Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Mountain Biking
Reload this Page >

Need bike recommendations (Warning: I'm weird)

Mountain Biking Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Check out this forum to discuss the latest tips, tricks, gear and equipment in the world of mountain biking.

Need bike recommendations (Warning: I'm weird)

Old 10-21-21, 05:58 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 35
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 27 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
Need bike recommendations (Warning: I'm weird)

Hi all,

I currently have a road bike and one of these gravel bikes. I tried out some cheap no-name mountain bike (it was actually called a "Prime Alpine Sport" but good luck finding it on Google) because that's all I could rent. I noticed that the bike was much heavier, but since the tires were even wider than my 700x44C WTB Raddlers, and slightly "more aggressive", I noticed that I was able to roll over a few more things that I wouldnt be able to on my gravel bike, and the off-road climbing was also a bit nicer. Not a ton nicer, but a bit nicer.

What I've been doing is actually riding mtb trails on that gravel bike, in addition to flatter trails... Underbiking for sure.

So, I'm looking to buy a mountain bike, preferably in the 2-3k USD price range (because I know you'd ask, but these numbers aren't firm), maybe 3.5k at most. I know, you're going to ask what type of riding I like to do. Basically, I ride dirt trails in Southern California where the terrain is very rocky with both large and small rocks. I'll ride fire roads and single track, but I tend to prefer the wider roads.

The hardest part for my gravel bike is getting up extremely steep dirt hills, and also braking when descending these hills. This is where things get tricky. I love to climb, but with every climb comes a descent. I would prefer whichever bike I buy has the most optimal gearing and perhaps even weight for climbing very steep stuff... But it can't be a total piece of junk at descending either as what goes up must come down... But if I had to pick, I'd prefer something that's better at climbing than descending.

Finally, I actually prefer drop handlebars, and I'm wondering if A) You could recommend a mountain bike with a suspension fork that comes with them, OR B) I could just get a bike with flat bars that is at least capable of taking drop bars in the future. If you really must know, I prefer the neutral hand position of drop and hoods on my bikes, as I've suffered from carpal tunnel in past and it's worked great for me on my bikes so far. I also dont really have any type of steering/control problems when I ride my gravel bike on trails now, so not sure I need all that extra leverage.

I do have a question: Assuming I don't want to do crazy jumps and crap like that, should I be safe with a hardtail on most descents?

Basically, I just want to descend fast so that I can get back to climbing, as that's my favorite part.

Appreciate the recs!
Dr1v3n is offline  
Old 10-21-21, 06:11 PM
Senior Member
velojym's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Alabama
Posts: 515

Bikes: Konas: Jake the Snake-Fire Mountain-Zing Supreme, Surly Long Haul Trucker, Santana Arriva tandem, Montagues: Paratrooper-Fit, Trek 1200, Bianchi Ocelot, and an old Bridgestone 200 I rebuilt as a singlespeed.

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 106 Post(s)
Liked 221 Times in 118 Posts
I've spent a grand or so on my NOS Fire Mountain, with a 1x11 Deore drivetrain and a Judy fork. While I like it fine the way it is, I'm also very used to drops, and might slap one on this bike some time. The only reason I've been slow to do this is the front brake... I mounted a hydraulic disc, but that doesn't have to be set in stone (heck, I haven't even trimmed the hose yet). Not sure whether I'd keep the suspension fork on it, or go with a rigid monstercross type.

I am, however, intrigued by Surly's Corner Bar, which would allow me to keep everything else intact...

Last edited by velojym; 10-21-21 at 08:39 PM.
velojym is offline  
Old 10-21-21, 07:48 PM
Senior Member
c_m_shooter's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Paradise, TX
Posts: 2,025

Bikes: Soma Pescadero, Surly Pugsley, Salsa Fargo, Schwinn Klunker, Gravity SS 27.5, Monocog 29er

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 156 Post(s)
Liked 204 Times in 146 Posts

Salsa Fargo. Mine has evolved a bit since 2013. 2.5 hookworm rear, 3.0 fat be nimble on a surly rabbit hole up front. 48cm VO rando bars, Still had bar end shifters here, now it is a single speed.
c_m_shooter is offline  
Likes For c_m_shooter:
Old 10-22-21, 07:18 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: North Central Wisconsin
Posts: 3,494
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2038 Post(s)
Liked 627 Times in 413 Posts
In your price range I would suggest these.



