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View Poll Results: how to get into a basic 29er?
buy frame & fork, move drivetrain & parts from hybrid 1 25.00%
buy cheap 29er (used or new) 2 50.00%
keep riding as-is 0 0%
other (reply and explain) 1 25.00%
Voters: 4. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-04-11, 11:12 AM   #1
ColinL
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singletrack on a hybrid/cross bike not working out-- suggestions needed

I have an actual mountainbike, a 1989 Trek 830 that I got in high school. I rode the piss out of it, but it's in decent mechanical shape after all these years. I actually never did any technical singletrack back in the day, more mundane single/two-track and it was my all-purpose commuter and fitness bike too.

18 years later, I got back into cycling. Stop me if you've heard this.

I bought a hybrid. It's a Cannondale Quick CX Ultra (same model now called CX 1) with a Magura/Cannondale Super Fatty DLR80 headshok fork. It weighs 27 pounds, noticeably lighter than the old dog Trek. Everything is tons better.

Except.. as I ride more singletrack, it becomes very obvious that there are 2 big problems with the hybrid:

1. severe toe overlap due to frame geometry, particularly super-short wheelbase. I'm not good enough to ride around this issue so I will rub my foot on the tire a few times per session and strike a low pedal if I'm trying 12 & 6 o'clock to avoid overlap.

2. narrow rear tire clearance. I'm currently running aggressive cyclocross knobbies but they're only 700x35mm. I think I could get certain 29x2.0 to fit. But there's no way in hell larger would go like a 2.2 or 2.4. narrow tires suck on roots and rocks.


TL;DR
Here's the suggestions needed part. I would like to spend less than a grand. The closer to $0, the happier my wife will be. Should I:

A. Hunt for deals over the winter on a new/used 29er frame & fork, then bring over everything I can from my hybrid

B. Buy a cheapo complete 29er, BikesDirect and the like

C. HTFU and keep riding the hybrid, figuring out how to ride around the toe overlap.

D. Other-- explain in your reply
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Old 10-04-11, 12:29 PM   #2
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Which tires would you prefer, 2.0, 2.2 or 2.4 inches? Why aren't you going for your 26 inch mountain bike? Do you really prefer a 29er?

I have a hybrid I rode on grass just to test it out. It seemed to be OK with 45mm tires although I don't know what your requirements are.
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Old 10-04-11, 12:35 PM   #3
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My 26" MTB is 22 years old with a rigid fork and most crucially it is a 17.5" frame because I was 5'8" my freshman year of highschool and am 6'0" now. I can ride a 19" or 21" depending on TT length and other geometry but riding the old MTB is comical at best.

If I get a new cheapie bike (poll option #2) I would definitely get a 29er rather than 26".

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Old 10-04-11, 02:03 PM   #4
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I just wanted to know from the point of view of a mountain biker why you'd choose a 29er over a 26er and if which you'd prefer between 2.0, 2.2 and 2.4 tires. I was considering perhaps building up a touring bike that could go everywhere. I haven't figured out yet which wheel size or tire size.
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Old 10-04-11, 02:44 PM   #5
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My hybrid has 29er wheels on it already. They are 2mm narrower than a typical 29er rim, but you can definitely mount a 29x2 on them without issue. So for option 1, new frame & fork, this has cost advantages. For option 2, I won't get into the 29er vs 26" debate but I'll just reiterate that I would buy a 29er.

As far as why I need a real MTB-- here's older footage of one of my local trails: http://vimeo.com/18488340
There are some new sections that are tighter and tougher. This one is about an hour and a half away: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n79vJUBPhjI
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Old 10-04-11, 03:21 PM   #6
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I would start fresh and get a new bike. Decent frame, fork, and tires will probably cost you 2/3 the price of a complete bike, which will almost certainly have better brakes and tougher wheels - if you have to upgrade those things later on then your cost advantage at that point is blown to hell.

Last edited by scyclops; 10-04-11 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 10-04-11, 03:39 PM   #7
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That option is appealing if I can ride it without doing a damn thing to it.

Option 1 will eventually result in a second bike anyway after I've had a year or two to install tubeless wheels, 1x10 drivetrain, and then start moving things back to the hybrid frame.
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Old 10-05-11, 07:47 AM   #8
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I'm now thinking that I don't need two flatbar bikes, the hybrid becomes extraneous the day I have a working 29er.

So it's really about whether I should sell my hybrid as-is or frame/fork/stem only. Because of the headshok I definitely won't be separating the frame and fork, and you need the stem too.
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Old 10-05-11, 08:49 AM   #9
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When you price out the two options, consider the possibility that you may have to buy a new wheelset eventually as your riding gets more aggressive. The hybrid wheelset was not designed or built for the punishment of rocky singletrack.

If you add a decent MTB wheelset to the shopping list - frame, fork, headset, stem, tires, tubes, maybe front derailleur if yours doesn't fit the new frame, maybe cables/housings if yours aren't long enough, will your crank/BB be compatible with the new frame? what about pedals? - I think you'll be close enough to the price of a new bike that the custom build no longer makes sense $-wise. (and this is assuming you don't have to buy any tools - crank puller, BB tool, cassette tool, chain whip, cable/housing cutter, etc.)

I also suspect it'll be a lot easier to sell a complete hybrid bike vs just the frame/fork.

All that said, I've spent too much money on my own builds numerous times, just for the sheer enjoyment of it.

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Old 10-05-11, 09:16 AM   #10
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Very good advice, thanks! I hadn't considered cables but I think it is very likely I would need them since the wheelbase is so different. I agree about wheels too, particularly that I would want to go tubeless.

Perhaps I should ride the hybrid the rest of the season, see what I can get for it either in winter or spring, and then decide if I'm building or buying a 29er.
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Old 10-05-11, 09:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
I hadn't considered cables but I think it is very likely I would need them since the wheelbase is so different. I agree about wheels too, particularly that I would want to go tubeless.
You would very likely be buying a new crankset and/or BB too. I once tried to use cranks off a Raleigh hybrid on a mountain frame. Due to the wider spacing on the MTB frame the inner chainring hit the chainstay - wouldn't even go on the spindle all the way.

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Old 10-05-11, 10:04 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scyclops View Post
You would very likely be buying a new crankset and/or BB too. I once tried to use cranks off a Raleigh hybrid on a mountain frame. Due to the wider spacing on the MTB frame the inner chainring hit the chainstay - wouldn't even go on the spindle all the way.
Would a longer bottom bracket make a difference then? I mean if you had a 68x113mm bb, would it make it with a 118mm?
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Old 10-05-11, 10:08 AM   #13
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Probably, I gave up on it at that point (it was a frankenbike that was to be sold), but a BB would add at least another $20 to ColinL's build - sometimes it's all the nickel-and-dime stuff that pushes you over budget.

Last edited by scyclops; 10-05-11 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 10-05-11, 10:14 AM   #14
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I've got a mountain crankset on the bike now, Deore with GXP external BB. I'm pretty confident it would work fine in a standard mountain frame.
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