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Re: Mountain Bike Help [Toefuzz] [ In reply to ]
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I think I’m getting that Woodsmoke. I can get a crazy deal on a hard tail with solid components and have enough left over to buy a lighter second wheel set to run some skinnier tires. Called the bike shop and had them put it on hold for the weekend... just too good to pass up.
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [Toefuzz] [ In reply to ]
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Okay... so I’m watching my nephews tonight and we watched some Red Bull Rampage... they think I need to go full suspension downhill crazy jumping bike. Seems like a good idea, but that could be the 2 or 3 scotches talking!
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [Toefuzz] [ In reply to ]
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I am primarily a mountain biker for years. You really need to decide what you want to ride and what type of trails. I currently ride a 27.5 full enduro rig with 160mm of travel front and rear. I can ride just about anything on it including stuff that would scare the crap out of most people. That’s said there is no 1Quiver bike. My bike pedals and climbs reasonably well and for the odd XC or longer distance race I might enter it works fine but I am not expecting to win. If I am really looking to do well I would go 29er and way less travel. The point is what do you want to achieve and ride other than race. If you really like it you may improve quickly and and decide to ride bigger stuff in which case a Scapel likely isn’t your bike.

A couple things:

1. Strongly consider a dropper it will help you immensely on descents especially if you are inexperienced.
2. Although tire width is important, nothing is more important than the actual tread pattern and whether it is suitable for the conditions you ride in. Tire choice is huge but a 2.35 - 2.6 with the right tread pattern and you will be good to go.
3. Have someone experienced or a solid shop set up your suspension. Will make a massive differnce.
4. Try and test ride a few bikes. Head tube angleand frame geometry make a massive differnce to handling.
5. All the brands you mention are fine with the right part spec. It really comes down to what feels best and the terrain you are looking to ride.
6. Do not wear your road helmet . Get a proper MTB one with some protection for the back of your head. Also if you are new and want to push the limit a bit I recommend one of the helmets with a detachable chin bar
7. Also some light weight knee and elbow pads if practicing descents
8. Baggie shorts over your liner or bibs will often save your bibs if you wipe out as well
9. Going to a downhill park and hiring an instructor for the day can really improve your defending in a hurry....body position is everything.


Good luck....best riding you will ever do.
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [yikes] [ In reply to ]
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What are your go-to tires for loamy hardpack w frequent rock gardens
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [devolikewhoa83] [ In reply to ]
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I know you weren't asking me, but anyway! Depends on the severity of the rock garden. My go-to tyres are a Maxxis DHR2 3C (2.4") on the front and a High Roller 2 (2.3") on the back. However, if I know I'm going somewhere really rocky I have a set of Schwalbe tyres with Super Gravity side walls that I put on, a Magic Mary on the front and a Hans Dampf on the back, both are 2.35".
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [devolikewhoa83] [ In reply to ]
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I would run a maxxis minion DHF upfront and a DHR or High roller on the back. Generally 2.5’s. If you are riding rock all the time I would go with the heavier casing as it lasts longer.

Another poster mentioned the Schwalbes. Great tire and if I was mostly on loam I would consider them but I have found on the rock they just wear out to fast. Compound is softer and nobs tear off. Traction is fine but it gets expensive replacing tires more regularly.
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [yikes] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks, both. I mostly did XC racing for a long time and was an ardent champion of the racing ralph, but i find that as my technical riding has improved, i'm willing to trade off weight for traction any day, as my attitude is basically the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, etc.

i've been using the Nobby Nic instead but I will definitely check out these Maxxis's and the Hans Dampf, they seem like they'd be good too if it's a muddy day
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [devolikewhoa83] [ In reply to ]
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That's a fair comment above about the softness of the Schwalbe tyres - I reckon a back tyre lasts about two weeks of solid riding in rocky stuff. You mentioned looking at the Hans Dampf - personally I'd only put that on the back, and go with a Magic Mary on the front. The snakeskin sidewalls are fine if you are riding occasional rock, but definitely go with the SuperGravity if it's extensive rock.
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [rmt] [ In reply to ]
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Nice.

Thank you!!
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [Toefuzz] [ In reply to ]
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I have owned a nice full suspension for a while and went back to a hard tail and often train on a rigid 26 inch single speed when it's snowy or sloppy.

Full suspension is nice in rooty or rocky terrain because you can stay on the gas through technical terrain or go faster downhill. I liked mine a lot.

