Bike Recommendation Wanted

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Bike Recommendation Wanted

Postby DirtWrench » June 12th, 2020, 1:26 pm

I've been riding the same mountain bike since 2002. It's time for an upgrade. I worked at a bike shop from 2001- about 2007.

My current ride is a 2002 Giant XTC SE2, which was a pretty standard entry-level-race XC bike at the time. It's been upgraded heavily over the years, but in general, it's the same DNA from the day I bought it: 26x2.125 wheels, mediocre rockshox duke fork, cable disks, lightweight aluminum frame, 3x9 drive train, etc... I tried to go tubeless but they never held air right and so I am running tubes ATM. I ride all over the lower peninsula but currently my primary trails are Highland and DTE, and then Pontiac Lakes and Holdridge. I recently moved to Milford, but have yet to try out other trails in the area.

Things I like about the bike I have now:
-Climbs well on smooth
-Sprints great

Things I don't like (in order):
-Stability. I don't know if its because I have gotten older and heaver or my tires are just wrong (Hutchinson Python 2.0s), or my fork is trashed (highly likely), but lately it feels like the bike is just more squirrely and unforgiving than it used to be. I put narrower bars on it a while back, so I'm sure that is part of the problem. This is probably my main complaint.
-Geometry. I feel like I have too much weight on the front wheel at almost all times. It's next to impossible to wheelie and its tough to get my weight back appropriately on decents with drops. There have been times where I have been close to pulling a tire off a rim on a banked turn after at speed after a long decent.
-Climbing Traction. As soon as you hit those root sections on the uphill, your wheel bounces, legs spin and energy is sapped.

Stuff I want:
-I want to be able to ride DTE full out without feeling like I don't have 'enough bike' under me (berms ruts jumps hawtlapz). That being said, I'm 34 so there will be a measured amount of send.
-I want to be able to keep traction on ascents.
-I want something to be kinder to my wrists
-I dont want to feel slower than I feel now (if possible).

Bikes I am considering:
-Trek Stash
-Trek Fuel
-Giant Trance

Other Factors
-I will likely want to keep the existing bike and try and update it to fill a niche
-I will likely be riding the Milford trail, Proud and Island Lakes more
-I know I'm old and fatter than I used to be
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Re: Bike Recommendation Wanted

Postby SumpeMax » June 12th, 2020, 2:39 pm

Pivot Trail429
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Re: Bike Recommendation Wanted

Postby punkerfinger » June 12th, 2020, 4:28 pm

Sounds like you and I are in the exact same position right now (and looking for the same thing). One thing I'm finding is that unless you're really tall or really short, you're going to have a pretty hard time finding a bike right now. Manufacturing in China was shut down for 3 months, and pretty much everyone is sold out of everything in Medium and Large frame sizes.
I'm strongly considering a Salsa Spearfish, which seem to be available in a few different builds right now. If you want a little longer travel, there seem to be a decent number of Horsethiefs available too. Basically the same frame, but an extra 20mm of travel.
Another one I'm really interested in is the Scott Spark series. 120mm front and rear, with the TwinLoc system that allows you to switch rear travel between 120mm/85mm/locked out with a switch on the bar. Seems really useful for SE Michigan trails where 120mm is probably overkill half the time. The reviews I've seen have indicated that it works really well, too. They're hard to come by, though. I found one shop an hour away from me that has a couple in stock, and I'm driving over there to test ride them tomorrow morning. Otherwise, my local shop said they could pre-order a 2021 model and probably have it in about 6 weeks.
Good luck!
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Re: Bike Recommendation Wanted

Postby Paul Brown » June 12th, 2020, 7:33 pm

Funniest thing I ever heard, 34 being old. Most riders peak after that age. My strongest years were right around 50 year of age and I'm well past that.
Thanks for the laugh.
Pivot Mach 4 SL, a bit pricey but bridges the gap between XC ripper and stable downhill platform well imo.
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Re: Bike Recommendation Wanted

Postby Roy » June 12th, 2020, 10:21 pm


You some how you missed all fads in the last 18 years so be carful to not get caught up the current fads. Stay to basics.
I would look for a single pivot FS with a good quality fork and single front ring.
I would hold out for Hydraulic discs brakes. My Old bike (22 years) hydraulic breaks still work like they were new. Check the wheel bases of your picks. Go with the shorter wheel base bike.
Suspension travel is over rated. I ride a 80mm travel bike and a 150 mm travel bike.
For the local trials there not a lot of difference how the 2 bikes ride the bumps.
I learned the hard way not to full compress a 150mm front fork. The rebound is a b i c h.
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Re: Bike Recommendation Wanted

Postby WICCMB » June 16th, 2020, 8:33 am

Paul Brown wrote:Funniest thing I ever heard, 34 being old. Most riders peak after that age. My strongest years were right around 50 year of age and I'm well past that.
Thanks for the laugh.
Pivot Mach 4 SL, a bit pricey but bridges the gap between XC ripper and stable downhill platform well imo.

I love my Mach 4SL, and definitely second this advice. However, I think peaking at 50 may be a bit of a stretch...I peaked at 45! :lol:
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Re: Bike Recommendation Wanted

Postby Cwu7 » July 5th, 2020, 2:10 pm

OP, have you picked a new bike yet? I'm in the same boat... rode DTE for the first time and want more bike than my 29er hardtail is offering. I've been looking at Santa Cruz 5010, Kona Process 134, and Kona Hei Hei. Currently leaning toward 5010 - seems like a super fun bike the boost off those tabletops.
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Re: Bike Recommendation Wanted

Postby TimTucker » July 17th, 2020, 8:52 am

If you're looking for something more forgiving on the wrists, take a look at these bars:

I've seen them run 20% off coupons on FB a few times.

They're also supposed to have a (slightly) cheaper aluminum version coming out at some point -- before COVID, their guess was maybe in the fall. I'm waiting to see how much those wind up before taking the plunge.
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Re: Bike Recommendation Wanted

Postby Arctic601 » December 22nd, 2020, 10:28 pm

Did you ever decide on a bike?

I have a few recommendations to toss in if not.
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