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Wannabe
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Discussion Starter #1
What kind of bike would you folks recommend for long XC tours like the Great divide or a portion of it? $1200-$2k price range

TIA
 

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Trail rider and racer
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Psiclonik said:
What kind of bike would you folks recommend for long XC tours like the Great divide or a portion of it? $1200-$2k price range

TIA
A 29" bike would be good either hard tail or FS.

The likes of a Giant NRS too would be good, as it provides some cush when the terrain gets nasty, yet still pedals good on the smoother terrain stuff or roads.
 

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crack city

steve3 said:
Specialized FSR.
Of the three friends of mine who have owned them, I've gotten to see three broken FSRs, two at the seat mast thingee area, one down near the BB shell. I wouldn't ride one of those things farther than I could walk home.
My choice would be a nice reliable ti hardtail, wheel diameter up to you. Probably with a WTB dirtdrop bar and a nice supertall short extension stem like my LDs. 8 sp cogset, don need no bent 9sp. cogs out there.
 

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The recent GDR record ride was won by a 29" Ti soft tail and followed by 2 hardtails then a 26" wheel bike. If you are going to be doing a mixture of trail, double track and road it is well worth it to go 700c it seems. You will need rack mounts and they are scarce on most of the stock 29" frames however. There are builders that will build a steel frame though that should fit your bill in custom sizing with all the braze-ons for about $800. You could get it built for under $2000 I would imagine.
 

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Wannabe
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Discussion Starter #5
a 29 inch bike would most likely be out of the question. Availability and time frame are an issue. I should have been more specific. Someone mentioned a cyclocross bike which I think would be a silly choice.
 

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I'd aim at practicality

Reliability will be at a premium, so if I was doing this I would simplify by getting a hardtail with manual disc brakes.

A hardtail will let you mount a real rear rack with sidebags. Avoiding hydro brakes will reduce weight and means one less complex system to malfunction and to have to maintain. Also, if your brakes aren't hydro it will be easier to fit the rear rack.

I'd want disc instead of V brakes because the bike will be carrying extra weight so the added stopping power of discs may come in handy on a downhill.

No rear shock means less weight and one less item to maintain.

If your front-end isn't air you won't need to carry a shock pump.

Buying a hardtail would help keep the cost down, or give you a better frame and components for your $$, but even if cost were not the object I would do it anyway... fewer distractions, less to worry about, and less chance the vacation will be cut short.

Some comfort can be added by getting a shock-absorbing seat post.
 

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Yeti 575
 

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Psiclonik said:
you're kidding right? a 575 would be a little heavy wouldn't it?
If 27lbs is too heavy maybe you should be looking for a shorter travel race bike.
 

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Wannabe
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Discussion Starter #10
minkhiller said:
If 27lbs is too heavy maybe you should be looking for a shorter travel race bike.
27lbs isn't so bad. Some stuff I have read recommend against F/S rides for long tours like the Great Divide. I really don't know.
 

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Samsonite Tester
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www.jonesbikes.com will have ideas on what you need. The handlebar of his look great for long rides.
 

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Gravity Rides Everything
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Psiclonik said:
27lbs isn't so bad. Some stuff I have read recommend against F/S rides for long tours like the Great Divide. I really don't know.

go heavy and reliable.....

specialized enduro might work... though for a ride THAT long I'd say you're better off with the reliability of a hardtail... though it's gonna punish your body... :eek:

but yeah.. this is no place for those 12 spoke ultralight wheels or carbon bars or anything of that sort.
 

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Some widely-available bikes to look at...

Some of the mechanical disc brake hardtails you might check out include:

SPECIALIZED
Rockhopper Pro Disc - $880 MSRP
Hardrock Comp - $510
Hardrock Pro Disc - $610

MARIN
Bobcat Trail - $462
Palisades Trail - $630
Eldridge Grade - $1,050

KONA
Blast - $699 (2005)
Fire Mountain - $549 (2005)
Hoss - $799 (Clyde bike)
Cinder Cone - $799

FISHER
Tassajara Disc - $800

This is the time of the year to buy. Doubt you will be able to negotiate on the two 2005's listed above, though. Good hunting.
 

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This is probably the hardest kind of riding to build a bike for. Not many people do it, so very few companies build bikes for it. Gunnar Rock Tour, Bruce Gordon Rock n' Road, or a Rivendell Atlantis on the high end. Lower end, a Surly Karate Monkey or Bruce Gordon BLT-X would work well.

What you need: Long chainstays, stable handling, rack and fender braze-ons front and rear, rigid fork, clearance for big tires. 99% of production MTBs fail one or more of these criteria.

The Great Divide Trail is about 80% Forest Service roads, IIRC, with about 10% each singletrack and road sections. So get a bike for that 80%, and accept the compromises for the other 20%.