I got rid of it because of the extra maintenance. The rear shock needs service every year if you ride a lot as does the front. It's a little complicated so I sent them out for $200.

When you look at the pivot points, they are all sitting right where all the mud and crap sprays up from the back wheel. On my Felt, I had to buy a special tool kit for $160 then every time I needed a bushing set, it was an hour in the garage and $100 in parts. In our climate in the east that was once or twice a year.

Screw that, it's just a damn bike. If I lived in some arid climate, maybe it'd reconsider.
Last edited by: jroden: Feb 23, 19 16:32
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [Toefuzz] [ In reply to ]
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Toefuzz wrote:
Okay... so I’m watching my nephews tonight and we watched some Red Bull Rampage... they think I need to go full suspension downhill crazy jumping bike. Seems like a good idea, but that could be the 2 or 3 scotches talking!

Not to complicate things further for you, but I wouldn't rule out direct-to-consumer brands like Canyon, Fezzari, YT and Intense. All of them offer FS carbon trail or modern XC bikes with solid build kits in the $3-$3,500 range, and some have less expensive alloy versions. I have a YT Jeffsy and I love it, but it doesn't sound like the right bike for what you want to do. Canyon Lux, Fezzari Signal Peak and Intense Sniper Trail might be better options. Disclaimer: I haven't ridden any of them, but I am considering Fezzari and Intense for my next bike based on what I've read about them. The obvious downside of DTC bikes is that you usually can't test ride them before you buy.

Like others have said, your first bike probably won't be your "forever" bike. You'll figure out your riding style and will eventually want a bike that caters to it. Case in point, while I love my Jeffsy, my next bike will be something a little more XC oriented that climbs a little better.
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [Toefuzz] [ In reply to ]
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Also, to the OP, i'm super pumped to hear you are thinking about mountain bike racing. It is a ton of fun with a generally extremely chill and welcoming community.

One thing to bear in mind when planning your training is that MTB racing is very different from triathlon in terms of your metabolic needs. Don't be fooled by your average HR over the course of a race. While it may be the same or at least similar to your average HR over a triathlon of similar duration, you will be using EVERY power zone, including ones you never touch in even the shortest triathlon.

So, (1) VO2Max, Anaerobic and Tabata type stuff will be your friend, but also (2) don't overdo it because if the trails nearby you are rugged with lots of technical climbs, you may be getting plenty of above-threshold work just by riding hard, and also doing intervals during the week may equal too much.

Good luck and have fun
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [devolikewhoa83] [ In reply to ]
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devolikewhoa83 wrote:
Also, to the OP, i'm super pumped to hear you are thinking about mountain bike racing. It is a ton of fun with a generally extremely chill and welcoming community.

One thing to bear in mind when planning your training is that MTB racing is very different from triathlon in terms of your metabolic needs. Don't be fooled by your average HR over the course of a race. While it may be the same or at least similar to your average HR over a triathlon of similar duration, you will be using EVERY power zone, including ones you never touch in even the shortest triathlon.

So, (1) VO2Max, Anaerobic and Tabata type stuff will be your friend, but also (2) don't overdo it because if the trails nearby you are rugged with lots of technical climbs, you may be getting plenty of above-threshold work just by riding hard, and also doing intervals during the week may equal too much.

Good luck and have fun

Oh man are you ever correct about that! I played around with a little mountain biking while I was getting ready for MT a couple of years ago and thought I was in decent shape... those VO2 max efforts on the trails absolutely killed me! I guess two years of IM training doesn't do a lot to prepare someone for mountain biking, lol!

Just a follow up in case anyone is interested... I went to the shop today to take a look at my new gravel wheels that just arrived and somehow a damn Salsa Woodsmoke snuck into the back of my car. No idea how that happened, but it looks like I have a mountain bike.
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [Toefuzz] [ In reply to ]
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Have been on various Spec Epics over the years. Hard to beat
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [Toefuzz] [ In reply to ]
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As someone who used to race tri and now basically exclusively mt bikes, I would get a pivot to start.. IMO there is no reason to run a hardtail anymore. FS is way more fun, and I think faster as your descending will be way better.

The scalpel vs. 429 is a good question. I've owned s-works epic, spark 900RC, evil following, and currently santa cruz hightower LT and Blur.

