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MTB Recommendations

Old 06-10-20, 09:12 PM
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montanasoftware
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MTB Recommendations

Hi:

I know it can be frustrating to recommend a bike to a new person who doesn't know much about MTBs, but I'm looking to get a decent MTB for about $2000.00 or so. I could possibly be talked into spending more. Unfortunately, I haven't done much mountain biking ... I've been mostly a road guy. Here are some things I can say about how I want to ride:

- I'm interested in bikepacking and dirt road/ singletrack touring.
- I want to ride the Grand Divide Mountain Bike Route ... from Banff, Canada to the Mexican border. Mostly dirt & gravel roads with some singletrack.
- I love steel and hate aluminum. Ideally, I'd like a Reynolds 853 or equivalent like Tru Temper OX Platinum air hardening.
- I care more about the frame than the components
- I understand road geometry, but MTB geometry seems more complicated. I definitely want a laid-back seat tube angle. I can't seem to find one less than 73. I would prefer 72.
- I'm interested in Ti, but I've never ridden it.
- I think a hardtail would be fine, as I don't intend to get into really serious technical challenges on singletrack.
- I used to be a bike mechanic, so I like the idea of buying a used bike and doing some repairs if necessary. I think you get a better bike for your budget that way ... I just don't know what to look for.

Any recommendations? Thanks in advance for your help.

Last edited by montanasoftware; 06-11-20 at 06:36 AM.
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Old 06-11-20, 05:01 AM
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Forget about titanium at that price point. You might get one used if you get lucky but I wouldn't hold my breath.
Surly probably makes the best options in steel, i think they use 4130 steel which is really durable. The only downside are most are fairly heavy. Consider the ECR or Karate Monkey. My friend did a solo ride across to US on a KM with a rigid fork.
https://surlybikes.com/bikes

This is the third time in recent days I've recommended the Niner Sir9. Comes with the fancy 853 tubing and right at your price point here.
https://www.bikebling.com/Niner-SIR-...-2-star-nx.htm
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Old 06-11-20, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by montanasoftware View Post
Hi:

I know it can be frustrating to recommend a bike to a new person who doesn't know much about MTBs, but I'm looking to get a decent MTB for about $2000.00 or so. I could possibly be talked into spending more. Unfortunately, I haven't done much mountain biking ... I've been mostly a road guy. Here are some things I can say about how I want to ride:

- I'm interested in bikepacking and dirt road/ singletrack touring.
- I want to ride the Grand Divide Mountain Bike Route ... from Banff, Canada to the Mexican border. Mostly dirt & gravel roads with some singletrack.
- I love steel and hate aluminum. Ideally, I'd like a Reynolds 853 or equivalent like OX air hardening.
- I care more about the frame than the components
- I understand road geometry, but MTB geometry seems more complicated. I definitely want a laid-back seat tube angle. I can't seem to find one less than 73. I would prefer 72.
- I'm interested in Ti, but I've never ridden it.
- I think a hardtail would be fine, as I don't intend to get into really serious technical challenges on singletrack.
- I used to be a bike mechanic, so I like the idea of buying a used bike and doing some repairs if necessary. I think you get a better bike for your budget that way ... I just don't know what to look for.

Any recommendations? Thanks in advance for your help.
Also it's rare to find mtb frames with such a seat tube geo. Todays longer top tubes and short stays with larger tires necessitates the steeper seat tube. Though the slacker headtubes will make it feel more laid back and keep the wheelbase wide. Good luck
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Old 06-11-20, 05:25 AM
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You beat me to it! Seat tube angle for the Niner Sir 9 is 74 degrees, so meets the requirements. There are a couple reviews regarding bikepacking with the Sir 9, albeit with higher builds than the 2-star on sale for $1950 (but I'm too new to post URLs--just search for them).
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Old 06-11-20, 07:19 AM
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The Salsa Fargo was designed for your goals.
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Old 06-11-20, 07:29 AM
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Thanks for the recommendations. 74 seat tube angle is pretty steep for me, since I have long thigh bones, but I suppose I could use a setback seat post. I found a used REEB all-mountain, which is TT OX plat. steel and a 72.5 seat angle. Unfortunately, it's $2800 and set up with a belt-drive single speed, so it would require some refitting. Please keep the recommendations coming.
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Old 06-11-20, 09:54 AM
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Here is a link to a guy who rode the entire great divide mountain bike route on a Surly Long Haul Trucker with 700x50 tires:

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...page_id=284064

The link above is for the page where he describes his bike setup, but there are 67 pages all together.

