks!!!
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