Downsides to the epic and spark were tons of proprietary parts, not a fan of that stuff at all. Love the santa cruz stuff in that all parts/shocks etc are easily overhauled by my shop.
The new cannondale fork looks amazing, but if you need to send it away for any service, that's a huge pain in the ass.

I've demo'd the scalpel SI 2 last year, and liked how precise it was, but found descending tricky (and I can get to a bike park and hold my own for a day of lift access). However, the new scalpel has different geometry which should make it better.
Huge fan of everything santa cruz makes, lifetime warranty, great customer support!

Tires for rocky - I run on the hightower LT (6 inch front/rear) maxxis DHR II with ardents on the rear, I like rolling fast so give up a slight bit of grip but have found that combo works well for almost anything. Was just down in tuscon and had no issues with rocks.
On the blur I run maxxis ardent on front, icon on rear, when I race go to icons front/rear. I've tried some schwabe tires but generally haven't liked them as much as maxxis stuff.
I did get a 34 stepcast on the blur which I love, I'm only 175lbs but notice a huge difference and for the minimal weight difference would never go back to 32 mm stanchions!
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [dayvic] [ In reply to ]
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dayvic wrote:
As someone who used to race tri and now basically exclusively mt bikes, I would get a pivot to start.. IMO there is no reason to run a hardtail anymore. FS is way more fun, and I think faster as your descending will be way better.

The scalpel vs. 429 is a good question. I've owned s-works epic, spark 900RC, evil following, and currently santa cruz hightower LT and Blur.

Downsides to the epic and spark were tons of proprietary parts, not a fan of that stuff at all. Love the santa cruz stuff in that all parts/shocks etc are easily overhauled by my shop.
The new cannondale fork looks amazing, but if you need to send it away for any service, that's a huge pain in the ass.

I've demo'd the scalpel SI 2 last year, and liked how precise it was, but found descending tricky (and I can get to a bike park and hold my own for a day of lift access). However, the new scalpel has different geometry which should make it better.
Huge fan of everything santa cruz makes, lifetime warranty, great customer support!

Tires for rocky - I run on the hightower LT (6 inch front/rear) maxxis DHR II with ardents on the rear, I like rolling fast so give up a slight bit of grip but have found that combo works well for almost anything. Was just down in tuscon and had no issues with rocks.
On the blur I run maxxis ardent on front, icon on rear, when I race go to icons front/rear. I've tried some schwabe tires but generally haven't liked them as much as maxxis stuff.
I did get a 34 stepcast on the blur which I love, I'm only 175lbs but notice a huge difference and for the minimal weight difference would never go back to 32 mm stanchions!


I got to ride a Santa Cruz 5010 a few times. That is a very "gentlemanly" ride, meaning it seemed to soak up all the terrain I threw at it and didn't get ruffled at all.
The Blur? Fun ride but quickly got out of its element on shale and roots.
Last edited by: fishgo: Feb 25, 19 12:19
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [fishgo] [ In reply to ]
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I think the current crop of new xc race bikes are all going to be great, but probably all will have the same issue you raise.
In my case, I put a dropper, bumped the front travel to 110 and as stated have heavier tires on it, and think its amazing in everything I've ridden it in. Haven't noticed any problems in roots or loose especially with the bigger tires/34 stepcast vs. 32. I'm taking a throughbred xc bike and making it abit trail, I think you'd have a bigger problem doing that with some of the other xc race bikes out there.

I know all the SC guys were running this at BCBR and all really liked it.

Definitely doesn't have the cushion of my big bike but for 90% of my riding its more appropriate then the hightower LT. Haven't ridden a 5010 but I'm tall enough that I like 29r wheels for everything.
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [Toefuzz] [ In reply to ]
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I've ridden the Scalpels, had a Tallboy LT.

I was looking for a do-it-all bike. One that pedals well, but can handle some chunk.

Ended up with the Ibis Ripley LS.

Its been out for a few years. The rear suspension is responsive like the Scalpels but just floats over obstacles when climbing. Its the first bike I've ridden that the rear doesn't hang up when going over stuff.

That being said, it handles descents just as good as the Tallboy LT. On the plus side, it's been a trouble free year of riding.
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Re: Mountain Bike Help [__Tron__] [ In reply to ]
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I had the same experience with the RipMo when i rented one in MOab, which i think is like a longer travel version of the ripley. I was getting up and over things (and down some things) that i never thought i would be able to do. And they pedal real well and handling is great, once you get used to it (at first i felt like i was on stilts)
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