What are your thoughts on that setup?
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Old 06-11-20, 03:06 PM
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Check out the Soma Juice and Riff. I believe Soma still sells a Tange Prestige rigid fork for both of those bikes. They are modern, but generally tend towards more old school geometry. Generally, seat tube angles are getting steeeep. 75 is now fairly normal on trail and enduro bikes so you can have a bike with long reach, a manageable top tube, and good pedaling characteristics.
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Old 06-11-20, 06:30 PM
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Check out the Chumba Sendero.
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Old 06-13-20, 11:24 AM
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Surly ECR is 72.3 seat angle. Remember you have some adjustment there with simply sliding the saddle back, and/or using a setback post (there are setback options for droppers now). A 15-20mm setback effectively slackens the SA roughly a degree.
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Old 06-13-20, 07:32 PM
  #11  
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Hey guys ... I bought a REEB All-Mountain. One of the first ones ever made, custom built in 2012. Here are some of the details:

- True Temper OX platinum butted steel throughout. This is very similar to Reynolds 853.
- 72.5 Seat tube angle
- 68.75 HT angle
- 440mm chainstays
- White brothers Loop 120 fork with tapered steerer tube.
- FSA V-drive crank
- American Classics 29er wheelset.
- Gates Belt-drive single speed drive system (I'm going to replace this with an XT 1x11)
- Formula "The One" hydraulic disc brakes
- Jones H bar included
- Revelate frame and handlebar bags included.

Another cool thing about this geometry is that I can even use it for road touring if I install a rigid, suspension-compensated fork. And of course, it'll take 700c road tires.

The finish is bare steel with nothing but clear powder coat. So you can see all the welds and everything else, which is awesome -- especially when you're buying it used. Eventually, I'll strip it down, torch on some more braze-ons, then paint it with 2-part polyurethane or maybe powder again. I can do torching and paint myself, but not powder coating.

Overall ... I'm really happy with it. I see this as an "expedition" bike, with great bike-packing, single-track capability, and even pretty good road capability, depending on how I rig it. Eventually, I'd love to hook up the Gates belt drive to an internally-geared hub, like a rohloff, but that's insanely expensive. An XT 1x11 drivetrain will be good enough for now.

Here's an article, if you are interested: https://www.pinkbike.com/news/Tested...REEB-2013.html

The only problem now is that it's 800 miles away, and I won't have it for another week. I'm really glad I found a used bike ... so much more for the $$

Thanks again for everyone's input. It helped me to see the options and narrow down what I wanted. I'm still new to this forum, but I hope to return the help some day.

Last edited by montanasoftware; 06-13-20 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 06-13-20, 07:35 PM
  #12  
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For someone without much mountain bike experience, you are ambitious! Good luck to ya
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Old 06-13-20, 07:48 PM
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montanasoftware
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Bikes: 1970s Gitane Tour de France with double-butted Reynolds 531 throughout and Sport-Touring geometry; 1985 Cannondale racing; 1990s Fuji racing frameset with Reynolds 853 & Ultegra groupo; 1990s old "beater" Univega CroMo Mtn. Bike.

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Originally Posted by Bigbus View Post
For someone without much mountain bike experience, you are ambitious! Good luck to ya
LOL ... thanks! I've spent a ton of time in the mountains ... backpacking and rock climbing. And I did a lot of road riding & wrenching back in the day. Now I'm going to finally combine the two passions.