Points to consider: For fire-road riding, tires of about 700x38, with a heavy-duty touring tread work great. If 26" is your thing, 1.9 inch Conti Town & Country's are the ideal tire for this kind of ride. Good grip on non-radical dirt, smooth roll on pavement, tough as nails. Mounting racks to suspension bikes / forks is expensive, and always something of a compromise. Old Man Mountain racks are about the only solution. If you're going to do this kind of ride on a UTFSB (Universal Taiwanese Full Susupension Bike), get a BoB Ibex trailer and ride on. Food-buying opportunites can be scarce in the high country, so get more bag capacity than you think you'll need. You'll want the extra room for food and water. If you've already got a good mountain bike, you could take the parts off of it, and put them on the Gunnar frame ($800) with a rigid fork (choose one, but expect to pay between $150 - $300). Or go custom, if you've got the time. Curtlo or Tom Teesdale could build a great frameset for this ride, for under 1K. Real off road touring bkes are few and far between, in my experience.

Cheap option, with some looking: Find a dealer with a leftover 2001 Cannondale Adventure. 700C wheels, lots of clearance, magura HS-22 hydraulic rim brakes, rear rack and fenders included, Shimano dynohub lighting, Headshock fork with lockout and rack braze-ons. You might luck into one, becasue, while they were one of the coolest bikes offered by a major manufacturer in the last few years, they didn't fit into any of the big categories of bikes, and consequently were very hard to sell. We sold our last one about 9 months ago. 1600 dollar bike, we blew it out for around 600 bucks. It's the brown bike with the topographic map decal on the down tube. The current Adventure is a very different bike.

Another great bike for this kind of ride would be a 1993 Bridgestone XO-1, but good luck finding one for sale, and when they are available, they aint cheap.

When (and where) are you starting? It's already August, and autumn and winter come early in the high country.

Keep us informed... an end-to-end (or any long tour) of the Great Divide is a dream ride for any serious MTB'r. When riding, stop at libraries and send updates (with pix) to MTBR.com. Carry a pocket tape recorder, easily accessable, to record your thoughts and impressions from the saddle. They won't be as clear later on in your tent.

--Shannon
 

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Good points all, but...

tube_ee said:
What you need: Long chainstays, stable handling, rack and fender braze-ons front and rear, rigid fork, clearance for big tires. 99% of production MTBs fail one or more of these criteria.

The Great Divide Trail is about 80% Forest Service roads, IIRC, with about 10% each singletrack and road sections. So get a bike for that 80%, and accept the compromises for the other 20%.

Points to consider: For fire-road riding, tires of about 700x38, with a heavy-duty touring tread work great. If 26" is your thing, 1.9 inch Conti Town & Country's are the ideal tire for this kind of ride. Good grip on non-radical dirt, smooth roll on pavement, tough as nails. Mounting racks to suspension bikes / forks is expensive, and always something of a compromise. Old Man Mountain racks are about the only solution. If you're going to do this kind of ride on a UTFSB (Universal Taiwanese Full Susupension Bike), get a BoB Ibex trailer and ride on. Food-buying opportunites can be scarce in the high country, so get more bag capacity than you think you'll need. You'll want the extra room for food and water. If you've already got a good mountain bike, you could take the parts off of it, and put them on the Gunnar frame ($800) with a rigid fork (choose one, but expect to pay between $150 - $300). Or go custom, if you've got the time. Curtlo or Tom Teesdale could build a great frameset for this ride, for under 1K. Real off road touring bkes are few and far between, in my experience.

Cheap option, with some looking: Find a dealer with a leftover 2001 Cannondale Adventure. 700C wheels, lots of clearance, magura HS-22 hydraulic rim brakes, rear rack and fenders included, Shimano dynohub lighting, Headshock fork with lockout and rack braze-ons. You might luck into one, becasue, while they were one of the coolest bikes offered by a major manufacturer in the last few years, they didn't fit into any of the big categories of bikes, and consequently were very hard to sell. We sold our last one about 9 months ago. 1600 dollar bike, we blew it out for around 600 bucks. It's the brown bike with the topographic map decal on the down tube. The current Adventure is a very different bike.

Another great bike for this kind of ride would be a 1993 Bridgestone XO-1, but good luck finding one for sale, and when they are available, they aint cheap.

When (and where) are you starting? It's already August, and autumn and winter come early in the high country.

Keep us informed... an end-to-end (or any long tour) of the Great Divide is a dream ride for any serious MTB'r. When riding, stop at libraries and send updates (with pix) to MTBR.com. Carry a pocket tape recorder, easily accessable, to record your thoughts and impressions from the saddle. They won't be as clear later on in your tent.