However, I would not suggest drop bars for mountain biking on trails.
prj71 is offline  
Old 10-22-21, 08:31 AM
Senior Member
DMC707's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Oklahoma City
Posts: 4,850

Bikes: Too many to list

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1280 Post(s)
Liked 677 Times in 453 Posts
Salsa Cutthroat can take big tires and is drop bar capable --- basically a drop bar mountain bike - the front end is even suspension fork compatible if you want to add one later

As prj71 said though, you might re-consider the bars and try the flat bars with some Ergon grips or something -- maybe even some Jones' H bars --- so that said and since i am a Yeti fanboy (and you arent afraid of spending some money it seems) --- The Yeti ARC hardtail frameset is 2k if you can find one. It will take some very careful parts selection and looking for deals from The Pro's Closet and other places like that to get one built at $3500 or so, but would be fun to try

DMC707 is online now  
Old 10-22-21, 08:52 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 619
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 231 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 153 Times in 119 Posts
For the riding you seem to be describing, you likely want either a lightweight cross-country hard tail mountain bike or wide-tire capable rigid gravel/adventure bike (like Salsa Fargo or Kona Sutra). Large volume tires will make a big difference relative to your current bike and might be enough "suspension" for you. If you need a bit more, something like a Lauf fork is inbetween a rigid bike and a standard MTB suspension fork. But as others have mentioned, before you commit to a drop bar setup, try out some of the various flat bar options. They can make a big difference in how much control you have on those bumpy downhills.
AeroGut is offline  
Old 10-22-21, 08:18 PM
Senior Member
obrentharris's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Point Reyes Station, California
Posts: 3,840

Bikes: Indeed!

Mentioned: 79 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1138 Post(s)
Liked 1,797 Times in 644 Posts
Pay attention to top tube length. Road bikes designed for drop bars generally have shorter top tubes than bikes designed for flat bars. This is because your hands are a few inches farther forward when positioned on the hoods of a drop bar bike than they are when positioned on flat bars. I would imagine this difference is even more pronounced with mountain bikes designed for short stems.

I ride a drop bar mountain bike because of arthritis at the base of my thumbs which just won't let me firmly grip flat bar brakes without a great deal of pain and further damage, but I agree with the others here that you should try Ergon grips and a couple different flat bars before committing to drop bars. I rode flat bars for 30 years and wish I still could.

I couldn't find a full suspension frame with a sufficiently short top tube when I was looking a few years ago. Fortunately an old friend who builds frames offered to build me a hardtail.

obrentharris is offline  
Old 10-29-21, 06:59 PM
Hoards Thumbshifters
mechanicmatt's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Signal Mountain, TN
Posts: 1,138

Bikes: '87 Bruce Gordon Chinook, '08 Jamis Aurora, '86 Trek 560, '97 Mongoose Rockadile, & '91 Trek 750

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 224 Post(s)
Liked 293 Times in 176 Posts
New, your basically describing a Salsa Cutthroat or Stooge Scrambler.
mechanicmatt is offline  
Old 11-01-21, 09:18 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 101
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked 31 Times in 18 Posts
Just to expand why ergon grips are recommended. Like wing road bars the Ergon grips have a wide "platform" to support your palm to reduce tunnel carpal problems. They help me but are not perfect.
You are talking about such a wide array of possible bikes and personal opinions and given the state of the supply chain I would recommend buying used. IF you make a mistake in your guess then there is no showroom loss. I am getting to the point I need a full suspension again rather than it being a feature for climbing etc. My back just can't take the large drops any more on my hardtail. But I like full suspension unlike some. So it's advantage might depend on how old you are as well.
Mike_Kelly is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.