Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
21 - 40 of 57 Posts

·
Registered
I'm one wheel smarter than riding a unicycle.
Joined
·
519 Posts
Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I appreciate the suggestions.

I'm looking for mediums (the Spark is a large), but although wheelbase will decrease a small amount, a modern medium would still have the same head tube angle, and probably longer travel, right?

I hadn't considered reversing an angle headset. I know lots of people tweak things like head tube angle and increase fork travel with no problems, but isn't that a little bit of trying to make a regular folding pocket knife into a swiss army knife by taping a can opener to it?

I'd rather have a bike designed around a certain set of angles and travel than taking a bike and changing everything about it to try and make it something else. Is that too OCD of me?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
I appreciate the suggestions.

I'm looking for mediums (the Spark is a large), but although wheelbase will decrease a small amount, a modern medium would still have the same head tube angle, and probably longer travel, right?

I hadn't considered reversing an angle headset. I know lots of people tweak things like head tube angle and increase fork travel with no problems, but isn't that a little bit of trying to make a regular folding pocket knife into a swiss army knife by taping a can opener to it?

I'd rather have a bike designed around a certain set of angles and travel than taking a bike and changing everything about it to try and make it something else. Is that too OCD of me?
Have you thought about a 27.5 full suspension? I have a Santa Cruz 5010 V3 with a 66.5 head angle, and I can maneuver it just as good as I could my old Orbea XC bike that had a 70.5 head angle. It's also more fun and I have a lot more confidence on it than I ever did on my old bike.
 

·
furker
Joined
·
599 Posts
isn't that a little bit of trying to make a regular folding pocket knife into a swiss army knife by taping a can opener to it?
No problem. Skip the tape and braze it. Some red paint and a white cross, badda bing you are ready to join the swiss army.

Seriously though, even the bikesdirect Motobecane Hal has 65-66 degree head angles depending on the build. If you want an actual trail bike and not an XC bike, the options are to buy a nice used bike, or look for bikes with adjustable suspension settings and use stuff like shorter rear shocks, shorter forks, and adjustable headsets to customize it exactly the way you like it. Nothing wrong with it, but it will take some experimenting.
 

·
furker
Joined
·
599 Posts
A 2018 Trek Top Fuel virtual 18.5 size would be the lateral move from your 2018 Spark to something more like your Niner while still keeping 1X12 and a steepish seat angle.

Might even convince someone to swap you their 2018 Top Fuel for your 2018 Spark.
 

·
Registered
I'm one wheel smarter than riding a unicycle.
Joined
·
519 Posts
Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Have you thought about a 27.5 full suspension?
I had a 2016 Fuel EX 9.8 with 27.5 wheels. I wanted to like it, but after 400 miles, I knew I didn't like it. It may have been too small for me... I had the 18.5 virtual 17.5 actual and probably needed the next size up, but I also didn't like the feel of the wheels. I could tell a difference in effort/speed compared to my Niner, so it's 29ers for me.

Walt will build you whatever you want within reason.
I've thought about custom, but I haven't ridden enough full suspensions to know what works for me. I'd be guessing. Might as well chunk a dart wearing a blindfold for all the good it would do me.

Might even convince someone to swap you their 2018 Top Fuel for your 2018 Spark.
That's a decent option, but it's sort of like the difficulty in getting two married couples with children together in the same place at the same time... There are so many variables in the scenario. The likelihood of me finding exactly what I want within a half day's drive and that person wanting exactly what I have is probably pretty slim.

Have you demoed any new bikes on those trails recently?
I've mentioned this before... Rant imminent... I think it should be a thing in any bike shop where they keep a demo fleet, and any rental money you spend on a demo racks up toward the purchase of that bike or another one if it's a bike you find out you don't like. After having bought two bikes now (used, not new) that haven't really been my thing, I refuse to get stuck spending retail on a bike unless I can ride it a bunch of times to know I want to pull the trigger on it.

I don't run a bike shop, so I'm probably talking out of my ass, but could a shop order a bike a customer thinks they want and treat it like a bike in a demo fleet, where they let them ride it for a few months, and if they don't really mesh with it, take it back into the demo fleet? It could then be used for more demos for other customers where they could eventually sell it as a new bike with a warranty, just at the typical discount of a demo bike. Demo bikes in a fleet get ridden plenty of times by different people, the only difference here is it's the same person riding the demo bike the whole time. If the purchase doesn't work out, the money the customer spent on the bike stays with the shop until they get another bike, at which point that money applies to the new purchase.

The problem I have with buying new is that the sort of bike I want to buy (not specific to head angles or geo or anything, just the type of bike) isn't stocked in the shop. Most bike shops churn and burn entry level stuff, like hybrids with quill stems, and if they carry mountain bikes, they're always entry level hardtails. I can't go into my local Trek dealer and see the Slash, Remedy, Roscoe, Supercaliber, Fuel EX, Top Fuel, or Procaliber in different sizes sitting on the floor. I couldn't do that in times of plenty before Covid supply issues. They just had Marlins. If you wanted a better mountain bike, you ordered it, paid for it, and you were stuck with it. I get it... those bikes are high dollar and they don't want three sizes of each of them sitting in inventory to possibly not sell, but there needs to be some sort of a better option for a customer. Bike fit is such a tricky thing these days, and new geo complicates it even further. Years ago you just bought a certain size bike based on your height and it worked. I'm not paying for a new bike, at retail, if I haven't even sat on it.
 

