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Ideal 'one' bike solution?

Mar 4, 2009
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Hi all,

If you could only have one mountain bike (and many of us do), what would it be? A 5" trail bike? 7" FR rig? Hardtail???
 
Jun 9, 2009
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The Yeti 575 is a good all arounder. 5.57" of travel is plenty for most rides, the bike is realtively light for the amount of travel it provides, and front/rear suspension are tunable to provide a very firm ride for cross-country conditions.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Already got it ... My Scalpel Carbon with an 80mm Fatty Headshok on the front.

My old Scalpel did me proud on pretty much everything that I wanted to ride (you should've seen the funny looks I got on things like "River Runs Through It" and stuff like that where you "absolutely need" a massive free ride machine) and this one does better thanks to the extra bit of rear travel and lighter weight.

General observation - the MTB community has got teched out and, as a result of that tech, soft. My first MTB was a fully rigid Diamondback Ascent EX - fully rigid because Allsop were yet to invent their flexy stem, let alone anyone coming out with suspension. We used those bikes for downhill, trials riding and good old fashioned XC. Yeah, sure, there's more that can be ridden these days on modern bikes, but I still honestly believe that most people out on the trails are "over bike-d" and that less is usually more ... Then again, that may be the cyclocross racer in talking too ... :)
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Agree with kiwirider's observation. I just sold my rigid cannondale that I raced as late as '99...

Also agree that we'll normally "over-bike" ourselves. The new tech out there is just too attractive to ignore forever. I openly admit to this :D. I bought and race(d) a Scott Spark.

But to be honest I will ride my steel SS29er more and have been racing it more as well...to the point where I want to try and race my whole season next year on it.

Exempting the true DH and FR guys, I think most of us are fine on a hardtail or lightly suspended bike 90% of the time.

If funds were there but I could only have one bike, I'd go ti 29er 1x9 (32T up front, 12-36 in the back...or 30T up & 12-34 in the back). 80-100MM fork and fully spec'd with handbuilt wheels (Chris King's laced to Stan's NT or something similar)...
 
Mar 4, 2009
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Hi all,

Ok, I think I need to add an amendment to my original question here. If you could have only one MTB, what would it be? And on what sort of terrain are you usually riding?
 
Mar 18, 2009
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James Huang said:
Hi all,

Ok, I think I need to add an amendment to my original question here. If you could have only one MTB, what would it be? And on what sort of terrain are you usually riding?

Vassago Optimus Ti or Moots Mooto-x Slider

Set up SS or 1x9...probably back and forth depending on race/ride terrain.

I ride in Norway...it's not flat really anywhere. In the south were I ride mostly ist's a lot of up and downs between sea level and 1000 feet. Pretty solid mix of single track, bike path, gravel and farm roads. At first I didn't think the singletrack was as technical as the stuff I road in the southeast US but I'm finding and riding a lot more technical stuff as I learn more and more of what Norway has to offer. :D
 
Aug 3, 2009
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kiwirider said:
Already got it ... My Scalpel Carbon with an 80mm Fatty Headshok on the front.

My old Scalpel did me proud on pretty much everything that I wanted to ride (you should've seen the funny looks I got on things like "River Runs Through It" and stuff like that where you "absolutely need" a massive free ride machine) and this one does better thanks to the extra bit of rear travel and lighter weight.
While a carbon Scalpel might be adequate for the trails you ride, it is in no way adequate for the steep, aggressive all mountain trails many riders prefer these days. It isn't strong enough for any type of aggressive jumping or drops, and it has the completely wrong geometry for any seriously steep riding. I don't doubt you could ride River runs Through it, but less than 1 day of riding Clown Shoes, A Line, or Schleyer would bust that Scalpel into pieces of plastic. A carbon bike like the new Enduro could probably handle those types of trails, though with a skilled rider.

Some short travel bikes, and even hard-tails, can be ridden on super agro terrain, but the Scalpel isn't one of them.

kiwirider said:
General observation - the MTB community has got teched out and, as a result of that tech, soft. My first MTB was a fully rigid Diamondback Ascent EX - fully rigid because Allsop were yet to invent their flexy stem, let alone anyone coming out with suspension. We used those bikes for downhill, trials riding and good old fashioned XC. Yeah, sure, there's more that can be ridden these days on modern bikes, but I still honestly believe that most people out on the trails are "over bike-d" and that less is usually more ... Then again, that may be the cyclocross racer in talking too ... :)

This is the same tired, dogmatic, completely wrong argument we've been hearing from the retro-grouches for years now. Technology has alowed mountain bikers to do things people had never imagined before. It has pushed the limits of skills and trails to a whole new level. The sport has always been fun, now it's even more fun, if you have the courage and the skills.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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some short travel and hard tail bikes can be ridden on aggressive terrain? what are they, a short list will be fine.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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James Huang said:
Hi all,

Ok, I think I need to add an amendment to my original question here. If you could have only one MTB, what would it be? And on what sort of terrain are you usually riding?

