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Help me decide what category of bike to buy

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Help me decide what category of bike to buy

Old 05-06-18, 08:51 PM
  #1  
Watchdog
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Help me decide what category of bike to buy

I am 52 years old and the last time I mountain biked regularly was about 20 years ago in the 90s. I have identified as a roadie for the last while and didn't think I'd ride in the dirt again. But my recently turned 12 year old son has been bitten by the mountain biking bug very hard. He wants to go all the time. I'm currently riding my wife's 20+ year old mountain bike and I can see mountain bikes have changed a fair bit in the last 20 years.

I want to get myself a new bike to go riding with my son and I'm not sure what I should get. I had been thinking a full suspension trail bike with 27.5" wheels, but after riding today I could see that if I had a 29'er that it would roll over logs and drops a lot better. I also think at my age I might not do anything too technical so I have been thinking that maybe a 29'er front suspension bike might be sufficient.

We live at the foot of SFU in Burnaby so we'll ride there fairly often just because we don't have to put the bikes in car to get there. It appears to me that SFU trails have changed in the 20+ years since I used to ride there. Granted that was a long time ago and I was younger, but I don't remember the trails being that technical and difficult when I was 30 years old riding those trails. My theory is that as bikes became more capable they had to make the trails more difficult so they would be challenging to riders.

In any event my main riding will be SFU, UBC, and local trails in the Vancouver area. We'll probably do Whistler once a year.

I don't want to own multiple mountain bikes as my garage already has a road bike (Cervelo) and a commuter. Plus my son, wife and daughter all have a bike. I can only have 1 mountain bike so looking for advice as to what category of bike I should buy given where I'll be riding.

Thanks in advance to everyone for their suggestions.
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Old 05-06-18, 09:14 PM
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29ers do help a bit, but not sure they make a world of difference. I personally prefer the simplicity of hardtails but if I’m honest, full suspension bikes help not just downhill, but uphill as well (so long as the bike doesn’t weigh a ton). A modern, quality rear suspension doesn’t bob with the pedal stroke and helps keep the rear tire planted for better traction during an ascent.

plus it’ll help ease the pounding on those old bones.

besides, dad’s gotta have a better bike than the boy.
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Old 05-07-18, 12:00 AM
  #3  
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Well the boy also wants dad to get a better bike than he has because he figures when he outgrows the current bike he'll get the bike dad is shopping for now. He turned 12 last week so in say 3 years he'll likely be big enough to ride whatever I get this summer.

Sounds like lightweight full suspension would be great, except I'm sure that is really expensive.
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Old 05-07-18, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Watchdog View Post
Well the boy also wants dad to get a better bike than he has because he figures when he outgrows the current bike he'll get the bike dad is shopping for now. He turned 12 last week so in say 3 years he'll likely be big enough to ride whatever I get this summer.

Sounds like lightweight full suspension would be great, except I'm sure that is really expensive.
smart lad.

No need to buy the best and lightest at all. Maybe test ride a couple locally.

What’s your budget?
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Old 05-07-18, 06:19 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Watchdog View Post
I am 52 years old and the last time I mountain biked regularly was about 20 years ago in the 90s. I have identified as a roadie for the last while and didn't think I'd ride in the dirt again. But my recently turned 12 year old son has been bitten by the mountain biking bug very hard. He wants to go all the time. I'm currently riding my wife's 20+ year old mountain bike and I can see mountain bikes have changed a fair bit in the last 20 years.

I want to get myself a new bike to go riding with my son and I'm not sure what I should get. I had been thinking a full suspension trail bike with 27.5" wheels, but after riding today I could see that if I had a 29'er that it would roll over logs and drops a lot better. I also think at my age I might not do anything too technical so I have been thinking that maybe a 29'er front suspension bike might be sufficient.

We live at the foot of SFU in Burnaby so we'll ride there fairly often just because we don't have to put the bikes in car to get there. It appears to me that SFU trails have changed in the 20+ years since I used to ride there. Granted that was a long time ago and I was younger, but I don't remember the trails being that technical and difficult when I was 30 years old riding those trails. My theory is that as bikes became more capable they had to make the trails more difficult so they would be challenging to riders.

In any event my main riding will be SFU, UBC, and local trails in the Vancouver area. We'll probably do Whistler once a year.

I don't want to own multiple mountain bikes as my garage already has a road bike (Cervelo) and a commuter. Plus my son, wife and daughter all have a bike. I can only have 1 mountain bike so looking for advice as to what category of bike I should buy given where I'll be riding.

Thanks in advance to everyone for their suggestions.
Unless you are an unusually short guy, I would go with a 29er. Whether you go HT or full suspension depends on your budget.
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Old 05-07-18, 11:02 AM
  #6  
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I concur with a 29'er, the bigger wheels just smooth everything out.
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Old 05-07-18, 11:34 AM
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Whistler with anything less than a 140mm FS bike is not recommended, and more is better. If you decide on a hard tail, or a basic trail FS, just rent when you go to Whistler.

I'm 61, and only in fair shape, yet I do a lot of technical riding (just not much climbing) and I have a 120mm FS for easy trails or riding with my wife on pavement. Yes FS is overkill for some of my riding but with a sketchy knee and back it helps. And I have a 150mm/160mm enduro bike for more serious technical riding.
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Old 05-07-18, 10:33 PM
  #8  
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Budget I'd say is about $3k Cdn., but it's not set in stone. It would be great if I could spend less than $2k, but willing to go to $3k or slightly more if that would make a big difference.

