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Need advice on Downhill/Freeride bikes

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Need advice on Downhill/Freeride bikes

Old 03-30-07, 01:16 PM
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BASE892
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Need advice on Downhill/Freeride bikes

Hey guys,

I have recently quit BASE jumping (due to family cicumstances) and I was looking for a new 'just as exciting', but slightly less potentially lethal hobby. Downhill mountainbiking seems one of those things and since I live in Switzerland I have also got the perfect surrounding to do so.

I have been scouting out the different websites, visited the local bike store and read the FAQ post on this forum and now I'm more than overwhelmed. I could never imagine that there are so many brands out there, unreal. I think I know what I'm looking for, but would like to ask you guys if that what I came up with makes any sense at all. I'm looking for a freeride bike, but not the hardest of hardcore ones (the ones that 'pedal like a wet noodle'). I also don't look for the a 'trail' or 'all mountain' bike, as I have been told that those can come expensive when riden hard on rough terrain.

The following bikes caught my eye and I would like to know if any of them is something for a newbie and why you would specifically recommend any one of them:

- TREK Session7 or 10
- KONA Stinky Deluxe
- Cannondale Judge 1
- YETI 303 DH or AS-X
- Iron Horse Sunday Elite
- BMC Superstroke

In case it helps: I'm 1.78m or 6"2 and I weigh 81 kg or 178 lbs

Any info or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in anticipation,

Joris.



edited to add
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Old 03-30-07, 01:45 PM
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Have you ever done any DH/FR? If not, I would recommend heading to your local lift accessed hill and renting a bike before spending money on a bike.

If you have ridden before...what's your budget?
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Old 03-30-07, 01:45 PM
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In general - air shock in the rear is good for lighter duty and coil springs in the rear is heavier duty.

I've had the Stinky Deluxe and Ellsworth Dare - both are 4-bar linkage designs that some would consider an aging design.

If you intend to ride downhill proper or ride freeride? That answer determines a large part of the frame and gearing requirement.
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Old 03-30-07, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by MIN
In general - air shock in the rear is good for lighter duty and coil springs in the rear is heavier duty.

I've had the Stinky Deluxe and Ellsworth Dare - both are 4-bar linkage designs that some would consider an aging design.

If you intend to ride downhill proper or ride freeride? That answer determines a large part of the frame and gearing requirement.
the stinky d is not a "true" 4-bar in the sense that it's not a horst link.
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Old 03-30-07, 02:08 PM
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Hey Never,

I never did freeride/downhill before and I can demo some bikes through my dealer. However, I will not have the chance to try every bike out there so I was more looking for some guidance on which ones to try for my needs/wishes/ability.

I have also heard that some bikes will simply be a 'no-go' for very tall people like myself because of the geometry of the frame. Any truth in this?

Money is no issue.

J.
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Old 03-30-07, 02:13 PM
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Best bike I've ridden downhill. Santa Cruz Vpp10.
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Old 03-30-07, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by MIN
If you intend to ride downhill proper or ride freeride?
Not 100% sure what the difference is, but I plan to go 'downhill on rough terrain'. For a while I will definately stick to the downhill tracks that we have so many of here, and later on possible go 'off-track'.

Hope this helps.

J.
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Old 03-30-07, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by BASE892
Not 100% sure what the difference is, but I plan to go 'downhill on rough terrain'. For a while I will definately stick to the downhill tracks that we have so many of here, and later on possible go 'off-track'.

Hope this helps.

J.

Downhill is literally downhilling the whole time, usually from ski lifts with gravity pushing you down. Freeride often requires pedaling on your end - generally slower and more technical.

For example: The Stinky is an example of a good freeride frame but not as accomplished for downhill because the travel is too short. The V10 Santa Cruz is a great DHer but is weak for freeride (in my opinion) because there is too much sag designed into the suspension design. Understanding your needs produces better suggestions..

My last bike (recently sold):


Ellsworth Dare with Risse Champ. 9" travel front with 8" rear. Easier to pedal than the V10, especiallu in technical stuff but the suspension design works more seamlessly DH in the V10.

Kona Stinky (older bike from college)


Rides like the Ellsworth with much less travel.

Last edited by MIN; 03-30-07 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 03-30-07, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by BASE892
Hey Never,

I never did freeride/downhill before and I can demo some bikes through my dealer. However, I will not have the chance to try every bike out there so I was more looking for some guidance on which ones to try for my needs/wishes/ability.

