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OK, now I'm spoiled

Old 10-30-16, 12:51 AM
  #1  
dabigboy
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OK, now I'm spoiled

My bike is down with a broke rear axle. I finally got all the stuff to fix it (had lost some bearings and I bought the wrong size bearings at first, got a too-short rear axle the first time, etc etc), and now I can't find my toolkit to remove my freewheel.....arrgh! Last weekend, a friend of mine kindly lent me his "spare" bike for the trails: a Redline D860. Man...what a ride. That thing glided over the trail. By the end of our ride, I was getting confident enough to try some jumps, and got my first air (even managed to land properly). What a blast! I'm not sure I can go back to my hardtail now!

My plan up til now was to budget about $1,000 for a good used higher-end hardtail, but I think that plan just got shot to pieces.

Matt
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Old 10-30-16, 07:39 AM
  #2  
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I hate when that happens.
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Old 10-30-16, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by dabigboy View Post
My bike is down with a broke rear axle. I finally got all the stuff to fix it (had lost some bearings and I bought the wrong size bearings at first, got a too-short rear axle the first time, etc etc), and now I can't find my toolkit to remove my freewheel.....arrgh! Last weekend, a friend of mine kindly lent me his "spare" bike for the trails: a Redline D860. Man...what a ride. That thing glided over the trail. By the end of our ride, I was getting confident enough to try some jumps, and got my first air (even managed to land properly). What a blast! I'm not sure I can go back to my hardtail now!

My plan up til now was to budget about $1,000 for a good used higher-end hardtail, but I think that plan just got shot to pieces.

Matt

Haha, I love when stuff like that happens! Opened up whole new perspective for you. I am with you on getting what you really want but don's rush with FS. Ride plus bikes if you can too - 26+, 650B+ and 29+
I appreciate good FS but I will take good hardtail any day, just personal preference. More over I'd take good rigid over hardtail with squish front and over FS.
I am Surly and All-City fanboy so obviously I would recommend to look at 1x1 with wide rims and 26x2.75 Dirt Wizards (have one, it is a blast), Krampus (have one, it is awesome), Karate Monkey (new one is coming out, I have old one and I love it to bits), Log Lady from All-City (did not ride it personally but it looks amazing)
There are also cool bikes from other makers like new Salsa Timberwolf, Marin Pine 1 gets good reviews as well and many others.

What I am trying to say - don't rush, test ride as many bikes as possible and don't throw away your plan of good solid hardtail. Full squish is nice and you may get a good deal on gently used ones but if I were in your shoes - I'd start with the best frame you could afford and go from there. I'd invest more in good wheels and tires.

What is your current ride?
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Old 10-30-16, 10:08 PM
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So I had to hit Google to find out what a "plus" bike is. The added traction and stability might be good for me, as I still lack confidence to go fast on the trail.

My current ride is a 2012 Raleigh Talus 3. I keep hearing that it's a "solid entry-level bike", which I thought would be just the thing at my skill level (total newbie), but I feel like I'm already hitting its limitations. I know I'm far better off to spend money on a good hardtail vs a cheap FS. The thing about the Redline I rode is, of course, that it is NOT a cheap FS. Actually my friend is trying to sell the Redline (he has a more downhill-oriented ride that he uses most of the time now). If I weren't working on buying a new place at the moment, I'd be very tempted to take it off his hands.

Here's what really bothers me about the hardtail: the trails at Draper in OKC (the only real trails I've ridden so far) have some moderately rough rocky descents. They are really fun, and a good challenge for a newbie like myself, but my bike feels (and sounds) like it's going to beat itself to pieces. The Redline just rolled right through it gracefully. If I'm already beating up my hardtail and breaking rear axles at this level, how is it going to handle something more challenging?

But you're totally right, I need to try some more bikes. Perhaps just a BETTER hardtail would be appropriate. Probably one big positive on the Redline is that it's the best fitting bike I've ridden so far.....I'm 6'1", my friend is even taller than me, so the Redline is a 29'er with an XL frame. I probably need to try some more big-frame bikes before I upgrade.