--Shannon
All good points but I'm not sure that rack/fender braze-ons aren't that big of a necessity if you opt for the B.O.B. and a set of the Old Man Mountain racks. If you do go that route though definitely go wih the Ibex. I had already cracked my (new prior to the trip) Yak three times by the time we hit Steamboat, CO while riding the divide last summer. It's no fun spending your off-days running around town hunting down welders. I warrantied/upgraded to the Ibex and had no further problems other than the fender falling off (had the same problem with the Yak.). I'd suggest picking up a set of the Old Man Mountain racks as well, even if you don't need the extra space the bike will handle much better if there's some weight up front to keep the front end planted.

OTOH, with the Ibex and the Old Man Mountain Racks (plus whatever panniers you decide on.) you've already blown half your bike budget...

Also, I'm not quite sold on the fully-rigid hardtail idea. I think a rigid fork would beat you to death on the miles and miles of washboarded fire-road encountered on the divide. IMHO the more suspension the better, at the least a hardtail with a squishy front-fork.

I didn't have any suspension related mechanical problems with my FS Marin, and the few other riders that were also on full-suspension in our group also had no suspension related problems. I realize that's a pretty small sample size, but given the beating I gave my bike alone, you'd think if suspension was *that* problematic somebody would've had issues. Unless you're trying to set a speed record I don't see any reson to avoid suspension provided you go with a proven, durable design (I'd stick to single-pivot designs w/o a lot of complicated linkages.). I was very happy with the overall performance of my Marin Mt. Vision Pro, with the exception of some shifting problems from a bent derailleur hanger (Bring an extra one!. They're often hard to find in the few shops along the trail.). So much so that I feel guilty for having neglected it since. I've ridden nothing off-road but my singlespeed since returning home last summer.

Good luck and enjoy the trip. It's a hell of a ride.

-Trevor
 

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Wannabe
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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the advice

Everyone assumed I was making the trip, but it's my "brother in law". He bought a 2001 Norco Terrene for the trip before I could fill him in on the great advice you folks have provided. I really don't think a touring bike with cyclocross tires will cut it on the Great Divide. What do you guys think? I gave him my 2 cents so its up to him.
 

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tube_ee said:
This is probably the hardest kind of riding to build a bike for. Not many people do it, so very few companies build bikes for it. Gunnar Rock Tour, Bruce Gordon Rock n' Road, or a Rivendell Atlantis on the high end. Lower end, a Surly Karate Monkey or Bruce Gordon BLT-X would work well.

What you need: Long chainstays, stable handling, rack and fender braze-ons front and rear, rigid fork, clearance for big tires. 99% of production MTBs fail one or more of these criteria.

The Great Divide Trail is about 80% Forest Service roads, IIRC, with about 10% each singletrack and road sections. So get a bike for that 80%, and accept the compromises for the other 20%.

Points to consider: For fire-road riding, tires of about 700x38, with a heavy-duty touring tread work great. If 26" is your thing, 1.9 inch Conti Town & Country's are the ideal tire for this kind of ride. Good grip on non-radical dirt, smooth roll on pavement, tough as nails. Mounting racks to suspension bikes / forks is expensive, and always something of a compromise. Old Man Mountain racks are about the only solution. If you're going to do this kind of ride on a UTFSB (Universal Taiwanese Full Susupension Bike), get a BoB Ibex trailer and ride on. Food-buying opportunites can be scarce in the high country, so get more bag capacity than you think you'll need. You'll want the extra room for food and water. If you've already got a good mountain bike, you could take the parts off of it, and put them on the Gunnar frame ($800) with a rigid fork (choose one, but expect to pay between $150 - $300). Or go custom, if you've got the time. Curtlo or Tom Teesdale could build a great frameset for this ride, for under 1K. Real off road touring bkes are few and far between, in my experience.

Cheap option, with some looking: Find a dealer with a leftover 2001 Cannondale Adventure. 700C wheels, lots of clearance, magura HS-22 hydraulic rim brakes, rear rack and fenders included, Shimano dynohub lighting, Headshock fork with lockout and rack braze-ons. You might luck into one, becasue, while they were one of the coolest bikes offered by a major manufacturer in the last few years, they didn't fit into any of the big categories of bikes, and consequently were very hard to sell. We sold our last one about 9 months ago. 1600 dollar bike, we blew it out for around 600 bucks. It's the brown bike with the topographic map decal on the down tube. The current Adventure is a very different bike.

Another great bike for this kind of ride would be a 1993 Bridgestone XO-1, but good luck finding one for sale, and when they are available, they aint cheap.

When (and where) are you starting? It's already August, and autumn and winter come early in the high country.

Keep us informed... an end-to-end (or any long tour) of the Great Divide is a dream ride for any serious MTB'r. When riding, stop at libraries and send updates (with pix) to MTBR.com. Carry a pocket tape recorder, easily accessable, to record your thoughts and impressions from the saddle. They won't be as clear later on in your tent.

--Shannon

Hey tube_ee could you tell me anything about the Gunnar Rock Tour? I've heard about the Rock Hound and that they were nice bikes, haven't heard about the rock tour though.
Any info?
 
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