MOOTS Mooto-X YBB/or Rigor 29er.

My stomping grounds here in the Mid West consists mostly of technical singletrack, rolling prairie lands, river valley rippers, ski hills (not mountains) converted to MTB trails in the summer months. Full suspension is overkill here, hard and soft tails with a decent front fork is the norm. Thanks to Dr. B.Rose for starting the SHOCKSPITAL, we now have a decent suspension triage unit.
 
Jun 3, 2009
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David Suro said:
The Yeti 575 is a good all arounder. 5.57" of travel is plenty for most rides, the bike is realtively light for the amount of travel it provides, and front/rear suspension are tunable to provide a very firm ride for cross-country conditions.

I love my Yeti 575 but perhaps it is too good for a single bike. I need another bike for commuting as I don't want it stolen etc.
 
Aug 3, 2009
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karlboss said:
some short travel and hard tail bikes can be ridden on aggressive terrain? what are they, a short list will be fine.
Evil Imperial or Doc
Identiti Mr. Hyde
On-One 456 ti
Banshee Scirocco
Transition Vagarant or Trans Am
Sinister Ridge
Kona 5-0
Santa Cruz Chameleon
NS Society
Cove Stiffy
Knolly Free Radical
2Souls Funtail
and others....
 
Mar 11, 2009
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If I could only ride one type of mountain bike, I'd choose a hardtail 29er with front suspension.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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ProTour said:
This is the same tired, dogmatic, completely wrong argument we've been hearing from the retro-grouches for years now. Technology has alowed mountain bikers to do things people had never imagined before. It has pushed the limits of skills and trails to a whole new level. The sport has always been fun, now it's even more fun, if you have the courage and the skills.

Two points about your post ...

First, you have to be trolling, right??? I mean this must be the first time that I've ever been called a retro-grouch for riding a carbon fibre fully! Too funny in itself!!

And, on top of that, I actually said exactly what you say in your second sentence - tech developments have opened up the rideable terrain more (It's in the second quote that you used).

Yes, of course the rule of "horses for courses" applies. Of course my bike definitely wont take big hits of the type that you're talking about - I never claimed it would. Similarly a big hit bike would be the worst possible choice for the sort of alpine epic or tight twisty single track that I enjoy riding - the bike would handle it, but it'd be an exceptional rider who wouldn't be lying smashed after the first few hundred metres of climbing and trying to lug a heavy DH rig through a switchback forest for a few hours.

The point that I'm making is that a surprisingly large proportion of the MTB public have far more than they need for the riding that they do. If you've ridden at Whistler then you'll have seen it - people on massive big hit bikes that are sorted for the likes of the double blacks that you mention struggling through green and blue trails. You see the same thing on XC race trails - got to be a super light carbon hardtail or else you're not a proper racer. Actually, I think that the people at each extreme end of the spectrum pretty much get it right - it's when you get into the "one bike, all purposes" models that some manufacturers make and that get sold to a surprisingly large segment of the market that sits in the middle of the MTB community that the over-specing seems the worst.

And I'll always swear by "less is more" as a design principle. Why - and especially with something like a MTB that is going to get a hammering - build in any more to a design than you need? The more that you build in, the more that can (and eventually will) go wrong. But most importantly (and this is my point behind my original comment) with less in the bike, it usually actually puts more onus on the skills and courage of the rider - which to my mind is a where the fun in MTB riding comes in.

Second point is actually a question - what is it with bike park riders that you have to bag anyone who doesn't want to ride the parks all the time? I've ridden Whistler and other parks and I can understand why people enjoy them, but for me I prefer the challenge of a good technical XC trail that takes me somewhere for a bit of exploration and gets me away from the crowds. Doesn't make me any less skillful a rider just because I don't spend all my time perfecting big drops, jumps and log rides. There's plenty of room for all types of riding out there - I mean, the opposite of "same" hasn't recently been changed to "wrong" has it?

So how about actually responding to the thread and telling us what you'd ride as your "one bike" rather than (and I'm paraphrasing you a bit here) telling me that I'm a retro-grouch on a piece of plastic that is no good for "real riding"?
 
Aug 3, 2009
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kiwirider said:
Two points about your post ...

First, you have to be trolling, right??? I mean this must be the first time that I've ever been called a retro-grouch for riding a carbon fibre fully! Too funny in itself!!
I didn't call you a retro-grouch, I was just saying your complaining about the excess of technology reminded me of the retro-grouch types of arguments I hear from time to time.