Matt
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Old 10-30-16, 10:43 PM
  #5  
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I ride a hardtail and like you have considered FS, but can't justify the additional cost and maintenance for my uses. The trails around me are XC so my hardtrail can handle them with ease. Plus hardtails are typically better at climbing so I focus increasing my speed in that area.

Riding a bike that is a good fit for you would be a good place to start. I am assuming your Talus is a large if you liked your friends XL.
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Old 10-31-16, 09:18 PM
  #6  
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Good point about the climbing. I did very little climbing with the Redline, as Draper does not have a lot of elevation change. The Talus is billed as an XC bike. But as much fun as I'm having on the rocky bits and the technical stuff, having a dedicated MTB (maybe FS, maybe not) as well as the Talus (or something a little bigger) for XC might be a good solution for me.

I'm not sure what size my Talus is, no label on the frame. If I'm measuring right, the frame size is around (or a little over) 20". It feels like I could go a little bigger on the frame, which is probably why the XL Redline fit so well.

What kind of cost do you figure for a good FS? My friend is asking $1,300 for this one. My research indicates this is a fair price, especially with the upgrades (dropper seatpost, some lighter components to get the bike down to about 31lbs). Again, I won't be buying anything right away until my property purchase is done, but if I can find good used FS bikes in that price range, that's quite acceptable.

Matt
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Old 11-01-16, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by dabigboy View Post
Good point about the climbing. I did very little climbing with the Redline, as Draper does not have a lot of elevation change. The Talus is billed as an XC bike. But as much fun as I'm having on the rocky bits and the technical stuff, having a dedicated MTB (maybe FS, maybe not) as well as the Talus (or something a little bigger) for XC might be a good solution for me.

I'm not sure what size my Talus is, no label on the frame. If I'm measuring right, the frame size is around (or a little over) 20". It feels like I could go a little bigger on the frame, which is probably why the XL Redline fit so well.

What kind of cost do you figure for a good FS? My friend is asking $1,300 for this one. My research indicates this is a fair price, especially with the upgrades (dropper seatpost, some lighter components to get the bike down to about 31lbs). Again, I won't be buying anything right away until my property purchase is done, but if I can find good used FS bikes in that price range, that's quite acceptable.

Matt
Ok, i did not know you were going to buy that bike. If it were me I'd spend some time on mtbr forums first, just to expand your knowledge of what market has to offer. They have plus bike subs, manufatcures subs, etc. Your Redline has one or two threads under Other/Custom makers sub
On the other hand - you had opportunity (and probably can ask for more) for extended test ride, you feel like bike fits and you like it (most important factor I think :-)). $1300 may be fair if all components are in top notch condition and bike does not need any work. How is your mechanical knowledge to do thorough bike assessment?
Hit pinkbike classifieds as well and remember that it is end of season for majority of riders so good time to buy in terms of price, not so good in terms of choice.
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Old 11-01-16, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by dabigboy View Post
So I had to hit Google to find out what a "plus" bike is. The added traction and stability might be good for me, as I still lack confidence to go fast on the trail.

My current ride is a 2012 Raleigh Talus 3. I keep hearing that it's a "solid entry-level bike", which I thought would be just the thing at my skill level (total newbie), but I feel like I'm already hitting its limitations. I know I'm far better off to spend money on a good hardtail vs a cheap FS. The thing about the Redline I rode is, of course, that it is NOT a cheap FS. Actually my friend is trying to sell the Redline (he has a more downhill-oriented ride that he uses most of the time now). If I weren't working on buying a new place at the moment, I'd be very tempted to take it off his hands.

Here's what really bothers me about the hardtail: the trails at Draper in OKC (the only real trails I've ridden so far) have some moderately rough rocky descents. They are really fun, and a good challenge for a newbie like myself, but my bike feels (and sounds) like it's going to beat itself to pieces. The Redline just rolled right through it gracefully. If I'm already beating up my hardtail and breaking rear axles at this level, how is it going to handle something more challenging?

But you're totally right, I need to try some more bikes. Perhaps just a BETTER hardtail would be appropriate. Probably one big positive on the Redline is that it's the best fitting bike I've ridden so far.....I'm 6'1", my friend is even taller than me, so the Redline is a 29'er with an XL frame. I probably need to try some more big-frame bikes before I upgrade.