Last edited by montanasoftware; 06-13-20 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 06-13-20, 09:01 PM
  #14  
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Bikes: 1970s Gitane Tour de France with double-butted Reynolds 531 throughout and Sport-Touring geometry; 1985 Cannondale racing; 1990s Fuji racing frameset with Reynolds 853 & Ultegra groupo; 1990s old "beater" Univega CroMo Mtn. Bike.

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Here's another cool review over at mtbr:
https://forums.mtbr.com/singlespeed/...ew-900803.html
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Old 06-13-20, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by montanasoftware View Post
Hey guys ... I bought a REEB All-Mountain. One of the first ones ever made, custom built in 2012. Here are some of the details:

- True Temper OX platinum butted steel throughout. This is very similar to Reynolds 853.
- 72.5 Seat tube angle
- 68.75 HT angle
- 440mm chainstays
- White brothers Loop 120 fork with tapered steerer tube.
- FSA V-drive crank
- American Classics 29er wheelset.
- Gates Belt-drive single speed drive system (I'm going to replace this with an XT 1x11)
- Formula "The One" hydraulic disc brakes
- Jones H bar included
- Revelate frame and handlebar bags included.

Another cool thing about this geometry is that I can even use it for road touring if I install a rigid, suspension-compensated fork. And of course, it'll take 700c road tires.

The finish is bare steel with nothing but clear powder coat. So you can see all the welds and everything else, which is awesome -- especially when you're buying it used. Eventually, I'll strip it down, torch on some more braze-ons, then paint it with 2-part polyurethane or maybe powder again. I can do torching and paint myself, but not powder coating.

Overall ... I'm really happy with it. I see this as an "expedition" bike, with great bike-packing, single-track capability, and even pretty good road capability, depending on how I rig it. Eventually, I'd love to hook up the Gates belt drive to an internally-geared hub, like a rohloff, but that's insanely expensive. An XT 1x11 drivetrain will be good enough for now.

Here's an article, if you are interested: https://www.pinkbike.com/news/Tested...REEB-2013.html

The only problem now is that it's 800 miles away, and I won't have it for another week. I'm really glad I found a used bike ... so much more for the $$

Thanks again for everyone's input. It helped me to see the options and narrow down what I wanted. I'm still new to this forum, but I hope to return the help some day.
Congrats, my boy Jeff Lenosky is now the REEB spokesman, he's a Jersey boy like me and I've done some group rides with him. I almost bought the same frame a few years ago, watch out for the spider rust problems with the frame. They had to warranty a number of them since they aren't primed and rust inhibited. They won't come out with another clear model anytime soon. If it weren't for there Oskar Blues backing, they may have been closed down from that technical flaw. Check the frame real close afterwards, I'm not sure if the warranty is transferrable. Hope it works out, it's a beautiful frame.
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Old 06-13-20, 09:34 PM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by qclabrat View Post
Congrats, my boy Jeff Lenosky is now the REEB spokesman, he's a Jersey boy like me and I've done some group rides with him. I almost bought the same frame a few years ago, watch out for the spider rust problems with the frame. They had to warranty a number of them since they aren't primed and rust inhibited. They won't come out with another clear model anytime soon. If it weren't for there Oskar Blues backing, they may have been closed down from that technical flaw. Check the frame real close afterwards, I'm not sure if the warranty is transferrable. Hope it works out, it's a beautiful frame.
Yeah ... that's why they stopped the clear-coat-only finish. I heard they only had that problem with eastern bikes, where the climate is more humid and rust-prone. I'm in Montana, where the climate is a lot drier.

What do you mean by "Spider rust"?
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Old 06-14-20, 10:10 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by Bigbus View Post
For someone without much mountain bike experience, you are ambitious! Good luck to ya
I thought the same thing. I saw someone inexperienced posting and thought "me too!". Then I saw the price range and said "I'm out" lol
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Old 06-17-20, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by montanasoftware View Post
Yeah ... that's why they stopped the clear-coat-only finish. I heard they only had that problem with eastern bikes, where the climate is more humid and rust-prone. I'm in Montana, where the climate is a lot drier.

What do you mean by "Spider rust"?
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