You seemed to imply that you had a do-it-all bike, when you said you got surprised stares from riding it on "River runs through it." I just wanted to make sure that anyone who read your post wasn't under the impression that the Scalpel is a do-it-all bike; it clearly is not. It may be a do-it-all bike for the terrain you might be capable of, but it would not be a capable bike on more aggressive terrain, the type of terrain you choose not to ride for whatever reasons.


kiwirider said:
And, on top of that, I actually said exactly what you say in your second sentence - tech developments have opened up the rideable terrain more (It's in the second quote that you used).
Yeah, you're trying to have it both ways, which was a little bothersome. You ride a carbon suspension bike, then claim most riders have too much technology, then you add in that you have a fully rigid ride. You're all over the place.


kiwirider said:
Yes, of course the rule of "horses for courses" applies. Of course my bike definitely wont take big hits of the type that you're talking about - I never claimed it would. Similarly a big hit bike would be the worst possible choice for the sort of alpine epic or tight twisty single track that I enjoy riding - the bike would handle it, but it'd be an exceptional rider who wouldn't be lying smashed after the first few hundred metres of climbing and trying to lug a heavy DH rig through a switchback forest for a few hours.

The point that I'm making is that a surprisingly large proportion of the MTB public have far more than they need for the riding that they do. If you've ridden at Whistler then you'll have seen it - people on massive big hit bikes that are sorted for the likes of the double blacks that you mention struggling through green and blue trails. You see the same thing on XC race trails - got to be a super light carbon hardtail or else you're not a proper racer. Actually, I think that the people at each extreme end of the spectrum pretty much get it right - it's when you get into the "one bike, all purposes" models that some manufacturers make and that get sold to a surprisingly large segment of the market that sits in the middle of the MTB community that the over-specing seems the worst.

And I'll always swear by "less is more" as a design principle. Why - and especially with something like a MTB that is going to get a hammering - build in any more to a design than you need? The more that you build in, the more that can (and eventually will) go wrong. But most importantly (and this is my point behind my original comment) with less in the bike, it usually actually puts more onus on the skills and courage of the rider - which to my mind is a where the fun in MTB riding comes in.
I get your point, but mountain biking is generally a competitive sport, even if you are just riding with your buddies. If you are riding your fully rigid bike, or even your Scalpel, and they are on real All Mountain bikes, you're gonna be disadvantaged on the downhills, especially with only 80 mm up front. It's fun to challenge your skills, but it's also fun to ride stuff you usually might not be able to ride, and to go faster and have more fun on the downhills(jumps and drops). Not everyone feels this way, but a lot of people do, which is why a lot of all- mountain bikes are being sold. They work decent for XC rides also, many are not bad climbers.

I also don't buy into your "less is more" argument. If you have a heavier, stronger bike, it is less likely to fail in nearly all instances. XC racing bikes such as the Scalpel are not nearly as durable as an all-mountain bike. If you are going to be making the "less is more" argument, put your money where your mouth is and only ride a hardtail, like some guys I know.

What exactly do you mean when you say "over specing?"

And most of the beginners and others riding the DH trails at Whistler probably should be on big freeride bikes, what is wrong with that?





kiwirider said:
Second point is actually a question - what is it with bike park riders that you have to bag anyone who doesn't want to ride the parks all the time?
I don't know, that's not what I was doing. I was just commenting on the limitations of your bike; The Cannondale Scalpel, and you seemed to have taken it all personally.


kiwirider said:
I've ridden Whistler and other parks and I can understand why people enjoy them, but for me I prefer the challenge of a good technical XC trail that takes me somewhere for a bit of exploration and gets me away from the crowds. Doesn't make me any less skillful a rider just because I don't spend all my time perfecting big drops, jumps and log rides. There's plenty of room for all types of riding out there - I mean, the opposite of "same" hasn't recently been changed to "wrong" has it?
Jumping and being able to execute big drops are skills, so if you can't do those things, you are less skilled. Doesn't mean you aren't a skilled rider in the type of terrain you enjoy the most, but it does mean you don't have the all-around skills that others might. Nothing wrong with that. Same as with your bike. There is nothing wrong with it, but don't claim it's capable of everything, or imply that it is.


kiwirider said:
So how about actually responding to the thread and telling us what you'd ride as your "one bike" rather than (and I'm paraphrasing you a bit here) telling me that I'm a retro-grouch on a piece of plastic that is no good for "real riding"?
I didn't respond because I'm not interested in having one bike for all types of riding. But for the type of riding I do, a bike with 5" front and rear would be the best if I could only have one bike; maybe with a 67% head angle, and a fork that went down to 3" for climbing. Something like the new StumpJumper FSR; that looks like a sweet all-around ride, though even it is too light for freeriding.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Relax fellas! We're just talking about bikes. Take your argument out to the playground, and you can slap each other upside the head like Larry and Mo, but try to keep it chill. It's just bikes!
 