Matt
You owe it to yourself to try some plus bikes. I ride rigid and it forces me to pick very different lines compared to FS or HT with squish front. However when I am on my Krampus I can literally just point it in general direction and it will roll over pretty much everything. And I have Knards 29x3 on it, not aggressive tire at all. My Surly 1x1 with 26x2.75 Dirt Wizards on Velocity Dually rims requires a bit more finesse. I also have Karate Monkey with Maxxis Ardent 29x2.4 tires on it (while not a plus bike it does have wide Rabbit Hole rims) and this thing sticks to the trail, real pocket rocket. Most fun on challenging rooty and rocky trails is my fatty of course, 26x4.8 tires can get me through the pretty much everything.
Consider fat bikes as well. Surly Pugsley can be had for not much money these days and it is very capable bike. You can have two wheelsets for it, one fat in 26 and it will fit 29+ with ease.
I understand steel rigid bikes is not everyone's thing but you can't beat them for relatively easy maintenance, lots of fun and you know what - just try couple of them. Just make sure you play with tire pressure - fatties can feel very different depending on your tire pressure.

I bet you are riding with way too high tire pressure on your Talus and you may need to work on your riding technique as well. How much time do you spend in the saddle when you are hitting the rocks and you death gripping your handlebars? High tire pressure, in the saddle and too much grip on handlebars - that will do it and you will think your bike is falling apart
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Old 11-01-16, 10:32 PM
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Need to work on my technique? That I am sure of, I've probably done less than 30 miles combined on the trails.

You know, I bet I do need to crank the pressure down. I've been using the Talus mostly for city cruising with the kid trailer when I'm not on the trail, so I usually keep the pressure around 60psi. I think my friend said he had about half that in the Redline. I just recently got some dedicated offroad tires to put on the Talus, I'll run those low.

Time in the saddle: very little! I always lift out for anything moderately rough. I've heard not to grip the bars too much. I don't know if I'm doing that right or not......I try to stay loose, but in the rough spots, I grip the bars hard enough that it's a bit of a problem for me to keep two or three fingers on the brakes. Too much? I will say the Redline was easier in this regard, simply because I could lightly pull the hydraulic brakes with one finger and get good control. It's definitely sold me on hydraulic brakes for whatever I get next.

I'm not committed to the Redline, just leaning that way once I get this property purchase done. I'm certainly keen on trying other rides, if I can figure a way to get my hands on some. As to condition of the bike, as far as I can tell, it is essentially mint except for some scratches on the front of the frame. Mechanically, it appears to need nothing. I'm pretty familiar with bike mechanicals, maintenance, repair (in fact, I worked in a couple different bike shops when I was younger....at a time I myself wasn't actually riding, ironically enough).

I'd never seen the Pinkbike classifieds, thanks for that. You're giving me a lot of good food for thought, I appreciate it!

Matt
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Old 11-02-16, 07:57 AM
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Very welcome! Yeah, 60 psi most likely a lot - I don't know your weight and what tires/rims you have so can't tell for sure. I think the skinniest tire I have is 29x2.1 and it never gets above 30, usually lower 20s on your average rims. I am ~165-170 lbs
mtbr has tons of threads on technique and I learn something new every day. I suck on trails, I need to work on a lot of things myself and it is a lot of fun.
Folks over there can be a bit rough but usually it is all with good intentions.
So you got the saddle thing right, make sure you are always in good position so that most of your weight is over your BB. From what you are saying - yes, I think you grip too much. I was a death gripper myself and interestingly - my motorcycle cured me. I was told by people with more experience that handlebars are there to steer the thing and not to support my weight or hang on for my life :-) I translated it to mtb and all other forms of riding and it's been peachy ever since (to be honest I still do it occasionally :-))
Lots of folks don't even post on CL or Kijiji and go pinkbike only. I like it as it is usually bike enthusiasts, you can see their history, etc.
My buddy buys his bikes exclusively there as he follows some local pro riders and he usually gets killer deals on their bikes from previous sponsors, last year rides, spare bikes, etc. Still use your judgement as some people are just a-holes

Good luck with your search!
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