·
29ers Forever
2021 Rocky Mountain Altitude A70
Joined
·
3,522 Posts
I had a 2016 Fuel EX 9.8 with 27.5 wheels. I wanted to like it, but after 400 miles, I knew I didn't like it. It may have been too small for me... I had the 18.5 virtual 17.5 actual and probably needed the next size up, but I also didn't like the feel of the wheels. I could tell a difference in effort/speed compared to my Niner, so it's 29ers for me.



I've thought about custom, but I haven't ridden enough full suspensions to know what works for me. I'd be guessing. Might as well chunk a dart wearing a blindfold for all the good it would do me.



That's a decent option, but it's sort of like the difficulty in getting two married couples with children together in the same place at the same time... There are so many variables in the scenario. The likelihood of me finding exactly what I want within a half day's drive and that person wanting exactly what I have is probably pretty slim.



I've mentioned this before... Rant imminent... I think it should be a thing in any bike shop where they keep a demo fleet, and any rental money you spend on a demo racks up toward the purchase of that bike or another one if it's a bike you find out you don't like. After having bought two bikes now (used, not new) that haven't really been my thing, I refuse to get stuck spending retail on a bike unless I can ride it a bunch of times to know I want to pull the trigger on it.

I don't run a bike shop, so I'm probably talking out of my ass, but could a shop order a bike a customer thinks they want and treat it like a bike in a demo fleet, where they let them ride it for a few months, and if they don't really mesh with it, take it back into the demo fleet? It could then be used for more demos for other customers where they could eventually sell it as a new bike with a warranty, just at the typical discount of a demo bike. Demo bikes in a fleet get ridden plenty of times by different people, the only difference here is it's the same person riding the demo bike the whole time. If the purchase doesn't work out, the money the customer spent on the bike stays with the shop until they get another bike, at which point that money applies to the new purchase.

The problem I have with buying new is that the sort of bike I want to buy (not specific to head angles or geo or anything, just the type of bike) isn't stocked in the shop. Most bike shops churn and burn entry level stuff, like hybrids with quill stems, and if they carry mountain bikes, they're always entry level hardtails. I can't go into my local Trek dealer and see the Slash, Remedy, Roscoe, Supercaliber, Fuel EX, Top Fuel, or Procaliber in different sizes sitting on the floor. I couldn't do that in times of plenty before Covid supply issues. They just had Marlins. If you wanted a better mountain bike, you ordered it, paid for it, and you were stuck with it. I get it... those bikes are high dollar and they don't want three sizes of each of them sitting in inventory to possibly not sell, but there needs to be some sort of a better option for a customer. Bike fit is such a tricky thing these days, and new geo complicates it even further. Years ago you just bought a certain size bike based on your height and it worked. I'm not paying for a new bike, at retail, if I haven't even sat on it.
I've never had that issue with bike shops around here. They're almost the opposite, you can't really find inventory under $3k, and I was lucky when I bought my first full suspension bike that they had one in my size and wasn't carbon fiber.
I suggest looking at other bike shops. Some might have a demo fleet, but the last shop I knew of in my area that did demos tried to sell those bikes and they sat and sat until the shop went out of business. They got pretty beat up by riders who just wanted to test a different bike but didn't really want to buy it (I was one of them, but I didn't contribute to the damage).

Brands sometimes do demo days where you go to an event or to a free demo and can test whatever bike you want.
I've demoed a few bikes that way, and that's when I learned that the Rocky Mountain 29er platform is what I prefer, but I've also bought bikes without even riding them before (road bikes, hardtails), simply because those were leftover models, on sale, and in my size. Beyond pedaling them around the parking lot first, I didn't test ride them.

Maybe it's due to your location that shops don't stock higher end bikes, but maybe reach out to a coupe bigger shops and just see if they have anything coming into stock this winter,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
567 Posts
I LOVE the steep headangles.

You may want to look at a bike with a zs44/zs56 headtube so you can use an angle headset.
Avoiding a frame with an integrated headset is more important to finding an angleset than zeroing in on having an OEM zs44/zs56 headset. Works Components makes tons of sizes. I have a -2° angleset from them on my straight 44mm headtube DragonSlayer.

Re: adapting a bike to fit exactly what I want, it's part of the fun imo. 😁
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,246 Posts
I'm still riding a 2013 Giant Anthem X Adv 29. Increased fork travel to 120mm, added taller fork crown race and one offset shock bushing. ST ~74°, HT ~69. Have to ride some things at UC slower than others. Still climbs really well.

I have ridden current XC bikes with slack HTs. It's definitely steers slower but helps on the descents. Steep ST really helps in that regard for pedaling and weighting the front tire.

I also have 2015 Air9 RDO hardtail with 120mm fork. Really great for single track and gravel. A very capable descender.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
I appreciate the suggestions.

I'd rather have a bike designed around a certain set of angles and travel than taking a bike and changing everything about it to try and make it something else. Is that too OCD of me?
so right! All these people proposing you make the "wrong bike fit" are missing the entire point of bike geometry being about everything working right as a whole. And for many of us, that is NOT the modern long, low, and slack trend...
 
21 - 40 of 57 Posts
Top