Jun 16, 2009
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RDV4ROUBAIX said:
Relax fellas! We're just talking about bikes. Take your argument out to the playground, and you can slap each other upside the head like Larry and Mo, but try to keep it chill. It's just bikes!
C'mon RDV4ROUBAIX, I haven't even started to get worked up yet!! ;)

Anyhow, apologies to others on the thread, will leave the discussion here, and it looks like ProTour and myself will just have to agree to disagree ... on a whole heap of issues ... :)
 
Jul 17, 2009
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one bike that is it? And we have to pedal to the top not shuttle? is that the question?

Hard Tail 29er with gears and a 100mm Reba or Fox with 2.4 tires at low pressure
 
A

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James Huang said:
Hi all,

Ok, I think I need to add an amendment to my original question here. If you could have only one MTB, what would it be? And on what sort of terrain are you usually riding?

I like my Gary Fisher 29er hard tail a lot, but frankly its a tank. Flat-ish trails mixed with short punchy hills on the roads, back to trails. I would like to shed the weight and go with the Orbea carbon 29er.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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mmm... if Cannondale would hurry up and make a Scalpel 29'er I'd happily ditch my current XC bikes to get one.

I mainly do back-country slogs on a mix of gravel roads, firetrails and segments of techy single track, so the ability to roll a long at speed and being a decent climber is very important to me. I did a bunch of solo 24's on a hardtail, now my shoulders start hurting just thinking about riding one for more than a couple of hours.

No way would I want to only have a big travel all-mountain/freeride-lite machine as I like to ride to the trails and I have a minimum of 500m's of vertical gain to get to the best local single track trailheads.
 
Jul 23, 2009
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James Huang said:
Hi all,

Ok, I think I need to add an amendment to my original question here. If you could have only one MTB, what would it be? And on what sort of terrain are you usually riding?

Hi James. Hmm, a steel 29er hardtail 1x9 with 2.0-2.2 tires. I don't have a 29er or a 1x9 so this will also serve as my Christmas wish list. That bike will be just fine for the flowing singletrack that I like best and it would be a great ride for the BC stage races.
 
Oct 2, 2009
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Modern bikes are great

I remember the Girvin flexy stem, elastomer filled shocks & before shocks existed. My first mtn bike was a Kuwahara.
Then I discovered the Manitou FS, in '97 it was a great & light bike in its time.
There have been lots of bikes in between. I now ride a Giant (have to admit it)
But I left my morals out of it & bought a Giant Anthem with a great Sram groupset & have been doin everything on it for two years now with very little maintenence required (always stripping down the Manitou shok & adjusting the xtr brakes).
Sorry but the Anthem is just good solid value for money that you could just not get 10yrs ago & 10 years ago I would not have bought a Giant they were crap then. The Anthem has only one fault, no remote suspension lockout.
Roll on the modern world.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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All Mountain All The Way

James Huang said:
Hi all,

Ok, I think I need to add an amendment to my original question here. If you could have only one MTB, what would it be? And on what sort of terrain are you usually riding?

Tough question! I have both a 4" x/c dually and a 6" "AM" dually and I have been riding the 6" exclusively for several months now. I find though the 6" bike is slower uphill and on the flats but it makes up for it on the descents and technical terrain, which is the main type of riding available to me, and way more fun & challenging.
In having to choose between the two, it would be hands down the 6"!
 
Mar 4, 2009
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Slowup:

So does that mean if you could only have one that a 5" machine might be the perfect compromise for you?
 
Oct 2, 2009
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There is no "only one bike"

By nature only one bike is too hard to contemplate.
I had a longer travel, slightly all mtn bike before my Anthem, in fact a Trance.
It was good too, after two years I am still not sure if I made the correct decision. I also had to get rid of my hard tail just because of the space factor.
I also had to get rid of my old Bianchi (really old) for the same reason. My cycling wife had some influence here also, she cannot work out why one needs (wants) more than one bike for any discipline.
My big problem at the moment is the type of motor bike to buy, a big Harley or small Harley, 883cc or 1200cc.
 
Jun 3, 2009
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James Huang said:
Slowup:

So does that mean if you could only have one that a 5" machine might be the perfect compromise for you?

I reckon, especially for the more mature rider (>30).

Although people should still learn on a hard tail (especially when young) as it makes you a better rider and it is more important to pick the best line. I started on a fully rigid but I think that is going too far as there is much less room for making errors.