I have also heard that some bikes will simply be a 'no-go' for very tall people like myself because of the geometry of the frame. Any truth in this?

Money is no issue.

J.
I would strongly recommend you get some seat time on some rental bikes at a resort. This will help you figure out what type of riding you want to be doing (and if you actually like it) and get a feel for what you need/want in a bike.
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Old 03-30-07, 02:29 PM
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I'd say downhill. Banked corners and rough trails, not so much jumping of tables and all that... For sure gravity will be the driving force... I do have the Alps in my backyard.

Which one would you recommend in this case?

J.
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Old 03-30-07, 02:31 PM
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Never,

Thanks for the advice dude.

How about the 2nd hand market of downhill bikes? Is that recommended?

J.
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Old 03-30-07, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by BASE892
I'd say downhill. Banked corners and rough trails, not so much jumping of tables and all that... For sure gravity will be the driving force... I do have the Alps in my backyard.

Which one would you recommend in this case?

J.
There are a lot of really good DH bikes. As mentioned, the Santa Cruz V10 is excellent. I have also ridden Foes and Uzzi's. Solid designs.

Just be sure to ride them. If it fits and you have a chain-guide (a must) you will be fine with most bike from the manufacturers you listed.
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Old 03-30-07, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by BASE892
I have also heard that some bikes will simply be a 'no-go' for very tall people like myself because of the geometry of the frame. Any truth in this?


J.
At 6'2 you are not "very" tall (sorry)...you will fit almost every medium and large frame especially for the purposes of fr and dh where you want a shorter bike anyways (you still want it long)

When people refer to too tall for a bike, its usually bordering on 6'5 to 6'7 and taller. Thats when you run into really long legs or arms.

do you have a preference as to cost? Your bikes in that list range from 2000cdn to 6000cdn. If you range is really that flexible you will have lots of options
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Old 03-30-07, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by BASE892
Hey guys,

I have recently quit BASE jumping (due to family cicumstances) and I was looking for a new 'just as exciting', but slightly less potentially lethal hobby. Downhill mountainbiking seems one of those things and since I live in Switzerland I have also got the perfect surrounding to do so.


welcome joris!
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Old 03-30-07, 03:29 PM
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Old 03-30-07, 04:37 PM
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Look at Dminor's ASX, They work really well and he's got a solid build kit from the description I read on it.

That Stinky Delux would be great as would a Foes, although both will handle differently and so both should be ridden first if possible for a prefference there.

Marzocchi's up front are by far my favorite off the shelf fork, I'm not a big Rock Shock fan at all as I remember Turner from his days as a Honda team mechanic.

These are just my opinions, so please take them as such.
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Old 03-30-07, 09:37 PM
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I have no input, but hope that you stick around these forums. You sound like the kind of person that will have some interesting stories given your background

Welcome.
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Old 03-30-07, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by MIN
Best bike I've ridden downhill. Santa Cruz Vpp10.
Santa Cruz V10**
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Old 03-31-07, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by dminor
Shameless plug: I'll sell you a great ASX
Is this bike suitable for somebody of 6"2? If so, is it possible for you to find out what the shipping costs to Switzerland would be from where you are?

I'm likin' it... Would this be a good first time buy anyway?

J.
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Old 03-31-07, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by BASE892
Is this bike suitable for somebody of 6"2? If so, is it possible for you to find out what the shipping costs to Switzerland would be from where you are?

I'm likin' it... Would this be a good first time buy anyway?

J.
I will have to tell you what I told the last person who was interested but 6'-2" (why do you guys always have to be a teeny bit taller?): I am 6'-1" and found the cockpit layout perfect. BUT, I was sizing it with a slant toward racing. At my height, I am right on the cusp of whether I needed a large or a medium. I did end up doing a lot of trail-riding with it anyway and never found the size of the frame an issue there either. Best I can say if you know someone with a medium ASX or SC Bullit (nearly identical sizing) try it on for size.

It would be a good first-time buy IMO. Avid mechanicals are trouble-free, the single pivot frame is simple as a stone axe but very effective. The fork is actually a bit more Euro anyway, what with a large RST distributor in Germany.

I can check on shipping costs in the meantime. It's bound to not be pretty - -but you never know.
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