I am comtemplating picking up my first 29'er.
I have ridden my current '05 GF HKEK primarily on the roads but I am looking to get into more off road riding. Having said that my off road riding will still be fairly tame Connecticut fireroads & singletrack. No jumps, drops, or stunts for this 42yr old body thank you....I am however, intrigues by long endurance rides like the Great Divide race, and plan to do this ride later this summer: http://www.deerfieldcycling.org/ 109 miles, 70% on dirt, 11,300 ft of climbing.
On my current ride I have replaced my 44t with a 46t and ride with knobbies whether I'm on or off road. I never get into the 22t front ring on the road. I can get up most anything with a 32/34 combo.
I have been drawn to the Montare because it comes stock with a 26/36/48 crank. However, I am concerned that that crank combined with the larger wheels may leave me geared too tall for off road, even my not so serious off road riding??
My option would then be to get either the Cobia or X-Caliber and maybe just replace the 44t with a 46t.
I have read some reviews of the Cobia and they say that the components are sort of bottom level. The components you get with either the Montare or X-Caliber are much better but the X-Caliber is a little more than I want to spend.
Any thoughts on either the gearing issue or the bikes themselves ???
Thanks very much !!
PS. Here's a pic of my current ride which I'm looking to sell, $600 OBO
that sounds like a cool race in mass there joe. Let us know how you do.
sheldon brown has a gear inch calculator over at harris cyclery site.
As far as the bikes, I would be thinking what you are. Get the better mountain bike and throw a larger chainring on there and cross tires when you want to. I think you would be unhappy with the fork on the dual sport if you got into any serious mountain biking. The reba is quality. The Manitou south is not.
But, it may be cheaper to get the Montare and upgrade the fork then get the X and change out the rings and tires.