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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Have you found a good ride everywhere bike? Here we have a lot of true singletrack and switchbacks.
In 2017 I rode a number of DEMO days and bikes. I was very disappointed because of terrible geometry, they were unrideable. The pedals and crank arms smash into everything!
Looking for a trail bike 125-140mm travel bike.
Might even enjoy a Titanium hardtail that takes 2.6 tires with room to spare for mud, rocks etc.
Not looking for a boat anker/heavy bike that is better to just coast downhill.
I appreciate all wisdom.
Thank you.
 

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I've been running a 2016 Stumpy 29 for the last 4 years. A higher engagement hub helps, 170 cranks help, and a slightly longer fork helps.

It's takes a different riding style with some crank ratcheting. My cranks are still beat to hell, but I've been getting around the Shenandoah Valley just fine.

You might look at a 27.5 bike that you can squeeze 29 wheels into. It might get you where you want to be on BB height.

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Have you found a good ride everywhere bike? Here we have a lot of true singletrack and switchbacks.
In 2017 I rode a number of DEMO days and bikes. I was very disappointed because of terrible geometry, they were unrideable. The pedals and crank arms smash into everything!
Looking for a trail bike 125-140mm travel bike.
Might even enjoy a Titanium hardtail that takes 2.6 tires with room to spare for mud, rocks etc.
Not looking for a boat anker/heavy bike that is better to just coast downhill.
I appreciate all wisdom.
Thank you.
Of course, a lot of this depends on the types of trails that you ride, but it sounds like you are frustrated with the same thing that frustrates me: low bottom brackets. My go-to bike is a 2018 Santa Cruz Hightower and I have to say that I love it. I run it with the flip chip in the High position and I extended the fork to 150mm of travel which results in a bottom bracket height of ~13.75" (with 2.4" Maxxis Rekon tires). This is high enough for me that bottom bracket strikes are generally not an issue, although obviously attention is still required.

The newest bikes that are following the long/low/slack trend just aren't working well for east coast riding. Even the new version of the Hightower (model year 2020 and on) increased the rear wheel travel and dropped the bottom bracket height, so I think pedal strikes would be much more of an issue. The current bike that looks most similar to the original Hightower is the Pivot Switchblade.

Obviously this is only one data point, but I would recommend the v1 Hightower (model years 2016-2019) to mid-Atlantic riders riding technical trails that are worried about pedal strikes.

For the record, where I do not absolutely love this bike is on mellower trails with lots of turns. I have an older Specialized Epic that is much better for less technical trails - it just turns quicker and feels more at home on those types of trails. But if I had to pick only one of these two bikes to own, it would be my Hightower.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
What specs to take into consideration most? bottom bracket height or bb drop? Or something else or a group of specs?
Since there are no demo days any more it is very difficult to actually test ride.
Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Have you noticed almost all the MTB bike reviews on YouTube videos are at ski resorts or more west coast/western USA desert type descending and a little pedaling. Not the rocks and roots, soils, flora, and quick change of speed and direction like in the east USA.
 

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Have you noticed almost all the MTB bike reviews on YouTube videos are at ski resorts or more west coast/western USA desert type descending and a little pedaling. Not the rocks and roots, soils, flora, and quick change of speed and direction like in the east USA.
Absolutely - I love watching those videos but they bear little to no resemblance to the riding that I do. Either marketing research has shown that those videos help sell bikes or that type of riding is much more prevalent out west.
 

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What specs to take into consideration most? bottom bracket height or bb drop? Or something else or a group of specs?
Since there are no demo days any more it is very difficult to actually test ride.
Thank you.
Bottom bracket drop and bottom bracket height are two ways of measuring/reporting the same thing. Theoretically, if you take the diameter of the wheel + the tire and subtract the bottom bracket drop you will get the bottom bracket height. That said, I don't believe 29" wheels have an exact 29" diameter, and the height of tires off the rim bead vary quite a bit as well, so I'm personally not exactly sure how to compare the two measurements.

But other numbers matter as well. A longer wheelbase combined with a slacker headtube angle is going to result in a bike that is stable at speed but it will also be much more difficult to get through tight turns on the trail. Some people, particularly people at the upper end of the recommended height for a frame are sensitive to slacker seat tube angles. I am personally not a big fan of steep seat tube angles - I like to be able to pull up on the pedals when climbing and I think steep seat tubes make this much less effective. I do like the longer wheelbase that my Hightower has, but newer bikes are even longer and I'm not sure I would like that as much.