One thing I'm wondering is that wouldn't a less capable bike work if I'm willing to go slower?
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Old 05-08-18, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Watchdog View Post
Budget I'd say is about $3k Cdn., but it's not set in stone. It would be great if I could spend less than $2k, but willing to go to $3k or slightly more if that would make a big difference.

One thing I'm wondering is that wouldn't a less capable bike work if I'm willing to go slower?
As far as a less capable bike “slowing you down”, I don’t look at it that way. It would just take a bit more skill to overcome. IMHO, $2000-$3000 Canadian is plenty for a very nice hardtail 29er, but most FS’s would be pretty porky in that price range. Me, at that price range if I wanted an fs, I’d be looking for gently used.

Cannondale FS1 is a killer hardtail 29er that is toward the top of the budget.

Diamondback Overdrive Carbon Comp 29 is a bit cheaper, I think you can find them about $2k Cdn

Surley Kampus is a steel frame hardtail that I’d think is at the bottom of your budget. People love it and if I were in the market might be the one I consider.

Last edited by RobotGuy; 05-08-18 at 04:58 AM.
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Old 05-08-18, 08:15 AM
  #10  
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I would recommend a 29er FS. No offense but at your age and the trails you are riding imho this will be much more enjoyable.
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Old 05-08-18, 10:04 PM
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I'm about your age, and my son, almost 13 is nearly as big as I am. He's outgrown his Trek adult small size starter hardtail, so now I too have the dilemma--he needs a new bike, OR he can inherit my 29'r and dad gets a new bike.....

Anyhow, I'm not a big guy at all--about 5'7"--and I quite like how my 29'r rides (in my case mine has a rigid fork but that may not be your cup of tea). I don't ride very technical stuff often--if I did I think 27.5 would be better(I had an early entry-level Giant 650b hardtail that was my first mtb). The 29r really does make for a fun ride on the flowy, rolling stuff around here. Climbs great too. I can run really low pressure and have lots of cushion (and that's with my rigid fork).
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Old 05-09-18, 08:55 PM
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

pbass, wow your son is almost your height already? Sounds like he'll end up being quite bit taller than you. I'm about 5' 9" actually, I should say I used to be 5' 9", got measured at the doctor's recently and I have already shrunk a bit and now I'm 5' 8" - my son is only 5' even right now so he has a ways to catch up.

Anyhow, back to the bike. I knew this would happen, I started looking and of course I wanted something nicer so I've stretched a bit and decided to go slightly above my upper end of budget and spend $3,200 Cdn. on a Giant Trance 2. Well, haven't bought it yet, but based upon the recommendation to get at least 140 mm of travel, that nudged me a bit. I also have lusted after a Fox suspension for years, so I thought I'd spend a bit more so I could get Fox.

I have watched youtube videos that indicate the Trance 2 is a good value.

So, opinions about the Trance 2. Does anyone think there is something much better suited to me in the same price range?
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Old 05-10-18, 06:06 AM
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29er vs 27.5 is a matter of personal taste, not age or size. My wife is 5'1" and prefers a 29, I'm 5'9" and prefer a 27.5. Not sure about the dollar conversion, so I wasn't sure about the price of a Trance in Canada. But I test rode a lot of bikes before I bought my newest one, and I thought the Trance 2 was the best bike in its price range of any I rode. I ended up spending more and getting a full carbon Evil Insurgent. A friend bought the Trance 2 and is real happy with it. I was really tempted to go with it also and save some money.

And of course, check around there may be a left over 2017 Trance 2 around for discount. Not much changed from 17 to 18

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Old 05-10-18, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Watchdog View Post
Budget I'd say is about $3k Cdn., but it's not set in stone. It would be great if I could spend less than $2k, but willing to go to $3k or slightly more if that would make a big difference.

One thing I'm wondering is that wouldn't a less capable bike work if I'm willing to go slower?
The difference in what you get going from $2K, to $3K, to $4K Cdn is significant.

At $2K Cdn I would be looking at HTs. $3K is right around where I would definitely go FS, as you can get ones that are solid and not making compromises I could not live with. $4K Cdn is getting into bikes that I actilually get exited about.

As far as just going slower.... it doesn’t really work that way IMO.
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Old 05-10-18, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Watchdog View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone.

pbass, wow your son is almost your height already? Sounds like he'll end up being quite bit taller than you. I'm about 5' 9" actually, I should say I used to be 5' 9", got measured at the doctor's recently and I have already shrunk a bit and now I'm 5' 8" - my son is only 5' even right now so he has a ways to catch up.

Anyhow, back to the bike. I knew this would happen, I started looking and of course I wanted something nicer so I've stretched a bit and decided to go slightly above my upper end of budget and spend $3,200 Cdn. on a Giant Trance 2. Well, haven't bought it yet, but based upon the recommendation to get at least 140 mm of travel, that nudged me a bit. I also have lusted after a Fox suspension for years, so I thought I'd spend a bit more so I could get Fox.

I have watched youtube videos that indicate the Trance 2 is a good value.

So, opinions about the Trance 2. Does anyone think there is something much better suited to me in the same price range?
I've shrunk too! It sucks! But yeah, my kid will be taller than me, and probably soon. But at least for a little while, we can now actually share bikes. He's outgrown his starter mtb as I say, but I have my mtb and a gravel bike and he can ride 'em both pretty comfortably. When we ride together it's mostly fire roads, so either bike works great.
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Old 08-12-18, 03:20 PM
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Thanks everyone for their input. I ended up getting a close out on a 2018 Rocky Mountain Altitude A50. More travel than I thought I'd get, but figure since we live so close to Whistler that I'll be going there a fair bit and someone said get at least 140 mm travel for Whistler so the Altitude at 160/150 fits the bill.
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