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  1. #1
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Suggest 29er for Great Divide route?

    Greetings. One of the things on my bucket list is to ride a portion of the Great Divide trail - probably towards the northern end. I have an older Rockhopper hardtail. None of the components are anything special; I built it up from a frame I bought on Ebay, and didn't go overboard on any parts. I'm more of a roadie who only mountain bikes occasionally, and usually on dirt roads - nothing gnarly.

    I'm 6'4", and it's a 23" frame, so those wheels look kind of little.

    I'm thinking for the Great Divide I might be better on a 29er. I'm looking for something strong and reliable, rather than ultra light. It would have to have strong wheels to carry me (195 lbs.) and the weight of my gear. I'd be away from civilization much of the time, so I'd have to fix anything that broke myself. It would be better if nothing broke. I'm thinking of a hardtail with an aluminum frame. A nice suspension fork would be almost mandatory, as long as it was sturdy and reliable.

    I'd like disc brakes. Some people have recommended mechanical disks over hydraulic, saying they're easier to work on when you're out on the trail. Is this true?

    I haven't decided yet whether to use panniers or a Bob trailer.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Too Much Crazy
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    Gunnar Rock Tour. Steel, built solid.

  3. #3
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Salsa Fargo for touring on dirt roads and easier single trail. It's an expedition bike and that's what you want. Install a suspension fork with a lock-out.
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 12-18-10 at 12:10 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member tkehler's Avatar
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    I'm no longer convinced that steel is better or stronger than other materials. I personally like steel, and 'want' it to be stronger, but I know several bike shop owners -- and one in particular is a buddy -- and they've shown me frames of ALL kinds that have broken.

    XT is great for hubs. I've used them, and XTR too, for years. Very solid, very reliable. I've got Chris Kings and they are certainly nice, but I've had them worked on twice in three years (minor work only).

    I have Avid BB7s -- regarded as the top mechanical disc brakes -- on a mountain bike and on a ti commuter bike (my commuter bike). Once a year I replace the pads. That's all I ever do or need to do.

    Having said that, I've bought Formula hydraulic disc brakes because I wanted to try them. Haven't installed them yet.

    Your trip sounds very exciting, both to plan and to ride.

  5. #5
    Senior Member tkehler's Avatar
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    I'm 6-2, but haven't owned a 29er. Would like to!

    I bought a Cane Creek Thudbuster for a particularly pot-holed commuter route, but found that while it works (but is heavy!), I didn't use it that much. Instead I went to fatter tires for more cushioning, and grip. Going to fatter tires for everything but road riding was a result of reading the famous article at Schwalbe's website about the benefits of wider/bigger tires...

  6. #6
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    I weigh 125 lbs so all of my bikes are carbon and I dont worry about them holding up.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Rutnick's Avatar
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    what's the budget?



    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
    Greetings. One of the things on my bucket list is to ride a portion of the Great Divide trail - probably towards the northern end. I have an older Rockhopper hardtail. None of the components are anything special; I built it up from a frame I bought on Ebay, and didn't go overboard on any parts. I'm more of a roadie who only mountain bikes occasionally, and usually on dirt roads - nothing gnarly.

    I'm 6'4", and it's a 23" frame, so those wheels look kind of little.

    I'm thinking for the Great Divide I might be better on a 29er. I'm looking for something strong and reliable, rather than ultra light. It would have to have strong wheels to carry me (195 lbs.) and the weight of my gear. I'd be away from civilization much of the time, so I'd have to fix anything that broke myself. It would be better if nothing broke. I'm thinking of a hardtail with an aluminum frame. A nice suspension fork would be almost mandatory, as long as it was sturdy and reliable.

    I'd like disc brakes. Some people have recommended mechanical disks over hydraulic, saying they're easier to work on when you're out on the trail. Is this true?

    I haven't decided yet whether to use panniers or a Bob trailer.

    Any suggestions?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rutnick's Avatar
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    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gunnarcycles/4185515454/

    hard to argue the gunnar that was suggested. avid BB7s are great brakes and low low maint.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Deshi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PedallingATX View Post
    dude...you can't "no ****" something THAT ****. That's like saying "sometimes I just like to make out with dudes...no ****"

  10. #10
    Senior Member Deshi's Avatar
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    No particular reason for the above recommendation, I just really like Spot bikes.
    Quote Originally Posted by PedallingATX View Post
    dude...you can't "no ****" something THAT ****. That's like saying "sometimes I just like to make out with dudes...no ****"

  11. #11
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rutnick View Post
    what's the budget?
    At this point it's merely hypothetical so budget isn't really a concern. However, since I'm not interested in carbon fiber, I'm not interested in rear suspension, and I'm not interested in raceworthy lightweight parts - rather I'm interested in strength and reliability of components - I'm thinking it wouldn't be overly expensive. To me, $1000 is reasonable, and $1800 wouldn't be out of the question if it was necessary to get what I wanted. How's that for an answer?

    Remember, I'm simply considering this - it's not a fully formulated plan - so don't waste a lot of effort on an answer. A quick suggestion would be appreciated. Thanks.

  12. #12
    Senior Member tkehler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
    At this point it's merely hypothetical so budget isn't really a concern. However, since I'm not interested in carbon fiber, I'm not interested in rear suspension, and I'm not interested in raceworthy lightweight parts - rather I'm interested in strength and reliability of components - I'm thinking it wouldn't be overly expensive. To me, $1000 is reasonable, and $1800 wouldn't be out of the question if it was necessary to get what I wanted. How's that for an answer?

    Remember, I'm simply considering this - it's not a fully formulated plan - so don't waste a lot of effort on an answer. A quick suggestion would be appreciated. Thanks.
    I agree that you should focus on strong, reliable parts.

    And -- since you'd be in the saddle quite a bit -- you should think about comfort. (I love Selle SMP saddles, a design/comfort marvel, but they are expensive,.) Ergon grips are highly regarded. And so on.

    PS -- I like the look of the Spot bike. However, I think either Giant or Norco make a 29er that sells for somewhat less. The bigger companies might -- in the eyes of some -- be too big. But they spend on R&D and usually get the geometries right...

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