Demoing bikes is definitely the way to go. It was never much of an option for me; I've rented a few bikes when traveling over the years, but it has never coincided with when I am making a bike purchase. I bought my Hightower after riding a friend's and deciding that it was plenty good for my purposes. If you have access to other people's bikes that might be a good option.
 

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Higher BB and shorter chainstays are Ideal for East Coast mountains. We tend to have more chunk to peddle through and tighter non beamed turns. I'm on a Canfield Riot 13.75" BB 140mm bike. Very short chainstays. The new Pivot Switchblade looks promising.

Its important to know what the sagged BB height would be.
 

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By the way - there are several options that can generally be considered for raising the effective bottom bracket of any bike. They include:
1) Increasing the travel of the fork
2) Running 'taller' tires
3) Using shorter crank arms (assuming pedal strikes is your main issue)

One or more of these options may not be applicable to any given frame (tire clearance restrictions, max fork length restrictions, etc...), and all of them come with tradeoffs, but it is always good to have options.

Bottom bracket height is a game of millimeters - every little bit helps in my book. And don't forget that the more travel the rear suspension of the bike has, the more the bottom bracket is going to drop as the rear wheel moves through its travel. This is why I frequently ride on technical, non-downhill sections of trail with my rear shock in its firmest setting.
 

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Higher BB and shorter chainstays are Ideal for East Coast mountains. We tend to have more chunk to peddle through and tighter non beamed turns. I'm on a Canfield Riot 13.75" BB 140mm bike. Very short chainstays. The new Pivot Switchblade looks promising.

Its important to know what the sagged BB height would be.
Cerberus - I feel like we must cross paths up in the Frederick watershed, but I don't recall seeing any riders on Canfield Riots. I'll keep my eyes open while I am out riding.

I have a friend on the new Switchblade. He's been out of mountain biking for 14 years and just getting back into the sport, but he's been loving it.
 

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I haven't paid as much attention to BB height lately, but in the same position as those commenting on here.

Few bikes I'm looking at because they didn't go too extreme like the Ripley and Tallboy V4s
Giant Trance 29er
Revel Ranger
Waiting on the Pivot Trail 429 update.
 

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Cerberus - I feel like we must cross paths up in the Frederick watershed, but I don't recall seeing any riders on Canfield Riots. I'll keep my eyes open while I am out riding.

I have a friend on the new Switchblade. He's been out of mountain biking for 14 years and just getting back into the sport, but he's been loving it.
I tend to ride Thursdays and Sundays all day, and evenings. Yeah I know you're pain lol. 13.75" BB and 165mm cranks. And still get strikes here and there. So much to peddle, but not nearly as many as most do...I'm not racheting for miles lol. My Riot is black an orange. My wife rides a rootbeer Wreckoning.
 

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I’ve ridden a ton of the modern geo bikes and the Ripley V4 has been the best do it all bike for the area. I’ve had it down at Fountainhead and up to the watershed with everything in between.

You can get a longer travel bike but most of the trails in the area don’t warrant them.

If you want something even racier the new Epic Evo is a killer as well.
 

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Watch out for stack heights too. They’re pretty low on some models these days. I’ve found that a higher stack height is better for long, rocky, East-type day rides.
 

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I’ve ridden a ton of the modern geo bikes and the Ripley V4 has been the best do it all bike for the area. I’ve had it down at Fountainhead and up to the watershed with everything in between.

You can get a longer travel bike but most of the trails in the area don’t warrant them.

If you want something even racier the new Epic Evo is a killer as well.
Didn't care for the V4, prefer my LS or Riot for MD.
 

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It took a lot of rides and experimenting to get the V4 feeling comfortable. The steep seat tube angles nowadays required a whole different setup than I was used to.

I was about to jump ship and stick with my SB100 classic geo until I figured it out. Overall the new bikes are better on ups and downs but kinda tough on flats unless you get your fit dialed.

Unfortunately with all the changes to geo demo rides are the only way to not make a costly mistake.

That new Spur though! May be a little too long for the twisty single track.
 

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IMHO a 130r/150f is perfect for the Shed and less is needed pretty much elsewhere. My wife rides a Wreckoning because the STA is slacker than the Offering, she's an Evil fan girl. We ride the few trails that warrent a bigger bike and Pisgah often enough to put a bigger bike to use.
 

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Ripley V4 here with Ext Storia v3 shock and Formula Selva R at 140mm. Perfect for Shed to Fountainhead. Waiting for EXT ERA fork to arrive.

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What about the new Spot Mayhem? In the "high" setting, it's listed at 344.
I had the previous version and found it to be an excellent pedaler when on smoother less technical terrain. However when things got rough the anti squat made technicals stuff more difficult and tiresome. On successive small bumps it was quite chatterley too

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